American Rifle Company Nucleus: Time well spent!

Mgordon

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 29, 2007
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#1
Shooters,

This is Mark from Short Action Customs. I have not been on much just because we have been extremely busy, we moved into a new building and life is busy in general. I wanted to post up about the American Rifle Company "Nucleus" action. We have had one in our shop for about a month now and I wanted to share some detailed pictures and thoughts on it so far. Instead of repeating what is already available, I will post a link to American Rifle Company's website with the information for the Nucleus and I will just give my thoughts on what I like and dont like.

**** UPDATE****

With this prototype action, I took full liberty to do whatever I wanted to with this Nucleus knowing that it will not be in the hands of the public. I did sweep back the bolt handle and American Rifle Company does not warranty the action if that service is done. Since this is not a customers rifle, just a prototype for testing, I modified it.

Yes I like the handle being swept back. I have always shot Rem 700's, Defiance Deviants and PTG bolts with swept back handles, so it is my preference. The biggest change that I felt made the bolt manipulation feel better was the Area 419 bolt knob. I have also run the American Precision Arms bolt knob and it felt great too.


American Rifle Company Nucleus Action

Pro's.
-Controlled round feed works great, have not had one failure to load, extract or eject
-The bolt lift is super smooth, dual cocking cams works great
-Heavier firing pin for more consistent ignition
-Bomb proof bolt stop
-Removable bolt heads for multi-caliber applications
-Salt Bath Nitride finish is very smooth and the bolt feels like it is on roller bearings
-Rifle has been super accurate, a testament to the ignition system and execution of threads, lugs and action face
-A lot of value for $1000

Con's.
-Shipping date is still not determined
-A lot of moving parts in the bolt
-Like any mechanical eject action, the bolt needs to be run with a certain amount of velocity for proper ejection
-Another action wrench which is not even manufactured yet will be required for conventional barrel changes
-Bolt knob is still undetermined, current knob is not for everyone

Overall, I have really enjoyed the action. The one in our shop is just a prototype. We had to relieve a little material on the back of the bolt for clearance with the action. I believe the ejection port needs to be lengthened to the rear to aid in getting the brass out of the ejection port and the bolt knob that was on it from SHOT show was horrible at best. I ended up taking an Area 419 bolt knob, bored out the 5/16 x 24 threads and drilled and tapped the knob to work with the Nucleus action. I also heated up and swept back the bolt handle. After doing this, the action felt better to me. The bolt ran very smoothly and your hand has so much clearance with the optic.

So what are the big differences with the Mausingfield and the Nucleus and why is the Mausingfield $600 more than the Nucleus?

Answer: The Mausingfield has more complex geometry with the integral lug, there is more raw material required to build it. The extractor on the Mausingfield is larger and has more going on with it than the Nucleus. The DLC Coating is a lot more expensive than Salt Bath Nitriding. Salt Bath Nitriding is not currently available on the Mausingfield due to the current material and heat treat specifications.

So which is the better action?

Answer: It depends on which features are more important to you the shooter. Do you insist on an integral recoil lug? Do you insist on a conventional, large claw, Mauser style extractor? The Nucleus is going to be hard to beat due to the cost, features of the 3 lug/72 degree bolt lift, dual cocking cams, and Salt Bath Nitride finish. They are both great actions and I'm currently shooting 2 Mausingfields. One is a 6mm Creedmoor and the other is a 6.5 PRC / 223 Switch barrel and I really like them. I have swept back the handles on both of them and am running different bolt knobs.

Let me know if you have any questions or want more specific information. I tried to keep this short and sweet.

Mark Gordon
CEO/Owner
Short Action Customs
 

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Nov 24, 2013
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Dallas
#4
Interesting info and feedback! As it happens, I jumped on the Nucleus pre-order, and ended up jumping on a group/discount buy on a Mausingfield barreled action so I ended up sort of inadvertently jumping on the ARC bandwagon in a relatively short period of time. Regarding the suggested changes that you have for the Nucleus, I would think (well, hope) that that's (at least part of) the reason that ARC sent prototype actions out to some of the more respected 'smiths in the market segment... to gather this sort of feedback for consideration in regard to the final configuration of the product.

Out of curiosity, is SAC planning on offering Nucleus prefit barrels?
 

