Different shooting disciplines demand different levels of precision/accuracy. In the rapid-fire 3-Gun game, you could probably “clean” most stages with a 2-MOA rifle. By contrast, in the short-range group benchrest game, to compete with the best, you’ll need a rifle that shoots in the “ones” (i.e. 0.1-0.19 MOA) in perfect conditions. In 1000-yard F-Class competition, the top shooters want a rifle that will hold one-third-MOA of vertical at that distance.
What is your standard of accuracy? How good is “good enough”. Jim See, a skilled gunsmith and successful PRS competitor, recently answered that question for his tactical discipline. For the kind of matches Jim shoots, he likes to have a rifle that will hold half-MOA for five (5) shots, 3/4-MOA for 15 shots, and 1 MOA for twenty shots. Remarkably, Jim’s rifle can do that with factory ammo. Above is an impressive 15-shot group shot with .260 Remington Federal Premium Ammo.
“I say it all the time, my loads need to print 5 under 1/2″, 10 under 3/4″, and 20 under 1″. It’s simple, if a hot barrel will keep 20 rounds fired in succession under my standard it will be a good barrel and load for Precision Match Shooting. Federal Premium Gold Metal Match .260 with Sierra bullets made the cut for me today. 15 consecutive shots under 3/4 MOA.” –Jim See
It’s said that you “can never have too much accuracy”, but there are acceptable standards for each discipline, and they’re not the same. A 100/200 yard Benchrest shooter will be sorely disappointed with a rifle/ammo set-up that can only deliver half-MOA. On the other hand, a PRS competitor like Jim See can achieve great success with a lesser degree of precision. This means you can save time and money. You can run your barrels longer between cleanings, and you don’t have to go “full OCD” when loading your ammo. The PRS shooter does not need to weigh-sort primers, or load powder to single-kernel standards. Proof is the performance. Jim See recently took third place at the Spearpoint Shootout, and he has been a podium finisher at other events. Learn more about Jim’s gunsmithing and training operations at EliteAccuracy.com.
Download This Load Development Target
Jim’s target seemed a bit familiar. AccurateShooter.com created this Diamond and Dot Target a few years back. On each aiming point, there are high-contrast black horizontal and vertical lines for aligning your cross-hairs. The gray circle lets you see the bullet impacts above, without obliterating the red diamond, which is quite useful for precise aiming (we put fine cross-hairs on the points of the diamond). This target sheet includes data entry tables below each of the three aim points. There are many other free targets out there, but this format is very popular. We’re pleased to see Jim using it. You can download this and dozens of other FREE Targets from the AccurateShooter.com Target Page.
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The .260 Remington and the 6.5×55 Swedish (aka 6,5x55mm SE) are both very popular cartridges with hunters and target shooters. The 6.5×55 has a long military heritage and a great record as a hunting round. The .260 Rem, essentially a .308 Win necked down to .264 caliber, is a more recent cartridge, but it grows in popularity every year, being one of the top cartridges for tactical/practical competitions. It offers better ballistics and less recoil than the parent .308 Win cartridge. In our Shooter’s Forum, respected UK gun writer Laurie Holland provided a good summary of the differences between the two chamberings. Laurie writes:
The 6.5×55 case has 6 or 7% more capacity than the .260s, even more in practice when both are loaded to standard COALs with heavy bullets, which sees them having to seated very deep in the .260 Rem using up quite a lot of powder capacity. So loaded up for reasonable pressures in modern actions, the 6.5×55 will give a bit more performance.
The issue for many is what action length is available or wanted, the 6.5×55 requiring a long action. So sniper rifle / tactical rifle competitors will go for the .260 Rem with the option of the many good short-bolt-throw designs around with detachable box magazines (DBMs). If a bit more performance is needed, the .260 AI (photo right) can yield another 100-150 fps velocity, depending on bullet weight.
