July 5th, 2016

The Best-Performing Cartridge Types For F-Class Competition

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Cartridge Choices for F-Class Competition

By Emil Kovan
Kovan Match Rifles LLC, www.matchrifles.com

There are hundreds of cartridge types capable of winning in F-Open. For F-TR you can shoot either the .223 Rem or .308 Win, but you have many load options. This article will focus on proven choices, currently used by the top F-Class shooters in the world. Our discussion will analyze cartridge selection based on the four different F-Class sub-disciplines: Open Mid-Range, Open Long-Range, F-TR Mid-Range, and F-TR Long Range.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Kovan
Click image to view full-screen photo.

Mid-Range F-Open Cartridges

For starters, a .300 WSM is certainly capable of winning mid-range matches but it is not ideal. So what is ideal, and why? F-Class Mid-Range matches usually are usually shot at 300, 500, or 600 yards — or all three. At those distances the 6mm and 6.5mm cartridges rule. In moderate conditions, the 6mm Dasher is unbeatable. Its low recoil along with its super grouping ability and good ballistics make it my number one choice for Mid-Range.

Best bullets for the 6mm Dasher are: Vapor Trail 103gr, Berger 105 Hybrid, 108 BT, and 105 VLD (hunting). Best powders are: Varget, H4895, and Reloder 15.

Choices for Mid-Range in Tougher Conditions:
We all know that conditions are not always “moderate” that’s why something a little bit bigger will save you a “Nine” or two. The 6.5X47 Lapua was designed for 300-meter competition, but as soon as it was released, it was adopted by F-Class, benchrest, and tactical shooters. It offers great ballistics with very low recoil and big “accuracy window”. Lapua makes great brass for it (no surprise there) and Berger makes great bullets: 130gr VLD, 140gr VLD, 140gr Hybrids. Best powders in most barrels are Varget and H4350, I don’t use double-based powders such as Reloder 17 and the Vihtavuori N500 series because of their unpredictable performance day to day (greater temp sensitivity).

The 6.5X47 Lapua necked down to 6mm is also a great option for mid range matches. I was able to easily get 3200 fps with 105 hybrids and H4350.

Choice for Long-Range F-Open Competition

In Long-Range F-Open Class (out to 1000 yards), the big, high-BC bullets rule. If I had to pick one cartridge for F-Class (both mid- and long-range) I would pick the .284 Winchester or one of its variants. The .284 Win is currently dominating in F-Open competition. It offers great barrel life, it is super-easy to tune and its recoil is very manageable. The best bullets for it by far (in my opinion), are the Berger 180 Hybrids. But Sierra’s new 183gr MK bullet (with factory-uniformed meplats) seems to perform very well as does the Berger 180 VLD. Best powders for the .284 Win are H4350 and H4831SC.

F-Open F-TR F-class competition cartridge guide comparison Emil Covan

Long-Range Only F-Open Cartridge
As much as I like the .284 Win, for long-range competitions I like the .300 WSM even more. If you look at a .300 WSM and a 6mm Dasher side by side, they appear almost identical in geometry — the .300 WSM looks like an “super-sized” Dasher. Both cartridges are currently the “darlings” of long-range benchrest due to their extraordinary grouping ability and huge “node’’ windows. Big accuracy windows allow loads to perform well in different conditions and geographical locations. That’s obviously very important if you travel to compete. The .300 WSM loaded with Berger 215gr or 230gr Hybrids is very tough to beat at long range, and it is currently my number one choice.

The 7mm RSAUM is another outstanding long-range round. It resembles a 6BR on steroids and it is almost as easy to tune. Best bullets for it are Berger 180gr Hybrids, 195gr EOLs, and Sierra’s 183gr MatchKing. Best powders for the 7mm RSAUM are: H4350, H4831SC, and VV N160.

Top Caliber/Bullet Combos for F-TR

In F-TR competition, the choice is clear — a .308 Win throated for Berger 185gr BTLRs and 200gr Hybrids will win in mid-range AND long-range comps. Many championships have been won, and many records set with those two bullets in the .308 Win. To quote Danny Biggs (a two times FTR National Champion) “The 185 BTLR is the best bullet for .308 Win ever made”.

The Berger 215gr Hybrids have been used to win many competitions including recently the 2015 F-Class Nationals. Bryan Litz won both the Mid-Range and Long-Range 2015 Championships using 215s. Bryan’s rifle is shown below:

Bryan Litz F-TR 2015 National Championship rifle

I recommend chambers throated for the 185/200 grain projectiles over the 215/230 grain bullets. The reason is that if you have your barrel throated out for the 215s or the 230s, you could have a “slow” barrel and max out on pressure before the desired velocity is reached. Optimum freebore for the 230s is too long for the 185/200s, so you would be limited to using only 215/230gr bullets in that barrel.Furthermore, the recoil increase with heavier bullets is substantial, causing the rifle to be more difficult to shoot.

.223 Remington Cartridge Diagram.223 Rem — Not A Competitive Option
I would stay away from the .223 Remington. On paper the 90gr VLD will shoot inside most .308 Win loads even at a 1000 yards. But in reality, on average, the .223 Rem, regardless of what powder/bullet combo is used, cannot compete with the .308 Win. [Editor: The equipment lists at major F-TR matches will confirm Kovan’s conclusion here.]

Conclusion (and Other Options)
This article covers only the (currently) most popular cartridge/bullet combos for F-Class (F-Open and F-TR). As I said in the beginning, many cartridge types are capable of winning but are not listed due to their low popularity, case design, or lack of quality components. All of the above information is based on my personal experience and it is meant to help new shooters choose the right cartridges for F-Class matches. Thanks for reading and good luck — Emil Kovan

Emil Kovan F-Class competition bio photoEmil Kovan Competition History:

– 2014 F-Class Open National Champion

– 2015 F-Class Open National Championship, Silver Medal

– F-Class Open National Championship Teams, 2015, 2014, 2013, Shooting Team Member

– Over 15 wins in Regional and State Championships in Palma, F-TR, F-Open

– 2013 U.S. National Team Member

– 2017 U.S. National Development Team Member

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 12 Comments »
May 28th, 2016

The Color Purple — A Father’s Gift to His Daughter

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

“My daughter’s favorite color is purple, so I built her a purple rifle….”

