The Great Shootout

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This article is going to be written over a year or more period of time due to the nature of testing required to do a full and complete story. Some parts of this article will appear on other web sites and other publications as certain sections are completed. So from time to time you’ll have to come back to see at what point I’m at in the project and what information I’ve developed at that point. If you have questions regarding this project, feel free to contact me.

The shootout is a project that I’m starting this spring of 2014 in testing a variety of products to find the most accurate in a variety of products. Basically, I’m going to be testing both Remington and Savage bolt action rifles in their original stocks and then in a chassis. The two main calibers I’m testing them in are the .308 and the 300 Win Mag. because they are both the most popular and affordable rounds to shoot and they are sniper rounds. I may end up testing some other calibers like .223, 22-250, 30.06 and others as those will fit in the chassis I have as well. Almost all the guns are heavy barrel guns, but I will test two sporter’s, one from each company as well. I didn’t choose to do the .338 Lapua simply because the cost of the ammunition and other factors would have made it extremely difficult. The reason I chose Remington and Savage is because they are both known to make extremely accurate shooting bolt action rifles and almost all chassis makers produce chassis for only those brands. That is also why you won’t see anything about Ruger, Weatherby, CZ, Winchester and other brands, they all make good rifles, but no one makes a chassis for them to my knowledge.

The reasoning is that just about any gun will shoot more accurately when a chassis is used. The barrel is entirely free floating. In a discussion with some Remington technical staff members, I asked them, “since almost all your heavy barrels and actions are the same, what makes one rifle shoot better than another?” They replied, “the stock is what determines how accurately a rifle will shoot.” And there can be a difference between stocks in a particular product line.

EXAMPLE: Back in the sixties I bought a Remington 700BDL with a wooden stock in a 22-250 caliber. I worked up an extremely accurate hand load with a 52 gr. HP bullet, but the gun wasn’t as accurate as it should be. I knew something was going on between the wooden stock and the barrel. I should have probably tried removing some wood, but instead in inserted a V or channel shaped piece of Nomex in the front end of the stock below the barrel and it now shot like a tack driver, under 3/8’s of an inch at 100 yards, with five rounds fired. I was a happy shooter. As the gun heated up, it would travel ever so slightly upward in a perfectly straight line. Something that was very manageable. I later decided that I wanted a lighter stock, so I bought a very nice light weight stock and had someone glass-bed it. That was the worst mistake I ever made and really regretted it. I don’t think they knew what they were doing. So now, that rifle sits in a minimalist MDT LSS Chassis waiting to be tested as well. You’ll see a photo of it later, but you can find them on the internet as you can on any of the companies mentioned in this article.

THE PRODUCTS: I’ve talked with a lot of other shooters, hunters and snipers to get feedback and recommendations on the other products I should be using in this testing program. I had already sort of made up my mind on many products and found that what I was thinking of using were the correct brand names from the feedback I received. There were much more expensive brand names in some cases, but it wouldn’t have been the product that the majority of the people could afford; that played into the equation as well.

The ammo I decided in using for all the testing was the Black Hills brand because of all the favorable recommendations from all types of shooters. It’ll be used exclusively in the .308 and 300 Win Mag as the base line ammo so that any differences in guns, stocks or chassis’s will show up. I do have some small amounts in both calibers from several of the other major manufacturers to see if any of their ammo will shoot better or worse or the same as the base line ammo. At some stage, I may go to a indoor or underground 100 Yard rifle range for true accuracy testing as it’s always blowing in this part of the country. It’ll be the worst thing I have to deal with in this program. If there is any manufacturer that has a product he’d be interested in having it included and evaluated in this project, please feel free to contact me.

There are several different chassis manufacturers that are participating in this project, and MDT from Canada supplied two different chassis for this project. The LSS which I mentioned earlier and a MDT TAC 21 for a Remington SA (short action) as well. XLR has supplied a Remington LA (long action) Chassis as well as most of another chassis that needs a few parts for a Savage LA. JP Chassis supplied two SA ‘s for Savage and Remington. So those are the major players, but some other chassis manufacturer may also come on board a little late. They will be discussed in detail a little later.

The scope company that came out on top was no surprise, it was Leupold. They have some of the best optics for the money. I talked at length with one of their technical reps at HQ by the name of Ryan. I told him what I was going to be doing and he recommended the best scopes for the project and to stay with a 40mm rather than going to a 50mm. He said the only advantage to the 50mm was for about 15 minutes in the morning and the same at dusk. He was using some good logic during our discussion, and I was impressed with that , so I took his advice to keep the scope closer to the centerline of the barrel. The scopes are their CDS line with specially etched turrets for the ammo you’ll be shooting in the gun. For a couple of the guns I also decided to use a few of their sister companies scopes, Redfield Battlezone, which also have pre-etched turrets for the 308 and the 223 calibers. It’s a nice line of scopes for the money as they are reasonably priced. I had planned to use Leupold Med. rings on the chassis, but they were too low to align your eyes. I had to use other systems on the chassis, but I’m sure they’ll work fine on the stock rifles. Weaver provided the Picatinny rails for both brands of rifles in both standard and 20 MOA along with some very nice windage adjustable rings that I’ll be using.

I’ll be using two different brands of spotting scopes in this project, Vanguard who has a nice optics line along with different tripod systems to stabilize the scope, and Kowa who has some very nice high quality optics as well. But the main player in this project is the Bullseye Camera System which was recently introduced at the Shot Show. It’s a wireless camera system that will link to your laptop computer or tablet and allow you to see your target live at over 1000 yards, close up, and you can even zoom in from the computer. You can even number the bullet hole sequence right after you fire the round. This system sells for only $550.00 and is the most reasonable priced system in the marketplace. I’ve seen some systems selling for over $1,000 that don’t even come close to what this system will do. They also just came out with a new transmitter that will transmit the image from over a mile away. We just might have to get one of those to see just how far we can throw lead accurately with these weapons systems. Anyone want to take a guess at what we’ll be able to do with each caliber?

 

There will be more to come shortly……Lead Sled, rifle rests, etc.

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