A Store Bought Long Range Rig
The scope of choice here is the Millet Long Range Scope. Milletís quality has come a long way since they first came under the Bushnell flag. This mil-dot scope was developed especially for long range shooting. It is 6-25x56mm with a 35mm tube. Millet claims the larger tube helps transmit more light. I can only say I had no complaint about the light transmission.
Millet provides some stout rings with the scope, along with a sun shade and flip up lens caps. It has side focus, which I have grown to appreciate, and lockable target turrets which can go up to 140 MOA in adjustment. While shooting this rig, I found no change in point of impact from 6 to 25 power. The Millet Long Range Scope is a very good buy, and Millet has always given me excellent customer service.
So far, we have a rifle and scope made especially for long range shooting, so how about a long range cartridge? I have loved the .260 Remington round since it came out, so when the 6.5 Creedmoor arrived, I just had to see how it performed in comparison. The problem was, as with so many proprietary cartridges, it is not always simple to find the ammunition, brass and dies when you need them. All I could find were two boxes of Hornadyís Super Performance cartridges in 120 and 129gr.
The Creedmoor was developed expressly for long range shooting. While the ballistics are almost identical to the .260 Remington, the Creedmoor case is slightly shorter to allow for loading the heaver, longer, high BC bullets into rifles with magazines, like the AR10.
Hornady is making ammunition that is of match quality. Hornady even prints the load information on the Match Creedmoor ammunition so that reloaders can copy the factory loads. In addition, Hornady is pricing the ammunition very reasonably. In the past, some proprietary ammunition was priced far higher than it should be because the manufacturer had a corner on the market.
Since I had just two boxes of factory ammunition to sight in the rifle/scope and test it, I got a little stingy. The scope was so massive that my regular bore sight would not work. I pulled out a laser bore sight that fits in the barrel. At 25 yards, I adjusted the scope to the laser dot and fired one shot. It was dead center. I then shot at 100 yards and it was still very close.
After four rounds I ran some cleaning solution down the barrel, but there was no sign of copper fouling. In all my years of shooting and testing rifles, I have never had a quality barrel that would not benefit from a break in period. As far as break in goes, Thompson Center says to never shoot a hot barrel, and to clean often.
This rifle, scope and cartridge combination is amazing. Those first few shots grouped at .54 inch with the 120 gr. The 129 gr. came in at .67 inch. Folks, these were the first shots fired through this new rifle. Thompson/Center does not even pre-shoot the rifles. They use a computer generated system to fire for a group. I think this rifle will shoot even smaller groups after about two hundred rounds.
In Texas this time of year, it is rather windy, and the way my range is set up I usually have a south or north crosswind. For the next session the wind was 6-12 mph right to left, full value. The 120gr. was first up. I shot five rounds and the last three grouped .47 inch. To be fair, I cleaned the rifle again and shot five of the 129 gr. rounds. The last three grouped at .28 inch, leaving a nice ragged hole. The rifle apparently likes two fouling shots. There was no sign of wind drift.
Thatís when I wished I had some 140 gr. factory Hornady rounds. I could have reloaded some since the dies had just arrived, but this article is about using store bought ammunition. Believe me, after I finish this I will be heading straight to my reloading room to try the 140gr. Hornady bullets.
In conclusion, this excellent, affordable long range rig reminds me of expert rifleman and outdoor writer Townsend Whelenís famous quote: "Only accurate rifles are interesting."
After twenty-five years with a major law enforcement agency, John Johnston retired to the hill country of central Texas. His law enforcement career was diverse with assignments with the tactical/motorcycle unit, patrol, and criminal investigation. After retiring, writing became his calling. He started with a newspaper column which, he still writes and then moved up to major magazines in the area of shooting and hunting. He is known for his unbiased product testing and evaluations. Having a full size range from 25-450 yards next to his home was his dream come true. 2010 marks his fiftieth anniversary in the hunting, shooting and reloading sports. You will notice his writing style is quite relaxed and he prefers to write like he is speaking to you around a camp fire. John welcomes questions and comments whether good or bad. You can reach John at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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