July 30th, 2017

Howa Mini Action Rifles Reviewed by 6.5 Guys

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

We’ve been fans of the Howa Mini Action rifles since they were introduced a couple years ago. With actions that are nearly an inch shorter than typical “short actions”, these Mini Action rigs work great as a compact “truck gun” or carry-around varminter. Current chamberings are: .204 Ruger, .222 Rem, .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39. There are 20″ lightweight, 20″ heavy contour, and 22″ standard contour barrel options.

6.5 Guy Ed Mobley Tests the 7.62×39 Howa Mini Action Rifle
Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39

The Howa Mini Action rifles come with the excellent HACT 2-stage trigger and a 5-round or 10-round, synthetic detachable box mag (depending on caliber). The Mini Action’s bolt is 13% shorter than on regular short actions, providing a shorter, faster bolt throw. Weight is also reduced. This makes for a nice, compact (and very shootable) package.

6.5 Guys Test Howa Mini Actions in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39

The 6.5 Guys recently secured a pair of Howa Mini Actions, one chambered in 6.5 Grendel and the other in 7.62×39 Russian: “After trying out the Howa Mini Action rifles at SHOT Show 2017, we got a couple of loaners in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39 courtesy of Legacy Sports. These rifles are known for their smooth cycling and lightweight actions, as well as some unique chamberings for bolt rifles (6.5 Grendel, 7.62×39). Long story short, we really enjoyed them.” In fact Steve liked his 6.5 Grendel enough that he plans to purchase the gun. Get the full scoop in this VIDEO REVIEW:

The folks at Legacy Sports also conducted extensive accuracy tests of commercial ammunition in 6.5 Grendel and 7.62×39. The most accurate 6.5 Grendel ammo, with a stunning 0.29″ group, was Alexander Arms with Lapua 123gr Scenar; second best (0.56″ group) was Hornady with 123gr A-Max bullet. The most accurate 7.62×39 ammo was Hornady 123gr SST with a 0.62″ group in the 20″ Heavy Barrel version. View Howa’s Test Reports with these links:

6.5 Grendel Factory Ammo Data | 7.62×39mm Factory Ammo Data

Howa Mini Action Rifle 6.5 Guys 65guys.com Legacy Sports 6.5 Grendel 7.62x39
Click HERE for full-screen image.

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March 21st, 2017

The Amazing 30 Major — 6.5 Grendel Necked Up to .30 Caliber

30 Major 6.5 Grendel 30 caliber PPC

Sometimes everything comes together — a great barrel, the right load, good bullets, and, of course, a gifted trigger-puller. Check out this target from Forum member Mike Ezell. That’s five (5) shots at 100 yards from Mike’s 30 Major benchrest rifle. When this group was shot a while back, Mike reported: “I fired a few groups in the great weather. No surprises — it did VERY well! My little wildcat, the 30 Major, has always been a shooter. That target was not a fluke — I shot a few groups today and Agg’d a high One.” Mike is a Kentucky gunsmith who builds his own rifles.

30 Major is Based on 6.5 Grendel
What’s a “30 Major” you ask? This is Mike’s own wildcat, a 6.5 Grendel necked up to .30 caliber. Mike writes: “The 30 Major is essentially a .070″-long 30 PPC. With the great 6.5 Grendel brass available from Lapua, all you need to do is neck-up and turn the necks to prep the brass.” Mike says it is very much like a 30 BR, but you just start with 6.5 Grendel brass instead of 6mmBR brass.

The cartridge has one major benefit — it utilizes a PPC-diameter bolt face. That makes it easy to convert your group-shooting 6 PPC to shoot score with .30-cal bullets. Mike explains: “If you have a PPC, to shoot score, all you have to do is chamber up a [.30 caliber] barrel and screw it on your PPC.”

