Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

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    Cornmastah
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    Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:48 pm

    I was looking at a Savage LRP chambered in 6.5 creedmoor the other day. What are your guys' opinions on the various 6.5 rifles and calibers?
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:11 pm

    My suspicion is that the various weird 6.* calibres will become niche stuff. The military initially looked at 6.8 SPC as a way of getting more knock-down power while still using the same M4 frame. But it was too big a hassle. It required special mags as well as a whole different upper, including BCG. Along came the .300BLK and that fits the bill better, with no other issues.

    So there will still be these calibres. But brass may or may not be an issue. It's a bit like .35 Whelan. Those who shoot it swear by it, but not many shoot it. Same with .257 Roberts.

    So you are left with the usual 6mm stuff. .243, .270, .284, 7mm Mag. The .284 is another rarity as a hunting round, but the benchies use that calibre almost exclusively - especially for the 1k yds. It apparently has THE best BC of any round. Match that to that weird BBC (I think that's its name) case, and you're ready for 4" groups at 1k yds.

    The smaller end has also mostly gone out of style. So once there was 222 Fireball, and a host of other similar names (which slip my mind at the moment), today you have .204 Ruger, .204 Tactical, and .223. You have to get to the .17 cals to find more variety.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:38 pm

    6.8 -- The once and future cartridge.

    Yes, .mil and .gov are looking at the 6.8 again. Another study contract, hundreds of Excel graphs, thousands of PowerPoint charts, hundred of thousands of furrowed brows, millions of dollars -- and the only conclusion will be the absolute, crying need for additional studies.

    Corn, are you sure you want to rechamber? There seems to be a lot of rifles, Ruger and Savage, already chambered for the 6.5. That Ruger #1 Varmint in 6.5 Creedmoor looks sweet. Get what you like. Dev's right, they'll probably never be popular. Reload
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:49 am

    Because I reload almost everything that I shoot now-a-days, weird or expensive ammo does not keep me from buying firearms that I normally wouldn't (ie: 300blk, 45-70, 460 mag, 500 mag, etc...). As I have been trying to stretch out my current firearms out to 600+ yards, I realize some of the inadequacies of my current configurations. I was able to hit the 800 yard steel target a few times with my rem 700 in .308 this last weekend (weird shifty wind), but My rem 700 will need some $$$ work done in order to reach out to the 1k mark. I would need a new stock, probably new base and rings. Or, I could leave it how it is as a <500 yard gun and buy the Savage LRP in 6.5 which has been known to be capable of shooting tight groups right out of the box. This long range shooting stuff is fun, but requires precision ammo and precision equipment.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:36 pm

    Distance shooting is like race car driving (or probably sailing - CF). If you want to go fast (far) it only takes money.

    There are a couple basic concepts that need to be considered. First of all is the BC of the bullet. The 6mm's in general have some of the best BC's out there. BUT you can always go big - like .50 BMG. Indeed, Barrett made their now famous rifle for long distance shooting. That big honking round does not get blown about in the wind, BC's not withstanding.

    You have to consider the case. I think (haven't looked at this stuff for a while) BR & BRX were the 2 competing cases for most efficient. Both shoot a 6mm (.284 seems the most popular bullet) round. IIRC BR is based on another case, but I can't remember which. Something obscure and mostly gone.

    And you have to consider velocity. You need 1400 fps at the target to have consistently accurate shots. Less than that gets you to transition zone issues; more is a waste of powder and speed.

    The other part is the rifle itself. Certain things need to happen for you to be able to make long distance shots consistently. First, you need to have an appropriate frame. Many of today's rifles start with a Remington 700 frame. But you can go expensive and get Nesika or BAT frames. Either way, the end cost will probably be about the same; just more gunsmith time in the Remington 700. The Marine Corps uses Remmie 700's mostly because their armorer time isn't a factor, so they can afford to build it. Benny of going Nesika or BAT is that you can get a single shot platform (the most accurate) which will have a right handed bolt but feed from the left - always nice when shooting from a rest.

