Threading a Needle - chronographing at 500 yards

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Ian M, Sep 30, 2002.

  1. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday we did an interesting test. We found a cheap clay material that sets up like plastercine and made up about 75 pounds. We put the clay into grocery bags, ended up being 11 inches square and three to four inches thick (made a plywood jig to prepare them in). Then we built a stand to hold the bags upright and butted seven bags in a line, then put some big jugs of water behind them.
    Next we set up one of my chronographs directly in front of the clay targets, then arranged a large steel plate in front of the Oehler screens to protect them. The plate was 2'x4' and we hung it from an old swing-set. Took about an hour to set this up.
    We started off shooting from 500 yards with a very accurate Rem.700, 26" Mike Rock barrel and a Nikon 4x-16x tactical in Badgers and Nears. Wind was varying 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 minutes left to right. We managed to put five bullets through the Oehler screens and caught seven in the clay.
    Bullets were the new Barnes 168 XLC and penetration was 30", impact velocity was 1763 fps and expansion was perfectly uniform with no weight loss - six bullets weighed 168.0 and one came in at 167.9. These bullets shoot extremely well, virtually no difference from the match bullets.
    Repeated at 400 yds with 28" penetration and 1919 fps with the same retention.
    Beautiful "mushrooms", just like in the ads. I haven't measured them yet but you can see that the 400 yd. bullets are slightly bigger in cross-ssection than the 500 yard mushrooms.
    Bullet smack on impact was identical to hitting a game animal. This is good stuff to test bullets with. We need to find a metal detector, would speed up locating bullets a bit but we did not really have much problem as the bags were only 4" thick.
    Thought you guys might find this an interesting little test, we plan on doing a bunch more. My partner shot very well, his rifle liked the XLC's and we got nice info.
     

  2. Mysticplayer

    Mysticplayer Writers Guild

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    Ian,

    Great test. Are you planning to repeat with other types of bullets like the Partition or Hornady SST, etc? Would be interesting to see how conventional bullets compare to the premium ones at these lower vel.

    Nice to see that Barnes has taken their accuracy issues seriously. A great bullet that hopefully shoots well now too.

    Keep us up to date...

    Jerry
     

  3. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Jerry,
    I wish that I had stumbled onto the clay media last summer, we only have so much time left before it will be too cold to do this shooting.
    No reason not to try as many bullets as possible, next on our agenda is to shoot the Barnes at 1,2 and 300. If all goes well I also hope to shoot and chronograph at 6 and 700, that will be about as far as we might get the bullets throught the screens. They are dropping at quite an angle.
    This is burns a bit of time as you have to get the bullet shooting really well to ensure hitting through the screens.
     
  4. littletoes

    littletoes Well-Known Member

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    Like to see the same thing done with MK's. would be interesting to hear the results.
     
  5. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Great suggestion, would be neat to compare the wound channels with the Barnes for instance. We shot some 120 Sierras from a .25-06 into the clay and they blew a hole you could put your fist through - through the first two layers of clay, but they slipped their jackets and we found jackets and cores in a couple more layers deeper. This was at 500.
    A guy could do this for a lot of bullets if I had enough help and the weather co-operated. Wind can make for interesting shooting, we do the shooter/spotter thing so that the spotter is watching mirage, wind and trace as close as possible.
    Hitting the clay wouldn't be too bad but slipping through the Oehler screens is a good challenge. I have shot my screens and the camera tripods that I use to hold the screens so often that I have a good supply of spare parts. One bad shot can be 150 bucks down the drain pretty quick.
     
  6. kraky

    kraky Well-Known Member

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    EXXXXCCCCEEELEENNT TEST!!

    2 QUESTIONS--What caliber?

    Did the ballistic coefficient come out accurate--ie did you compare muzzle velocity to impact velocity on a ballistic program to see if they are over/underrated??

    oops--question 3--some of the holes on xlcs seem pretty plugged with blue goop--did you clean any tips before shooting.

    Thanks a million for the testing AND reporting. I have some of these on order right now.
     
