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Top Bullets, Brass, Primers & Powder – What The Pros Use

Great ammo is a cornerstone of competitive shooting. Once you master the fundamentals of marksmanship, the quality of your ammo can become a differentiator. Want to know what bullets, brass, primers, and powder the best precision rifle shooters in the country are running? That’s what this post is all about.

I recently surveyed the top 100 shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), and this post reviews the reloading components those élite shooters were using in 2015. The PRS tracks how top competitors place in major rifle matches across the country. These are the major leagues of sniper-style competitions, with targets typically from 300 to 1200 yards. These world-class shooters represent the best of the best in terms of long-range shooting in field conditions. For more info on the Precision Rifle Series and who these guys are, or to view what other gear they’re running scroll to the bottom of this article.

This is one of several posts based on that gear survey of the top PRS shooters. Want to be the first to know when the next set of results is posted? Sign-up to receive new posts via email.

Most Popular Bullets

Let’s start by looking at what bullets the top 100 shooters were using. The different colors on the chart indicate where the shooters finished. A black bar represents shooters who finished in the top 10, the dark blue is shooters who finished 11-20, and so on. Darker colors represent shooters that finished closer to the top, where lighter colors are farther from the top … but all of them finished in the top 100, so they’re all outstanding shooters.

Precision Rifle Bullets

Berger bullets maintained their dominant lead. There were 10 times more shooters running Berger bullets than any other brand. 79% of the handloaders chose Berger bullets.

One interesting note here is R&P bullets. I hadn’t heard of those, so I followed up with the shooter who reported using those, which happened to be Matt Parry, a top 10 finisher and an outstanding shooter. Matt said R&P is the company he and Rick Reeves started this year (2015). Rick is another well-respected, veteran shooter in the Precision Rifle Series. R&P stands for Reeves and Parry. Matt said they started by making 6mm 105gr LRH bullets for several shooters, and their success has led to very high demand. They’re now working on a bullet for the 6.5mm that is looking like it will finish up around 135-140 grains. Matt said early tests of the new bullet have been very promising.

Now let’s look at the specific bullets these guys were running:

Best Rifle Bullets

Obviously there are two clear favorites. 76% of the 6mm shooters were running the Berger 105gr Hybrid bullet. 60% of the 6.5mm shooters were running the Berger 140gr Hybrid. Obviously the Hybrid bullet designs are a fan favorite of the PRS. They offer a really high-BC for better retained muzzle velocity down range, they’re less sensitive to seating depth than other low drag designs, and Berger boasts some of the best quality control in the industry. Combine those things and you’ve got a winner.

A few months ago, Berger released the new 6.5mm 130gr Hybrid. Bryan Litz, Chief Ballistician at Berger Bullets, told me “This bullet was optimized for magazine length ammo based on the popularity of the 6.5mm cartridges in PRS competition.” It can offer higher muzzle velocities, much less drop at distance, and the wind drift is only marginally more compared to the 140gr Hybrid. Even though the 130gr Hybrid wasn’t released until June of this year, there were already a few shooters reporting that it as their bullet of choice. It’ll be interesting to see if more of these shooters migrate to this new bullet next year.

Most Popular Rifle Primers

This year, I asked the top shooters what primers they were running. Here is what they said:

Rifle Primers

CCI was clearly the most popular brand, with Federal not far behind them. Those two combined to represent 83% of the handloaders in the top 100.

This was the first year I asked about primers, because I try not to overwhelm the shooters with too many questions … so I rotate in a few new questions every year to keep things fresh and remove a couple old ones. Honestly, I thought I had a good idea about what primers these guys were probably using … but there were a couple surprises in the specific types.

