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

Best Deer, Bear, Moose, Bison, Cartridge for Handloaders with .375 Ruger in a Ruger M77 Hawkeye

Years back  I needed a versatile reloadable cartridge for all game, at all distances and all conditions for that someday hunt for brown bear, or a cape buffalo or bison yet can hunt deer too.  If you are not and have not dreamed of a brown bear hunt then this article is not for you.

If you have, then I would consider the .375 Ruger to be such a reloadable cartridge in a Ruger M77 Hawkeye rifle made here in New Hampshire. The new African model comes with a removable muzzle brake. Check it out.

 

http://ruger.com/products/HawkeyeAfrican/models.html

It is a hunters gun with a soft less reflective finish that will not spook game. I have killed moose and bison as well as red stag with this cartridge and the African model rifle.

It shoots 1/2 inch groups at full power and 1 inch groups with most all other bullets down to 220 grain and loading’s for deer. With a Pachmayr Recoil pad I can shoot it in my t-shirt while standing as it cuts felt recoil in half. A full power load with 260 grain Nosler AccuBond bullets out of the barrel at 2615 fps produces almost 4000 ft-lbs at the Muzzle and 2500 ft-lbs for Moose at 275 yards at a velocity of 2100 fps for perfect mushrooming. For an elk it can reach 450 yards with 1800 ft-lbs at the bullets mushroom design speed. It is a CXP4 cartridge with CXP2 and 3 capability if handloaded.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/cxp4_safari_cartridges.htm

If you are traveling far, check that the local shop’s where you hunt have 375 Ruger rounds in case you loose your baggage. It is the main reason for years that hunters used the 375 H&H because it was like dirt, it was everywhere. But the 375 Ruger has made some dents in that theory.

If I was hunting a  really large Wild Boar up close, I would use the .375 Ruger as they have been known to charge when wounded and it is very difficult to take away its credit card with those 5 inch tusks sticking out of its mouth.

Check out my other .375 Ruger Hawkeye article

Hand Loading the .375 Ruger for Deer, Bear, Moose and Cape Buffalo

© 2017

Good Hunting!

 

Savage Model 12 LRP 6.5 Creedmoor System Test Products Arriving updated 5/24

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.

DSC_0005

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®

6.5 mm/.264 Caliber (.264) 142 gr. HPBT MatchKing (100 bullets)

and

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.

Hand Loading Nosler e-Tips for the 7×57 Mauser – Prep for A Montana Deer Hunt By Ed Hale

I have a friend Oliver whose wife Mary is an avid hunter along with him. She shoots the .308 Winchester and she shoots the 7×57 Mauser. Honestly, I have never owned a 7×57 Mauser but it shoots sweet and kicks little. She loves the Cartridge. I understand why. In Africa hunters killed everything with it! Sort of like the 7mm-08 Winchester.

I came by opportunity to shoot the 7×57 because Oliver found it was impossible to find fully loaded rounds with the Nosler e-Tip Gilding Copper bullets.

I was testing the Nosler e-tips for Nosler and had some to load for her and get her feedback on them. They are hunting Montana next week so I was happy to help them with hand loading.

My experience with Nosler e-Tips is significant and had 7 mm 150 grain heads on hand. The ballistic coefficient is .427 and can reach out even at modest velocities. Years ago my friend reloaded but not recently so he gave me the Dies to reload the 7×57. It was a straightforward reload but I had to trim the once fired cases. I deprimed and tumbled them to give them some shine and clean them up. Since they are spending big dollars I took my time hand loading and hand weighing each round to within a 10th of a grain. The powder recommended by  Nosler was H4831sc which I had in my powder locker. e-tips are not recommended to shoot at more than moderate velocities, accordingly I chose to shoot a starting load that was the most accurate for the whole of the powders I could choose. I chose seating depth to where the cannelure was on the bullet. Muzzle velocity according to the Nosler manual was a modest 2408 fps.

Adjusting for the first shot which was 7 inches to the right, I placed 2 rounds at .5/8 inch apart then we moved to 150 yards and placed the 3rd shot right next to the other 2. That was enough to prove the rounds accuracy was excellent for hunting. Now Mary should be able to shoot these as well at the range tomorrow and save rounds for the hunt. This cartridge has a Max Point Blank Range of 235 yards and will stay in a plus or minus 3 inch radius to that distance without changing the aim point. If needed the shooter can adjust the aim point beyond that distance and shoot out to 300 yards with an 11 inch bullet drop provide the wind is accounted for at 10 inches lateral with a 10 mph wind. Here a very steady rest is needed. Good Hunting to them!