    Then you get to barrels. There are any number of barrels out there, Ljija being my personal favorite for no specific reason other than I like how they make them. But Douglas also make great barrels, as do a number of other companies.

    AND last of all, you need a gunsmith who actually knows stuff. It isn't a routine thing to build an accurate rifle to the kind of distances you are talking about. Someone really needs to know about truing the frame, setting the bolt locking lugs and bolt face really square to the chamber, cutting a tight chamber with no slop, crowning the muzzle, and properly setting up a stock. This isn't a "stock" rifle - no stock rifle will ever shoot this well. You MIGHT get 1 MOA out of it, but 1/4 MOA will not happen. That's what you need, or better, for serious long distance shooting; anything else is burning powder down a rat hole.

    So set up a budget, start getting the parts, learn about truing cases for concentricity, get a flash hole uniformer, consider a run-out gauge for measuring concentricity of your reloaded rounds, uniform all your primer pockets, fire-form the cases, then neck size until the case walks too much and needs full size resizing (nice to have one of those shoulder measurers so you can measure the exact position of a fireformed case, then set up your full sized die to about a 0.001 bump more. Easiest to do in a Bonanza press.) and you are ready!


    Last edited by Devereaux on Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:37 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:45 pm

    And let me add - once you shoot a 1/4 MOA or better rifle, you will be bored by any others. They don't match up. They may be good for crude stuff like killing a deer, but they ain't no "accurate" guns.

    Trust me, I know. 5-shot 100 yd center-to-center group - 0.283" with a .204 bullet. You can sit at the 100 yd line and draw faces, scenery, whatever. I shoot at a regular piece of paper with about 20 bulls of about 2" each (5x4). I've had guys look downrange when set up my targets and not believe I am going to shoot at those little guys. I use a 60x spotting scope to see them well.
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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:52 pm

    Devereaux wrote:And let me add - once you shoot a 1/4 MOA or better rifle, you will be bored by any others. ...

    Wow. I was insufferable when I shot a slightly sub-MOA group with my 6.8 build and my hand loads.  1/4 MOA? Wow. I'd love to see pictures of that rifle and perhaps make, model, important equipment and mods.  

    And from your descriptions of long range rifles, they do seem to fall into the Universal Rule of Toys: Better costs money; how much better do you wanna go?

    In sailing, the damn Toy curve is highly exponential. Oracle's is rumored to have expended about a quarter of a billion to win the 2013 America's Cup. That money developed foil borne 72 foot monsters capable of 45 knots - 51 MPH.
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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Cornmastah on Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:13 pm

    Too many toys out there and not enough time/money to play with them all... I probably never should have upgraded any of my scopes--now that I can see that far (clearly), I want to be able to shoot that far.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:21 am









    CF - some pics of my rifle.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:35 am

    Sweet, Dev!

    I'm very impressed that you are getting that accuracy out of a "normal" rifle. I was expecting one of those 25 pound monstrosities with the infinitely adjustable stock and the 2x4 fore-end. Very, very nice.

    And you've made the vertical rings and split scope base work; something the keyboard-armed shooters claim never works. Thanks for the real world example.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:53 pm

    The rifle isn't exactly "stock". It's a Dakota Arms Predator. Like Cooper, but a little more custom built. They do make certain models, although I don't know how many of each.

    The thing is a single shot, and the only mistake I made was not to have it made with left side loading. I got to get a custom serial number for only a small additional cost. I have the same on the pair of USFA SSA's. I believe it has a Liljia (?sp) barrel.

    The scope was mounted by Dakota. It is a Leupold 4-20 with I believe a 52mm front aperture. It has the hunting reticle, so you see the windage holds on either side of the center hold-over. Makes wind correction easier, but ultimately if you self-spot, you will see where the shot hit and simply move that spot to where you held and you're on.

