Dust poofed from underfoot with each careful step, whipped away by the wind that hurried Canada-ward in an attempt to leave the torrid prairie in its wake. Mirage danced and waved its arms, pointing and gesturing, mocking our efforts to stalk within range of a good pronghorn. Bent low behind our collapsible cow decoy we took another step, the dust poofed, the wind raced, and the mirage danced.
Days earlier I had met my new rifle at the NRA’s shooting facility outside of Raton, New Mexico. It was custom made to my specifications, featuring a 24-inch carbon-wrapped Proof Research barrel chambered in 6.5 PRC, left-hand Titanium action, and ClymR carbon-fiber stock colored Forest Tan. Gunwerks had worked their magic on the rifle, installing a Leupold VX6HD 3-18X44 scope, performing accuracy testing, collecting ballistic data, zeroing the rifle, and stowing the rifle, a sling, scope cover, muzzle brake and thread protector, and some ammo in a nice hard case. It was an impressive package.
The Gunwerks slogan is “1000 yards out of the box”, meaning a savvy shooter should be able to take a new rifle out of the case, chamber a round, dial for any distance out to 1000 yards, and ring steel. That’s an extraordinary claim, and one I was supremely interested in putting to the test. Here’s what happened:
Dusk was fast approaching as I stretched prone behind my new rifle and sent a group downrange at 100 yards to check my zero. Per my request, the rifle had been zeroed at 200 yards, and my ballistic app told me I should impact 1.25 inches high at 100 yards. I also wanted to group .75 inches left, to pre-compensate for spindrift at ranges beyond 600 yards.
My first group impacted just under a minute right of perfect. I came three clicks left and put a bullet spot on. Out of curiosity, I performed a quick repeatability test on the scope, running the dial 30 minutes up, down, right, and then left, before returning it to zero and taking another shot. It impacted in the same hole, confirming my confidence in the Leupold scope.
Now it was time to test the 1000 yards out of the box mantra. But the light was fading fast, and my 10-year-old son and favorite hunting buddy Josiah was champing at the bit for a chance to shoot my new rifle. A sizeable steel plate 500 yards distant beckoned, and I told Josiah he could take a shot at it. He’s a very good shot for a youngster, and the Gunwerks crew and I watched with interest as he dialed the turret and settled in for the shot. Seconds later the “ding” of a solid hit rang out. I wasn’t surprised.
“Can I shoot the Sasquatch?”
This time I hesitated; the Sasquatch target was 980 yards distant, and a tough, skinny target. I wanted to build Josiah’s confidence, not have him to become discouraged by missing. But I couldn’t help myself – what if he hit it? I confirmed, and he cranked the turret. This time the spectators watched through their spotting scopes with even more interest. Seconds ticked by, the shot rang out, and cheering erupted just before the ding of a distant impact reached our ears. Two shots, taken by a 10-year-old in failing light at distant targets had just confirmed: if you’re a good shot, 1000 yards out of the box is very possible with a Gunwerks rifle.
WHY THE CLYMR?
There’s been a strong movement in the world of hunting toward lightweight, mountain-worthy rifles. Manufacturers have even started calling new lightweight editions “Mountain”, or “Sheep” rifles. With typical flair, Gunwerks gave their mountain rifle a moniker evocative of hunting exotic high-country destinations – the ClymR. Being passionate about hunting hardcore backcountry places, the model immediately captured my attention.
Now, lest you’re already beleaguering the well-known fact that a Gunwerks rifle will cost you as much as a used car, suspend judgment until you learn more. Consider this; many hunters readily invest significant money in a four-wheeler or side-by-side that will serve them well for maybe a decade or so, transporting them to and from their hunting area. Why, then, is it so hard to imagine spending similar funds on a rifle that will last until your grandkids are old enough to hunt, and is the tool that forms the ultimate, deciding connection with your game, determining whether or not you return home with meat for the freezer and antlers for the wall? I can attest from personal experience that a rifle of this quality will be more accurate, more forgiving, and more capable than your average nice hunting rifle. Here’s why:
Accuracy matters, especially in today’s arena of hunters who like to reach out with their hunting rifles. Gunwerks uses Proof Research barrels, which are well known for superb accuracy. In a world where sub-moa rifles (average under one-inch groups at 100 yards) are the standard in excellence, expect sub-half-moa accuracy from a Gunwerks rifle. Check out my accuracy test results below.
