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Ruger’s Precision Rifle in 338 Lapua Part II Enjoyable range time

I find myself at a crossroads in life. On one hand, I really want to build a’65 Falcon with a 460 CI Boss Block Ford and race on Street Outlaws. On the other hand, I want to make a sandwich, but the kitchen is so far from the sofa. Living in a state of cognitive dissonance is a great segue into the bliss of procrastination. Why the picture of the engine? It is so pretty it makes me weep. Just give me a moment…

Back to business

Following Part I, I did not decide to participate in 1,000 yard, or meter, shooting competition and become a world famous marksman. See “…but the kitchen so far from the sofa”. However, I did spend more time with the Ruger Precision Rifle and the 338 Lapua Magnum and found it was a great piece of hardware for handload development.

The rifle has such repeatable precision, changing handload recipes in even small increments manifests itself in measurable group size and group shapes differences, as well as in changes to chronographed velocity. In most production sporters, the results of a couple of tenths in charge weights is often lost to a subject rifle’s typical group inconsistencies. So the performance of the Ruger Precision Rifle made the handloading component of the product rewarding and, yes, enlightening.

Special Bullets For Special Cartridges/Rifles

There are bullet designs specifically intended for magnum cartridges and high muzzle velocity that will perform close in, as well as at a distance. These are bullets with ELD, VLD profiles, very high ballistic coefficients, but with an ability to survive impact as close in at 100 yards without fragmenting and still reliably expand at 800 yards.

Joe, is the previous true? Empirical data tells me that between 50 and 200 yards this is very true, at least with and Berger VLD Hunting and Hornady ELD-X component bullets. Beyond those distances, I’ve collected no first hand data on bullets recovered from game or ballistic gel. However, I do trust the good reputation of both companies and significant, supporting prior experience with their products.

In any event, my interest is in the 338 Lapua Magnum and shooting distances between 50 and 300 yards, with those above 100 yards the exception. Subsequently, the bullet selection is limited to hunting bullets I have used, over those distances, successfully with the 338 RUM and 338-378 Weatherby, both cartridges analogous to the 338 Lapua.

Bullet Type Weight
Grains
Bullet
B.C.
Bullet
Length”
COL
Speer 2405 SPFB 200 0.448 1.135 3.530
Speer 2406 SPBT 225 0.484 1.270 3.530
Sierra 2600 SPBT 250 0.565 1.435 3.650
Woodleigh 56B PPFB 250 0.431 1.288 3.530
Swift A-Frame PPFB 275 0.469 1.435 3.460
Nosler 54851 PTBT 300 0.720 1.750 3.650

The Speer bullets are for medium to large thin skinned game. The Sierra is for large game, as is the Nosler. Both the Woodleigh and Swift are partitioned core bullets with very tough jackets and do well with heavily boned, heavily muscled game. Within the group, only the Nosler is slick enough for protracted shooting distances the Ruger is capable of reaching, with the sierra coming close.

Ruger Precision Rifle/338 Lapua Handload Data

Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5% as a starting point for development where cartridges have greater than 40 grains in capacity and 10% for cartridges with less than 40 grain capacity following safe handloading practices as represented in established mainstream reloading manuals. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.

Cartridge – 338 Lapua 65kpsi
Firearm Ruger Precision Rifle
Barrel Length 26.00″
Min – Max Case Length 2.7244″ +0.000″/-0.020″
Min – Max COL 3.6811″ +0.000″/-0.120″
Primer CCI 250
Bullet Diameter 0.3390″ +0.000″/-0.0030″
Reloading Dies RCBS
Bullet Type Bullet Weight
Grains
Net H2O
Grains
Capacity
COL” Powder Type Powder Charge
Grains
Muzzle Velocity
fps
Muzzle Energy
ft/lbs
3 Shot
100 YD
Group”
Speer 2405 200 101.0 3.530 Re 33 111.0C 3205 4563 0.6
Speer 2405 200 101.0 3.530 Retumbo 103.5 3298 4832 0.7
Speer 2405 200 101.0 3.530 RS Hunter 104.0 3387 5096 0.6
Speer 2406 225 97.2 3.530 Re 25 95.5 2984 4450 0.8
Speer 2406 225 97.2 3.530 Retumbo 101.5 3221 5185 0.6
Speer 2406 225 97.2 3.530 RS Magnum 101.0 3081 4744 0.5
Sierra 2600 250 97.3 3.650 AA MagPro 96.0 3009 5027 0.5
Sierra 2600 250 97.3 3.650 Re 33 104.0C 2986 4951 0.4
Sierra 2600 250 97.3 3.650 Retumbo 98.0 3113 5381 0.7
Woodleigh 56B 250 97.1 3.530 Re 25 94.0 2891 4641 0.6
Woodleigh 56B 250 97.1 3.530 Retumbo 98.0 3035 5115 0.8
Woodleigh 56B 250 97.1 3.530 RS Magnum 96.5 2859 4539 0.7
Swift A-Frame 275 92.1 3.460 Re 33 96.0 2722 4525 0.6
Swift A-Frame 275 92.1 3.460 Retumbo 90.0 2789 4751 0.5
Swift A-Frame 275 92.1 3.460 IMR 7828SSC 81.0 2680 4387 0.8
Nosler 54851 300 89.6 3.650 Re 33 98.0 2690 4821 0.6
Nosler 54851 300 89.6 3.650 Retumbo 92.0 2792 5194 0.4
Nosler 54851 300 89.6 3.650 Norma 217 92.0 2651 4683 0.7