Here’s a feel-good story about a family that shoots together, and a dad who did something very special for his daughter. All fathers create things for their children, but it’s unusual to find a Dad who has the skills (and motivation) to build a top-level competition rifle for his child. Our friend, Erik Cortina, did just that. Here is the story of the lovely purple maple F-Class rig Erik built for his girl Amberleeana.

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

AUDIO FILE: Erik Cortina and Daughter Amberleeana Talk about the Purple Rifle. (Sound file loads when you click button).

My daughter would always tell me when I would go to a match, “Remember Dad, only Xs matter, the other stuff on the target is just there for decoration!” — Erik Cortina

A Father’s Gift: An F-Classer for Amberleeana

by Erik Cortina
My daughter Amberleeana has been wanting to shoot F-Class for a long time because I have been dragging her to matches since she was a little girl. She would come into my reloading room and watch me reload while she asked a million questions, all which I tried to answer to the best of my abilities. At age 9, she started hunting with a semi-custom rifle her grandfather gave her, a 6×47 Lapua built on a Remington 700 action with a Bartlein barrel. She has been very successful as a hunter so she decided to move to the next step and start shooting F-Class.

She shot my backup rifle before and she really enjoyed it. Here’s a YouTube video from a while back. This shows Amberleeana, at age 11, shooting at 500 yards for the very first time. You can see she does very well.

After hearing about the U.S. F-Class Under 25 (U25) Rifle Team selection trials in Raton this upcoming summer, Amberleeana wanted to try out for the U25 Team. I told her that was OK, but we had to modify the rifle she was currently using so that it could fit her better. After some consideration, I decided instead to sell that rifle and build her a brand new one.

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

Her favorite color is purple, so I built her a purple rifle with adjustable cheek piece and butt pad. Shurley Brothers (Austin, TX) crafted the stock from maple, and then applied a purple gloss finish. We think it turned out great. Amberleeana is eager to take the rifle to Raton this summer: “I would like to make the Under 25 U.S. Rifle Team and compete at the F-Class World Championship in Canada in 2017. My main focus now is on the upcoming team try-outs in Raton, New Mexico.”

I hope that my daughter enjoys F-Class as much as I have, which will allow us to spend more time together on the range and in the reloading room.

6.5×47 Lapua Load Development
The purple rifle is chambered for the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge. Our preliminary load work up shows great promise using Vihtavuori N140 powder, 136gr Lapua Scenar bullets, and CCI 450 primers. We tried a variety of charge weights, starting at 35.7 grains of N140 and ending up at 38.2 grains. The photo below shows an initial series of 3-shot test groups at 120 yards. What do you think is the best node? What charge weight would YOU select among these? [Editor: That final load of 38.2 grains looks very good, but we would want to check for pressure signs and repeat with 10-round strings checking for ES and SD. Also, if you go by the vertical only, the 36.0 and 36.3 loads are worth further testing.]

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle DaughterPurple Rifle Specifications:
Stock: Shurley Brothers Lowrider XL stock (Maple)
(Finished by Shurley Brothers, bedded by Speedy Gonzalez)
Action: Kelbly F-Class Panda
Trigger: Flavio Fare
Barrel: Brux 32″-long, 1:8″-twist, 4-groove stainless, chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua
(Barrel work and assembly done by Erik Cortina)
Barrel Tuner: ECTuner (matches barrel contour)
Scope: Nightforce 15-55x52mm Competition
Front Rest: SEB NEO front rest
Rear Sandbag: Edgewood
Load: VV N140, 136gr Scenars, CCI 450 primers

Erik Cortina 6.5x47 Lapua F-Class Rifle Daughter

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Gunsmithing 7 Comments »
March 19th, 2016

6.5×47 Lapua — Accuracy to Spare for Tactical Applications

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Last summer we published our comprehensive 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide, researched by the 6.5 Guys. In case you’ve been wondering what kind of accuracy is possible for a tactical-type rifle chambered for this mid-sized cartridge, check out this tack-driver built by gunsmith Ryan Pierce. That’s a mighty impressive 0.206″ five-shot group fired with Berger 140gr Hybrids using a Brux cut-rifled barrel. The powder was Hodgdon H4350, a very good choice for this cartridge.

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Ryan reports: “Here is a 6.5×47 I built for a customer. It features a trued Rem 700 action, Brux 1:8″ Rem varmint-contour barrel, Mcmillan thumbhole stock, Surgeon bottom metal, and 3-port muzzle brake. The customer’s preferred load is the same that has worked in the last couple dozen 6.5x47s I’ve built: 41.1-41.3 grains of H4350 with 140 hybrids .050″ off the lands. This should run about 2810-2815 fps from a 26″ barrel. The 3.128″ refers to length of a loaded round from the base to ogive including the Hornady ogive comparator tool.”

6.5x47 Lapua Tactical Rifle Ryan Pierce Brux Barrel H4350 Berger Hybrid

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tactical 13 Comments »
February 2nd, 2016

6.5mm Cartridges — Eight Options to Consider

6.5 Cartridge Guide Eben Brown EABco e. arthur brown 260 rem 6.5x47 6.5 creedmoor 6.5x55
Chart created with Ammoguide’s Visual Comparison Tool. Visit Ammoguide.com to learn more.

One of our forum members was looking for a very accurate, mid-sized 6.5mm cartridge for target working and coyote hunting. There are many great options including the 6.5 Grendel, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, and Remington .260 (a 6.5-08). If you are considering the 6.5×47 you should read our 6.5×57 Cartridge Guide authored by the 6.5 Guys. This and other 6.5mm cartridges are covered in this introduction to 6.5 mm cartridges prepared by Eben Brown, President of Eabco.com.

Guide to 6.5mm Cartridges

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.

6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge guide

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.

6.5 Cartridge Guide Eben Brown EABco e. arthur brown 260 rem 6.5x47 6.5 creedmoor 6.5x55

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
October 4th, 2015

In Praise of the .30-06 — ‘The Old Warhorse Ain’t Dead Yet’

.30-06 cartridge IMR 4350

This article first appeared in 2014. We are reprising it at the request of many readers who are fans of the .30-06 cartridge.