From 7.62×39 Russian to 30 Major — Full Circle

Arms expert Neil Gibson has an interesting perspective on the lineage of the 30 Major. He reminds us that this wildcat has returned to its roots: “Start off with the 7.62×39 Russian [cartridge]. The Russians then modify it, necking it down to .223 for deer hunting. The U.S. benchrest guys then modify that, necking it up to 6mm and blowing the case out making the 6mm PPC. Someone takes that case, necks it out to 6.5 mm, making the 6.5 PPC. Alexander Arms takes that and makes the 6.5 Grendel. Then finally Mike Ezell takes the Grendel and necks it up to 30 caliber, making the 30 Major. From 30 caliber, back to 30 caliber. OK, the original uses .31 caliber bullets, but the bore is still .300. Talk about almost coming round full circle!”

7.62×39 Russian
.220 Russian
6mm PPC
6.5 PPC
6.5 Grendel
30 Major

The 7.62×39 Russian was the Grand-Daddy of the 30 Major…
7.62x39 Russian Kalashnikov 30 Major 6.5 Grendel

Great Accuracy Restored after Solving Mystery Problem
To get his 30 Major rig shooting this well, Mike had to solve a mysterious problem that cropped up last year. Mike explains: “Two years running, I have finished in the top 15 in IBS points shooting [the 30 Major], but last year’s benchrest season was tough.” Mike was having some accuracy issues that defied explanation. But he figured it out: “The front action screw was bottoming out against the barrel extension – just barely. A simple fix brought the gun back to life. It’s a Stiller Viper Drop Port. The action is screwed and glued into the stock, so I was a bit surprised … especially after having checked for [that issue] while looking for the problem. I’m just glad to have found the trouble so I can begin to re-instill some confidence in the gun and myself, after last year.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 6 Comments »
May 18th, 2011

Wilson Combat’s New 7.62×40 WT Cartridge for AR Platform

Wilson Combat has come up with a new cartridge, dubbed the 7.62×40 WT (Wilson Tactical). Basically it is a .223 Remington necked up to .308 caliber, i.e. a .30-.223 Rem Wildcat. The cartridge is designed to give .30-cal capability to a standard AR15, using the normal bolt assembly and standard AR15 magazines. An AR15 can be converted to shoot the 7.62×40 WT with just a barrel swap. Note: Don’t confuse this new cartridge with the 7.62×39, the Eastern Bloc military cartridge that has been around for decades. The 7.62×40 WT is not derived from the 7.62×39 in any way. The 7.62×39 has a larger rim size, more body taper, and requires a different magazine and bolt. There have been 7.62×39 adaptations for ARs, but most didn’t function well (usually because of magazine issues). Wilson Combat claims the 7.62×40 WT offers the hitting power of the 7.62×39, but with a cartridge design that feeds and functions 100% in an AR15.

Wilson Tactical 7.62x40 WT

The 7.62×40 WT was designed around an optimal overall cartridge length of 2.250” which is a perfect fit for standard AR mags without shoving the bullet too far down in the case. Wilson says that its 7.62×40 WT barrels are optimally throated for the 2.250″ COAL. Therefore, Wilson claims, the “7.62×40 WT does not suffer from the same inconsistent accuracy issues in the AR platform often seen with the 300 Whisper and 300 BLACKOUT.”

Wilson Tactical 7.62x40 WT

Here are comparative Velocity and Energy numbers for the 7.62×40 WT vs. other cartridges with which it will compete.

7.62×40 WT (16″ Barrel)
110 gr: 2450 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1466 Foot Pounds of Energy
125 gr: 2400 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1599 Foot Pounds of Energy
150 gr: 2200 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1612 Foot Pounds of Energy

5.56 NATO (.223 Rem) (16″ Barrel)
55 gr: 3150 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1212 Foot Pounds of Energy
62 gr: 3000 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1239 Foot Pounds of Energy
77 gr: 2750 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1293 Foot Pounds of Energy

7.62×39 (16″ Barrel)
123 gr: 2320 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1470 Foot Pounds of Energy

