Report by Des Parr
With every new season, standards in the F-Class game are climbing ever higher. Shooter are improving their skills set while equipment and loading techniques are improving (thanks in part to websites such as this). Evidence of the level of improvement in F-Class shooting comes from the UK, where a talented shooter drilled a new GBFCA record score. One of our rising stars on this side of the pond is F-Open shooter Paul Hill. He hails from England’s wide-open flat lands where the wind blows strongly in from the North Sea and where a shooter must soon learn to read the wind.
At the European Championships held in September at the Bisley ranges, Paul set a new record score at 900 yards — a 100-17V! That’s 17 shots placed in a five-inch circle the size of a CD (compact disc) at over half a mile. [NOTE: At Bisley, the maximum score is FIVE points, not ten points. So the maximum score for 20 shots is 100. Also what Americans call an “X” is called a “V” at Bisley.]
Record Set with Slower Pair Firing Method
Bear in mind the style of shooting here in Great Britain is pair-firing. Under this procedure, each of two competitors shoots alternately, taking turns from shot to shot. Each shooter has 45 seconds to get his shot off. Allowing for the target pullers to do their jobs, this means that each shot can take up to one minute. As Paul was pair firing, he had to concentrate for up to 40 minutes to get all 20 shots off! You can imagine how many times the wind changed course in those 40 minutes — pick-ups, let-offs, changes of angle and direction. Paul had to counter each change and still managed to keep 17 shots in that 5-inch circle!
Paul Hill Sets Record with His First-Ever DIY-Chambered Barrel
What makes this new GBFCA record all the more significant is that Paul did it by barreling his own rifle — and for the first time! By simply taking great care and attention he has chambered and fitted a barrel himself to the very highest standards. Paul chambered the Krieger 1:9″-twist barrel for the .284 Winchester cartridge. His action was a Barnard. The stock is by Joe West.
Record Shot with Lapua 180gr Scenars and Russian Primers
We should note that Paul Hill is a very keen fan of Lapua’s 180gr Scenar-L bullet. It has to be said that this bullet doesn’t have the highest BC, yet whatever it lacks in that department it more than makes up for by being remarkably consistent — and consistency counts for a lot. Paul is also a fan of the Russian KVB-7 primers. His achievement is proof that Lapua Scenars and KVB-7 primers are every bit as good as the premium-priced alternatives. The powder was Vihtavuori N160. [Editor: For its 180gr Scenar-L, Lapua lists a 0.661 G1 BC, and a 0.332 G7 BC. Those numbers may not top the charts, but they are still very impressive.]
Records are made to be broken, but we think it will be quite a while before Paul’s 200-17X is surpassed in European competition. If you feel up to that challenge, consider competing in next year’s European Championships in late September 2017.
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Lapua’s Scenar-L bullets are extremely consistent in weight and dimensions. In our tests, the 6mm 105gr Scenar-L proved to be as uniform in weight and base-to-ogive length as any factory bullet we’ve ever measured. Scary consistent. Now there is a full line-up of Scenar-L bullets in .224, 6mm, 6.5 mm, 7mm, and .308 calibers. Yes, that’s right, Lapua now makes a 7mm match bullet. In fact, Lapua makes two: a 150-grainer and a big, high-BC, 180-grainer.
All these Scenar-L bullets are carried by Grafs.com. There are good supplies in most calibers, but the 7mm 180s (item LU4PL7401) are nearly sold out, and the 6mm 105-grainers are sold out. More of these popular 6mm and 7mm projectiles should arrive later this summer.
FREE HAT with Lapua Purchase
For a limited time, if you purchase Lapua bullets, brass, or loaded ammo from Grafs.com, you can get a FREE Lapua cap. NOTE: Quantities are limited, and this offer is restricted to one per customer.
In the above video, Peder Mørch Pedersen demonstrates the accuracy of Scenar-L bullets in a Blaser R8 GRS rifle chambered in 6mmBR Norma. Peder was shooting from bipod at 300 meters on a sunny day in Vingsted, Denmark.
