Join Date: Mar 2007
Re: WTH Is A "Race Rifle"?
Talo Distributors and Sturm, Ruger & Co, have teamed to produce the new limited edition 10/22LR Ruger Race Rifle. Only 1,500 units will be produced. The Ruger race Rifle is built on the 10/22 Target rimfire autoloading action with a 20" hammer-forged, target-crowned bull barrel in blue steel. Other features include a proprietary laminate thumbhole barracuda-style custom stock with a fancy Ruger race Rifle logo grip cap. Suggested retail price is $479.
NOT JUST 22RFs and NO JUST RIFLES
R A C E R I F L E
Poetry in Cold Steel
By Roni Toldanes
Lloyd de Santis watched as an excited shooter lifted a "The Edge" rifle from the display table.
"I've heard many good things about this .223 rifle," the shooter said, gently rubbing his left hand at the rifle's colorful and smooth receiver. "So when is the new .308 version coming out?"
De Santis flashed a smile and replied, "You're holding it."
As owner of the Colorado-based RND Manufacturing, De Santis, is accustomed to these kinds of reaction to his rifles. For several years his company has established a reputation for churning out high-quality .223 rifles that have become the leading choice of top shooters in the country's top 3-Gun action shooting tournaments.
Competition shooters are known to be a picky bunch. They buy factory-produced rifles only to have a custom riflesmith totally re-work it and install after-market race parts. RND rifles are designed just for that meticulous, custom market. Every part that needs to be replaced and every accurizing job that needs to be done are available in the rifle when it leaves the factory.
In 1995 IPSC Grandmaster Benny Hill won the rifle championship at the USPSA 3-Gun Nationals with a .223-chambered "The Edge" Rifle. In 1996 top shooter Michael Voigt won the overall national championship also using the same rifle. At the 1996 Masters' Long Range Rifle event, "The Edge" was also the winning rifle in the capable hands of Team Caspian's Bruce Piatt.
Most 3-Gun action shooters prefer the .223 caliber because its lighter recoil allows them to fire faster shots during timed events. But for high-power rifle competitions, the .223 is not the ideal caliber. So De Santis faced the challenge of building another rifle capable of handling a bigger caliber like the .308 but with proven features similar to its .223 predecessor. He went back to the drawing board and, after a few months, finally produced his .308 version.
"We actually started from zero," says De Santis. "The only thing that we didn't manufacture is the trigger group, the hammer and the barrel."
Produced by the Oregon-based Pac-nor, the barrel features button rifling, the method of choice in the accuracy arena. Unlike the three other types of manufacturing barrels (broach, cut and hammer forged), button rifling produces a mirror-like internal finish that gives the bullet a smooth travel area. This results in consistent and accurate hits.
The massive 20-inch barrel is hand-lapped by Pac-nor to produce an outstanding surface finish and uniform groove dimensions prior to shipping it to de Santis. At the RND plant, it is then chambered and throated.
The huge tube originally measures one-inch at the muzzle end. De Santis flutes the front area to reduce weight, improve cooling and maintain rigidity. And because the .308 barrel is heavier than its .223 counterpart, De Santis designed a stronger hexagonal receiver.
The RND rifle's upper and lower receivers were machined from a solid piece of steel to achieve tight tolerances. The two parts were hand-fit so there is no unwanted rattle that might distract the shooter when the rifle is fired at the highest level of competition.
Internally, De Santis attacked the trigger assembly by setting it at a crisp 3 ½ pounds. While top shooters prefer a light two-pound trigger, he chose a slightly heavier pull to prevent any accidental discharge. Despite this setting, the trigger breaks without take-up or over-travel.
Externally, the .308 version is almost identical to its .223 counterpart. This offers the multi-gun shooter a unique advantage. He can shoot the .223 rifle and the .308 rifle at different shooting events using the same shooting style and stance. While other shooters would have to learn how to shoot a .223 AR-15 and a .308 bolt-action rifle, RND gun owners don't have to because the two guns are practically the same.
