25 Creedmoor: Initial Load Development

My 25 Creedmoor build was a lot of fun, and now it’s time to talk load development!

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Reviewing the Rifle Build Components

If you haven’t already read the full write-up on the rifle build, here’s the high-level view:

For this build, I used top-shelf components:

  1. Terminus Zeus 3-lug Remington 700 semi-clone short action
  2. Athlon Cronus 4.5-29x56mm BTR UHD First-Focal Plane scope
  3. Bartlein stainless barrel blank: 24″ finished length, 1:7 twist, 5R cut rifling
  4. Foundation Genesis 2 stock
  5. Foundation full-length ARCA rail
  6. AICS steel magazine (this one KRG branded)
  7. Hawkins Precision bottom metal
  8. TriggerTech Diamond trigger
  9. Area 419 Hellfire Muzzle Brake

25 Creedmoor OCW Load Development

For this load, I took data from Blackjack Bullets, and worked up a series of 3-shot OCW string based on the following components:

As seen in the picture above:

As opposed to the loading I did to break in the barrel (necking Starline 6mm Creedmoor brass up to 25 caliber), this time I started with Lapua 6.5 Creedmoor Small Rifle Primer brass, and necked it down to 25 caliber. This resulted in less neck runout, and correspondingly less bullet runout (from +/- 0.005″ down to +/- about 0.001″).

OCW Load Development

When performing “Optimal Charge Weight” load development, you increment powder charge over a specified range, and shoot groups looking for small group size. I monitored velocity (average, ES, and SD) while shooting these groups as well. I used 3-shot strings instead of 5-shot strings to get quicker results due to less loading time, and less time waiting for the barrel to cool down!

Here’s the loads I worked with, and the results I got:

The best 3-shot group from this exercise:

I was REALLY happy with these results!

I’ll note here that I was shooting with a bipod and rear bag- not off the bench rest. So some of the larger groups could be me getting used to this rifle, and this particular shooting setup.

The yellow highlighted values above show results that are “in range” for my requirements, and the one that stands out is the last one! With an SD near 10 FPS, and a group size of 0.050″, I’m going to try this load out at range on steel, and shoot some more groups (5 shots this time) and chronograph data.

What’s Next

So what will I work on next? I’m going to try Winchester StaBALL 6.5 powder, vary my seating depth, and see what I can come up with! Do you shoot 25 Creedmoor? I’d love to hear about what’s working for you! Please leave a comment.

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Thanks,
Gavin

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