Finally what the Raptor LRSS was designed to be.... a long adventure coming..

Fiftydriver

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Well, this has been a many year adventure but finally the APS Raptor has reached its design pinnacle. Many years ago, when i designed my Raptor receiver, i did so with the dream of bringing a new line of wildcats to the market that would fit in this class of rifle (rem 700 footprint size) and provide a level of performance in this class not yet seen.

The Raptor LRSS came easy and has been a huge success. The design goal of the Raptor LRSS was always to have a rifle that could compete head to head with a 25-30 lb. class rifle but do so with half that rifle weight. While not light or compact, they do this extremely well and have been a huge success from day one.

While the Raptor LRSS has been a huge success chambered in conventional chamberings as well as my wildcats including the 7mm Allen Magnum, 300 Allen Xpress, 338 Allen Xpress and 375 Allen Xpress, the ultimate design goal of the Raptor LRSS rifle was to take performance to another level.

many years back i worked with bertram brass to start to accomplish this dream. That partnership started out well, actually got brass in hand for my new 300 Raptor and 338 Raptor wildcats. Performance was on the lower side of my projections but acceptable so rolled on it.

basically, for those that do not know, the 338 Raptor and 300 Raptor cases are the parent case for rounds like the 33 xc and all others of similar design. The Raptor IS the original. The case design uses a case head the same size as the 338 Lapua mag case, however, the case length is stretched to 3.055” in length, basically the same as the 408 cheytac.

case capacity splits the difference in capacity between my 338 Allen Xpress and my 338 Allen Magnum and performance landed right in the middle also.

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pictured above from left to right: 300 norma mag, 338 lapua mag, 300 Allen Xpress, original 300 Raptor case, production bertram 300 Raptor loaded with 230 gr. Berger.

Unfortunately, the partnership with bertram took a turn for the worse and the project was stopped, at least that was my impression. However, some time later it was revealed that bertram had continued making the 338 Raptor brass without my knowledge at all, in fact he told me i had all the Raptor brass that would ever be made. There were several claiming they had taken my Raptor case design and CORRECTED it because my original design did not have proper case body taper.

however, those copycats did not realize that the brass out of the box from bertram was not my Raptor design, not until the brass was cold formed by running it through my FL Raptor sizing dies to give the case the proper body taper was it my Raptor design. So in the end, most were nearly identical knockoffs just renamed.

this was also about the time a fellow in Texas ordered in some of the Raptor cases from bertram and set the shoulder back to lengthen the neck and called it the 33 xc.

Seeing this made it clear, bertram was selling my design and i was able to get some of that production brass in shop so did build a few 300 and 338 Raptor rifles. However, this production bertram brass was rather soft, like most bertram brass but even softer then the original batch of raptor test brass.

i found this out just recently with a customers project. He wanted to build the ultimate 30 cal rifle so we drew up plans to build him a Raptor LRSS in 300 Raptor. Knowing the limitations of the bertram brass and knowing he was wanting 3300 fps with the new 245 gr berger elite hunter, i recommended we go with some extra barrel length and settled on 35” finish length on the custom LRSS contoured Bartlein barrel.

So i built the rifle and started testing and doing load development. Because we had wanted the most performance possible, i throated the barrel to allow the big 245 gr. to be seated just to the base of the neck which resulted in an extremely long over all length. Obviously this is single shot only option in the Raptor.

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because of the length of the barrel we also went with the A5 supermag stock over the standard A5 because its much longer forend would be a better match with the 35” pipe.

started with RL50 but pressured out quickly, or should i say, the cases limited us quickly with bright ejector rings on case heads and sticky extraction. Well below out velocity goals. Then switched to US869 and while it got a bit better velocity, still well below our goals as it was just pushing 3200 fps and with excessive pressures.

