The Ruger Precision Rifle’s muzzle brake was removed and an Advanced Armament SR5 silencer was installed. A 14x C4 Burris scope was installed with an American Defense’s AD-RECON-S scope mount. Under sustained shooting during handload development, the silencer radiated view distorting heat waves and was removed. The mature cam-over mount would not sit still, so it was replaced with a set of Warne steel rings.
Handloads are always good…er than factory ammo
Yeah, not really. Factory ammo is quite precisely manufactured and configured based upon technical specifications and ballistic lab research, development and testing. Handloading has so many variables, including the skill level of the assembler, so outcome is never a given. In fact, assembling what is defined in a mainstream reloading manual may result in significantly lower performance than factory standard, accuracy and or velocity.
The handloads presented here took several cycles of adjustments and refinements to get to the concluding data. The first attempt was based on component manufacturers’ data and our shop developed database of handloads. Velocity and accuracy results ran from terrific to terrible, but there was confirmation that dies worked correctly, consistent assembly dimensions could be achieved and powder charges actually fit inside cases without the use of a ramrod. This got us about half way to goal.
The second iteration incorporated adjustments to powder charges in response to pressure symptoms, low or high, exceptional velocity low or high and less than exciting accuracy demonstrated by some bullet weights. The very same powder that was adjusted or replaced had been used successfully in conjunction with the same cartridge, but with a different firearm.
The third iteration incorporated changes to powder types that were deemed necessary based on the first two attempts and changes. In short, I was getting nowhere shifting charges and seating depth and decided a fresh start was necessary.
The fourth iteration focused on finessing charges with no further changes to seating depth or powder types.
Bullet points or pointed bullets?
Bullets were selected for weight and type, not for specific application. However, the Sierra a thin jacketed bullet intended for varmint work. The CT Ballistic Silver tip is a little more durable, but still for varmint. The Barnes TAC-X BT is listed for coyote, antelope and deer. The next two Hornady Match bullets are primarily for punching holes in paper.
And then we put them to work…
Bullets were checked to the Ruger Precision Rifle with a COL gauge to assess maximum potential cartridge length, then COL was reduced to something within SAAMI spec range which, in this case, was not disturbingly different. Seating out to touch or near rifling leade is not useful. Yes, I did say that. Throats are cut just about bullet diameter so seating to more typical length will not result in bullet U-Turns or side drifting. The only reason for seating out bullets close to rifling might be to pick up some case capacity or to put a Band-Aid on an eroded throat.
|CT Ballistic Silvertip||BTPT||50||0.790||0.238||2.297||2.260|
|Hornady BTHP Match*||BTHP||75||0.986||0.395||2.258||2.250|
*G1 measured at 200 yards.
Why is our data all Rainbows and Unicorns?
No sooner do we post handload data than the questions from social media and web site email come streaming in: “How is it that all of your results are always good?”, “Why are none of your handloads bad” and “How many plz for this gan and where can I get?”. The answer is, we do not generally post data with bad results because… the results were bad. So we put our best foot forward, put on a sunny face and lose the crap that drove me crazy for a week until I gave up. This time we left in some of the bad to demonstrate the significance of good Vs bad, with the final additions in darker shade. Please keep in mind the bad numbers are not rifle issues, they reflect the handload refinement process.
| Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet material and length will alter net case capacity, pressure and velocity results. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These data represents maximum loads in our firearms and test equipment and may easily be excessive in other applications. All loads should be reduced by 3%, and developed following safe handloading practices as represented in established reloading manuals produced by component manufacturers. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.
Not necessarily our best table work, but certainly the most colorful… click, click
Some powder types just didn’t work in this combination, even though they are in common use in other circumstances. Some of the changes were dramatic because… I have no idea and I don’t like to evoke social media theories. For me the result was more important than the underlying dynamic. I think I owned and drove an Underlying Dynamic in 1962.
The Ruger Precision Rifle brings something of great value to the consumer. Mostly a propensity for accuracy and lots more potential. The twenty inch barrel is appropriate for the 223 Remington and the Ruger chamber design handles both the 223 Remington and 5.56 NATO cartridges safely. The throat diameter is 0.224″ for a close bullet fit for accuracy, while a longer that 223 Remington throat handles 5.56 NATO ammo without spiking pressure.
The Precision Rifle’s weight at 9.8 pounds is steadying and recoil absorbing, it is not hernia inducing. The stock is adjustable fit to suit virtually every shooting situation, the stock folds over to reduce the size of the package in transport. The 20° Picatinny ramp permits a myriad of sight mounting systems and offers an offset for long range shooting that keeps scopes closer to optical center.
The AR15 type floating forearm is comfortable and stable and does not assert odd pressure on the barrel. The trigger is adjustable, light to moderate. I found the extreme adjustment to be too light, so I crank it up to four pounds for more consistent let off.
The Ruger is made in the U.S. from quality materials and with excellent workmanship. It looks good… a precise piece of machinery with a well defined purpose. The Precision Rifle challenges a handloader to produce ammo that will take advantage of the firearm’s potential. Nice hardware.