Varmint Hunting in the Extreme

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks

My fall hunting season had not allowed me to hunt as much as I normally do. There seemed to be little things that had to be done at each turn. The time I did have had been fruitful and I had no complaints about the game I had the opportunity to harvest. But….. having a considerable time away from the phones and computer during the Christmas season, I did have some time to get back out in the woods and fields to hunt and enjoy.

The Missouri Alternative Methods Deer Season started on Christmas Eve and was to run through till January 3rd. Most of that time I was away from work. The first weekend was filled with Christmas. Time spent with family and sharing the meaning of Christmas. The day after Christmas found me with only a small amount of things to prevent me from hunting the morning hours. But, ah, the afternoon was free. So I finally am ready to take my muzzleloader and see if a late season deer can be harvested to put in the freezer.  I have loaded the #8900 .458 300 gr. ProHunter® in my gun for many years and have harvested quite a number of deer with this combination.

Arriving at the deer stand at about 2:45 pm, I settle in to await that “golden hour” when all the activity starts to take place. It has been pretty noisy around the stand with the birds fussing at one another and the squirrels giving me a startle with their “elephant stomping potato chips” romping around the stand. You just knew it was “the big one” making his approach.

Finally the activity seemed to slowly come to a slightly reduced roar, when all of a sudden I saw a flash of movement off to my right. Quickly trying to locate the cause as I am staring through a wall of oak and hedge limbs and brush, just a little further behind my right side, again I see movement. I can detect a critter, but due to the inability to see very good in the cover, I wasn’t sure just what I was looking at. Then, all of a sudden, there is a twitch.

What’s that? A short stubby tail? That can only mean one thing. Bobcat!! Because he is on my right and almost behind me at this point, I don’t have any option but to stand and turn. I carefully attempt to get around so that I can get the scope on the cat. He suddenly stops and looks right up at me through the heavy cover that we are both behind screened by. I start to freeze, but I know this is a “now or never” situation. I continue to move slow and steady and bring the gun to my shoulder. Once I have the gun up, I can see the cat through the heavy cover. I was not sure if the bullet could make it through all the brush and twigs. I settle the crosshairs behind the shoulder and squeeze off the shot. Sticks and bits and pieces of brush explode in front of me, but I saw the bobcat collapse. I quickly reload, but can see that there was no hurry. I had harvested a very large tom bobcat. No deer were seen the rest of the evening. But that was okay. I had just had one of the very limited opportunities to come to a hunter. This trophy will soon be finding a quality spot amongst my other trophies. This was a slightly late, but well appreciated Christmas gift.

duanes-sierra-bullets-bobcat

Posted in Hunting Stories | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Sierra Introduces New MatchKing Bullet

1997-boxSierra Bullets is proud to introduce a new addition to the legendary MatchKing® line.  Shooters around the world will appreciate the accuracy and extreme long range performance of our new 7mm 197 grain HPBT (#1997).  A sleek 27 caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat reducing operation (pointing) provide an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention.  To ensure precise bullet to bore alignment, a unique bearing surface to ogive junction uses the same 1.5 degree angle commonly found in many match rifle chamber throats.  This bullet requires a twist rate of 1:7.5” or faster to stabilize.  

1997While they are recognized around the world for record-setting accuracy, MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications. Although MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are commonly used for varmint hunting, their design will not provide the same reliable explosive expansion at equivalent velocities on varmints compared to their lightly jacketed Hornet, BlitzKing®, or Varminter counterparts.

The new 7mm 197 grain HPBT bullets will be available in boxes of 500 bullets (#1997C) with a suggested retail of $264.21per box and boxes of 100 bullet (#1997) with a suggested retail of $54.20 per box.

Posted in Competitive Shooting, Reloading | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sierra Bullets 6.5 Creedmoor Load Data

download-6-5-creedmoor-data-button

sierra-bullets-6-5-creedmoor-diagramTest Specifications/
Components

Firearm Used: Universal Receiver
Barrel Length: 24”
Twist: 1-8’’
Case: Hornady
Trim-to Length: 1.910’’
Primer: Winchester WLR

Remarks:

Developed in 2007 by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a shortened and improved 30 TC cartridge case that was inspired by the .308 Winchester design.  This short action design was created to maximize case capacity and a wide range of loading lengths, while still fitting in standard short action magazines.  With the correct twist barrel, the versatile 6.5 Creedmoor can take advantage of the wide range of bullet weights available in 6.5mm.  Reloaders should keep in mind that the 6.5 Creedmoor works best with medium to medium-slow powders such as H4350, Varget, Win 760, and RE-17.  The light recoil and adaptability of the efficient 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has already proven itself in high power, precision rifle series and benchrest competitions.  Couple that with respectable barrel life and its intrinsic accuracy potential and you have a recipe for success which should insure its legacy for decades to come.

