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July 16th, 2008

Savage 6BR Factory Rifle Delivers Superb Accuracy

Ace 600-yard shooter Terry Brady has been testing a box-stock, factory Savage 6BR F-Class rifle for This gun features a 30″, 8-twist barrel (0.100″ freebore), Savage Target Action, and heavy, laminated stock with 3″-wide fore-end. We know you guys have been eagerly awaiting the accuracy results. We’ll let the targets speak for themselves. Bottom Line: the Savage 6BR shoots… like a house on fire.

Savage Shoots under 1/2″ at 200 Yards
With Terry’s handloads (Norma 203B powder, CCI 450s, Berger 105s loaded .010″ into lands), the Savage produced three-shot groups well under 1/2″ at 200 yards. That’s right, TWO hundred. Measuring off Terry’s photos, using our target measurement software, one of the 200-yard groups was a measured .350″ or 0.167 MOA.

Orange target dots are 1″ diameter. Top row are 3-shot groups, center row (with 90gr factory ammo) are 5-shot groups.

Impressive Bugholes at 100 yards
At 100 yards, Terry had one 5-shot group with the Berger 105gr Match (non-VLD) that measured 0.140″ with our target measurement software. Measuring with calipers, Terry said this group was 0.279″ outside edge to outside edge. It’s interesting that Norma 203B shot tighter in this rifle than did Varget, as you can see.

Orange target dots are 1″ diameter.

Half-MOA or better with Lapua Factory Ammo at 300 Yards
The Savage 6BR also shot exceptionally well with Lapua factory ammo of two types, one loaded with 90gr BT Scenars, the other loaded with 105gr BT Scenars. Because Terry had a limited amount of factory ammo, at 300 yards, he shot three-shot groups. The 90gr ammo shot 1.490″ or about 1/2 MOA, while the 105gr ammo shot .780″, about 1/4 MOA. For comparison sake, Terry’s handloads (Berger 105s, 30.5 RL15) put FIVE shots in 0.650″ at 300 yards.

Complete Report Will Follow
We will provide a complete feature article on this rifle in the weeks ahead. That will include load data, more accuracy testing results, and Terry’s comments about the rifle. If someone in North Carolina can help Terry with a video camera, we’ll add video to the story.

So far Brady has been very impressed with the Savage overall, but he had two minor criticisms. First, he felt the Accutrigger spring weight is a bit too heavy, and second, he noted that the 1″-wide flat on the bottom of the stock at the rear is too wide for most bags: “It didn’t track well with my bag. I had to really hold the gun. Ideally you’ll want a bag with wider ear spacing.”

Overall, Terry gives the Savage an “A” grade: “For an out-of-the-box bench gun, it is well worth the money! I would recommend it to any shooter.”

Permalink Gear Review, News 11 Comments »
July 16th, 2008

U.S. Army Orders Bushnell Laser Rangefinders

Bushnell 1500 RangefinderThe U.S. Army has awarded Bushnell Outdoor Products a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract for a special military version of the Elite® 1500 Laser Rangefinder. Bushnell will begin shipping the units in August 2008. According to Bushnell’s Director of Military Sales, the Army was impressed with the Elite 1500’s multiple targeting modes and rugged, waterproof construction.

The Elite 1500 is capable of ranging distances from 5 to 1,600 yards, though in our own tests, maximum effective range on deer-sized objects is about 700 yards. The elite has a 7-power, 26mm objective, with a special twist-up eyepiece that’s handy for eyeglass wearers. The eyepiece also boasts a +/- 2 diopter, a very good feature not found on some other rangefinders.

In addition to the standard ranging mode with automatic scan, users can select from the BullsEye™ or Brush™ modes for more precise ranging to targets. In the BullsEye mode, it’s easy to acquire smaller targets and game because if more than one object is acquired by the laser, only the closer of the two objects is displayed on the internal LCD. While using the Brush mode, closer objects tree branches are ignored so that the distance to background objects are displayed. The Bushnell also offers Angle-Range Compensation (ARC) in one of its civilian 1500 models. It’s unknown whether the military version will have this feature.

Bushnell Elite 1500

Rangefinder Comparison Review has an extensive multi-product Rangefinder Comparison Review. Before choosing a Laser Rangefinder (LRF) you should read that article. It compares the Bushnell Elite 1500 to LRFs from Leica, Leupold, Nikon, and Swarovski. In our comparison test, the Elite 1500 was praised for its speed, its diopter eyepiece, and its waterproof housing with Rainguard® lens coatings. Users said the “Brush” setting worked well, filtering out “false returns” from short range. On the downside, Bushnell’s beam divergence is greater than Swaro or Leica, so long-range performance suffers. Bushnell’s own Product Description describes its ranging performance as: “Reflective–1600 yards; Tree–1000 yards, Deer–500 yards, Flag–400 yards”. The optics are a grade below Swaro, Leica, and Nikon, and retailers have reported higher rate of return (10+%) than other brands.

Permalink News, Optics 6 Comments »