I have never swapped out a barrel before but my son Jason has. So we will endeavor to see the new barrel and talk shop with Jason to take the barrel off a Savage 110 and put a new one on. And more…
Advanced Shooters – First and foremost, if you are going to hunt long range western game such as elk, deer, antelope beyond 300 yards then you must practice at long ranges beyond 300 yards. It can and is being done all the time by skilled folks with a math background. I have only shot game out to MPBR Max Point blank range of 300 yards and shot target to 600 yards. This exercise was good for me and good for the game I hunt.
Below is an exercise only for those that are advanced shooters and willing to practice at longer shots. Out west where you can sometimes see for a mile or more, necessitates having this skill to bring home the bacon. I need more training too if I consider this as an option.
Ethics are a constant in my mind and should be in yours as well. If you are prone to uncontrollable buck fever this article may not be for you. The exercise though has some value for those thinking they can just kill a deer at 500 yards without these skills are dreaming.
The recent long range competitive rifle match I participated in gave me confidence that all of the detail work in understanding my rifle, scope, and bullet speed can kill game at longer ranges than Max Point Blank Range which is usually 240 to 330 yards. The spoilers in this type of hunting is often wind, angle of shot, altitude, energy delivered e.g. (1000 ft-lb for deer) and bullet design speed (e.g. 2000 fps). If the wind theoretically blows your bullet off the 6 inch kill zone but you know the wind angle and speed then you can correct for it by creating a table for elevation, windage,and energy delivered and make that shot.
The tools you need are a chronograph, rangefinder, wind meter or wind knowledge and time at the range determining the best hunting bullet and powder to deliver the tightest variation in bullet velocities, Ballistic Software – I use JBM Ballistic software for free on-line trajectory calculation and to determine come-up clicks or minutes needed to hit the heart lung area of game (6 inches for deer, 8 inches for elk) and also for windage adjustments.
Laser rangefinders are a given in the above situation and must adjust for shot angle solutions as well in steep terrain. Leupold makes great rangefinders. I have tested the Leupold RX 1200i DNA and find it works well on distance and angle for bow or rifle with max range around 1000 or so yards. The steadier you hold to rangefinder, the more accurate it is.
On Bullets – I am a huge fan of Nosler AccuBond® and Nosler E-Tips® for hunting big game. I have killed moose and bison with the AccuBond and deer with the E-Tip. I am a fan of all gilding copper bullets but for long distance the AccuBond is one of my go-to bullets. Example: 6.5 Creedmoor 142 grain AccuBond Long Range is in the drop down menu for the bullet
Step 1 Velocity must be chronographed with the actual rifle and bullet. e.g. 2635 fps with RL-15 powder. I have the SHOOTING CHRONY F1 **MASTER** Chronograph – FPS – at $120 dollars.
Step 2 Zero Scope at 100 yards and set elevation dial to zero as in my Leupold VX-6 and side focus to 100 yards.
Step 3 Use JBM ballistics to calculate come up clicks for given ranges and create a table for distance, minute correction for drop, wind deflection and energy, velocity limits. Set zero range in the software at the distance you want to shoot and then read the bullet MOA adjustment at 100 yards
Distance to game is approximately 400 yards by your rangefinder. Place 400 yards in the “zero range” of the software and hit calculate. At 100 yards where you actually zeroed the rifle will indicate on the software printout that you will need to adjust 7.7 minutes of up elevation to make that shot at 400 yards. Adjust the elevation dial to about 7.7 minutes and side focus to 400 yards See below.
The more complete your table is for range say in 25 yard increments than you can see more accurately your come-up adjustments in minutes. Let’s say your deer was 425 yards give or take then the table you will have in the field will indicate 8.5 minutes for 425 yards, Get it? That is 3 3/4 inches to adjust for that 25 yard difference.
Wind Meter – Kestrel 1000 or similar for under 100 bucks can help with wind. See the article below for more on wind values
Cartridges and game kills at ranges beyond 300 yards include my favorites such as .270 Winchester, 7mm Rem. Mag, 300 Win Mag on up to .338. The .270 WSM seems popular for LR hunters and there is also a long range following for the 7mm STW (Shooting Times Western) that can reach out to nearly 700 yards with 1000 ft-lbs energy at a 2000 fps bullet speed. Recoil becomes an issue for these larger calibers. Lots to think about for sure, but if you want to go this route then, it can be done.