Remember, the Lapua-based cases (6.5×47 Lapua and 6×47 Lapua) and the 6mm Dasher use small rifle primers, and all the rest of the cartridges these guys were using have a large rifle primer. (See the cartridges the pros were using this year)

Best Rifle Primers

I was surprised to see CCI #450 Small Rifle Magnum Primers as the most popular small rifle primer. Magnum primers typically have a thicker cup, and may provide a little boost in muzzle velocity over standard primers. But some shooters have found the #450’s don’t produce higher muzzle velocities, but they are sometimes more consistent (meaning lower variance in muzzle velocity) than the CCI BR-4’s. There were plenty of guys running both, so it may depend on the specific lot of primers or the load. These guys demand consistent muzzle velocities to be able to connect with long-range targets. CCI does have a safety note regarding CCI #450 primers saying “use magnum primers only when specified in published load data.”

Another aspect that surprised me was the number of primers in the mix that weren’t specifically marked as “match” or “benchrest” grade. Match primers may not be any different than “standard” primers, but they likely involve a couple more quality assurance steps. That adds a little cost, which is why they’re priced a few dollars higher per thousand primers. That really just boils down to about $0.01 per primer, so I just assumed everyone would opt for those. But, all of these guys know an industry secret: just because something is stamped “match” doesn’t mean it’s better! It might be better, but it’s far from a guarantee. The primers in this group that are specifically marked as “match” or “benchrest” grade are: Federal primers with an “M” at the end of their name (Federal 205M, Federal 210M), CCI primers with “BR” in their name (CCI BR-4, CCI BR-2), and the Remington 7 ½ primers. Here’s a view that shows what I’m talking about:

Best Rifle Primer

The graph above is based on the top 100 shooters, but this trend didn’t vary by where the competitors placed. The top 10 were split between match and standard primers. The top 50 was split pretty evenly as well. That was a little unexpected for me, and seemed like an interesting note.

Most Popular Brass

Here’s a look at the brass these top shooters were using:

Rifle Brass

Lapua brass leads again, which probably didn’t surprise anyone. Lapua brass has long been viewed as the best of the best when it comes to brass. But they’re proud of it. 100 pieces of Lapua brass for a 6.5×47 Lapua is priced at $100, where 100 rounds of Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass is $68. But this could be one of those cases where you get what you pay for. Of course, I noticed 100 rounds of Nosler 6.5 Creedmoor brass is $140 … so it could be worse!

If Lapua brass was available for the cartridge one of these guys was running, they were using it. All of the shooters using these cartridges were running Lapua brass: 6.5×47 Lapua, 6×47 Lapua, 260 Rem, 6mm Dasher, and 6.5×55 Improved.

There was also a lot of guys running Hornady brass. Most of the guys running 6.5 Creedmoor or 6mm Creedmoor cartridges were using Hornady brass. However, there was 1 guy with a 6.5 Creedmoor running the mythical (and highly coveted) Norma brass for that cartridge. There was also 1 guy running the Nosler 6.5 Creedmoor brass. I’ve heard a few guys complain about the Hornady brass, but I’ve also heard a few say it was better than they expected … so I guess the jury is still out.

Most Popular Powders

Finally, here is a look at the most popular powders among these shooters:

Best Rifle Powder

Hodgdon H4350 is the most popular powder again in 2015, which continues a trend from the past few years. It is an ideal powder for the mid-sized cartridges that these guys are using, and produces consistent muzzle velocities in a wide range of temperatures.

In fact, there were only 5 shooters who weren’t using a powder from the Hodgdon Extreme Series line of powders! Varget and H4831SC are both in the Extreme Series line of powders. There isn’t a more dominant representation in any of the “What The Pros Use” data. Think about that … you have a big group of all the best shooters in the country gathered together, and only 5 of them aren’t using a Hodgdon Extreme Series powder. That’s a strong vote of confidence!

Other “What The Pros Use” Articles

This post was one of a series of posts that look at the equipment the top PRS shooters use. Check out these other posts:

Meet The Pros

You know NASCAR? Yes, I’m talking about the racing-cars-in-a-circle NASCAR. Before NASCAR, there were just a bunch of unaffiliated, regional car races. NASCAR brought structure by unifying those races, and created the idea of a season … and an overall champion. NASCAR identified the top races across the country (that were similar in nature), then combined results and ranked competitors. The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is like NASCAR, but for rifle matches.