Mgordon

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 29, 2007
1,748
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Wellington, Ohio
www.shortactioncustoms.com
#5
Interesting info and feedback! As it happens, I jumped on the Nucleus pre-order, and ended up jumping on a group/discount buy on a Mausingfield barreled action so I ended up sort of inadvertently jumping on the ARC bandwagon in a relatively short period of time. Regarding the suggested changes that you have for the Nucleus, I would think (well, hope) that that's (at least part of) the reason that ARC sent prototype actions out to some of the more respected 'smiths in the market segment... to gather this sort of feedback for consideration in regard to the final configuration of the product.

Out of curiosity, is SAC planning on offering Nucleus prefit barrels?
I will say that Ted at American Rifle Company is very receptive to constructive criticism and is currently implementing some changes on both platforms. He does a good job of staying on his toes and he is dedicated to making the best product he can.

We will be offering barrels for both platforms. I'm waiting to get some of the Barloc's in my hands to see if that is the direction I want to go. I think that system has the most potential for solving the quick change barrel problem.

Mark
 

steve123

Lt. Colonel
Mar 16, 2008
7,726
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Flagstaff, AZ
#8
I had the bolt handle swept back on my last go-rifle, I thought it faster and mitigated binding better than a straight bolt handle.

I suppose if a guy had the handle swept back on a Mausingfield or Nucleus that doing so would void the warranty, right???

How does the cocking effort feel on the Nucleus compare to the Mausingfield?
 
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NateVA

Basement Dweller
Feb 10, 2017
847
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#11
I had the bolt handle swept back on my last go-rifle, I thought it faster and mitigated binding better than a straight bolt handle.

I suppose if a guy had the handle swept back on a Mausingfield or Nucleus that doing so would void the warranty, right???

How does the cocking effort feel on the Nucleus compare to the Mausingfield?
I'll echo these questions with one additional question. If it doesn't void the warranty, will you be offering a service to sweep the bolt handle back on Nucleus actions with builds you do?
 
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NateVA

Basement Dweller
Feb 10, 2017
847
220
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#13
To update everyone, I got curious about the warranty question and gave Ted a call about it. In short, he said the main two issues would be that it would weaken the temper at the root of the handle if it was heated up enough to be swept back. That could cause safety concerns because in the event of a catastrophic failure, the bolt handle root and its interface with the action is the last line of defense before the bolt goes back into your face.

Also a relatively minor thing would be that it would fuck up the finish on the bolt handle and it would need to be Cerakoted afterwards. I made him aware of this thread and he said he's going to think about it a bit more and post his response here. Either way, I'm extremely excited for my Nucleus to eventually ship.
 
Nov 22, 2010
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#14
Thank you for the review. But just to confirm with the bolt knob con, doesn’t the nucleus have the ability to swap out bolt knobs with aftermarket knobs? I thought it was just a threaded bolt handle. If that’s the case, that is just a user preference thing.
 
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Oct 6, 2010
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#16
Thank you for the review. But just to confirm with the bolt knob con, doesn’t the nucleus have the ability to swap out bolt knobs with aftermarket knobs? I thought it was just a threaded bolt handle. If that’s the case, that is just a user preference thing.
There are female threads on the bolt. With male threads recessed into the knob, just as SAC described they made "custom." There is at least one aftermarket knob offering, but no where near the amount of say the typical R700 Badger and similar types.
 

Mgordon

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 29, 2007
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#17
I had the bolt handle swept back on my last go-rifle, I thought it faster and mitigated binding better than a straight bolt handle.

I suppose if a guy had the handle swept back on a Mausingfield or Nucleus that doing so would void the warranty, right???

How does the cocking effort feel on the Nucleus compare to the Mausingfield?

The cocking on the Nucleus actually feels a little lighter than the Mausingfied. I was hoping to rig up a fixture that would allow me to lift handles and measure the amount of force required to do so, just have not had time to make it happen.

For the bolt handle, I will update the original post, one thing I forgot to mention is that with this prototype I took full liberty to do whatever I wanted to it to make it feel better in my hands. You are correct, ARC will not be warranting handles that have been swept back just because there is no current service being offered which controlled. For my own stuff in my shop, I feel fine, but I'm not sure I will be able to offer it as a service until we can prove its integrity and that it will not alter the function or safety of the action.

