New long range rifle completed


Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2005
Tucson Az
It has been close to nine months ago I was asking questions on twist rate for stabilizing a 180 Berger VLD in a 7mm tube. I ended up getting a 30" 1 in 7, #7 profile, 3 groove SS Lilja. I was warned that this combo of 3 groove and the fast twist could end up ruining bullets at approx 200 rnds. I am happy to say perhaps the choice of chambering kept any problems from happening. Now have 230 rnds through barrel and no sign of bullet damage.

Details: You know the barrel...chambered in 7 Rem Mag with reamer made by Dave Kiff to my specs. It is a no turn neck with the throat moved out a bit to capitalize on the long magazine and bolt throw of a 375 H and H Mark X action. It has a brown/black Joel Russo stock. Lawson co in Tucson did all the gunsmithing. Trigger set at 1 lb. Scope is a 8.5-25 x 50 LR with target turrets and varmint reticle. (it was on sale as a closeout, the last of the VX IIIs) I was very lucky to find that SOMEONE had a picatinny rail for this mauser clone. Near Mfg supplied me with the 20 MOA rail. I chose the Burris extreme rings. Weight is 13 lb 13 oz empty with no sling or bi-pod.

Load data. Used RL-25, win brass, fed 215 match primers and the 180 Berger hunting VLD seating depth was .035" into rifling.

. Also tried some heavy jacketed target VLDs which shot the same with approx 35 fps more velocity. Load was worked up to 69 grains when I had the rifle in a funky mauser stock waiting for the Russo stock. It shot ragged holes at 100 yds with a velocity of 3100 fps. When the Russo stock was bedded to the action more barrel shank was included in the bedding and the 69 gr load didn't shoot as well.

Reworked the load backing down to 68 grs. Then tried seating the bullet a bit further away from the rifling in .005" increments. Best grouping was with the VLD .025" into rifling. Velocity is now 3055 fps at 55 degrees. It climbs up to 3125 or so in 85 degree temps but still shoots great.

This load is very consistent and has shot the same POI for 10 sessions. Moved out to 200 yds and it shoots groups very similar in size to the ones at 100 yds. It is joy to shoot and will be my go to rifle for the coues wt hunt this friday Nov 6.

I devoted my last four sessions to familarizing its characteristics with a harris bipod and a small rear sandbag. It is shooting 1/4 MOA at 200 yds if I do my part.

I'll report back on how it works in the field.



We had problems with the 3 groove barrels and that twist at around 300 rounds but we were also chambering them in the 7mm Allen Magnum which adds around 500 fps to the Rem Mag.

I think you will have much better results with the Rem Mag because of its lower velocity ceiling. I still suspect you will run into issues sometime down the road with that fast twist but if you do, just jump over to the 175 gr SMK and they will hold together for you. Their BC seems to be right around .670 as well which is better then they are advertised to be.

If you need a second option, that would be a good one.

Keep us posted.
Thanks for the complements everyone. The heavy jacketed VLDs also shoot in this rig and if the rifling starts to "chew" up the thin jacketed ones I'll just switch.

It was finished with oil so if I decided to modify the stock or do stratch it no big deal just sand it some more.

I am afraid this rifle is going to lead to another.....
Last edited:
Very nice rig!!!
As usual the Joel Russo stock is looking really sweet. Looking forward to see how did it perform in your hunt. Good luck. Enjoyed the pictures.
The coues hunt is over for us. We had a great time. The big bucks eluded us this year but it was still great to camp and get away from our usual routines. We glassed up 20 bucks and about the same number of does. All bucks were spikes and forkhorns except one small 3 pointer.

Don used my rifle and got a spike opening day. Shot was 480 yds, the 180 VLD hit exactly where aimed. Entered behind the shoulder breaking a rib going in and out. Exit was approx 1 1/2". Deer folded in seconds.

Four days later just before a weather change my remaining friend shot another spike. He used a 257 weatherby, shooting the 115 VLD, I built a few years back. Up to this point he had never used turrets. The buck was right at 400 yds, yea I know, who would believe it but it really was exactly 400 yds. He twisted up the M1 turret on the 4.5-14 scope and hit that buck behind the shoulder and it dropped dead with no movement what so ever.

There was another spike with that deer so I said what the heck and shot at it. That is when things went wrong. The first shot was low and barely clipped the abdomen! It spilled his insides and he stood in shock. I asked my spotter what happened as I acquired the buck again. He said hte shot was low. I shot again with same turret setting and it was way over his back. HUH? I shot again and it was TEN FEET to the right. I then grabbed the 257 and finished the deer.

After some thought I realized the thin jacketed hunting VLD decided that THIS was the time to be torn up by the 1 in 7 twist 3 groove barrel. The shot count in the barrel is around 230 rounds. I haven't gone to the range to verify but I am certain that is what happened. The rifle was carried with care and never even bumped. If it was bumped it would have shot a few shots near each other.

SO..... those of you that warned me about that combination of a 1 in 7 AND a 3 groove were right.

I do have a load with the heavy 180 target VLDs and will shoot them against the hunting bullets tomorrow and will know very quickly the cause of those misses.
Verified that the problem was the hunting VLDs. Shot some target bullets no problem. Some of the hunting VLDs were way off the mark. One put a nice sideways profile on the paper 1 1/2 ft low and 1 ft right of POI which is 2.8". Another hit the range floor at 75 yds. End of story....
Good to know you were able to finish that deer fast, and that it didnt go away injured. Not good to know you are having problems with those bullets in your barrel. Anyway, interesting thread, thanks for posting. Congrats to all who got a buck!!!
Warning! This thread is more than 15 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.