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more load testing

200-yard, 3-shot, scoped, benchrest

200-yard, 3-shot, scoped, benchrest

We were back at the 200 yard line again this morning. After some quality time communing with my reloading bench, I had some more ammo to test.

For CMP and NRA High Power Rifle matches, we use a “service rifle” which is in appearance and function semi-auto versions of rifles that were or are used in military service. We shoot 200-yard offhand slow-fire, 200-yard sitting rapid-fire, 300-yard prone rapid-fire and 600 yard prone slow-fire.

What it comes down to in the Expert and Master classes is an AR-15 with one load that fits in the magazines for 200 and 300 yard shooting with another specialized load for 600 that must be loaded one at a time as it is too long to fit in the magazines.

Today I finalized the loads for the 75-grain Hornady A-Max bullets I will be using at the shorter distances (upper picture to the right of 3-shot group).

200-yard, 5-shot, scoped, benchrest

200-yard, 5-shot, scoped, benchrest

I also settled on my load for the Berger 80.5-grain bullets I’ll be using at 600 (5-shot group in the lower picture).

Both made impressive groups from 200 yards today… 1/2 minute of angle, or equivalent to 1/2″ at 100 yards. The groups with very slightly more or less powder than these were distinctly bigger. There really is no question about what the rifle likes with each of these bullets.

I will be back at the 200 yard line with them again some day to compare my new favorite bullet/loads against my old favorites. Now that I know how to work with the new ones it will be an interesting contest.

I am keen on seeing what I can do from the 600-yard-line at the matches coming up the end of this month. I am of course optimistic and expecting great things with my new magic bullets dialed in.