Are you a fan of 6.5mm rifle cartridges? Then you should visit TargetShooter Magazine and read Laurie Holland’s latest “magnum opus”. Laurie recounts the development of 6.5mm rifle cartridges and examines a host of “six-fives” including the well-known 6.5×55 Swede and more esoteric cartridges such as the 6.5×58 Vergueiro. Laurie looks at a variety of military 6.5mm cartridges, including Japan’s 6.5×50 Arisaka, as well as some big 6.5mm Magnums. This Editor shot a .260 Remington (essentially a necked down .308 Win) for quite a while. I was pleased to see that Laurie discusses the .260 Rem, along with its bigger brother, the 6.5-06.
Part One of a four-part series, this is a LONG article, which runs over 4000 words. There are more than a dozen photographs, showing both cartridge types and bullet types. In addition, cartridge specs are presented in two detailed tables. Here is a list of the notable 6.5mm cartridges Laurie references (and we may have missed a few):
The 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser and Other Early Designs
Thanks to the 6.5X55mm and its common name of ‘Swedish Mauser’ (it was a joint Swedish / Norwegian military development truth to tell), not forgetting first rate Lapua, Norma, and Sako ammunition and components, many associate the 6.5s with Scandinavian countries. However, the two Nordic nations weren’t alone in adopting 6.5mm designs during the back end of the 19th century, moreover Germany and Austria did as much to popularize the caliber. The Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Romania, Portugal and Greece took the small caliber military route too, although some later decided to convert at least partially to larger bores.
However, once armies started to adopt lighter, pointed bullets at improved velocities in the .30-class designs starting with the German 7.92mm 153gr bulleted S-Patrone of 1905 which produced the then astonishing MV of 2900 fps in the G98 rifle, the 6.5s lost out as contemporary propellants couldn’t handle smaller calibers as efficiently. It’s significant that while some early users moved to larger caliber service rifles, no country [other than Japan] has adopted 6.5mm in the last 110 years although there have been some unsuccessful initiatives recently.
Prior to WW2, there had only been a single American attempt to produce a 6.5, the brilliant cartridge designer and riflemaker Charles Newton with his eponymous 256 design of 1913 which used a shortened and necked-down 30-06 case. The Western Cartridge Company loaded ammunition for Newton, a 129gr expanding bullet at a claimed 2760 fps MV and obtained in a longer barrel than those fitted to production rifles.
RWS introduced the powerful 6.5X68mm in 1939 and it is still in use in Europe.
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Many tactical shooters have adopted the .260 Remington as an alternative to the heavier-recoiling .308 Winchester. The .260 Rem has also performed well in the hands of long-range High Power shooters such as SSG Sherri Jo Gallagher, past National High Power Champion. The .260 Remington is basically the .308 Win necked down to .264 (6.5 mm) caliber. It can launch very high-BC 130-142 grain projectiles at impressive velocities. The ballistics of the .260 Rem allow it to shoot flatter, with less wind drift, than typical .308 Win loads.
For fans of the .260 Remington, very high-quality factory ammo is now available. ABM Ammo, a division of Berger Bullets just announced that it will produce two varieties of .260 Remington ammo.
ABM’s 260 Remington 140gr Berger Match Hybrid Target ammo is designed for class-leading ballistic and superior accuracy. Using the highest-BC 6.5 mm caliber bullet offered by Berger, the 140gr Hybrid, this load features less wind deflection and more energy on target than the competition. ABM claims that this Match Hybrid ammo is “unrivaled as a long-range 260 Remington factory ammo option.” Since it pushes a higher-BC bullet than other .260 Rem factory ammo, we’d have to agree with that statement.
Performance based on a 26″ barrel and sea level conditions.
Mission Ready .260 Rem OTM Tactical Load for Mag-Fed Rifles
ABM Ammo also offers .260 Rem factory ammo loaded with the NEW 130gr AR Hybrid bullet. The .260 Rem 130gr Berger Match AR Hybrid OTM Tactical load is optimized for the AR-10 platform or any magazine-fed rifle. Berger’s 130gr AR Hybrid bullet offers a 0.290 G7 BC. That’s very close to the 0.317 BC of the longer 140gr Hybrid. This, combined with a 2847 FPS muzzle velocity, provides excellent performance in a shorter COAL that feeds perfectly from box magazines.
