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New Rifle
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms

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SingleShotLover
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Joined: Dec 26, 2007
Posts: 929
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:26 pm    Post subject: New Rifle Reply with quote

Our local coyote population has been reaching the saturation point for years now. It isn’t unusual for them to stand across the road from my house and challenge me when I take my dogs out at night. It has finally reached the point that they are now so brazen they often wander around fields during daylight hours. This would be ideal if it wasn’t for the fact we also have more than our fair share of road-“hunters” who have trained the coyotes that they should stay back from the roads by at least 300 yards. Since the fields around my house are flat and bare (400 yards to my south and nearly 1,000 yards to my north with virtually no cover of any nature), the only reasonable chance at them is with an exceptionally accurate and flat shooting long-range rifle. My .22-250 is accurate enough, but its 1 in 14” twist rate won’t stabilize bullets heavy enough to manage wind drift (averaging 10-20 mph around here more times than not) at extended range very well. Anything I have heavier (.280 Remington, .30-06 and such) runs the risk of ricochet and other hazards. The only solution…another rifle (as if I really needed and excuse).

Looking at the list of “long-range” calibers, several 6mm offerings looked promising. Since the most accurate cartridge I ever worked with in the past was the .243 Winchester in a now-discontinued Ruger V/T (that once produced a 300 yard 5 shot group that measured just under .5”) that I should have never traded off, I had a direction to go. After reviewing offerings from Remington, Ruger and Savage, the Savage Model 12 VLP won and my local FFL dealer made the order.

Enough is available on the internet that an in depth description would be a waste of space. Basically, the Model 12 VLP is the time-proven Model 10/110 action mated to a 26” heavy, fluted stainless steel barrel nestled in a laminated wood stock. The barrel is free-floated, 1-9.25” twist and the action is completed by Savage’s famous Accu-Trigger. Over all, mine weighs just over 11 pounds with scope and bipod. Not a “packin’ rifle”, but about ideal for a bench or sitting rifle for distance.



Once I got it home it didn’t take long to give the bore a thorough cleaning, mount a Weaver Kaspa 6-18 44mm scope that I had on hand and adjust the trigger (which arrived at 3.5 pounds) to 1.5 pounds that breaks like glass with no creep. Clamping on a bipod, I was ready to go. I had loaded a quantity of Nosler brass with a moderate load and some 87-grain Hornadys I had in a “junk” drawer for barrel break in and another batch with test loads of AA 2700 and 75-grain Vmax bullets in .5 grain increments from 3 grains below and working up to maximum. I was ready for when the weather cooperated.

Today I finally gave up on waiting for perfect conditions and figured I could at least go through my shoot-clean-shoot-clean sequence for breaking in the barrel. Amazingly, the first shot was exactly on line vertically and only 2” right on the horizontal. Better yet, the cleaning processes produced only very small amounts of copper over the first 5 shots and then faded away to nothing during the rest of the sequence. When the process was over, I sat back, looked at the wind (15-20 mph variable with gusts to 25 according to the local weather station) and thought “What the heck.”

Switching to the Vmax loads and trying to pick as much of a lull in the wind as possible for each shot, I worked my way up the loads. All shot well, given conditions, but tended to tighten as the loads got hotter. The last three loads were statistically identical, but the hottest gave flattened primers and reluctant bolt movement. Fine with me, since the load one full grain less showed normal primers and easy bolt movement – along with this type of accuracy even in today’s conditions...that 3 shot cluster is .285" on centers. Velocity for this load, adjusted for my 26” barrel, should be close to 3,400 fps.



All loads tried placed three out of five shots into less than .5 inches with “flyers” opening the other two shots to around an inch. Obviously the wind (and probably the shooter) was to blame. Playing with seating depths, chronographing and etc. will take place under a whole lot better conditions, but I think groundhogs are in trouble this year and, switching to 87-grain Vmax bullets for additional wind-drift resistance, coyotes are in for a run as well. I see no reason that I can’t find the right combo for sub- ½ MOA groups for 5 shots (not just 3). We’ll see!

