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Preview – EraThr3 Sherpa – .308 and Full of Hate

Photos by Rob Curtis and EraThr3

.308 and Full of Hate

Can Erathr3’s Sherpa Carry the Title of One Rifle Quiver?

Erathr3 set out to make the One Rifle. An ambitious goal for a company that says it’s a lifestyle brand, not a gun company. We’ll get into just what “not a gun company” means in a bit, but first let’s talk about the gun itself.

Sherpa was conceived as the rifle for any bolt-action activity. Whitetail in season? Bring the Sherpa. SWAT team callout? Bring the Sherpa. Coyote’s up in your herd? You get the idea.

Particulars

The Sherpa wasn’t meant for a life of latte-sipping bench rest work. Setting the gun up for a hard life, Erathr3’s Sterling Becklin outfitted the gun using high-performance parts with an eye toward weight reduction and durability.

Grabbing the gun, the first thing we noticed is how compact it feels. It’s a tight package. By the numbers, the rifle is 2 inches shorter overall than a rack grade Remington SPS with a 20-inch barrel. But, those 2 inches are deceiving. Combine the 18-inch Proof Research carbon-fiber composite barrel with a custom Manners Composite Stock that’s only 13.5 inches (including the recoil pad), and the math doesn’t portray the same story your hands are getting. Comparing it to something like the SPS, think of an M4 compared to an M16.

Our pre-production gun was built on a Stiller’s Precision Firearms TAC 30 action topped with a Badger Ordinance 20-degree Picatinny rail, though future rifles will use Stiller’s Specter action with integral Picatinny rail. The action is made from black oxide-coated 416R stainless steel and feels like it could bust rocks. Its fluted bolt is one piece for durability, but outfitted with a custom Erathr3 titanium bolt knob to save weight and add some panache.

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Plugged into the action is a 1:10 twist Proof Research carbon-fiber composite barrel with a match chamber. If you’re new to Proof, in a nutshell, the company uses proprietary processes and materials to shroud a thin steel barrel in carbon fiber. The result is a lightweight, incredibly stiff barrel that can be used to beat a confession out of a cinder block.

Aside from weight reduction, carbon fiber offers a few more advantages over traditional barrels. For one, Proof spokesman Derek McDonald says the barrel’s stiffness controls harmonic resonance so well that the barrel is more forgiving of cartridge variations. Let’s say a steel barrel can hold a group together with 3 grains (that’s 1.5 grains over or under) of powder weight variation, before shifting barrel harmonics begin affecting accuracy. McDonald says Proof’s carbon-fiber barrel is stiff enough to normalize bullet travel harmonics with twice as much powder variation from cartridge to cartridge.

Proof’s barrels are chambered using CNC machines. Sure, it’s charming to run reamers by hand, but the process is slow and fraught by the threat of imperfection. We’ve seen Proof Research’s production facility, and it looks like a cross between an Intel clean room and Bruce Wayne’s garage. CNC lathes abound and are used to center, cut, and ream barrels with precision to the half-a-thousandth of an inch.

The use of CNC also means Proof saves the machine programs for every barrel it spits out. Want to change up to a new caliber or replace a damaged barrel? Easy — all Proof needs is a serial number and they can print a perfectly dimensioned carbon copy of your original barrel for a perfect fit back in your action.

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