Mark
 

Mgordon

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 29, 2007
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#18
Nice wright up and nice pictures. How did the rifle shoot for you? What caliber did you try it in?
I'm shooting it in a 6x47 Lapua right now. Shooting the 115 DTAC's at 3030-3040 FPS. It has been hammering! I took it to a local match this last weekend and placed 6th with it. Have not shot a match in a while or really practiced. The rifle performed perfectly!

Mark
 

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Mgordon

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 29, 2007
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#19
To update everyone, I got curious about the warranty question and gave Ted a call about it. In short, he said the main two issues would be that it would weaken the temper at the root of the handle if it was heated up enough to be swept back. That could cause safety concerns because in the event of a catastrophic failure, the bolt handle root and its interface with the action is the last line of defense before the bolt goes back into your face.

Also a relatively minor thing would be that it would fuck up the finish on the bolt handle and it would need to be Cerakoted afterwards. I made him aware of this thread and he said he's going to think about it a bit more and post his response here. Either way, I'm extremely excited for my Nucleus to eventually ship.
I would be curious to see if a swept back handle which was swept back by heating up the area to be bent would fail in testing. That is up to Ted to decide. I'm sure it would be pointless unless the process of heating back and sweeping was done in a controlled fashion.

For the finish, most actions get Cerakote any way, the bolt body can be left in the Salt Bath Nitride finish while just Cerakoting the bolt handle. Probably a moot point if the handles will never get swept back.

Mark
 

Mgordon

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 29, 2007
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Wellington, Ohio
www.shortactioncustoms.com
#20
There are female threads on the bolt. With male threads recessed into the knob, just as SAC described they made "custom." There is at least one aftermarket knob offering, but no where near the amount of say the typical R700 Badger and similar types.
The handles have a unthreaded O.D. of .3125" and a 10/32 thread internally. The Bolt knob's I.D. matches the .3125" closely but has a 10/32 threaded stud on the inside.

You can modify most common knobs by drilling or boring out the internal thread of the bolt knob to .313"-.316" and inserting a threaded stud to the inside, or doing a through hole and securing the knob that way.

Mark
 

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ICU22250

Perfectionist
Feb 13, 2017
1,148
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WV
#23
So by saying that the ejection port needs to be lengthened, I hope your not implying we will have to worry about the occasional brass contacting the receiver on ejection and falling back into the action .. I am excited about this action and that would be a complete buzz kill.. I can't wait to start hearing reviews from other fellow hide members when they receive them.. I will also have to agree that the swept handle would be a nice touch..
 
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Mgordon

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 29, 2007
1,748
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Wellington, Ohio
www.shortactioncustoms.com
#24
So by saying that the ejection port needs to be lengthened, I hope your not implying we will have to worry about the occasional brass contacting the receiver on ejection and falling back into the action .. I am excited about this action and that would be a complete buzz kill.. I can't wait to start hearing reviews from other fellow hide members when they receive them.. I will also have to agree that the swept handle would be a nice touch..
I believe the production model will have a longer ejection port in the rear. Again, this was 1 of probably 3 prototypes and was executed in an extremely short period to meet the SHOT show dead line. I'm sure there will not be any issues with ejection on the production model. The Nucleus in my shop is ejecting just fine and has not had any failures to eject, it could be a little bit longer however.

Mark
 
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Feb 10, 2017
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#25
Which bolt handle did the Nucleus come with that you were not a fan of? Was it the Mausingfield style knob or the prototype that Ted displayed at SHOT?
 
Feb 16, 2017
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#27
In the case of bolt lift effort, could it be said that it is comparable to a standard Remington 700 then? Because if so, attaining that along with a 72 degree lift would be excellent!
 

jonesturf

The guy who answers the phone at PVA
#28
It was a knob from SHOT show.
I really liked that bolt knob a lot at SHOT. It got a lot of great reviews as well. I guess if you're used to traditional bolt knobs it may not be your thing but for me I was able to cycle the action with one finger very quickly. The raised ends kept my finger inside so it didn't slip out.

I liked it so much I kind of want it on everything rifle I own now. Can't wait to get one of these for myself.
 