The “Old Warhorse” .30-06 Springfield cartridge is not dead. That’s the conclusion of Forum member Rick M., who has compared the 1000-yard performance of his .30-06 rifle with that of a rig chambered for the more modern, mid-sized 6.4×47 Lapua cartridge. In 12-16 mph full-value winds, the “inefficient and antiquated” .30-06 ruled. Rick reports:

“I was shooting my .30-06 this past Sunday afternoon from 1000 yards. The wind was hitting 12-16 mph with a steady 9 O’clock (full value) wind direction. My shooting buddy Jeff was shooting his 6.5×47 Lapua with 123gr Scenar bullets pushed by Varget. Jeff needed 13 MOA left windage to keep his 6.5x47L rounds inside the Palma 10 Ring. By contrast I only needed 11.5 MOA left windage with my .30-06. I was shooting my ’06 using the 185gr Berger VLD target bullet with H4350. I managed the same POI yet the .30-caliber bullet only needed 11.5 MOA windage. That’s significant. From this experience I’ve concluded that the Old Warhorse ain’t quite dead yet!”

.30-06 cartridge IMR 4350

Rick likes his “outdated” .30-06 rifle. He says it can deliver surprisingly good performance at long range:

“To many of the younger generation, the Old Warhorse .30-06 is ‘outdated’ but I can guarantee that the .30-06 Springfield is a VERY ACCURATE cartridge for 1000-yard shooting (and even out further if need be). With some of the advanced powders that we have today, the .30-06 will surprise many shooters with what it’s capable of doing in a good rifle with the right rate of twist. My rifle has a 1:10″ twist rate and I had it short-throated so that, as the throat erodes with time, I could just seat the bullets out further and keep right on shooting. My recent load is Berger 185gr Target VLDs pushed by IMR 4350. This is a very accurate load that moves this bullet along at 2825 fps.”

.30-06 cartridge IMR 4350

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 11 Comments »
September 13th, 2015

Alliant Reloder 15 Vs. Norma 203B — The Numbers Tell All

norma 203B Reloder 15 berger load manual

In response to our Bulletin story about the availability of Norma powders at Midsouth Shooters Supply, one of our Forum members asked: “I’m having trouble finding Reloder 15 for my 6.5×47 Lapua — should I consider running Norma 203B instead?” As we’ve explained before, these two powders, both made by Bofors in Europe, are very, very similar. Here are some hard numbers that should demonstrate how virtually identical these powders really are.

Target Shooter Magazine writer Laurie Holland compared Norma 203B and Reloder 15 using data from QuickLOAD. Laurie also checked load manuals to see how listed charge weights varied for the two propellants. Laurie concluded there was very little difference between Norma 203B and Reloder 15.

Laurie Holland RatonNorma 203B vs. Alliant Reloder 15
Commentary by Laurie Holland

Running [203B and RL15] through QuickLOAD doing a ‘charge table’ run for a 130gn Berger VLD at 2.700 COAL in 6.5X47 Lapua, gives very similar positions in the table [for both powders]. The charge required to achieve 62,000 psi estimated pressure varies by a mere 0.2 grains between the pair, Norma 203B being the heavier of the two. The estimated Muzzle Velocity (MV) also varies by a mere 2 fps, RL15 estimated to produce 2,946 fps MV compared to 2,944 fps for N203B at 62,000 psi (with the parameters I used).

If they aren’t the same thing, they’re so close as to make no difference and as Forum Boss points out, they’re made by the same people (Bofors) in the same plant.

[The Berger Reloading Manual includes data for both powders] for the .308 Winchester and heavier bullets (185 to 230 grains). Maximum charges and claimed MVs are not always identical, but are so close as to be marginally different production lots of the same thing, or maybe the result of minor testing variations.

.308 Win Max Charge Weights in Grains (RL15 / N203B) (Berger Manual)

norma 203B Reloder 15 berger load manual

MVs [for the four bullet types] are close but not identical, the largest difference being for the 210s which shows RL15 producing 2,428 fps MV v 2,383 for Norma 203B.

Norma 203B Chemistry
According to the Norma Reloading Handbook #1, Norma 203B has the following composition:

85% Nitrocellulose
7.5% Nitroglycerin
2.0% surface coating
4.6% Various chemicals
0.9% Water

3,957 J/g specific energy
890 g/l specific density

For comparison, the 7.5% NG component compares to 15% in Viht N500 series powders and 10% in Ramshot TAC / Big Game / Hunter.

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 4 Comments »
August 25th, 2015

Records Broken at 2015 High Power Silhouette Nationals

Lapua Team High Power Silhouette Championship

With so much action going on at Camp Perry, Ohio this August (including the Fullbore Worlds), you might not realize that another NRA rifle championship was taking place simultaneously in Pennsylvania. The NRA High Power Hunter Rifle Silhouette Championship was held 6-8 August at the Ridgway Rifle Club, in Ridgway, Pennsylvania. This event attracted the nation’s top silhouette shooters.

Lapua Team High Power Silhouette ChampionshipAt this year’s Silhouette Championship, Team Lapua shooters Cathy Winstead-Severin and Mark Pharr finished first and second overall. The match went down to the wire, with Cathy edging out Mark in a shoot-off for the overall title. Earlier in the competition, Cathy set a new Woman’s National Record in a 120-shot course with a stunning 97/120, breaking the previous record of 90 by seven points. Another record was broken by the Hunter Rifle Team of Cathy Winstead-Severin, Mark Pharr, and Mallory Nichols. This talented Team Lapua threesome set a new national record of 295, besting the mark set in 2004. Team Lapua also took second place in the Standard Rifle Team Division.

16-Year-Old Girl Finishes Fourth in Hunter Class
Team Lapua’s youngest member, 16-year old Mallory Nichols, was incredibly impressive as she entered the competition as an AA shooter and blasted her way through AAA into Master class in finishing fourth overall in Hunter Rifle. (She was in the running for third place overall, until a shoot-off with Eric Boos of Washington, who finished third). Nichols also set new national records for Long Run for Women and Intermediate-Junior hitting 18 pigs in a row. The previous Intermediate-Junior record was 14 set by Luke Johnson in 2011.