1996 USPSA 3-Gun Nationals champion Mike Voigt says that among the potpourri of features in this centerfold rifle are the handguard vents that allow the barrel's heat to dissipate under the gun. The vents, Voigt says, reduce the possibility of having a "mirage effect" that may irk the shooter while peeping through his scope, thereby producing inaccurate hits.
Voigt singled out the straight line movement of the RND's semi-auto bolt as the ideal configuration for high-power shooting. Unlike other bolt-action rifles like the M1A and the M14, the RND rifle produces less muzzle flip because the gun recoils in a straight line directly into the shoulder.
"Because this gun doesn't kick as hard, you can spend more time 'reading the wind' and trying to achieve better shots," Voigt says. "And since you don't have to work the bolt, you can shoot the gun faster when wind conditions are most favorable."
De Santis knows that a good part of the equation to achieve an accurate rifle is utilizing an appropriate handle, or stock, that fits the shooter. He installed an adjustable butt stock, allowing shooters with long arms to extend the butt by an inch and a half. With a perfect fit, the user gets better hits. There's no pulling of the shoulders that cause muscle tension and inaccurate shots.
The butt plate comes with a Pachmayr rubber stock to help cushion recoil. It was installed on a dovetail that can be moved up and down. Its a great advantage for shooters who will use the rifle for both offhand and prone shooting. The camber is also adjustable to accommodate both the southpaws and right-handed shooters. And for additional comfort, De Santis installed a polyurethane rubber grip from Stock Options.
De Santis produced a higher and thicker charging handle to give the shooter a full knuckle finger grip. Another exclusive design is the flat-top Weaver mount. It has been elevated to make it easier for the shooter to position his eye relative to the eyepiece.
De Santis also lightened the hammer for faster travel. He created several slots on the handguard, allowing the shooter to install a bipod without any restriction on the adjustment level. Extractor and ejector parts have been polished and fitted, as are all other contact surfaces. And an RND titanium firing pin was installed to provide more reliable ignition and a slight edge in lock-time.
Another excellent feature was the removal of the roll pin that holds both ends of the lever and the bolt catch release. It was replaced with a set screw that permits the user to take out the bolt without beating up the gun.
After the internal modifications were completed, De Santis decided to give the gun a racy external look with different colors, mainly "to get away from the nasty assault rifle look."
Bruce Piatt, the 1996 Masters Long Range Rifle champion, says RND rifles "function flawlessly every time" during the heat of competition. "And they look like high-tech mountain bikes."
You can clearly see the blue, black and silver colors so you probably think this rifle was painted, right? Wrong. Those colorful parts, made of hard aluminum, were subjected to a process called "oxidalic plating." "Those colors were grown from the metal through oxidation," says Piers Wiggett of PK Selective Metal Plating in Santa Clara, California. "The colors have become part of the metal so you can't rub 'em off."
"I call this my urban camouflage," De Santis says with an impish smile. "When it's inside a car, no one will think it's a real gun."
One can only describe this handsome rifle as poetry in cold steel.
De Santis dreams of the day when someone eventually conquers Camp Perry, the most prestigious long-range rifle tournament in the world, using an RND "The Edge" rifle.
The .223 fersion has proven itself as a successful rifle in the world's toughest actuion rifle shooting events. And most of the country's top shooters agree that it's only a matter of time before the .308 starts winning at major long-range rifle shooting tournaments.
Champion rifle shooter Benny Hill, compares his experience of shooting other high-power rifles to the experience one gets from driving a jalopy that failed to pass the California emission tests. "Shooting an RND rifle, however, is like cruising around the city on board a sleek Mercedes Benz," Hill says with a grin.
We must agree. Like a luxury car, this race rifle delivers smooth performance, comfort and reliability in one neat package - straight from the factory.
"Outlaw guns and only outlaws will have guns!" But, we are moving that direction.
NRA Benefactor, Vet VN '64-'65
Never sell a gun or a car and you can retire right!!