6.8 SPC (16″ Barrel)
110 gr: 2550 FPS Muzzle Velocity and 1594 Foot Pounds of Energy

Wilson Tactical 7.62x40 WTAt first it looks like the 7.62×40 WT has more energy than a 7.62×39 and outruns a 6.8 SPC handily. But Wilson omitted some key data for the 7.62×39. Taking load info straight from the Hodgdon Reloading Center, a 7.62×39 can be loaded to 2408 fps with a 125gr bullet, or to 2192 fps with a 150gr bullet at relatively moderate pressures (under 41,000 CUP, or roughly 44,250 psi). A 7.62×39 launching 150-grainers at 2192 fps generates 1601 foot-pounds, virtually the same as Wilson’s 150gr load. So, the 7.62×40 WT has no real advantage (over the 7.62×39).

Is This Cartridge Needed at All?
The “T” in 7.62×40 WT stands for “Tactical”, but we don’t think many police or military units will adopt this round. The 5.56x45mm is too well-established in the AR15/M16 platform and the 7.62×39 is the smart .30-Cal choice for an AK. So what, then, is the real “niche” for the 7.62×40 WT?

We think this round may prove popular with hunters who want to shoot a much heavier bullet out of a standard AR. A 150gr projectile is nearly twice as heavy as the biggest projectile you can shoot from a .223 Rem AR. The bigger bullet should work better on some kinds of game. Wilson Combat says: “Designed for tactical/defense applications as well as hunting for medium-sized game such as deer and feral hogs. For hunting the 7.62×40 WT vastly out performs the 5.56 and is on par with the 6.8 SPC at ranges out to 175-200 yards. The VERY mild recoil of the 7.62×40 WT also makes it ideal for female and younger shooters as well as anyone that’s recoil sensitive.”

Wilson says the 7.62×40 has proven itself as a good hunting cartridge: “A LOT of Texas feral hogs, whitetail deer and predators lost their lives testing the terminal performance of this cartridge! The 7.62×40 WT has proven to be a VERY efficient killer on medium sized game with the 110gr Barnes TTSX, 125gr Nosler Ballistic Hunter and the 125gr Sierra Pro Hunter. Any of these three bullets perform admirably on deer and hogs under 150 lbs. or so, but we recommend the 110gr Barnes TTSX for large hogs. The 110gr Sierra HP is a great bullet in the 7.62×40 WT for varmints and predators, and has proven to be one of the most accurate bullets.”

Wilson Tactical 7.62x40 WTFor home defense, it could be argued that the 7.62×40 WT is better than the .223 Rem because the larger, slower .30-Cal projectile has less penetration (through walls), but that would have to be demonstrated with real-world testing. Moreover, there are frangible .224-cal bullets that minimize the risk of over-penetration indoors.

Some benchresters might even tinker with the 7.62×40 WT in a bolt gun for score competition, but we doubt it would prove competitive with the 30 BR which can push a 120gr bullet at around 3000 fps. Wilson’s cartridge does give a paper-puncher the ability to shoot a .30-caliber bullet from a rifle with a .223 bolt face, and that might be attractive to club shooters in informal score matches.

Wilson Combat will be selling 7.62×40 WT loaded ammunition (with 110gr or 125gr bullets), but it is also supporting the reloading market. Wilson offers 7.62×40 WT brass, Hornady 7.62×40 WT dies, and you’ll find extensive load data on the Wilson Combat website. For those who want to put together a 7.62×40 WT AR, Wilson offers pre-chambered 7.62×40 WT barrels, as well as complete 7.62×40 WT uppers. Barrels start at $249.95, while the 7.62×40 WT uppers retail for $1024.95.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 16 Comments »
April 9th, 2011

Bargain Pricing on Wolf Centerfire Ammo at Powder Valley

Powder Valley is running a great Wolf Ammo Special right now. All Wolf rifle ammo in .223 Rem and 7.62×39 is just $5.00 per box of 20 rounds. This Polyperformance ammo features polymer-coated steel cases (non-reloadable). The polymer coating ensures smooth feeding and extraction. In addition, the coating helps prevents the steel cases from leaving marks on your shiny metal parts or painted stocks. Note that Wolf ammo has a 100% performance guarantee. If you are not satisfied, Wolf will refund the pro-rated purchase cost of the unused portion of your ammo. Can’t argue with that.

