January 24th, 2014

Powder Watch: N133, LT-32, and Norma Powders Available Now

Vihtavuori N133 powder valleyHere’s good news for short-range benchrest shooters. The two most popular powders for the 6PPC, Vihtavuori N133 and Accurate LT-32, are now in-stock at Powder Valley Inc. (PVI). In fact, Powder Valley even has the hard-to-find 8-lb jugs of N133. If you need LT-32 or VV N133, visit PowderValleyinc.com.

– PVI has 1-lb containers of LT-32 for $24.90
— PVI has 1-lb containers of N133 for $30.35
— PVI has 8-lb jugs of N133 for $196.50.

Consider Norma Powders for Large Cartridges
Can’t get H4350 or H4831sc? If you need slower-burning powders for your .260 Rem, .284 Win, 7mm WSM, or magnum caliber, consider Norma powders. While the popular Alliant and Hodgdon medium-to-slow burn-rate powders are still very hard to find, you can get similar Norma powders from many vendors right now, no waiting.

Norma 217 powder valleyPowder Valley has Norma 204, 217, MRP, and URP in stock. MidwayUSA.com has 204, 217, MRP, and URP in stock. MidsouthShootersSupply.com has Norma 204 in stock. The Lapua Burn Rate Chart (shown below) places URP in the burn range of H4350 and Vihtavuori N150, and Norma says “burning rate for URP is close to our 204 but on the quick side.” Norma 204 is slower than H4350 but a little faster than H4831sc. MRP is close to the original H4831. Download Chart as PDF.

Norma 217 does not show on the Lapua chart, but it is a good powder for the heavy magnums. Norma says that “Norma 217 is slightly slower than the discontinued MRP2. It was developed for the 30-378 Weatherby from start. Matches the .338 Norma Mag and .338 Lapua Mag perfect with heavy bullets. It is also a good candidate for [overbore cartridges] such as 7mm Rem Mag[.]”.

Lapua Vihtavuori burn rate charts

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May 1st, 2011

Best Wallet Group Ever? 1.86" 5-Shot Group at 1000 Yards

What’s a “wallet group”? It’s a singularly spectacular proof target that entitles its bearer to bragging rights. The wallet group may or may not have been shot in competition, and, by definition, it may not be repeatable. But it exists as incontrovertible proof that, at least once, the stars aligned, and the wind gods smiled on the shooter.

1000-yard record groupFive Shots in 0.178 MOA at 1000 Yards
A couple seasons back, Forum member and F-Class shooter Gary Wood was testing his 6.5-284 rifle at the 1000-yard range in Coalinga, California, getting ready for an up-coming long range match. In practice, Gary nailed a witnessed 1.859″ five-shot group, with four of the five shots well under an inch. Use this as proof to win those club-house arguments about whether it is possible to shoot “in the ones” at 1000 yards. Gary’s group worked out to 0.178 MOA!

Gary reports: “I was load testing with 5-shot groups. Each group was shot on a new F-Class center and pulled by Ret. Master Chief Jerry Pullens and spotted by an other long-range shooter. The second 5-shot load group looked really small … by our reckoning four out of five shots measured under an inch. I was amazed. What’s more, when I shot the group, the 4th shot blew the spindle out of the 3rd shot. My spotter saw that in his scope and Jerry Pullens told me about it afterwards”.

As measured with the OnTarget Software, using a scan of the target, Gary plotted the group size at 1.859″ total for five shots, or 0.178 MOA. Gary noted: “I had everyone sign the target which I saved and photographed.” Yes, Gary, this may be the wallet group to end all wallet groups. You should have that target framed.

1000-yard record group

Gary’s Load and 6.5-284 Rifle Specs
Gary’s load was 48 grains of Hodgdon H4350 and CCI BR-2 primers, pushing 142gr Sierra MKs, in Lapua 6.5-284 brass. The rifle features an F-class, single-shot Surgeon action with a Bartlein 5R barrel chambered with a no-turn neck. Gary says “The barrel only has 70 rounds through it… yep, I think it will shoot.” Gary did all of the gunsmithing and barrel work himself.

Did Gary have any special reloading tricks? Apparently not: “Other than weighing the cases and the powder very carefully, there really were no magical reloading secrets used. The Sierra 142s were moly-coated straight from the box of 500, but they were not weighed or checked for bearing surface. The powder was dropped with a RCBS ChargeMaster then checked with an Acculab scale (to under a tenth). The Lapua cases were not neck-turned, but I did weight-sort them. The five cases for the small group weighed: 195.05, 195.03, 195.03, 195.03, 195.01.”

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July 22nd, 2010

Williamsport Winner Reveals 6.5×284 Reloading Secrets

John Hoover of Accuracy One Shooting Supplies is the 2010 Williamsport World Open Two-gun Overall Champion. Shooting a 6.5×284 in both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) classes, John shot consistently, placing 3rd in Light Gun class, and 6th in Heavy Gun to win the overall Two-Gun with 34 rank points. It was a solid win. The next closest shooter was Paul Chackan with 59 rank points.

John Hoover Accuracy One

John Hoover Accuracy OneHoover’s Reloading Tips
We interviewed John after his World Open victory, and he shared his World Open-winning load, and some of the reloading secrets that allow him to craft ultra-accurate long range ammo. For his 6.5x284s, John loaded was Sierra 142gr MatchKings pushed by 48.0 grains of Hodgdon H4350, in “white box” Winchester .284 brass. Both rifles used exactly the same load. John revealed: “I have 9 match rifles, and they all shoot 48.00 grains of H4350.” John pointed his 142gr SMKs, using his own Accuracy One bullet-pointing tool: “I don’t shoot anything that isn’t pointed. All the loads we shoot use pointed bullets. I find that bullet pointing, combined with meplat trimming, reduces vertical dispersion at 1000 yards.”

Hoover’s Secret Ingredient? RWS Primers
Hoover lit his loads with RWS primers — the “Holy Grail” of rifle primers. Where did John get these superior German-made RWS primers, which are virtually unobtainable in the USA these days? John explained: “I bought those primers a long time ago, as a stocking dealer. I had about 100,000 at one time before they quit importing them, I kept a fair amount for us to use. I’m down to about 8000. When they’re gone I’ll have to change to something else.”

Hoover Now Anneals Brass “Early and Often”
Recently Hoover has changed his brass annealing procedure; he now anneals his Winchester brass earlier and more frequently: “I anneal more often now. I used to shoot my cases five to six times before annealing. Now before I shoot a case the very first time, I anneal it. That has help keep the ES and SD down. I anneal before I shoot the first time, and then every third firing. I use the Ken Light annealing machine.”

Ace Smiths Built Hoover’s Winning Rifles
John’s heavy gun was chambered by Al Warner of Warner Tools, while the light gun was chambered by 8-time National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky. Both light and heavy guns had Bartlein 1:8.5″ twist 5R barrels. All the stock work was done by Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks. John credited these smiths: “I had good equipment from top to bottom, I had good smithing help from Alan, Carl, and Alex, who all did excellent work. When you’re walking to the firing line you get peace of mind from having the best equipment.”

READ MORE: To learn more about John Hoover’s successful 6.5-284s, read this Gun of the Week article.

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