  7. kraky

    kraky Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing you were shooting a 308 win?
    Don't know muzzle velocity but if it was about 2725 that would make the real coefficient about .420 which would be what they claim for their 150 xbt. (at least on my ballistic program)
     
  8. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Kraky,
    The rifle is a buddy's .308 Win. a very nice shooting Mike Rock (26") barreled Rem.700 with one of the new Nikon 4-16 tactical prototypes on in Badgers and Nears. That rifle really likes the XLC's.
    Tomorrow we are shooting clay again, hope to shoot the Barnes XLC's into the clay at 1, 2 & 300 and then we will shoot Matchkings, J4's and Speer match 168's to see how they perform at distance. We are mixing up a bunch of clay, hope to do lots of tests. Might accumulate a bunch of clay into a large block to get a wound channel if possible. Will have three guys, should be a good day.

    I never noticed any of the blue coating filling up any tips, but that might be happening. Our bullet recoveries have been very uniform, the blue stuff is still on the boat-tail and under the curled over petals, none where the bullet made contact with the barrel. Partner says his rifle cleans up very nicely. He killed a nice buck last week up in northern Sask. with it and the bullet opened up to about 1.5"-2" exit.

    I don't use a ballistic program - use a Mac and understand that most are for PC.
     
  9. DRAKECALLER

    DRAKECALLER Member

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    Nice to know that the newer Barnes expand well under lower velocities. I had some X bullets that failed to expand. I would like to know the results with a Failsafe.
     
  10. Tim Behle

    Tim Behle Well-Known Member

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    Ian,

    Care to share your recipe for the "Cheap clay material"?

    I've a couple of bullets I'd like to test myself.

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  11. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Sure, I have been testing commercial Bentonite. This is a commercially mined clay that is used for a wide range of purposes, including "driller's mud (oil industry), mud-jacking, animal feed filler, lining dug-outs, and lots of other uses. I can buy it in 55 pound bags, it has been dehydrated and powderized so that it is the consistency of flour. Bag costs about 8 bucks. We simply pour about fill a 5 gallon pail about 1/3-1/2 with water and slowly add the clay powder. My buddy has a big egg-beater like attachment for an electric drill that dry-wall installers use, and this does a great job of turning the mixture into a thick mud. You could do this by hand by kneeding water and powder together but it would be much slower. They told me to be sure that we did not pour water into the clay, will make big balls that would have to be broken down.
    We shot all afternoon testing bullets. The clay will get as thick as plastercine, we make up 11"x11"x4" blocks in plastic bags and line them up in a wooden trough-like affair. The bullets are quite easy to recover, usually stuck against the plastic on the off side of one of the layers. Created some incredible channels today since we were shooting closer and also tested some match bullets.
    I have now shot the Barnes XLC 168 grain bullets into the clay at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 500 yards and have impact velocities. Have created a very neat bullet collection.
    Have also got a group of small plastic bags with Hornady, Speer, Sierra and Nosler J-4 fragments. The Sierra 168 and 175 performed the best of that bunch but they did fragment after about 8 inches of penetration in the clay. The others were like bombs.
    My buddy fired a shot through the chronographs at 15 feet with the Barnes bullet, had clay flying about 30 feet in the air and onto trucks parked about 40 feet back. Recovered a perfect mushroom. It was a great way to end the day, except we had some cleaning to do...
     
  12. *WyoWhisper*

    *WyoWhisper* Guest

    What I am wondering is how accurate were your ballistic programs as far as the velocity at 500.
     
  13. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

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    Wyo,
    I do not have access to any ballistic programs to compare my chronographed velocities to. My latest Barnes manual says that the B.C. of this bullet is .476.
    I must admit that I am not much good at playing with computer numbers or theories. That is why I go to the bother of shooting throught the Oehlers downrange, I get real numbers, plus it is a neat challenge.
    If you would like to check my numbers with a program here are some downrange velocities.
    168 Barnes XLC, 26" Barrel
    Distance Velocity
    Muzzle 2608 fps
    100 2428 fps
    200 2209 fps
    300 2050 fps
    400 1919 fps
    500 1763 fps
    My buddy thought that he was getting more muzzle velocity but we shot at 5 yards (15') yesterday and got 2608 from 45.5 gr. Varget in his rifle. This load shoots very near .5 MOA out to 700 yards if we do our job.
     
  14. kraky

    kraky Well-Known Member

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    WOW--barnes pegged the coefficient perfect by my ballistics program--only 10 fps different than what you got!!!