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6 Dasher Load Data

6mm Dasher Load Data – What The Pros Use

I’m really excited about the next few articles! Each year I survey the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the Precision Rifle Series and the National Rifle League (learn about the PRS and NRL), and this year I got some new insight I can’t wait to share. For the last several years I asked the top shooters questions about their load, like what bullet, primer, brass, and powder they used, but this year I asked about the specific powder charge weight they were loading. I made it completely optional, because I wasn’t sure if everyone was willing to share or would know that detail off the top of their head as they were taking the survey. I asked them to simply leave that question blank if they couldn’t remember the exact weight they were running. Of the 173 shooters that I surveyed, 162 of them said they handload their ammo and 82% of those guys were willing to share their load data with all of us! Thank you to all the shooters who completed the survey!

In the past, I’ve published what loading components were popular overall, but what guys go with often depends on the particular cartridge they’re using. So over the next few articles, I will walk through each of the popular cartridges (those with at least 5 of the 173 shooters surveyed using it) one at at time, and dive into the details of what ammo load these shooters found to work best in their rifles. (See the data on cartridges they’re running.) I’ve been analyzing all the data, and have tried to summarize it all in a format that is easy to scan through and get value from. Here’s my plan for articles, which covers 94% of the cartridges these top shooters were using:

  1. 6mm Dasher Load Data (this article)
  2. 6 & 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data
  3. 6BRX, 6BRA, and 6BR Load Data
  4. 6 & 6.5×47 Lapua Load Data
  5. 6XC Load Data

While I’d value knowing what load any of these top shooters are running, this set of data is the aggregate of well over 100 truly world-class shooters, so it is both a rich and unique data set to pull insight from. Having such a large sample size allows us to draw more meaningful conclusions on what loads and components seem to work well across multiple rifle configurations. It can also be tough to find good load data for a few of these newer cartridges, so I know this will help a lot of shooters. It’s better than going with what some random guy says on Facebook or in a forum! And while some of us enjoy tinkering with loads, knowing what load other accomplished shooters found as the “sweet spot” for a cartridge may help minimize time in the reloading room and maximize time at the range. I think even the guys who completed the survey will be interested to see what their fellow competitors found that worked best in their rifles.

Important: You should always reference a comprehensive reloading manuals and start with the minimum recommended loads and work your way up. Many of these shooters could be running “hot” loads, and just because the load is safe in their rifles, doesn’t mean it will be in your’s. There are a ton of factors that vary from them to you, including exact chamber/barrel dimensions, brass specs, reloading scales, powder lots, seating depth and tension, etc., so it’s critical to follow safety precautions. Failure to follow safe loading practices could result in severe personal injury (including death) or gun damage to the user or bystanders. Technical data and information are based upon survey responses from other shooters under specific conditions and circumstances. The author has not independently verified the accuracy of the data, and cannot be responsible for errors in published load data. Because this site and its affiliates have no control over the individual loading practices and/or components used, no responsibility is assumed by PrecisionRifleBlog.com or its affiliates in the use of this data. The information is to be used at the sole discretion of the user and the user assumes all risk.

6 Dasher Load Data

The 6mm Dasher was the most popular cartridge overall among these shooters with 27% of the top-ranked shooters in the PRS & NRL choosing to run that cartridge. Of the 47 shooters using a 6 Dasher, 100% of them were using handloaded ammo. None of the major ammunition factories have started offering 6mm Dasher ammo at this point, so reloading is the only way to go if you chamber a barrel in 6 Dasher.

6 Dasher Bullets

Let’s start by looking at what bullet these guys running a 6 Dasher thought worked best:

On the chart above, the various colors represent where a shooter landed in terms of rank. For example, black indicates shooters who finished in the top 10 in the PRS, the darkest blue is people who finished 11-25 in the PRS, and the lighter the blue, the further out they finished in overall standings. The green colors represents the top shooters in the NRL, where the darkest green is the top 10, medium green is 11-25, and light green are the shooters who’s season rank landed from 26th to 50th. The chart legend itemizes the league and ranks each color represents, but basically the darker the color, the higher up the shooters placed.

