A Data-Driven Approach To Precision Rifles, Optics & Gear
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Ammo & Handloading

These are all the posts related to ammo, handloading, and reloading components like bullets, powders, brass, and primers.

Rifle Calibers – What The Pros Use

Well, the data is in for the 2014 “What the Pros Use!” For the past 3 years, we’ve collected data on the equipment the best precision rifle shooters are using. The Precision Rifle Series tracks how top shooters finish in major rifle matches across the country. The highest ranked shooters qualify to compete in the PRS Season Championship Match. This data is based on the gear those elite shooters used in 2014. For more info on the Precision Rifle Series and who these guys are scroll to the bottom of this article. Rifle Calibers The previous couple years have shown ...

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Best Bullets, Powder & Brass – What The Pros Use 2013

This post is about the bullets, powder, and brass the best precision rifle shooters are using. It is based on what the top 50 long-range shooters nationwide brought with them to the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Finale a couple weeks ago. Target engagements for a PRS match can range from 25 to 1,200+ yards, but there is definitely a focus on the “precision” rifle part regardless of the range. For more info on who these guys are, and why you should care what they think scroll to the bottom of this article. Update: These are results from the 2013 PRS Season. The ...

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Best Rifle Caliber – What the Pros Use 2013

This post is about what calibers and cartridges the best precision rifle shooters are using. It is based on what the top 50 long-range shooters nationwide brought with them to the Precision Rifle Series Finale a couple weeks ago. Target engagements for a PRS match can range from 25 to 1,200+ yards, but there is definitely a focus on the “precision” rifle part regardless of the range. For more info on who these guys are, and why you should care what they think scroll to the bottom of this article. Update: These are results from the 2013 PRS Season. The data for 2014 ...

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Secrets of the Houston Warehouse – Lessons In Extreme Rifle Accuracy

Back in 1993, Precision Shooting Magazine printed a landmark article about the findings of a group of benchrest shooters who turned a huge Houston warehouse into a precision shooting laboratory. The warehouse, owned by Virgil King, included a 325 yard long straight-away through the heart of it, which provided an ideal shooting environment where the breezes never blew, the mirage never shimmered, the sun never set and the rain never fell. So began the most insightful, revealing experimentation into practical rifle accuracy ever conducted. Over a period of six years, the levels of accuracy achieved in the Houston Warehouse went ...

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Precision Bullets & Powders: What The Pros Use 2012

Meet The Pros The Precision Rifle Series (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. At the end of each year, the scores from 15 different matches are evaluated and the top 50 shooters nationwide are invited to compete head to head in the PRS Finale Match. The info below is based on the equipment those pros brought with them to the most recent finale. This is a great set of data, because 50 shooters is a significant sample size, ...

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Rifle Reloading Data: My Pet Loads for Target & Hunting

These are some of my pet loads. They were what I found to be the most precise in my rifles after extensive and tedious load development. I may tweak the loads slightly as the throat of a barrel erodes, but I don’t typically vary too far from what is shown here. You should always reference a quality reloading manual and start with the minimum recommended loads and work your way up. Just because these have proven safe in my rifles, doesn’t mean they will be in your’s. Chamber dimensions, brass specs, barrel grooves and diameter can vary, so it’s very important ...

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Lapua Brass for 7mm Rem Mag?

I shoot a 7mm Remington Magnum, and when I started handloading for it I began by looking for a high quality brass case.  I started by looking to see if Lapua made cases for a 7mm Rem Mag, and although I didn’t see any for sale through MidwayUSA or Sinclair … I did find some mixed opinions on whether Lapua had ever made cases for belted cartridges, and the 7mm Rem Mag in particular. Then earlier this year while I was at Shot Show, I was at the Lapua booth and noticed in their new VihtaVuori Reloading Guide they actually ...

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Berger Bullets Bearing Surface Variation

One of my friends recently told me they sort bullets by both weight and length of their bearing surface (the part of the bullet that comes in contact with the barrel, illustrated below).  I hadn’t thought of that before, but you could see how variations in the bearing surface length obviously impact the amount of barrel friction on the bullet and therefore cause variations in muzzle velocity. For virtually all of my precision shooting I use Berger bullets, and I wondered if there was even any measurable variation in their bearing surface because their quality control is so much tighter than other ...

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Portable Reloading Press Plans

I wanted to create a portable reloading press stand that I could mount my full-size RCBS Rockchucker Press or smaller RCBS Partner Press to.  The plans I came up with were simple to build, used easy to find materials, and the finished product has worked exactly like I was hoping.  The stand is very strong and stiff, which is critical when designing a reloading press mount.  It is ergonomic and natural to use on either a table top or a work bench surface.  I just use one or two Irwin Quick-Grip Clamps to hold it securely to the surface.  The stand has “window cutouts” ...

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7mm Rem Mag Load Development Part 4: 5 Shot Groups

I’ve already done quite a bit up to this point in my load development.  At this point I know I want to try to find an accurate load for Berger’s 168gr VLD over Hodgdon’s Retumbo powder and I’m now zeroed in on a very specific range of powder weights that seem to be very tolerant of slight pressure variances.  You can see the previous posts for how I got here. My next step is to test 5 shot groups in very granular powder increments. Jump to another step: Part 1: Bullet Selection & Real-World Velocities Part 2: Audette’s Ladder Test Part 3: Optimal Charge Weight Part ...

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