From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bart Bobbitt)
Subject: Paramount Action; Review
Organization: Hewlett-Packard Fort Collins Site
Paramount Rifle Action
Having just received my first Paramount action, I thought a `Product
Review' would be in order for folks interested in this great chunk of
Made in England, it was designed by George Swenson in 1971. The story
is that he laid a .308 Win. cartridge on his drawing board and designed
the action around it. Seems the fullbore shooters in Great Britian
were having mediocre results with their Enfields at the middle ranges
of 300 to 600 yards. Having used Mauser actions with some improvement
in accuracy over the Enfield, something better was desired. Why Swenson
named the original a `Swing,' I don't know. But it certainly was a great
improvement over the Mausers used for these ranges. Keep in mind they
used military arsenal ammo for most of their competition. But those Brits
still had excellent results with the .308 in their rear-locking Enfield
actions used in 900 and 1000 yard matches. Come 1984, one of the British
army officers used a Swing-actioned rifle to win their national long range
championships; setting a new record by a comfortable margin. That did it.
From then on, the Swing was the way to go.
In England, as well a most other countries shooting the Palma and long-range
courses (800, 900 & 1000 yards, prone, slow fire, metallic sights), the
only ammo allowed is arsenal stuff. No handloads. Military ammo being
what it is, it can vary quite a bit in case uniformity; especially in
the head not being square. Even the best lots in the best rifles would do
2 to 2.5 MOA at 1000 yards. Something had to be done that would solve the
problem with slightly unsquare case heads, as well as needing a stiffer
action than Mausers. Also, the lock time with Enfields and Mausers was
too long for accurate shooting. Their triggers were also not very good
for fullbore competition, even if honed and tuned to the best they would
perform; custom triggers weren't all that good, either.
So, Mr. Swenson went to his drawing board and started thinking and doing
the design work. It wasn't long before he had one built. When tested,
it proved to be the equal of the best benchrest actions made in the USA.
Some of the USA benchrest actions were imported and although much better
than the Enfields and Mausers, the Swing was equal to them for accuracy.
When the commonwealth country's long-range folks started using it, their
scores shot up and they've won their fair share of international matches
The original Swing action had a pretty stiff bolt lift and its trigger
was lacking in repeatability of weight, creep and other important things.
That was improved in the late 1980s when manufacturing rights were
passed on to Paramount.
Now for the details.......
The action is 7.375-in. long and is available in two outside diameters:
1.375-in. and 1.5-in. Large-ring actions have only been available for
a few months. Weight limits mandated the small ring action was as heavy
as it could be with a decently profiled 30-in. barrel fitted to a stock
and including sights to meet the 12.1-pound limit. Last year, the weight
limit was raised to about 13.5 pounds (I think). So, a stiffer action
could be built. This large-ring version weighs 65.5 ounces without the
trigger guard or stock screws installed. Rumors have it that the small-
ring action will not be available after this year.
Both a right-hand and left-hand version are available. And they come
in two different finishes; bright-blued or satin chrome plated. Plug
screws fill the four scope-base holes on the top that are the standard
860-in. spacing and each pair is on 4.9-in. centers; the front hole
is .350-in. back from the receiver front. Three holes are on the off
side for attaching a receiver sight base. Using the standard .600-in.
spacing, they are centered on the length of the receiver. All sight-
base holes are 6-40 and seven socket-head screws are supplied.
Two recoil lugs are on the bottom. 1.75-in. back from the front is the
front lug. It's .45-in. thick and .87-in. wide at the bottom It's
35-in. deep. About .20-in. from the back starts the rear lug. At .6-in.
thick and .7-in. wide, its depth is .5-in. Each lug accepts a 1/4-28
socket-head stock screw. Stock screws are on 4.820-in. centers.
Both lugs taper to a slightly wider dimension at their top where they are
neatly and properly welded to the receiver body.
More than enough flat surfaces to keep the receiver from twisting in
its epoxy bedding when the .308 Win. cartridge is used. The Brits have
handloaded Sierra 190-gr. bullets for special 1200-yd. matches to 2900
fps muzzle velocity from a .308 with excellent results. I don't know
what powder charge they use, but it's probably too hot for most USA
actions. These Paramount actions seem to take these high-pressure loads
in stride. Conventional epoxy bedding (such as Devcon Plastic Steel) is
recommended, not pillar bedding. Full contact with the receiver seems
to be the best way with about .050-in. clearance beneath the recoil lug
bottoms. Stock screws should be torqued to about 60 to 65 inch-pounds.
