This post was published by Taras Oleinik. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.
MOSCOW, (BM) – Why do we talk about shooting tournaments so often? The fact is that shooting sports is, by and large, one of the few opportunities for the owner of a weapon to constantly put it into practice (of course, except for hunting). But this is very important if you want to make your shooting life rich and interesting!
It often happens that a freshly baked owner of a weapon leaves him at the shooting range one or two times, then puts him in a safe and forgets for a long time. The problem is the lack of incentive for constant training and the systematic development of their own skills.
But it’s a completely different matter if you intend to contrast your weapons and shooting skills with the weapons and skills of other participants – that is, compete with them for the title of best shooter!
This immediately makes you reconsider your training approach – especially when you find out that prize-winners and winners of European and world championships regularly take part in domestic tournaments!
What is the “high point”?
First you need to understand what exactly are tournaments for precision shooting in our country. If we try to somehow generalize and classify all the competitions, then we get the following picture.
1. Long Range Steel Challenge. Already regular tournaments from SSK Alfa-Bravo, in which shooting is carried out from a prone position on steel targets at distances as reachable as possible for small arms – up to two kilometers! The size of the goals is 1×1.5 MOA.
The tournament is inspired by the Western matches of King of Two Miles and Master of Two Kilometers. This is a very prestigious competition, focused primarily on the owners of large-caliber “magnums” – and those who want to take part in it are always much more than available places.
2. PRS. This abbreviation means tournaments that have already become traditional, both from SSK Alfa-Bravo and from other organizers, made in the general style. Steel targets are fired at medium distances, but mainly from unstable positions. This style of precision shooting is very popular in the United States, and it came to us from there.
Thanks to the PRS tournaments, the 6.5 mm Creedmoor caliber appeared on the market, and now there is already a tendency to switch to 6 mm caliber. These tournaments also popularized the use of aluminum modular chassis, specialized bags, accessories such as ARCA-rail and many others. In many ways, these tournaments determine the picture and demand in the market for precision weapons for six months to a year in advance.
3. Sniping. A traditional and very long-standing type of competition in precision shooting, which does not have a clearly defined format, which came to civilian shooting sports from employees of special forces of law enforcement agencies.
Most often in sniping tournaments there are both paper and steel targets. As for distances, there are two types of such competitions. Short, a police officer, sniping involves shooting at paper targets and material objects with a size of less than 1 MOA at distances up to 300 m. It is complemented by a long – the so-called military – sniping: in this case, distances increase to 1 km, and the size of steel or paper targets also increase.
To sniping can also include competitions such as “Iron Marmot”, simulating the shooting of agricultural pests from large distances. Shooting at narrow (less than 1 MOA in width) steel targets imitating a rodent basking in the sun is conducted from a stable position. Distances reach 1 km.
The first attempts to organize sniping tournaments for civilians according to military rules – with field exit, overcoming the route, spending the night in the field, etc. have already been noted. Surely this segment will continue to develop. For sniping tournaments, highly accurate weapons of various calibers have been successfully used – from .223 Rem to .338 Lapua Magnum.
4. F-Class. The Ukrainian team for this type of competition has repeatedly declared itself at tournaments at the level of Europe and the world. The team also makes efforts to popularize this sport and attract new shooters into it.
In fact, the F-Class is a series of shooting from a prone position at a distance of 1000 yards (914.4 m) at a paper target – with a mandatory display of each hit. For serious participation in this sport, specialized weapons are needed – although you can try your hand with any rifle that confidently holds accuracy of about 0.5 MOA at ranges up to 1000 m.
5. The classic rifle. Shooting on paper targets from a standing position, from a knee, sitting and lying down with your hands (resting on your elbows). Oddly enough, recently this kind of sport shooting by the high-precision community has been undeservedly forgotten – although it is he who, in fact, very well demonstrates the shooter’s class and allows him to hone his skills, which are extremely useful for other sport shooting tournaments.
6. “Sotochka”. Interregional tournament on shooting at 100 meters on paper targets. It is carried out according to uniform, already established rules. It was conceived as a tournament for attracting newcomers, however, experienced shooters can be seen on it regularly – after all, the distance of 100 m is the main one for many of them, where 90% of training and practice is carried out with your rifle. For a successful performance, the accuracy of the rifle should be no worse than 0.5 MOA.
As you can see, the variety of tasks, distances, starting positions and types and sizes of targets in all these competitions makes participation in them with a single rifle almost unrealistic. If distant LRSC targets require at least .338 LM caliber, then at PRS tournaments and a classic rifle such a powerful weapon will be an arrow, rather, it will interfere – here low-pulse calibers are preferable. And in matches like “Sotochka” or “police sniping” even weapons in .223 Rem caliber can show very good results – after all, this caliber at short distances can be very accurate, and it’s easy to shoot.
You can understand the beginners who decided to join the high-precision shooting, but ask more experienced participants to recommend them the first rifle. The question “What caliber to choose?” it sounds almost every day in specialized communities, and every time a discussion of the answer to it comes down to the same questions.
For what tasks and distances? For what type of shooting? In which tournaments do you plan to participate with him? If the abstract “plus hunting” is also added to the sports application, then the complexity of the choice task threatens to surpass the combined experience of the participants in the discussion. After all, each of us looks at the big picture from our own point of view.
Nevertheless, there is one solution that can magically solve the problem of choice and give the opportunity to “close” 90% of tournaments and shooting competitions in precision shooting … with a single rifle!
True, with several interchangeable barrels in different calibres. I suppose you already guessed – we will talk about multi-caliber complexes in which the shooter himself can quickly replace the barrel and caliber without going to the weapons workshop.
Where am I going for multi-caliber
Immediately make a reservation that in our excursion into multi-caliber, we consider only systems with detachable stores – but for a number of reasons we neglect the rather successful and effective family of Blaser R93 LRS-2 / Tactical, whose demise was clearly premature and is still mourned by amateurs “Sub-minute rifles out of the box.” So, oddly enough, the task of developing multi-caliber systems was not the first to be formulated by experiment lovers – athletes, but by the very same military.
The PSR (Precision Sniper Rifle) competition, announced in 2009 by US SOCOM, led to the appearance on the market of a number of interesting offers of bolt rifles with the ability to change their caliber by the user. And among these calibers were necessarily both the classic .308 Win and the more powerful .300 Win Mag, and, of course, the long-range sniper .338 Lapua Mag.
The military explained such requirements by the need for training and training with the .308 caliber – with the subsequent transition to much more powerful (and expensive) .300 WM or .338 LM, depending on the assignment.
The competition also clearly described the requirements for the technical accuracy of such a rifle: no more than 1 MOA of vertical dispersion in a group of five shots at distances of 300, 600, 900, 1200 and 1500 m.
Experienced shooters can grin here, because when shooting at long distances this parameter is not determined by the quality of the weapon, but rather by the quality and stability of the cartridge used. However, you won’t throw words out of the song – all the more so since the contestants were not forbidden to use their own build ammunition for test shooting.
The PSR competition ended with the victory of the Remington Modular Sniper Rifle complex, which began to enter service with US special forces. But this led to rather unexpected results: in order to compensate for the development costs, the rest of the contest participants put their samples on the civilian arms market.
Indeed, do not waste good! Moreover, the designers of the companies worked hard on them, and the majority of the competing multi-caliber complexes turned out to be at least outstanding – albeit each with its own characteristics.
For civilian shooters, the acquisition of such a multi-caliber rifle is not too different from the traditional purchase of weapons in a hunting store. In addition to the “hunting carbine” in the main caliber, “additional trunks” – each with its own number — also fit into the permit. As a result, possession of such weapons is complicated only by the need to once every three years to carry with him all the barrels for “shooting” in the DNECC.
But the advantages of this configuration is much more. And they should be considered in more detail.
The benefits of multi-caliber
An old American dictum says: “Fear a person with a single rifle – most likely, he knows how to use it.” And this has a considerable share of truth, because using a single rifle for all occasions gives the shooter a lot of advantages.
First of all, each shooter must get used to his weapon, know it well and feel it. This applies to both ergonomic parameters and subjective sensations and skills of fine motor skills – especially the retention of the rifle, its balance, the nature of the recoil when firing. Further, to produce a high-quality shot, you need to at least know and feel the descent of your weapon – and when there is only one, it is much easier to do than dealing with fifty different systems.
The same goes for the optical sight. Not only are modern sights for precision shooting quite expensive, but also each of them has its own characteristics that you need to know, understand and consider. And even such a trivial parameter as the removal of the exit pupil (the distance from the eyepiece of the sight to the shooter’s eye) is desirable to have familiar and unchanged – this will contribute to both accuracy and speed of shooting.