Because the Dasher has less case capacity than other cases like a Creedmoor, it makes sense that a lot of guys opt for the lighter Berger 105gr Hybrid bullet over Tubb’s 115gr DTAC RBT that is also very popular among 6mm rifles. Over 80% of the guys running a 6mm Dasher were using either the 105gr Hybrid or 115gr DTAC. The rest of the group was spread among several other capable match-grade bullets, including the Sierra 110gr MatchKing, Hornady 108gr ELDM, JLK 105gr VLD, Sierra 107gr MatchKing, Berger 108gr BTHP, and the Berger 105gr VLD.

6 Dasher Powder

Of the 46 shooters who specified the powder they were using for their 6 Dasher, 44 of those said they were using Hodgdon Varget! That’s just over 95%! There was one guy running Hodgdon H4895 and one running Reloder 16, which could be good alternatives if you can’t find Varget – but Varget is definitely the clear favorite to fuel the 6 Dasher.

Since almost all of the guys were running Varget, let’s take a look what powder charge weights they were running. Note that the colors on the chart indicate the related bullet weight, which you can see on the chart’s legend.

6 Dasher Load Data

How cool is that view?! It really helps you visualize where most shooters found the “sweet spot” for their 6 Dasher. Of the 35 shooters who specified the exact charge weight they were using on the 6 Dasher, 74% were running between 32.0 gr and 32.8 gr – and 40% were all in a narrow window at 32.3-32.5gr! That range seemed to produce the best results for the majority of these shooters.

Of the guys that were loading in that very popular band (32.3-32.5gr of Varget) and running the popular 105gr Hybrid from a 26” barrel, they reported average muzzle velocities from 2925-2975 fps. What’s really interesting is that most of the people running that configuration reported a miniscule standard deviation in muzzle velocity of 4-5 fps! Multiple shooters have said the reduced recoil and extreme consistency of the Dasher was the reason they switched over to. Some precision rifle matches have stages with targets that are 1 MOA or less out to 1000 yards, and consistent muzzle velocity becomes critical when you’re trying to hit tiny targets a long way off.

6 Dasher Brass

98% of people use Lapua brass for 6mm Dasher, so there isn’t much need to show a chart for that! Lapua doesn’t make brass specifically for the Dasher, but most start with Lapua’s 6mm Norma BR case and fireform it for the Dasher (What is fireform?). There was one shooter who said they were using Norma brass.

6 Dasher Primers

Now let’s look at what primers these elite marksmen believe work best in their 6 Dashers:

The CCI #450 Small Rifle Magnum Primer was clearly the favorite among this group of elite shooters. That is a magnum primer, but from what I heard it produces some extremely low standard deviations (SD) in muzzle velocity, meaning the ammo is extremely consistent shot-to-shot. I’ve also heard that magnum primer doesn’t show signs of pressure as quickly as some of the other softer primers, so guys might be able to run slightly higher pressures with it. I can’t say for sure why so many of these shooters prefer it, but the data clearly shows they do. The CCI #450 primer was used 5 to 1 over the next most popular primer, which was the CCI BR-4 Small Rifle Primer. Other popular primers were the Federal 205M Match Small Rifle Primer, the Federal 205 Small Rifle Primer, and CCI #400 Small Rifle Primer.

6 Dasher – Exact Loads From The Top Pros

While it’s good to see the aggregate data over all of these top-ranked shooters, I thought you guys might appreciate if I spotlighted the exact load specs a few of the top pros shared on the survey. Here is the 6 Dasher load from two truly world-class competitors who finish towards the very top of the leaderboard at virtually any match they attended. I’ve personally watched both of these guys shoot, and they’re ridiculously talented! When they’re really on (which is often), I’d literally pay money to watch that show. Clearly they have worked out a load that seems to work pretty well! 😉 To be honest, it surprised me to see how similar their load data was – they’re within 1/10th of a grain of each other!

