I surveyed 173 of the top-ranked precision rifle shooters in the country about the load they were running in their match ammo. These were the guys that finished highest in the overall season for both the Precision Rifle Series and the National Rifle League (learn about the PRS and NRL), and they represent the absolute best of the best when it comes to long-range rifle shooting.
What reloading components work best often depends on the particular cartridge you’re using, so I plan to cover the load data for each of the popular precision rifle cartridges that at least 5 of these top-ranked shooters were using. This is the 4th installment in that series and this article focus on what bullets, cases, primers, powders, and charge weights these elite marksmen shooting a 6×47 Lapua or 6.5×47 Lapua found to work best in their rifles.
- 6mm Dasher Load Data
- 6 & 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data
- 6BRX, 6BRA, and 6BR Load Data
- 6 & 6.5×47 Lapua Load Data (this article)
- 6XC Load Data
While I’d feel fortunate to know 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 what a rich and unique data set to pull from insight from! Having such a large sample size allows us to draw more meaningful conclusions on what loads and components seem to provide optimal performance across multiple rifle configurations.
Important: You should always reference a comprehensive reloading manual 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.
6.5×47 Lapua Load Data
17 of the 173 shooters surveyed said their match rifle was chambered for the 6.5×47 Lapua. That represents 10% of these top-ranked competitors, which made it tied for the 3rd most popular cartridge this group was using. Only the 6mm Dasher and 6mm Creedmoor had more shooters represented than the 6.5×47 Lapua. It was by far the most popular 6.5mm cartridge, with almost 3 times as many people choosing to run it over the very popular 6.5 Creedmoor. The 6.5×47 Lapua has been an extremely popular cartridge among precision rifle shooters since its debut in 2005. Lapua specifically designed this cartridge for 300-1000 meter competition shooting, so it really shines in these types of precision rifle matches, because those are the distances 90% of the targets will be sat at in most PRS/NRL matches. To see more data on how it stacked up against other cartridges, check out Rifle Calibers – What The Pros Use.
Now let’s dive into the load data these top tier competitors were reloading in their 6.5×47 Lapua match ammo.
Let’s start by looking at the bullets these guys were running in their 6.5×47 match ammo:
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.
The Berger 140gr Hybrid continues to be a very popular 6.5mm bullet among these shooters, and it’s what 65% of these top shooters prefer to run in their 6.5×47 Lapua. 5 times more shooters were using the Berger 140gr Hybrid than the next most popular bullet here! The rest of the field was spread over a few other capable bullets, including a couple shooters who said they were running the Hornady 140gr ELDM bullet, one of which ended in the top 10 overall in the PRS Open Division. Finally, there was one shooter using each of these bullets: Berger 135gr Classic Hunter, Hornady 130gr ELDM, Sierra 150gr MatchKing, and Berger 130gr Hybrid.
Now let’s look at the specific powder charges these guys were using in their 6.5×47 Lapua rifles. Of the 17 shooters who said they handload for their 6.5×47 Lapua, 14 of those said they use Hodgdon Varget powder. The other 3 used Hodgdon H4350, and they said they used powder charge weights of 38.2, 40.0, and 40.2407 grains. (Yes, one shooter provided the powder charge weight out to the 4th decimal place! I can appreciate the eye for detail. 😉 )
11 of the 17 guys running a 6.5×47 Lapua provided the specific powder charge weight they were reloading. I made that part of my survey optional, because I wasn’t sure if everyone was willing to share or could recall that detail off the top of their head. I asked them to simply leave that question blank if they couldn’t remember the exact weight they were running.
Since over 80% of these shooters preferred using Varget in their 6.5×47 Lapua, let’s take a closer look at the exact powder charge weights those using Varget settled on. The color on the chart represents the bullet weight they were pairing that powder charge with.
You can see on the chart that 36.7-36.8gr of Varget seems to be the “sweet spot” among this group of elite marksmen. The shooters running in that range (i.e. 36.7-36.8gr of Varget) who used 140gr bullets from 26” barrels reported an average muzzle velocity of 2770-2785 fps. That may sound slower than a one legged dog on tranquilizers compared to most of the other cartridges, but all but one of the shooters reported SD’s from 3-5 fps. That makes the 6.5×47 Lapua the second lowest average SD’s of any of the cartridges these guys were using at an average of 4.5 fps, only bested by the 6BRA at 3.8 fps (see 6BRA Load Data)! Many guys say the 6.5×47 Lapua is extremely easy to load for and very forgiving. The PRS Champion from a few years ago once told me that it just seems like you don’t have to work as hard to find a good load for the 6.5×47 as you do on some other cartridges, and you’ll find minimal vertical stringing.
