I Followed RKB around the NRA annual convention held at the Phoenix Convention Center like a junior suck-up monk following the Dali Lama.
The highlight of the convention for the SOF crew was the invite by Kelly McMillan to fire his latest string of tactical rifles at the range facilities built for Maricopa County’s Sheriff Office.
Robert K. Brown, his brother Alan, Steve Schreiner and I joined other members of the media. On the way to the range, Kelly gave a detailed history of his various operating companies that use his stock production and modern ultra accurate production technologies in McMillan’s firearms offered to the military, police, and shooting public.
The McMillan Group operating companies now include McMillan Fiberglass Stocks; McMillan Machine Company, a contract manufacturer of machined parts for aerospace, firearms, and other applications where precision tolerances are required; McMillan Firearms Manufacturing; McMillan Tactical Products; and McMillan Hunting Products.
We arrived at the range and the temperature was a balmy 94 degrees F in the shade (of which there was very little), a lip-chapping 14 percent humidity and no wind (used the Kestrel® 4500NV Pocket Weather Tracker [www.nkhome.com] to take the readings).
Now a word of caution to the faint-hearted, his was no “wussy” bench-rest range. This was down on your belly, in your best prone position, load, lock, and blast away. We also had the option to fire standing (off-handed and supported), sitting, and kneeling. For the faint-of-heart, Kelly did provide mats, however, the hard as woodpecker lips (WPL) types like RKB got down in the dirt (tiny rocks and sand actually) and popped caps. Each person took a turn on each rifle and was able to fire as many rounds as he wanted.
Most fired ten to twenty, except on the TAC 50, where some whimped out; but some WPL-types, (yours truly) burned through twenty rounds of 50 BMG (Lake City) ammo. The firing orders were set. The lineup consisted of six rifles, the first three from the new Custom Collection of hunting rifles.
1. Legacy in .270 Win, with a 24” barrel (BBL) and a 1x10 right-hand twist and topped with a Leupold 3.5x10x40 scope. This rifle was easy to handle and manipulate. The action was smooth and positive; the trigger broke cleanly with no creep. I shot two five-shot groups and the groups were a little more than 1.5” – not pretty but that was the first shooting with a hunting rifle since last November. Remember, all these rifles were fired prone, off a sandbag
– no benchrest comforts here – just the same as when you are hunting, shoot off your pack, bergstok, or “what-the-hell-ever” you have to rest your rifle on! I was impressed with the ergonomics, obvious ruggedness, and overall performance; I am sure it would be a sub-MOA shooter off the “wussy” benchrest.
2. Prodigy in 7.62x51 (.308 Win), with a 22” BBL with a 1x12 right-hand twist and topped with a Leupold 3.5x10x40 scope. This rifle felt exactly like the .270 Win Legacy and looked the same, it operated the same and the only difference was a bit less recoil. Again ten rounds in two five-shot groups, fired prone off a sandbag, and again two (approximately) 1.5” groups plus a flyer. My overall impression was the same as the .270 Win Legacy– that would be a good overall hunting rifle for most all game less than 700 pounds. Ballistic tables will show that there isn’t a huge difference between the .270 Win, .308 Win, and the venerable .30-06 (from which the first two rounds were derived). You will find people that claim to have killed Godzilla with the .308 Win, which is irrelevant. The reason I like the .308 Win is that if you happen to be in a pinch there will still be plenty of 7.62x51 surplus military ammo around to practice with and in a pinch have a stash of a thousand rounds or so, for barter purposes of course!
3. Tactical Hunter in 7mm Remington Magnum, with a 24” fluted barrel with a 1x10 right-hand twist and topped with a Swarovski 4x16x50 scope and factory bipod. This was another smooth performer, same as the previous two Custom Collection rifles. However,….this is the legendary “slap you in the cheek” 7mm Remington Magnum. I don’t care what you say, this round has a mean report and recoil, but with performance that has earned the love and respect of tens of thousands of hunters, but not me. I know the ballistics, it shoots fast, flat, and hits with a ton of energy, I just can’t get over the snarl (report). I did not shoot this rifle as well as the .270 Win and the .308 Win; probably due to my less than enthusiastic love of the 7mm Remington Magnum. (I, like Kelly’s dad, prefer the .300 Win Mag). My impression of the rifle was the same as the previous two Custom Collection rifles. I would have
liked to try this rifle with the same compensator McMillan uses on their TAC-.338. However, if you’re lover of the 7mm Remington Magnum, this is the rifle to make the perfect match made in Arizona (some call it heaven too).
