I must confess I am a little behind regards writing articles. I have been very busy shooting and testing kit which is very important or I would have nothing to write about! Last week I made the winter pilgrimage to Wales with some of the regular crew with a goal in mind. To run the GnZ Precision rifle build out to long range.
It would be the rifles first outing beyond load testing at 100yds and I was pretty keen to see how it performed.
The rifle began life as a rather poor Remington ADL which was capable of around 3MOA accuracy. Pretty awful basically. The old wooden stock was removed and swapped for a chassis from MDT, the HS3 which made a huge difference and bought group size down to around 1MOA with factory ammunition. Still not good enough for what I wanted. I took the rifle along to Mik at Dolphin Gun Company for a new barrel in .260rem. Mik did s suberb job and the load development was so tight it was tough to pick a load, none were bad! I put that down to the amazing Trueflite barrel which keeps whip to a minimum and Miks precise engineering skills ensuring everything mates up at very fine tolerances. It is well worth checking out the article on the work he carried out a couple of weeks ago.
Mik setting everything up to perfection at Dolphin Gun.
We headed off to Orion in Wales which is my favourite range in the UK. It offers steel targets out to 2000m and testing conditions along with scenery which is simply beautiful. The peaks were topped with a covering of light snow and temperatures sat at around 0c so I was glad to have packed thermal undies and multiple warm layers. I also took a pair of boots designed for wet weather from Original Swat which will be reviewed over the next couple of weeks. I found them to be toasty warm and comfortable. It is vital you keep warm when shooting as shivering and chattering teeth will quickly degrade accuracy for even the manliest of men..
The new boots from Original Swat keeping my feet warm and dry.
We hit the range at 9am. Orion has two covered points and multiple uncovered sections. Due to sleet and the freezing conditions we opted for the covered points which give targets out to 960yds. Andy and Nick were both running 338Lap rifles (a DTA and an AI MX) so they were on their own due to muzzle brakes. Nobody wanted to be next to them! I had a guest with me, an old friend and squaddie whom I set up with my Remington .308. He quickly got the hang of things and began nailing steels at mixed distance. Once he was happy I sorted the GnZ PR build and checked my preferred shooting app (Strelok Pro). I had not had a chance to Chrono any of my loads so it was a case of guesswork as far as muzzle velocity was concerned. I figured I would true the MV as I worked my way though distances.
Hitting the targetry out to 400yds proved to easy!
The 338Laps in the other shed began banging away and the shockwaves began sending sprays of powdered snow off of the roof. I was glad that we were seperated! In comparison the 260rem is a teddy bear. The noise and the recoil are less than that of a .308 while the trajectory is similar to a 300WM. That is exactly why I selected the calibre. Big cartridge performance in a smaller user friendly package. It is an absolute joy to shoot. The only downside to the 260Rem is lack of factory ammunition. In fact in the UK there is only one brand advertising 260 and that is PPU. Personally I have found PPU to be pretty poor in terms of accuracy (2-3 moa at best) and is not something I would consider using. Luckily I had made quite a few reloads using Lapua Brass (always my preference), RS60 propellant from Reload Swiss and Lapua 6.5mm 139g OTM Scenars. Primers were federal large rifle.
Charlie ventured into the noisy shed to have a go with the amazing DTA Bullpup thanks to Andy.
The 260 shoots alot flatter than a .308 so the targetry up to 400yds was a walk in the park. I couldn’t miss basically with very minimal adjustment required on the Vortex PST. I dialled out to 850 based upon the info that Strelok spat out. The shots fell about 2 feet low but the light wind had no effect at all. The .260rem is superior to the .308 in terms of wind deflection which makes a big difference at tricky ranges like Orion. The valley and undulating hills mean that winds swirl and can seem to come from different directions at the same time. Not always an easy thing to judge. Shooting reguarly in those conditions with a .308 really improves your wind reading skills but sometimes its nice to beat the wind with ballistics instead!
After dialling up and hitting a 20″ steel swinger bang in the middle I entered the data into Streloks velocity adjustment which gave me about 2790fps. I was not expecting anything big as the reloads I had made were way off of showing any pressure and I know guys running more propellant than me but at the moment I just do not need to run anything warmer. I prefer conservative charges when I can as it gives better barrel life and longer brass life.
Moving out to longer range proved to be easy for the .260rem.
After hitting a few static clays at 850 I moved on up the hillside to a small swinger which is at 960yds. This would be the furthest we could reach out to due to the weather becoming worse. I did not fancy leaving the sheltered firing points to lay on a groundsheet at -1c in the snow and neither did the others. This time Strelok gave me good info as the muzzle velocity was trued and I hit the plate low left. Two clicks up and two right brought the impact to the centre. I put 9 more rounds down and I could see the group of impacts through the scope where they had removed the white paint on the swinger. The group looked to be around 5 inches which I was very happy with given that this was the first real outing with the rifle at range with loads that were essentially not perfected. I have yet to make adjustments to overall length or experiment with primers.
The GnZ AR comes out to join in the fun..
After that I pulled out the GnZ AR and ran some 77g SMK reloads through it. These proved to be pretty accurate and produced hits at 850yds on clays. I did try for some swingers further out but unfortunately the smaller projectiles proved hard to spot giving no splash in the wet snow covered hillside. I gave up on that and ran some short range serials with Charley on mixed targetry.
Charley getting some GGG 5.56MM rounds down range with the Lantac AR kindly loaned by Lincoln.
Charley was a great shot with the Lantac AR he had borrowed and he even managed to get some rounds down with a friends AK which was great fun.
And with the AK kindly supplied by Nick.
Once again Orion delivered a great day and everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. I came away happy with the Precision rifles performance and will continue to develop the load using the 139g Lapua Scenars and Reload Swiss RS60 propellant. The next trip will be 1000yds at Bisley where I can record group size and reduce variables such as tricky winds and elevated targets which can make judging the rifles true accuracy difficult. Until next time..
Many thanks to the RO Neil who did a great job of spotting for us.
Dolphin Gun Company – www.dolphinguncompany.co.uk
MDT Chassis – mdttac.eu
Trueflite barrels – www.truefliteriflebarrels.co.nz
Vortex Optics – www.vortexoptics.com
Orion Range – www.orionfirearmstraining.co.uk