My first shots with Savage Model 12 today. My best group 1/2 inch at 100 yds out of the box. Of course we will shoot even better as I get accustomed to the rifle. Today I used my Leupold VX-6 at 10 power. Bullets were Sierra 142 g HPBT with 40.7 g H4350 powder and CCI BR-2 primers. Wind was swirling 5-10 mph mostly toward the shooter from 12 oclock or around there.
The difference between a hunting bullet and a target bullet, in the strictest sense, is that a target bullet is required only to place a hole in paper with exacting micrometer like accuracy.
On the other hand a hunting bullet needs to strike the vital zone of your game animal such as a deer, elk or bear within the vital heart lung area usually 6 to 8 inches in diameter, then expand as it travels though vital tissue to create a wound channel through the animal and preferably exit to leave a blood trail. Is there a middle ground where both target and hunting bullets meet? The answer is a resounding YES!
I believe what has changed is the use of ballistic science coupled with new manufacturing and test equipment with tolerances that are so much better than that of the 1960’s and 1970’s and its impact on bullet manufacture cost and overall quality.
In many cases today hunting bullets have the same exacting quality as some of today’s target bullets and the cost associated with each are not orders of magnitude different. So you can use hunting bullets, in many cases, for target competition because the bullet ballistic’s on the outside are the same, such as Nosler with their “Ballistic tip” and Nosler AccuBond and e-Tip and the new Hornady ELD-X (Extremely Low Drag eXpanding) Hunting bullet and their line of other hunting bullets that equally can be used for Match grade target Competition. Of course there are other companies doing great things but these are good examples.
It was Hornady just recently that used science to validate long range ballistics using Doppler Radar (Yes the same technology used by police to detect your car speed) and determined that the bullet meplat (tip) of polycarbonate was melting and needed to be reformulated to be heat resistant.
In general American bullet manufacturing is moving in that direction as a science. And it is we the shooters and hunters that benefit. The movement of today’s manufacturing also reduces cost for total cartridge manufacture making shooting less expensive and more attractive to shooting and hunting enthusiasts. And they are made in America!!!
My heart quickens at the thought of testing each new rifle, scope and accessories here at New Hampshire Rifleman… Like Christmas in the summer. As you are aware if you read articles here at New Hampshire Rifleman, we are going to test the Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor. I am told that this Rifle can really shoot and sports a 26 inch barrel/w 1-8 twist. It just arrived to my FFL. I drove over just minutes ago and filled out the background check as usual and the rifle is home in my office Wow! We shall see. I used my Lyman Electronic Trigger pull gauge and the Target model accuTrigger weighed in at an average of 2 lbs pull out of the box. The red target trigger is adjustable as low as 6 oz and as high as 2.5 pounds.
I ran a Hornady bullet OAL gauge in the bore to find lands at 2.868 inches w/ my Sierra bullets.
Max SAAMI COL is 2.825 but need one caliber worth of grip to hold bullet which will be closer to 2.80 inches for a safer COL for this bullet.
along with a “New” 2016 Leupold VX-3i/w aggressively redesigned power selector. Shipping to NH Rifleman soon…
a 20 MOA Picatinny rail add-on to reach out there and the famous RX 1200i DNA Laser rangefinder with TBR.
And the test bed Match grade 142 grain bullets from Sierra – The Bulletsmiths®
Cartridges with the new Hornady® ELD-X™ Hunting bullets see earlier article. The Sierra bullets and cartridges have arrived but no rifle yet but it is on its way to my FFL dealer here in Plaistow, NH.
I will hand load the Sierra’s, one at a time… details to come.
The new Hornady® ELD-X™ (Extremely Low Drag eXpanding) bullet is designed for hunting performance at long ranges and mushroom as low as 1800 fps (its design speed low end and still mushroom). At close range it expands correctly and stays together says Hornady at almost point blank range too. A bullet for all practical ranges. I will be testing some in 6.5 Creedmoor 143 grain shortly for Match accuracy. Claim to fame Heat Shield™ Tip for Extremely Low Drag (BC G7 is 0.315). Check it out!! More to come…
Button Rifling has in the past been seen as the best in producing highly accurate barrels. It is accomplished by forcing a button like device down a barrel to cut grooves or rifling. It is not a volume process and the devil is in the Quality Control details.
But today, Heavy Machine Hammer Forged barrels produce barrels just as accurate and in volume. Quality Control again is necessary to ensure a barrel will shoot well. Some companies are legendary in the button rifle barrel making process and hold a place in the hearts of Competitive shooters even today but again, no volume. Ruger and others makes hammer forged barrels that can shoot 1/2 inch groups or better out of the box based on my testing so that means 1 inch groups at 200 yards. For hunting that is all you need unless you are target shooting in competition.
But more than that, the technology of hammer forging keeps getting better so expect that hammer forging to advance and make button rifling less attractive but it will never disappear as button rifle barrel making is an art form and skill of a human metal smith. And a few of these metal smiths are near magicians in the art of barrel making. More to come on this topic.