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Sorting a Savage Part 1 By Laurie Holland


started to go downhill in mid season with a bit over 2000 rounds through it, borescope examination appeared to confirm rebarrelling was needed given comprehensive firecracking and noticeable erosion ahead of the chamber. On the plus side, there was no copper visible, and both lands and grooves looked clean.


The original 100yd test card for the 90gn Berger VLD over Alliant Reloder 15 combination. Using neck-turned, ‘prepped’ cases and charges weighed on laboratory quality electronic scales squeezed the 25.2gn group and MV spread down further. (One-inch grid.)


The form of this perceived deterioration? – An increase in overall elevation dispersion plus an occasional really bad ‘flier’, usually at 5 to 6 o’clock. Reviewing my plots for the eight stages in the August and September Diggle league round matches, four each at 800 and 1000 yards, reveals a very low shot on its own in six out of the eight, split 50-50 between low ‘Fours’ and high ‘Threes’. Three of the four 1000 yard matches display poor elevations producing 1½ to 2-MOA spreads, the fourth strangely staying around ¾-MOA (acceptable for Diggle on a windy day) bar one ‘flier’, a ‘three’ at, you guessed it, 6 o’ clock. With the benefits of hindsight, this pattern looks very familiar given what was to follow in ‘The Europeans’ a couple of months later!


Before moving onto results with a new barrel, I should mention a 100 yard bench testing session using the ‘worn-out’ barrel and some of the remaining match rounds. In the light of the Diggle League round’s performance that immediately preceded the session, I expected really poor groups displaying vertical stringing and/or vertical ‘fliers’. Two loads were used, both Berger 90-grainers and Hodgdon VarGet: VLD over 24.6gn; BTLR over 24.1gn.


Three 100yd groups shot with the 90gn Berger BTLR bullet over H. VarGet using the ‘shot-out’ barrel im- mediately before rebarrelling. (One-inch grid.)


15


VLD performance wasn’t brilliant, even if it wasn’t as bad as expected, three five-round groups averaging 0.5 inches. However, two groups had three shots touching plus a high pair also touching opening them out to 0.6 inches. Three BTLR groups were better: two between 0.35in. and 0.4in.; one a ‘screamer’ at under 0.1in.. Hmmm .... maybe the barrel wasn’t as worn out as I’d thought .... maybe 100 yard groups only tell you so much about what you’ll see at 1000. What was remarkable was the MVs - both loads recording


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