Disclosure: Powder Valley Inc. advertises with AccurateShooter.com.
Story Sourced by Edlongrange.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
October 24th, 2009

Ammo Sale at Cabela's

ammunition Cabelas.comA sure sign that ammunition supplies are on the rise (and panic buying has abated) is when vendors start cutting back prices. Well folks, Cabela’s has just announced a major ammo sale, with prices marked down as much as 25%. Here are some of Cabela’s discounted offerings:

  • Black Hills Gold .308 Win, 180gr Nosler Accubond cosmetic seconds (item 9IS-217122). Sale Price: $21.99 for 20 rounds (Reg. $29.99).
  • Federal 5.56mm NATO 55gr FMJBT Ammo on Stripper Clips (item 9IS-217197). Sale Price: $519.99 for 900 rounds (Reg: $649.99).
  • Ulyanovsk 7.62×39 Ammo, 122gr FMJ in Metal Tin (item 9IS-217277). Sale Price: $159.99 for 640 rounds.
  • Winchester USA Rifle Ammo (item 9IS-210889). Sale Price: $13.99 for 20 rounds (Reg. $16.99).
  • To get the lowest discounted prices, click the WEB DEALS link at left.

    Much of Cabela’s ammunition inventory remains “sold out”, but the curren Ammo Sale is a good sign that the situation is getting better and the days of bare shelves and panic buying may be behind us. We note that large supplies of primers are also starting to arrive at vendors such as Powder Valley (Wolf) and Wideners.com (CCI and Wolf).

    Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo 3 Comments »
    August 8th, 2009

    New FN TSR XP — Great Deer Rifle in "Tactical" Guise

    Tactical, Smacktical. FNH USA is trumpeting the “tacticality” of its new FN TSR “Tactical Sport Rifle”, but what we think they’ve created is a great hunting rifle for small deer, coyotes and other medium-sized game. The TSR comes in two versions — the TSR XP USA (.223, 7.62×39), and the TSR XP (.308 Win, .300 WSM). Both models feature a Win m70-type action with controlled feed, an olive drab Hogue over-molded stock with aluminum bedding block, and a one-piece steel MIL-STD Picatinny rail with built-in elevation. And yes, that nice rail is standard. The factory trigger adjusts from 3 to 5 pounds.

    FNH TSR Tactical Sport Rifle

    Compact 7.62×39 XP USA features 20″ Fluted Barrel
    The smaller XP USA version, as chambered in 7.62×39, is most interesting to us. There are few other US-made bolt action rifles in this popular caliber. The XP USA features an ultra-short action and weighs 8 lbs., 11 ounces. (Why is that action based on the Model 70? Well, for starters, FNH now owns Winchester Arms and builds Model 70 actions in its South Carolina plant.) With a fluted, 1:12″ twist, hammer-forged 20″ barrel, this 7.62×39 looks to be a very handy, ergonomic, and versatile rifle.

    FNH TSR Tactical Sport Rifle

    We’ve used the Hogue over-molded stocks which feature a grippy, rubberized surface. Some folks don’t like the rubbery feel, but for field work, we’ve found the over-molded surface easy to hold and really secure in wet or snowy conditions. We like the idea of a very short action, combined with 5-round (7.62×39) or 6-round (.223) capacity, with hinged floorplate. We think the 7.62×39 is more than adequate for small deer. It’s hitting power rivals that of the classic 30/30, one of the most popular deer cartridges of all time.

    If you prefer a bigger caliber, or detachable box magazine (DBM), you can order the medium-action TSR XP version in .308 with 4-round DBM, and either 20″ or 24″ barrel. Fitted with the longer barrel, the XP in .308 is a full pound heavier than the more compact 7.62×39 XP USA.

    Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 5 Comments »