Kelbly's Black Bear Tactical

Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#52
--- 19 SEPT 18 ----

Update:

The stock inletting has begun and I'm trying to get as many pics as I can to show the steps of converting a 700 footprint over to the Black Bear. In all honesty, the inletting is pretty straight forward so far. With my stock, it's already inletted for an M5 DBM, so I have to maintain the pillar length for the mags to cycle smoothly, which makes the inlet pretty easy. Reference the tops of the pillars as your depth of cut with the endmill, then make overlapping passes to get to that overall depth within the entire 700 footprint. Only other things that need to be done, are slightly widening the footprint for the Black Bears overall size, and a cut for the bolt release/stop.

I still need to measure the depth of recoil lug on the stock to check if the Black Bear is going to bottom out, but I plan on opening up that area for bedding compound either way. Checking your recoil lug depth is another way you can make sure your DBM is going to work properly. Im about 85-90% sure the Black Bear's integral recoil lug is shorter than the average REM 700 lug, so there shouldn't be an issues with that area.

Pics and measurements are coming. Stay tuned.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#53
1 1/16x18 .980 to shoulder and 1.115" from shoulder to base of headspace gauge.
Just make sure when you thread, if your gunsmith uses wires like myself, the measurement is 1.0715", +0.000" or -.002" using .032" wires. THIS HAS TO BE WITHIN THOSE MEASUREMENTS.... Kelbly's machines their actions with extremely close tolerances so make sure your smith understands their hit or miss zones.

SERIOUSLY. Make sure they understand.

Best thing about Kelbly's Actions so far? The fact that I can cut a barrel and not need my action there... Saves me time and I can have 3 "rifles" ready in about 3 hours. In fact, I had 2 cut and threaded for the BugNut system before my action was even shipped. Stupid simple.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#57
Thank you for the details, Has Kelbly recommended an overall outside diameter to the shank of the barrel considering the size of the action?
I'm running both 1.200 and 1.250 breech end barrels on my Black Bear. Either is fine according to Ian. Just make sure the thread measurements are on point like I mentioned before.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#58
If you're talking about the actual shank diameter and not the breech size, you can get away with 1.060 - 1.065. If you run the higher end and have a tight fit, run a thread file over the threads to knock the sharp tips off and retry. Continue to,do this until the action threads on smoothly and doesn't bind, but still has minimal or no size to side movement.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#60
Thanks, I ordered it from Tom Manners. It is a awesome stock. I cut and chambered barrel and made my own pillars to bed on. That big flat bottom is like a dream to bed, absolutely 0 stress in bedding.
Good to hear, the inletting has been super easy so far. Looking forward to getting it bedded and cerakoting the barreled action. I shot Ryan (Kelbly's), 308 Black Bear for the better part of all last weekend at Arena, and it pretty much cemented the fact that I made the right decision in buying it as soon as Ian sent me one.
 
Jul 24, 2013
129
2
18
39046
#61
Will Kelblys offer a lapua bolt face for this receiver?

The offer one for the atlas and considering the size of the black bear being bigger, makes me wonder ....
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#62
I'm about 85% sure that that's not on the table. With the Atlas LM just coming out, they're focusing all of their 338, or similar cartridge head calibers, on that action. I highly doubt that they wanna run the Black Bear in an LM due to weight.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#63
Update:

--- 27 Sept 18 ---

Inletting and bedding is complete on my Manners T4A, but before I could get all the pictures taken and put on here, I had to head out of town. I'll be back in the shop next weekend to finish chambering another barrel, cerakoting, and final fit and finish of the completed rifle. I plan to include pictures of the inlet (with dimensions) along with a step by step process for cutting and chambering barrels for Kelbly's actions (Including pics and dimensions).

I'll be at The Guardian Long Range Competition at Arena in Blakely, GA on the 13th and 14th of Oct shooting this build and really figuring out what the Black Bear's got. So if any of you guys are gonna be there and wanna get some hands on time, by all means, come talk with me.

Super excited to finally get some load data and downrange feedback. Probably gonna be shooting the 308 barrel.....well.....because the combination of the spiral fluting and overall look of the rifle is just beautiful and I enjoy the look of people's faces at matches when you tell em' you're shooting the three oh hate.

