Issue 35 Geissele Project Joy Jason Davis Join the Conversation Photos by RECOIL Staff and Steven Kuo The first time I shot a weapon chambered in .260 Remington was in the mid 2000s, when the incomparable Chuck Mawhinney introduced it to me. At the time, it was discussed as a round that could one day replace the ubiquitous .308 Winchester. With a higher ballistic coefficient, slightly less recoil, and a bullet that can buck the wind better at longer ranges, the .260 Remington was an impressive cartridge. Fast-forward a decade, and I’ve had the opportunity to build several bolt actions chambered in .260 Remington. The round has worked its way into my shooting rotation more and more, whether for shooting matches, for work, or, more recently, for hunting. The .260 Remington has really come into its own since that first flirtation a decade ago. The Big Show Others have taken notice of the .260 Remington as well. Recently, a Defense Department unit put together a handful of requirements for a new weapon system, including that it be chambered in .260 Remington. Geissele Automatics hand-tailored and built a system to meet the requirement from the ground up, resulting in their new Very Long Range Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or VSASS. We spoke with Bill Geissele to learn more about this weapon system, the requirements, and Geissele itself. His previous work as a machinist and his weekend shooting pursuits led him to build match-grade triggers — which is what put Geissele Automatics on the map in the firearms industry. We discovered that not only does Bill have an encyclopedic knowledge of current weapons, but his knowledge of past weapons of all kinds helped inform his vision in building the VSASS. Bill understands what makes a weapon work well and, importantly, what doesn’t. A deep understanding of why something doesn’t work leads to surmising how it can ultimately be designed well. All of this knowledge comes into play with his designs, current productions and, now, the VSASS. Bill described his appreciation for the AR platform: “The concept that Gene Stoner came up with — the AR-10 and M-16 that came after that — I firmly believe that there are qualities about that weapon design that to this day are over and above anything that’s out there on the market.” The Steiner M5Xi 3-15x scope is secured by Geissele’s new Vanguard mount. The Wilcox RAPTAR-S laser and rangefinder sits on a “diving board” that can be removed without affecting the front scope ring and the rifle’s zero. The Vanguard mount will be commercially available in early 2018 for an estimated MSRP of $750. JG-06 Within the Geissele Automatics shop in North Wales, Pennsylvania, the VSASS is more commonly referred to as “Project Joy” or “JG-06.” It resulted from a relationship Geissele has with the military customer. Except for a few parts, the entire project was built in-house and delivered to the customer within eight weeks of the initial phone calls and emails. Given an end user with such specific and absolute requirements, Geissele was able to produce the VSASS with exacting tolerances in an extremely short period of time. Bill explained, “We have a very vertically integrated company; we do almost everything in-house … We’re able to move quickly at a customer’s request. We can make something, print it out in 3D, send it to them, get their comments on it, make the prototype very quickly, and do an iterative design process to come up with a component for a firearm that meets their needs.” The VSASS arrived in a case embroidered with “GEISSELE – Project Joy – JG-06.” The VSASS in .260, all 12.3 pounds and 43 inches of it, also came with several boxes of NEXUS ammo sporting 139-grain Scenar projectiles from Lapua. We supplemented it with Black Hills and PRIME Ammunition. More on shooting the VSASS later. Initial reports about the VSASS gave an inkling of the fit, function, and performance of this weapon. But my experience with Geissele products and their constant pursuit of perfection meant an in-depth, hands-on inspection was in order. Unsheathing the VSASS, its heft is apparent. Shouldering the weapon, the optics snap into view. The rifle was wearing a Steiner M5Xi 3-15×50 in a new Geissele Vanguard mount, finished in a tan color that matched the weapon nicely. Geissele sweats the small stuff. The cam pin is made from a cobalt alloy for strength, and the stainless steel firing pin is contoured to reduce weight. Detaching the upper from the lower, the suppressor out front immediately draws your attention. Dubbed the Super Night Owl, it’s more “short and fat” than “long and skinny,” as you might be used to seeing with suppressors. The reason is simple — the length requirements specified by the customer. Thus, Geissele designed the suppressor from scratch, finding a way to achieve the required performance while going shorter, but without exceeding the width of the M-LOK Super Modular rail. Made from titanium, which helps reduce weight, the Super Night Owl features a serviceable and rebuildable core. It disassembles with a few simple tools and can be cleaned and monitored for wear rather easily. The suppressor attaches to the barrel in a unique manner, which aids in accuracy when shooting with the suppressor. Repeatability is key with the VSASS, so everything needs to maintain tolerances for first round hits at all distances. Bartlein Barrels, known for their accuracy and repeatability, built the 22-inch barrel featured in the VSASS. It’s covered by Geissele’s Super Modular Rail with M-LOK attachments. A testament to Geissele’s wonderful OCD, the 1913 Picatinny rail at the 12 o’clock position is machined to a flatness within 0.005 inch across the entire rail. The handguard system mates with the upper receiver and maintains these tolerances together. The interface provides this critical consistency for NVG’s or other aiming devices. For the rest of this article, subscribe here: RECOIL Issue 35 Explore RECOILweb:Oh, Spare Me!--Should You Even Bother to Carry a Reload?Best of NRAAM: We Award the Best and Most Interesting of the NRA MeetingRECOILtv Shot Show 2019: Sig Sauer MODXFK BRNO PSD Review NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. 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