Lapua Team High Power Silhouette Championship

Winning Silhouette Loads
2015 Overall Silhouette Champion Cathy Winstead-Severin was shooting a 6-6.5×47 Lapua with 90-grain and 105-grain OTM Scenar bullets, pushed by Vihtavuori N135 powder. Mark Pharr and young Mallory Nichols were both shooting the regular 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge with 108-grain and 139-grain OTM Scenar bullets and Vihtavouri N140 powder.

6.5x47 silhouettelapua

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
July 11th, 2015

Tactical Transformer: .243 Win Becomes a 6-6.5×47 Lapua

6mm-6.5x47 6x47 Lapua Tactical Accuracy International

Article by Bill, Editor of Rifleshooter.com
A few years ago I built a custom switch-barrel Remington 700 on an AICS Chassis chambered in .243 Winchester and .308 Winchester. I found the .243 Win finicky during load development and started looking at other options for the 6mm Bartlein 1:8″-twist HV barrel.

6mm-6.5x47 6x47 Lapua Tactical Accuracy InternationalInitially drawn to the 6mmBR and 6mm Dasher, I realized these cartridges wouldn’t feed from an AICS magazine system without extensive modification. I took a look at the 6mm Creedmoor, 6XC, and 6mm-6.5×47 Lapua (aka 6×47 Lapua), all of which feed well from a detachable magazine. At right you can see the 6×47 Lapua in an AICS magazine. It has the “Goldilocks factor” — not too long, not too short.

The ability to simply convert 6.5×47 Lapua brass to 6×47 brass by running the parent 6.5mm brass through a full-length Forster sizing die in a single step was what made me choose the 6×47 Lapua over the 6mm Creedmoor and 6XC (both excellent cartridges in their own right). I also own a 6.5×47 Lapua rifle, so I had a supply of 6.5×47 brass ready to neck-down. Being able to create 6×47 brass easily (one pass and done) was very appealing.

Left to right, below: 6mmBR, 6-6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .243 Winchester.
Rifleshooter.com6mm-6.5x47 6x47 Lapua Tactical Accuracy International

I cut the chamber end off my .243 Win barrel, threaded and chambered my rifle for the 6×47 Lapua cartridge. I have written a lengthy article on this cutting and re-chambering process. Home gunsmiths interested in this process can READ MORE HERE.

When the re-chambering was complete, I headed to the range and worked up a set of eight loads using Berger 108 BTHPs, H4350, Lapua brass, and CCI 450 primers.

Rifleshooter.com 6mm-6.5x47 6x47 Lapua Tactical Accuracy International

Load development was a little trickier than with the 6.5×47 Lapua parent cartridge. The accuracy nodes were smaller. However, once I dialed in a load with Hodgdon H4350 and the 108-grain Berger BTHP, the rest was history. The 6×47 rig is now one of the most consistent rifles I own, holding just above 0.3 MOA for 5-round groups. Below is a 100-yard test target with 108-grain Berger BT in the 6×47 Lapua. Five-shot group sizes are (L to R): .369″, .289″, and .405″. The average size was .354″ or .338 MOA. [Editor: We think that is excellent accuracy for a tactical-type rifle shot from bipod.]

6mm-6.5x47 6x47 Lapua Tactical Accuracy International

Learn More about this 6×47 Lapua Project
I’ve written more about this 6×47 rifle on my Rifleshooter.com website. To learn more about my experience with the 6×47 Lapua, click this link: 6-6.5X47 Lapua Review.


About the author: Bill has been a serious shooter for over 20 years. A former Marine Corps Sergeant, he’s competed and placed in High Power Rifle, ISPC, USPSA, IDPA, 3-Gun, F-Class, and precision rifle disciplines. In addition to being an NRA-certified firearms instructor and range officer, Bill has hunted big game in North America, South America, and Africa. Bill writes extensively about gunsmithing, precision rifles, and the shooting sports on his blog, Rifleshooter.com.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tactical 1 Comment »
June 22nd, 2015

New 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide from AccurateShooter.com

6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge Guide AccurateShooter.com 6.5 Guys

AccurateShooter.com has released the most complete discussion of the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge ever published. Our new 6.5×47 Cartridge Guide is packed with information. If you own a 6.5×47 rifle, or are thinking of building a rifle with this chambering, definitely read this Cartridge Guide from start to finish. Our comprehensive, 5000-word article was researched and written by the 6.5 Guys, Ed Mobley and Steve Lawrence. Both Ed and Steve shoot the 6.5×47 Lapua in competition and they are experts on this accurate and efficient mid-sized cartridge.

CLICK HERE to READ NEW 6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide

You’ll find everything you need to know about the 6.5×47 Lapua in our new Cartridge Guide. We cover ballistics, reloading, die selection, and we provide an extensive list of recommended loads, for bullets from 120 to 140 grains. You can read interviews with respected experts who’ve built and tested many 6.5×47 rifles. The Guide includes helpful tech tips such as how to maximize the powder fill in your cases. This Cartridge Guide can put you on the “fast track” — helping you develop accurate, reliable loads with minimal development time.

6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge guide6.5×47 Lapua Cartridge Guide Highlights:

  • Cartridge Specifications
  • Comprehensive Load Data
  • Best Bullets and Primers for 6.5×47
  • Ballistics Comparison Charts
  • Sizing and Seating Die Options
  • 6mm-6.5×47 (Necked-Down) Options
  • Ask the Experts Section
  • Tips for Accurate Reloading
  • Brass Life and Annealing
  • Chambering and Gunsmithing Tips
  • 6.5×47 Lapua for Hunting
  • 6.5×47 Lapua for Tactical Competition
  • 6.5×47 Factory-Loaded Ammo

6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge Guide AccurateShooter.com 6.5 Guys
Here is a sample from the 6.5×47 Cartridge Guide’s Ask the Experts Section. This is an interview with Rich Emmons, one of the founders of the Precision Rifle Series:

6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge Guide AccurateShooter.com 6.5 Guys

6.5x47 Lapua Cartridge guide

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 11 Comments »
June 14th, 2015

Which is Better: .260 Remington or 6.5×55 Swedish?

6.5x55 SE, 6.5 Swedish 6.6x55mm .260 Rem Remington Laurie Holland comparison

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:

Remington 260 CartridgeThe 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.