When “Lapua” is in the name of the cartridge, it shouldn’t surprise us that 100% of the shooters are using Lapua brass. Many consider Lapua the gold standard for match-grade rifle brass.
Unlike the 6XC and the 6.5 Creedmoor (at least the original Hornady design), the 6.5×47 Lapua case features a small rifle primer pocket. Some believe that is a contributor to why it’s muzzle velocities are so consistent. Let’s take a look at what primers guys were running in their 6.5×47 Lapua reloads:
76% of these top shooters were either running a CCI #450 Small Rifle Magnum Primer or the CCI BR-4 Small Rifle Primer in their 6.5×47 Lapua ammo. Both appear to be excellent choices for the 6.5×47. There were also a handful of guys using either the Federal 205M Match Small Rifle Primer or the Federal 205 Small Rifle Primer.
6.5×47 Lapua – Exact Loads From The Top Pros
When I think of the 6.5×47 Lapua, I think of Jerry Karloff, who has been rocking the 6.5×47 Lapua for several years. Jerry is a very accomplished shooter from Nebraska, who has finished in the top 3 at a ton of national-level, flagship matches. I was lucky enough to be placed in Jerry’s squad in my very first major PRS match several years ago at Shoot for the Green in Oklahoma. That was a humbling experience and a tough couple days, but Jerry was willing to help and encourage me – or I may not have come back, and probably wouldn’t be writing about this stuff either. Thanks, Jerry!
#9 in PRS: Jerry Karloff
- Cartridge: 6.5×47 Lapua
- Bullet: Hornady 140gr ELD Match
- Powder: 36.5gr of Hodgdon Varget
- Case: Lapua
- Primer: CCI BR-4 Small Rifle
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,730 fps from a 24” barrel (SD = 4 fps)
6×47 Lapua Load Data
10 of these top competitive long range shooters chose to neck down a 6.5×47 Lapua case for 6mm bullets, which we refer to as the 6×47 Lapua. Overall, 85% of these top-ranked shooters surveyed opted for 6mm caliber rifles compared to just 13% using a 6.5mm, so it shouldn’t be too surprising to see a significant number of these guys necking down the x47 case. 6mm bullets typically produce a little less recoil, and may give a slight edge on ballistics – although that may come at the cost of shorter barrel life. However, in this level of competition, these shooters are looking for any edge they can get. Let’s dive into the details of what 6×47 Lapua shooters were using to reload their ammo.
Here’s a breakdown of the bullets the top-ranked shooters using a 6×47 Lapua chose to reload in their match ammo:
We see the Berger 105gr Hybrid, and Tubb’s 115gr DTAC RBT bullets are popular for the 6×47, just like they were for many of the other 6mm cartridges. Either of those make an excellent choice for the 6×47 Lapua.
Powder choices for the 6×47 Lapua varied more than some of the other cartridges. Here is a summary based on what the 10 top shooters who handload for the 6×47 Lapua said:
- Hodgdon H4350: 6 shooters (Breakdown of powder charge weights in chart below)
- Alliant Reloder 16: 3 shooters, 1 said they used 38.5gr of RL16 with the 105gr bullet, and two were using RL16 with 115gr bullets and said they rain charge weights of 39.5 and 40.0 grains.
- Hodgdon Varget: 1 shooter, who said they use 36.0gr of Varget with a 108gr bullet.
Since 60% of shooters were using H4350, let’s take a closer look at the breakdown of exact powder charge weights those shooters were using. Remember, the color on the chart represents the bullet weight they were pairing that powder charge with.
5 of the 6 shooters were all running between 39.5-39.8gr of H4350 in their 6×47 Lapua, which is a very tight little band! Of the guys running 39.5-39.7gr of H4350 with 105gr bullets, they reported average muzzle velocities of 3020-3050 fps with barrels ranging from 24” to 28”. The guys who opted to go with the heavier 115gr bullet with H4350 reported velocities from 2930-3000 fps.
100% of the guys shooting a 6×47 Lapua were using Lapua brass. Again, no surprise here! 😉
Finally, let’s look at what brand and model of primers the guys reloading for the 6×47 Lapua thought worked best in their match ammo:
The overwhelming majority of these guys found the CCI #450 Small Rifle Magnum Primer works best in their 6×47 load, which seems to be becoming the theme.
Do you enjoy this kind of data? This is one of several posts based on a gear survey of the top PRS shooters. To be the first to know when the next set of results is posted sign-up to receive new posts via email.
Nice article Cal,
great results are possible with Vihtavuori too
Good article, I just cant understand how they are only getting 2820 FPS on the BRX I’m getting 3050 with 32.1 varget, they have to have a 1/8 twist or better I do use Krieger barrel just can’t get that
Frank, all these guys were running much slower than that. I’m not sure what bullet weight you are using, but I’m shocked you could get 3050 with the BRX. If you’re using a 90gr bullet or smaller, maybe that is the difference, because those guys are primarily running 105-108gr bullets. Above 3000 fps is what speed I’d expect with Creedmoor-sized cases with way more powder pushing them, but the BR is about 20% smaller … so I’d expect what these guys are saying is probably closer to reality for safe load pressures. If it’s working for you, that’s awesome – I just wouldn’t advise anyone to try to duplicate that.
That’s really normal for BRX if you go to forum.accurateshooter.com you will see most are Bench shooters like myself, I thought a bit about it and it could be the guys in PRS have to load to mag length , not the case here mine are long and single shot the base of my bullet is at shoulder junction , that could be it I’d like to see what barrels they are using some barrels are just slower then others even though they have the same twist, like I said I use Krieger heavy Varmint, Enjoy reading your articles
Frank, after your last comment, I poked around on AccurateShooter.com and noticed a couple articles where guys were saying they were able to get those higher velocities. So at this point, I’m just as confused as you! Maybe it’s the barrel length? Or maybe these guys are choosing to run a little slower to get lower SD’s or preserve a little barrel life. One thing I have learned is that although the same cartridge might be used in different shooting disciplines, the priorities can vary in subtle ways, which sometimes becomes especially apparent at the pinnacle of each sport where things can get really specialized. I’m going to guess this could be related to that, but I’m honestly guessing at that. It’s an interesting observation, if nothing else.
Any chance we see such comprehensive data for .284? To start I operate Victrix with a 32 inch barrel, .284, Lapua brass, Berger 185gr and Norma 204 powder, Wolf primers.
Hey, Jerry. All of this data is based on what a survey of the top-ranked shooters in the Precision Rifle Series and National Rifle League, and unfortunately none of those guys are running a 284 … so I don’t have any data I could share. I know that’s a popular cartridge in other shooter disciplines, but just isn’t popular enough in this game to be represented in this group. I know having data like this is really helpful, which is why I was excited to publish it … but I simply don’t have data on other cartridges.
A great series of articles, thanks.
Is there any data available on cartridge length, ie: jump or jam, how
Thanks, Richard. I didn’t ask these guys about seating depth or bullet jump. I’d suspect most of them aren’t seating into the lands, because you have to be able to safely remove an unfired round. The guys here that I know personally typically all run with minimal jump when possible (like around 0.010” off the lands), although some find a sweet spot further away.
Great article as usual. Comprehensive and to the point. I’m sure you may have researched this before but a combination of this information including the barrel manufacturer would really be helpful in deciding on a new rifle build. By the way, Roy and I didn’t get a deer on our recent hunt but that’s not always the best part of a hunt. We had a great time and he REALLY appreciated your text asking how the hunt was going. Keep up the informative blog. You keep changing my mind on a new build, lol.
Thanks, Wade. Glad to hear you found this helpful … and had a fun hunt!
The tough part about the barrels is you can really get one that is slightly different in terms of muzzle velocity within the same batch of barrels. I have had multiple barrels from the same manufacturer, same contour, same lot of barrels, cut to the same length, chambered by the same gunsmith with the same reamer on the same day … and the muzzle velocity varied by more than 10 FPS on some of the barrels! And those barrels were from one of the top 5 premium barrel manufacturers, and I’ve heard others with the same experience. I’d suspect there could be enough barrel-to-barrel variation that the exact sweet spot for a particular barrel might not be precisely the same among different manufacturers, or even the same barrel lot. Now will it be vastly different? Probably not. But I’ve had some barrels be a few tenths of a grain different than the sweet spot I had found on the previous one.
The way I think about it is this probably gives you an idea for where to look, and then I’d plan to fine-tune it for my particular barrel. I’m not sure knowing the barrel manufacturer would give you useful info … it could even give you false hope that if you bought one like it it’d be the same.
I know there are probably other shooters reading these comments that have more experience with this than me. What do you guys think?
Now for anyone wondering, I did do a post on what brand of barrel these guys are running, along with contours, lengths, etc. You can find that info here:
Thanks for chiming in, Wade. Good to hear from you!
This series of articles has been great. When I have questions I go to PRB for answers. Thanks Cal
Wow, thanks! I appreciate you taking the time to say that, Mike.
Sorry about the post being off topic, but not sure where to post.
I have been lurking on your site for a few years. I do not compete, but your blog along with a few others are what got me into hand loading and building my own rifle.
