RL17 and the 25-06
Got some very interesting results with this combination.
The Rifle is a used Sendero 25-06 with 26" barrel. When I first picked it up about a month ago I took it out and shot a group with it from some factory bullets that had come with it. Shot a sighter then adjusted, then shot 4 more rounds. The first three Measured .24" and the fourth took it too .45" @ 110 yds. I took it home to clean it to prep for a break-in with Microlon Gun Juice and it took 5 days of cleaning, mostly soaking with Wipeout and some brushing and patching with Bore Tech Eliminator.
Then after all that I decided to have it bore scoped to see what was going on in there. The smith said it was fired cracked all the way from the throat to the muzzle and asked if I could hit anything with it. I told him about the group I had shot with it. Then he asked if it was repeatable.
At first, I was going to put it away and order a new barrel for it, but I figured, what the heck, it shot good once, maybe it will keep shooting good for a while. So I decided to the break-in and work up some loads for it.
I pit 20 rounds through it cleaning after each round, but the first 6 or 7 rounds, I only did a partial cleaning. The Gun Juice, when applied to a bore and fired through will bond to the metal surfaces of the bore. My thought was to seal in some of the copper fouling in the cracks. If the rifle had shot well before when being badly fouled, maybe this would be good??? After that I cleaned to almost bare metal, and Gun Juiced it and fired a total of 20 times. It still fouls a good bit, but definitely a whole lot easier to clean. I might give it some more Gun Juice after hunting season.
Then I fired the rest of the bullets from the origiaal bunch to check it's accuracy and velocity. After a fouler, it shot a 1" seven shot group @ 100yds in a gusty 20-30 mph crosswind. The velocity was about 30 fps faster than the original group. Gun Juice is *supposed* to increase your barrels velocity and put a protective coat down. Hard to really say if the 30 fps increase was actual.
OK, so that brings us to load development. I loaded up some 110 AB's with Retumbo, H1000 and RL17. 10 rounds each stepping up 1/2 gr per shot. Did not see any pressure signs with any of these rounds so went home and loaded some more of each. it was too dark to get good chrony readings.
I was already at 61 gr of Retumbo which was slightly compressed and a bit over book max. I loaded 61 again a 61.5 With the H1000, I had stopped @ 60 and loaded three more at 60.5, 61 nad 61.5. The Retumbo and H1000 got me to about 3350 fps with 61.5 gr and no pressure signs. These were compressed and I wasn't going to go any higher. Those were good velocities an I was happy.
Then I shot the additional RL17 loads for which I had no data. I loaded 5 rounds form 54 to 56 gr. The RL17 velocities shocked me. I got about 3500 with 55 grains and about 3550 with 55.5 and 56 with some slight pressure signs. I went baclk and loaded six ea of 54 and 54.5 and fired two sets of three shots groups, one at 100 yds and another @ 218 yds.
The 54 gr groups were about just less than 1 MOA and a velocity of about 3400. The 54.5 groups were .43" @ 100 yds and .86" @ 218 yds and a velocity of about 3450. Will be loading some more of the 54.5 gr loads at various seating depths and some at 55 gr for accuracy and velocity. This was in a gusty light 10-15 mph crosswind wind.
BTW, all this is with the Tasco scope that came mountd to it. Talk about less than great optics. Definitely on the blurry side. Will be putting the Nightforce on it temporarily for load fine tuning and speed goat hunting.
Definitely a great antelope and deer round with a long reach. Hope I can improve a little on the accuracy and velocity.
Not that it matters much, but I have to make a slight coerrection on the group size for the 54.5 gr of RL17. I subtracted .308 instead of .257 from the outside measurements. The corrected sizes are .48 @ 100 yds and .91 @ 218 yds.
Also, the 61.5 gr load of Retumbo for the 110 AB's is 2.5 gr over what Nosler lists as max which is 59 gr. Start at no higher than 55 gr and work up carefully.
I ended up going with 115 Ballistic Silvertips @ 3385 fps. I put 4 out of 5 shots into a .63" group at 213 yds. The 5th shot (which was actually the 4th shot) got blown to the right by a 15-20 mph gust of wind. Shot my speed goat buck with it this morning at 280 yds. Rifle was zeroed @ 300 yds. The bullet struck the seam of the shoulder right where it was aimed. Another thread coming on that.