Rarely does a week go by without an email or Facebook post asking us for a barrel recommendation. The truth is, there are a ton of premium barrels that will put you on the winners board when they are installed by a skilled rifle builder and wielded by an expert marksman. Often, Bartlein, Krieger, Rock Creek and others shuffle for the lead in “most used” barrel of the Precision Rifle Series. Recently we have been seeing more and more Hawk Hill Custom barrels showing up on the firing line and in the winners circle. We have used Bartlein, Krieger and Lothar Walther barrels on various different rifles. We felt that it was high time that we gave Hawk Hill a chance.
My shooting partner had convinced me that it was a good idea for us to compete in the Mammoth Sniper Challenge. Running in the “Open” division would have been too easy. We would have stayed in a cabin and drove to each of the stages. Instead, we had to compete in the “Xtreme Tough-Man” division. In addition to carrying everything on our backs and sleeping in the woods, we were limited to using rifles chambered in .308. While I have a couple of .308 rifles in the inventory, they are not light weight systems. With an empty KRG X-Ray chassis sitting in the shop, it looked like a good opportunity.
After exchanging a couple of emails, Hawk Hill was nice enough to send an extra .30 caliber barrel blank to Southern Indiana Precision. We handed over a well-worn Remington 700 and had Isaac work his magic on it.
Hawk Hill Custom Barrels are stainless steel, 4 groove, single point cut rifled and hand lapped. They are available in a wide variety of calibers, contours and lengths.
We chose a #13 contour, 1:11 twist. This is similar to the Remington Sendero/Varmint contour that you find on a 700P or 5R. I prefer this contour on rifles that need to be precise, but will also see a lot of time in my hands. We asked Isaac at SIP to cut and thread it at 24″. With the AAC Single Chamber Brake attached, this would leave us with a manageable length and good velocity.
A couple of weeks passed and Isaac handed us the barreled action. We dropped it into the KRG X-Ray and headed to the range. After sighting in our scope, we punched some pretty impressive groups.
We spent some time doing our load workup and found a recipe that the barrel really seemed to like. I was confident that the rifle would perform better than my ability at Mammoth. After being bashed up and beaten around, it continued to perform well. When the stages were done and the final ruck to the finish line completed, my partner and I managed a 12th place finish among the 36 teams in our division.
With just over 200 rounds through the barrel, I swapped out triggers for a new Timney Calvin Elite (review coming soon). With the same load that I took to Mammoth, I was hammering single hole, five shot groups.
Overall the Hawk Hill Custom Barrel holds up to its reputation as a reliable, consistent performer. I am sure this will not be the last Hawk Hill Barrel that we use.
If you decide to order a Hawk Hill Custom Barrel for your precision rifle, please tell them we sent you!