Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard 6.5 Creedmoor with Nosler 142g Long Range AccuBond

On December 8, 2017, it was a cold 40 degrees, cloudy, however, the air was amazingly still. It was “bugging me” that the last test (a few days ago and an earlier article) for 100 yard groups for this Weatherby® Vanguard® Weatherguard® rifle was windy and the 1.75 inch lateral spread may or may not have been caused by wind. The 50 yard group was very tight, around 3/8th of an inch. Accordingly, I had to know if it was the wind or rifle at 100 yards but I had no more Hornady bullets left. The next best thing was my Nosler’s.

I had powder and a some 142 grain Nosler Long Range AccuBonds, so I gave them a close look and loaded some in Nosler Custom Brass for the 6.5 Creedmoor with CCI Benchrest Primers (BR2). This is like the best of the best of the best, some might say.

Research began with a hot long range hunting load using Reloader 15 powder. I loaded 36.5 grains at a COL of 2.801 inches and 81% load density volume. The Nosler Manual tested a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2635 fps with a 24 inch barrel. Not super fast for sure, ,low recoil, but with a ballistic coefficient (BC) of over 0.7 (G1)  it didn’t have to be so fast because most spitzer bullets have much lower BC’s and lose velocity rapidly due to increased air friction.

Most technical folks like to talk about killing energy for deer at around 1000 ft-lbs energy. This round can kill a deer at 725 yards (1000 ft-lbs at 1785 fps per JBM Calculations) if you know the distance, wind, altitude etc. and the shooter can stay within a  3 to 4 inch kill radius and the bullet can shoot an MOA or better at 100 yards.

Target #1 below at 100 yards with 1.25 inch group. Yes, the first shot was from a cold shooter, me and a cold barrel. Many say the cold shot idea from a cold barrel is more myth but I digress.

Target #2 was shot 5 minutes later than Target #1 resulting in a 9/16 inch group.

Ok, so the average of the 2 groups are 0.9 inches. The bottom line is that this Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard rifle shoots sub-MOA with this load, bullet, COL and powder.

Accordingly,  this would be a great cartridge and load on an elk out to where energy crosses 1500 ft-lbs (2200 fps) more or less, which is about 350 yards. Most experienced hunters stay within their capability with is often around 300 yards or less unless you practice at those longer ranges in field conditions and use a rangefinder.

The Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard has a high Monte Carlo stock to align my eye with the scope and does not punish me as it has a very forgiving recoil pad with the 6.5 Creedmoor.

A match made in a hunters heaven. All I can say is, go buy this rifle for Christmas and give Nosler LRAB’s a try!!

Good Hunting! Practice, Practice Practice.

© 2017 All Rights Reserved

 

Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard 6.5 Creedmoor (Out of the Box) at the range with Leupold VX-6 and Hornady Precision Hunter Ammo

The Weatherby® Vanguard® Weatherguard® rifle is affordable with retail around $750 or less, is weather resistant with Weatherguard coating, advertised as MOA or better out of the box and easy to carry in the field. It weighs around 7.25 lbs bare naked and 8 lbs with Leupold’s VX-6 3-18x44mm scope, my go-to test scope and hunting scope. Scope mounts are sold separately and are only for this rifle. The Vanguards internal magazine holds 3 cartridges and the 24 inch hammer forged Weatherguard coated Barrel is a mat finish. Typical barrels are 22 inches so yo get a bit more energy with the extra 2 inches.

The innovative fluted bolt includes 3 gas vent ports (seen above) in the event of a case failure thus venting gas safely. I have never had a case fail but hey you never know. The action works as smooth as I have experienced in more expensive rifles. The safety is a two position lever, located to the right rear of the bolt seen below and shown in the Fire position.

 

The Vanguard Trigger is a 2 stage (creep free) trigger that can be adjusted down to 2.5 lbs. My test rifle trigger pull weight is around 3 lbs 6 oz or so and breaks cleanly and consistently as advertised.

I am using the Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X bullet as my standard for off the shelf accuracy. I just love this Precision Hunter ammo.They fly true and proven at close range at 50 yards to 1000 yards in an accurate rifle.

The recoil pad is thick and soft thus reducing felt recoil substantially.

FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • SUB-MOA accuracy guarantee (.99” or less 3-shot group at 100 yards when used with Weatherby® factory or premium ammunition)
  • Adjustable Match Quality, Two-stage Trigger
  • Fluted Bolt Body
  • One-piece Machined Bolt Body
  • Fully Enclosed Bolt Sleeve
  • 3-Position Safety
  • Cold Hammer Forged Barrel
  • Integral Recoil Lug
  • Hinged Floorplate

STOCK:

  • Monte Carlo Griptonite stock features pistol grip and forend inserts
  • Right side palm swell

BARREL AND METALWORK:

  • 24-inch barrel
  • #2 contour
  • Tactical Grey Cerakote for exceptional weather and corrosion resistance

Below is first group 3/8 inch at 50 yards, very windy conditions up to 15 mph and swirling. I tried to shoot in the wind lulls.

Below is a 6 shot 100 yard group using the same ammo as in the 50 yd group above, again with 15 mph winds and swirling. The spread 1.75 inch spread is very likely wind driven but the core 4 shots are huddled at less than 3/4 inch. Will try again at some point as I am out of ammo. Experiences of Vanguard owners on the Weatherby website are all very exuberant.

This core group of 3/4 inch is what I would have expected with the 50 yard group so tight. The wind likely played a role in the lateral spread.

I was very pleased with how easy yet snug the bolt moved as I worked the bolt. The Rifle handled smoothly and the trigger was crisp.

What made me want to shoot and test this rifle was, first, its Weatherby name, I like the Comb on a Weatherby since I placed a large scope on this rifle it raised my cheek correctly.

I remember years ago when Roy Weatherby built a 300 Winchester Magnum rifle for John Wayne. See photo below

If John gets one, you know they are good. Today the rifle is made by Howa of Japan and the attention to detail is visible.

This is a hunters rifle and I believe it can handle far off places like Alaska in the frozen north with a measure of its rugged reliability as well as the plains of Africa and the 6.5 Creedmoor can easily handle Elk size game at long ranges to 400 yards or so or deer at 700 yards.

The rifle comes in many calibers from .223 to 300 Wby Mag.  http://www.weatherby.com/vanguardr-weatherguard.html

This is an “affordable” and highly reliable rifle I would want under my Christmas tree. Check it out at your local Sporting Goods Store!

 

Hand-Loaded Nosler AccuBond LR 142 grain in Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor

The G1 ballistic coefficient for this bullet is .719. The fact that it exceeds 0.7 is world class long range capable of delivering game killing energy at over 600 yards for the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Tech Talk – It has been said that the bullet has a secant o-give and needs more room away from the lands when chambered than your normal bullet but having said that, it does not take from accuracy on bullet jump.

A few days ago, I loaded up some Nosler AccuBond LR’s in 142 grain with IMR 4350 and W760 Powder specified by Nosler in my almost new Ruger American. I used 41.5 grains IMR 4350 and 40.5 grains of W760 powder, max loads. I selected the powder because they were among the fastest at the muzzle and geared for delivering lots of energy at longer ranges.

The cases were Nosler Custom and the primers were CCI BR2’s. Cartridge overall length followed the Nosler Manual of 2.805 and they fit the Ruger magazine perfectly and fed perfectly.

First IMR 4350 cold shot with the Ruger American was 1 inch higher than subsequent  4 shots. Accordingly, I eliminated the cold barrel shot from the group. If I included it the spread was 1 1/8 inch and if I eliminated it the spread was 7/8 inch.

Estimated velocity out of the 22 inch barrel was around 2670 fps after subtracting 60 fps and the 2 more inches in the Nosler manual using a 24 inch barrel compared to the 22 inches of the Ruger.

The W760 Powder shot 1 3/16  five shot group with an estimated velocity of 2610 fps accounting for the shorter 22 inch barrel.

Examination of the primers looked normal and extraction was easy. These loads were terrific.

The results indicate that this grouping for IMR 4350 is terrific for shots in a 6 inch circle at 600 yards. Further that the energy for deer suggests 650 yards where 1000 ft-lbs was calculated and the velocity was 1802 fps. Windage at 90º moved the bullet 28 inches at 10 mph crosswind. That is a lot! Quartering crosswind of 14 inches. The shooter would have to adjust for the crosswind or get closer to the game, a much better scenario.   At half that distance 325 yds the shooter would only be off by 6 inches in a 90º wind and have elk killing energy of 1500 ft-lbs.

Below is the Ruger American Predator. A great affordable rifle for anyone!