started to realize i had a serious problem as load densities were very low and cutting the throat as long as i did exaggerated that problem. Needed an extremely slow, bulky powder to take up some case volume. Grabbed the keg of VV20n29 thats been sitting on the shelf for decades and gave it a go. This helped with load density for sure but the cases still were the limiting factor. I require my recommended loads to provide at least 8 firings per case. To get this we were limited to around 3245 fps... not terrible but the original Raptor test brass was able to drive the 230 gr bergers to +3300 fps in 30” barreled Raptor LRSS rifles..... not overly impressed. sent a report to the customer and he was also not overly impressed....

so that night i am laying awake in bed trying to figure a way to get more speed out of this rifle as i know there is much more potential to be had. Then it dawned on me. The next morning i started doing some research to see what these other versions based on my Raptor case design were getting for performance and found some interesting information. Made some calls, sent some texts, spent some time researching and by the day, had sourced some peterson brand brass that should work to use in my Raptor rifles. Had it second day air shipped to me.

i have been using peterson brass exclusively for all my wildcats based on the 300 norma mag (Stalker line), 338 lapua mag (Allen Xpress and Allen Mag lines) and 408 cheytac (Allen Mag line) for a while now. Its amazing brass and best yet, USA made. So i had high renewed hopes for my Raptor rounds.

brass arrived and it looked great, however, after forming up a few cases, ran into an issue, the neck wall thickness on the peterson brass was roughly 1 thou thicker then the bertram brass which my chambering reamers were design off from.... sadly enough, in all my years designing wildcats, i never had a need to turn the necks on a 30 caliber case so did not have a mandrel 😡... quickly ordered one in overnight shipped but that would take two days because of the time of ordering.

one thing that was quickly realized was that these new bertram cases were longer then my Raptor original design and the case mouths were much more consistent after forming then the old bertram brass, as such, i was able to leave the necks a bit longer and also increase the case body length slightly. The formed Raptor brass using the peterson cases had nearly identical internal capacity as the old bertram cases, however the peterson brass is a full 10 grains heavier in case weight.

i also recommended to the customer that it may be wise to do a little surgery on the rifle while waiting as well. The throat was cut very long and i recommended taking an inch off the shank end of the barrel, recut the chamber and then set the throat length a bit shorter to help with load density as we were running on the ragged edge with this combo. He agree and i performed the amputation and recut the chamber and throat. Now we were running a 34” pipe but i felt much better about the set up.

the neck turning mandrel arrives and it was game on.

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left to right: 338 Allen Magnum, 300 Raptor and 300 RUM for size comparision.

i started load development testing at the same place i did with the bertram brass. From the start the peterson brass was producing nearly 100 fps more. The starting test load with each was 120.0 gr vv20n29. However the current version was seated roughly 200 thou shorter which i am sure made up the reason for the added velocity.

still, while the old brass had sticky extraction and an ejector ring even at this level, the perterson brass bolt lift was effortless, brass fell out of chamber and zero ejector ring of any kind. Could not wipe the smile off my face.

i then proceeded to work up loads to find the limits of my 300 Raptor. Here are those results:
using vv20n29, fed-215 primer, 4.300” oal.

125.0 gr.............3287 fps
126.0 gr.............3314 fps
127.0 gr.............3380 fps
128.0 gr.............3366 fps
129.0 gr.............3373 fps.

it was clear that a 30 cal bore with 34” length can only burn 127.0 grains of vv20n29 and thats it. Still i was extremely happy. Load density at this level was 99-100%, perfect. Even better, extremely comfortable pressures, just a faint hint of a shadow line of an ejector ring on the case head, no shine at all. So went with the 127.0 gr, 3380 fps load.

compared to the bertram brass which topped out at 3244 fps and excessive pressure signs, went to 3380 fps and zero pressure signs. Now this was what i had in mind for performance goals for my 300 Raptor.

the last test. Could the 245 gr. Berger EH bullets survive a near 3400 fps launch from an 8.5 twist barrel......

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headed up to the range and set up at 1060 yards and after a few dial in shots, she was easily, EASILY hitting 1/2 moa or smaller sized targets with ease. Customer wanted the rifle zeroed at 400 yards so ran the numbers on my ballistic program for that zero range and it predicted a dial up of 12.75 moa for the 1060 yard range. Turned the vertical turret down 12.75 moa, set the zero stop and installed the turret.

found a VERY SMALL 1/4 moa sized target rock at exactly 400 yards. First shot, literally disappeared. Rifle ready to ship.