Overall, I'm extremely happy with this action, and that being such, have already started talking with Ian about doing a long action Black Bear or getting the Atlas Tactical SA to shoot in my AI AX chassis. It's had such an impact on the way I look at custom actions, that I'm selling my Ultimatum Deadline and quickly becoming a Kelbly's fan boy (And this is after handling Curtis's, Defiance's Tenacity, Big Horn's Origin, the Nucleus from ARC, and MANY others). It's just too simple and robust not to be a major winner.
 
Last edited:
Mar 6, 2017
41
13
8
#66
Got my action in just the other day. Loved everything about it, I agree with all the awesome things everybody has said so far. I only had it for a few hours though before I sent it to Core. I'm having them inlet and make it fit in a blue bayou PRS1 they have. Getting two 6 dasher barrels spun up but probably have 6 weeks before they arrive so it will be a little while before I get any pictures to share. I have a feeling it might end up equaling or surpassing my love of my impact action.
 

MangoFett

New Hide Member
Aug 23, 2018
19
9
3
Missouri
#67
Got my action in just the other day. Loved everything about it, I agree with all the awesome things everybody has said so far. I only had it for a few hours though before I sent it to Core. I'm having them inlet and make it fit in a blue bayou PRS1 they have. Getting two 6 dasher barrels spun up but probably have 6 weeks before they arrive so it will be a little while before I get any pictures to share. I have a feeling it might end up equaling or surpassing my love of my impact action.
I didn't know Core would inlet for you. How much do they charge for this?
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#69
I didn't know Core would inlet for you. How much do they charge for this?
The boys down at Core have started doing complete rifle builds with the options you have from their website. Not sure who's doing the smithing for em, but every time I've had dealings with them, they've treated me really well. Not sure on the prices on their inletting, but another option would be to have Kelbly's do it. They do make carbon fiber stock and inlet for these all day everyday so it's kinda a no brainer for having the original manufacturer of the action take care of the bedding as well. Plus, they're super easy to deal with and generally have pretty fast turn arounds.

Not say you shouldn't go with Core, or another competent gunsmith, but to me it makes sense to have the professionals in the stock shop at Kelbly's do it only because they've done a ton of em, and they understand all the dimensions like the back of their hand. If anybodys interested in having them do an non-Kelbly's stock, let me know. I'll give Ian a call and get you a quote with wait times.
 
Likes: MangoFett
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#70
I am working towards the same thing at the moment, but by hand so going slowly. Got my barrel in (260 AI) so once I can hand inlet a stock should be in business. Really looking forward to putting some rounds through this action.
Not sure how far along you are, but when I get back to the shop next Saturday, I'll have specific dimensions for the inlet going from a standard REM 700 SA to the Black Bear. So if you need help with fitting, either tune into this thread the Monday after, or shoot me a PM and I'll get em to you directly.
 
Likes: andrewsben
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#71
I went ahead and called Ian just to get ahead for some of the people interested in having their stocks retrofitted from the 700 to the Black Bear. Ian said roughly $300 to inlet, set pillars, and fully bed the action. You don't need to send your action with it, as they have actions to bed off of, along with M5 DBM to set correct spacing for mags. Rough turn around time would be 2 - 3 weeks.

Pretty decent deal for a full inlet and bedding job with their proprietary pillars.
 
Likes: MangoFett
May 9, 2017
513
35
28
Beattyville Ky
#72
Not sure how far along you are, but when I get back to the shop next Saturday, I'll have specific dimensions for the inlet going from a standard REM 700 SA to the Black Bear. So if you need help with fitting, either tune into this thread the Monday after, or shoot me a PM and I'll get em to you directly.
I have made good progress shaping the 700 inlet to the black bear. Hoping to get some time this weekend to work it down to where it needs to be but not sure. Throwing it in a grayboe renegade I had sitting around (didn't expect to buy this action so working off what parts I have on hand) and will have to deal with the exiting pillars. Also is a BDL, so need to work the bottom metal too.

Will be tuning into this thread no matter what...
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#73
I have made good progress shaping the 700 inlet to the black bear. Hoping to get some time this weekend to work it down to where it needs to be but not sure. Throwing it in a grayboe renegade I had sitting around (didn't expect to buy this action so working off what parts I have on hand) and will have to deal with the exiting pillars. Also is a BDL, so need to work the bottom metal too.