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Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 8 Comments »
June 1st, 2015

Novice Shooters Learn Quickly with Truly Accurate Rifles

6-6.5x47 Benchrest

On some internet shooting forums, self-declared “experts” advise new rifle shooters to stick to low-end factory rifles. These “experts” (many of whom don’t own a single really accurate rifle), claim that it will take years for a new shooter to learn how to shoot a rifle accurately. So, the argument goes, the accuracy offered by a precision-chambered rifle, with a custom barrel, is “wasted” on a new shooter.

We disagree with that viewpoint, at least when it comes to rifles shot from a rest. Certainly it takes time for a complete novice to learn how to handle the gun and to work the trigger smoothly. However, we’ve seen relatively new shooters, with help from a skilled mentor, do remarkably well with precision rifles right from the start. With a good bench gun, many new shooters can shoot well under 1 MOA on the first day. This editor has personally seen some inexperienced ladies try their hand at benchrest shooting, and within a month or two they are shooting on a par with the “good old boys” in serious competition.

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Permalink Tech Tip 12 Comments »
April 19th, 2015

The “Long Dasher” Cartridge, Plus a Trick Rangefinder Mount

Forum member Scott S. (Sunbuilder) has built a sweet long-range varminter based on the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge necked down to 6mm and then improved to 40 degrees, with slightly less body taper. Scott tells us that “improving the case adds about 2.0 grains to the case capacity”. This allows Scott to run the 103-108gr bullets at well over 3100 fps, with no pressure issues. Scott calls his Improved case a “Long Dasher”, a name suggested by Dave Kiff of Pacific Tool & Gauge.

6-6.5×47 Improved Works Well with Many Powders
Scott’s 6-6.5×47 Lapua Improved varmint rifle features a Stiller Diamondback action, Lilja 30″ 8-twist barrel, Richard Franklin stock, and a NightForce 8-32×56 NXS. Scott has had excellent success — his two longest groundhog hits were at 778 and 810 yards. Scott has tested many powders with his 6-6.5×47 wildcat: “I tried several powders (H4350, N160, N560, H4831sc), and primers (CCI 450, BR4, Rem 7 1/2, Fed 205Ms). I got better velocity with H4350, but my barrel likes the N160. I did find a [high-speed] node with H4350. The increased velocity potential of this cartridge is partially due to the slightly increased case capacity. The load I am shooting now is 40.5gr N160, Berger 105gr Match BT, .010″ jam, CCI BR4, .002″ neck tension at 3115 fps. This has an ES under 15 fps, and it will group under 2″ at 500 yards if conditions hold. This ‘Long Dasher’ (6-6.5×47) seems to have a lot of potential (and that’s an understatement).”

A Better Mount for the Spotter and Rangefinder
Scott designed and fabricated a very slick set-up to hold his Zeiss spotting scope and Leica CRF RangeFinder. He’s built a combo bracket that holds both units rock steady, with a parallel line of sight (same axis and elevation). Smart. Very smart. Scott explains: “I built a mount to connect my rangefinder to my spotting scope. The mount can be adjusted, so the spotting scope and rangefinder are both centered on the same object. The only way I have found to get repeatable long-range readings is to make them from a stable base.” Scott, we think you’ve got a winner here with your innovative and clever design.

sunbuilder spotting scope rangefinder mount

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Reloading 2 Comments »
September 27th, 2014

Mid-Sized Cartridge Comparison

We are often asked “what’s the difference between the 6×47 Swiss Match, the 6XC, and the 6.5×47 Lapua necked down to 6mm?” All three cartridges have 30° shoulders and fit a .308-sized boltface. However, alone among the three, the 6mm-6.5×47 has a small primer pocket and small flash hole. The 6×47 Swiss Match (made by RUAG), and the 6XC (produced by Norma), have a large primer pocket and large flash hole, just like a .308 Winchester.

Forum member DesertLefty has provided a line-up photo, with 6mmBR and .260 Rem cases provided for comparison. As you can see, the three mid-sized cases (6x47SM, 6.5×47 Lapua, and 6XC) are very similar.

6mm Cartridge Comparison

The Swiss Match has the longest neck, while the 6XC enjoys the highest capacity. But performance is very similar among the three cartridges (with the 6.5×47 necked down to 6mm), and the same powders, particularly H4350, IMR 4007SSC, and N160 work well in the 6×47 SM, the 6XC, and the 6-6.5×47 Lapua. Alliant Reloder 17, slightly faster than H4350 but with a flatter (less “peaky”) burn curve, could also prove a good choice for both the 6XC and 6mm-6.5×47.

6XC vs. 6-6.5×47
Often the question is posed “Which is better, the 6XC or 6mm-6.5×47″. The correct answer seems to be “it depends”. Current batches of Norma-made 6XC brass are very good, while certain lots of 6.5×47 Lapua brass have somewhat disappointing neckwall uniformity, demanding neck-turning for best accuracy. Overall, however, the two cases (6mm-6.5×47 and 6XC) are nearly identical in performance. Some shooters believe the Lapua brass holds up better under full-power loads. On the other hand, Norma 6XC brass from DavidTubb.com is a bit less expensive than 6.5×47 brass.

The parent 6.5×47 Lapua case is rated at 63,090 psi, while the new CIP rating for the 6XC is 63,844 psi (4400 BAR). Though the 6mm-6.5×47 has slightly less powder capacity than the 6XC, max velocities with 105-108gr bullets are quite similar. However, you should not substitute loads from the 6XC directly to the 6mm-6.5×47 or vice-versa. Because of the different case capacities and primer sizes, you should work up loads separately for each cartridge.

Permalink News 3 Comments »
May 4th, 2014

Aussie Sets Southern Hemisphere 1K Record with Borrowed Rifle

We recently wrote about a spectacular 2.6872″ ten-shot group shot at 1000 yards in Montana. Well Australian Peter Varley recently turned in another amazing group at 1000 yards — this time 2.010″ for FIVE shots. And he did it with a borrowed gun! That’s not the smallest 1K group ever shot on the planet*, but it’s still an Australian and (we believe) a Southern Hemisphere record. Varley shot the 2.010″ group with a borrowed 17-lb Light Gun at a Canberra Rifle Club match in March of this year. Congrats to Peter for his outstanding shooting. And “hats off” to fellow Queenslander John McQuire, who loaned Peter the rifle.

