Ruger® M77® Hawkeye® Predator 6.5 Creedmoor & Product Tests – Day One
Day One – I did not waste a moment when I picked up this rifle from my FFL friends at State Line Guns Ammo and Archery in Plaistow today. Yes, I am like a big kid in a candy store when it comes to new rifles and scopes and I am sure most all of your rifleman out there are just the same. Upon receiving the rifle, I inspected it and all was as it should be visually a beautiful rifle with the laminate stock. I mounted the brand new Leupold VX-6 3 -18 x 44mm CDS Scope to test too.(Above Photo by Author). The combination looks stunning! Future Testing includes the use of Hornady Brass, CCI Primers, Hodgdon Hornady Superformance Powder and Sierra bullets a combination that I believe will work supremely well.
I inspected the bore but it was a dull shine so I swabbed the bore with Butches bore bright. It is a good idea to clean the bore of a new rifle so you have a pristine starting point. Test shots are taken at the factory as was very likely in this case.
(Photo by Author)
The swab on the right was a first pass. Finding this, I ran a brush just once and then swabbed again with the patch to the left. I ran more till the bore was clean. Having owned several Ruger’s, I placed the bolt in the rifle and it worked smoothly. I did read the manual to see if there was anything new and found there were video’s which could be viewed on line for use and dis-assembly plus the lock they provide for safety and a pair of 20mm Ruger scope rings. Luckily I had a pair of 30mm rings for the Leupold VX-6 to attach to the Ruger scope platform.
I used a Wheeler Fat Wrench to torque the mounting and scope ring screws. (Photo by Author)
Next is to load the new Hornady cartridge cases, I could not get any Nosler cases as they were out of stock but the Hornady Cases look terrific. (Photo below by Author)
The brass necks and shoulder have been annealed (softened) for reloading. Now off to the reloading bench. I have found that the necks of this new brass need to be really hand chamfered quite a bit on the inside edge so that the flat base bullet does not distress the case neck angle. I ruined a few cases and bullet heads in the learning process but all is well. It took some time and trial and error to determine the cartridge length to the rifling inside the barrel (approx.2.53 to 2.6 inches by my reckoning seems a good COL for the 120 grain bullet based on later tests). Once known you should seat the bullet a bit deeper, so as not to contact the rifling. Good reloading manuals will help with this distance away from the lands and it varies from bullet to bullet and brand to brand. I used CCI 200 large rifle primers.
My research indicates that Hodgdon Hornady Superformance Powder is one of the best powders for my Sierra 120 grain Pro Hunter bullet for the 6.5 Creedmoor. Also Alliant’s Reloader 17 has been cited for excellence with the Creedmoor too.
Inspection of several fired rounds indicate that I am good to load up some ammo for another day. The recoil was pleasingly mild and the trigger seemed perfect. I will measure the trigger pull next with an electronic trigger pull gage along with other attributes.
I loaded less than a recommended load by a grain and a half, shot the round and examined the primer and cartridge. All looked normal so I shot the recommended load and it looked normal as well. Great! Now to load up some rounds for bullet speed by chronograph and accuracy with the new scope for this load and bullet. End of Day One. Much more to come… © 2015