#1 in PRS: Matthew Brousseau

  • Cartridge: 6mm Dasher
  • Bullet: Berger 105gr Hybrid
  • Powder: 32.6gr of Hodgdon Varget
  • Case: Lapua
  • Primer: CCI BR-4 Small Rifle
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2950 fps from a 26” barrel

#2 in PRS & #3 in NRL: Austin Orgain

Austin Orgaine
  • Cartridge: 6mm Dasher
  • Bullet: Berger 105gr Hybrid
  • Powder: 32.5gr of Hodgdon Varget
  • Case: Lapua
  • Primer: Federal 205 Small Rifle
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2960 fps from a 26” barrel (SD = 5 fps)

Thanks again to all of these top-ranked shooters for taking the time to share this info with the rest of us!

Enjoy this kind of data? This is one of several posts based on a gear survey of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters. To be the first to know when the next set of results is posted sign-up to receive new posts via email.

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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  1. Norma brass, 34.8 RL16, CCI 450, HBN 110 SMK, 2970, 2.4 SD

    Why handicap yourself? This is obviously just my opinion but the only reason I switched from the 6.5×47 is a 6mm bullet with a BC over .600

    Also, Berger’s are stupidly expensive.

    • Thanks for sharing, Bry. I guess most of these top shooters don’t agree with your comment that “Bergers are stupidly expensive,” but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. What is “worth it” and what is “stupidly expensive” all depends on your priorities. I personally know some of these guys, and they may not drive a new vehicle or live in a big home, but they do buy Berger bullets because they believe it’s what helps them be the most competitive and that’s important to them. There isn’t a “right” or “wrong” … just depends on your priorities and what money is worth to you.


  2. I have two 6mm Bench rest rifles, and I’ve never shot anything as accurate

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Scott. I’ve heard a couple shooters say something very similar. There is definitely something to that.


  3. Was wondering what is barrel life on 6 mm Dasher 3000 rouds? Using it mainly for PRS ?
    Great article as always 👍🏻.

    • Amir, I’m not sure … but I bet someone reading these comments probably has an idea.

      Can anyone share their experience with what the accurate barrel life is on the 6 Dasher?


  4. I personally asked Austin Orgaine how long he runs his 6 Dasher barrels. He said he stops shooting them in matches at about 1,500 rounds. He said they are still shooting good at that round count, but he has had some stop shooting good at around 1,800 rounds and he won’t chance having one go bad during a match. Many other shooters report good results past 2,000 rounds.

  5. I have a Shilen rifle chambered for 240 Weatherby I purchased in the early 1980s. I haven’t reloaded for decades, but I’m thinking of starting up again. How would these loads work for me?
    P.S.–How does the 6mm Creedmoor stack up against the 240? Likewise, how does the 6.5 Creedmoor compare to the 264 Winchester Magnum? It seems like we’ve had cartridges like the Creedmoors around for a long time.

    • Hey, John. You should get into it again! What a fun game, and I think you’ll be surprised how far we’ve come in terms of the quality of components.

      I don’t have a lot of experience with the 240 Weatherby or 264 Win Mag, so I’d be guessing at how they compare. My very next article will give you all the load details on the Creedmoor cartridges, including real-world muzzle velocities for a couple bullet weights, and I bet you can compare that to your data for those older cartridges. And you’re right, often what is old becomes new again, just in a slightly different package. Most cartridges designed over the past 15-20 years have a 30 degree shoulder and a slightly longer neck (around 0.30”) for better bullet alignment and more consistent neck tension. I’d bet those are part of the differences between the designs, plus a difference in case capacity. But it doesn’t mean those other cartridges aren’t effective … just means they aren’t as popular. Sometimes we gravitate to the cartridges that are offered by the best brass manufacturers, and I’d suspect your options for match-grade brass in those other cartridges may be limited.

      I will say that the factory match ammo from Hornady for both Creedmoors is better than what most people could load for, especially if they don’t have good equipment and/or a high attention to detail. That’s another thing that’s changed. There are affordable factory ammo options that are really capable for the Creedmoors.

      Best of luck to you!

  6. This is Awesome info! thanks for gathering this and reporting on it. It’ll be a great resource for folks considering a caliber change as you report on more cartridges!

    • You bet, Jon! I was excited to see the data myself. I’m sure I’ll be one of the guys that references it the most!


  7. Amazing job on the article Cal! The breakdown on powder charge weight is really great data to find a starting point. My only comment would be to keep them coming, thank you.

