When it comes to our barrels people tend to associate them with the classic lines of an M1 Garand at a CMP match, a decked-out AR-15 ringing steel at a three gun shoot, or a tack driving F-Class rifle punching tight groups on targets at extreme ranges.
While adrenaline packed competitive shooting matches may provide immediate gratification in the form of high scores, prizes, and trophies, many feel that there is another shooting sport that can provide an even greater level of thrill and excitement. Possibly the oldest shooting sport in existence, big game hunting has served to put meat on the table for generations.
We have always been aware of the strong hunting capabilities inherent in our Savage and Rem/Age pre-fit barrels. Features like easy installation, pinpoint accuracy, and a variety of custom configurations have lent themselves well to the hunting community. These benefits were made clear in a recent Varmint Hunter Magazine article that served to provide an in-depth review of our pre-fit products.
I recently received an email from Jim Briggs of Northland Shooters Supply on the subject of hunting. Those of you who have purchased one of our pre-fit barrels in the past are probably familiar with Jim, as Northland Shooters Supply has long partnered with Criterion as the top distributor of both the Savage and Rem/Age line of barrels.
The email was from a customer who hailed from the great state of Wyoming. Matt Ednie had first contacted Northland Shooters Supply two and a half years ago. At the very moment that phone call took place, an antelope roaming the Wyoming wilderness had no idea that its fate had just been sealed.
Matt originally called Jim with the intention of purchasing a Savage LRP chambered in .260 Remington, but by the end of their conversation he had a new build project in mind. The new rig would eventually include a donor Savage Long Action and a Criterion pre-fit barrel chambered in .260 Remington Match. The rifle would also feature a trigger guard, barrel nut, precision recoil lug, and barrel changing tools from Northland Shooters Supply.
While the rifle components were an essential part of his upcoming hunt, Matt found that the most important part of his purchasing experience included the time, advice, and tutorial skills provided by Jim during their various phone conversations.
About a year ago Matt decided it was time to get his antelope rifle assembled. He had a buddy stop over, and had Jim walk them through the rebarreling process. Altogether it took them a mere 15 minutes to remove the stock barrel and install a Criterion replacement.
Now that the rifle was assembled, it was time to work up a load. Taking additional efforts to find that magic recipe, Matt had two buddies work independently on the load development project. Eventually they found a sweet spot with a load that was consistently capable of half inch groups at 200 yards. The final recipe included a 140gr. Hornady A-Max bullet seated .020” off the lands with a 2.900” cartridge overall length.
Now that Matt was armed with a tack driver putting out .25 MOA performance, the local antelope population didn’t stand a chance. The date of the hunt soon arrived, and the conditions couldn’t have been better. Featuring bright blue sky with a smattering of billowing clouds, the day featured remarkably calm wind conditions, an oddity in the consistently breezy landscape of Wyoming.
After initially catching sight of the antelope, the buck proved exceptionally difficult to track. While it had remained on the move throughout the day, a shot finally presented itself when the tired antelope decided to lie down for a nap.
Now that his target was stationary, Matt was able to approach to an even 300 yards and made some adjustments to his SWFA Super Sniper 10X scope. Beginning the day with a 200 yard zero, Matt needed to make a nine click adjustment, each click shifting the point of impact a quarter minute.
With the adjustments dialed in, the hunter brought the scope up to his eye, obtained a clear sight picture, exhaled and pulled the trigger. A single shot rang out, and the antelope was his. It took two and a half years for this culminating moment to pass, but the end result was well worth the wait.
We were recently informed that Matt plans on putting together another Savage build featuring a CBI pre-fit, this time chambered in .223 Remington. We don’t know when he plans on getting his new build up and running, but we all look forward to hearing how it shoots!
We’d love to hear about your favorite Criterion build story. Free to submit the details to firstname.lastname@example.org.