In fact, if you run the ballistics (using JBM) using ABM’s published MVs, you’ll find that you give up nothing with the shorter bullet. At 600 yards, the 130gr “Mission Ready” load has 78.8″ (12.5 MOA) of drop. By comparison, the “Match Ready” load with 140-grainers has 80.3″ (12.8) MOA of drop at 600 Yards (That’s not a mistake — the smaller bullet has LESS drop because it has a higher MV to start.) At 1000 yards, the “Mission Ready” load is virtually identical to the “Match Ready” load: The 130gr ammo has 304.6″ (29.1 MOA) of drop at 1000 vs 303.4″ (29.0 MOA) for the 140gr ammo at the same distance. (These calculations are based on standard conditions at sea level, with ABM supplied MVs.)
Because the ballistics are so close, you may want to try both loads in your .260 Rem rifle, even if you single-load and are not restricted by mag length. Some barrels may have a preference for one bullet over the other.
Product Tip from EdLongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
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The AR-10 was designed to handle the 7.62×51/.308 Winchester and other .308 “family” cartridges such as the .243 Win and .260 Remington. Our friend Dennis Santiago recently put together an AR-10 to shoot the accurate .260 Rem cartridge. Here is his initial report:
AR-10 Platform Chambered for .260 Remingtonby Dennis Santiago
I was very curious to see how the .260 works in the AR-10 compared to a .308. I’ve always thought about chambering a bolt gun in .260 but before doing so I thought it’d be good to try it using a less expensive entry point. With an AR platform’s easy interchanging of barrels, it seem like the best way to test out the .260 Rem chambering. So far, it’s most impressive.
DPMS LR-308 in .260 Remington getting function cycle tuned and zeroed
I took the AR-10-type .260 Rem a step closer to being ready for matches yesterday. The first order of business was to confirm which buffer spring to use with both the 123 grain and 140 grain bullet loads. My .260 Rem loads, on average, are using 4-5 grains less powder than the .308 loads. In a semi-automatic action that means less gas/energy to work the mechanics. The solution in an AR-10 platform is to either cut coils in the .308 spring or use a weaker AR-15 buffer spring; yup they are not the same. In this case, a CS flat spring for the AR-15 did the trick.
I also put a very nice NightForce Benchrest 12-42x56mm scope that came via friend Mark Gravitt on it and got zeros. This scope’s 1/8th MOA clicks are nice. The AR-10 had previously mounted a NightForce F1, a more “field tactical” 3-15X system. This 12-42X scope now sets this gun up as more of a target cannon. Field of view is limited when your minimum magnification is twelve. Maybe I’ll put an auxiliary red dot on it just to find the target.
Pet Loads: H4350 and Lapua 123gr Scenars Comment by Daily Bulletin Editor
Over a two-year period, this Editor put a lot of rounds through a .260 Remington. I did a ton of load testing with that Savage-actioned rifle (before it was rebarreled as a 6mmBR Norma). I tried two dozen load recipes with five different powders and bullets ranging from 100 grains to 142 grains. Hodgdon H4350 was my “go-to” powder. As many 260 Rem shooters have discovered, H4350 is a winner in the .260 Rem. This propellant delivered the lowest ES in my rifle and nothing beat H4350 for consistent accuracy with bullets in the 120-140 grain range. My most accurate load was with Lapua 123gr Scenars, pushed by H4350 and CCI 250 primers. The 123gr Scenars worked well jumped as well as seated into the lands. Best accuracy, in my 24″-barreled .260 Rem, was right about 2950 fps. Other powders work well, but H4350 is a very good choice for the .260 Remington (as well as the smaller 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge).
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Chart created with Ammoguide’s Visual Comparison Tool. Visit Ammoguide.com to learn more.
by Eben Brown, EABCO.com, (E. Arthur Brown Co. Inc.)