The data you have provided over the last few years, along with Applied Ballistics have been a great help.
I understand that your focus is about internal/external ballistics of competitors’ systems, and you have also reviewed other performance enhancing gear such as bags.
Is there a resource you can recommend, or are you planning on reporting about what kind of safety gear the pros are using?
Knee/elbow pad recommendations would be nice, but eye and especially ear pro would be great. I assume that the pros, from small caliber to the 2 mile guys running aggressive brakes have found comfortable and effective solutions that do not interfere with cheek weld/natural POA. It would be cool to see what the guys who shoot a lot are doing to reduce both air and bone inducted pressures are using, and how they affect their shooting technique.
Hey, Christopher. I’ve never asked about what kind of ear pro these guys are using, but I do have it on my list to consider asking when I do the survey again.
I will share that I personally invested in a set of ESP Stealth in-ear amplified ear protection two years ago, and I’ve loved it. I have noticed the Applied Ballistics ELR team was also running those as their ear protection at the last couple matches I’ve seen them at, and ESP is a very popular brand among Olympic shotgun shooters. They are expensive, but back when I did the research before my purchase … they seemed to be the best out there. They are made to custom molds of your ears, so they are extremely comfortable. I’ve worn them 7 days in a row for the majority of the day, and my ears never got sore. In fact, I find myself driving back from the range a lot with them still in, because you just don’t notice they’re there.
If you’re looking for a lower cost option, the Howard Leight Impact Sport Earmuffs are by far the most popular option for ear pro under $500 … and they’re just $50 from Amazon. I’d bet if you walked around almost any rifle match, you’d see more of those than any other type of ear pro.
And there aren’t a lot of guys running knee and elbow pads, at least not like in 3 gun competitions. Many guys do run the Crye Precision G3 Combat Pants with built-in knee protection. This is the same pants you’ll see a lot of special forces guys wearing, so it’s not surprising to see it fairly common among this tactical crowd.
I realize this isn’t an in-depth article like you might have hoped for, but hopefully that gives you a little direction.
Thanks Cal. $2k is a bit much for me, but I will certainly give the headphones a try. Keep up the great reviews!
Considering the 140g bullets and now 147g moving into 150g are the top choice in 6.5mm i am somewhat suprised of the preference over Creedmoor case. I had first 6.5x47L gun in the country very early days when came out ,jung and stupid on a ‘need for speed’ binge ,imensly strong case kinda encuraged it so i pushed beyond reason with the 139 scenar that grouped better than any of the lighter ones for me,till it started piercing primers and shortly blew a trigger (Jewels don’t take well to pierced primer -firing pin slap),lesson in temperature change – pressure corelation and differences in primer cup thicknesses in small primers.
6.5×47 was designed with singular purpose to dethrone 6BR in 300m sling shooting using factoy ammo , long range stuff came more after it falied to do that , a side gig turned to main one for 6.5x47L. 300m sling shooting is fascinating > 6mmbr.com/300m.html
One thing that Creedmoor is not quite as good at is low SDs , i dont know why ,what the reason is ,maybe we just need to find the right powder to work with it .
Could allways make 6.5×47 and .284win shoot in super low SD , Creedmoor not so much . The small and fat BR and Lapua cases could get into low SD even with simple volumetric powder measures . 284 got there with Chargemaster .Creedmoor is not quite there even with super precise Autotrickler.
Great points as always, Mr.T. I think you’re right about the Creedmoor not having as low of SD’s, and I’m not sure why that is either. I load with a Prometheus (a super-high-end powder scale that weighs to the kernel), and I still don’t get tiny SD’s with my Creedmoor. I do get single digit SD’s, so it’s good enough for me … but some cartridges, even some big ones like the 338 Lapua Mag, I can get 5 fps or less SD’s … but not with the 6mm Creedmoor (at least so far!). I suspect it has something to do with the exact dimensions and angles of the case. There seems to be a lot about internal ballistics that we (or at least I) still don’t understand. I bet one day we get a better understanding of how pressures build inside a case, and that answers the question about the difference. But until then, I’m not sure … but I know what you’re talking about!
Thanks for this great article detailing the 6×47 Lapua data. I am new to the precision rifle game, but spent about 2 years researching my build and deciding on 6×47 Lapua. With custom loads from Copper Creek I am getting around .5 MOA and am about to try some Berger loads. (previous was the 115gr DTAC) As I learn precision level reloading I only get more excited about this caliber. Your articles are simply outstanding, keep up the great work.
Thanks, Andrew! Glad you’ve found these helpful. You went with a great round for sure. There are a lot of big fans of this cartridge out there, and for good reason. Best of luck to you!