 

Handload Notes

Group size is not a statistical composite. Twenty rounds were fired through the Ruger and then single, 3 shot groups of each bullet type were shot. Six round, two bullet types and then moderate cool down… No mirage in front of the scope. Why no multiple group average? Every shot counts, including the first and most table showing a min-max group size out of five do not capture a rifle’s mechanical precision.

Changes in group size could be indicative of ammunition inconsistency, changes on barrel and ambient temperature and, certainly, less than perfect people who squeeze off the shots. Could the group appearing on the table tighten? Sure, especially if I became more proficient with the rifle/cartridge combination and I continued working to refine my handloads. Will any of that happen? No. I achieved my objective so, for now, I am done.

Handloads, over a greater distance

Speer 200 Grain
Near-Zero – yds. 22 Mid Range – yds. 202
Far-Zero – yds. 366 Max Ordinate – in. +6.0
Point Blank – yds. 375
Best Zero : Range 0 – 1000 yards
Yards 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
Velocity – fps 3387 3155 2937 2728 2528 2338 2156 1983 1818 1663 1520
Energy – ft.-lbs. 5094 4421 3830 3305 2838 2426 2064 1746 1468 1227 1025
Momentum – lbs-sec 97 90 84 78 72 67 62 57 52 48 43
Path – in. -1.50 3.98 5.96 3.91 -2.82 -15.00 -33.56 -59.61 -94.53 -139.99 -198.06
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.09 0.19 0.30 0.41 0.53 0.67 0.81 0.97 1.14 1.33

 

Sierra 250 Grain
Near-Zero – yds. 21 Mid Range – yds. 190
Far-Zero – yds. 349 Max Ordinate – in. +6.0
Point Blank – yds. 357
Best Zero : Range 0 – 1000 yards
Yards 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
Velocity – fps 3113 2941 2774 2613 2458 2309 2165 2027 1894 1767 1645
Energy – ft.-lbs. 5379 4799 4271 3790 3354 2959 2602 2280 1991 1732 1502
Momentum – lbs-sec 111 105 99 93 88 82 77 72 68 63 59
Path – in. -1.50 4.25 5.97 3.17 -4.72 -18.37 -38.56 -66.16 -102.24 -148.03 -204.97
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.10 0.20 0.32 0.43 0.56 0.69 0.84 0.99 1.15 1.33

 

Nosler 300 Grain
Near-Zero – yds. 19 Mid Range – yds. 174
Far-Zero – yds. 321 Max Ordinate – in. +6.0
Point Blank – yds. 329
Best Zero : Range 0 – 1000 yards
Yards 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
Velocity – fps 2792 2665 2541 2421 2305 2191 2082 1975 1872 1772 1676
Energy – ft.-lbs. 5192 4730 4301 3904 3537 3198 2886 2599 2335 2092 1871
Momentum – lbs-sec 120 114 109 104 99 94 89 85 80 76 72
Path – in. -1.50 4.61 5.81 1.63 -8.48 -25.14 -49.04 -80.97 -121.82 -172.60 -234.45
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.11 0.23 0.35 0.47 0.61 0.75 0.90 1.05 1.22 1.39

 

My 300 Yard Interests…

Sierra 250 Grain
Near-Zero – yds. 28 Mid Range – yds. 150
Far-Zero – yds. 266 Max Ordinate – in. +3.0
Point Blank – yds. 283
Best Zero : Range 0 – 300 yards
Yards 0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Velocity – fps 3113 3026 2941 2857 2774 2693 2613
Energy – ft.-lbs. 5379 5083 4799 4529 4271 4025 3790
Momentum – lbs-sec 111 108 105 102 99 96 93
Path – in. -1.50 0.97 2.48 3.00 2.45 0.76 -2.11
Drift – in. 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Time Of Flight – sec. 0.00 0.05 0.10 0.15 0.20 0.26 0.32

 

Essentially a 300 yard, point blank rifle with enough velocity and retained energy for anything encountered within 300 yards. The Ruger Precision Rifle and 338 Lapua are quite a combination for a serious competitor or a longer range hunter where the weight and size would be manageable. While I don’t have casual access to a range that supports extreme distance shooting. I believe I could get a good deal of use out of a 6mm Creedmoor or 308 Winchester version of the Precision Rifle and either would make for many good days at the range.

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