Its loading port starts at 2.15-in. back from the receiver front. As
it's only 2.3-in. long and .60-in. high, little reduction in receiver
stiffness occurs. When the bolt is completely back, a live round can
be removed easily providing it's not more than 2.80-in. in length. The
bolt face is a bit more than half an inch behind the rear of the loading
port when the bolt is all the way back.
Barrel shank dimensions is 1.300-in. long and the threaded section is
1.040-in. in diameter with 16 TPI UN right-hand threads. A step inside
the receiver that's .185-in. long and 1.093-in. diameter accepts a tight
fitting step of the same size behind the barrel shoulder. This is very
important as it improves accuracy if this is a tight fit. A 1.630-in.
308 Win. `GO' gage will protrude about .125-in. from the breech end
of the barrel. Barrel reinforce diameter needs to be at least 1.25-in.
for a good fit against the already-trued-up reciever front.
A 4-lug bolt is used to improve accuracy with factory ammo. Should a case
head not be square, the four lugs support it more uniformly than a 2- or
3-lug bolt. This is where a lot of the Paramount action's accuracy comes
from. A pin locks the 1.45-in. long hardened bolt head to the .875-in.
diameter bolt body. Lugs are .5-in. long and .3-in. wide. They provide
about the same thrust bearing area as a Winchester. Lug diameter
is about .95-in. and each rides in its own groove in the receiver as the
bolt is moved in and out. Only a 45-degree bolt lift is needed. The
extractor is a spring-loaded claw type that lifts over the case rim and is
in the locking lug on the loading side. On the non-loading side is a
plunger-type ejector that's held in place by the bolt head pin. Bolt
throw is 3.7-in. And the bolt face is square with the receiver threads.
Oh yes; all four lugs are in good contact with their receiver lugs. Very
little lapping is needed to get 100% contact with all four lugs.
I would imagine the bolt head pin shouldn't be removed too often. I
will talk to the importer tomorrow and find out more about it. The only
reason I can think of to remove it is when the ejector needs to be fixed
or cleaned; the ejector, retainer and spring are held in by this pin.
Some folks may want to remove the ejector completely. There is some
evidence that rifles may shoot more accurately if the cartridge isn't
forced against the side of the chamber by these off-center, spring-loaded
ejectors. Without the ejector, empty case removal is easy, and they
won't leap out and fall onto a dirty area or bounce off the shooter
next to you. Removing a live round only requires the rifle to be tilted
away from you and it will fall out easily if you shake the rifle a bit.
Inside the bolt, the firing pin is screwed into the striker. Its stop
is adjustable so the firing pin tip can protrude .060-in. from the bolt
face. Both firing pin and striker are about .2-in. in diameter. At the
back of the firing pin is a cap to hold the back of the firing pin spring.
Behind this cap is a cocking pin carrier that is threaded onto the striker.
It adjusts to keep the cocking pin from hitting the bolt body before the
striker stop impacts the bolt head. This arrangement is nice as the
spring is captive between the striker stop and cocking pin carrier; it
compresses to what's needed as this assembly is inserted into the bolt
body. As the ready-to-fire firing pin force is about 50 pounds, it's nice
this way. A sleeve goes around the cocking pin carrier and lets the pin be
inserted or removed quite easily; no special tools needed to take most
of the bolt apart. A flat washer bears against the cocking pin sleeve
and a radial-roller bearing behind this washer to make bolt opening easy.
This bearing is clever; little rollers about .050-in. in diameter, about
15 of them, locked in a special race. A threaded cap that acceps a .25-in.
Allen wrench screws in to hold everything together. It unscrews easily so
the internal bolt parts can be easily cleaned. The cocking pin has a square
end that sticks out the bottom and is guided by the bottom bolt lug groove.
It bears on the trigger sear lever. Firing pin fall is about .150-in.