In most multi-caliber complexes in the system, the barrel, bolt (or its larva) and the store change. Everything else – the receiver, chassis, butt, descent, sight – remains in place. This makes it possible not only to use the same rifle for various types of competitions and firing, but also allows you to easily train with the same weapons!
As practice shows, the resources of the trunks in the .308 caliber and in the calibers of the 6.5 mm family differ markedly, and even more so it makes no sense to compare them with the “magnums.” In the same way, the cost of one shot will differ. Why not allow yourself to train your rifle skills from your primary weapon with an inexpensive cartridge? And even if it’s not a question of shooting at long distances, but there’s a shot — there’s a shot — and it’s even more useful to fire from unstable positions in the .308 caliber than in low-pulse 6.5 and 6 mm.
Well, the reader will say, are there any drawbacks to such multi-caliber systems? Of course, they are available – but are a continuation of their virtues.
First of all, multi-caliber complexes are quite expensive. For their price, you can usually purchase several more affordable rifles in various calibers at once. But – see above. Far from always the big arsenal of the shooter works for him in the good – after all, all these rifles will also need to be brought to mind, and equipped with sights and everything necessary.
You also need to be aware that from the point of view of its design, most multi-caliber rifles are weapons designed for the .338 Lapua Mag caliber and adapted for conversion to smaller calibers as necessary. Accordingly, the dimensions, weight, safety factor of the receiver and the shutter – all this in such a rifle is selected based on the needs of its maximum caliber. This means that this weapon is most often both large and weighty. But it is very durable, and this is an absolute plus.
But enough abstractions. It’s time to move on to the practical study of the pros and cons of multi-caliber. And we will do this by the example of the complex of the Canadian company Cadex Defense.
This Canadian company quickly climbed to the top of modern weapons for precision shooting. Cadex began to manufacture weapons later than others, and the PSR competition was a bit late, but this did not stop her from creating a really attractive line of modern sniper rifles that attracted the attention of the shooting public, among which the Cadex CDX-MC Kraken multi-caliber system stands out.
In previous issues of the magazine, we already examined the Cadex line of rifles in all details. Therefore, I confine myself to a brief description of their features:
• use in production of modern CNC equipment;
• use of the highest quality materials;
• receiver and shutter made of high strength stainless steel;
• barrel – made of stainless steel manufactured by Bartlein Barrels;
• high-performance muzzle brake Cadex MX1;
• reliable modular chassis Cadex Dual Strike;
• butt folding system with shutter lock;
• system of ergonomic adjustment of the butt without the use of tools;
• sports trigger mechanism with the ability to adjust;
• painting with a durable Ceracote coating.
The Kraken CDX-MC system is fully compliant with all of these points. Interestingly, when directly compared with the CDX-33 Lite in .338 LM caliber, the Kraken rifle looks even more massive, while its receiver and shutter clearly have an even greater margin of safety! Thus, the multi-caliber Kraken, which comes with a pre-loaded .338 caliber barrel, looks stronger compared to its mono-caliber “sister”.
The cover of the shutter group is also noteworthy – to improve the sliding of the shutter in the receiver, it is specially processed. This difference, perhaps, is limited to the rest of the rifle is very similar.
The barrel of the Cadex CDX-MC Kraken – 338 gauge has a length of 26 ″ (69 cm), the pitch of the rifling is 1: 9.5 ″. This allows you to launch with it the most modern and long-range bullets weighing 285-300 grains, confidently “reaching” them at targets at ranges of more than 1,500 m.
At least the supersonic flight zone of such a bullet extends for 1.5 km, and if the shooter knows well features of its complex and used cartridge, then a distance of 2000 m will not be unattainable for him. Fortunately, the Picatinny rifle bar has a preliminary slope of 30 MOA – in combination, for example, with the modern Nightforce ATACR 5-25 × 56 F1 sight, this will provide the necessary margin of vertical corrections.
Additional trunks and a caliber change kit are also available for Kraken. In our area you can buy Kraken trunks in calibers .300 Win Mag (66 cm, 1:10 ″), .308 Win (61 cm, 1:11 ″), 6.5 mm Creedmoor (66 cm, 1: 8 ″) and 6.5×47 Lapua (66 cm, 1: 8 ″). The manufacturer also produces Kraken barrels in 6 mm calibres Creedmoor, .260 Remington, .300 Norma Mag and .338 Norma Mag. Special orders are also possible according to user specifications.