Will be tuning into this thread no matter what...
I hear ya. The tang was honestly the only part that was a partial issue. It sits up a little, but it still looks good. Just expect it to need to sit higher and don't be weirded out when it does, Kelbly's let me know that it needed to be that way. Also, if you're planning on converting to a DBM, depending on the trigger you're going to run, the DBM may need to be massaged a little for it to fit. For me, I'm running a Timney CE Flat 2 Stage, so I had to clearance the DBM slightly.

Thanks,

Garrison
 
May 9, 2017
513
35
28
Beattyville Ky
#74
I hear ya. The tang was honestly the only part that was a partial issue. It sits up a little, but it still looks good. Just expect it to need to sit higher and don't be weirded out when it does, Kelbly's let me know that it needed to be that way. Also, if you're planning on converting to a DBM, depending on the trigger you're going to run, the DBM may need to be massaged a little for it to fit. For me, I'm running a Timney CE Flat 2 Stage, so I had to clearance the DBM slightly.

Thanks,

Garrison
I think i have a TT Diamond, TT Special, and Bix Tacsport available. I figure I will have a lot of tweaking to get things to work, but it gives me something to do.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#78
The Black Bear comes in long action as well already. Ian reassured me of that the other night while we were discussing thoughts of a new cartridge we may try to build shortly.
 
Likes: Apnea

3PuttPar

New Hide Member
Feb 24, 2018
4
2
3
WV
#80
Just got my black bear in yesterday but haven't been by to handle it. MPA is going to offer a chassis for it and honestly i'm not a chassis guy but I'm tempted to hold out for one just to give it a go. What pissed me off though is I've tried calling them, leaving messages, emailing them, FB messaging them, even commenting on their new social media content and it took two entire months before I got anything from them and it was a reply to my comment on Instagram saying "soon". So their customer service kind of sucks and honestly I'm embarrassed I had to act like a kid, spamming them for any sort of reply but there you have it. MPA will have a chassis "soon". I've talked to a few shops and they said the same thing about their customer service so I may just go with what I normally buy and get an A-5 or PRS-2.
I placed my order for a black bear inlet with MPA right at 12 weeks ago. Was told it would be 12+ weeks before it was finished. I had trouble getting a hold of anyone so I emailed Phil, he responded almost immediately and helped get my order started. 1 phone call later and the order was placed.
 

Apnea

learning
Sep 17, 2017
249
72
28
CA
#81
I placed my order for a black bear inlet with MPA right at 12 weeks ago. Was told it would be 12+ weeks before it was finished. I had trouble getting a hold of anyone so I emailed Phil, he responded almost immediately and helped get my order started. 1 phone call later and the order was placed.
I checked with KRG and they do not have plans to support this action. Good to see options.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#82
Alright gents,

Here we go. I've finished the rifle, well, 85% finished. I ran into some issues during the build this weekend and didn't get a chance to cerakote it like I wanted to. I love the way the rifle turned out, but I can honestly say I struggled completing it. Nothing to do with the action or parts I selected, everything is perfect, but I'll just say this.... Pay attention to you're machine and don't let anyone mess with it. I got a nasty surprise during chambering that could've been avoided.

Anyways, for the guys interested in the footprint. Here's your pics and measurments:

3085.jpg

- OVERALL width of the footprint should be, roughly, 1.600" keeping in mind you need area for bedding. Mine is roughly 1.407" after the bedding was completed.

- Recoil lug width should be the exact same due to the action having a straight cut, integral lug. Depth to the bottom of the lug cut from the TOP RAILS (AKA top of the stock sides) is .970 AFTER BEDDING. Smartest idea is to cut the lug slightly deeper to get a good bed.

- Depth for the ENTIRE length of the action, from bottom to the top rails (FOR ME), was .770" after bedding. That's measured from the tops of the pillars to the top rails.

30814.jpg

The tang is obviously drastically different and needs to be tapered from the 1.407" down to the surface of the original tang cut. Best thing I can tell you is to go slow, prefit measure, trim, then refit until its a tight fit. Don't be freaked out by how high the tang sits out, it's just part of the package. In my opinion it still looks great.