FINALLY, after years if rollercoaster ride, the 300 Raptor is preforming as i always expected it would. Now with good brass available and easy to get and USA MADE!!! The APS Raptor family is back in business.

new reamers have already been ordered specifically for this brass so no neck turning will be required. 300 Raptor and 338 Raptor reamers being made.

also, the 375 Raptor is about to be born as well as that chambering reamer And FL sizing die reamers were also ordered at the same time.

all reamers were ordered with minimum, zero length throats so that they can be used to full effect with the Cutting Edge lazer bullets if wanted, or i can custom cut the throat length for any conventional bullet as well just like this current rifle.

in a 30” standard length 300 Raptor i am predicting it will now push 3300 fps with a 245 gr berger and should push near 3400 fps with the 230 gr berger.

testing coming soon for the 338 Raptor and then the 375 Raptor soon after that.

FINALLY, it all has started to come together. Been a very long road but we are there!!
 

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Deviant

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That is awesome and I love reading your post's. Just curious what kind of round count before you need to rebarrel?
 

gnbruce

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Dec 24, 2017
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we found the ceb 240 lazer need a min twist of 6 to 1 to stabilize out of our 30xc @ 3300 with 20n29 they key holed with a 7 twist , the 220 lazers work at 7 twist , the 245 eol will hold together in a 7 twist but will come apart in the 6 twist at 3250
 

Fiftydriver

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That is awesome and I love reading your post's. Just curious what kind of round count before you need to rebarrel?

not sure,never had one burn out yet. Comparing expansion ratios with some of my other wildcats, i would predict 900-1100 rounds at least. All depends on how its cared for and used. Used and cared for as i recommend, may go well over this.
 

Fiftydriver

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Messages
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Fort Shaw, Montana
Near 3400 fps with a 245 gr berger! Good grief! That's awesome and glad it all came together for you.

Where is that guy with his air gauge to see how bad the fluting on the barrel is going to degrade accuracy! :rolleyes:

i use only bartlein barrels and Frank at bartlein is very anal about limiting flute width and depth. I have asked many times to get wider and deeper flutes and he tells me know all the time and even explains why he will not. He knows more about barrels then i ever will and thats why i put my full faith and business reputation on him and their products, have never let me down yet!!

he also tells me absolute accuracy rifles should not be fluted, that said, these are big game rifles, while accuracy is extremely important, 1/2 moa level of accuracy are the goal in a rifle thats usable in the field. Most of the comp rifles i have built are non fluted.
 

Fiftydriver

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Jun 12, 2004
Messages
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we found the ceb 240 lazer need a min twist of 6 to 1 to stabilize out of our 30xc @ 3300 with 20n29 they key holed with a 7 twist , the 220 lazers work at 7 twist , the 245 eol will hold together in a 7 twist but will come apart in the 6 twist at 3250

what throat length are you using. Using the CE heavy bullets in extremely fast twist barrels can cause some other issues unless your running a true min length bore rider type throat. Those bullets should not require that extreme of a twist rate, i suspect there is another issue going on which we can talk about if you want on my findings using heavy CE bullets in fast twist barrels. What i am saying is i would bet your keyholing is not due to bullet instability. At least not in the conventional sense.
 

Korhil78

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Jun 22, 2011
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New Mexico
i use only bartlein barrels and Frank at bartlein is very anal about limiting flute width and depth. I have asked many times to get wider and deeper flutes and he tells me know all the time and even explains why he will not. He knows more about barrels then i ever will and thats why i put my full faith and business reputation on him and their products, have never let me down yet!!

he also tells me absolute accuracy rifles should not be fluted, that said, these are big game rifles, while accuracy is extremely important, 1/2 moa level of accuracy are the goal in a rifle thats usable in the field. Most of the comp rifles i have built are non fluted.

I agree with you completely.
 
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