TC Venture in 6.5 Creedmoor – Out of the Box at 100 yards

First three shots from this brand spanking new TC Venture right out of the box, for a 3 shot group below using Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X in 6.5 Creedmoor measure 7/16 inch at 100 yds. Wow! And I know that I can do better for grouping  all from a gun that is advertised as MOA accurate. This is Sub-MOA Accurate. Wow! What is Weathershield™? See video below that says “way better than stainless steel” !!!

Spec’s from T/C website:

My first target at 100 yards with a 4.2 lb trigger that can be adjusted 3.5 to 5 lbs.

My bench setup below with very crisp and clear Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x36mm. Nice!!

This rifle has a synthetic clip that holds 3 shots and can be easily removed from the rifle in a snow or wet rain filled cold day where your body shivers. I would order a spare clip and have on hand. The bolt opens and closed a bit more snug than some bolts, but many will find that an advantage. I like the weaver bases already mounted.

The safety is a two position on/off lever at the top rear of the bolt.

Overall I give this rifle an A+ “out of the box” for price and quality for a USA product.

It has posts for a sling and is easy to carry. With a MSRP of $578 how can you go wrong.

More soon…

© 2017

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard Coming Soon

Vanguard® Weatherguard™

Above the Weatherby® Vanguard® Weatherguard™ is coming to New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine On-Line in 6.5 Creedmoor, one of my favorite cartridges. I chose this rifle to test for several reasons but it all boils down to value!  High quality and accuracy (guaranteed MOA accurate with Weatherby cartridges or top names) at a very acceptable cost. At an MSRP of $750 (much less at retail) this rifle appears to have it all. We shall see! Accordingly, we will put this rifle through its paces for accuracy and dependability for the all weather hunter.

Good Hunting! Check back soon!

 

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

Seeking a Weatherby Vanguard to Test – Update

For those that want a hard hunting rifle, a Weatherby®, in the Vanguard® Series is supposed to be hard to beat for quality and cost effectiveness. It is guaranteed Sub-MOA out of the box. We have inquired to test one in 6.5 Creedmoor. The MSRP for these exceptional rifles begin around $600 but have see them for under $600 and go up from there. Below is the Vanguard Synthetic. I will keep you informed…

Looks very positive at this time! The process is under way!

 

A Quick Walk with Ruger American 6.5 Creedmoor and Ruger M77 African in 375 Ruger

OK, it’s August and it is time to get the cobwebs out of my Gun Safe.  My two most accurate rifles for the price are the Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor ( around $400 retail) and my Ruger African M77 in .375 Ruger ($900 retail). Today I am about to shoot them when I met fellow rifleman Joe Chicarello shooting his bull barrel .22 Long Rifle. I am sure he was having a great time and nearly done shooting when I arrived at our club range. Joe was easy to talk to and we resonated on shooting and safe handling practices. He has a Browning .223 that he has yet to shoot due to a scope ring issue. I hope you get the rings soon Joe! I invited him to check out my Ruger Rifles. He has never shot any of them so after putting a round down range in the larger bullseye at 50 yards off the Caldwell bench rest with the 6.5, I invited him to try it. I said, it does kick a bit more than the .223 so my bullet hit the center target just off the dead center by a half inch. I put three rounds in the clip with an open bolt and got Joe ready to try it, again at 50 yards, but to shoot a smaller target in the upper right corner. The scope was my Leupold VX-3, a superior hunting scope ready to hunt anywhere in the world

So he shot and I put  my binoculars on it and grinned. Joe it is dead center in the bull, I said excitedly. Kicks more than I expected, he exclaimed. So I put a neoprene pad on his shoulder and he fired again. Just that one hole there, I observed. How did the pad work? I asked. Much better, he added. You’ve got another shot left Joe. So he took aim again and fired. He said, “maybe I wiggled on that one!” Accordingly, I observed that same one hole there. Lets take a look Joe  and see what’s up. The range was made cold and we walked to the target.

Arriving at the target, here we are looking for strays but when we looked close enough there was one tri-cloverleaf hole in the upper right target. All the time Joe said, I’m a bit shakey.  I assured him that was not the way the bullets saw it,and congratulated him on such fine shooting.