In the mean time I am almost packed for my southern deer hunt with .243 Winchester and 7mm Remington Magnum both shooting e-Tips.

See the result of our hunts in 2 weeks…Happy Blood Trails to You! © 2015

 

30-06 Springfield – A Reloader’s Hunting Cartridge

The 30-06 Springfield was introduced to the US Army in 1906. That was nearly 110 years ago. In that 110 years the 30-06 became one of the most popular hunting cartridges of all time in North America and on the African Continent for American hunters.  It still is today due to the wide availability of brass, and later, many bullet weights and styles, shot largely in bolt action hunting rifles. In Africa President Teddy Roosevelt kill much game including an Elephant with the 30-06. I would choose a larger caliber like the 458 Lott for dangerous game (yet another story) , thanks!

In hunting circles the 30-06 brass is still perhaps the most widely available brass along the .308 Winchester a smaller cartridge with its own story as a military round. Every corner store that has ammo stocks the 30-06 Springfield. Reloading dies are everywhere!

What is fascinating is that the 30-06 of military fame gave birth by experimentation by Wildcatters (experimenters) to a plethora of excellent hunting calibers both smaller in diameter and larger in diameter.  The 30-06 based cartridge that has dominated the smaller caliber is the .270 Winchester (diameter actual is .277 inches) a necked down 30-06 case. It was Jack O’connor of Outdoor Life that wrote so prolifically and eloquently on the .270 Winchester for all North American Game and African Plains Game but with moderate recoil in a standard action.  If memory serves, he loaded 130 grain heads with IMR 4350 and exited the muzzle above 3000 fps. I read lots of his work in Outdoor Life Magazine growing up. He was a master story teller but ever to inform that it is marksmanship that makes the kill possible. The .270 with 130 grain bullets were easier on recoil making it easy on the shoulder on long shots out to 200, 300 or more yards. I took my son Jason on Safari with the .270 Winchester and he did very well but I hand loaded 150 grain Nosler Partitions.(see photo below)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Also the 25-06 Remington (diameter .257) held its own on deer size game at long distances and is touted as an excellent Antelope round shooting a 100 grain bullet at 3200 fps.  The .243 Winnchester and 6mm Cartridges stole a lot of the 25-06 thunder.

In the necked up version of the 30-06 is the 8mm-06 (.323 diameter) or the 338-06 (.338 diameter) but they are still in use today because of the availability of 30-06 brass and a wide assortment of bullets that came as a result of other .338 cartridges. I heard recently of someone singing the praises of the 35 Whelen (developed by Colonel Townsend Whelen developed in 1922) whose parent is the 30-06 case. The Whelen can shoot 180 grain bullets at 2700 fps, the 200 grain bullet at 2600 fps, and the 250 grain bullets at speeds of 2400 fps delivering great down punch on all North American Game. Even better is the .338 caliber bullet which when loaded in the .338-06 can push a 200 grain bullet at 2800 fps, a 225 grain bullet at 2600 fps and has a better long range ballistic coefficient (BC) and bullet selection than the 35 Whelen. Today’s excellent recoil pads are engineered to reduce recoil by up to 50% so go ahead and shoot what ever suits your fancy. If you hand load like I do then the world is your oyster with just a few rifles.

You can never go wrong with a 30-06 for North American Game and most African Game. © 2015

Reloading 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge – Initial Observations

The first thing I discovered is that new Brass for the Creedmoor does not appear to be abundant. In fact I found Hornady brass to be the one of the only available new brass in stock. Nosler Brass was out of stock. If you have read my previous articles on the 6.5 Creedmoor you will see that the Hornady brass is soft, thus making it difficult to reload. Lots of case prep to bevel the inside of the case neck without creating a sharp flair edge is difficult indeed. Pressing on with the only new brass in town, I have succeeded in reloading it more than twice. The brass is stiffer as it becomes harder with use and better for pressing the bullet into the neck.

Of great interest should be Cartridge Overall Length (COL) ; The Max SAAMI Over All Cartridge Length is specified as 2.825.

I am shooting 120 grain Sierra Pro-Hunter heads as I am a hunter first and a target shooter second. I originally set the COL for this head with case at 2.53 inches and later discovered that I could push the head out as far as a COL of 2.70 and still have enough of the bullet seated. Groups of the 2.53 COL show excellent results as groups are 1 inch or less. Yesterday I shot several rounds set at a COL of 2.70 and the result deteriorated with fliers in the 2 inch group area. One would think that groups would improve as the bullet is closer to the rifling. Not so in this case, perhaps because the case had very little of the bullet in it. I perceive that the 120 grain is still a small bullet for the 6.5 and that heavier and larger bullets will make better use of the max COL.

