August 9th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Texas Precision — Mike’s 6mm GT Rifle

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-Class

The 6mm GT (aka 6GT) cartridge was conceived as a “bigger Dasher” for PRS and NRL competition. The 6mm GT’s creators wanted 6mm Dasher accuracy and moderate recoil delivered via a cartridge with a slightly longer case body for better mag-feeding, longer neck for seating flexibility, and more moderate pressures. So far the 6GT has performed very well in PRS competition. Today’s story is a bit different — this is about an experiment — running a 6mm GT in an F-TR type rifle. Understand that, under current NRA rules, you may only shoot .223 Rem (5.56×45) or .308 Win (7.62×51), in official, sanctioned F-TR competition, but the 6GT is fine for F-Open. Mike McCasland wanted to see the potential of the cartridge for long-range target shooting, so he put a 6mm GT-chambered Bartlein barrel on a nice custom rifle with McMillan XIT stock and Kelbly F-Class Panda action. The results were impressive.

6mm GT — New Cartridge with Multi-Discipline Potential

Story by Mike McCasland, Texas Precision
The 6mm GT began garnering attention within PRS circles in early 2019. It promised to shoot 105-110gr 6mm bullets at 2950-3000 FPS, yet not suffer from mag-feed issues sometimes found with 6mmBR variants such as the 6 Dasher, 6BRX, and 6BRA. Moreover, since it burned less powder, the 6mm GT promised increased barrel life compared to the 6mm Creedmoor or 6XC. The 6mm GT case size should still work with the accurate powders in the Varget burn-range. I found the 6GT also worked great with H4350.

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-ClassAs someone who aspired to building a repeater and jumping into the PRS game, and had a spare F-TR rifle sitting around, I thought it would be fun to build up a 6mm GT to see if there was any merit to the hype. My smith, Wes Ripley of RIP Precision in Texas, builds a lot of PRS rigs, and already had the reamer on hand (a 0.120″ freebore variant).

Whidden Gunworks had some 6mm GT FL bushing die kits in stock, so I figured why not see what all the fuss was about? At the very least I could play around with the 6mm GT in F-Open Class at local club matches to see how it compared to the 6BRA, 6 Dasher, and other popular 6mm cartridges.

How the Project Got Started with Backup F-TR Rig
My 6mm GT build really started as a project spawned purely from COVID-19 Isolation boredom. This rifle primarily serves as a backup F-TR gun, and it had been relegated to performing some load development on .308 barrels, so I could spin new ones on my main match rifle. The only problem was, I had run out of .308 barrels that needed load development. So, I basically had an ideal test platform just collecting dust in the safe. All I needed was a 6mm GT-chambered barrel, since (like the 6mmBR) the 6mm GT works in a short action with a .308 Win-sized bolt-face.

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-Class

6mm GT Rifle Specifications:

Action: Kelbly Panda F-Class SA RB/RP
Stock: McMillan XIT with RAD 2A
Barrel: 30″ 5R Bartlein 1:7.5″-Twist, HV Contour

Scope: Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm
Trigger: Jewell Benchrest, about 2 ounces
Bipod: Phoenix Precision

About the 6mm GT Cartridge

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-ClassBRASS — The first thing you’ll find is cartridge brass choices for the 6mmGT are rather limited currently. At present, the only commercial options are Hornady and Alpha Munitions. For the die-hard Lapua fans, you can technically make 6mm GT brass from 6.5×47 Lapua, however that process is very labor-intensive.

I have used both Hornady and Alpha brass in this rifle and haven’t noticed much difference between the two. I will say that my batch of Alpha brass was slightly softer than Alpha brass I’ve used in other calibers; you could feel a difference when neck turning cases. I’m unsure if that’s a batch issue, or something specific to their 6mm GT brass as a whole. As far as performance, there was little discernable difference. Oddly enough, the Hornady brass seemed to have slightly less case capacity than the Alpha; with most other cartridges it’s the other way around.

POWDERS — The 6mm GT was designed with Hodgdon Varget in mind, and that popular powder works exceedingly well in this platform. That said, the 6mm GT can work with a wide variety of powders, some yielding better performance than Varget.

