This month many of us received the first issue of the “LaRue Accuracy Report” in the mail. The report is LaRue Tactical’s new “digest for the discriminating rifleman,” as Mark LaRue puts it. Boiled-down, the publication is an eighty-eight page seasonal catalogue (translation: catalog) full of product images and info, along with a few short articles related to rifles:

Max Point Blank Range Explained, by Todd Hodnett

The Layman’s Guide to Parallax, by Pete Gould

DIY Custom Sniper Case, by LaRue Tactical

Now, I could look at LaRue catalogs catalogues all damn day long – their products are dead sexy – but being a life-long case-junkie I was more interested in their advice about how to build a sniper case.

Pages seventy-eight and seventy-nine of LaRue Tactical’s “LaRue Accuracy Report” outline a premium option for creating a custom foam case.

My hat’s off to LaRue for their extremely concise and informative article titled, “DIY Custom Sniper Case,” or “Make Your Own Custom Sniper Case: Cutting Gun Case Foam Like A Pro,” depending on where you look in the publication.

The most impressive aspect of the piece is the detailed instruction LaRue provides for how to make a hot wire foam cutter. The accompanying diagram and photos, while small, help illustrate the narrative exceptionally well. The specifications required to build a cutter are provided clearly and purposefully.

Not only does the article cover the wire cutter, it thoroughly covers one process for tracing your items onto the foam.

To obtain a copy of the LaRue Accuracy Report, send an email to tim@larue.com with the subject, “Accuracy Report Request – TTAG Reader,” and include your mailing information in the email.

If you’re not into building electrical circuits and working with hot wires, but still want to cut foam, you have three great alternative tools you can use:

Static Knife: My go-to knife is a Cutco Fisherman’s Friend fillet knife (above) because it is thin and has an adjustable length blade. Serrated knives also work but do not cut as cleanly.

Electric Knife: Some folks prefer an electric fillet knife or bread cutter. I have used them both free-hand and mounted to a workbench to operate like a table saw or band saw.

• Band Saw: A band saw will create a very nice, clean cut. However, because the blade has no end you will need to cut through the outside edge of the foam, or from one area to other area once you are inside the foam, then glue the seams together at the end.

One of my current projects is a custom case (above) to house a G20C with accompanying kit. The case is divided into three levels, the lower of which is hand-cut to fit the “hard goods” using my Cutco fillet knife. It’s not perfect, but it’s going to get beat to hell so I will get another stab at perfection (literally).

As you prepare for your next custom case project, take into account these three pieces of advice:

1. Have a specific purpose and plan, but prepare to be flexible

2. Choose your case based on your items, not your items based on your case

3. Take your time at the workbench

Good luck and don’t be afraid to make a mistake; the price of new foam is a small one to pay for perfection.

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28 Responses to 3 Tips for Cutting Foam for a Custom Gun Case from LaRue Tactical

    • Actually those guys in the distance are operators from Bushmaster coming over to brag about their Big Green sugar daddy.

      Light em up LaRue!

    • maybe he is just doing overwatch so those three fine folks make it to their tesla without getting their asses kicked by a group of capitalist hating antifa hiding in the bushes directly in front of them.

      Is that better for your snowflake sensibilities?

      • I’m hardly a snowflake but I’ll accept your read of the cover.

        I’d probably bet they are just waiting for their hybrid Uber to come and pick them up and take them to Starbucks under armed guard after showing people what democracy looks like by smashing and burning a lot of stuff except Starbucks is one of the places they burned.

        “OK, the phrase ‘cover me’ doesn’t mean you point the gun at me.”

      • I hate the term snowflake when leveled against a conservative. I feel like it really ought to be reserved for the PC-Principal and SJW types.

        Maybe that makes me a snowflake.

    • I can confirm, from my direct observation, lots of soldiers, sailors, Marines, operators and not, wearing LaRue hats while behind the gun in combat.

  1. Keep in mind the mass of the items you will be packing in the case.

    I ruined a block of Pelican case foam when I didn’t take into account how much the heavy object would move in the foam if the case was dropped. Instead of a ‘thonk’ when it hit the ground, it made an unhappy ‘crack’ sound when the chassis met the case wall…

  2. I used an electric carving knife for my cases. Just plan out how you want things, flip the foam over, and trace the mirror image. *REMEMBER!!!!* Leave at least an inch between the walls and any items and/or the case walls.