Shown below is Peter Varley with his target, plus a close-up. You’ll note that two of the five (5) shots go through a paster. You’ll find pasters all over these targets because the Canberra Club “recycles” these large 1K targets many times.

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

Peter reports: This was shot at a 1000-yard match on the Canberra Rifle Range on Sunday, March 9, 2014. I traveled 1300 kilometers (807 miles) from Nambour (Sunshine Coast) Queensland to Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.

I had left my rifle case keys at the motel and resigned myself to target butts duty or a lazy day. A friend, John McQuire from Mackay (Central Queensland Coast) said: “Get my 6.5 x 47 out, clean up, and you’re in the first detail (relay)”. So it was a borrowed gun for the shoot. The match commenced around 9:00 am. Conditions were very good — winds were very light with no mirage to speak of. Everything fell into place.”

Gun Specifications: Lawton 7500 action with Jewell trigger, PacNor barrel chambered for 6.5×47 Lapua, home-made custom stock, March 10-60x scope

6.5x47L Load: Lapua 123gr Scenars, with CCI 450 primers and Varget (ADI 2208) powder.

Peter Varley 1000 Yards Light Gun Record

*The current NBRSA Light Gun 1000 Yard 5-shot group record is 1.473″ by Bill Schrader in 2002. Tom Sarver is credited with an even smaller 5-shot IBS Light Gun record.

Permalink Competition 5 Comments »
November 17th, 2012

6.5 Creedmoor for High Power and Tactical Shooters

While the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge was devised primarily for High Power and Across the Course shooters, it has also found favor with tactical shooters looking for a highly accurate round that feeds well from a magazine, but offers significantly less recoil than a .308 Winchester. In fact, the 6.5 Creedmoor has become so popular that some vendors we checked were sold out of both brass and loaded ammo. (Don’t worry though — Creedmoor Sports has both 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammo in stock.)

6.5 Creedmoor Hornady
CLICK HERE for 6.5 Creedmoor Video and Specifications

6.5 Creedmoor brass cartridge6.5 Creedmoor vs. 6.5×47 Lapua — Cost Factor
The 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor offer very similar ballistics with 120gr and 140gr bullets. However, 6.5 Creedmoor brass AND loaded ammo are cheaper. That’s a big plus in the tactical game. At tactical competitions, there are “move and shoot” stages where you need to shoot quickly and then move to another position. It’s very difficult to recover all your brass. Losing a piece of 6.5×47 brass (at $1 dollar a pop) is painful. The Hornady brass is $34.49 per 50 (69 cents each) at Sinclair Int’l or $34.95 per 50 (70 cents each) at Creedmoor Sports.

Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor loaded ammunition is also much less expensive than the loaded 6.5×47 Lapua rounds. For shooters that don’t have the time (or skills) to reload, the 6.5 Creedmoor (at $25.95 per 20-rd box) makes more financial sense. Grafs.com currently sells loaded 123gr 6.5×47 Lapua ammo for $52.79 per 20 rounds.

On the other hand, the Lapua brass is tougher. Forum member Mudcat observes: “[As to] the Hornady brass, while it’s good, it ain’t no Lapua, so don’t try to run hot loads cause all you are going to do is blow out the primer pockets. Keep your loads reasonable and you will get over 20 loads out of em. I have some I have loaded well over 20 times during testing…they grow like a mother though, as they are a lot softer than Win or Lapua, which is why the pockets will go. However the necks haven’t been splitting.”

Barrel Life Looks Promising
Barrel life appears to be pretty good with the 6.5 Creedmoor. Barrels will last significantly longer than with a typical .243 Win or 6.5-284. Forum Member Mudcat reports: “Based on my throat wear at 600 rounds on my 6.5 Creedmoor barrel, I bet we are looking at 2500 rounds EASY of great accuracy and then probably to at least 3000 where you ain’t going to notice it shooting Cross the Course — you might see something at 600, but nothing worse than a few less Xs. At 600 rounds, I have not had to move my VLD seating depth yet.” Forum member Rob1, who shoots tactical comps with Team Blaster, notes that Hornady puts its load and velocity on every box (see photo below), so it’s easy for reloaders to duplicate the factory ammo. That way you can start with a few boxes of factory fodder, and then load your own.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 12 Comments »
April 3rd, 2012

Comparative Specs for Various 6XC Brass Sources

GS Arizona, a top small-bore and centerfire shooter, uses the 6XC cartridge in some long-range matches. He has tried a variety of different types of brass for this cartridge, including necked-up 22-250 brass and Norma 6XC brass from David Tubb’s (Superior Shooting Systems). German’s measurements reveal significant differences in water capacity, as well as neck-wall thickness.

6XC Source Brass Dimensions

Case Capacity and Pressure Issues
GS has noted significant variances in capacity among the different “flavors” of brass. Norma-headstamp 6XC brass has 49.3 grains of H20 capacity, while Norma 22-250 brass holds only 47.8 grains of H20. Third-generation Tubb-brand 6XC brass is somewhere in the middle, with 48.6 grains of capacity. The tester did not have a chance to measure the high-quality Lapua 22-250 brass introduced in 2010. NOTE: These differences in case capacity are large enough that you MUST adjust your load to the brass type.

Norma 6XC brass David Tubb

We ran a 6XC QuickLOAD simulation with 115gr bullets and H4350 powder. QuickLOAD predicted that the observed difference in case capacity can result in pressure differentials as much as 4,500 psi! In other words, if you switch from Norma 6XC brass to a lesser-capacity brass type, your pressures could rise 4,500 psi (using H4350 and 115gr bullets).

We recommend sticking with the Norma 6XC brass. It is available from DavidTubb.com for a reasonable $69.00 per 100 cases. These days, that’s cheaper than many other types of premium imported cartridge brass.

Neck Thickness and Chambering Issues
German noted that the different types of available brass varied quite a bit in neck-wall thickness — from 0.0121″ (Norma 22-250) to 0.0140″ (Tubb 3rd Gen). Consequently the diameter of loaded rounds also varied. Depending on the brass you chose, your loaded rounds could be 0.267″ at the neck or 0.271″ (with no-turn brass). That’s a huge difference and it’s something you need to take into account when you have your chamber cut for a barrel. For a cross-the-course rifle, you might want a chamber with at least .003″ total clearance over a loaded round. Obviously, to achieve that clearance, you’ll need to set chamber dimensions base on your preferred type of brass.