    • Thanks, Jacob. I appreciate that! I’ve already got the majority of the other posts written, so I’m fully committed to get them out over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!


  8. This article is awesome (no surprise – just one issue… you’re waiting until the third installment to do the 6BRs 🙂

  9. Austin Thank you and Cal Thank you for all this good info it’s much appreciated.

  10. I really look forward to these emails and the information keeps getting better and better, keep up the good work!

  11. Did you ask any of the competitors what twist barrels they were using?

    • I didn’t ask about barrel twist, Ed. That is a detail that I think a significant number might not be able to remember off the top of their head. I know I couldn’t tell you what the twist was on all my match rifles without having to look it up. In fact, I couldn’t tell you what the twist is on my 6mm Creedmoor match rifles that I use to compete with a lot. And while we want to know all the details (me included), I am trying to strike the balance with the survey between respecting these guy’s time and not asking 100 questions, and trying to get the details that the majority of people see as most valuable. Barrel twist just didn’t make the cut, unfortunately. However, I do like changing the survey up every now and then, just to try to get a different perspective or insight, so I’ll add that my list of questions to consider in the future.

      I can say with a lot of confidence that most of these guys are using either the fastest twist possible for the caliber they’re shooting, or close to it. This isn’t like short range BenchRest rifles where they use really slow twist rates. For example, if you just look at 6mm barrels, a BR rifle might be 1:13 inch twist, but these guys are most likely running 1:7.5 or 1:8 in their 6mm barrels. I’d bet most were 1:7.5 on the 6mm Dasher. We use heavy-for-caliber bullets, and want to get the most out the bullet’s BC potential … which typically means to spin it fast. If you’re simply trying to optimize for smallest group size, then a slower twist is typically better, but this is a long-range game where optimal BC is high on the list of priorities. If you aren’t familiar with how twist and BC or group size correlate, I’d suggest Bryan Litz’s Modern Advancements for Long Range Shooting Volume 1. He has a GREAT study in there that really helps you understand the tradeoffs, and what is optimal for different applications. It also hits on some formulas you can use to determine what twist rate is optimal for a particular bullet.

      Hope that helps!


  12. It would be nice to see the twist rates also

  13. Awesome detail. I can’t wait to see the 6×47 Lapua data and both Creedmoor cartridges. Cal thanks for putting this all together and hopefully the follow-on articles come out quickly.

    • Thanks, Andrew. I already have done 80-90% of the work on the other articles. I would have said 95% a few hours ago, but I just spent another 4 hours just working on the next one! At this point, there have been a lot of time invested in these … but I hope to have them all published over the next couple weeks, earlier if possible. Stay tuned!


  14. Thank you for all this research work, but just one minor thing, is no mention of Lapua Bullets in the test.

    I have tried all those bullet brands over a one year period, 195 grain Lapua Scenars where always the ones that grouped consistently best, having shot 15 round / 600 yard / under 3” groups, I also weigh every projectile also, and the rejection rate is very small.

    Using my LAB Radar my last 15 round practice group has an extreme spread of 8 feet per second ,none of the other brands came close.

    • Hey, Gordon. I appreciate you sharing your experience. I can tell you’re a guy that really likes to test out components until you’re certain you’ve got the absolute best combination, so I really do appreciate your willingness to share your results. I’m assuming your meant Lapua’s 105gr Scenar, because I couldn’t find a 195gr Scenar. It sounds like it is shooting well for you, so I’d encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing.

      You did say there was “no mention of Lapua Bullets in the test,” so I just want to clarify this actually wasn’t a test. I’m just reporting what 173 of the top-ranked shooters in the PRS & NRL said they were using in long-range, practical/tactical rifle competitions. I didn’t actually pick which bullets I’d talk about or not talk about – I’m simply reporting on the data. It is interesting that there wasn’t a single shooter using a 6mm Dasher using a Lapua bullet, but I actually went back and looked and there wasn’t a single shooter of the 173 surveyed that said they used a Lapua bullet! That is odd, because Lapua bullets have been used by some of the top shooters in prior years (see the data), although they have never been represented in large numbers among this group.