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INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

2-sierra-bullets-6-5-creedmoor-dataINDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

3-sierra-bullets-6-5-creedmoor-data
INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

4a-sierra-bullets-6-5-creedmoor-dataINDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

5-sierra-bullets-6-5-creedmoor-data

INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

6-sierra-bullets-6-5-creedmoor-data

INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

7-sierra-bullets-6-5-creedmoor-data

INDICATES MAXIMUM LOAD – USE CAUTION
LOADS LESS THAN MINIMUM CHARGES SHOWN ARE NOT RECOMMENDED.

Posted in Reloading | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

How to Find Your Absolute Best Load

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz

Nearly every day and for sure every week each of us technicians get asked how we work up our own personal loads.  Now I don’t live in a fantasy world so I think it is safe to say we all use a somewhat different method to achieve the same perceived result.  So my method is outlined below.  But I have to warn you, I have been known to throw a load together only to find that it is good enough as is without further testing.

Case in point – I got a new-to-me IBS Heavy Gun and since it was new-to-me, I borrowed some off the shelf RCBS dies from my brother in-law.  The gun came with some Norma brass luckily because it is a caliber I would not have picked on my own.  Since it is a 300 Magnum I wanted to shoot our 210 grain HPBT MatchKing bullet #9240.  I have a good supply of Retumbo on hand so I dreamt up a load and threw it in the first 20 cases I could grab that had been primed with W-W WLRM primers.

That chore completed, I mounted a Burris XTR 8-40X to the integral 20 MOA rail and headed to the farm where I have a 250 yard range.  After I got all the benchrest paraphernalia set up I positioned myself so I could look through the bore of the rifle and proceeded to bore sight it.  The first shot was on paper low and slightly left so I clicked to the hole and fired five more shots.

1st-group-6So far that has been the extent of my load development for that rifle and I think you can see why.

I had another such stroke of good fortune with my primary hunting rifle a Ruger M77R 7×57.  For years I had shot IMR4350 and the Sierra 140 gr SPT ProHunter #1910 but a Montana Mule deer hunt brought with it the prospect of longer than normal shots so a search began for a flatter load.  I chose the streamlined Sierra 140 gr SBT GameKing #1730 for a bullet and VihtaVuori N165 for the powder.   I had some new W-W 7×57 Mauser brass and plenty of WLRs so I checked the manuals, picked a load and assembled three shots.  I used the same COAL as my original ProHunter load.  Over the years that load has produced many 1/2 inch 3 shot groups, just like it did originally.  They don’t all work like that but it is nice to be lucky.

So, when I’m not being lucky how do I really find my loads?

I do have a method besides being lucky and it is as follows:

First things first, select a bullet and a powder. Find the powder charge that works for that bullet. This is easily done with a “Ladder Test”.  You may need to shoot several tests to find the load that suits you.

Next, swap whatever available and appropriate primers you have through the above powder charge to establish a balanced ignition.

Shoot this test in one trip to the range as you want everything to be as similar as possible.  This is best done on the same day and same target so you can get a quick visual comparison of group size and POI.

Then, using that powder charge and primer as established previously, start working the bullet seating depth from magazine length back at least .030″ to .045″ less than max mag length in increments no greater than .010″ to establish the best COAL for this combination.

After firing your tests in .010″ increments there will be a true standout dimension.  To narrow that down even closer, load groups at your previously determined dimension AND .005″ greater AND .005″ less than the previous best dimension to determine the true performance corridor.

The result of all this testing is a stable, well-balanced load that will be consistent day in and day out tailored specifically to your firearm.

Posted in Reloading, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

What Is Caliber of Ogive?

Written by Sierra Bullets New Product Development Manager Mark Walker

During one of our recent product releases, we listed the “caliber of ogive” of the bullet in the product description. While some understood what that number meant, it appears that some are not aware of what the number is and why it is important. In a nutshell, the “caliber of ogive” number will tell you how sleek the front end of the bullet is. The higher the number is, the sleeker the bullet. It also makes it easy to compare the ogives of different caliber bullets. If you want to know if a certain 308 caliber bullet is sleeker than a 7mm bullet, simply compare their “caliber of ogive” numbers.