The current popularity of 6.5mm cartridges in the USA has been a long time in coming. I won’t go into my opinions on why it took so long to catch on. The important thing is that it finally HAS caught on and we’re now so fortunate to have a wide selection of 6.5mm cartridges to choose from!
6.5mm Grendel – Developed by Alexander Arms for the AR15 and military M4 family of rifles. The Grendel fits the dimensional and functional requirements of these rifles while delivering better lethality and downrange performance. There are now similar cartridges from other rifle companies. We chamber for the Les Baer “264 LBC-AR”. Designed for velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 123gr bullets, it shoots the 140-grainers at about 2000 fps (for comparison purposes).
6.5mm BRM – Developed by E. Arthur Brown Company to give “Big Game Performance to Small Framed Rifles” — namely our Model 97D Rifle, TC Contender, and TC Encore. Velocities of 2400-2500 fps with 140gr bullets puts it just under the original 6.5×55 Swede performance.
6.5mm x 47 Lapua – Developed by Lapua specifically for international 300m shooting competitions (with some interest in long-range benchrest as well). Case capacity, body taper, shoulder angle, and small rifle primer are all features requested by top international shooters. You can expect velocities of 2500-2600+ with 140 gr bullets.
6.5mm Creedmoor – Developed by Hornady and Creedmoor Sports, the 6.5mm Creedmoor is designed for efficiency and function. Its shape reaches high velocities while maintaining standard .308 Winchester pressures and its overall length fits well with .308 Win length magazines. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.260 Remington – Developed by Remington to compete with the 6.5mmx55 Swedish Mauser that was (finally) gaining popularity in 1996. By necking down the 7mm-08 Remington to 6.5mm (.264 cal), the .260 Remington was created. It fit the same short-action [receivers] that fit .308 Win, .243 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, etc. You can expect velocities of 2600-2700 fps with 140gr bullets in the 260 .Remington.
[Editor’s Note: In the .260 Rem, try the Lapua 120gr Scenar-Ls and/or Berger 130gr VLDs for great accuracy and impressive speeds well over 2900 fps.]
6.5mm x 55 Swedish Mauser – This was the cartridge that started the 6.5mm craze in the USA. It is famous for having mild recoil, deadly lethality on even the biggest game animals, and superb accuracy potential. Original ballistics were in the 2500 fps range with 140gr bullets. Nowadays handloaders get 2600-2700+ fps.
[Editor’s Note: Tor from Scandinavia offers this bit of 6.5x55mm history: “Contrary to common belief, the 6.5×55 was not developed by Mauser, but was constructed by a joint Norwegian and Swedish military commission in 1891 and introduced as the standard military cartridge in both countries in 1894. Sweden chose to use the cartridge in a Mauser-based rifle, while Norway used the cartridge in the Krag rifles. This led to two different cartridges the 6.5×55 Krag and 6.5×55 Mauser — the only real difference being safe operating pressure.”]
6.5-284 Norma — This comes from necking the .284 Winchester down to .264 caliber. Norma standardized it for commercial ammo sales. The 6.5mm-284 was very popular for F-Class competition and High Power at 1,000 yards. However, many F-Class competitors have switched to the straight .284 Win for improved barrel life. 6.5-284 velocities run 3000-3100+ fps with 140gr bullets.
.264 Winchester Magnum – Developed by Winchester back in 1959, the .264 Win Mag never really caught on and may have delayed the ultimate acceptance of 6.5mm cartridges by US shooters (in my opinion). It missed the whole point and original advantage of 6.5 mm cartridges.
The Original 6.5mm Advantage
The special needs of long-range competition have skewed things a little. However the original advantages of 6.5mm cartridges — how deadly the 6.5mms are on game animals, how little recoil they produce, and how easy they are to shoot well — still hold true today.