In my testing this rifle a year ago, I shot 1/2 inch groups at 100 yards with other hand loads in the Ruger American and was thinking these were hand loads too but not so. They were right out of the Hornady Precision hunter box which features ELD-X™ bullets (Extremely Low Drag) that I used this past summer in a different rifle where I popped 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards at the NH Sig Sauer Academy with my son Jason.

Then I shot a .375 Ruger light hand load (2200 fps) of speer 235 grain heads out of the stone cold gun and it hit 1 7/8 high from the dead center. I invited Joe to try but he said he was done. Perhaps a bit fearful, I dunno. Doesn’t kick any more than my T/C Encore muzzleloader with 100 grains of Pyrodex I said. Nope, Joe wasn’t ready.

So I proceeded to put 2 more shots in the center bullseye using the same aiming point. If you look close you can see my first shot from the 6.5 in the center bull as well.

All said and done that was a nice short walk in the park (range) and made a new friend I too. I asked his permission to use his name in this article. Of course, he said.

Good Shooting!

© 2017

Savage 12 Palma in Mid Range Prone F T/R Match by Jason Hale

Since I’ve started long range competition, I’ve been exploring ways that our readers may enter the sport at a reasonable cost, of course you can select your hunting rifle in your safe, but if you become serious, the modifications will start.  Enter the Savage Precision Target Rifle Line.  We reached out to Savage and requested the 12 Palma due to it’s unique stock configuration and caliber choice.  Most of the Precision Target Actions (PTA) have a screw spacing of 4.41″, however the 12 Palma has a screw spacing of 3.44″, the reason for which I am not sure.

To learn about Palma Rifle competition Click Here!

All PTA’s accept large shank barrels from your favorite Savage pre-fit barrel supplier.  What I really liked about this configuration was the adjustable stock and 3-way adjustable butt-plate.  See below for some stats on the rifle.

Savage 12 Palma Match Rifle

One thing you’ll notice right away is the odd twist rate of 1:13″.  This twist rate is indicative of the intended bullet that was intended to be used, 155-156gr bullets.  As soon as I received the rifle, I quickly picked up a rail for it and mounted the 7-42X55mm Gold Ring Leupold Competition Scope & Shade we are testing (Outstanding Scope) and ordered some 155.5gr Fullbore bullets from Berger. I recognize that this was not the set up that the rifle was designed for, but the purpose of testing was to determine accuracy potential of the rifle. You can tell that this was really meant for iron sights as you can see the front sight cut near the muzzle of the rifle so that you can clamp-on front sight tubes.  In the pictures below, you’ll also see the 3-way adjustable butt-plate which is fantastic for customizing the fit of the rifle to a specific shooter.  It can be adjusted for length of pull, cant, and height.  I made some minor adjustments to the cant and height, and left it there.  I could have spent more time on tuning the stock, but didn’t.

Once the bullets came in, I took inventory of the powders that I had on hand and selected IMR 4166 which is supposed to be temperature insensitive much like Hodgdon Varget and got to putting some test loads together.

Following a break in process, the rifle immediately demonstrated it’s accuracy potential.  Being limited for time, I settled on a load of 45 gr of IMR-4166 with a COAL of 2.800″ which was limited by the Palma Chamber, which has a very short throat.  See the group shot below.  Not bad at all for an afternoons work.

In all fairness, if this was my rifle I would have spent more time tuning to reduce Standard Deviation and Extreme Spread of velocities, but given the limited distance (600 yards), vertical dispersion would not be as bad as longer distances.  Wind would be more of a challenge.

The day of the Mid-Range Prone match, I was excited to take the rifle out and see what it could do.  I knew that with good loads, it would likely out shoot me, which is a good thing.  The prone match included 3 strings of fire at 300, 500, and 600 yards, with 15 rounds for record with unlimited sighters at each distance.  The wind picked up during the day peaking with 10 mph switching winds during my 500 yard string after settling into a more predictable rhythm for my 600 yard string.  Overall I was pleased with the day, but was a bit frustrated during the 500 yard string being behind on some wind calls that cost me more points than I wanted.  I was only one of two F T/R shooters there, the other being a good friend and great shooter Barbara Lamb, she only dropped 3 out of a possible 450 points for the day, which is fantastic.

Barbara Lamb scoring for me, while Art Lamb (in line for saint-hood, in my mind) was graciously scoring for all on our target.

My scores were 143-0X (300), 131-0X (500), and 144-2X (600), with an aggregate of 418-2X.  The rifle shot great for the little time I put into load development.  I am sure that I could have done more tuning, but in the end I needed more time on the rifle to improve.

One thing I can say, is that if the other rifles in the Savage 12 PTA series shoot similarly, you can’t deny the value, considering the cost of most custom F-Class rigs being between $3000 and $5000, or more even.  Great bang for your buck.  If you’re interested in a quick and relatively inexpensive upgrade that can be further modified easily in the future, check out Savage’s M12 Precision Target Action line.  If you want to start from the ground up and build one, you can purchase an action from Northland Shooters Supply. I’ve done plenty of business with Jim; they’re awesome!

Shoot Straight and Shoot Often!

See you at the range!

Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Lots of Learning: Match Results, Mystic Precision Bipod Review, and Leupolds Gold Ring VX-6 7-42 x 56mm Competition Scope with CDS

Testing new gear in a long range match.

I had an interesting match last Sunday (28-May 2017). In my previous article here I announced the intent to test some new gear in a match.  I learned a great deal about changing gear before a match, but the biggest takeaway is: If you change gear and don’t practice with that new gear at competition distance, you should be prepared to have a few accuracy surprises that happen once you start punching holes in paper.

First Impressions: Leupold Gold Ring VX-6 7-42x56mm Competition scope with CDS

First things first, the glass is just gorgeous to look through.  The morning of the match I had it dialed up, but as the day went on and the mirage started to intensify I had to back off a bit to 32X.  I also realized that I have some additional adjustments that are necessary for eye relief when in the prone position.

Learning about the impact of new gear: Leupold graciously supplied rings for our testing that would mount to any rifle for us to test as long as it had a picatinny rail.  The particular issue with my rifle is that I did not have a high enough comb nor adjustable comb to accommodate the ring height.  I knew this going into the match but honestly didn’t think that it would matter that much, but it definitely did.  The difference or variability  in cheek pressure on the comb had a huge impact elevation control and lead to uncomfortable body/head positions and a poor score.

First Impressions: Mystic Precision MPOD Bipod

While zeroing the rifle the bipod was like a rock, on the line at distance, however, my “squeeze bag” style rear rifle rest was not cutting it.  In order for the bags to work effectively you need to apply consistent downward force with your cheek and squeeze the back to it to remain stable.  If you can’t apply consistent pressure with your cheek, then having a repeatable position is difficult, and my score’s definitely reflected that; my worst for the day was below along with my typical score from last year.

Score last year with original set up.

Score with different set-up (Different SCOPE/BIPod).

I will note that at the time of the string of fire, a shot was marked as a miss, but following my string and talking to Art Lamb, who was scoring for me, he informed me that one of my rounds was subsonic at 600 yards and he later identified the impact in the white portion of the target, so not a miss, but perhaps a 5 or 6.  Not too happy about that; I did notice that my barrel was getting a bit hot from the quick string of fire, so I don’t know what happened here.  My next purchase is a good old kitchen timer to make sure I don’t go too fast and heat the barrel up too much.

On a humorous dad note, my wife called me and informed me that my mother in-law was at our house with the kids needing to put my youngest son down for a nap.  The only problem was that I locked all the doors and she did not have the key.  Rather than breaking into a fit of twitches after my horrible match, I calmly let it roll off my shoulders and trekked 4 miles down the road and let her back in.  It’s good to live close to the range. Looking back and doing some diagnostics on the poor match, I realized that I should have changed bags over to one of my fixed rear sand bags with the bipod.  The toe of my stock is angled so that elevation corrections can be as simple as moving the bag fore or aft of the buttstock.  We always learn.  I’ll be better acclimated to the new gear next time.  Next up; a barrel swap will take place to the new Shilen 6.5 Creedmoor Match Barrel and we’ll do some F-Open work with a front rest for a match on 17-June.  I love the Savage Barrel Nut!! It’s so easy to swap barrels!

Until next time…..

See you on 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!