Otherwise your calculated Max Point Blank Range with JBM software is a great solution where you just range your distant game, aim and shoot out to your MPBR of say 270 or so yards based on your rifle and be done with all the fuss.
After having spent 23 years working for AT&T in manufacturing as a Chemist and later a line manager and Quality Engineer, I am encouraged by advances in American Rifle, Bullet and Cartridge Manufacturing and Optical Technology I have tested here at NH Rifleman. There are many other great American companies but here at NH Rifleman we have tested some of them and are proud of their American Manufacture.
Impressive is the word. In particular the ability to redesign from the ground up as evidenced by the Ruger American® Rifle and Savage® Manufacturing like its AccuTrigger®, AccuStock®. and Timney® and Hornady® innovations in cartridges, bullets and reloading. And Leupold Scope innovations in clarity, coatings and ruggedness, Binoculars, Laser Rangefinders, Spotting Scopes and so much more. Nosler has been the go to company for my hunting bullets for years. Their cases bullets and now rifles are sought the world over.
Please take a moment to see how these American made products had their beginnings. It is a worthwhile read to understand these quintessential American manufacturing roots that began with hunting and shooting folks like you and me.
Hornady Manufacturing in Nebraska
Quote from website: “Ten bullets through one hole” was the philosophy of Joyce Hornady, the company’s founder. This great idea of accuracy and perfection has continued from the first bullet made more than sixty years ago, right through today.”
Leupold and Stevens Manufacture in Oregon
It’s roots began making survey equipment and later more innovative Optics Products.
Nosler Bullets made in the USA
From the website: “In the fall of 1946, a stubborn, mud-caked Canadian moose failed to go down, despite a well placed shot from John Nosler’s 300 H&H. On the way home from that trip, John started thinking about a way to make a bullet that would perform well every time, no matter what the size of the game or the shot angle.” Read more below.
Sturm Ruger Manufacture in New Hampshire
Quote from website: “When Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. opened for business in 1949 with a meager $50,000 investment, the Company faced serious doubts from industry insiders. The “it can’t be done” remarks of the experts reflected the widespread view that the manufacture of guns had likely peaked, and was in a state of decline. There seemed to be few new ideas, and the apparent trend was that the large, established-name gunmakers would continue to dominate the market.” Read more below.
Savage Arms is a Global enterprise and part of Vista Outdoors, Inc. and made in America, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Europe and Asia.
Quote from Website: “The Savage Arms Company was organized in 1894 by Arthur Savage in Utica, New York. A native of Jamaica, Arthur led a romantic life, having been schooled in England and the United States. In his thirties, he explored the interior of Australia and was held captive for a year by Aborigines. Later, he became the owner of the largest cattle ranch in Australia.” Read more below
Timney Triggers Made in USA
Quote from website: “Established in 1946 by Allen Timney, Timney Triggers was founded on the need for easy-to-install, single-stage triggers for shooting enthusiasts sporterizing military rifles in the post-WWII era. Allen built triggers for bolt-action rifles such as Mausers, Springfields and Enfields and Timney quickly became known as the aftermarket trigger company for bolt-action rifles.” Read more below.
In Saturday’s Nashua shoot, The AR-15 with a Colt chrome lined barrel took the heat of 15 shots and left the barrel cooler than I thought. I was significantly impressed.
There were those at the shoot that, somewhat understandably, looked down on my so called long range rig with 16 inch barrel and others that could not believe it could shoot that well. It was set up with a Sinclair Single Shot Magazine follower seen below inside the top of this magazine where the cartridge is cradled.
For what my rifle is and does as an AR, it is terrific with Leupold VX-6 3-18 44mm scope the epitome of superior rifle scopes,
the crisp Timney 2 stage drop-in trigger
and superior Nosler Custom Cases that are hand tailored and weighed for match grade shooting.
and superior Competition bullets
can hold its own.
Of Larger Calibers – But all said, the caliber of .223 with a short barrel has definite long range velocity limits that are much more restrictive than say the 6mm or 6.5mm cartridges for long range both in ballistics and in bullet weight,velocity and light recoil. So If I remain shooting in these matches, a faster and heavier bullet such as the 6mm, 6.5mm or .308 are better choices. That is why a Savage model 12 Long Range Precision Rifle is coming to NH Rifleman for testing.
