My First Precision Rifle Match: Part 1
I have been into long range shooting for a long time. But I didn't start seriously shooting until about 9yrs ago. I bought a Remington 700 PSS(great rifle!), got it tuned up by Snowy Mountain Rifles in Missoula, MT. Then I dove into the black hole of reloading, where details matter and there seems to be a million different opinions on every step of the process.. none the less, I was hooked. Since then I have built a few more rifles, learned a TON and practiced often. So when an opportunity to shoot in a large PRS-style match came up, I jumped at the chance. But with only 6 weeks to prepare, there were a few things I was going to need to get ready and quickly.
Picking The Rifle & Caliber
This was the first and toughest decision to make. The rifles I currently had were all double duty Hunting/LR guns, not built for PRS shooting. They were not ideal for my needs, so the search began. I came up with a few features that were a must. The rife had to be reasonably lightweight, have a heavy barrel, take a box magazine of 10rnds or more and of course shoot an inch or less at 100yrds. My initial list was topped by the Ruger Precision rifle, Tikka CTR, Remington AAC-SD and a few other similar rifles. All seemed like great options with a reputation for accuracy and reliability but I wanted something a bit different, so I looked a bit more. One day while surfing the internet I came across a review of the Savage Ashbury Precision Rifle. It looked like a great rifle with some serious potential. It checked off all of my boxes and was built on the Ashbury chassis system which is a huge plus. So I searched for a good deal and got one ordered up.
As for caliber, I wanted something that had a good selection of match grade ammo readily available and wasn't going to break the bank to shoot. In my mind, this left 2 options: .308Win and the 6.5 Creedmor. Now I had a lot of experience with the 308. Having owned and reloaded for it continuously for the past 9+ years. I knew its capabilities and limitations well. I wanted something new, so I went with the 6.5. Then I spent a few days, looking for what other people with the same rifle liked to shoot. From my research, it looked like the Savage liked the high BC 140gr bullets and shot them all pretty well. So I went to my local gun shop, looked at the options and landed on the Hornady American Rifleman 140gr ammo. Mainly because the price was right, it came in 50rnd boxes and used a high BC BTHP projectile.
Having looked through quite a few different scopes over the years, I knew exactly what I wanted in a scope for PRS shooting. I wanted a first focal plane scope, with 1/10th Mil adjustments, a good Mil reticle, exposed turrets and a large magnification range. Ideally, the maximum magnification would be 20x or higher. My current go-to scope has been the Bushnell XRS 5-30x50 and it has been a fantastic scope. I have also been shooting with a Nightforce ATACR and Vortex Razor HD2 4.5-27, both of which are also excellent scopes. But again I wanted something different. So I looked to Sig Sauer and their Tango 6 line of scopes, which have been becoming increasingly popular on the PRS circuit and for good reason. The glass quality on these scopes is spectacular. Sharp, clear and great contrast. Easily as good as anything else out there. The build quality is on par with competitors. Adjustments are tactile and repeatable. Then there are the exclusive features like the Level-Plex™ rifle cant indicatore and SIG bdc turret system. After deliberation, I landed on the Tango 6 5-30x56. It was a bit heavier that I wanted, but it is a solid scope and easily up for the task. I also ordered an Aero Precision ultralight 34mm mount to set it in.
How's It Shoot?
After mounting the scope and bore sighting a rough zero on the scope. I was planning on taking it out to my favorite shooting spot, but thanks to the unpredictable Montana weather, a recent snow storm left my field muddy and impassible. So I headed to the new local indoor shooting range. Zero In shooting range is a world class facility. Complete with 100yrd range, pistol bays and automated target systems.
To start off, I set a target at 50yrds to confirm zero. I fired 2 shots and was an inch left and low. So I made the needed adjustments and moved out to 100yrds. After 3 more rounds to get the zero dialed in and a few passes with my bore snake and cleaner I fired a 5 shot group and was not disappointed with the results.
In the next chapter I am going to chronograph the ammo, work up some ballistics charts, validate ballistic data and get some trigger time in before the match. Stay tuned