NOTE: The research for this story was conducted in 2010. Dimensions may have changed with more recent production, so you should double-check the case capacity of your own 22-250 or 6XC brass.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
February 10th, 2012

Evans Sets UK Benchrest Records with Accuracy Int’l Tactical Rifle

Forum member Darrel Evans from the UK pulled off a remarkable feat recently. He set multiple 600-yard UK benchrest records shooting a true, military-type tactical rifle, an Accuracy International AW chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua. The gun had a custom 24″ fluted Border barrel, and bag-riding accessories, but other than that, Darrel’s gun was very much “as-issued” by the factory. Darrel pulled off this fine display of precision shooting at the December 27th 600-yard benchrest comp at England’s Diggle Ranges. (The Diggle, as you may know, is notorious for difficult conditions.)

Accuracy International 6.5x47

Report by Darrel Evans
Just thought that you all might like to know how I have been getting on with my Accuracy International AW chambered in 6.5×47 Lapua. To make a long story short, I broke three UK records: smallest group of the day — 1.8″ at 600; smallest Agg for the day — 2.8″; and smallest Agg for the Light Gun class — 2.8″. All these records can be viewed on the UKBRA and TargetShooter websites.

Accuracy International 6.5x47

To say that I was ‘over the moon’ would be an understatement. I was happy that all of my hard work had paid off. I was delighted to set records on the rifle’s first outing since [adding bag riders]. The 600-yard benchrest comps over here are run as a winter competition and the winds at the Diggle are not very forgiving. I knew that the group was small as the markers were over lapping each other when the target board came back up. But when they told me that it was 1.823″ I knew that I had got a record, as the last record of 2.225″ was set by myself in 2009 on the first Comp with the 6.5×47 barrel on, this was then broken with a 2.18″ on a calm day later that year. Later I received an email from Vince Bottomley telling me that I also had the best factory Agg record and the Agg record for Light Gun class.

About Darrel’s 6.5×47 Accuracy International
My Accuracy International AW (AI-AW), a military rifle system, started life as a .308 Winchester when I first bought it. But after a lot of reading I decided to buy a 6.5×47 Lapua barrel for it. As you know the AI-AW rifle system is a very good switch-barrel design, so after a phone call to Graeham Clark at Sporting Services I bought a Border Barrels 24″ fluted barrel in 6.5×47 Lapua. My .308 barrel is now in my gun safe. After seeing how the 6.5×47 barrel shoots, I doubt the .308 tube will ever go on again.

The rifle falls in the Factory Class for our 600-yard BR comps. This also qualifies in the Light Gun class. Most folks say that a factory rifle will never beat the custom lads in the Light Gun class…. Well, sometimes it’s nice to see this happen. To help the rifle’s bench manners, I made a plate for the front so that it would sit on my compact front rest with a Farley joystick top. I also made a bar to fit on the bottom of the buttstock for the rear sandbag.

Accuracy International 6.5x47

Load Development and Accuracy Testing
Accuracy International 6.5x47After a lot of testing with different powder and bullet combos, I settled on 38.2 grains of Hodgdon Varget, with 130gr JLK bullets and CCI 450m primers. Velocity is 2914 fps. Seems that this is where it likes to be. In the photo below, you can see the results of a few different powders, but all with the fantastic JLK 130gr bullets. The 38.3 Varget load had all four rounds in nearly one hole and I pulled the fifth, so this was pretty much the load that I went with for my 600-yard Comp. The JLKs are really good, consistent bullets, and I think that the next barrel that I buy will be set up for these bullets and no other — they are that good. I seat the bullets at 2.157″ OAL, just kissing the lands. I could not go any further out as the bearing surface is short.

Accuracy International 6.5x47

Wrapping up his success story, Darrel added: “I hope that this is of some help to people who have a 6.5×47 or are thinking of building one. All the best for 2012.”

Accuracy International 6.5x47

Permalink Competition, News, Reloading 6 Comments »
August 6th, 2010

300m Centerfire Competition at the ISSF World Championships

At the 50th ISSF World Championship, most of the media attention has focused on air rifle, smallbore rifle, and trap (shotgun). However, the world’s top 300m centerfire shooters are also competing in Munich this week. In conjunction with the 2010 ISSF Worlds, the 300m World Championship is taking place in Munich this week, with mens’ and womens’ prone, 3-position, and team events.

Thus far, the 300m prone mens individual and team competition have been concluded, with Mens’ 3-position yet to be held. The womens’ 300m prone event takes place Monday August 9th, while both men and women will shoot the 3-position event on Tuesday, August 10th.

300m Rifle Keppeler Standard

300m Results So Far
In Mens’ Individual 300m prone, Great Britain won the team event, with a 1792-89X combined three-man score. Team Austria finished just one point behind, 1791-104X, but with a much higher X-Count. The French team finished third with 1790-104X, lead by a superb performance by Josselin Henry, who shot a 600-36X, not dropping a point. Though his 4th-place finishing Team Norway did not make the podium, Norway’s Vebjörn Berg shot a brilliant 600-43X, one of the best match scores in 300m history.

In individual mens’ 300m prone competition, the top three shooters were Austria’s Stefan Raser (599-36X), Norway’s Vebjörn Berg (598-44X), and Marcel Zobrist of Switzerland (5989-39X). Top American was Michael McPhail, who finished 7th with 597-36X.

Click these links for ISSF World Championships 300m Schedules and Results:

300m Rifle Record Lapua 6.5x47Frenchman Ties Perfect 600 Record Score
with 6.5×47 Lapua Factory Ammo

No equipment lists have been published for the 300m World Championships, so there is very little information on the hardware and ammo used by the top competitors. However, we did learn that France’s Josselin Henry shot his 600-36X using factory-loaded Lapua 6.5×47 ammo. Henry’s perfect 600/600 score was shot in the 300m Prone Relay 2 Elimination match yesterday, August 5th. A perfect 600 was first shot by Norway’s Harald Stenvaag, NOR in 1990, then matched by Germany’s
Bernd Rücker in 1994, and by Norway’s Vebjörn Berg in 2010. Notably, Berg also shot a 600-43X in his own prone elimination match in Munich on August 5th. According to Lapua factory representatives, Josselin Henry shot his 600-36X with factory-loaded 6.5×47 Lapua (123gr HPBT Scenar) rounds, right out of the box, without any test shooting or lot selection.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
June 27th, 2009

Barnard for Long-Range Benchrest? — You Betcha'

OGVC OjaiOur lead story on AccurateShooter.com this week features Varmint Silhouette Matches at the Ojai and Pala clubs in Southern California. The Ojai Valley Gun Club Varmint Silhouette match starts off with a 600-yard, paper-punching stage using official 600-yard benchrest targets.