To change the .338 LM caliber to the Short Action caliber, it will also be necessary to replace the shutter body, insert into the magazine shaft and the magazine itself. And to perform the actual replacement of the barrel, Cadex offers to use a whole set of tools. They look nontrivial, but serve a good purpose – their application, as conceived by Cadex engineers, will minimize the displacement of the STP when re-installing the barrel on a rifle. Well, let’s figure out how it works.
The tool kit for the Cadex CDX-MC Kraken consists of three elements – a special insert into the receiver of the weapon and two key-levers. One of these keys is used to hold the rifle, and the second, dynamometric, to loosen and tighten the barrel in the receiver.
Unlike many other manufacturers, Cadex refused to fasten the trunks in the receiver by clamping them with a clamp or sleeve, as does, for example, Accuracy International. Cadex engineers rightly considered that the less they deviate from the traditional canons of building precision weapons, the better they will shoot.
And therefore, Kraken barrels are mounted in the receiver in the most traditional way: they are screwed into it by the thread made in the breech of the barrel – just like the vast majority of “single-caliber” rifles of a traditional design.
Cadex special tool, in fact, is necessary only to achieve a uniform barrel tightening force in the receiver. You can also do without it – if you have, say, a barrel vise or something like that. However, for those who would like to maximally maintain the STP when changing trunks, it is recommended to use this particular set.
It works like this. When replacing the barrel, the rifle can stand on the bipod. Take the shutter and install a special insert in its place in the receiver. In the front part, this insert has three “teeth” – protrusions, which should enter into reliable locking with grooves on the breech.
After that, a holding lever is put on the outer part of the insert, and a dynamometric lever on its inner part. We apply a force in the direction of the arrow with the inscription loosen (English – “loosen”) – and the barrel is straggled along the thread! We remove the levers, remove the insert – their function at this stage is completed.
It is important that the designers also provided protection against damage to the eyepiece of the optical sight, limiting the key travel with a special protrusion. However, the first time when replacing the barrel the optical sight is still recommended to be removed – away from sin …
The released barrel can be unscrewed from the receiver by hand. When installing a replaceable one, through special windows on the forend near the receiver, you should make sure that it is correctly seated on the thread, after which the barrel can be screwed fully.
This is also done by hand – only after the barrel is screwed to the end, insertion into the receiver and the two aforementioned levers again come to the rescue. Tightening the barrel is carried out with a force of 100 N • m – for this, a special pointer arrow and a mark of the necessary effort are provided on the dynamometer lever. Tighten until the arrow points to the mark. That’s it, it’s done – remove and remove the tools.
When switching to a different caliber standard, it will also be necessary to replace the shutter body. It is very easy to do this – the shutter is disassembled by hand, it is only enough to turn the drummer insert clockwise by an angle of about 30 °. To fix it in another body of the shutter you need to push the force of the mainspring and turn the assembly in the opposite direction. With a certain skill, this is a matter of a few seconds.
Finally, it may also be necessary to change the insert of the magazine shaft. To do this, remove the trigger guard from the chassis. It is fastened with a single screw, which can be loosened with a suitable hex key, and using the protrusion on the insert already familiar to us in the receiver instead. It’s not a matter of minutes before the old magazine shaft insert is removed, the new one is installed, and the trigger guard is again firmly fixed. That’s all – you can go to the shooting!
We got out to the shooting range, holding a Cadex CDX-MC Kraken rifle in .338 Lapua Mag caliber, .308 Win and 6.5 mm Creedmoor barrels, a tool kit, as well as interchangeable shutter body, magazine shaft insert and magazine for “ short “calibers.
The rifle with the help of a quick-detachable monoblock bracket Spuhr is equipped with a Nightforce ATACR 7-35 × 56 F1 riflescope, as well as Cadex branded bipods, which proved themselves to be excellent even for the most powerful calibers on past trips. Setting the rifle butt to the needs of the shooter and the features of the sight took no more than a few minutes. Shooting was conducted from the table, from the bipod and the back bag.
We shot the .338th barrel with the proprietary DTK Cadex, which makes a shot from a rifle comfortable even for a 14-year-old. Of course, you need to remember the protection of hearing and vision – the rumble of a shot and the dust flying from under the muzzle brake in this caliber are completely serious.
Nevertheless, shooting from Kraken with this powerful long-range cartridge leaves only positive emotions – the rifle is very comfortable, and a group of five holes on the target with a large margin fits into a corner minute. And this is factory ammunition!
The time has come to change the caliber, and the next .308 Win next in line. Insert – into the receiver, levers – into the insert, a little push, the .338 gauge barrel is released and freely unscrewed by hand. We change it to the .308th: screw it all the way, then tighten it with the insert and levers, looking at the dynamometer indicator. Done! Changing the shutter body and inserting the magazine shaft also does not take much time. You can shoot!
For added comfort, we did not switch to the .308th DTK caliber, but decided to use a proprietary semi-integrated sound moderator. All Cadex Kraken barrels are issued with a muzzle thread of the same standard – 3/4 ″ -20, so the muzzle nozzles are designed for maximum caliber. Both the DTK and the moderator can be used both with .338 Lapua Mag, and with .308 Win, and with 6.5 mm Creedmoor. And this is very good!
Shooting from Kraken in .308 caliber does not bring any surprises – the shot is predictable, very comfortable, the rifle behaves carefully and stably. An inexpensive Hornady cartridge with a 155-grain BTHP Match bullet gives excellent accuracy – 0.6–0.7 MOA in five shots. We decide to immediately conduct a test for the repeatability of the STP when removing and installing the barrel.
No sooner said than done; but only when unscrewing the .308th barrel, the moderator also unscrewed it … Thus, with the reverse procedure, we check the repeatability of the installation of two parts at once, and not just one. But for Kraken, it seems, this is not a problem – the shift of the STP during repeated shooting after tightening the barrel does not exceed 1 click of the sight drum! Looks like the Cadex engineers concept really works!
Almost simultaneously with our test on the Internet, the so-called Bottle Cap Challenge gained viral popularity – the participants of which, using a filigree kick from the head, screwed the screw cap off the bottle without damaging or overturning the bottle itself. Pampering, of course, but still I really want to try – can we do it with a shot from a distance of 100 m?
The first attempt demolishes the lid along with the neck – the shooter forgot to make a small extension to the right side of the lid. The second is already closer to the desired result, but the neck is still slightly damaged. But the third, and then the fourth attempt succeeds well – from a bullet hitting a tangent, the cap instantly flies from the bottle, while the bottle itself does not even start!
Satisfied, we continue our tests, and on-the-spot replace the .308 gauge with a 6.5 mm Creedmoor. The shutter and the store in this case do not need to be changed, we restrict ourselves only to reinstalling the moderator on a new barrel. Shooting with an affordable Hornady American Gunner cartridge equipped with a 140-grain BTHP bullet is very pleasing – firstly, a completely childish return, and secondly – knitted groups on targets!
But the 6.5 mm Creedmoor was created not so much for precision shooting as for positional shooting. At the 100-meter line of the SSK Kupol shooting range, several designs for training in PRS style are provided, and we decide to try them out – in particular, to shoot from a “hedgehog” -type installation.
In fact, the Cadex Kraken looks like a very promising rifle for such shooting. The main thing for success in PRS tournaments is to learn how to quickly occupy the most stable shooting position possible. And, just as importantly, to be able to see the results of your shot directly through the scope!
The large mass of Kraken play a very positive role here – thanks to this, the rifle is less sensitive to tremor of the shooter’s body and is much less shifted from the target under the influence of recoil than lighter complexes. And this means that with it it is quite possible to count on a greater number of points for the exercise.
So what happens – have we really found a truly versatile rifle capable of immediately closing all types of sports applications? Of course, this is not entirely true. As for competitions of the “classic rifle” type, it probably makes sense to prefer truly classic weapons in them – easier to hold in hands and otherwise balanced. Also, Kraken is unlikely to be an ideal rifle for hunting – in any case, far from all of its varieties.
But these are rather obvious conclusions that a thoughtful reader could have made without our participation. We tried to make sure in practice that a multi-caliber system can close not just one, but several niches in shooting sports. And she really does it very effectively!
Cadex CDX-MC Kraken can be a very successful weapon in tournaments in Long Range, PRS, police and military sniping, “groundhog”, etc. One rifle, one rifle scope, the same established tab, the same fulfilled trigger pull – but the ability to successfully play in different leagues!
And one more thing about the important: even after a few years, you don’t have to think about the re-issue problem. You simply order a new barrel for your rifle from Cadex (through a dealer), purchase it and install it yourself. Work – for five minutes, no more. This is another definite plus of modern multi-caliber systems.
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