The Scope was a Leupold VX-3. See them at https://www.leupold.com/search?q=vx3

 

In a perfect world, early morning and just before dark usually offer little wind for those longer shots.

Killing game cleanly is the name of the game!

Good Hunting!

© 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Subsonic or Low Noise 22LR Ammo

Over the years the neighbors moved in from the city, right? And If they hear even a supersonic 22 LR go off with a cracking sound then your neighbors are complaining. As a kid I had a bolt 22 that would take 22 short, long or long rifle. I need another one!

My backyard garden had chipmunks and red squirrels chewing on my plants and my house. What to do? I have had it! My bb gun is a pain-in-the-backside to pump and shoot every time.

I bought some subsonic ammo that wont make that cracking sound of breaking the sound barrier. This ammo speed is less than the speed of sound which at sea level is around 1120 to 1130 fps in the 60 to 70 degree F range. As temp goes up so does the speed needed to break the sound barrier. Ammo in the 1000 fps range is adequate. The problem then becomes one of diet in your particular rifle or pistol. Semi-Autos can be finicky and not eject and feed the next round so you need to experiment or shoot just one at a time, which is fine with me. The key is accuracy! At 25 yards I can hit the head of a chipmunk with a steady rest with Aguila SuperExtra subsonic 40 g heads.

But I really want to know what is out there so I tried CCI Quiet but my Marlin 22LR semi won’t even shoot them. There are video’s that say they work fine but you got to have a rifle that shoots them. Pistols are by their nature much louder so you may need hearing protection there for sure.

Next is 22LR Low Noise Ammo – This ammo is sold by many manufacturers like CCI Quiet, Remington and Winchester among many in the low-noise 770 fps or less

Here is a video series below on YouTube. The Ruger 10/22 seems to shoot well with many or bolt or lever action.

 

 

Experimentation is best but accuracy is key!

 

 

 

Most Read Article: The .270 Winchester vs. the 6.5 Creedmoor by Ed Hale

My rifle article has the shooting world by the tail and read by tens of thousands around the world from New England to Alaska, and in South Africa. They just can’t get enough of it!!.

So here it is again below. Enjoy!!

The .270 Winchester vs the 6.5 Creedmoor- by Ed Hale

To Shoot a Charging Bear with a S&W Model 69 in 44 Magnum?

Have you practiced hitting  a 3 inch ball (the size of a bears brain) coming at you, undulating up and down at 20 miles an hour? I took some shots yesterday with the Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat 44 magnum at just a  stationary target and I could only get one bullet, the first shot, in the kill zone out of 5 shots. See Video below.

But that was just initial practice. Serious practice with a moving target over time would be best. And you or I might reach the conclusion that we are not up for that task.

I saw a video where someone used a 1911 pistol in 45 ACP place more than one bullet in the brain kill zone however the 45 ACP is not Brown Bear medicine and would not likely penetrate the skull before the bear reached your body.

Brown bear experts suggest that a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs and 00 buckshot are best in brown bear country.

But on black bear here in New England the S&W Model 69 for general use on deer in regular gun season or bear is just fine say for an archery bear hunt where the bear is climbing the tree you are in and you want more protection than spray repellent.

So where does that leave us in our testing with the SW Model 69 Combat Magnum? I like the confidence I feel with a pistol in 44 Magnum on my hip and will share more on my carry of it in the deer woods this fall.

Note: during deer Muzzleloader or Bow season, you must have “license to carry permit with you” in addition to your muzzleloader/archery license or leave your pistol home.

Open Carry it during “regular”gun season if you like but if concealed under a jacket you need a “conceal carry permit”. When in doubt call NH F&G to get any questions answered before hitting the woods. Unless you have a conceal carry permit, you must unload your pistol while in a vehicle just like your rifle or shotgun. Bone up on pistol laws.

I have a conceal carry permit and you should too, see your local police department.

https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/ssb/permitslicensing/documents/dssp85.pdf

A concealed gun on you without a conceal carry permit is against NH Law so be aware.

Be Safe! Good Shooting!

 

Nosler AccuBond 130 grain; 6.5 Creedmoor vs .270 Winchester

Just for fun and comparison purposes I decided to do some ballistic comparisons using the Nosler AccuBond™ in this article as I am such a believer of Nosler bonded (welded) lead to the copper jacket for big game hunting. The 130 grain bullet was used and made so famous in the .270 Winchester by Jack O’connor.

Below you can see the significant differences in the cartridge size.

 

It is simple amazing that the smaller than .308 cartridge size of the 6.5 Creedmoor verses the 30-06 size of the .270 parent Cartridge can launch Nosler AccuBond bullets that at 400 to 500 yards are essentially equals.

Max Point Blank Range for 130 grain .270 is 301 yards w muzzle velocity of 3100 fps

Max Point Blank Range of 130 grain 6.5 Creedmoor is 286 yards with muzzle velocity of 2900 fps

MPBR Difference: 15 yards. Not much!

At 500 yards the .270 has around 50 ft-lbs more energy than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Not much difference.

At 575 yards both max out deer killing energy at 1000 ft lbs according to JBM Ballistics comparisons.

At 325 yards the 6.5 will deliver elk killing energy of 1500 ft-lbs where the .270 delivers the same energy at 50 more yards of 375 ft-lbs. Again not much difference

The recoil of a .270 Rifle is around 19 ft-lbs and the 6.5 Creedmoor is around  4 ft-lbs less  at around 14.5 to 15 ft-lbs. 4 pound less is a big difference that is near 30% in favor of the Creedmoor.

The .270 Winchester is not as inherently accurate as the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Last but not least, my  Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor costs under $400 dollars. Wow! and shoots 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards.

Nosler introduced the AccuBond Long Range bullet  few years back. I just purchased the 142 g version with a G1 BC of .719. The 142 grain being heavier shoots around 2700 fps at the muzzle but the BC is so high that it cuts the air like a razor delivering over 1000 ft-lbs at nearly 700 yards for deer.

© 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

New 6.5 Creedmoor Bullet designs Edging Out .270 Winchester Performance?

Need a long range bullet that operates at all ranges? Both Nosler’s 142g Long Range AccuBond™ and Hornady’s Precision Hunter™ 143g ELD-X™ in 6.5 Creedmoor have come up with bullet Long Range designs that edge out the .270 Winchester bullets even though the .270 spitzer bullet is a bit faster at the muzzle. No we aren’t talking leaps here just that the 6.5 is better at delivered energy, bullet drop and wind deflection and yes sectional density, the key to penetration. For a given diameter science has added 10 grains to the oft touted .270 in 130 grain bullet for better sectional density at 140 grains. Does it matter much? Not hugely but it is a numbers game and it is about bullet construction and usefulness whether near or far and call it “all range hunting”. The ELD-X is said to hold its weight at close range by some folks and it is an interlock design. See the excellent article below from American Rifleman.org.

https://www.americanrifleman.org/articles/2015/12/21/tested-hornady-eld-x-bullet/ 

I am a big believer in the accuracy of the Hornady ELD-Xpanding however the Nosler AccuBond LR is bonded meaning the lead and copper are welded not just interlocked. I am a believer in Bonded bullets for game or all gilding copper as my Moose and Buffalo and deer attest, Particularly the Nosler AccuBond. Where this may matter is that Nosler’s LR AccuBond in close quarters, say 100 yards or less will perhaps hold on to more lead than the Hornady leaving less lead in your game at shorter ranges. Long range penetration by both bullets is controlled leaving most all of the bullets intact. Below is a You-Tube from a hunter that discusses penetration and how the AccuBond really holds tenaciously onto the lead.

It is like splitting hairs for some folks! Both Bullets are the very best in Long Range choices! For shorter ranges inside 100 yards, I am a Nosler AccuBond fan and I like the new gilding copper. See next article on Copper Bullets.

Get ready to hunt! Good Shooting!

 

 

F-Open Match Results 17-Jun-2017 with 6.5 Creedmoor by Jason Hale

I’m back to provide an update on the most recent 3×600 yard F-Open Match at Nashua Fish and Game.  This year I am doing a significant amount of testing, which doesn’t allow for getting truly comfortable with my set up, never the less, it was exciting.

To preface the discussion on results, I need to explain the challenges with the F-Open conversion to the Creedmoor barrel.  In preparation for the match and some practice time,  I changed out the barrel in my Savage 10 action to the Shilen 28″ stainless match 6.5 Creedmoor bull barrel.

