Friday, December 30, 2011

Range Friday

That Savage 10 is destined to be a grandkid rifle, so after posting yesterday I started thinking about youth loads; something simple, something fairly accurate, with enough pop to make them realize they're shooting a centerfire rifle, with enough energy to bring down one of our smallish whitetail deer.

I went outside and looked on the bench and found a box of Sierra 125 grain Pro-hunter bullets. Then I started researching loads. What I was looking for isn't necessarily in the manuals, so I was breaking untrod ground. I settled on a load starting at 41.0 grains of IMR 4895 and loaded some ammo, then increased the charge to 42.0 and 43.0 grains of powder just in case that first load didn't fly.

I got to the range and set up at the 100 yard line. Fired a couple of fouling shots into the berm. Then I got steady on the bags.

That's a one inch target dot and it was fired at 100 yards. The subsequent loads opened up quite a bit. Not surprisingly, I fired the last two rounds of my #3 load (43 grains of IMR 4895 and that Sierra Prohunter) through my Remington 700. The Remington didn't like the #1 load, but it liked the #3 load, firing it into just 0.75 inch. If that Remington becomes a grandkid rifle too, I know which kid load to build for it.

I figure that load is traveling about 2600 fps, plenty good medicine for the whitetail deer around here. Recoil is light, the load is easy on the shoulder. I think that the grandkids will like it fine.

On the way home, I recalled that I had a rifle on layaway and it was time to get it out. I went to my favorite pawn shop and dropped some change on the counter guy.

That's a Ruger 77, tang model, in 25-06. According to the serial number, the rifle was pushed out the door in 1971, the same year I started college. It came with a Bushnell Banner scope, probably made about the same time the rifle was made. The counter guy threw in a new soft gun case so I wouldn't have to carry it from the store naked.

That one is not a grandkid rifle. PawPaw has been lusting over this rifle since I was in college and this one is mine.


MSgt B said...


You started college in '71?

That means you're...let's see..71...81...91...2001...2011....

Um, let's just leave that one alone...

Pawpaw said...

Okay, B. I'm 58 years old, still made of sinew and twisted steel, although my body-fat index is higher than I'd like it to be.

Rivrdog said...

Welcome to the Quarter-Inch Club!

My most accurate rifle, and the go-to for ALL MOA-and-below work out to 600 yards, is the Model 70 Winchester in .243 WIN.

With factory Federal Fusion 95-grain, I feel very comfortable on 4-inch targets at 400 yards, and 6-10" at 600. The rifle mounts a Nikon BDC 3X9X40 Primo Series optic, and the range bubbles (civilianized version of MilDot), designed for .300 WIN mag, are perfect for .243, which has about the same trajectory.

The 25-06 can put even more push behind a 6mm bullet than .243, though. You are going to get into all the bench-rest tricks before you can top the inherent accuracy of a .243, IMHO.

I'd start by loading the heaviest bullets you can find, 130's, I think, and keep them around 3,000-3,200 fps. those heavier bullets ought to stay supersonic out to 700+ yards, and the supersonic flight is where you count on the accuracy, there's not much left when the bullet slows to subsonic (not much energy, either). That's where you will have the edge on .243, case capacity. That 130-pill just doesn't leave enough room for powder to get it out and accurate past 600, but you have almost 25% more capacity in the 06 case IIRC.

Rivrdog said...


Twist rate. I forgot all about twist rate. In a 1971 rifle, that twist rate would have been optimized for 95-grain ammo at the heaviest. The Match load would have been with 83-grain Sierra Boat Tail back then.

Hmmm, this is going to take a lot of experimentation, or cut to the chase and re-barrel if you want the super-long range, I fear.

Pawpaw said...

Thanks, Rivrdog, I'll take all that into consideration, but around here, it's hard to see 500 yards. The longest range I have easily available is 300 yards and on my deer lease, there is exactly one spot where you can see 500 yards.

But, it's all something to think about. I wonder what the twist rate is on that barrel?

Anonymous said...

That is a very handsome M77. Lucky you and well wear!