After more time and money than I care to talk about I have finally aquired my dream rifle. Lets just start with:
Some time ago I had a sweet 300 RUM assembled by a local gun smith. It was a Rem 700 action, Lilja 27.25" 12x Heavy varmint barrel and a McMillan HTG stock. Night force 3.5-15x50 scope with badger rings to boot. In the short time this rifle was set up this way it had harvested a moose @ 650 yards, one dall ram @ 360 yards, a deer @ 338 yards and two just over 500 yards. After these back country hunts I decided the 16# rifle needed to go on a diet. I was hesitent to change it since the first two groups I ever fired from it shot under 1/4" @ 100 yards and was still going strong. Needless to say I took a chance and ordered an ABS barrel. Mike custom contoured it to fit my stock (same as the first barrel) and custom built a titanium brake to my specs. I sent the rifle to George Leichty (lite tac) and he chambered and fitted the barrel to my rifle. When I recieved it in the mail and took it out of the case I imeadiatly noticed something wasnt right. It was several pounds lighter! Oh yeah! It is supposed to be like that. Next I loaded some test loads using 200 ACCUBONDS and 180 TSX bullets. I decided NOT to have a break in session as the barrel life of these calibers is so short as it is and when I cleaned it from George's "proof" firings there was no detectable copper fouling.
So I went to the range with 2 different bullets and 2 different powders. All low charges initially. The first group with the 200's was sub 1" and 2800 FPS. This was the best group for this bullet with the H50BMG powder. I switched to the 180 TSX. Same powder. Velocities around 2900. Best group was just under .75" I gave Avril a good cleaning and shot a couple foul shots through her, let her rest a bit and fired 3 shots with the 200 AB and RL-25 into a .49" group. Now this is promising.
After determining that she like RL-25 and the 200 AB (and knowing how much more powder to load) I cooked up a couple of recipies for the 200 and the 180 ACCUBONDS. I set up the chrony and fired the 200's first. I had loaded several charge weights (ladder test) and shot the first group of 200's into a .486" group @ 3200 FPS with no pressure issues. Wow I thought, this is even more promising. I decided to shoot 3 of the 180's next. Now these babies rock! These shot 3403 (average) and grouped .241" I decided to call it a day and just pull the rest of the bullets. My load development is near complete.
I am going to test a couple other powders looking for slightly better extreeme velocity spreads and base my desicion then. I also have access to a thermal imaging camera at work and will be looking at the barrel to see how well the carbon does or does not dissipate heat.
Oh yeah, she is just over 12# now!
Some groups. All are 3 shot @ 100 yards. Longer range targets to follow.