Innovation also matters. Gunwerks utilizes an in-house-built modified Remington 700-type action that they’ve spruced up considerably, and the real magic happens in their rifle stocks, also built in-house. The stock dimensions are specifically engineered to reduce muzzle rise, as well as felt recoil (check out details on their website). That means that the rifle will track better through recoil, enabling you to keep your target or game animal in your scope and spot your hit. Last fall I shot one pronghorn and two mule deer with my new ClymR, and I watched the bullet hit and the animal drop through my scope in every case. Additionally, stock ergonomics are engineered to produce a comfortable, super stable rifle with well thought out features. I have an ongoing love affair with a multitude of different rifles, but I can safely state that my ClymR is the most stable, consistent rifle I own.
If you’re investing several years’ worth of savings on a hunting rifle you should be able to customize it to perfection. Hop on Gunwerks.com and check out their Custom Gun Builder. There, you are able to design and customize your rifle to your heart’s content. You can choose a right or left-hand action in stainless steel or titanium, standard, fluted, or carbon-wrapped barrel, magazine and floorplate options, six different cerakote colors for your metal parts, and 11 stock color options on fiberglass or carbon fiber stock. If you want to customize your rifle beyond what’s available online, you can call a Gunwerks rep and arrange that with him.
Specs on a ClymR are kind of hard to arrive at since the rifles are so customizable. That being the case, I’ll simply give the specs on my personal rifle, as well as accuracy test results.
Barrel: 24-inch Proof Research Carbon-Fiber Wrapped.
Threaded: Yes, With Protector.
Muzzle Break: Titanium Directional.
Action: Left-Hand Titanium.
Stock: Hand-Laid Carbon Fiber, Forest Tan color.
Trigger: Trigger Tech.
Available Chamberings: .22 Creedmoor, .22-250, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, 6.5-284 Norma, 7 LRM, 7 SAUM, 7mm Rem Mag, 28 Nosler, 30 Nosler, 300 PRC, 300 Win Mag.
Weight: Seven Pounds With Scope And Mounts installed.
The Gunwerks ClymR is available in a wide variety of configurations, rendering it customizable to suit your needs. Titanium action and muzzle break, carbon fiber wrapped barrel, carbon-fiber stock, cerakote color and stock color, and more are chosen by you. Price for the rifle will range from $5,750 up to $7,500 – but that doesn’t include scope or rings; in short, if you order just the rifle it hasn’t been set up for “1000 Yards Out Of The Box”. Gunwerks encourages their buyers to add a scope, mounts, ballistic testing and tuning, and the rest of the bells and whistles that come with their long-range package. That can bring your total up substantially depending on what scope you opt to add. It’s a lot of money to be sure, but once assembled and tested the package will stand up to Gunwerks’ claim: it’ll shoot 1000 yards out of the box. Go to Gunwerks.com and check out their Custom Gun Builder to see how it works.
ACCURACY TEST RESULTS
Note: Testing was performed from the prone position at 100 yards, with a Shooting Chrony chronograph set 12 feet in front of the muzzle. Three, 3-shot groups were fired with each ammunition, the results added together and averaged. Conditions were challenging with a gusting 8 – 12 mph wind from 10 o’clock. Group size would improve under ideal conditions. I’m confident in opining that this rifle crowds the edges of being a 1/4 moa gun.
|Manufacture||Bullet||Velocity (FPS)||Accuracy (Inches)||ES||SD|
|Hornady Match||147 Gr. ELD-M||2921||0.62||51||18|
|Hornady Precision Hunter||143 Gr. ELD-X||3010||0.45||36||10|
|Gunwerks||147 Gr. ELD-M||2954||0.42||36||11|
PROS AND CONS
In keeping with ethical journalism, I make every attempt to report the ill with the good. It keeps me honest and maintains the trust of my readers. But, try as I might, I can’t find anything wrong with this rifle, unless you consider the price tag. The cost is significant. But in rifles, just like everything else, ultimately you get what you pay for. If you’re willing to pay eight or ten grand on an ATV, don’t bellyache about the price of a Gunwerks rifle. Personally, I’d sooner have a Gunwerks rifle, and use the quads God gave me to access the backcountry.
THE END OF THE STORY
You didn’t think I’d leave you permanently hanging, did you? As the day wore on we stalked and maneuvered across the prairie, working the wind, fighting the mirage, playing chess with the pronghorn. Eventually, we stalked within 486 yards and I snuggled into a prone position behind my ClymR. My friend gave me a wind call, and I squeezed the trigger. A millisecond later I watched through the scope as the bullet took the antelope right on the point of the shoulder and ranged over 20 inches toward the opposite flank. It was a perfect hit on a small, extended-range target in challenging conditions. Cup-a-tea for the ClymR.