It is 2 pound heavier than most hunting rifles (11 pounds) but can be carried in the field if the need arises perhaps but testing will answer that question. The aforementioned bullet calibers are great hunting rounds and home protection rounds too with a rifle that can be easily handled.
The Superior and versatile AR – But here is where none of the so called High Power Match Rifles can touch the AR-15; In semi-auto the AR-15 can place accurate bullets down range at a target in volume out past 600 yards. The rounds that I loaded were capable of loading into a magazine and fired in semi-auto mode.
From a self defense/home defense perspective the AR models shine like a bright star with an aim point device for short range to 100 yards or a Scope out to more than 600 yards. The scope below has a sun shield added to prevent glare.
So if volume of rounds at the target was part of the competition, the AR will beat the pants off the rest hands down and can be carried easily in the field. Some Long Range rigs in F Class are so heavy that the cannot be effectively carried in the field or used for any other purpose.
From a Hunting Perspective – I believe, it is the ability of an accurate rifle to be mobile and light enough to carry that places it among real rifles that are versatile and have hunting and home protection use that delight me most. Below is a Ruger® Hawkeye® Predator Rifle in bolt action that I tested recently in Stainless with 6.5 Creedmoor. This rifle is just fantastic as a bolt action and geared for all weather long range or short range hunting and target. It comes in other calibers like the 308 Winchester and in a few varmint calibers too.
This past fall I hunted with a Savage 11/111 Long Range Hunter in 7mm Rem Magnum and took a small buck at 300 yards. See the back article on this hunt!
It was Sub MOA accurate, but I did not need the muzzle brake and the steel took more care to prevent rust that I liked.
The Ruger American I tested in .243 Winchester took my by storm with its sub-moa accuracy and price. See back articles on this rifle. I own one and love it.
Another winner the Savage Predator. See back articles too.
From a hunting and long range perspective the traditional bolt action rifle is still superior. easy to carry and can handle any cartridge for serious target or long range hunting. Both Ruger and Savage do a fine job with accurate rifles.
This shoot was conducted by NRA guidelines at 300, 500 and 600 yards at Nashua Fish and Game’s 600 yard range. A 20 dollar entry fee and compliance with the equipment I was using for F Class. Below is a 500 yard target for F Class as an example.
See the Chuck Hawkes article on getting started below.
I tried to register for the new F- AR-15 class but since I was the only shooter, I was placed in F class Open with scope and bi-pod. Attending were approximately 18 shooters give or take, I didn’t count them. . My son Jason was shooting his .308 Winchester in a target model. This was his and my first of many rifle competitions. His schedule works ideal for these weekend shoots and my schedule does not, but I will find the time for more.
Shoot info can be found on the Nashua F&G website under High Power.
At the outset there was concern that my 600 yard 223 cartridge a few days earlier was hitting the target subsonic.
I remedied that with a heavier load and it worked just fine for the 600 yard targets. I was able to use my slower loads at 300 and 500 no problem. The day began with wind in the 10-12 mph class blowing directly at us for the most part. Liuckily at 11:30 AM the wind dropped to near zero to five mph for my turn at 600 yards. I was able with the AR-15 with 16 inch barrel 1/7 twist to hit 10 ring more than I thought and lots of 9 ring hits, and to a lesser extent some 8, 7,6,5 rings were in the mix of hits as well. I was very lucky to have done so well because the wind was not a large factor today. I shot right beside my son so it was a father son event as it were. You can shoot in this event whether young or older like me. I did not have time to do justice to the many photo ops I missed because I shot instead but we will remedy that in the future. Our score cards were turned in and we will be notified as to the score. Personally the score is unimportant at this point, it was the learning by shooting – that is the real prize.
Good Shooting! If I have more photo’s that come available I will update this article.
Below is my first sight-in for the Nosler 223 77g heads at Nashua’s 600 yards range at an F class target in single shot mode with my AR-15 w/16 inch barrel.
I told the range officer that my JBM calculation said that from my zero at 100 yards, it needed 26 minutes up but he wanted me to start at 15 minutes up and thought my calculation was in error (that was being kind). It took all of 26 minutes virtical adjust to get it zeroed after 5 shots and 11 more minutes up. My software was correct but you must follow the range officer’s guidance as we do not want to overshoot the target. The scope was terrific at 18x as was the 2 stage Timney Trigger. The Nosler Custom bullets and Custom Brass is superb. I just need more speed.