3081.jpg

My pics don't due this inlet any justice... The barreled action is super tight. It LITERALLY clicks into place.
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#83
Next is the M5 bottom metal. I bought my stock as a REM 700 cut with a M5 inlet, so I didn't have to worry about inletting the DBM but I did have to fit the M5 to the action itself. Here's what I mean:

30810.jpg

As you can see, the trigger hanger touches the DBM mag sleeve and created an issue with getting the action to settle completely. I filed a rough cut to see how much needed to come out for the hanger to clear. This was just a rough cut, yes I know its off center. Settle down.

3083.jpg

After looking more closely, I realized the screw itself wasn't the only area that needed to be clearance for. I went ahead and sectioned the mag sleeve for the screw and the actual hanger itself.

30813.jpg
 

Attachments

Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#84
Continuing with the Mag sleeve, I fit, filed, and refit the M5 multiple times to make sure I was getting correct clearance. If you're doing this, GO SLOW, and make sure you only take off enough to make the room. You'll save a bunch of headaches.

30812.jpg

Close view through the ejection port. Clearance made to allow the action to settle naturally in the bedding.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#85
FOR ME, I had to also clearance the DBM for my trigger. I was having an issue with the side of my Calvin Elite touching the trigger guard so I filed a small section for the guard to clear.

3089.jpg
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#91
Range Report #1 (14 Oct 18)

FINALLY got to take this thing out and get some barrel break in/initial groupings with it. Main goal for the day was to smooth the throat out from chambering, so I didn't shoot a bunch of groups with it, BUT... if the first 20 rds out of it are any indication of how this rifles gonna shoot, this is gonna be a wicked stick. Perfect day for shooting, mid 70's, no wind, no idiots at the range, just the 100yd target and a new rig.

Range3.jpg

Here's my 2 cents with barrel break ins... In my eyes, the only reason to "break" a barrel in, is to smooth the throat area from chambering. There's a lot of guys that have a different mentality, and that's fine, I just don't necessarily agree with all the snake oil and charming some people think is involved. There's a reason you pay for a match barrel.... It's the guy that sits there for hours hand lapping the bore after cut rifling. I understand lapping doesn't necessarily get all of the imperfections out, and there's always gonna be micro grooves still along the actual rifling, but those get filled a hell of a lot faster than the average shooter thinks. Essentially 1-2 rounds down a bore will generally leave enough copper in those micro grooves to smooth those areas out. I've personally threaded and chambered a barrel, looked at the grooves with a bore scope, shot 1 round through it, removed the barrel after getting the powder residue out, and looked again with the bore scope..... Granted this is MY experience with a Hawk Hill barrel, but the rifling in that particular barrel was just as smooth as it could be after 1 round down it with the copper set in place. That's where I'm getting my opinion from, and why I hardly take any time breaking in a barrel.

For this rifle, here was my process:

- Do an initial clean with Hoppes #9 bore solvent just to make sure no debris from chambering was still left in it, along with using a chamber mop for the same reason.

- Shoot one round, remove bolt, install bore guide, and push one WET patch of Hoppes through the bore with a jag. After letting the Hoppes sit for roughly 5 min, I came in behind the wet patch with a 30 cal nylon bore brush. I run the brush through the bore roughly 3 times just to break up the powder residue, then I focus on the throat area with a few quick strokes.

- Follow the brush with 3 patches straight through the bore, then come behind it with 2 more clean patches focusing on the throat area.

- I clean my jag and rod off of solvents, then I soak a patch in Sweet 7.62 Bore Solvent.... ****(This is some NASTY stuff. BE VERY CAREFUL WITH IT. If not used properly you can damage the rifling and throat.)**** I push that wet patch through the bore and let it set for roughly 6-8 min. This allows the solvent to do it's thing and start break down the copper. I use the Hoppes for powder residue, and the Sweets for copper.

- After waiting, I will generally take my nylon brush and run a single pass through the entire bore and remove the brush before pulling it back through. I don't wanna get the solvent out just yet, just make sure its evenly throughout the barrel.

- Behind the brush, Ill reinstall the jag and stroke the bore roughly 12-15 times making sure I'm not coming out of the bore completely on either end. This ensures the copper is being scrubbed and not scrapped out of the bore yet.