Feb 10, 2017
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#29
I'll have to withhold judgment on the bolt knob. I am open to trying it, and it seems conducive to how I like to cycle the bolt, but I like the looks of the Mausingfield knob much better.
 
Feb 27, 2017
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#30
Coming from more traditional stuff I prefer the mausingfield knob. Untraditionally I prefer a straight handle to swept. Go figure. Guess we will see which knob it ships with. Wouldn't mind having the option to pick which one but logistically that would be tough for them with the orders already in.
 

tag_heuer

Lead Farmer and Garbage Collector
Jul 29, 2013
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#32
This is one of the most informative threads regarding the nucleus. Thanks so much for putting out all this info. Can’t wait till mine arrives.
 

ICU22250

Perfectionist
Feb 13, 2017
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#34
Hey Mark, what would really be nice would be some Nucleus porn in the form of a short video clip, running some rounds through that prototype of yours..o_O
 
Jul 6, 2010
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#35
I'm another that loves a swept bolt with a ball knob. AI got that right and all my Tikka's get an aftermarket one. Super excited for the two actions I ordered, hope Ted takes the swept bolt advice.

Would love some "action" vids of the Nucleus bolt lift and ejecting, especially with a mag full of Dasher or 6br's!
 

Brazo

New Hide Member
Feb 4, 2018
15
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#37
I'm another that loves a swept bolt with a ball knob. AI got that right and all my Tikka's get an aftermarket one. Super excited for the two actions I ordered, hope Ted takes the swept bolt advice.

Would love some "action" vids of the Nucleus bolt lift and ejecting, especially with a mag full of Dasher or 6br's!
Your wish is my command!

 
Feb 12, 2017
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The Great State of PA
#38
Josh had one of his demo JHR at a local pro/am match this past weekend as a sponsored stage here is a short clip I pulled from the PVA facebook page I shot sometime after the shooters in the video and after 350+ rds non stop it was still running very well with the dirt, sand, etc. being kicked up from the break. just some observations from watching other shooters, it does not run like a 700 or other 90* bolt lift actions the few people i saw have trouble with it where still trying to lift the bolt handle and run it back at the same time or not running it back the whole way to properly eject the case. overall the action felt alot like a Tikka but a little smoother, it was very accurate and alot of fun to shoot.
 
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ICU22250

Perfectionist
Feb 13, 2017
1,148
103
63
WV
#39
Josh had one of his demo JHR at a local pro/am match this past weekend as a sponsored stage here is a short clip I pulled from the PVA facebook page I shot sometime after the shooters in the video and after 350+ rds non stop it was still running very well with the dirt, sand, etc. being kicked up from the break. just some observations from watching other shooters, it does not run like a 700 or other 90* bolt lift actions the few people i saw have trouble with it where still trying to lift the bolt handle and run it back at the same time or not running it back the whole way to properly eject the case. overall the action felt alot like a Tikka but a little smoother, it was very accurate and alot of fun to shoot.
Thank you for the video, sure does seem to sling the brass when operated with some force.. Can't wait to get mine... What caliber was the rifle being used?
 
Feb 14, 2008
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#44
Does anyone know if the action has feed rails/would be compatible with a BDL style floor plate and internal magazine?
Check ARC Facebook I believe that was mentioned in the nucleus announcement. Edit, here is the quote "The Nucleus and the Mausingfield can accept AICS mags and ADL/BDL type mags. Pretty much stock/bottom metal dependent like a R700. But no AW cut because it would weaken the action."
 
Feb 18, 2017
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#45
The cocking on the Nucleus actually feels a little lighter than the Mausingfied. I was hoping to rig up a fixture that would allow me to lift handles and measure the amount of force required to do so, just have not had time to make it happen.

For the bolt handle, I will update the original post, one thing I forgot to mention is that with this prototype I took full liberty to do whatever I wanted to it to make it feel better in my hands. You are correct, ARC will not be warranting handles that have been swept back just because there is no current service being offered which controlled. For my own stuff in my shop, I feel fine, but I'm not sure I will be able to offer it as a service until we can prove its integrity and that it will not alter the function or safety of the action.

Mark
Take a fish scale (the hand held kind for weighing fish you catch) hook the bolt handle and pull up! Works well for bolt handles and surprisingly well for Russian ww2 rifle trigger pull weight. Does not work well for light, crisp triggers like the Huber however