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Ann's Corner

VOLUME 10----------------APRIL 2003

SHOOTIN', HUNTIN', AND RELOADIN'

WITH THE OL' MISSOURI HILLBILLY

Last month I reported on some load development for Ann’s little Ruger .243 and my Ruger No. 1 .25-06, that are going along on a trip back to Missouri and Iowa later this Spring.  My Mother reports that the coyotes get really bold on their farm in North Missouri, and my brother says the same.  We’ll see if a little calling with an Extreme Dimension predator call will get them in range of our varmit  loads.  As always, I won’t print specific loads, but will list the components and try to let you know how they perform.  (At least on paper, for now!)

Finally quit rainin’ and got a little warmer here, so we did a little “wringin’ out” the last couple of days. Day one was spent chronographing the loads I had worked up, and settling on a load for each rifle for further testing.  Day two was devoted to shooting for group and more chronographing.  All groups were shot from our bench rest at 100 yards, using a Bench Master Rifle Rest, and over a Shooting Chrony with printer.

Here's the setup we were using

The .243 Win loads were housed in Remington brass, with CCI 200 primers, Hornady 58 grain V Max bullets, and Hodgdon’s Varget powder.  Bullets were seated .030 inch from contact with the rifling, as measured with a Stoney Point Overall Length Gauge.  This resulted in a cartridge OAL of 2.650 inches with this bullet.  The specific powder charges came from the Fifth Edition of the Hornady Reloading Manual.  Velocity, measured 15 feet from the muzzle, averaged about 3225 fps, from this little 16 ½ inch barrel.

A Little Ruger for a Little Heifer

Guns & Ammo Magazine reported on this little Ruger Compact in .243 Win a year or so ago, and their testing indicated a loss in velocity of 300 to 400 fps, when compared to a Ruger No. 1 with a 26 inch barrel.  The writers compared three different factory loads in both rifles.  The load we settled on was below Hornady’s listed maximum, and is about 500 fps slower than the Hornady lab was getting out of a 24 inch barrel with the same powder charge.

First groups weren’t bad, but I thought they could be better.  So, I snugged up all three action screws on the little rifle and here’s a picture of the next group.

Well, that’s when I decided to load 50 more just like these, for coyote medicine!

Next, was the .25-06’s turn.  These loads used Winchester brass, CCI 200 primers, Hornady 75 grain V Max bullets, and Hodgdon’s H4350 Powder.  Bullets were seated .070 inch from the rifling lands.  I would normally try to get the bullet’s ogive no further than .040 inch from contact with the lands, but this light bullet just wasn’t long enough to do that and still have a secure neck grip with the case.  Also this rifle has a longer leade than some others I've worked with.  You can have a similar situation when forced to seat the bullets deep enough for the rounds to go in the magazine of some repeaters.  Overall case length is  3.100 inches as fired.

Ruger No. 1 Single Shot

This set of components just felt like they wanted to shoot right from the “git go.”  The workup loads, with 6 different powder charges and velocities ranging from 3398 to 3720 fps all printed within about 3 inches.  The specific powder charges can be found in the Hodgdon’s Data Manual Number 27.  Even though the load I decided to use was not the maximum listed in that source, my velocity averaged 3720 fps 15 feet from the muzzle.  The velocity of the maximum load in the manual was listed at 3700 fps, but from a 24 inch barrel.  The combination of the slow burning powder and the 26 inch barrel on the No. 1, gave the load a little extra velocity boost!  There were absolutely no signs of excess pressure with this load in this rifle, and getting the velocity up to this level seemed to tighten the groups.  Here is the last group I shot.

Can I expect this kind of performance day after day?  I don’t know, but this one sure looks purty, don’t it?!!!  Again, I decided to quit on a positive note, and will have a good supply of this load in case a coyote, or some other varmit comes along threatening suicide!!

Before I close, let me pass on a little technique I use to make darn sure I don’t “Shoot The Chronograph!!”  We’ve all heard horror stories about trashing a chronograph or a set of screens because of a misplaced bullet.  When I get set up to shoot, I put the rifle in the Bench Master Rifle Rest, zeroed on the aiming point, insert a simple little laser bore sighter in the muzzle, (Rifle empty, action open please!) and place the chronograph so the beam projects on a target held in place at the “shooting window.”

Laser bore sighter and its beam on the target grid we use

Yes, the laser boresighter costs $50 to $75, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying a chronograph every few weeks!

Remember, for guns, components, and all your shooting needs, check out the Sportsman’s Warehouse. (www.sportsmanswarehouse.com)

Well, It's time to shut down here, So . . . .

'Til next time, Keep 'em shootin' straight, shoot 'em often, and above all, BE SAFE!!!!!

THE OL' HILLBILLY
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