Following the barrel swap, I installed the barreled action to my aluminum JPRifles AMCS chassis.  I was going to shooting in F-Class, Open, with the Nosler 140 gr 6.5mm/.264 Reduced Drag Factor ™ (RDF) bullets and due to the F-Class, open rules I could have a much heavier gun (22 lbs max).   That’s why I decided to move back to the heavier aluminum chassis.  The only downside was that when the rifle was mounted in the rest, I couldn’t use a rear bag that was a standard height.  I had to rig up a rear bag that was tall enough to be able to level the gun.  The PRS stock toe, is not as low as a true F-Open competition stock, but this isn’t a “built for competition” rig.  This is fun on a budget while learning to read the wind 🙂

I tuned my 6.5 loads easily with the Nosler RDF’s we are testing, getting 1/4 to 1/2″ groups while humming along comfortably at 2800 fps with 41.7gr of H4350.

RDF Bullet Banner

Very impressive, those RDF’s.  From my first experience with new gear, I was prepared with what to expect this time.  I was stayed focused and was pleasantly surprised, as the day went on I got better and better, despite the make shift gear.

As the day was not hot, I was able to keep the Leupold Gold Ring 7-42X55mm scope we are testing (seen above) dialed all the way to 42x and it was awesome to see the bull much more clearly and to use the target rings to aim for wind calls.

Here are my scores below for my first time in F-Open with new gear.

Match 1: 185-4

Match 2: 192-6

Match 3: 196-8

Final total: 573-18

The gun and Nosler 140 RDF’s were clearly shooting better than I in the beginning, but as I got the hang of the “free recoil” game, it all started to fall into place.  Free recoil is allowing the rifle to track rearward under recoil with some space in between you and the buttstock, very much like regular benchrest shooting.  I like F-Open, but for now, it’s just fun for me and a way to continue to learn the ways of the wind.  I think the only way to become more competitive in this class, you need first get better at wind reading and perhaps get a purpose built rifle/stock combination that was meant to be used in a rest.  I am more than happy with how this turned out.  I am super pleased with how the Nosler RDF’s were surprisingly easy to tune and shoot accurately!  I will be shooting this combination again July 8/9.

See you at the range!

© 2017

New Nosler RDF Bullet Initial Testing Begins by Jason Hale

In my previous article, I explained my intent with regards to load testing I wanted to complete in my current economy match rig, which is a Savage 10 repeater action, re-barreled with a Criterion 28” Stainless Select Match bull barrel chambered in .308 Winchester

Nosler supplied us with some brand spanking new .308 caliber 175 grain RDF bullets to review. Nosler intends to make this bullet a premier Competition bullet.

Quote from Nosler website

RDF Bullet – ( Reduced Drag Factor )

Flattest Shooting Match Bullet On The Market

For those wanting to squeeze the most performance from their competition rifle, Nosler’s new RDF (Reduced Drag Factor) match bullet line is the ideal choice. 

Nosler’s RDF line was designed from the ground up to provide exceptionally high BCs, which create the flattest trajectory and least wind drift possible. The keys to the RDF’s outstanding performance are Nosler’s meticulously optimized compound ogive and long, drag reducing boattail, which make handloading a snap and create an incredibly sleek form factor.  RDF bullets also have the smallest, most consistent meplats of any hollow point match bullet line, so there is no need to point or trim tips. 

Highest B.C.’s, smallest meplat, tighter groups – Nosler RDF.

Unquote

 

I was excited to see if the bullet would fit seamlessly into my current loading diet of Varget powder.  The accuracy results were pretty good, but at velocities that were a bit on the slow side unsurprisingly; great bullet, but as the data demonstrates, the bullet/powder combination choice may not be as accurate in my barrel.  I’m pretty sure that if I continue to experiment with powders that I would find one that would be extremely accurate with the Nosler RDF with my barrel.

175 Nosler RDF with Hodgdon’s Varget

Charge Weight Group Size Velocity
40.0 0.784” 2445
41.0 0.435” 2491
41.5 0.756” 2546
42.0 0.943” 2591
42.5 0.851” 2629

Bullet distance to rifling: 0.015”

Following this first test I decided to back off further from the rifling and at 0.045” off and way off loaded at mag length, and repeat some of the testing.

There was no discernible increase in accuracy. But what was missing here was speed! I needed a faster bullet to buck the wind. I an searching for a combination in my rifle to deliver a faster bullet too.

Testing with other powders is needed to fine tune the bullet and barrel combination and that is getting under way. Case in point, I had a bullet from another top manufacturer and was having a tough time getting sub-moa or better groups when I tried a certain powder it was like magic and the bullets grouped extremely well.

 

More to Come!