Initial Tests Hornady ELD-X Precision Hunter Ammo 6.5 Creedmoor-Update 7/4/16

See  below for update.

This Precision Hunter™ ammo from Hornady features “the 143 grain  ELD-X™ bullet and carefully selected propellant and primer to deliver match accurate hunting ammunition.”  Every gun is a bit different in how this ammo shoots. Below I tested it for bullet speed. It is advertized to shoot 2700 fps at the muzzle but does not state barrel length. I assume a 24 inch barrel but I am shooting a 26 inch barrel and as advertised it was 2700 fps plus my two extra inches of barrel making it around 2738 fps give or take. Nice!image of Savage m12 lrp with leupold vx3i looking down range

I left the zero as it was from shooting Sierra 142 grain HPBT target bullet traveling an average speed of 2706 fps. Below are Groups 1 thru 4. Cold barrel shots are very different 1.3 inch group and high. I made no changes and shot groups 2,3, and 4. G 2 was 0.73″, G3 was 0.53″ and G4 was 1.45 inches.

Population Standard Deviation, σ 9.66
Variance (Population Standard), σ2 93.44
R range=28

Mean (Average): 2738.6

This is good for hunting but I need to try these again in a separate experiment. At 100 yards these should all be within an inch. Need to test again in a clean rifle and may be the rifle. . Group G1 was shot out of a cold barrel as in hunting. Only G2 and G3 are sub-MOA. All will mushroom and kill game from close to far as slow as 1800 fps up to 2660 fps.

hornady ammo Precision Hunter target

G4 shot should have all been together as in G2 and G3. More experiments planned soon to see what the problem is.


Cleaned a scrubbed the barrel July 4th and took to range. All shots are sub-moa varying from 0.97 inches to 0.25. This factory ammo is excellent for hunting out to 600 or so yards.

© 2016


The NEW Leupold VX-3i 6.5-20X50mm CDS Target Scope

The NEW Leupold VX®-3i 6.5-20X50mm CDS Target Scope from Leupold and Stevens is an improved version of the VX-3 where I verified that the power dial is much easier to turn, especially with gloved hands in the field. 

With a 30mm tube it draws light in like a magnet from the 50mm Objective Lens and its Twilight Max Light Management provides maximum brightness in all colors and intensifies contrast on the range and in the field. The tall turrets are designed for ease of use and visibility to change windage and elevation setting on the go. The scope does not come cheap, its MSRP is $1169.99 but I have seen it for just under $900 on-Line. You get what you pay for. This scope is capable for long range hunting and varmint and comes with its famous dual erector springs so it can take a beating with a big bore rifle. Setting the Zero on the turret is easy to do with the provided Allen wrench. This wrench is very small indeed so keep it in a safe place. Each turret has three Allen screws to loosen to free the dial so it can be turned to Zero as seen in the photo below. I have dialed in a 600 yard solution and turned the elevation dial and fired Hitting just out of the bullseye on the first shot. The adjustments are crisp with a felt and heard (audible) click and right on.

vx3i elevation and wind adjustment

In the image above you can see the elevation turret with the Allen wrench sticking out and the side focus on the left with hash marks. The Side focus really aids it creating a sharp image. At 600 yards the F Class target X ring as seen through the scope is as clear as day so you can count the points on an Elk just as easy from that range. Leupold scopes are really rugged and can take the abuse of hard hunting.


From the website above Leupold states: “America’s favorite riflescope just got better. VX-3i brings legendary Leupold Gold Ring performance to a new level. Twilight Max Light Management System provides maximum brightness in all colors and intensified contrast across the entire field of view. Dual Spring Precision Target Adjustments perform with match grade precision and when paired with the Custom Dial System (CDS) long range shooting solutions have never been easier. The 30mm maintube dramatically increases windage and elevation travel while the side focus adjustment makes fine-tuning parallax effortless. The easy turn power selector can be quickly turned, even with gloves on while watertight seals ensure fog free performance for a lifetime.”

“Versatile magnification ranges and an attractive new look make the Leupold VX-3i riflescopes ideal for virtually any hunting situation. The aggressively redesigned power selector is easy to grasp and turn and allows the shooter to quickly verify the power setting even with gloved hands.

The Twilight Max Light Management System delivers the highest average light transmission in all colors with emphasis on the blue and red portions of the light spectrum for exceptional low light performance and contrast in all conditions.

