6.5 PRC Light-Weight Build Part 2: Break-In and First Groups

When I set out to build my “Ultimate Long-Range Hunting Rifle” I had high hopes. The rifle would need to be relatively light in weight, have great ergonomics, great ballistics, and great accuracy. The build was fun because it incorporated some new materials and techniques, such as a titanium action and a semi-finished carbon wrap barrel. I planned and executed the build with much care and attention (see my post covering the barrel work and stock fitting for more detail). Then came the moment to put everything together and fire the first shots! How would it shoot? I wondered. How would the recoil feel with a suppressor? I couldn’t wait to find out.

This time I took a different approach for first groups: I used both a suppressor *and* factory ammunition! Watch the video to see how things turned out…

First Groups

After performing a bore-sight from the prone position (not very easy in the snow!) I took my first shot with this rifle- the one I had just finished building. The good: I didn’t blow myself up (always a good thing). The bad: I wasn’t on the paper. I blame this on the high comb on the stock- I literally couldn’t get a clear bore sight view, it was a tad skewed. Based on the disruption in the snow above the target, I held “bottom edge” on the wood target board, and that got me “on paper”. From there I was able to crank my scope turrets to get within an inch of the target spot I was aiming at.

My procedure for break in was:

  • 1 shot: clean
  • 1 shot: clean
  • 3 shots: clean
  • 5 shots: clean (two extra shots to diagnose horizontal dispersion)
  • 3 shots: clean
  • 3 shots: clean
  • 5 shots: clean
  • 5 shots: clean

When shooting the 2nd and 3rd groups I noticed something peculiar: a distinct horizontal shot dispersion pattern as seen here:

When opening up the barrel channel in the stock, I had noticed a “tight side” (small gap) on one side near the muzzle end that I was “going to take care of later”. Now I saw evidence that this insufficient gap could be causing issues… So I decided to fix it on the spot. I carefully penciled in the appropriate opening on the top surface of the stock and used a small drum sander to open it up accordingly:

After re-installing the barreled action, I was back up to the range, and carefully shot the following 3-shot group (still in the break-in routine):

Success! No horizontal dispersion: a nice tight and round group, just what I was hoping for. Another barrel cleaning, and on to more shooting!

It’s a Hunting Rifle, Let’s Shoot Hunting Ammo

I’ve had great luck with Hornady’s 143 grain 6.5mm ELD-X bullet, and so have a lot of my readers/viewers. So I was excited to try Hornady’s 6.5 PRC 143 grain ELD-X Precision Hunter ammunition. Let’s just say: this ammunition performed awesome! Here’s the first group I shot with this ammunition:

Wow! A 0.488″ (0.466 MOA) group with factory hunting ammunition- with the first group I shot! I’m VERY happy with that! If factory hunting ammunition shoots this well, I’m confident that my handloads with match bullets will do even better. This is the kind of result I was hoping for!

I also shot Hornady 147 grain ELD-M factory 6.5 PRC Match ammunition: (all break-in shots except the above hunting ammo group)

This ammunition shot about the same as the Precision Hunter 143 grain ammunition did with zero POI shift between the two. Amazing. A GREAT first day at the range with this rifle, and mission accomplished! The rifle shoots great suppressed, and the recoil is very manageable. I love it!

What’s Next

I’m just getting started with this rifle! I have a lot left to cover, and approximately the following order:

  1. Overview of epoxy bedding process
  2. Unboxing/overview/install for Leupold Mark V 7-35×56 scope
  3. Load development
  4. Long-range shooting

So I’ll be busy for a while!

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4 thoughts on “6.5 PRC Light-Weight Build Part 2: Break-In and First Groups”

  1. The 0.213 was awesome. It doesn’t need to get better than that. Although I suppose you’re about to try being you mentioned load development. Besides after watching many of your videos I’d wager you are somewhat of a perfectionist.

  2. Beautiful rifle that shoots even better than it looks. I’m just starting a 6.5 PRC build myself using a Bighorn Origin action, Brux #4 1-8 twist barrel.
    I was planning on using a McMillan game scout stock (4-5 month wait) but after seeing the Benchmark carbon fiber stock I thought this might be worth a look.
    However I can’t seem to find any info on this stock. Nothing about stocks at Benchmark’s website.
    My I ask where you purchased it and is it currently available?

  3. Great build! I have a Gunwerks Clymr carbon fiber build underway exactly like it. What is the barrel length? And what is the 147 and 143 velocity respectively?

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