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-Class

I’ve tried a multitude of powders during my initial 6mm GT load development: Varget, Shooters World Precision, RL16, VV N140, H4350, and RL-15 to name a few. In my barrel, Hodgdon H4350 seems to deliver the best velocity/accuracy combination. SD and ES also seemed to be the lowest with H4350.

Load Development for the 6mm GT — Many Powders Tested
mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-Class

BULLETS — The most common 0.120″ freebore chamber allows for the majority of high-BC 6mm projectiles found in both F-Class and PRS. I had good luck with the pointed 107gr Sierra Match Kings (SMK), as well as the 110gr Hornady A-Tips in my rifle. For those looking to run the heavier 112-115 grain 6mm offerings, I believe GAP designed a 0.160″ freebore reamer that gets those bullets out of the neck/shoulder junction. Shown below is the 0.120″ freebore JGS reamer print:

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-Class

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-ClassSUMMARY — Good Cartridge with Much Potential
Generally speaking, I think the 6mm GT is a good little round. Some may not subscribe to this theory, but I believe some cartridges are inherently easier to tune than others. I’m not sure the 6mm GT is as easy-to-tune as a 6mmBR, 6 Dasher, or 6 BRA, but I don’t think it lags that far behind.

With relatively little trouble, I was able to find loads with both Varget and H4350 that would consistently shoot very well — 0.2 to 0.3 MOA. Moreover, I found the 6GT cartridge lives up to the velocity claims made by G.A. Precision. I was easily able to push the 110gr A-Tips to 2950 FPS, and the 107gr SMKs to low 3000 FPS range without any pressure signs, or unnecessary wear and tear on the brass.

As a fun test, I ran my 6mm GT rifle in a local 1000-yard F-Class match with the 110gr A-Tips, just to see just how well they would perform. Although wind conditions of the day and some E-Target issues prevented my 6mm GT rig from getting the better of the larger 7mm and .30-Cal rifles, the 6mm GT proved itself an accurate little round at distance. Here is a 1000-yard ShotMarker target:

mike mccasland 6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass 6BRA PRS F-Class

After putting several hundred rounds through my 6mm GT rifle, I anticipate building another 6GT on a repeater action to give PRS a try. I think if you are looking for a dual-purpose rifle that can run tactical matches (with 100% feeding reliability), and can also be used for mid-range, F-Open Class competition, the 6mm GT would be a very good option.

About the author, Mike McCasland:
Mike McCasland is an avid shooter who competes regularly in F-Class matches. Based in Texas, Mike is the creator of the Texas Precision YouTube Channel. There you’ll find many videos covering reloading, gun projects, and marksmanship. Mike has done some notable product reviews including a comparison test of Micrometer Competition Seating Dies. To access Mike’s YouTube Channel, CLICK HERE.

6mmGT 6 GT alpha brass mike mccasland PRS F-TR

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August 9th, 2020

Mac McMillan’s Legendary .009″ Group — Lookee Here

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa.009” Group Record Stood for 40 Years
In 1973 Mac McMillan shot an amazing 100-yard, .009″ five-shot group in a benchrest match. The .009″ group was measured with a 60x microscope for verification. Mac McMillan shot the group using a handbuilt prototype McMillan rifle with an early McMillan stock.

Mac’s .009″ group was the “Holy Grail” of rifle accuracy. This .009″ record was considered by many to be unbreakable, a record that would “stand for all time”. Well, it took 40 years, but someone finally broke Mac’s record with an even smaller group. In 2013, Mike Stinnett shot a .0077″ five-shot group using a 30 Stewart, a .30 caliber wildcat based on the 6.5 Grendel. Stinnett’s NBRSA record .0077″ group now stands as the smallest 100-yard group ever shot in registered benchrest competition.*

Read About .0077″ group HERE.

Stinnett’s success doesn’t diminish the significance of Mac McMillan’s .009″ group in the history of benchrest competition. For four decades Mac’s group stood as the ultimate standard of rifle accuracy*. For those of you who have never seen Mac McMillan’s .009″ group, here it is, along with the NBRSA World Record certificate. The target now hangs in the McMillan Family Museum.