Edge blackened lenses reduce diffusion and glare to improve resolution and contrast. Second generation Argon/Krypton gas more effectively resists thermal shock and the dual spring precision adjustment system ensures match grade repeatability and strength.

Top it all off with DiamondCoat 2™ external lens coatings for scratch resistance and you can see why the VX-3i is the first, last, and only name in riflescopes. As always, each Leupold Gold Ring riflescope is factory tested to be the ultimate in ruggedness, reliability and absolute waterproof integrity. Covered by the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee.”

6.5 Creedmoor – Savage M12 LRP Rifle/w Sierra Bullets and H4350 Powder (Continued 6/21/16 and 6/22 update)

There are many fine articles on the web that discuss this load combination but every rifle is different so loads with powder and bullets need to be worked up carefully and safely. This is a continuation of a series of articles here on this site highlighting the rifle, a Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision Rifle with the Leupold VX-3i 6.5-20 X 50mm. Both are a marriage made in heaven and work seamlessly together. See the image on the front page. In addition to this great marriage of rifle and scope we add Sierra 142 grain HPBT Match bullets lit by H4350 Powder seen in a recent article here.

Earlier articles used newer cases that were full length resized. Below I used cases that were twice used and neck sized. An advantage of using cartridge cases previously used in the same rifle is that they now fit the chamber perfectly and have a positive effect on group to a degree that is often noticeable. Since I am relatively new to the rifle some accuracy comes from the shooters comfort with the rifle, scope and loadings. That would be me!  I reloaded the H4350 with slightly hotter loads for the Sierra 142 grain HPBT observing for signs of high pressure adding a tenth of a grain at a time at near max loads.

Weather sunny with 12 oclock  0 to 5 mph wind. Ideal!

Shooter – Ed Hale

Group 1 was a three shot group that I previously tested in an earlier article with the best being 0.235 inches. This group was 0.3 inches. No data measured.

Group 2 is a 5 shot group with a flyer using 40.5 grains powder. With the flyer it shot 0.7 inches. If take out the flyer it is 0.36 inches.

Velocities; 2653,2630,2641,2633,2638

Mean (Average):2639

Range 23 fps


Population Standard Deviation, σ=7.9

This is a very tight spread.

Group 3 is a 5 shot group with 40.6 grains of H4350 measuring 0.34 inch spread.

Velocities 2661,2656,2648,2624,2633

Population Standard Deviation, σ=13.922643427166

Range is 37.

Mean (Average):2644.4

Best group with widest velocity range if the chronograph is correct. Best to repeat this test to be sure of the Range calculation.

Group 4 is a 5 shot group with 40.7 grains of H4350 measuring 0.69 inch spread and still no case or primer issues.

Velocities 2636,2655,2650,2636,2645

Population Standard Deviation, σ 7.5524830353997

Mean (Average): 2644.4

Range 19

The Target tells some of the story.

Savage M 12 LRP 6.5 Creedmoor June 21, 2016 Chester NH

Low Range and Std Dev σ is best.

I have added today 6/22/16 image

Tested H4350 at 41.1 grains Group 1 and G2 at 41.2 grains powder trying to achieve a speed of 2700 fps and I did.


Group 1 on 6/22/16 41.1 grains was a cold barrel and the first shot pulled right 1/2 inch. the other 4 shots grouped less than 1/2 inch statisticical variation of range “R”  in group 1 was 46 fps thus would exceed 3 sigma in standard deviations from the mean and will group poorly at long range.

2706,2693,2696,2659 One data point was not captured so i used the 4.

Population Standard Deviation, σ 17.69

Range R = 45

Mean (Average): 2688.5

Very poor long range reliability as the range and standard deviation conclude poor confidence.

Group 2 on 6/22/16 is 41.2 grains H4350 and measured 0.49 inches of 5 shots.

Chronograph of each shot 2687,2691,2708,2702,2687 in fps. Use an online Std Deviation calculator.

Population Standard Deviation, σ 8.5
Mean (Average): 2695

Range R=21 fps

This is excellent! Speed is there and the Standard Deviation is below 10 and with a range or spread of 21 fps the rifle should shoot very well at long distances with this load. A real winner and for all intent it is a 2700 fps load that can win at 600 yards in F class competition.  I would like more speed but this will work.

june 22 group w 41.2 g h4350

Note there are barrel harmonic vibrations at play and each barrel is different. By testing in this way you are trying to shoot in the valley of the rifles harmonic vibrations. I did note that the barrel performed more consistent when it was warmed with a few shots first.

The quality and clarity of the Leupold VX-3i 6.5 -20 x50mm makes a huge difference for me the shooter. The image was so crisp that I could hold within 1/8th inch of crosshairs or less and is specifically designed for long range. At 100 yards I shot it at 14X. This scope has a side focus to reduce parallax. More on this scope soon!

© 2016



Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision Rifle at Nashua 600 yards by Ed Hale

For those just joining us today to read about the Savage Model 12 LRP Bolt Action Rifle, take a moment and look back at recent articles introducing the Savage Model 12 and the Leupold VX-3i Scope I am testing. This will aid in a full picture of the testing we are doing. This is a competitive target rifle that can shoot 600 to 1000 yards in a NRA competitive shoot… and win.

It was the first time that I took the Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision Rifle to the Nashua 600 yard range just a few days ago. It was with all the seriousness of a Competitive shooter that I came to shoot at Thursday practice.

savage m12lrp with ed hale at 600 yards


Planning included significant research into the Rifle itself, the scope used, the bullet,powder, seating die and Cartridge Overall Length. Read earlier articles.

The day was very breezy with a shifting 11 to 12 o’clock wind that peaked at 20 mph and averaged around 10 mph. Yes some would say that was easy with wind blowing at me, the wind was blowing “mostly” at me but on occasion swirled right to left unpredictably. Temperature was about 60 degrees and humidity low. I was on time to shoot but was partnered with someone who was not shooting F class and was shooting first. That meant I was headed to the shooting pits to pull targets for him first and I got to shoot later. The target above represents 2 shooters, I have studied the target before I shot and confident of my shot groups. What appears evident is that shooting close to a bullseye is not a 10, it is a 9. I shot lots of 9’s with some in the 10 and one or 2 in the X ring. At 100 yard this rifle is sub-MOA all day long, so to have a 10 inch spread seems way off until you include wind. Matter of fact it was a very tight group but needed more skill to click left a 1/4 (1.5 inches) and maybe down 1/4 Minute to center over the 10 ring. Burning powder at the range will help that. What was so satisfying is the work I did with my rear sand bag height. It was as perfect as I could want. The crosshairs could be adjusted with a little rear pressure to hold steady on the X ring. Each shot was comfortable to shoot with light recoil due to the 12 pounds of the rifle and scope. I calculated a 15 minute correction from 100 yards to shoot 600 yards with my JBM Software. My first shot was a 9. Nice! I was very impressed with the Leupold VX3i 6.5×20 50mm scope. It is an improved version with an easily turned power dial. As I was in the Pit first I got to see what other shooters were doing. Honestly I did extremely well but there were a few hot shot shooters that I did not see shoot. Those folks are my real competition and my own best self. I was pleased with my partner and his speed of marking and putting up my target. I was done first of 12 shooters.

So at 100 yards I grouped sub MOA less than 1 inch at 100 yards. My best 3 shot group is less than 0.25 inches but my 600 yard range leader says I need more speed than 2600 fps to buck the wind so I may give some MOA accuracy to get some speed to the target. That is a work in progress. As you can see below the Savage is a BIG barreled Rifle and without the scope it is a hefty 11 pounds. Three pounds or more than a big game rifle. Its primary task is Competitive Shooting at long range such as F Class. The rifle can be used when hunting from a stand or blind with a monopod, bipod or tripod but there are better lighter rifles for that. See the Savage article on the Model 11/111 I took to North Carolina for deer hunting.

DSC_0001 - Copy

Lower right is sight in 3 rounds to get on an orange square. Upper left is group 1, lower left is group 2.  I realized at that moment that my cheek weld could be better and perhaps part of the problem. Then I shot three rounds for group number three at 0.235 inches. So the take away was that a good cheek weld with this scope was vital and it paid off.


Hunting rifles are not designed to shoot 20 rounds in 15 minutes and keep the barrel cool and on target for long range accuracy, they are designed to kill game in the first few shots. So if you have a hankering for competition like i do then it is a great rifle. I have two more competitions this summer with this rifle so we shall see what I can do. The competitive path will surely make me a better long range shot while hunting. More to come…

Good Shooting!

© 2016