The next three rifles were from the McMillan TAC- Series.
1. TAC .308A McMillan Tactical Rifle – featured a 20” heavy, matchgrade, free float barrel (with screw-on end cap thread protector), a Leupold 8.5x25x56 scope, the adjustable A3-5 stock in olive with factory bipod. Kelly designed this rifle for police/military use in the urban tactical environment. This rifle was designed to be fired prone, the butt hook and near vertical pistol grip working together to pull the rifle deep into my shoulder for a very firm hold. The bipod was exactly the correct height and easily adjustable for some of us more “portly” shooters. Ergonomics were well thought out and implemented. I fired ten rounds and again printed 1.5 MOA with a flyer (same story – I was finally getting hot and I don’t mean my shooting). This is a rifle any police department or sniper team would be well served to employ.
2. TAC-.338A Lapua (with detachable box magazine) in a magnum action. The TAC-338A Lapua is designed for long-range tactical scenarios. It has a heavy, match-grade 27” barrel, topped with a Leupold 8.5x25x56 scope. The
TAC-.338 includes a muzzle brake and does that baby work miracles! The McMillan A-5 tactical stock features
a spacer system, adjustable integral cheekpiece, and flush mount swivel cups. The new folding stock conversion is available as an option. Other options include a suppressor, bipod and night vision rail system. A thread cap is provided that protects threads when a suppressor or brake is not in use. When I got to this rifle I was expecting
something that had recoil and report that was a cross between the 7mm Remington Magnum and a .375 Holland and Holland and was I ever surprised and impressed. This rifle is a joy to shoot. It has recoil that is about the same as a stock .30-06 pushing a heavy bullet. That is where the comparison ends. The first five shots were less than 1.25 MOA–probably dumb luck, because I was not particularly trying to pop that type of group. The action was extremely smooth and coupled with the far less than I expected in recoil, I decided to shoot the next five rounds as quickly as I could manage. I asked the range safety officer to time me for the five shots. After 18 seconds, and five rounds, I had printed a group of 2.5 MOA, which impressed me and, more importantly, the range safety officer (former USMC recon sniper). With that performance, I decided to let that one stand and then moved on to the 800-pound gorilla.
3. TAC-50, The McMillan TAC-.50 caliber has been issued to armed forces around the world for ultra long range situations, both anti-personnel and anti-materiel. It is chambered in .50 BMG with a match-grade 29” barrel with muzzle brake and topped with a Leupold 8.5x25x56 scope. The McMillan Take Down .50 Caliber stock is popular for its space-saving compactness and features a spacer system and adjustable saddle-type cheekpiece. McMillan has documented evidence that a sniper using this model rifle set a world record successful tactical shot at nearly 1.5 miles. We did not shoot that distance but we did knock the hell out of the backstop at 100 meters.
I had never shot a .50 BMG rifle before, only the M-2 “Ma Deuce” for familiarization during basic combat training at Fort Polk in 1970, and that was impressive. Now enter Mr. “I can shoot any gun and be cool.” I hunkered down with that beauty and cuddled her nice and close, took aim and squeezed the trigger and “Crap! The safety is on.” That was the start of my humble pie eating contest with myself. I told the assembled laughing-ass on-lookers to be quiet as I had to concentrate. So, back I go to cuddling the Rubenesque beauty. This time I have a good hold, target lined up and started the launch sequence. Then,……KA-DAMN-BOOOM! About that time I realized my habit of shooting with my mouth slightly open to help mitigate the muzzle blast was not the best practice with the TAC-50, as nearly immediately my mouth filled with dust, #9-size pebbles and sand. My immediate reaction—gagging and spitting out the muzzle blast-driven debris—started the laughing onlookers to cackle again – humble pie eating sucks! In an attempt to redeem myself, I promptly fired another 19 rounds until they all just gave up and mumbled something about it being too damn hot to stand there and watch Mr. “I can shoot any gun and be cool.”
I am heartened that Americans can still make some of the finest shooting iron on the planet.
1638 w. Knudsen Drive, Suite 101
Phoenix, AZ 85027
14000 NW Greenbrier Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006-5790
Nielsen Kellerman Kestrel
21 Creek Circle
Boothwyn, PA 19061
Remington Arms Company, Inc.
PO Box 700
Madison, NC 27025-0700
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