    Also, if the case has wheels, put heavier items on that side, not the “top” (where there are no wheels).

  3. Question for the author: what barrel length is the upper of the SBR in the first picture of your custom G20 case? Is it a Wilson Combat upper? I’ve been considering one for myself and debating between the 8 inch and the 11.3 inch length.

    • Thanks for your question, Peter. The upper is actually a mutt, built for T&E so you will soon see reviews for most of the components. Here are the specs:
      -Barrel: Spinta Precision 7.5″ 223 Wylde SS, 1:7
      -Rail: Trinity Force 7” Atlas Rail
      -Upper Receiver: Cross Machine Tool UPUR-2 Billet Upper – No Forward Assist

  4. This is not difficult, I used to make gun cases for a living. Take your time and if you have access to a floor stand jig saw (fine tooth), it’s even easier. Measure and double check the pattern, and then, check again. You will want a very slight undersized cut ( grip, no movement). Take your time and it will be very professional work.

  5. Don’t really know or for that matter care,! why so many credulous followers of the crowed; keep trying to trick me into putting my guns away in some box or cabinet. NO!!!, I’ll not put my guns in box. I will keep them out and loaded at all times! Most IRREFUTABLE! A loaded gun at hand or least strapped to my hip, is far more useful to me than one locked away in a bow where I cannot access the weapon. If I just keep my firearm looked up and boxed up, why have it anyway.

    • It’s for transporting your expensive rifle thousands of miles so you can spend thousands of dollars to shoot a fenced-in deer from a few hundred feet (see article from earlier today).

      Urban hunter wannabees gotta operate, you know.

    • Because there are plenty of times you want to transport your rifle, especially a range toy, in a protected case so its not banging around in your car or what not. No one ever said you had to disarm yourself and through all your precious guns in protective cases at the same time. Most of us here have more firearms than any one of us could use at one time. The others get put places where they are protected from the elements, hidden from the eyes of would be thieves, etc.

  6. Serrated knives or saw blades is the ticket…I bought all hard cases for my custom guns. Some had pick apart foam blocks and that’s pretty easy to do a decent job of fitting gun and what not to the case. An issue that arises is the middle layer of foam needs to be affixed to the bottom layer other wise it comes out with the gun. I bought a Pelican Storm case for my M40 clone. I should have spent the money to get it CNC’d but the price ($175 I believe) was ridiculous. I cut it myself. It’s functional. Then I found out how damn heavy a good hard case and gun is. They take up a lot of space on the bench or on the line at a LR match. Went back to soft cases for my daily trips to the range. Put the hard cases in the attic until my next trip to Montana or Wyoming.

    • That is pretty much the way I work as well.

      I’ve got entirely too many Pelican/Storm cases and even more custom inserts for various applications. And I rarely use them unless (1) I’m taking quite a few rifles to the range at once, so stacking the hard cases makes it nice and ‘safe’, or (2) long trips/shipping.

      Other than that, if it is just a few rifles, two good padded soft cases works for range trips.

      The only normal exception is when I’m taking a lower with a bunch of different uppers at the same time. I’ve got a special pelican for holding two lowers and 6 uppers for that. And I use that one quite a bit. Its just handy for keeping all of that organized and protected.

  7. When I got a Pelican I read on what to use. Tried a Harbor Freight hot knife… that sucked. Tried a box cutter, that was better. Tried an exacto knife, tried a serrated blade. Then I said screw it and tried my Benchmade Mini Barrage and it sliced straight through with no issue.

    Afterwards I posted it and people were wondering how I got such clean lines.

    I heard about the electric knife solution as well, but a lot of people were saying it just frayed the edges. Don’t know about the bandsaw, but that would probably do well, with the exception that you need to make that initial cut to get into the foam (and on larger foam it’s probably a PITA to deal with). I also recall someone rigging up a thin wire basically to a power source and that worked well too.

    But I figure a nice sharp knife long enough to cut through the whole thing is probably the best of all worlds. Easy, not complicated and your probably have a good blade whether it’s in your pocket or in your kitchen. I would just recommend you make an outline from the bottom and cut from there.

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