After the first 5 shots in the 8/9 ring the bullets began to drop so I kept bringing it up to 27 minutes to get back near the 9 ring. Bullet speed at muzzle was 2320 fps but at 600 yards there was no crack from the sound barrier, thus at the target I was subsonic. Perhaps at around 1000 fps where 1100 fps breaks the sound barrier. There was little wind to affect the lateral movement seriously. The only thing I could figure is that just warming the barrel a bit was enough to drop 8 inches, so I had to keep adjusting to compensate. I will reload for Saturday’s shoot. I expect I will not win or place but burning powder is the only way to see what all the front end works does. I had fun and learned a lot! Others shooting 6mm, 6.5 mm and .308 did so much better group wise as the bullets traveled faster and with heavy bull barrels most bullets hit the 9 or 10 ring.
If the wind blew just 5 mph laterally I could be right or left by 25 or so inches. Yep that much! A faster bullet helps immensely. I will try the 69 grain Nosler’s at a future practice to see the difference. I will keep you posted on Saturdays shoot.
Nashua High Power Match – Mid Range Prone this Saturday will be a first father/son event for me.
My Son Jason and I will compete in different categories perhaps at 300, 500 and 600 yards. He will likely use his Savage Model in .308 Winchester. I think his Savage is the 10/110 and it shoots 1/4 inch groups at 100 yards on a good day. I will be debuting my AR-15 .223 with Nosler 77 grain Custom Competition Bullets in my first high power prone rifle competition ever dispite my many years of hunting and plinking.
It is likely I will shoot in the Open Class with bipod. Most ranges have forbidden the use of 55 and 62 grain bullets at these longer ranges because they tend to lose stability at those ranges. My 77 grain Nosler’s are slow at 2320 fps and drop nearly 28 MOA at 600 yards but are very stable in flight. I do not have a 20 MOA rail add-on yet but am considering one to give me more range flexibility. I will load up and practice this Thursday at Nashua. Stay tuned for my pre-match and post match report.
The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge is taking the High Power competitive target world to a new level of excellence especially for 600 and 1000 yards. The 6.5 Creedmoor developed by Hornady in 2007 and manufactured since 2008. It is a collaboration of Dave Emary, Hornady’s Senior Ballistician, and Dennis DeMille, General Manager of Creedmoor Sports.
As a hunting cartridge it is mighty fine for deer, bear, elk and African Plains game like Gemsbok, Kudu, Impala, Blesbok and the like. Down range energy with the Nosler AccuBond 130 or 140 grain delivering more than 1500 ft-lbs at 250 yards according to JMB ballistics.
As with all shots at game, with good bullet choice and shot placement. at long range too provided the hunter does his or her part.
The problem, it seems, is that the cartridge is not widely available like the 308 Winchester or .243 Winchester. This leaves the hunter and target shooter to purchase cartridges way ahead of time or get the components and load it yourself as I am. You can’t go to the local sporting goods store and pick up a box.
Image below courtesy Wikipedia 6.5 Creedmoor.
Left to right: 308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Winchester 6.5 Grendel and .223 Remington.
For bench-rest and the target population it begins with a good brass case. Hornady today is the king of availability for new brass but when target folks have a chance there are other makers that do custom brass work but are in such short supply.
The primers? There are many on the market like Winchester and Federal but I like CCI Benchrest Primers like the BR-2 as do many target folks that you can follow on-line. These primers are hard to come by as well.
On powders, my research finds that there are several that work well such as H4350, Varget, RL 17, and Superformance. I don’t have the RL 17 to test yet but have the others. Recoil is mild to moderate. In a heavy target rifle it is mild.
Do your homework as I am doing and you will be rewarded. Bullets for hunting or target and you will find Berger, Hornady, Sierra (shown above) , and Nosler in good stead and with very high ballistic coefficients above a G1 of 0.6 for target and in the 0.3 to 0.4 for hunting long range, if you have that proven skill and practice.
One can say that I am new to high power target shooting but I can prepare with the best of them with over 30 years of reloading. Reloading for 6.5 Creedmoor needs special purchases.
Things I need:
Redding Competition Seating dies for bullets. I have the RCBS reloading die set but need a better seating die. Not cheap at around $130 dollars. It is the best!
