Harvest Time!

Ready for anything, whether it be long-range hunting or F-Class…

Ready for anything, whether it be long-range hunting or F-Class competition, this Harvester Tactical by Hill Country Rifles has every bit of the right stuff

Hill Country Rifles of New Braunfels, TX is a remarkable source for custom and semi-production rifles. I say that because the guy who runs the place, Matt Bettersworth, offers so many source and build options—along with accurizing and general gunsmithing—that it sets his operation apart from most other firms offering similar products and services.

Take accurizing for example. HCR buys new Remington 700s, accurizes them, then sells them as their Harvester series—with an MOA accuracy guarantee using factory ammunition. Their basic accurizing procedures consist of installing threaded aluminum pillars and glass-bedding the entire receiver and bottom metal unit. The locking lugs are lapped for full contact with their abutments if factory headspace allows, the muzzle is re-crowned, the Remington X-Mark Pro trigger is tuned if necessary for a crisp release, and the scope rings are lapped and trued. The gun is then fired in a 100-yard test tunnel with a variety of factory loads until one is found that best meets the MOA guarantee, though Matt says the average is closer to ½ MOA. The qualifying load and target are furnished with the gun. Matt tells me the three guys who do the accurizing there at HCR also do the shooting, and collectively they’ve pillared, glass-bedded and otherwise tuned more than 20,000 rifles!

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The Remington X-mark Pro trigger is tuned as part of HCR’s accurizing procedure

ROOTS OF THE HARVEST

The two guns normally used for their Harvester series are the Winchester Model 70 Super Grade and Remington’s 700 SPS stainless, which after accurizing, they offer at $1,695 and $1,995, respectively. If you send your rifle in, it’ll cost you $495, and you’ll get it back in 8 to 12 weeks depending on the time of year. As this was written, HCR had about 20 completed rifles in inventory, and another 10 that were in production. There were also about a dozen custom guns in various stages of completion.

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The Badger bottom metal unit with the Accuracy International magazine furnished with the test gun are extra cost options

Now thus far what I’ve described isn’t that much different from the accurizing services offered by a lot of other shops. Where HCR departs from the rest is in the rifles they build to order. While most custom shops use a specific make of action, barrel, stock and trigger to build their rifles—components which can be of their own manufacture or outsourced—HCR offers several options in each category, and they all qualify as among the very best available.

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