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One of our Shooters’ Forum readers, Trent from Louisiana, asked for help deciding between a .260 Remington and a 6.5×55 for his latest gun project. In the Forum thread, respected UK gun writer Laurie Holland provided a good summary of the differences between the two chamberings. Laurie writes:
“The 6.5×55 case has 6 or 7% more capacity than the .260s, even more in practice when both are loaded to standard COALs with heavy bullets, which sees them having to seated very deep in the .260 Rem using up quite a lot of powder capacity. So loaded up for reasonable pressures in modern actions, the 6.5×55 will give a bit more performance.
The issue for many is what action length is available or wanted, the 6.5 requiring a long action. So sniper rifle / tactical rifle competitors will go for the .260 Rem with the option of the many good short-bolt-throw designs around with detachable box magazines. If a bit more performance is needed, the .260AI gives another 100-150 fps depending on bullet weight.
Brass-wise, you’ve got really good Lapua 6.5×55 off the shelf that needs minimum preparation, and it’s strong and long-lived. There is an Ackley version too that was popular in F-Class in Europe for a while that isn’t too far short of 6.5-284 performance. If you go for .260 Rem, the American brass isn’t as good but you can neck-up Lapua or Norma .243 Win and trim them (or neck-down .308 Win or 7mm-08). This has the downside that doing so usually creates a noticeable ‘doughnut’ at the case-shoulder junction, that may cause problems depending on how deep bullets are seated. [Editor’s Note: After Laurie wrote this, Lapua began producing high-quality .260 Remington brass.]
For purely target shooting, I think I’d go with 6.5×55 if I was making the choice again today for performance and brass-preparation reasons. In fact, I’ve considered going back to the gunsmith to have the barrel rechambered.
You want a multi-purpose rifle though and that makes things trickier depending on the bullet weight(s) you want to use. The [typical] 6.5×55 and 6.5-08 throats are really designed for 140s, so 90-120s make a long jump into the rifling. If you’re always going to use 130s and up, it’s less of an issue. If you want to use the lighter stuff, I’d say go for .260 Rem and discuss the reamer with the gunsmith to come up with as good a compromise as you can depending on the mix of shooting. 1:8.5″ twist is the norm and handles all the usual sporting and match bullets; you can go for a little slower twist if you won’t use the heavies.
Over here in the UK, in Scotland to be precise, we have a top sporting rifle builder (Callum Ferguson of Precision Rifle Services) who almost specializes in .260 Rem usually built on Borden actions. He throats the barrel ‘short’ so it’s suited to varmint bullets, but will still handle the 100gr Nosler Partition which he says is more than adequate for any British deer species including Scottish red stags.
Accuracy-wise, I don’t think there’s anything between them if everything else is equal. The 6.5 has a reputation for superlative accuracy, but that was high-quality Swedish military rifles and ammunition matched against often not-so-high-quality military stuff from elsewhere. Put the pair in custom rifles and use equally good brass and bullets and you’ll be hard pressed to tell them apart.” – Laurie Holland
After Laurie’s helpful comments, some other Forum members added their insights on the .260 Rem vs. 6.5×55 question:
“To me, the .260 Remington has no advantage over the 6.5×55 if one is going to use a long action. Likewise, the only advantage the .260 has in a modern rifle is it can be used in a short-action. There is more powder capacity in the 6.5×55 so you have the potential to get more velocity plus there is a lot of reloading data available to you for loading at lower velocity/pressure if you choose. The Lapua brass is great and Winchester brass is pretty good at low pressures. Having loaded a good bit for both, the 6.5×55 would always get the nod from me. To me, if someone wants to use a short-action, the 6.5×47 Lapua is even a better option than the .260 for a target rifle.” — Olympian
“There is just one small item that has been missing from this conversation — the 6.5×55 has a non-standard rim diameter of .479″ vs. the standard .473″ of a .308 and all of its variants. Depending on your bolt this may be an issue, or it may not.” — Neil L.