    And at 100 yds and 4500 fps wind isn't much of a factor. Gets to be when you're trying to hit a dog at 700 yds. Rifle only reaches to about 820 or so, so you're generally good at anything up to 800 yds.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:09 pm

    ?Are those pics too large. I did them off Photobucket, and don't really know how to make them any smaller, but would welcome any advise.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Cornmastah on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:01 pm

    Looks beautiful... may I ask what the wallet damage was?
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:15 pm

    Very, very nice.

    I'm (very slowly - okay, hardly at all) working up a R700 Varmint in .308 with a Weaver Tactical 3x15. Still exploring bullet weights and loads. Currently, it's about a 1+ MOA shooter. As soon as bullets, powder and time become more available, I'll see if I can't shrink the groups to the good side of a MOA.  

    It's dialed in at 100/300 yards with 168gr match loads -- and dear ol' Remington announces a recall. They want the entire rifle, they will not take the trigger group alone. They will not estimate how long it will be out of my hands. So off comes the scope or -- I tell Rem to stuff it and buy a Timney trigger.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Cornmastah on Fri Aug 01, 2014 11:23 am

    I can't remember if I mentioned that I ended up picking up a Savage LRP in 6.5 Creedmoor. Been doing some different load workups and am very impressed with this production gun. The 6.5 bullets are great wind cheaters and work well for longer range target shooting. I was able to hit 1k yards for the first time (and several times afterwards) yesterday with that rifle. I'm using a Vortex Viper HS-T scope with it. The Savage precision trigger breaks at around 8oz. Fun stuff.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Aug 03, 2014 2:39 pm

    Cornmastah wrote:Looks beautiful... may I ask what the wallet damage was?

    Sorry, Corn. Missed this. Don't want you to think I am avoiding you.

    I got this complete rifle through Varmint Hunters Association. I was a member for a while, and they had a special wherein you got 3-year membership, plus the rifle in either .223 or .20 Tactical (I couldn't believe they were offering it in that calibre!) for a round $2400. I knew it was a Predator model, but didn't know any more. Turns out it didn't have the fancy wooden stock (which is part of the reason that rifle listed on Dakota's website then for about $4000), but the innards were all the same and the stock was synthetic. Initially I thought it was pretty ugly, but it grows on you.

    Likewise, initially I was unimpressed with the accuracy. It came with a 3-shot target that was mediocre at best, and the note that the rifle was ready to shoot and didn't need any break-in. The BEST I could do with it when I first fired it at the range was about 1 MOA. Indeed, I was quite disappointed as I expected an ACCURATE rifle to shoot dogs with. You are going to have some trouble hitting dogs at 5-800 yds with 1 MOA. So I was just sitting there at the bench and shooting. I cleaned the barrel I think twice. Somewhere about 75-80 rounds downrange I suddenly noticed that I was beginning to actually HIT what I was aiming at (at 100 yds, I wanted to be able to write with it). So I kept shooting and looking. The darn things was getting more and more accurate as we went along. Ended the day shooting a 5-shot group CTC at 0.301, then at 0.283". At 100 yds. NOW I was impressed.

    But the lesson to me was that rifle barrels probably take a lot more than the classical 40 rounds to properly break-in. I expect that company barrels will take 3-500 rounds to finally get to shooting as accurately as they can. Happened like that with my .17 Remington.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Cornmastah on Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:27 am

    One weird thing happened when I was shooting my 6.5 creedmoor a while back--I think I forgot to post about it.  I went with a friend and we both were shooting Hornady 140 gr match ammo.  We noticed that the ammo was acting a little strange so we took a look at the brass and saw that we had some flattened or blown primers.  The brass was unusable for reloads due to the primer pockets getting stretched out too much.  We called up Hornady to let them know that their ammo was too hot and gave them the lot numbers of all four boxes (two different lots).  They thought it was because 'both' of our guns must have been dirty or something (mine was cleaned the night before shooting).  That was the first time I had experienced over-pressurized factory ammo. I think I will stick to loading my own stuff.
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    Re: Opinions on 6.5 bolt guns

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:32 pm

    Pressure can also be a factor of altitude and temperature. Plus obviously chamber size.

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