- I follow up the Jag with the brush again, focusing on complete bore strokes at first, then the throat area by itself. I'll do this maybe 10 strokes, then short ones in the throat.

- After the brush, Ill push clean dry patches until no blue is found on them. The Sweets is good about telling you whether or not you've still got fouling in it. I use a brass Jag, so sometimes I get false readings on the patches, but after using it a couple times, you'll figure out it's from the jag itself and not the actual bore.

After that, I go back and shoot another single round followed by the same procedure. I'll do this for 3 single shots, cleaning in between each round, then follow up with a 3 round group, clean, then a 5 round group, clean, and then I'm off to the races and generally wont clean that barrel again for a long period of time. I'm not a benchrest guy... I don't need to clean between strings. Hell, I'm pretty sure I've got 2 rifles in the case that haven't seen a cleaning other than a quick pass of Hoppes, in over 1000 rds. Usually during a match season, I'll fully clean a rifle once (probably 3-4 matches in) and immediately follow it with a copper fouling trip to the range.

Here's how it shot with one group being the first 3 rounds out of the rifle (keep in mind this was during my "break in" process, so that's one shot, clean, one shot, clean, one shot, clean)… Pretty impressive if you asked me.

Range2.jpg

After adjusting the scope and shooting my initial 3 shots, here's what she did with her first 3 shot group.... YES MAAM. I'll take that all day long.

Range1.jpg

Oh... and did I meantion these groups were FACTORY 175gr FGMM... Yeah. So there's that too. Now if I'm in a bind, I can just go snag a bunch of it and shoot. That's nice to have in my back pocket.
 
Last edited:
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#92
Following 5 shot group was just as tight as the 3 shot, and when I got back to the shop and measured with a micrometer, it came out to a .215. The rest of the trip to the range was used to do velocity testing for a new bullet I'm trying this year but don't have enough data to start giving my opinion. What I will say though, is that for the advertised BC and velocities I was getting over my Magneto Speed..... This rifle is gonna piss A LOT of 6.5 guys off.

I'm heading back to the range today to test 2 more powders out over the chrono, then hopefully getting some time at the long range later this week to see if these bullets are the real deal.

As far as the completed rifle with the Kelbly's Black Bear Tactical action, its an absolute DREAM to shoot. It's just so damn smooth and rock solid, that I'm seriously considering selling my other rifles and having a stable of Black Bears in the safe. IT'S THAT GOOD. If you're on the fence about what custom action to buy, you can't go wrong with this one. Is it built like a tank? Yes. Is it slightly heavier than other clone Remingtons? Yes. Does it require a little fit an finish of a traditional stock? Yes... BUT when it comes to PRS/NRL matches, recoil is a serious thing. I'm not recoil sensitive, but I am when it comes to matches. I want my rifles to sit still and return to the target as fast as possible so I can either watch impacts, or rip out a follow up shot as quickly as I can. I want them to be super rigid so its consistent from shot to shot.

Ounces = Pounds and Pounds = Pain, yeah I get that... FOR A MOUNTAIN RIFLE, but that's not the name of the game with our competition guns. I'd still hump this rifle at Mammoth or other "sniper" matches like the Cup. I haven't weighed my complete rifle yet, but I would guesstimate it's in the 18-20lbs range. The Manners T4A helps a little, but when I stuffed an M24 in it, that kinda didn't matter anymore. But the accuracy doesn't lie... Rigidity = Consistency, and I'm a giant ballistics nerd when it comes to barrel harmonics.
 
Apr 22, 2017
161
36
28
#94
Great build and nice thread! Really like the look of that action.

My only recommendation is to keep a close eye on your ejector... I’ve seen two Kelbly’s go down due to the ejectors breaking. Granted, both were hot loads, but they do not take heavy abuse well.
Appreciate it boss, and I actually had a conversation about the ejector issue with Ian before he decided to send the Black Bear my way. If I can remeber correctly, they created the HD bolt stop setup to correct the issue, but I may be wrong.

Either way, I'll keep an eye on it and let everyone know of I do have an issue with it or anything mechanically pertaining to the action. Really really impressed so far though.

Appreciate the complements and caution,

Garrison
 
Top Bottom