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If you’ve ever lusted for a SAKO TRG42 in .338 Lapua Magnum, now’s the time to break out the checkbook. This could be the deal of the decade. EuroOptic.com is selling brand new, .338 LM SAKO TRG42s for just $2250.00. That is not a misprint. For a limited time (while supplies last), EuroOptic is offering AccurateShooter.com readers new TRG42s in .338 Lapua Magnum for just $2250.00 — that’s over $1000.00 cheaper than the price at some other gun vendors. This was a special purchase, and inventory is limited, so don’t delay. The TRG42s have black furniture with a matte black barrel finish (not phosphate), and no Picatinny rail. The $2250.00 price applies only to black-stock models, chambered in .338 LM. Shop around and you’ll see you can’t come close to this price on a new TRG42 anywhere else. If you order, mention AccurateShooter.com to get the $2250.00 special price.
SAKO TRG42 in .338 Lapua Magnum for $2250.00
EuroOptic Exclusive: .260 Remington TRG22s
Want a SAKO TRG22 chambered in .260 Remington? Well you won’t find one at your local gunstore. EuroOptic.com commissioned a special run of .260 Rem TRG22s, SNs 0XX-200, and they are now in stock. These are fitted with 26″, 1:8″ twist, black phosphate-coated barrels. Actions come with milspec Picatinny rails pre-installed. Four different stock finishes are currently available: Matte Black, Remington Green, Desert Digital Camo, and Woodland Digital Camo. The Camo stock sets are an Eurooptic exclusive — not available anywhere else. These are very special rifles, and with the high interest in the .260 Rem cartridge (which won the National High Power Championship in the hands of SGT Sherri Gallagher), you can expect the rifles to sell out quickly. Price for the .260 Rem TRG22s in black and green is $3100.00. The Digital Camo versions are priced somewhat higher, at $3350.00. Shown below is a the TRG22 in Desert Digital. If you have questions, call (570) 220-3159 and ask for Jason Baney. CLICK HERE for sale info and rifle specs.
While the venerable .308 Winchester is still the chambering of choice for most tactical shooters, a growing number of tac competitors are switching to the 6.5 Creedmoor (as well as other 6.5mm chamberings such as the 6.5×47 Lapua and .260 Remington). Among the 6.5mm options, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers the advantage of high quality, relatively affordable factory ammo.
Can the 6.5 Creedmoor win tactical matches with factory ammo? Absolutely. Team Hornady’s Tony Gimmellie used Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor 120gr Match ammo to win the Oregon Sniper Challenge, held May 22-23, at the Douglas Ridge Rifle Club in Eagle Creek, Oregon. Tony said, “Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor ammo delivered ½ MOA accuracy from [my] POF gas piston rifle, allowing me to stay well ahead of the competition.”
To learn more about the 6.5 Creedmoor, along with the other popular 6.5mm cartridges used for tac comps, we recommend three articles by Accurateshooter.com contributor Zak Smith:
6.5 Creedmoor vs. the .308 Winchester
In the first article above, Zak explains: “Why 6.5 mm instead of .30 caliber? Put simply, they sling the long, slim, high-BC 6.5 mm bullets at respectable velocity. It duplicates or beats the .300 Win Mag’s trajectory with less recoil than a .308 Win. Compared to the 175 Sierra MK fired from a .308 Win, the 6.5 mm will have 27% less wind drift and about 10 MOA less drop at 1000 yards. Despite a 35-grain deficit in bullet mass, the 6.5 Creedmoor will retain 18% more energy and hit the target 260 fps faster.”
6.5mm Cartridges — Comparative Ballistics Performanceby Zak Smith
Put in order of ballistic performance, the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .260 Remington are almost neck-and-neck, pushing the same weight bullets at about the same velocities from almost identical case capacities. The 6.5×47 Lapua in factory form lags by 100 to 200 fps due to less powder capacity; however, it has already gained a reputation for having a strong case that puts up with the high pressures some reloaders push in their custom rifles. The .260 Remington’s main problem for the reloader is lack of high-quality and affordable brass and to date there has only been one factory load produced which was appropriate for serious long-range competition for the non-reloader. The 6.5×47 was designed for intermediate-range competition and very accurate ammunition is available from Lapua; however, these factory loads are at a ballistic disadvantage at long range compared to the .260 Remington and the 6.5 Creedmoor.
