June 2nd, 2019

Sunday GunDay: .308 Win for PRS and NRL Tactical Division

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

This .308 Win was purpose-built for PRS/NRL tactical competition. With all the focus on the 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm Creedmoor, and smaller 6mm cartridges, it’s easy to forget that the PRS has a Tactical Division limited to .223 Rem and .308 Winchester. This gun was built by Jim See of Elite Accuracy LLC to compete in that class, which also has a .308 bullet-weight limit of 178 grains, and a velocity limit of 2800 fps.

With those restrictions, this is truly a Tactical Tack-Driver, as you can see from those 100-yard targets in the photo above. This gun seems to shot great with everything Jim has tried. He started the season with Sierra 168gr Tipped MatchKings. Later he switched to 168gr Berger Hybrids. For both bullet types he uses Varget powder, CCI 200 primers, and Lapua large primer .308 Win brass. His current match load runs about 2765 FPS, with impressive 5-7 FPS standard deviation. The gun hammers — even at very long range. Jim told us: “That soda bottle was shot at one mile with a 168gr Berger Hybrid on top of Varget.” Jim says the 1:9″ twist rate helps deliver a “clean sub-sonic transition” at that distance.

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger
With its heavy-contour barrel, the gun weighs in at a hefty 22 pounds, including optics and bipod. If you like this rig, Jim See can build you one just like it, or with the chambering of your choice. Visit EliteAccuracy.com to learn more about Jim’s gunsmithing services.

This rig features a RBRP Impact Precision 737 Action which was designed specifically for PRS-type tactical applications. This action features an integral lug, and built-in +20 MOA Picatinny rail. Both receiver and bolt are black-nitrided for slickness and durability. Jim loves the action: “It is really slick operating. It functions really well and doesn’t get gummed up with dirt or grit, so it has caught on for the PRS/NRL game. This action has won a major share of 2-day PRS matches this past season.”

Barrel Is a Resurrected .300 WSM
This rifle has one “resurrected” component — the barrel. The 1.25″ straight-contour, 1:9″-twist Brux was originally chambered as a .300 WSM finished at 30 inches. As acquired from Pat Scully, the barrel had 1200 WSM rounds through it. See then re-chambered the Brux as a .308 Winchester, finished it at 25 inches, and attached a 4-baffle side-discharge muzzle brake. Jim says the brake really helps control muzzle lift.

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

Jim See .308 Win Tactical Rifle Specifications:

Action: Impact Precision 737R
Action Finish: Black Nitride (bolt + body)
Barrel: Brux 1:9″ twist, 25″ finished
Chambering: .308 Win, PT&G Std. Match Reamer
Muzzle Brake: Custom 4 baffle, side discharge
Trigger: Trigger-Tech Diamond, straight shoe
Magazine: Accuracy International

Scope: Vortex Razor HD Gen II, 4.5-27x56mm FFP EBR reticle
Scope Base: Integral +20 MOA rail
Stock: J. Allen Enterprises (JAE) chassis
Front Rail: JAE Swiss ARCA rail
(extends bipod mount 2″ forward)
Bipod: Atlas PSR

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

Running the Rifle in Competition
Jim says this rifle performed well right out of the gate: “For about three years I wanted to shoot Tactical division and in 2018 it happened to work out. I decided it was a good year to test the .308 Win waters and see how the .308 could stack up competitively against the Open Class rifles.

I dug around the shop and found an 11-twist 30″ M-24 from an old F-class rifle and chopped it down to 23″ and fit it to an Impact action. [EDITOR: This barrel was later replaced with the 1:9″ Brux finished at 25 inches.] I had not received my 168gr Berger Hybrids yet so I ran the Sierra 168gr Tipped MatchKings in the first couple matches of the season. Those SMKs were used for the target and chrono pictures here.

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

The first spring match was ‘The Battle for Breakneck’ in Nebraska. This is a true field match with mostly prone stages with a few natural rock barricades thrown in for positional shooting. The yardages went out to a little over 1400 yards. I went in feeling good and shot very well in the windy conditions, hitting targets out to 1350 yards. I finished with a score of around 105 out of 135 points. The Open Class winner shot a 117 score I believe. I ended up being First-Place Tactical and 16th overall in a field of 100 shooters.”

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

Consistency and Preparation — Keys to Success in PRS/NRL Competition
Through his Elite Accuracy LLC company, Jim offers skills training for tactical shooters. When we asked Jim if he had any advice for PRS/NRL competitors, Jim replied: “Consistency is what will continually put you at the top of a match. In addition, your gear needs to be prepared (100% sorted out) and your mind needs to be prepared and ready. Don’t let your mind get in your own way. Mental preparation and confidence will be key to success.”

Jim See Elite Accuracy .308 Win Winchester Brux Impact PRS NRL Precision Vortex Viper Lapua Berger

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June 2nd, 2019

.284 Shehane — Winning Wildcat for F-Open Competition

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

High-BC 7mm Bullets7mm (.284) remains the caliber to beat in F-Class Open Division (though some shooters have had success with .30-Cal short magnums.) With a standard .284 Winchester, or better yet, a .284 Improved, you can drive the high-BC Berger 180gr and 184gr bullets to competitive velocities.

The straight .284 Win is an excellent cartridge, quite capable of winning F-class matches. However, in most barrels, it can’t push the 180s at 2900-2950 fps velocity levels*. A lot of barrels will top out at about 2850 fps. That’s where the .284 Shehane comes into play.

The .284 Shehane is a slightly modified wildcat that retains the same 35° shoulder as the parent case. However, by blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc. With N560 or Reloder 17 you can go even faster.

Norm Harrold Won 2018 F-Class Open Division Nationals with .284 Shehane Rifle
F-Class Open F-Open Norm Norman Harrold Champion Championship 2018 Raton NM New Mexico 284 Shehane Berger Bullets

Norm Harrold (above) won the 2018 USA F-Class Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Norm’s F-Open rig features a McMillan Kestros ZR stock and Bartlein barrel chambered for the .284 Shehane, which has a bit more case capacity than a standard .284 Winchester. Norm loaded Berger 184gr 7mm bullets in Lapua brass. Norm revealed his load in an Erik Cortina YouTube Video.

F-Class shooter Erik Cortina notes that the .284 Shehane has a velocity edge over the straight .284 Win because it holds more powder: “The Shehane has more capacity than the .284 Winchester. Ryan is using 54.0 grains simply as a fire-forming load. Typical load for a Shehane is around 57.0 grains of Hodgdon H4831 SC.” By blowing the sidewalls out 0.010″, the .284 Shehane picks up about 3.3 grains of extra case capacity. That enhancement makes a BIG difference. The extra boiler room is enough to drive the 180s at 2900-2950 fps with H4831sc, with long barrels.

Forum member Jim Hardy has shot the .284 with great success. He tells us: “In my humble opinion, the .284 Shehane is the best balanced long-range round there is — bar none. Here is why:

You have to shoot a 30 Cal Magnum with a 240gr bullet to equal the performance of most 7mm chamberings with the 180 Berger VLD. With the .284 Shehane, you have a .308 bolt face, medium action, and Lapua brass. You use less powder than the 7 mags, and have great accuracy and ballistics even while fire-forming. The .284 Shehane shoots inside the 6.5 AND the straight .284, the .300 WSM, and the .300 Win Mag with less recoil. What is not to love about the 284 Shehane? It is a no-brainer for long range — F-Class or Prone or 1000-yard Benchrest.”

Scotland’s Grant Taylor. who used the .284 Shehane to finish third at the 2009 F-Class Worlds in England says the .284 Shehane is “very accurate with superb vertical spreads at 1000 yards. [This] caliber… has awesome accuracy. I’m getting 2930-2950 fps with spreads in the 3-5 fps range. I use Hodgdon H4831sc powder, CCI BR2 primers, and pointed 180gr Bergers.”

.284 Shehane Shines in 1K Benchrest Competition Too
The .284 Shehane has won in Benchrest as well as F-Class competition. In 2013, Henry Pasquet won the IBS 1000-Yard Nationals shooting a .284 Shehane. Henry’s Championship-winning rig is shown below. Note the 5″-wide fore-end which is not legal for F-Class. Henry also runs a combo tuner/muzzle-brake.

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

.284 Shehane Henry Pasquet ibs 1000 yard championship

Amazing Accuracy When Fire-Forming .284 Shehane

7mm .285 shehane improved f-class f-open caliber cartridge chambering

If you look at that 5-round group you might think it was shot with a 6 PPC or maybe a 6mmBR. But no, this was done with heavy 180gr Berger Hybrid bullets and the .284 Shehane. In fact, this impressive sub-quarter MOA group was shot while fire-forming with a very well-worn barrel! Gun builder Ryan Pierce of Piercision Rifles explains: “Here’s a 5-shot 0.191″ group at 100 yards with my .284 Shehane fireforming loads. This barrel has 2200 rounds through it. It had 2000 as a straight .284 Win and then I set it back to .284 Shehane to form brass with. [The load was] 180 Hybrids with 54.0 grains of H4831 SC.”


*Some exceptional barrels chambered in straight .284 Win can reach 2900 fps with the 180s. Ryan Pierce has a 32″ Brux barrel that is delivering 2900 fps with the straight .284. However, Ryan acknowledges that his velocities are not typical: “A lot of .284 Win barrels top out at around 2850 fps with the 180s”.

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June 2nd, 2019

Go with the “O” — O-Rings May Reduce Run-Out When Sizing

reloading die O-ring
reloading die O-ring

Here’s an inexpensive procedure that can help you load straighter ammo, with slightly better measured concentricity (i.e. less run-out) on the case necks and bullets. Simply use a Rubber O-Ring on the underside of the die locking ring. This allows the die to self-align itself (slightly) to the case that is being sized. Without the O-Ring, if the flat surface on the top of your press is not perfectly square with the thread axis, your die can end up slightly off-angle. This happens when the bottom of the locking ring butts up tight against the top of the press. The O-Ring allows the die to float slightly, and that may, in turn, reduce the amount of run-out induced during case sizing.

Top prone shooter GSArizona has tried this trick and he says it works: “Go to your local hardware store and get a #17 O-Ring (that’s the designation at Ace Hardware, don’t know if its universal). Slip the O-Ring on the die and re-adjust the lock ring so that the O-Ring is slightly compressed when the die is at the correct height. Size and measure a few more cases. You will probably see a slight improvement in neck concentricity as the die can now float a bit as the case enters and leaves it. This isn’t going to be a dramatic improvement, but it’s a positive one.”

We want to stress that adding O-Rings to sizing dies may help some reloaders, but we don’t offer this as a panacea. Try it — if using the O-Ring reduces measured runout that’s great. If it doesn’t, you’ve only spent a few pennies to experiment.

reloading die O-ring

Lee Precision makes die lock rings with built-in O-Rings. Lee’s distinctive lock ring design allows the same kind of self-alignment, which is good. However, Lee lock rings don’t clamp in place on the die threads, so they can move when you insert or remove the dies — and that can throw off your die setting slightly. By using an O-Ring under a conventional die lock ring (that can be locked in place), you get the advantages of the Lee design, without the risk of the lock ring moving.

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