So exactly how do you figure “caliber of ogive”? If you look at the drawing of the 30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275 (below), you will see that the actual radius of the ogive is 2.240. If you take that 2.240 ogive radius and divide by the diameter (or caliber) of the bullet you would get 7.27 “calibers of ogive” (2.240 ÷ .308 = 7.27).

base-to-ogive1

Next let’s look at the print (bel0w) of our 6.5mm 142 gr HPBT #1742 bullet for comparison. The actual radius of the ogive is 2.756. Like with the 30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275, if you divide 2.756 by the diameter (or caliber) of the bullet you get 10.44 “calibers of ogive”. As most people know, it has been determined through testing that the 6.5mm 142 gr HPBT #1742 has a significantly higher ballistic coefficient than the 30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275. However by simply comparing the “caliber of ogive” number of each bullet you can easily see that the 6.5mm 142 gr HPBT #1742 is significantly sleeker than the 30 caliber 175 gr HPBT bullet #2275 even without firing a shot.

base-to-ogive2Some people would say why not just compare the actual ogive radius dimensions instead of using the “caliber of ogive” figure. If we were comparing only bullets of the exact same diameter, then that would be a reasonable thought process. However, that idea falls apart when you start trying to compare the ogives of bullets of different diameters. As you can see with the two bullets presented above, if we compare the actual ogive radius dimensions of both bullets the difference is not much at all. However, once again, testing has shown that the 6.5mm 142 gr HPBT #1742 has a significantly higher BC. The only way that this significant increase shows up, other than when we fire the bullets in testing, is by comparing the “caliber of ogive” measurement from both bullets.

Hopefully this will help explain what we mean when we talk about “caliber of ogive” and why it’s a handy number to use when comparing bullets. This information will help you to make an informed decision the next time you are in the market to buy bullets.

Posted in Reloading, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

So I Might Be A Redneck . . .

Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf

The other day I was flipping through channels and saw an old re-run of a Jeff Foxworthy standup comedy show.

Redneck wall.inddOne of his jokes was, “If you open up your Christmas gift and head to the shooting range, you might be a redneck.” Well I have to admit I am guilty as charged.

When I think of past Christmases, there has usually been something firearms related under the tree, and more than one Christmas has involved a trip to the shooting range.

One Christmas really came to mind. When I was 15 years old, I remember staring at a present with my name on it for several weeks. It was propped up against the wall behind all of the other presents. It sure looked like it could be a gun box, but I didn’t know for sure. I didn’t dare touch it or shake it and see if I could figure out what it was, because dad told me if I messed with it he would take it back to the store.

Finally after all the anticipation, Christmas morning arrived and it was time to open presents. My older brother Tim was in charge of passing out the presents as I patiently waited to shred the paper off of my mystery present. Of course I had to open up all the other presents first; you know the routine, a new shirt, a ten pack of socks, the five pack of underwear.

Then it was time, right there on my lap, I could tell by the weight and the feel of it that it was a gun. I remember trying not to look too childish as I slowly unwrapped it, fighting the temptation to shred the paper off at record speed. And there it was, my first rifle, a Marlin model 60, semi automatic 22 LR.

garys-first-22-lr-gun
Within minutes I had my shoes and coat on and was headed out to an open field behind our house where I blasted every empty can I could dig out of the trash.

That old Marlin and I went on many adventures and I wish I had a nickel for every rabbit, squirrel and bullfrog I shot with it. For most of its life it ran on a steady diet of Winchester Wildcats because the little General Store down the street only carried the one brand at a whopping .89 cents a box.

I still have the rifle today and it is still a pretty good shooter, but I bet the micro grooved riflings are probably a little worn.

I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and I hope when you open up your presents this year you have a reason to throw on a coat and head straight to a shooting range!

Posted in Hunting Stories | 7 Comments

Sierra Introduces New 6mm 110 gr MatchKing Bullet

6mm-110-gr-matchkingSierra Bullets is proud to introduce a new addition to the legendary MatchKing® line.  Shooters around the world will appreciate the accuracy and extreme long range performance of our new 6mm 110 grain HPBT (#1575).  A sleek 27 caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat reducing operation (pointing) provide an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention.  To ensure precise bullet to bore alignment, a unique bearing surface to ogive junction uses the same 1.5 degree angle commonly found in many match rifle chamber throats.  This bullet requires a twist rate of 1:7” or faster to stabilize.

While they are recognized around the world for record-setting accuracy, MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are not recommended for most hunting applications. Although MatchKing® and Tipped MatchKing® bullets are commonly used for varmint hunting, their design will not provide the same reliable explosive expansion at equivalent velocities on varmints compared to their lightly jacketed Hornet, BlitzKing®, or Varminter counterparts.

6mm-110-gr-bcsThe new 6mm 110 grain HPBT bullets will be available in boxes of 500 bullets (#1575C) with a suggested retail of $208.75 per box and boxes of 100 bullet (#1575) with a suggested retail of $42.36 per box.

Posted in Competitive Shooting, Reloading | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment