by rick pollock calgary,ab canada

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by rick pollock calgary,ab canada
PRECISION SHOOTING
s6
-
FEBFUARY 2OO2
ll
BY RICK POLLOCK
CALGARY,AB CANADA
Since many of you will not be familiar
with Prairie Gun Works, I suspect a little
background information is in order In
terms of custom rifle action manufaciurers, Prairie Gun Works may well be
the best-kept secret in the world of
custom actions. The company was
founded by Ross Spagrud in 1992, and is
located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ross,
along with his machinist, Steve Altstadt,
have been quiedy growing and expanding
their line of custom rifle actions and
custom hunting rifles for the last 9 years.
They are well known in the world of high
end custom hunting rifles, especially for
delays in having custom actions shipped up
from the USA. With the USA export laws
being what they are, things have really
slowed down on their way to Canada, as
few gunsmiths or custom action manufacturers are licensed exporten. Amed with
this information I took the opportunity to
call Ross and arrange a visit to his shop
since, as luck would have it, I was to be in
Winnipeg in the near future.
As pre-arranged, I dropped in on Ross
at the Prairie Gun Works' shop. Talk
about a Mecca! Ross's shop is a real heat
for an
accuracy enthusiast such
as
myself. Custom actions in various stages
of completion dot the shop, along with
completed rifles awaiting shipment to
customers. Ross can build you anything
you can dream up, from a handY ultra
lightweight 17, or how about a 50 cal, for
virtually any shooting discipline up
through law enforcement and military
applications. Stainless or titanium. ii is
your choice, and Ross is equally comfortable tuming out actions in either metal.
Having seen first hand what Ross and
Steve were tuming out, I spoke to Ross
with the idea of building an action
specihc to the sport of benchrest. Ross
was agreeable to such a project and we
set about &afting a wish list of features
that this action would entail' It was to be
a l7-4 stainless action. uith a one piece
4140 bolt. It would have an integral scope
base, trigger hangar, BR style bolt
release, a long bolt handle, coned bolt,
their line of titanium hunting rifles.
Recently Ross and Steve have tumed
$eir attentions lo $e target
and precision
shooting marketplace. As if that is not
enough, Ross is also very well known for
his tireless efforts at preserving what
remains of our hunting and shooting
heritage here in Canada.
With that background out of the way,
my own intoduction to Ross was through
a fellow BR shooter, Brent Meyer of
Va.ncouvet, British Columbia. As I had
been looking for another action for my
next BR project, Brent recommended I
investigate the hairie Gun Works' actions
furthef. Brent had purchased one of Ross'
single shot actions and installed it on a
bench rifle. The action proved to be very
well made, and the great tlfng was, that it
was marufactued right here in Canada. A
Canadian made action is a real bonus for
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:
02
PRECISION SHOOTING
_
FEBRUAFY 2OO2
right bolt and left por1, and
97
standard
compatibility with rhe usual BR triggersThese were some of the initial features to
make our wish list. Another feature that
was incolporated from the stafi was to set
up rhe banel threading and headspacing in
commonality with the Panda and Viper
actions, since we knew
BR
shooters
would have these barrels in their inventory
and would be anxious to try them on
another action.
There were cosmetic issues as well.
such as a polished finish, multi-faceted
exterior (octagonal), and helical bolt
fluting. So far so good. Once we had the
basic ideas finalized, Ross ordered
in the
l7-4 stainless bar that would ultimately
IA
OI
rp
ry
is
1rd
ss
In
is
'e
)s
re
I
It
t,
become the "Coyote", and set to work.
The bulk of the design and setup work
was completed thanks in large paft to the
excellent skills of Steve Altstadt wirh the
CAD. The raceways were then wire EDM
cut and then things really started to roll. It
wasn't too long until I was stafing to see
pictures
I
Put the Fun Back
Into Shooting!
of the Coyote as a work in
progress. Prairie Gun Works is a licenced
manufactufer here in Canada, and they have
the flexibiiity of giving you whatever serial
number you choose. Since the Coyote was
to be the first of its kind I chose to give it the
appropriate serial number of "Numero
Uno". (See picture #1). I set about ordering
the components to complete the rifle
including
-Zm
,, :-"2m,
a 6mrn Kriegar barrel and a
Speedy Millenaium stoch a Jewell trigget
a BAI trigger guard, and a set of polished
Kelbly rings. The wait was excruciating
over the wintq months but
I
tried not to
make a pest of myself, and just let Ross and
Steye work their talents on the ste€I.
:
Photo 2.
The completed action arrived in the
Spring and to say the least, I was very
pleased. Ross and Steve had met or
exceeded the design criteria. The tolerances were tight, and the action was
extf,emely smooth. The Coyote and all the
components were then packed up and
shipped to Steve Southwell in British
Columbia, who used his talents to tum it
into a finished. top ol-the line. lighr rarmint
class BR rifle in 6PPC. The stock was
finished and painted by fellow BR shooter
Joe Mendham, also of British Columbia.
Around June the rifle made its way
back to me, and it proved well worth the
eftbrt and wait. It looked terrific. I picked
the standard load of 53 r/z clicks of Nl33
on the Harrels powder measure, and with
Continued on next page
Few Powdtrs Can Thrget Such a Wide
Range of Apptications'with Such Accuraq,.
:Tfi
^?il'i.:[
j]ilff ";pjlru.1ff iru1;::m*::
ralrge of-any propellant on the market. This clean burning powder is as at home in
rhe 22 Hornet as itis in rhe 50/140 Sharps. It is especidl! we suited for use with
cast bullets and in low recoil practice loads.
lW4ratk more, )QVIP
5744 is designed to be posirion insensitive, which means
this X-uuded'" double-based powder is more foigiving to you than it is to your
.
ta-rger.
or
you,
Ior lording informarion
heip locaring a sr.riplier near
.-ftr.
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"Ou Name Say6 lt A "
98
PFECISION SHOOTING
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FEBRUARY 2OO2
Prairie Gun Works And
The Coyote "Numero Uno"
Continued
a 66 grain Fowler bullet
seated about
.010" into the rifling, we were off to the
races. As it turned out I would be heading
to a match in Winnipeg over the July long
weekend and took the newly finished rifle
with me for the maiden run. (See picture
#2). Ross came out to the range on the
practice day, and we spent an enjoyable
afternoon shooting the Coyote, along with
its newly
completed big brother, the
''Timberwolf in 338 Lapua. (See picrure
#3). The Timberwolf is a scaled up
version of the Coyote designed for the
long range and law enforcement market.
This trip to the range would be Ross' first
time behind a full blown BR rig and he
proved himself more than up to the task
by tuming in a nice group of .180" at 100
Action Truing + Rebore Bolt Raceway
Bolt Body Sleeves + Rebanel & Chambering
yards, this was his first ever group through
the Coyote!
The next day the moment of truth was
upon us, but alas it was not to be the
Coyote's day in battle, as I experienced a
severe brain cramp, and shot most of the
292t2 V-C-E_ 50
aEESE4 AO A0641
weekend without realizing that the barrel
had worked its way loose! Since then the
Coyote has more than redeemed itself,
even with me steering it! I used it to take
first place at a local club match in LV at
200 yards, and later to take fust place in
the 200yd. aggregate of lhe Washingron
State Championships in Heavy Varmint.
The Coyote also provided for my first ever
200yd. screamer, a .205". Sufhce to say,
this thing is really starting to
shoot,
especially when the barrel is on tight!
One thing that needs to be noted is that
from the starl to the finish this idea was
taken ftom sketch pad to a finished rifle in
only 10 months, and it should be further
noted that working with Ross and Steve
has been a real pleasure.
The concept for a target action built in
Canada has it roots in the hne work of Vic
Swindlehurst and Rob Maclennan. It is a
fair comment to say that Ross Spagrud
and Steve Altstadt have followed in these
fine gentlemens' steps and have produced
an action worthy of taking on any competition out there.
Ross can be contacted via his website
at www.prairiegunworks.com or at 20423r-2976.
+
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