Long Range Hunting Online Magazine

The Black Rifle Has Come of Age
I know, thatís 22/250 velocities from a 223 case! Yes, it extended the reach, much to the dismay of many prairie dogs! The build was superb in that it met all my requirements and then some. It has become a favorite rifle and I have named it ďWicked WandaĒ.

The Black Rifle Has Come Of Age
Another tight group that was shot with the 20 TAC. Iíve shot several like this. Itís one fine cartridge and rifle!

The Black Rifle Has Come Of Age
This picture shows one of the fine uppers Lee Mosher built with one of my favorite additions, a Scope Shield Alaska scope cover thatís hanging from the forend for the picture. The Scope Shield Alaska scope cover is great with a handy ďlanyardĒ to keep it from flying off and going missing. The barrelís 26Ē length is evident in the picture as is the 11 degree crown. All of Leeís meticulous attention to detail is hard to see, but the proof is in the shooting. It is a pure delight to shoot and beautiful to look at, too!

I said they come in .17 rim fire. Yep, Alexander Arms in Radford, Va. makes it in 17 HMR and I am one of the lucky ones to get it. It is incredibly accurate and so sweet to shoot! I canít wait till my next trip to the dog towns to really have fun with it. Bill Alexander has done a lot of work to make this happen. It also took more time and grew a lot of grey hairs on Bill before it came to fruition. Itís not an easy task to make a semi auto rifle function with the fragile cased 17HMR, but Bill has succeeded where others failed. I have shot a five shot group at 50 yards of .148Ē! Still havenít had much range time on it, but it surely wonít disappoint me. Iíve seen another of Billís ARs doing the same thing. This will serve me well for those short to intermediate shots in the dog towns. I may be surprised at how far it will shoot!

The Black Rifle Has Come Of Age
Ainít it cute! But itís an accurate, reliable and hard hitting 17HMR that pasture poodles will hate!

The Black Rifle Has Come Of Age
This target was shot with my Alexander Arms rifle in 17 HMR at 50 yards and has five shots in that teensy clover!

The Black Rifle Has Come Of Age
This was a group I shot with the Alexander Arms 17HMR at 100 yards! If only I could have kept all five grouped as tight as the four. Bummer. But, you can see the group of five still only measured .680 with the four going .369.Pretty good at 100 yards for a semi auto, huh?

How About the Big Guy, the AR 10?

So I have some varmint rigs, but what about big game hunting? The AR10s were made originally in .308 and I knew them to be fine rifles, but I wanted something else so I waited. My patience was rewarded when DPMS came out with the 260 Remington in a configuration that suited me: heavy but not too heavy to hunt. Plus, it too shoots sub minute groups with my hand loads! This is my pig and deer gun. I shoot 139 grain bullets at a modest 2755fps, but it will do it while shooting right at a half MOA. My friendís son used his 260 AR10 to take a pig in North Carolina last year. One shot, DRT!

The Black Rifle Has Come Of Age
These are the two cartridges I have in the AR10s. On the left is the 6x47Lapua and at right is the 260 Remington. That 6x47 is quite a sexy looking cartridge and I hope to give PDs a hard time out to 600 yards with it. If my eyes were better it could be further!

My latest lust was started because two friends had the cartridge in bolt guns and it shot extremely well (and way out there) to tag the distant prairie dog. I wanted it in the modern sporting rifle. Lady Luck smiled on me and I found a young man in Wisconsin who said he could make it happen. Matt Salm is a Wisconsin National Guard Armament Technician, and was a Small Arms/Artillery Repairer for fifteen years. He has a small business making custom bolt guns and uppers for the AR10 as well as the AR15. Matt had to do some head scratching to make this work; but indeed he did. It came out looking wickedly beautiful and as I get more shooting in, I am more impressed.

The cartridge is a wildcat named the 6x47 Lapua. I wanted to shoot the 80 to maybe 105 grain bullets and it should be good as both a varmint and, with proper bullets, a good deer rifle. For this reason, we decided on a nine twist and a 26Ē heavy barrel. Because of the case size, Matt had to improvise the bolt and carrier to make it work. He also had fun finding a handguard and gas block to fit the oversized barrel! There were other issues to deal with and he expertly handled them. Like the rifles Lee Mosher builds, this rifle is a thing of beauty to this shooter! Yes, I asked him to make it heavy for the same reasons I gave Lee, and we also put a Vais muzzle brake on it. Ok, so Iím a Woosie! I donít like un-necessary recoil and I donít plan on carrying these over hill and dale. I also love the idea that I can keep the target in view at the shot. This will be my primary, ultimate long range rig for those really, really long prairie dog shots. I havenít been able to get much range time in on this one, but so far it is a delight to shoot. I topped it with a Nightforce 8x32 scope and an American Gold trigger to get the most out of it and I believe they will. It took all of two shots to zero! One hit and one to get where I wanted it was all it took.

I was only zeroing, shooting un-proven hand loads, and chronographing that day, so the distance was only 25 yards to the target. But, two loads clustered three shots into a tiny clover with no paper between shots. This was done with no parallax adjustment as this Nightforce scope doesnít start doing that until at least 50 yards. I also didnít have much of an aiming point either. Later, at 100 yards I shot a .414Ē group and I know it will continue to shrink those groups as I get the loads and seating depths adjusted.

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