Rifle Building and Rock Chucking with Impact Shooting

Piet Malan joined me from South Africa to chamber a new rifle on the brand-new Wombat action from Stiller! I also built my own .22 Creedmoor on the Stiller Predator short action


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About the Project

Piet introduced me to the 6.5 Sherman Short when I went hunting with him in South Africa last year.

I was really impressed by the cartridge’s performance: five shots, five kills for me! Piet chose it so he could load Berger 156 grain bullets long and still run it in a short action. 

Now that’s he’s visiting me, we’re building a version of his rifle on a different action (Rem700 footprint) to give him more versatility!

We paired the Stiller Wombat short action with a magnum bolt face and 26” 1:8” Carbon Six barrel. While the brands are different than Piet’s rifle in South Africa, the combination is very similar. In fact, the same load shot quite well! 

6.5 Sherman Short Initial Shooting Results

I also embarked upon a project rifle of my own with Stiller’s Predator short action, .308 bolt face, and a Benchmark barrel.

It is very similar to the Wombat, but it is not skeletonized. I decided to build a .22 Creedmoor as I didn’t have one and have heard great things about the cartridge. I landed upon a heavier build which I thought would be better for load development and precision shooting. 

About the Wombat Action

The skeletonized Wombat is designed to be lightweight. It also has an appealing nitride finish. 

From Stiller Actions

Named after nature’s cuddliest little death machine, the all-new Wombat Action from Stiller is unique, lightweight, and deadly accurate.

Weighing in at just 23 ounces, the Wombat features a skeletonized stainless steel action body that reduces weight while maintaining the industry-leading tolerances that Stiller is known for, in a design that’s never been seen before.  

The in-house manufactured 2-lug bolt features a 3-piece assembly that allows the bolt handle and bolt knob to be customized and personalized to the individual shooter.

Comes standard with a 20 MOA rail.

About the Stiller Predator Action

I selected the Stiller Predator Short action over the skeletonized Wombat as I wanted something with a bit more heft.

From Stiller Actions

Designed to be used for both hunting and competition, the Predator action is a 416R stainless steel action with a Remington 700-style footprint. It is available in both single shot and repeater versions with both right and left bolt. Short actions have 223, PPC, 308, and magnum bolt faces. The 223 bolt face uses the Sako style extractor, while the others use a modified M16 type. The Predator has a number of features that factory actions lack. It has an extended magazine well that accommodates Wyatt Outdoors extended magazine boxes for the handloader who likes to seat his bullets longer than factory ammo. It uses the most dependable extractor available today and has an enlarged primary extraction camming surface. It uses #8 screws for scope base mounting. The bolt is forged from a single piece of steel, is hand lapped to the action, and fluted for better in-field function. The firing pin is fluted for faster lock time and is fully supported within the bolt body. The bolt handle is threaded for the bolt knob of choice.

Building the Rifles

After securing the tenon print from Stiller and reamer print from Sherman and doing a bunch of math, I dialed in the 1:8” Carbon Six barrel on the Precision Matthews PM-1440HVT-2 and started pre-drilling.

I explained my steps along the way to Piet as he watched over my shoulder throughout the entire process.

He was enamored watching the intricacies of chambering and the full behind the scenes of building a rifle. 

About the PM-1440HVT-2

The Precision Matthews PM-1440HVT-2 is a great gunsmithing lathe, with the following stand-out features:

  • All Taiwanese built with Japanese spindle bearings
  • 2.055″ thru-spindle capacity
  • Available cast iron ultra-rigid base
  • Variable Speed drive

If you’d like to know more about the PM-1440HVT-2, check out our full overview HERE.

Back to the chambering overview!

Chambering the carbon barrel took far longer than chambering my Benchmark blank in .22 Creedmoor. 

We secured the actions to the barrels using a modular action wrench from Short Action Customs. Piet set his 6.5 Sherman Short in an MDT chassis with Vortex Optic.

I put my barreled action in my Foundation Centurion with Hawkins Precision M5 DBM and topped it with a Leupold. 

On the Range

Piet’s load for his rifle at home shot very well in this gun, sub-half-MOA. With more load development, we know it will do even better.

This is quite impressive for a carbon barrel and magnum cartridge. It also balances well and is incredibly light. 

I utilized Hornady’s .22 Creedmoor 80 grain ELD-M ammunition averaging about 3300 fps.

I was very happy with the results and love shooting a heavy, light-recoiling rifle. If I were to be hiking up the mountain with it though, I’d prefer something lighter like Piet’s build. 

After zeroing the guns at 100 yards using Longshot’s LR-3, we headed up the mountain to see if we could find some rock chucks! (Piet made some fun of me for the heavy rifle.)

We both had lots of fun.

The .22 Creedmoor was ideal for this. Piet’s rifle did the job but sometimes a little too well…

It’s a big gun for short distances on rock chucks. 


I didn’t show all of the build details in this video as I wanted to talk about the rifles themselves and the fun of building them together. Stay tuned for in-depth build videos on these guns! 

Get the Gear

Interested in building your own rifles? Consider attending the Colorado School of Trades!

Precision Matthews PM-1440HVT-2 Lathe 

Precision Matthews Lathes

Precision Matthews Mills

Stiller Wombat Action

Stiller Predator Action

Carbon Six Barrels

Benchmark Barrels

Foundation Centurion

Hawkins Precision M5 DBM

Hornady’s .22 Creedmoor 80 grain ELD-X Precision Hunter Ammunition from Horizon Firearms

Longshot LR-3

Wheeler Tools 100 Piece Professional FAT Wrench Screwdriver Set

Short Action Customs Modular Action Wrench

Berger 6.5 mm EOL Elite Hunter 156 grain bullet at Midsouth Shooters Supply

Garmin Xero C1 Pro at Creedmoor Sports and Midsouth Shooters Supply

Follow Piet at @impactshooting on YouTube and Facebook and @impactshootin on Instagram. He also is part owner of Axis Precision Worx

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Gavin Gear

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