Range Results (325 WSM, 300 WSM)

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
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On Friday, I received an urgent request to do load development for a new rifle that is to be delivered to a customer this week. There wasn't much time to do what needed to be done, and the magazine is very short. In the interim, I also received another rifle that is also categorized as urgent. Well, everyone has need of their rifle as hunting season opens in two weeks. Nevertheless, I agreed to do what I could, given my other priorities in life. One of the rifles will need more time as I was not given the dies needed. There will be a report on it later, as I believe it will shoot very well once I am able to work up a load. However, I was given a 325 WSM built on a Borden action, a couple of boxes of Nosler 200 grain ABs and a bag of Winchester brass. I have four days to develop a load. I opted to stay up late last evening working up a few loads and then shooting in the late afternoon today following church services. Here is how it shoots.

This load is built around IMR 4350 with three charges (61.0, 63.0 and 65.0 grains). The 65 grain group is opened slightly, probably because I shot the ear off my Chrony. Well, it is a Shooting Chrony.

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The rifle also like RL19. This is a 69 grain charge of that powder with the 200 grain AB. Across the spectrum of charges tested, none generated a group greater than about 3/4 inch.

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I also shot a series built around H4350, but the rifle did not like them as well. However, even these that it didn't like were all less than 1.25 inches. I will work on this, refining it slightly tomorrow and see if I can tighten the groups slightly before I return the rifle to the shop on Tuesday.

Consequently, this is the rifle. Built by Rocky Mountain Rifles on a Borden Action. It has a Huskemaw scope for optics.

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I have an older Featherweight chambered in 300 WSM which I plan to sell. I took it along, hoping to generate a couple of targets to make it somewhat more attractive. Well, I'm wondering what I want to sell it! As much as I like the new one, I'm having difficulty wanting to part with this one right at the moment.

Here is an old hunting load that I had forgotten about. It is a 180 grain Hornady SST over WLRM primers and 78 grains of MagPro. There were five rounds left. Since the shoulder is about 0.002 inches farther forward than my newer 300 WSM, I chose to shoot these cartridges. There is a fouling shot and then four rounds in the photo, with a velocity of 2970 fps.

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I was pleasantly surprised, but I didn't have any hopes that any of my other old hunting loads would match that. However, this is a load consisting of 180 grain Hornady IB over WLRM primers and 70 grains of VN560, generating just a few fps shy of 3000.

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A fellow was at the range working up a load for an upcoming grizzly hunt. He heard that I was selling this rifle and asked if he could see it. I agreed and handed him three of these latter cartridges. He shot a 1/2 inch group. I told him it was one of those anomalies of life, a real artifact that couldn't be replicated. He was hurrying home to ask his wife if he could buy another rifle. He didn't think that his 300 WM would work on his hunt. He was planning to shoot 210 grain Berger VLDs. I advised that there were better bullets I would rather see him use. He said he would take my advice.

In all, it was a great afternoon and evening. However, now I can look forward to some sleep!
 
When you start out with a high quality piece of gear like a Borden action, then add a good barrel and high quality loading components - good things happen down range.

Nice... The Featherweight does pretty darned well too.

Congrats, Guy
 
DrMike
Those are some very nice groups and it sounds like you may have sold a rifle.
Question: Can you provide some information about Huskemaw scopes. I have never run across one.
Thanks
Greg
 
Greg,

I've been doing a fair amount of range work with Huskemaw scopes. I suppose that I've done the basic ballistic work on about a dozen or so. Their big selling feature is their ballistic turret that can be set up for your load for use in long range shooting (600 yards plus). The system works quite well and permits you to dial in a shot very quickly.

They are promoted on some television shows (Best of the West) and are featured on long range shooting forums. Their web site gives a lot of information (http://www.huskemaw.com/). The fellows that take the time to get to know them are doing very well with them in long range shooting. The ones that just want one because it looks neat are generally disappointed and wonder why they didn't buy a VX3.

The turret system clearly works if the data generated is good, but I do believe that clarity does not match any of the scopes on my rifles. They are good scopes, but I confess that I have none on my rifles. I prefer Leupold, Zeiss, Kahles or Swarovski to Huskemaw. If I'm going to drop $1500 of so, I would rather have one of the aforementioned scopes because the clarity seems superior to me. Also, I don't do nearly enough long range shooting to justify the extra work.
 
The Featherweight does pretty darned well too.

Guy,

All my Featherweights (270 WSM, 7mm WSM, 300 WSM (2), 325 WSM, 280, 7mm RM, 30-06) are stock. All shoot sub-MOA. Yeah, I've had good success with these rifles. I let one push feed 280 get away about eight years ago, and I did divest myself of a 7 X 57 that I could not get to shoot no matter what I tried. Otherwise, I've been pleased with the Featherweights.
 
Nice shooting Mike. Seems like that 325 is a pretty accurate round, from alot of the folks on here and some others most are getting really good accuracy and excellent speed out of theirs. Scotty
 
Scotty,

All the 325 WSMs I've shot to date were more than adequate. I find it to be a relatively easy round for which to load. My 325 WSM shoots 200 grain PTs at ~2800 fps into a half inch at 100 yards.

Russ,

It was a good day, though it was a rushed day. Since I considered the 325 WSM to still be in break-in, there was a lot of cleaning between groups. Fortunately, because it had a great barrel, it was not difficult to get clean. The 300 WSM is just a joy to shoot.

My 35 Whelen is shooting some good groups, but so far, it is the 225 grain TSX at 2520 fps that is getting my attention. I shot some 225 grain ABs, and it just did not like them. I also shot some 225 grain A-Frames, and the groups were so-so. They were perhaps adequate for a 200 yard shot, but the rifle is capable of better groups. I started to load up some of the 250 grain PTs as per JD338's recipe, and discovered that I have none. Since it is a holiday week-end in BC, I can't get any before tomorrow.
 
Mike,

Try the 250 gr PT with RL 15. I think it is worth a serious look. I plan on doing just that next week.

JD338
 
Jim,

I'll be picking up some 250 grain PTs and loading them at the first chance. There is a possibility that I may have to wait a short while as the last Nosler order came in and many of the bullets were grabbed up pretty quickly. I was astonished that I had no more 250 grain bullets in my stock. I will remedy this as soon as possible. If there are none to be had here, I'll be in Grande Prairie next week, and I'll pick some up there.
 
If you can try the Speer 250's they are some very good accurate bullets also, and at Whelen speed, they should be great. I think RL15 may save the day with speed/accuracy of your Whelen. I have seen some really great speed and some excellent accuracy out of them. Scotty
 
I would very much be able to shoot like that consistently. Your load development talents are phenominal. To be able to do that in an afternoon is beyond my comprehension. I just sit here with my mouth open in awe. I guess you got a group good enough for your customer.
Great example of what a pro can do!

How many hours?
 
Bill, I began about 2 on Saturday afternoon and finished about six, with a break for a hearty dinner. I actually worked at a pretty leisurely pace. The shooting took longer than the loads. I had a pretty good idea what powders to use, and since the owner had supplied the brass and bullets, it simplified matters somewhat. Primers, to a great extent, are dictated by what is commonly available, with a view to the future.

Increasingly, customers are showing up at the store with one powder and the bullet they think they want to use. Occasionally, they show up with the primers, but usually I'm asked to provide the primers. I generally push back, discouraging them from limiting me to one powder as I can't predict how their rifle will respond to a given load. I had a fellow show up with a very nice rifle chambered in 300 WSM a couple of weeks ago. He had a box of 180 grain Sierra Game Kings and a pound of W760 with a hundred Federal 215 primers. Moreover, his magazine is short, restricting all work to a maximum OAL of 2.850 inches. Because a close friend brought the stuff in, I agreed to do the work-up. I did manage to find a reasonable load that gives 3/4 inch groups. I explained that I would rather see him use a more robust bullet and that by using other powders I would likely get him some excellent results. However, he seemed quite happy.

I begin work on a 7mm STW today. It is a very handsome Rifle Basix package that the owner bought for his first rifle. He had an HS magazine installed, which again limits OAL. However, I've had very good success with this cartridge over the years. I have to squeeze it in between redesigning a television editing system and before August 15, because I intend to be in the field at that time!
 
Dr Mike,

Some fine shooting there. How do you like the Borden action. I heard of Borden bump that was first designed by Jim for the Nesika Bay action, which is now incorporated in his. Can you tell me the difference when compared with any other custom actions. Thanks
 
DF,

I'm cognizant of the Borden Bumps, and they do make for a nice, tight action. I really can't speak definitively about the differences between the actions. Until recently, we have almost exclusively had Borden actions marketed under the RMR brand. Some years ago, we used a few Montana actions, but there aren't many around now. Currently, we are building a few rifles with Defiance actions (Nesika Bay?). To be perfectly honest, I'm rushing whenever I shoot because of constantly cleaning as I rotate through rifles. As one barrel soaks, I'm shooting the next. I do know that the bolt has a positive feel whenever you close it over a round, and the round feeds smoothly into the chamber.

My personal preference for hunting rifles is a Winchester action, but it is not because it is more accurate. The Borden action is a great start for a build. Every one I have shot (about three per week on average) is very accurate. I understand that there is a lot more to the rifle than the action, but when coupled with a quality barrel, a well-designed stock, quality craftsmanship and attention to detail, these rifles are a pleasure to shoot, and they make me look far better than I am.
 
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