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Lapua just dropped a bombshell — multiple bombshells, in fact. Lapua just announced that it will be producing .221 Fireball brass and .50 BMG brass starting early 2014. This will be the first truly match-grade brass ever offered for the .221 Fireball. That’s great news for varminters, who can use Lapua’s new .221 Fireball brass “as is” or neck it down to .20 Vartarg or 17 Fireball. Tactical shooters can also use the .221 Fireball brass to make the .300 Whisper and 300 Blackout sub-sonic cartridges. At the other end of the spectrum, ultra-long-range shooters now have a new ultra-premium brass source for the mighty .50 BMG. This is potentially a “game-changer” for fifty-cal shooters who have had to “make do” with military surplus brass for the most part. Lapua says the new brass, both .50 BMG and .221 Fireball, should be in the USA by early April, 2014. Sorry, no pricing info is yet available.
Here is the Lapua Product Announcement for .221 Fireball and .50 BMG Brass:
New 180-Grain and 150-Grain 7mm Scenar-L Bullets
The other big news from Lapua is the release of two new 7mm (.284 caliber) Scenar-L target bullets. Recognizing the popularity of 7mm cartridges among F-Class Open Division shooters, Lapua will offer a high-BC, 180-grain bullet. As part of the “L” series, this new 180-grainer bullet should exhibit extreme consistency in base-to-ogive measurements and bullet weight. We expect this new 180gr projectile to be extremely accurate in the .284 Winchester, .284 Shehane, 7mm WSM, and 7mm RSAUM — popular chamberings for F-Class and long-range benchrest shooters. No BC information has been released yet, but we expect the BC number to be quite high, giving this bullet great wind-bucking capability. In addition to the new 180gr 7mm Scenar-L, Lapua will offer a new 150gr 7mm bullet. This is optimized for medium range competition in Silhouette and Across-the-Course competition. It should offer great accuracy, but with less felt recoil than its 180-grain bigger brother.
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At SHOT Show 2013, Lapua announced it was expanding its line-up of Scenar L projectiles to include two new 6.5mm bullets and three new .30-caliber Scenar Ls. We applaud this news. This Editor has tested 6mm Scenar L bullets in his own rifles, and they have proven to be some of the most consistent bullets we have ever measured. The Scenar Ls also shot great in 8-twist barrels from Brux, Krieger, and PacNor.
Two New 6.5mm Scenar Ls
Guys with .260 Rem, 6.5×47, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 6.5-284 rifles have been eagerly awaiting the new 6.5mm Scenar Ls. These will be offered in two weights: 120 grains and 136 grains.
Scenar Ls in .30 Caliber
Lapua will release three new .30-Caliber Scenar L bullets. Along with a new 155gr Palma bullet (GB 552), Lapua will offer a 175gr Scenar L (GB 550), plus a 220gr heavy-weight Scenar L (GB 551). In magnum and short magnum chamberings, the 220-grainers should prove very effective in Long Range comps.
What Makes the Scenar Ls So Good
While all Lapua Scenar bullets are made to exacting standards, Lapua “raised the bar” with its Scanar L series. Scenar L bullets feature closer weight tolerances, tighter jacket wall concentricity standards, and greater uniformity in every dimension. Building bullets this good isn’t easy — you have to get everything right — from the gilding metal cup, to the lead wire and jacket forming, core-jacket assembly, and finally boat-tail pressing and nose-tipping. To build L-series bullets to such high standards, Lapua had to adopt new manufacturing procedures, and install proprietary new machines and advanced instrumentation never seen before in bullet production. Lapua also took its already high quality control standards and kicked them up a notch.
New 6.5mm Scenar Ls — First Look
At SHOT Show, Lapua unveiled its much-awaited new 6.5mm (.264 caliber) Lapua Scenar L bullets. There are two (2) new 6.5mm Scenar Ls: a 120gr tangent ogive design and a 136gr multi-ogive design. These are both all-new bullets, though the new 120gr Scenar L bears a “family resemblance” to the current (and very accurate) 123gr standard Scenar. One look at the new 136-grainer, and you can see that this is NOT just a “tweak” of the popular 139gr standard Scenar. The new 136gr Scenar L has a streamlined secant-ogive shape that blends into a more conventional tangent ogive as the bullet approaches full diameter. This dual-ogive design enhances the bullet’s BC, making it more slippery. That should translate to less drop and less drift at long range.
These new 6.5-caliber Scenar Ls should hit the market very soon. Check with Grafs.com for availability. As soon as we can get our hands on Lapua’s new 120s and 136s we will test them in a 6.5×47 Lapua bench gun and see how they perform. The .30-Cal 175gr and 220gr Scenar-Ls should arrive by late spring according to Kevin Thomas of Lapua. Kevin is a member of our Forum and he can answer your questions about the entire line-up of Lapua projectiles, along with Lapua cartridge brass.
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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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