Mac McMillan .009 benchrest record group nbrsa

*Somebody else might claim a smaller group, but unless moving backers or electronic targets were used, it cannot be verified. Moving target backers are used at registered benchrest matches to ensure that five (5) shots are actually fired in each group. That eliminates any doubt.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Shooting Skills 6 Comments »
August 9th, 2020

Will Carbon Build-Up Inside Cases Raise Load Pressure?

Carbon fouling case cartridge interior Pressure volume ultrasonic

As a cartridge case is reloaded multiple times, burnt powder residue and carbon builds up on the inside of the case. Unless the case interior is cleaned in some fashion, eventually you’ll see a slight reduction in case capacity. One of our Forum members from Australia wonders about the effects of reduced case capacity: “If the capacity of the case decreases as the crud builds up, then it effectively reduces the size of the cartridge (inside). Wouldn’t that change the pressure produced from that of an equivalent clean case?”

Interesting Test of Case Capacity Changes
Forum member Fred Bohl has actual test results that can help answer the above question. Fred proved that, over a 20-reload cycle, the case capacity of uncleaned cases did decline a small amount. However, surprisingly, this did not seem to affect the actual chronographed velocity of the load. Extreme Spread (ES) did increase, but Fred believes the higher ES was due to changes in case-neck tension, rather than due to the slight reduction in case capacity. Fred reports:

“Back when beginning to use ultrasonic case cleaning, part of the motivation was to get the inside clean based on the assumption that allowing burnt residue to build up inside cases would affect capacity, and, ultimately, performance. An experiment was done to test this hypothesis. The load used, 30.5 grains of RL15 behind 107gr SMKs in a 6mmBR, was selected for best group and lowest ES in prior load development. It turned out to be 92% of initial case capacity and neither “full” or compressed. (I would suspect that different powders, load weight, and total case capacity might produce very different results.)

We took 30 cases of identical initial capacity and tracked three lots of 10 each:

LOT 1: No Internal cleaning
LOT 2: Cleaned with media in tumbler
LOT 3: Cleaned with Ultrasound machine

Each case (in each lot) was shot and reloaded 20 times. The simplified results after 20 reloads of each lot were as follows:

Lot 1 (not cleaned) – 0.3 to 0.4 gr. loss of capacity, 5 to 8 fps greater ES.
Lot 2 (tumble cleaned) – 0.1 to 0.3 gr. loss of capacity, 4 to 6 fps greater ES.
Lot 3 (ultrasonic cleaned) – no loss of capacity, no detectable change in ES.

FINDINGS
There was no detectable correlation of velocity change to the lots. An oddity was that on very hot days Lot 1 velocities were, occasionally, slightly higher. From results of another ongoing test, I believe the above differences in ES are probably due more to variance in bullet grip tension than case capacity. The ultrasound cleaned cases (LOT 3) did maintain the lowest ES, but we are not 100% sure of the reasons why. More consistent bullet seating might be the reason.”

Carbon fouling case cartridge interior Pressure volume ultrasonic

Editor’s NOTE: Fred’s results do suggest that carbon build-up inside the uncleaned cases might cause a slight increase in pressure that shows up on hot days. Fred has posted that: “A local shooter reported doing the 20 reload, no-clean test on a .308 that gave a loss of capacity of 2.0 grains, doubled ES and significant velocity changes. However, I don’t have any details on his load weight or powder.” Obviously a lot of carbon can build up with 20 reloads. Many shooters retire their brass before then.

Ultrasonic Cleaning and Neck Lube
Some time ago, Jason Baney did a lengthy test on ultrasonic cleaning. Jason found that with his ultrasonically-cleaned cases, the inside of the necks got so “squeaky clean” that he needed to use dry lube in the necks. Jason uses the $10.95 dry lube kit from Neconos.com. This applies ultra-fine Moly powder to the neck using small carbon steel balls.

Neconos.com moly neck lube

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