There will always be those who bash new cartridges, claiming that they don’t do anything better than their favorite cartridge. By this logic, we’d all be shooting .30-06. Put simply, the 6.5 Creedmoor is what the .260 Remington should have been. It looks like Hornady has the right mind-set to make its new cartridge a success in the competitive and practical market, unlike Remington who basically let the .260 languish in a few hunting rifles. The 6.5 Creedmoor enjoys additional case capacity over the 6.5×47 Lapua, which allows better ballistics at a lower peak chamber pressure.
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You’ve probably heard by now, but this is big news, so it bears repeating. Lapua has started production of .260 Remington cartridge brass. Lapua hopes to deliver the first shipments to the USA by late March, 2011. This is a very positive development for hunters, high power shooters, and tactical shooters. With the latest generation of powders (including Reloder 17), the .260 Remington is a potent cartridge with the 140gr-class bullets, and it hammers with the Lapua Scenar 123s or Berger 130s, and H4350-speed powders. In the video below, Kevin Thomas, Lapua’s USA Marketing Manager, provides more specifics about the .260 brass, and Lapua’s other new-for-2011 products.
On the bullet front, Lapua is proudly rolling out its new “L” series of projectiles, starting with the 6mm 105gr Scenar and then expanding to the whole Scenar match bullet line. NOTE: These are NOT new bullet designs — Lapua is not changing the bullet shapes, weights, or internal construction. So you’ll be getting the same bullets, only with tighter tolerances, and improved quality control.
Lapua has tightened its production tolerances for the L series of bullets. Lapua claims that the L series of bullets will be more uniform in weight, with improved concentricity. Length from base of bullet to ogive will be held to very tight tolerances. Apart from the notations on the box, the new Lapua L bullets will be marked with an “L” crest stamped on the bullet heel. Lapua claims this tiny stamp will not affect accuracy nor reduce the bullet’s ballistic coefficient.
Lapua explains: “We have set out to tighten all measures and requirements, including our already famous quality control standards.” Scenar L bullets will exhibit: “closer weight tolerances, tighter jacket wall concentricity standards, and greater uniformity in every dimension, starting from the gilding metal cup, lead wire and jacket forming, ending up to core-jacket assembly, boat tail pressing and tipping.”
Testing the Scenar Ls for Uniformity
Are the new Scenar “L” series bullets actually more uniform than previous Scenars (which were really very, very good)? Based on my quick test of 20 sample bullets pulled at random from a box, I would say the 105gr Scenar Ls are some of the most uniform factory bullets ever. Adam Braverman gave me a box of the new 105gr Scenar “L” bullets. I randomly chose twenty (20) bullets, and measured them base to ogive using a Hornady comparator. With the exception of one bullet, everything was pretty much “dead on”. I listed two at 0.7125″, but they were awfully close to the others. Basically, except for the one bullet measuring 0.711″, they were all the same within the practical resolution of my calipers. Very impressive indeed.
All Bullets within One-Tenth of Grain
Next I checked for weight uniformity. I weighed each of the 20 bullets twice, using a calibrated RCBS ChargeMaster scale. NOTE: This is NOT a lab quality scale. The 0.1 grain total spread among the bullets is within the scale’s range of error. But I did weigh each bullet at least twice, and the ones that were one-tenth of a grain light I weighed four times. Three bullets out of the twenty measured 105.2 grains. All the rest were 105.3 grains. Remarkable.
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Here is great news for high-power shooters, tactical competitors, and hunters. Lapua will be producing .260 Remington brass starting in 2011. The official announcement will be made at SHOT Show 2011 in Las Vegas, and brass should start arriving in early spring. With Lapua’s introduction of .260 Rem brass, precision shooters now have a “no-brainer” first choice for cartridge brass in this popular chambering. No longer will you have to sort and cull (and re-sort) Rem-brand .260 brass. And you won’t have to fool around necking-up .243 brass or necking down .308 brass, with the problems that come with case-reforming operations.