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Last edited by SingleShotLover on Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
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hunterjoe21
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Joined: Mar 30, 2007
Posts: 1234
Location: North Central Montana

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:55 pm    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

Very nice...looks like the critters are in some trouble now.

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Vince
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 12944
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

Great stuff SSL. The Savage in .243 is a very good combination. I have a Savage Axis in .223 and it shoots a treat.

My .243 is a Weatherby Vanguard and it shoots better than I can. I have found that the bullet it prefers is firstly a Hornady product and the one it seems to love most of all is the 87gr HP offering. I haven't tried the 75gr VMAX but I know that my .223 Savage loves both the VMAX and ZMAX in 55gr.

Whichever way it goes, I reckon them pesky yotes are in for a hard time mate.

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Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
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Elvis
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Joined: Jul 27, 2008
Posts: 6853
Location: south island New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:58 pm    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

very tidy rifle and them groups are pure EBRG magic.....
I'm hearing good things about the 80grn solid copper jobbies too if you want to take something bigger,and feel need for something a bit different.
didn't quite believe it when first heard it mentioned but other chaps are loading a 55grn .243 pill aswell....they be fair honking along.

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SingleShotLover
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Joined: Dec 26, 2007
Posts: 929
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

Yeah, Hornady's 58-grain VMax is shown in various manuals as running around 3,800 and the Nosler 55-grain up to 4,000 fps. That's fast, but at a cost. Rumor has it that both behave erratically in barrels with anything even slightly faster than 1-10" twist and, being shorter for the caliber, have much lower B.C. (Hornady is .250) compared to heavier bullets. Hornady 75 and 87 grain VMax bullets are .330 and .400 respectively, which translates to flatter long-range performance and greater wind-bucking traits. Around here, wind is a real factor since it seldom stops!

In my old Ruger I had great luck with 70-grain hollow points (B.C. .294) which is why I started out with the 75s for this rifle. As winter sets in and the winds increase, I think the 87-grain VMax bullets will perform even better and hit a bit harder at the longer ranges I expect.

I have a lot of testing and options to explore...which means lots of shooting. What a shame!

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If you can't hit it with one, you probably can't with two either!

The biggest problem with a closed mind is that it never seems to come with a closed mouth.

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Gil Martin
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Joined: Jan 28, 2005
Posts: 1570
Location: Schnecksville, PA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:20 pm    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

I like a story with a happy ending. Nice rifle that should get the job done. All the best...
Gil

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Elvis
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Joined: Jul 27, 2008
Posts: 6853
Location: south island New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 11:02 pm    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

good stuff SSL ,we had great results with very soft spsx hornady pills in the .223 for similar sized animals...great results but man what a mess.

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Them who eats the most duck eats the most feathers!
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chambered221
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Joined: Aug 17, 2007
Posts: 3437
Location: Lost for good !!!

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:43 am    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

Congrats on the new toy !!!

Killed my share of groundhogs with 6mm Remington using the 55gr Nosler B-Tips !!!

Running in the 4150fps neighborhood (chronographed not estimated) they were absolutely devastating out to 325-350 yards.
Pass that I would highly recommend the heavier bullets.

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SingleShotLover
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Joined: Dec 26, 2007
Posts: 929
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 2:56 pm    Post subject: Re: New Rifle Reply with quote

I pretty well have 0 to 350 yards or so covered with my .17 Remington and .22-250. Both are capable of well under MOA 5 shot groups, but suffer from wind drift on most days. The .17 pushes a 20-grain VMax at an honest 4,200 fps (or a 25-grain VMax at 4,000) and the .22-250 a 52-grain AMax at 3,850. The .22-250 accuracy begins to degrade as early as 55-grain bullets for some reason and 53-grain VMax bullets require 1-12" or faster twist, so no hope there with my 1-14". The .243 (or equally impressive 6mm) offers better wind-bucking bullets without excessive recoil. The .17, 22-250 and .243 (probably with 75 or 87-grain VMax bullets) pretty well cover the ranges I will be shooting; which pretty much makes my .223 redundant other than for just plain fun shooting. Not a bad problem to have.

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If you can't hit it with one, you probably can't with two either!

The biggest problem with a closed mind is that it never seems to come with a closed mouth.

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