      The guy who won the PRS last year, Matthew Brousseau, is even a sponsored shooter on Team Lapua … and as you can see in the load data I showed for him in this post, he wasn’t even using Lapua bullets! I didn’t even think about that until you asked about it. Matthew was using the Berger 105gr Hybrid, which I think is technically now a sister-company of Lapua … so I guess it’s kind of “under the same corporate umbrella.”

      I love to hear that they’re grouping well for you, but keep in mind that precision isn’t the only thing these guys are considering when selecting a bullet. These matches are much different than the ones that are shot on paper on a square range where you get sighters. This is a game that emphasizes first round impacts on targets at random distances from 300 to 1200 yards in varying field conditions, and the Lapua Scenar bullets simply don’t seem to stack up favorably when compared to the other more popular bullets in terms of BC (and therefore wind drift). I pulled all the numbers below from Litz’s 3rd Edition of Ballistic Performance of Rifle Bullets, just to ensure it was an apples-to-apples comparison.

      • Lapua 105gr Scenar L | 0.502 G1 BC | 0.258 G7 BC
      • Berger 105gr Hybrid | 0.533 G1 BC | 0.273 G7 BC
      • Tubb 115gr DTAC RBT | 0.590 G1 BC | 0.302 G7 BC

      These guys are looking for any advantage they can get at this level of competition, and if any of them thought the Lapua Scenar would help them … they’d be running it. These others simply allow you to “cheat the wind” more, meaning that if you’re wind call was 11 mph from 4:00 and it was really blowing 12 mph from 3:30 – you’ll still be on the steel plate at 800 yards. The fact is, the whole group of experts seems to be saying pretty clearly they don’t believe Lapua’s current bullet offerings are a good choice for this application. Now, if your application is shooting paper at 600 yards, your priorities are a little different. What is the “best” choice definitely depends on the application.

      Hope this helps you understand why the Lapua bullets may not have made the list. Just want to try to provide context, because this is very different than other shooting disciplines, so the priorities are a little different. Thanks again for sharing what works best for you!


  15. This is awesome! The bell curve on the charge weights is cool. It really shows the accuracy of the cartridge and how easy it is to tune.

    Next time can you please ask or try to include bullet jump. I am curious to see if there is a bell curve like the charge weights.

    • That’s an interesting thought, Larry. I’ve had a lot of conversations with a really accomplished gunsmith about how critical bullet jump is, and he has a theory that there is a “sweet spot” in terms of bullet jump that might be shared among all cartridges of the same caliber. He has a TON of experience, and he believes that bullet jump is even more critical to ammo than powder charge weight. And he wasn’t just saying they were all 0.010″ or something minimal right off the lands, although that is what I typically do … and I’d bet many of these guys might be similar. But, I don’t like assuming … I like seeing the data! Especially after hearing those thoughts from the gunsmith I mentioned, and the results from some of his preliminary tests. I appreciate the suggestion.


  16. I’m one of the guys in the list and the vast majority are 7.5

  17. Cal – Thank you for the continued insight.

  18. thanks cal ,nice post , and again !

  19. I’ve never been in a shooting competition, I’ve never loaded my own ammo… heck, I’ve never even been hunting!

    But even I find these articles fascinating! And, over the last couple years I’ve read nearly everything you’ve posted on your blog. Thanks Cal.

    • Wow. Thanks, David. That means a lot. Glad you’ve found this stuff interesting. These subjects are a fascinating mix of both science and art. There are enough deterministic and measurable elements to challenge you to learn, but still enough that we don’t know and are still trying to figure out that it’s elusive at the same time. There is something absolutely beautiful and compelling about that pursuit to me. It keeps me passionate about the subject and always trying to go a little further down the rabbit hole. Good to hear that others are enjoying the journey, even from a completely different vantage point!


  20. Cal I know this has nothing to do with this post but I love you segments on what the pros use. They’ve helped me build a rifle. I’m just wondering about spotting scopes. I’m about to stretch my rifle’s legs and I don’t have one. You can email me about this. I’ve looked for your email but I can’t find it.

