My first rifle was a .22LR bolt action that I received for some teenage birthday long ago. Toting that rifle around the hardwood forests of the Midwest I learned a lot about hunting. Without much money, that old .22 would keep me entertained for many summers and falls. It even put food on the table in the form of fox squirrels, something I’m not sure I’d eat today. If precision .22LR rifles existed at the time, I wasn’t aware of them and I couldn’t afford them anyway.
Fast forward to today and precision .22LR rifles are increasing in popularity, and precision .22LR matches are growing rapidly. Beyond benchrest contests, these competitions are very much like long-range Precision Rifle Series matches at shorter distances. As with any type of competition, with popularity comes research and innovation. The .22LR rifles used in these competitions don’t resemble my old .22LR at all.
Vudoo Gun Works in St. George, Utah makes precision .22LR rifles to serve the .22LR competition market. When this assignment initially came up I’ll have to admit I had never heard of them, but I don’t usually run in .22LR competition circles. What I quickly learned is that Mike Bush at Vudoo Gun Works is obsessed with .22LR rifles and accuracy. Vudoo Gun Works produces extremely accurate barreled .22LR actions and rifles in several configurations. More on accuracy in a minute. The rifle sent to me for review was their new Three 60 barreled action mounted to a Grayboe Ridgeback stock. If you are building a rifle with them you can choose from many options for various features such as the stock, and left-handed versions are available. The core of this rifle is the Three 60 action – a three lug, 60-degree throw barreled action. It is a true-to-scale full-sized action that looks and feels like a short-action M700. In fact, the Three 60 action will fit into any M700 clone stock or chassis, and you can use any M700 trigger you prefer.
The bolt operates smoothly and until the gun goes off you can’t tell you aren’t behind a centerfire rifle. The bottom metal is full-sized, as is their V-2210 magazine which has an AICS pattern. Everything about the Three 60 says “full sized rifle.” The test rifle they sent me had a Timney Elite Hunter trigger, which impressed everybody who tried it. One unique feature of the Vudoo Three 60 is the bolt is designed to be safe to dry fire. This is incredibly useful for developing good habits and keeping skills sharp without having to run to the range. Part of the Three 60’s accuracy comes from the control-round-feed protocol. The bolt captures the round and controls it until ejection. The bolt and the magazine work together to allow the bullet to be untouched as the cartridge travels from the magazine into the chamber. This way no nicks or dings can be created on the bullet to decrease accuracy.
Before we get to results, let me further my disclaimers above by reiterating I am not a .22LR benchrest shooter. I’m not a benchrest shooter of any kind. I’ve been to exactly one long-range shooting school and competed in one PRS style match. I’m a 3-gun guy, so I am certain that better shooters can get better results than me. That said, with match ammunition, this rifle printed two 50 yard five-shot groups of just over ¼ inch. At 100 yards the best I could do was .73 inches. Non-match ammunition did not fare as well, but still managed to group five shots under ½ inch at 50 yards. Per Vudoo, the Three 60 chamber is cut for Lapua ammunition, and it certainly showed this in testing.
For the test, I ran an OSS Rad .22LR suppressor on the rifle (full review later). For glass, I used the Zero Compromise Optics Z527. One could say this scope was overkill for the application, but clearly optics would not be holding back accuracy in this experiment. I also used an Atlas CAL bipod because why not go all out given the rest of this set up? At the range, the rifle got plenty of looks – a big rifle with a big scope making so little noise.
The Zero Compromise Optics ZC527 has been reviewed previously here, but let me give you the nickel tour. Jeff Huber started the company after oh, about two decades at Nightforce. Having never looked through a Zero Compromise Optics scope before this project, I can say I was taken back. It is just a work of art. The optical clarity is outstanding and the features are well thought out and executed. I liked everything about this scope.
The ZC527 is a first focal plane variable power scope ranging from 5x to 27x. The reticle in the test is their MPCT1, and the units are MILs the same as the turret adjustments. The turrets are large, with auditory and tactile clicks. The angled knurling on the turrets makes adjustments simple and easy, with or without gloves. Adjusting elevation without coming off the glass is a breeze. Speaking of elevation, the 36mm – yes 36, not 35 – main tube allows for a full 35 MIL upward adjustment from zero. And yes, there are companies that make 36mm rings, including Zero Compromise. There is a rotation indicator that pops up after one rotation, and again a little higher after the second rotation. The scope has two colors of illumination – red or green – and the brightness adjustment is on the outside of the left-hand turret. Side focus is also on the left-hand turret, but the design is so good you can easily adjust either without moving the other. Did I mention I really love this scope?
As noted above, this rifle used a Grayboe Ridgeback stock. This composite stock has 12 MLOK slots for mounting a bipod, rangefinders, or whatever. It has an integrated bubble level and a big flat forearm for bag riding. The cheekpiece is adjustable without tools and the length of pull is adjustable as well. There is a vertical grip with a thumb shelf for those who shoot that way. The hook on the lower portion of the stock provides good purchase for the non-trigger hand. Glass bedding is not required. I liked this stock quite a bit, particularly the adjustable cheekpiece.
What did Vudoo Gun Works get right with this rifle? Well, quite a bit. This gun has amazing accuracy with Lapua match ammunition, and I would expect it to show up on top of the podium in competitions just as previous Vudoo rifles have been doing. The rifle also has very acceptable accuracy for sage rat-type ammunition (CCI subs or supers). The Three 60 would be a great trainer rifle for anyone running a 60 degree bolt on their M700 style centerfire rifle, because it just seems like a M700 until the shot breaks. This is a made-to-order, high-quality, super-engineered, precision instrument. If you want one just go to their website to start the process. Expect about 14-16 weeks before delivery as of the time of this writing.
Really the only thing one can criticize is the price, and believe me, people at the range were very willing to do so. This is an expensive gun, but what’s the saying in drag racing when people say how much does it cost? How fast do you want to go? The price point will keep many people away, but for what it is – a dead-nuts-accurate-competition-ready .22LR rifle – many others will view the cost as the price of admission to speed down the .22LR drag way. As the great Ricky Bobby said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
Bottom line – for precision .22lr competition or an M700 trainer this is a great gun out of the box.
Prices as shown:
Zero Compromise Optics Z527 riflescope – $3800