The .260 Rem offers ballistics similar to the 6.5×55 with a cartridge size that fits short actions. For long range, the .260 Rem works great with 120gr to 142gr bullets, making it highly suitable for both hunting and target shooting. Here is what Lapua says about its new brass:
The .260 Rem was used to stunning effect at Camp Perry to win the 2010 Championships setting an incredible new national record in the process. .260 shooters have hammered their way into the winner’s circles of a wide variety of competitive disciplines, a real testament to the capability of this outstanding cartridge.
The .260 isn’t just a target round. It has also shown itself to be a fine performer in the field for medium game. Effectively duplicating the ballistic performance of the time-honored 6.5×55, the .260 has already developed a well-earned reputation for dependable stopping power on deer, antelope and similar game. Given the tremendous selection of bullets for every conceivable application, the 260 is an extraordinarily versatile cartridge. With such a solid history already established in such a short time, Lapua is proud to add the .260 to our line of premier components for the handloader.
[Editor’s Comment: I shot the .260 Rem extensively for 3 years, testing many powder/bullet/primer combinations. I tried both Remington-brand brass (very inconsistent), and necked-up Lapua and Norma .243 brass. If you want a reliable, accurate “go-to” load for the new Lapua .260 brass, I recommend Lapua 123gr Scenars with Hodgdon H4350 powder, running at about 2950 fps. Both Fed 210M and CCI large rifle primers work well. If you run the ballistics, you’ll find you give up little or nothing shooting the 123s vs. the 140gr class bullets because you can achieve significantly higher velocities with the lighter bullets, when using most powders. If you simply MUST shoot the 140s, try Reloder 17 to get higher velocities.]
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Following SGT Sherri Gallagher’s record-setting victory in the 2010 NRA High Power National Championship, many readers have asked what caliber (chambering) Sherri was shooting. Well, Sherri was shooting a .260 Remington at all yardages, as confirmed by SFC Emil Praslick, USAMU rifle coach. Runner-up Carl Bernosky was shooting a 6mm Hagar in an AR-platform rifle.
To capture her first High Power Championship, with a record 2396-161X score, Sheri used a Tubb 2000 bolt gun chambered in .260 Rem. According to Praslick: “[the rifle has] the same barrel as last year. I believe it has close to 2000 rounds on it.” To our surprise, Sherri’s ammo was loaded in relatively inexpensive Remington brass. Praslick explained: “We use Remington brass, Federal 210Ms, and Varget powder. For the 300/600 yard lines we use the Sierra 142gr bullet. Her 300RF load is around 2650 fps, the 600SF load approximately 2750 fps. At the 200 [yard line], we use a reduced recoil load using the Sierra 107gr MK.”
Accuracy Trumps Raw Velocity
Praslick noted that Sherri’s load, while not particularly fast, is ultra-accurate: “All these loads rely much more on accuracy than they do velocity. SGT Gallagher’s rifle has been tested repeatedly at 600 yards. It will easily shoot 3″ to 4″ groups all day long. This is evident by her X-count.” Praslick added: “I am a big believer in the .260 for High Power shooting. [It offers] easy load development, ballistic advantage, and long barrel life.”
Another great load for this cartridge is the 123gr Lapua Scenar pushed by Hodgdon H4350. That was the best overall performing load in this Editor’s .260 Rem. I was able to run the 123s at 2950 fps with great accuracy and extremely low ES and SD. Compare the 600-yard ballistics of the Scenar 123s at 2950 fps with Sherri’s 142gr SMKs launched at 2750 fps. You may be surprised. The 123s have less drop, and the 10 mph wind drift (at 600 yards) is very close: 23.9″ for the 123s vs. 22.8″ for the 142s. (Calculations done with JBM Online Ballistics Calculator using Lapua and Litz field-measured BCs, 59°, 500′ elevation.)
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