    • Hey, Josh. I haven’t ever asked these guys about spotting scopes or done any independent tests myself. Many of these guys use a pair of binos to spot with, like Swaro 15×56. If you’re wanting to know what the best spotting scope is, I’m sure most would argue that it’d have to be Swarovski. The Swaro spotting scope with the reticle is probably the most popular among serious shooters. I’m personally about to buy one, so that tells you what I think. I have been using a Leupold Mark 4 spotting scope with the TMR reticle for the past couple years, and it’s great for the money but it’s definitely not as crisp as the Swaro. I find that it’s easier to read mirage with a super-crisp image, because you’re basically trying to see a distortions in the image, and if the image is distorted to begin with … it makes that a little harder to differentiate. I have friends with a Leica spotting scopes, and I will say they are in the same league as Swaro in terms of glass … but most guys think Swaro is the gold standard when it comes to spotting scopes. My only advice beyond that would be to get one with a reticle. Most guys regret it if you don’t. It can be really useful.

      Best of luck,

  21. Great article, can’t wait for the Creedmoor one! Really like the Charge weight/bullet weight chart, fascinating how tightly they grouped, especially those using the same bulletweights.

    • Yeah! That chart is really the meat of these articles, and why I wanted to go through this for each of the popular cartridges. It feels like new insight that we can learn from this very unique data set. It’s just big enough to draw meaningful conclusions from, and made up of experts in the field that likely all do a lot of load testing before they settle on what they’re going to be running in matches. So I couldn’t resist trying to glean some new understanding from it.

      And I shoot a Creedmoor, so I’m with you. Can’t wait! Stay tuned. Hope to have it up by the end of the weekend, if not sooner.


  22. Hey Cal, I just built a 6 creedmoor, Impact Action, Wade Stuteville 7.5 twist barrel, MPA chassis, triger tech diamond pro. What would be a good bullet so start load development with.

    • Ha! Donnie that is EXACTLY what I run! You can check out my setup here: Custom Twin 6mm Match Rifles. Lots of this comes down to personal preference, but I think that’s a killer setup. If I had to do it over again today … I’d still do the exact same thing.

      The very next post will probably tell you everything you need to know about load development for the Creedmoor and what bullets, primers, cases, and powder charges seem to be working the best out of the most rifles. So I won’t give it away, but I am committed to getting that Creedmoor Load Data post out by the end of the weekend, if not before. So you should have your answer within days. Stay tuned!


  23. Hi Cal,

    Thank you for the excellent presentation of this helpful information. I run a 6 Dasher, and my Varget load is consistently in the 32.0-32.8 gr range. Go figure.

    I have a (tangentially) related question. Do you have a gut estimate on how many of these top competitors are using a progressive reloading press? Since these guys shoot 1000’s of rounds a year, have a noticeable number migrated to a progressive press for potential time savings?

    Thank you in advance for considering this question.


    • Hey, Steve. I appreciate the encouragement, and I’m glad you found it helpful. Neat that it corroborates your personal experience too.

      That is a fantastic question! In fact, I asked that question this year, and plan to do a full write-up about it after I publish this load data … so you’re one step ahead of me! I thought the load data would be a good segue into a post about some of the reloading equipment they’re using.

      I honestly haven’t looked at that data yet, but since you asked I ran a quick query and it looks like 69% of them are exclusively using single stage presses. The rest are split between using a progressive for everything or using a single stage for some operations and a progressive for others. I’ll share more details in the upcoming post, but hope that at least gives you an idea in the meantime.

      I do have a good friend that uses a Dillon progressive press, and he’s invested a lot of money into it with floating toolheads and it’s actually even automated with a Android tablet controller and a bunch of others stuff … and I think his ammo is higher quality than what I meticulously make on my single stage press. He is an extremely detailed guy, and consistently puts 10 shots in a ragged hole at 100 yards, and has SD’s in the low single digits (5 or less). It’s ridiculous, honestly. So his ammo is absolutely spot on, as well as his rifle and his fundamentals! I say all that because I know you can load top-shelf ammo on a progressive, but I bet he’s sunk a few thousand into his setup. It definitely didn’t do that out of the box!

      Stay tuned for that upcoming post!


  24. Thanks, Cal. Interesting first look at the percentages, and your friend’s experience. Thanks for the sneak peak, and looking forward to your upcoming article!