AR-15 Nosler Experiments – Thoughts added

Using the same AR-15 now updated with Timney Trigger, Leupold scope and mounting system I shot in single shot mode with 77 grain Nosler Custom Competition bullets and 23 grains of Reloader 15. The cartridge overall length was 2.435 inches. I expected the rifle to shoot tighter groups at least 1 inch at 100 yards as the bullet was closer to the rifle lands. Best case was one group at just over 5/8 inch and two groups at around 1 1/4 inches. This is good but this rifle can do better, I think.

Back at the reloading bench today, I tried three different powders but I really did not want to shoot them in single shot mode so I shot them at just under the max cartridge overall length of 2.260 so they would fit in the clip. I shot 3 shot groups at 100 yards with wind under 5mph.

GROUP#         BULLET                                POWDER                SPREAD                                         

Group 1       69 grain Nosler CC Bullet with  23 grains Varget       1 3/4 inches

Group 2      69 grain Nosler CC Bullet with  23 grains Varget         1 3/16 inches

Group 3      69 grain Nosler CC Bullet with  23 grains Varget          1.0 inches


Group 4      69 grain Nosler CC Bullet with  22.5 grains IMR 4895  1.0 inches

Group 5      69 grain Nosler CC Bullet with 22.5 grains IMR 4895  1 1/4 inches


Group 6      77 grain Nosler CC Bullet with 23 grains RL-15           1 1/16 inches

Group 7      77 grain Nosler CC Bullet with 23 grains RL-15           1.0 inches

Group 8      77 grain Nosler CC Bullet with 23 grains RL-15 1.5 inches (two of the bullets are 1/2 inch apart, one looks like a flyer)


Each group had at least 1 group at 1.0 but the 77 grain Nosler CC has two groups (6 &7) basically at 1.0 or 1 MOA and the other 77 grain group may have a flyer. This preliminary data was expected that the heavier bullet will outperform. From a Mil-Spec Semi-Auto Carbine with a 16 inch barrel this is very good. Thus it translates to keeping 6 inch groups at 600 yards and 10 inch groups at 1000 yards if there were no wind. I need to repeat this test  with 77 grain bullets but at 150 yards, the farthest at my club before trying 600 yards.

After Thoughts

Group 1 was way out of line and it is likely that I was not warmed up and relaxed. Hitting the bench cold can sometimes do that.  Thus I think that the Varget Group 1,2,3 needs repeating after a warm up of a few practice shots. I used the scopes power at 12x to split an orange 1 inch square on each target into 1/4 inch quadrants as I squeezed the trigger.

© 2016

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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game
such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.