At Ojai, the calm, cool mountain air in the early morning often provides perfect conditions for long-range target shooting. Such was the case this past week. At the Father’s Day (June 21, 2009) Ojai Match, Bruce Duncan fired back to back 1.5″ groups with his Barnard-actioned, 6-6.5×47 match rifle. This rig was smithed by MTGuns, where Bruce works as Office Manager.

Bruce tells us: “The Barnard action is very popular with Palma, prone, and F-Class shooters of course, but I think we’ve demonstrated that Barnards can be very competitive in the long-range benchrest game as well.” Though both targets were shot in the early morning, Bruce acknowledged: “I got bit by a wind change both times — first right, then left.” Joking, he added: “But hey, my sighters were in the blue for both targets.”

Barnard 6.5x47

Target 1: 1.507″, 5 shots at 600 yards
Barnard 6.5x47

Interestingly, the Barnard “P” action is set in an aluminum V-block. The RBRP action features an MT Guns +10 MOA scope rail, with Barnard trigger. The barrel is a 1:8″ twist, 6mm Bartlein, measuring about .960″ at the muzzle. For optics, Bruce runs a Sightron 36×42 SII Big Sky with fine cross hair. Bruce tells us: “More power might be nice, but the 36X Sightron does the job.”

Target 2: 1.536″, 5 shots at 600 yards
Barnard 6.5x47

Bruce tried a variety of loads before settling on Hodgdon H4350 and CCI 450 primers pushing the tangent-ogive (non-VLD) Berger 108s seated about .020″ out of the lands. “I tested the Berger 105s in the lands, but this barrel preferred the 108s jumped”, Bruce observed. Bruce uses 6.5×47 Lapua brass necked down to 6mm. He turns the necks slightly for a PTG .270″ neck chamber. Rounds measure right around .268″ when loaded. For sizing, Bruce uses a standard Forster 6-6.5×47 full-length sizing die, with the expander ball in place.

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February 19th, 2009

New Project Rifle — Our 6-6.5×47 + 6.5×47 Switch-Barrel

After much anticipation, we finally rolled out our latest project gun, a Bat-actioned 6-6.5×47/6.5×47 Lapua switch-barrel benchrest rifle. Equipped with two (2) Bartlein 30″ 5R barrels, the gun was designed to compete in a variety of disciplines: F-Class, Varmint Matches (Silhouette + Paper), and 600- and 1000-yard Benchrest.

6-6.5x47 Project Rifle

The gun was built to a 17-lb. weight limit, with the goal of achieving the maximum possible accuracy with this pair of cartridges. We chose two identical, 30″ Bartlein barrels so we could evaluate the relative performance of the 6.5×47 and its necked-down 6mm version, holding as many variables constant as possible. Both barrels were chambered by ace gunsmith Mark King with tight-tolerance, no-turn necks.

6-6.5x47 Project Rifle.
Sightron provided the SIII 8-32×56 30mm scope, shown mounted in Burris Signature Zee Rings.

The rifle, two years in the making, features top-of-the-line components. The action is a BAT multi-flat MB, with a +20MOA Weaver-style rail on top. As the action was originally intended to be used in an F-Class rifle, the loading port was enlarged at the BAT factory to load full-length .284 Winchester rounds.

Baer laminated stockThe stock design is unique. It started as a Bruce Baer MB Tooley style, but we added some custom design upgrades. The sides of the fore-end are square (like a McMillan edge), and the underside of the fore-end has been relieved in the middle, creating two “rails”. The rear flat, on the underside of the buttstock, is 1.25″ wide, with a channel cut in the middle (to reduce drag, and to ensure that the bag tracks in the ears rather than on the center stitching.)

The stock was expertly inletted, pillar-bedded, and finished by Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks. Alex put much time and effort into ensuring that the geometry was square throughout, with straight, parallel tracking surfaces. The BAT MB action has an extended front section, to allow for additional bedding surface. The MB action employs a three-action screw design. Sitman installed pillars for all three action screws then carefully bedded the entire action. Alex, one of the best stock-workers in the world, did a great job on this rifle.

6-6.5x47 Project Rifle

Rifle Will Provide Load Data for New Cartridge Guide
This rifle was originally conceived as a match-grade test bed for the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge and its wildcat cousin the 6-6.5×47. Jason Baney will test different powders and bullets in the rifle, to develop reliable load data for an upcoming 6.5×47/6-6.5×47 Cartridge Guide. And yes, we will be trying H4350, Reloder 17, and the relatively new Hodgdon Hybrid 100V. Jason will test a variety of flat-base and boat-tail bullets in both 6mm and 6.5mm.

Pet Loads Wanted for 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47 Cartridge Guide
While Jason will generate load data for our planned 6-6.5×47/6.5×47 Cartridge Guide, we recognize that one rifle (even with two barrels) can’t provide all the key info. Each gun has its powder/bullet preferences, so we want to offer a broad sampling of load data for the new Cartridge Guide. That’s where you, our readers, can help.

If you shoot the 6-6.5×47 or 6.5×47 Lapua, and have developed some really great loads, share them with us. We can then include more data in our planned load charts. Send your “pet loads” to mailbox@6mmBR.com. Be sure to include: Powder Brand, Charge Weight, Primer Type, Bullet Brand and weight, and the OAL or known seating depth. We also request that you list the type of action, barrel length, and contour. Chron data is also important. Include the tested Muzzle Velocity, Extreme Spread (ES), and Standard Deviation (SD) if possible. It’s helpful if you can provide a short summary of your load, such as “Great 600-yard accuracy, near max, works best with light neck tension, low ES/SD.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »