These photos suck, but you'll get the point. Once again, the build specs:
- Manners EH2 with painted (Cerakote) GAP camo by Larsen Tactical
- Templar V1 (Hunter) action with "sheep cut" for weight reduction
- Bolt and raceways nitrided
- Controlled-round feed with three-position safety
- APA RTG bottom metal with Curtis 3-round flush fit magazine
- Bartlein #3 fluted, 10" twist, finished at 21"
- Trigger Tech Special with flat shoe tuned to 2.5 lbs.
- Pic rail on the forearm for bipod use
While I haven't shot it yet, here are my key takeaways from the experience SO FAR:
1) GAP's reputation appears to be well earned. The entire ordeal from start to finish was near flawless, and I really can't complain about anything. If you can spare the coin, I don't think you'll be sorry.
2) This build spec is exactly what I hoped it would be. I would do nothing different. Basically, it's the culmination of my 35 years in the whitetail woods and what I felt an ideal deer rifle would be for my style of hunting.
3) I obsessed about barrel contour, and I couldn't be happier with the Bartlein #3. To me, it's like a "light varmint." Fluted and finished to 21", it's the PERFECT combination of diameter. length, and material.
3) I should have done this custom thing a long time ago. However, I'm not sure I'd have known what I really wanted without all those factory-rifle experiences, so maybe I needed to get here slowly.
This gun will get either a VX-6HD (2-12x42) or a NF ATACR 4-16x50F1. I have the Leupold ready to go, and I WANT it to work, as it's cheaper and lighter, but we'll see how things go. It's going to have to dial consistently, or she gone. I'm going to begin with the 155 Scenar-L, Alpha brass, and either Varget or H4895 (whichever shoots better). If this combo shoots, I'll give the Scenar a try in the deer woods this fall.
The only thing I'm not 100% happy with is the bipod rail. The one that GAP installed appears to have a flat base. While the EH2 has a wide forearm, this rail is a poor match for the contour of the forearm, so I'll either bed it, or I'll change to a different rail. I'm sure it would be fine, but I just can't live with it only making contact near the center.