Bullets for long range target: Nosler, Sierra, Berger and Hornady among others.
Below, a Sierra 142 grain HPBT Match bullet
Brass Cases Hornady
Lock N Load Cartridge COL Gage used to determine bullet distance to barrel rifling.
I have not worked up target loads as of this writing but I will with Rifle
By the end of May, in less than 60 days, New Hampshire Rifleman will have a spanking new Model 12 LRP Rifle to test. It is a rifle that hopefully can shoot groups so tight that there is only 1 ragged hole in the target at 100 yards and tight groups at 600 yards. It will be great fun if we can achieve that. We shall see…
Here are the Model 12 Long Range Precision stat’s:
This rifle is a bit heavy to carry all day in the woods but from a blind or stand or from shooting sticks, bi-pod or mono-pod this rifle can hunt too, though it is at its best in Competition. I prefer a lighter rifle for hunting but this rifle can do the job at really long distances if a laser rangefinder and perfect practice are employed. In the meantime, I have to get ready with the Cartridge, a labor of love. See the next article in this series.
by Jon Draper – Monday, January 11, 2016
Casey’s gaze was steady. Her form exemplary. Raising and drawing her bow, the world around her faded to black. The coyote took off, reaching full stride in mere seconds. Tracking the predator for a fraction of a moment, Casey’s trigger finger reacted on instinct and her arrow sailed and hit home. A perfect shot behind the shoulder. Under normal circumstances, Casey’s next action would be admiring a trophy and a shot few hunters ever get a chance to take, let alone make. Today, however, 15-year-old Casey would simply move on, pleased with the addition of 10 points to her score, and the coyote-on-a-string target would be reset for the next hunter.
The girl I just described, though fictitious, is as real as they come, and the feat she displayed occurs all across the country at various NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) events.
“If they could just get off the computer and stop playing those darned video games!”
“In my day, kids played outside and actually learned something.”
Despite the particulars of the criticism, we’ve all heard it at some point in our lives. The message: Today’s youth aren’t spending as much time outdoors as we did. Is there some truth to it? For sure. Is technology to blame? In part, perhaps. Have we gone past the point of no return? Are the youth of tomorrow doomed to couch-potato status? Mobile device zombies with pop culture consumeristic dribble forced into their minds? Whoa, let’s not get carried away. While the fear of raising a generation of “indoor” children who may not chose to have hunting as a part of their lives is certainly justified, there is a segment of kids today that still see the woods as their playground and can probably teach you a thing or two about wildlife. Because for the more than 6,000 kids 18 and under participating in NRA’s YHEC program across the country, hunting is life.
Since 1985, the NRA YHEC program has been providing an exciting and practical environment for kids to develop and improve their hunting, marksmanship and safety skills. Deemed a “graduate” hunter education course, YHEC, through its simulated hunting scenarios, live-fire exercises and educational and responsibility events builds upon skills learned in basic hunter education courses and encourages safer, lifelong hunting habits. NRA’s YHEC program is developing the next generation of hunters. These are hunters who will buy licenses, practice ethical hunting and eventually pass along their knowledge of the outdoors to the next generation. And they are impressive.
While it’s true there are increasing challenges that stand in the way of youth participation in the hunting sports, technology, and in turn a lack of desire, are not solely responsible for this decline. Urbanization plays a bigger role. Places to hunt are becoming more difficult to find, and the hunting culture itself is beginning to fade. Historically, hunting was a tradition passed on to youngsters by older, experienced hunters, be they family members, mentors or friends. Unfortunately, in the technology-filled, time-strapped world we live in, many adults, faced with longer work hours and growing costs of living, are finding it harder and harder to make time to take kids afield. Some kids, despite their interest, may be part of a family where hunting wasn’t a tradition and have no one to turn to.
So, are you a parent who wishes you had more time and opportunities to share the outdoors with your children? Perhaps you work for a state game agency or are a hunter education instructor and are looking for ways to get more young people involved in the sport we love. Maybe you’re searching for ways to increase your hunting or shooting club’s outreach to the local community. Or maybe you’re just an adult who, as a kid, realized the value of time spent with grown-ups in the field, and you want to make sure the next generation is able to enjoy the benefits of hunting and the outdoors as well. In any case, the NRA YHEC program is the answer.
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