Bullets are readily available from most all manufacturers, key bullets like the Nosler AccuBond  are available as are several Berger Hunting Bullets, et al. The reloader must experiment with COL to see what works best and provides best groups.

On powders, my only experience is with Hodgdon Hornady Superformance at this time and I like it very much because it is a smaller kernel and meters well with less variation than larger kernels. Nosler folks suggest powders such as Varget, W760, IMR 4007 SSC, Big Game, H4350, RL17 and Hunter.among others.

Since the Creedmoor Cartridge is new, older reloading manuals do not have it. Nosler does provide load data at http://www.nosler.com/nosler-load-data/65-creedmoor/  and SAAMI specifications. Hornady has the 6.5 listed at http://www.hornady.com/store/6.5-Creedmoor but no data for reloading. Check out the scrapbook of game animals taken. It includes a record Gemsbok. © 2015

Ruger M77 Hawkeye Predator 6.5 Creedmoor & Product Tests – Day One

Ruger M77 Hawkeye Predator with Leupold Gold Ring 3-18x44mm

Ruger® M77® Hawkeye® Predator 6.5 Creedmoor & Product Tests – Day One

Day One – I did not waste a moment when I picked up this rifle from my FFL friends at State Line Guns Ammo and Archery in Plaistow today. Yes, I am like a big kid in a candy store when it comes to new rifles and scopes and I am sure most all of your rifleman out there are just the same. Upon receiving the rifle, I inspected it and all was as it should be visually a beautiful rifle with the laminate stock. I mounted the brand new Leupold VX-6 3 -18 x 44mm CDS Scope to test too.(Above Photo by Author). The combination looks stunning! Future Testing includes the use of Hornady Brass, CCI Primers, Hodgdon Hornady Superformance Powder and Sierra bullets a combination that I believe will work supremely well.

I inspected the bore but it was a dull shine so I swabbed the bore with Butches bore bright. It is a good idea to clean the bore of a new rifle so you have a pristine starting point. Test shots are taken at the factory as was very likely in this case.

patchs 1 and 2 from new Ruger 6.5 Creedmoor

(Photo by Author)

The swab on the right was a first pass. Finding this, I ran a brush just once and then swabbed again with the patch to the left. I ran more till the bore was clean. Having owned several Ruger’s,  I placed the bolt in the rifle and it worked smoothly. I did read the manual to see if there was anything new and found there were video’s which could be viewed on line for use and dis-assembly plus the lock they provide for safety and a pair of 20mm Ruger scope rings. Luckily I had a pair of 30mm rings for the Leupold VX-6 to attach to the Ruger scope platform.

I used a Wheeler Fat Wrench to torque the mounting and scope ring screws. (Photo by Author)

Wheeler Fat Wrench

Next is to load the new Hornady cartridge cases, I could not get any Nosler cases as they were out of stock but the Hornady Cases look terrific. (Photo below by Author)

DSC_0169

The brass necks and shoulder have been annealed (softened) for reloading. Now off to the reloading bench. I have found that the necks of this new brass need to be really hand chamfered quite a bit on the inside edge so that the flat base bullet does not distress the case neck angle. I ruined a few cases and bullet heads in the learning process but all is well.  It took some time and trial and error to determine the cartridge length to the rifling inside the barrel (approx.2.53 to 2.6 inches by my reckoning seems a good COL for the 120 grain bullet based on later tests). Once known you should seat the bullet a bit deeper, so as not to contact the rifling. Good reloading manuals will help with this distance away from the lands and it varies from bullet to bullet and brand to brand. I used CCI 200 large rifle primers.

My research indicates that Hodgdon Hornady Superformance Powder is one of the best powders for my Sierra 120 grain Pro Hunter bullet for the 6.5 Creedmoor. Also Alliant’s Reloader 17 has been cited for excellence with the Creedmoor too.

Inspection of several fired rounds indicate that I am good to load up some ammo for another day. The recoil was pleasingly mild and the trigger seemed perfect. I will measure the trigger pull next with an electronic trigger pull gage along with other attributes.

Screenshot (128)

I loaded less than a recommended load by a grain and a half, shot the round and examined the primer and cartridge. All looked normal so I shot the recommended load and it looked normal as well. Great! Now to load up some rounds for bullet speed by chronograph and accuracy with the new scope for this load and bullet. End of Day One. Much more to come… © 2015