Watch PRS In ActionThe PRS is a championship style point series race based on the best precision rifle matches nationwide. PRS matches are recognized as the major league of sniper-style rifle matches. These matches aren’t shot from a bench or even on a square range. They feature practical, real-world field conditions, and even some improvised barricades and obstacles to increase the difficulty from hard to you-have-to-be-kidding-me. You won’t be able to take all shots from a prone position, and time stressors keep you from getting to comfortable. Typical target ranges are from 300 to 1200 yards, but each PRS match has a unique personality with creative stages that challenge different aspects of precision shooting. You might start off the day with a single cold bore shot on a small target at 400 yards, then at the next stage make a 1400 yard shot through 3 distinct winds across a canyon, then try to hit a golf ball on a string at 164 yards with no backstop to help you spot misses (can’t make that up), then see how many times you can ring a small 6” target at 1000 yards in 30 seconds, next shoot off a roof top at 10”, 8”, and 6” targets at 600 yards, followed by a speed drill on 1” targets at 200 yards and repeated at 7 yards … plus 10 other stages, and then come back tomorrow and do some more! Many stages involve some type of gaming strategy, and physical fitness can also come into play. For a shooter to place well in multiple matches, they must be an extremely well-rounded shooter who is capable of getting rounds on target in virtually any circumstance.

There are about 15 national-level PRS matches each year. At the end of the year the match scores are evaluated and the top ranked shooters are invited to compete head-to-head in the PRS Championship Match. We surveyed the shooters who qualified for the championship, asking all kinds of questions about the equipment they ran that season. This is a great set of data, because 100 shooters is a significant sample size, and this particular group are experts among experts. It includes guys like George Gardner (President/Senior Rifle Builder of GA Precision), Wade Stuteville of Stuteville Precision, Jim See of Center Shot Rifles, Matt Parry of Parry Custom Gun, Aaron Roberts of Roberts Precision Rifles, shooters from the US Army Marksmanship Unit, and many other world-class shooters.

Think of the best shooter you know … it’s actually very unlikely that person is good enough to break into the top 100. I know I’m not! I competed against a few of these guys for the first time earlier this year, and I was humbled. It’s incredible what these guys can do with a rifle. For example, the match in Oklahoma I was in had a station that required you to engage 4 steel targets scattered at random distances from 300 to 800 yards, and you only had 15 seconds! I think I hit 2, and rushed my 3rd shot. I didn’t even get the 4th shot off! But, one of these guys cleaned that stage with 4 seconds to spare! Yep, he got 4 rounds on target at distance in 11 seconds. That’s the caliber of shooter we’re talking about. It’s very different from benchrest or F-class competitions, but make no mistake … these guys are serious marksmen.

Thanks to Rich Emmons for allowing me to share this info. To find out more about the PRS, check out What Is The Precision Rifle Series? or watch this video to see it in action.

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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41 comments

  1. Great post.

    Did you check this statement “I was surprised to see CCI #450 Small Rifle Magnum Primersas the most popular small rifle primer. Magnum primers can provide a little boost in muzzle velocity over standard primers. But the #450’s must also be consistent, because these guys demand consistent muzzle velocities to connect with long-range targets.”

    I was under the impression the 450 and 400 used the same compound and the 450 has a thicker cup which actually yields lower velocities but reduces primer flow?

    Thanks for all the

    • Hey, Bill. You certainly may be right on that. Honestly, you’re more of an expert on that than me. A friend had said they had got a 15 fps boost in their muzzle velocity when they used the CCI #450’s. I also saw in Laurie Holland’s study on primers that Federal 215M Large Rifle Magnum primers produced 13 fps more muzzle velocity than the Federal 210M Large Rifle primers … so that seems to corroborate the info I’d heard about magnum primers.

      I did find a reference that said the cup thickness of the CCI #450 is 0.025″, which is thicker than the 0.020″ of the CCI #400 primer … but the same as the CCI BR4. However, according to that source the cup height on the CCI #450 is 0.113″ and the BR4 and CCI #400 is 0.109″. So the CCI #450 seems to be deeper than the other two. The only thing I could find that CCI says on the matter is the CCI #450 magnum primer is “for ball propellants” and a safety note saying “use Magnum primers only when specified in published load data.”

      I also found an article from Shooting Times by Allan Jones that had some interesting info on magnum primers:

      Most primer makers offer a standard and a Magnum primer in each size and application. The Magnum primer offers more power for challenging ignition scenarios. A large-capacity case, a heavily deterred propellant, or extremely cold weather (less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit) typically makes the Magnum primer desirable.

      There are two ways to make a Magnum primer—either use more of the standard chemical mix to provide a longer-burning flame or change the mix to one with more aggressive burn characteristics. Prior to 1989, CCI used the first option in Magnum Rifle primers. After that, we switched to a mix optimized for spherical propellants that produced a 24-percent increase in flame temperature and a 16-percent boost in gas volume.

      All that to say … I still don’t know the full reason so many of these guys are using CCI #450’s. Maybe one of them will chime in.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • They are using the 450s for the reason stated in the other comment, thicker cup. You get serious flow issues with the 400s. If you have a bushed or undersized firing pin it isn’t as apparent, but if you are running a standard sized pin and hole you are playing with fire like reloader 112 stated. Since many of these guys seem to be running custom actions it may not be as apparent.

        The 400/450 comparison comes from the bench rest world and the 6BR specifically.

        Thanks again,
        Bill

      • Hey, I’m with you, Bill. I totally get why you’d go 450 over the 400. Using 400’s never entered my mind. My question is why choose the 450 over the BR4? The reference I found said the cup thickness is identical between the 450 and the BR4, and in my experience the BR4 is extremely consistent. So, here is what we know: The mid-sized cartridges these guys are using don’t require a magnum primer for reliable ignition with H4350 powder. The cup thickness is the same between the 450 and the BR4. It’s unlikely that the 450 is more consistent than what CCI is marketing as “Bench Rest” … although it could be just as consistent. The only advantages I can think of is a slight boost in muzzle velocity or availability. I’m probably just missing something here.

        That article I referenced also mentioned something else that could potentially separate the 450 and BR4:

        Another factor which determines the strength of a primer cup is the work-hardened state of the metal used to make the primer cup. Most primers are made with cartridge brass (70% copper, 30% zinc), which can vary from 46,000 psi, soft, to 76,000 psi tensile strength when fully hardened. Note that manufacturers specify the hardness of metal desired, so some cups are definitely “harder” that others.

        I’m not sure if the 450 is work-hardened to a higher tensile strength than the BR4 or not. But although the cup thickness appears to be the same, that could be something that allows the 450 to endure pressures that might handicap the BR4. I’m not sure if CCI specifies the tensile strength of the primer cups, so I’m just speculating.

        Thanks,
        Cal

      • My guess is cost. The 450s are cheaper. I look at what the bench rest guys do and do that. They are the hot rodders of the sport. You’ll see a lot of 450 and those dudes know what they are doing.

      • Okay, I could see that. With the thousands of dollars we’ve sunk in our precision rifles and scopes, and all the money we spend on match-grade brass and bullets … trying to shave cost by saving 1 penny per primer seems shortsighted. It’s the cheapest component of the whole setup, but (as I’m sure you know) that tiny component can have dramatic effects on muzzle velocity SD (standard deviation) and hit probability.

