It’s been fun getting to know the Ruger Precision Rifle platform. It’s a precision shooting instrument, but you can only get maximum precision if you reload for your rifle. There are so many variables specific to each instance of each specific rifle that can affect the precision of the ammunition you shoot. Some of these factors include the brass, the bullet, bullet seating depth, the primer, the powder, the powder charge, and many other factors. By reloading ammunition, you can tailor each of these factors if needed (yes, it can take a lot of work and time) in order to find the “magic load” that shoots best for your specific application. The name of the game is to find both the optimal cartridge specifications (based on the factors I just listed), and to then make sure that each cartridge is as consistent as possible as they come off the press.
Now it’s time to take you all on the reloading journey that I’ve already started for the Ruger Precision Rifle. We’ll start with “factory style loads” for 6.5 Creedmoor (new brass, without sizing or fire forming) and then move on to more exacting methods in order to extract maximum precision out of these rifles. In this post, we’ll walk through the steps that are required in order to prepare for our first loading session. These steps include:
- Measuring the to-lands distance for our rifle (will affect bullet seating depth)
- Fine-tuning the brass
- Setting up and roughing-in the adjustment for our dies
- Taking inventory of the components we’ll start with for our initial loads
Here’s a video I put together walking through each of these steps. This video picks up where we left of at the end of the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Unboxing and Setup post.
One of the most important steps when preparing to load precision ammunition is the to-lands distance measurement which is performed with a tool like the Hornady OAL gage set.
You’ll need to perform this measurement for each bullet type that you use (bullet style, weight, etc). Since each bullet type can have a different profile, the “ogive to lands” distance is different between different bullet types. Ideally, you’ll start close to the lands when seating bullets. After zeroing your micrometer as shown above, you’ll seat bullets, and start perhaps .020″ off the lands. That would correspond to a reading of -0.020 on the digital caliper. For the magazine/rifle/bullet combination shown in this video, I’m at .090″ off the lands. While that’s more than I prefer to load to, it may not affect accuracy. If I really want to know how that variable will affect accuracy, I can load some longer and single-feed them (without the magazine).
While I’m expecting a lot of trial and error to achieve the best possible results, I’m going to start off with the components that I think will work best (thanks in part to consultation with my friend Jim, and the 6.5 Guys).
Here’s what we’ll start with:
- New Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass with custom prep (chamfered primer pockets and case mouths)
- Hornady ELD-X 143 grain 6.5mm bullets
- Hodgdon H4350 powder
- CCI BR2 large rifle bench rest primers
I have 6.5mm bullets in various weights including 120 grain, 123 grain, 140 grain, and 143 grain. So it will be real interesting to experiment with different bullets and other components.
Do you have a Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor? If so, what loads have worked best for you? Please leave a comment!