Accuracy, A Game Of Strategy
Another Sierra bullet that has shown exceptional accuracy in this Winchester is the 53 grain Sierra MatchKing. Seated over 26.5 grains of Varget, it runs 3271 ft/sec., and it really gives the 69 grain Sierra a run for its money...and there are others. As with any rifle/bullet combination, the wind will be a great factor, as will the shooter.
Accurate ammunition is required to move ahead in the accuracy game. These .223 Remington cartridges consist of Sierra MatchKings, Varget powder, Lapua brass and CCI primers
But not every shooter relies on bolt action rifles to pursue the accuracy game. Today’s riflemen have embraced the AR-15 style of fire-arm by the thousands. This is due in part to the vast availability of accessories and parts and the current widespread uneasiness concerning national and world events.
Today’s gun owner uses the AR-15 rifle for several purposes...including self defense, hunting and competition. In each category of use, accuracy is desirable, though for most purposes the pinpoint accuracy provided by a heavy-barreled varmint rig is not necessary to get the job done. But many still pursue pure accuracy with the AR-15, even though the accuracy enhancing components will be just a bit different. For example, there will be no pillar bedding in Marine-Tex on the AR-15. Instead, a free floating fore-end tube will be installed. Barrels and triggers are the other areas to look at for improvement, and these apply to bolt guns, also.
One of my personal AR-15s is a Colt Model 6724, also named the HBar Elite. This rifle carries a 4.5-14 Leupold with a 30mm tube, bolted into a Larue mount. The stainless steel barrel at 24 inches in length is moderately heavy, measuring .750 inches at the muzzle. With a 1/9 twist, the barrel is intended for bullets of 70 grains and under, and though it shoots a variety of bullets well under an inch, the “laser” is the 60 grain Hornady V-MAX over 26 grains of Winchester 748 or Varget. Either choice does well, clocking 3050-3065 ft/sec. and punching five into .5 with casual assurance.
In the past, I discovered that Varget offered exceptional accuracy, and Reloder 15 gave equal velocities with a touch better accuracy in both the Winchester 70 and the Colt HBar. Then I ran out of the Reloder 15 and purchased a new bottle, and that’s when the Winchester told me something was awry. The new powder was launching the bullets at greater speed with the same charge, and this behavior opened the groups. The powder charge needed to be cut back, and it is the small things like this that can change the accuracy game in a flash. It is one reason accuracy game players purchase large lots of the same powder. Variables must be eliminated to play a satisfactory game.
After completing the rifle to the owner’s accuracy satisfaction and finding the perfect bullet and powder combination, the accuracy game player nears the finish line. Whether the player wins or not is determined in field or range shooting, thus the previously written statement that discriminating shooters must know their rifles. It is quite important. Not only must they know their rifles and the cartridge used, but they must also be able to judge the wind. This knowledge prompts correct handling, sight alignment and elevation adjustment. Repeated effort causes it to become a built-in function...like breathing. Shoot the rifle. Fire it often, and you will win the accuracy game. Though it’s a game played with greenbacks and a wide range of choices, the accuracy game can be won at any level.
A winning strategy for accuracy involves handloading excellent ammunition using quality components.
But if there is just one caveat in the accuracy game...just one overall point that absolutely must be considered it would be the following. Accurate ammunition is required for cutting edge accuracy. A perfect rifle can not shoot great groups with substandard ammunition. Even though today’s factory ammunition is very accurate, the only way to control variables and match the perfect load to the rifle is to handload. That means an investment in time, tools and components. It means spending quality time with the rifle...shooting it. Excellent ammunition offers as few variables as possible, and it moves you several spaces forward in the accuracy game. By playing the game, shooters discover variables they may have taken for granted in the past.
Discriminating shooters, above all, know their rifles and their ammunition, and they make every effort to achieve stability and consistency. Shoot five rounds into that dime-sized group on the target board...you have won the game!
Disclaimer: Neither this publication nor the writer makes any representation as to the safety of loads quoted in this article in the firearms of others. The loads quoted were safe in the author’s firearms on the day of testing, period. Reduce these loads a minimum of ten percent to start your testing and then gradually increase, observing pressure signs as you go.
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