        Just a couple months ago I loaded 60 rounds with identical loads, except I used 3 different primers. So I shot 20 round strings of each one. With identical components and loading practices (custom dies, priming by hand for feel, double-weighing every charge, weight sorted brass all neck-trimmed and trimmed to length, and OCD attention to detail and quality control through the whole process) … one primer produced 19 fps SD’s over 20 rounds, another produced 15 fps, and one produce 10 fps. The only thing that changed was the primer! I did an analysis earlier this year that showed going from an SD of 20 fps to 10 fps can increase your hit probability on long-range targets by 8%! That may sound small to some, but once you get to the level these guys are at … an 8% improvement is huge!

        Of course, I’m not saying the 450’s produce 20 fps SD’s. But it might surprise some to hear that the batch of ammo that produced 19 fps SD’s in my test were actually Federal 210M’s. Sellier and Bellot Large Rifle primers were the 15 fps batch, and CCI BR-2’s were the 10 fps. Now all that is probably specific to the lots of primers that I have on my shelf, and that may not translate for others. I just say all that to help people understand why I don’t try to shave costs on primers. Obviously, just because it has “Match” on the box doesn’t guarantee optimal performance (as proven by how the Federal 210M’s performed for me). But when our ammo costs $0.60-1.20 per round … trying to shave a penny on the primer may not be a great plan. Even if you’re shooting 2000 rounds per year, you’ll just save a whopping $20.

        Sorry for getting on my soap box! Obviously these guys are better shooters than me, but I’ve just learned the hard way how important primers are. I don’t want other guys reading this to have to go through that same learning experience.

        Thanks,
        Cal

      • I was told the CCI#450 was the magnum primer, and the CCI#41 was the same primer with a thicker cup for the military/AR style rifle. I’m using the 41 in a 6.5 Grendel with excellent results.

      • Interesting. Thanks for the input, Andy. There isn’t much “official” info out there on the make-up of these primers, which I guess I can understand. The manufacturers probably see that as proprietary information. Do you mind me asking who told you that? Was it someone from CCI? Just wondering if there was someone there who’d be willing to explain the technical differences in all these primers.

        Thanks,
        Cal

    • I tested the 450’s vs the BR4’s head to head when I was doing load development for my 6.5×47 Lapua. I assumed the BR4’s would be more consistent, and the “magnum” 450’s would produce higher velocities, but I was proven wrong on both accounts! The 450’s ran about 20 fps slower despite their magnum designation. And the BR4’s had an ES/SD of 25/10 fps which was over double the 12/6 fps ES/SD I got for the 450’s. Both were tested on three 10 shot groups using once-fired Lapua brass that had been sorted and sized. Powder was H4350 and bullets were 140 gr Berger Hybrids. The only thing unusual about my loading was that I was jumping the bullets around 0.045″, which is quite a bit more than most folks. Both were equally accurate at 100 yards, but I obviously chose the lower ES for long range accuracy purposes, and simply increased my powder charge 0.2 gr to compensate for the lower velocity.

      • Wow, Jason. Thanks for chiming in! That’s some very interesting information, indeed. It’s good to have some real data to put to this. Honestly, more consistent muzzle velocity makes a lot more sense to me than just lower cost. Most of the guys I know in this just wouldn’t try to shave $20 on primers. They might spend $100-400 on a hotel for a single match, so it just seems extremely shortsighted to try to cut costs on your ammo when you think about the big picture.

        Thanks for chiming in. I’ll actually go back and update the article based on your feedback.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  2. Looks good informative info in general, but the fact that there are 6 shooters using CCI400 primers in PRS match shoots illustrates that sometimes the “pros” don’t always know what they are doing… That primer is just about the thinnest cup primer out there and flattens even at low powder charge weight. Using it for hot rounds is simply courting trouble.

    • Interesting note. I haven’t tried CCI #400 primers since I started loading, so I appreciate you sharing. While there are certainly some of these guys that are running hot loads, not all of them are. Honestly, I stopped chasing that last 25-50 fps when I saw how little it actually matters to your hit probability at long range. You can see the stats for that here: How Much Does Muzzle Velocity Matter? I appreciate you sharing with the rest of us. I guess if it’s not the optimal choice, it goes to show that world-class marksmanship can overcome sub-par equipment choices.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  3. I have a question. I’m very new to all this and am hoping to get involved in a match soon. I’ve only done prone shooting or bench rest shooting but my ammunition has always been “store bought” and not reloaded. I just had an RP Rifle built in 6.5 creedmoor and have bought the Hornady 140 gr AMAX. I would like to get involved with reloading at some point, but as I read this article, I realized that just when I thought I was getting to understand everything, I realized there is so much more I do not know. So, my question is this…what exactly is the ballistic coefficient? What does it signify? How is it calculated? I know “about it” when I enter the info into a ballistic software or calculator, but other than it being a number that I “google” if it isn’t on the box, I know nothing else about it. I really want to learn so hit me with it please.

    • Hey, Jay! First, welcome to a fun sport. Your prone shooting and benchrest background will be a good foundation to build off, because the fundamentals of marksmanship are the same across disciplines. That said, there are a few things you’ll likely need to pick up, so I hope you find this website as a resource that can help you along. I started this with guys like you in mind, because it was so hard for me to find good sources of comprehensive and independent info out on the web. So when I started getting into this, I’d just post stuff as I learned … in hopes that it’d help the next guy that came along. So while it probably won’t answer all your questions, I hope it helps.

      And that’s a great question! Ballistic Coefficient (BC) is essentially a measure of how well a bullet can cut through air. As long range shooters, we all want really high BC bullets, because that means they’ll retain more velocity down range. If a bullet can cut through air more efficiently, it will also be less affected by the wind, which is huge! As a rule of thumb, we gravitate to the heavier bullets for each caliber, because that’s usually where the highest BC bullets are.

      One of the things that people get hung up on is often times to get a high BC, you’ll use a heavier bullet … which means you’ll have a lower muzzle velocity compared to lighter bullets. I love how German Salazar explains it:

      As muzzle velocity increases, drag on the bullet increases disproportionately; thus, most of what you gain in MV is quickly lost. Muzzle velocity is a depreciating asset, not unlike a new car, but BC, like diamonds, is forever.

      What he is saying is that at long range, a higher BC is usually more important than muzzle velocity. Litz says it this way: “Depending on the range you want to optimize for, it’s sometimes worth trading a little MV if it means a substantially higher BC.”

      The BC value is actually just a comparison against a known standard bullet. It can get pretty technical, but think about it like we were comparing horsepower in 2 sports cars: a 2016 Corvette Stingray and a 2016 Mustang GT. Let’s say the Mustang GT’s 435 horsepower is going to be our “standard” sports car that we will judge other cars against. Now we can say our Corvette has +25 horsepower compared to our standard. That works well for cars of similar horsepower, but what if you tried to compare it to a 2016 Prius, which has 99 horsepower. You’d have to say the Prius has -336 horsepower compared to our standard. That’s far less helpful. Or what if you went the other way, and compared it against a Ferrari LaFerrari … you’d say the Ferrari has +353 horsepower compared to our standard. This may be a gross oversimplification, because BC is more complicated than horsepower, but hopefully it gives you a framework to understand this: When it comes to BC, you’ll see G1 BC’s and G7 BC’s for the same bullet, but the G1 number is a comparison against a G1 standard projectile, and a G7 is a comparison against the G7 standard projectile. The G7 is closer to a modern long-range boattail bullet, so that typically produces more accurate ballistics.

      In Modern Advancements for Long Range Shooting, Bryan Litz says “The ballistic performance you’re about to achieve at long range depends a great deal on your bullet selection.” So BC can be thought of as one of the most important performance metrics for a bullet, similar to horsepower for a sports car. Because of that, it is in the best interest of manufacturers to market high BC’s (and possibly overly optimistic), because that sells bullets. The problem with that is the 2nd use of a BC is to accurately predict trajectory, because it defines how the air will slow the bullet down over time. I know some people poo-poo the idea of using a ballistic calculator to accurate predict drop and wind drift, because they’ve had experiences where what the program said didn’t align with their hits in the field. But, if you use a good calculator (like JBM or Applied Ballistics), and enter accurate BC and muzzle velocities … they are very accurate. The problem is many (if not most) manufacturers publish bloated BC numbers, so it’s difficult to use those to predict trajectory. So Bryan Litz essentially went and fired a whole bunch of bullets, and measured the actual BC of each of them using advanced equipment. And then he published all those in a book: Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets. I personally use the G7 BC’s listed in that book in either the JBM engine or the Applied Ballistics engine, along with my measured muzzle velocity using a very accurate chronograph … and the output very closely matches my hits in the field for a variety of calibers and bullets.

      If you are interested in digging deeper in topics like this, I’d highly recommend one book:

      Applied Ballistics for Long Range Shooting : Understanding the elements and application of external ballistics for successful long range target shooting and hunting by Bryan Litz

      I’ve read more than a couple books on this subject, and that one is the best by far. Bryan tried to write in a way that the typical shooter could understand, and tries to keep it practical. If you’re serious about learning this part of it, then I’d pick that up and start reading. I’ve read it a couple times, and am still learning stuff. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Wow. I sincerely appreciate the detailed response! I will definitely check out the book.

        Your explanation really helped me understand BC. Thank you. I look forward to more of you articles. Keep up the great work.

        Jay

      • You bet, Jay! It’s a very important question, so I thought it deserved a good answer. Bryan really does a better job explaining it in his book (along with explaining a ton of other important topics), but that was my best attempt!

        Thanks,
        Cal

  4. Another killer article.

  5. Cal, Excellent work as usual.
    Thanks!

  6. There is nothing mythical on the Norma 6,5 Creedmoor brass. They made a runn in September 2015.
    I bought 20,000 for my company in Germany. It was headstamped Norma. They make them also for Nosler and maybe others. Loaded with a Berger 130 Hybrid the neck diameter iss around .2925 versus .2915 with Hornady brass. My rifle has a .293 custom Chamber – Shilen barrel mated to an Atlas action by Greg Walley of Kelbly, Ohio.
    It shoots in the .twos if I have a good day at 100y with the Norma brass. The 6,5 Creedmoor is my new favorite.
    I like to shoot tight groups from the bench. This one does it even in light winds. I love Cals articles. They are no stories it is real life with thunder.

    • Ha! Heinz, thanks for confirming it actually exists. I actually have 1000 rounds of it at this point, but had to buy it loaded from a company in the US called Prime Ammo. It was just around $1.20/round, so I consider that a bargin. I paid $1.10/piece for Norma brass for my 6XC, and was happy to pay that when I found it. So I’m just happy to have my hands on some Norma brass. I’ve heard guys talk about “Norma is making some” forever, but still haven’t seen any headstamped Norma. The stuff I have is headstamped “Prime”, but it’s made by Norma.

      I’m also becoming a big fan of the 6.5 Creedmoor. I built one a few months ago, and already have 1000’s of rounds down it. I’m in the middle of a MASSIVE barrel test right now, and it’s all on that cartridge. So I literally have 10 barrels for it that I had to break in with 100 rounds before I even started any of the tests … so there is 1000 rounds right there! It’s been a lot of fun.

      Interesting that you went with the Berger 130 Hybrid. I bought a couple thousand bullets in that the other day too. Going to give it a shot I guess. Thanks for your input here! Good to hear someone has really seen it! 😉

      Thanks,
      Cal

  7. Awesome series!!! Thanks.

    Have you ever thought about inquiring about their cleaning regime and which cleaning products they prefer? I always wonder how often they clean their barrels.

    • Yes I have! That’s a great idea, Larry. I rotate in new questions each year, and rotate out some old ones. Last year I asked about bipod and sling, this year I asked about handloading practices … and who knows, if I do this again next year I may ask about cleaning practices. I try not to overwhelm these guys with too many questions. They’re very generous to answer all the questions I already ask, so I try to temper it each year. My goal is for most of these guys to be able to finish the survey in less than 5 minutes, and I actually measure that. But I’ll make a note to consider adding that question next year. Thanks for sending in your suggestion. Let me know if you think of any more.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  8. hi
    what happened with remington 7 1/2 primers, by far most popular back in 2012?
    sincerely

    • Mark, I’m not sure. I don’t think we collected data about primers from the top PRS shooters until this year, so I’m not sure what you’re going off of on the 7 1/2 being the most popular back then. It might be the case, I just didn’t know there was any data out there on that. Either way, there is very few using them at this point.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • hi
        i just read this page: http://precisionrifleblog.com/2012/07/02/most-accurate-rifle-primers-for-precision-reloading/ and i thought that back than remington primers were the best or at least most popular…
        sincerely

      • Ah, I see. Yeah, that is based on data I collected from 6mmBR.com, which is influenced by a lot of other shooting disciplines (high power, F-class, benchrest). PRS is still a precision game, but the goals and constraints are a little different. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good primers or their accuracy has diminished. Remington 7 1/2’s are marketed as “Benchrest” quality primers, so if they’re working for you … don’t feel pressure to switch. There are always ebbs and flows in the market, and you don’t have to ride the waves if you’re happy where you’re at.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  9. Do you have any info on the shooter using the 6.5×55 Imp? I have been considering this for my next match rifle and would like to pick the brain of someone that actually uses it.
    Thanks.

  10. I do not have one but I know one that is powerfull and accurate. It is called the 6,5×55 GW.
    GW stands for Greg Walley who does a lot of chambering at Kelbly’s, Ohio. They use it mainly for F-Class shooting
    and they tell me they get 3000 f/s with a 140 grs Berger Hybrid in front of 50.0 grs of IMR 4350. I do not know how good it feeds in a repeater.
    Call Greg at 330-683-4674

    • Scott reported launching 140gr Hybrids at 3000 fps, so that corroborates what Greg was saying he got. Funny how the 6.5×55 was soooo popular in Europe for decades, and here in America it was completely ignored in favor of our 30 calibers and the 270 Win. We almost wouldn’t even acknowledge metric cartridges for a long time. Of course that was decades ago, and all things old things are new again. I’m not shocked to see a version of the 6.5×55 among the top shooters. It’s an outstanding cartridge. And Scott’s must feed cleanly in a repeater, because in PRS-style of shooting … you have to be able to run the bolt quickly if you want to place. And Scott clearly could do that.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  11. I have always classified the affordability factor of brass by how much it cost decided by the number of reloads you can expect to get. Hornady brass for example will give 10 reloads at best while Lapuas 6.5×47 will yield 25+ reloads. Many say they have 30 cycles on theirs. In light of this I would say the Lapua is vastly more affordable. And yes I am a cheep skate. lol This is one of the primary reasons I chose the 6.5 Lapua over the Creedmoor. The Lapau was cheeper to shoot. Running the math according to your prices listed in the article. Creedmoor bass costs 6.8 cents a load. While the Lapau costs only 4 cents. Also being able to use the same lot of brass for the entire life of the barrel is a big plus to me. If I must get a second batch of brass it means re-fire forming, neck turning etc….

    • I’m with you, Ben. It’s a big upfront capital expense, which is why some don’t do it. But if you can think more long-term, you’ll be better off. That’s not just true in long-range shooting, but in life in general. And I do the same thing with brass, by buying enough brass to last the life of the barrel. It just makes sense to me. When you rebarrel, its an ideal time to start over. Especially if you don’t own the reamer that you used to chamber it the last time.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  12. Great read… this is my favorite site to brush up on whats trending and whats working.