With the firing pin spring made of good spring wire that's about .085-in.
thick, and the spring itself is about .600-in. in diameter. It's compressed
to 50 pounds when cocked; lock time is an amazing 1.7 milliseconds. That's
pretty fast, considering the weight of the firing pin assembly.
At the back of the bolt is the easily removable bolt handle assembly.
The bolt knob's tip is about 3.2-in. in radius from bolt center. My
bolt handle is straight and when closed, angles down about 30 degrees from
horizontal. When opened, it's 15 degrees above horizontal. Its root is
45-in. square and locks into a L-shaped recess at the back of the
receiver; the back of the handle root is .45-in. forward from the back of
the receiver. A black synthetic knob that looks like the bottom 3/4ths
of a Hershey's Kisses chocolate candy and the same size, graces the bolt
handle's end. It has a nice feel to it. Operating the bolt is really
nice. The big bolt body helps prevent binding and the bolt is a tight fit
to the reciever. Another nice thing is the bolt handle doesn't require
a notch in the stock for it (well, maybe 1/16th of an inch at the top).
This was done intentionally to prevent the stock being used from being
weakened by the cut-out for the bolt handle. A friend got a left-hand
Paramount action last week, but its bolt handle was bent down in a nice,
uniform arc. Paramount must be making some actions with curved handles.
On both actions, the bolt handle goes straight out to the side; no swept
back profiles like so many bolt guns have. But that's to get leverage
on that heavily compressed `car valve spring' sized firing pin spring and
the short firing pin fall when opening the bolt.
A bolt stop is on the loading port side, centered about .9-in. behind the
loading port. It's a spring-loaded, .75-in. diameter knurled knob that
pulls out to let the bolt be removed. Its stop rides on the bolt body,
then snaps in as the bolt body comes back to catch the port-side locking
lug. It also is a handy leverage point to place your thumb on when you're
opening the bolt. A guide pin keeps the handle from twisting. The
bolt pushes it out automatically when replacing the bolt into the reciever.
An aluminum trigger guard that's .75-in. wide, 5.5-in. long and .375-in.
thick goes on the bottom. Recessed holes at each end accept the stock
screw heads. A longer than normal finger loop is used due to the adjustable
finger piece needing room to move back and forth in. The loop around the
trigger is about .4-in. wide.
Finally, the best part; typically saved until the last........the trigger!
The trigger housing is 1.5-in. long, 1.2-in. deep and .375-in. wide. It
has an extension on its front that's .75-in. long where a socket-head
screw holds that end to a .50-in. wide flat on the receiver bottom. Another
extension at the back of about the same length fits inside of the rear
recoil lug where two set screws from the lug's bottom hol the back of the
trigger in place. Internal trigger parts are .20-in. thick. The finger
piece center is about 2 inches below the receiver's bottom and about 1.3-in.
forward of the receiver's back end; its inside diameter is about an inch
and it's .32-in. wide with rounded front edges. It's smooth; no grooves.
This is a 5-way adjustable trigger. It adjusts for creep (sear engagement),
amount of first stage (slack), backlash (overtravel), pull weight and length
of pull. The trigger's finger piece adjusts for 1 inch on the finger lever
so the best position can be set for different sizes of hands and the stock's
pistol grip shapes and dimensions. Weight and sear engagement adjustments
are locked in place by a separate set screw bearing on a nylon pad; these
don't shoot loose. First stage, backlash and weight adjustments are on
the front of the trigger housing. Weight adjustment lock screw and sear
engagement are on the bottom. The sear engagement adjustment's lock screw
is accessable from the back. All adjustments use Allen wrenches except the
finger piece which uses a small, flat-tip screwdriver. The weight spring
is designed for a range of about 1.5- to 4-pounds of trigger pull. As the
Palma rules in most other countries require a 1.5 Kg (3.3-lb.) trigger pull,
the supplied spring works well. But replacing it with a lighter one should
let the trigger be adjusted from about 5 ounces on up depending on the
spring used. This trigger is as clean-breaking and smooth as a Jewell or
other top-quality trigger made in the USA.
These actions are imported by:
O.K. Weber, Inc.
P.O Box 7485
Eugene, Oregon 97401
Phone: (503) 747-0458
FAX: (503) 747-5927