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Since I had several hundred Hornady 95gr V-Max bullets that I had bought on sale as "blems" from MidwayUSA, I decided to see if I could finish working up something that would pass as a varmint load with those bullets. On my previous trip I had tried a couple of low end powder weights and was less than impressed with the results. The groups were notably over 1 inch and I wanted sub-MOA for varmint hunting.
I decided to load a 2 grain spread, in .4 grain increments, starting just above the charge weight I left off with two weeks prior. This would take me to nearly a max load but with some measure of safety per my 6.5 Grendel reloading manual. I stayed with the CCI-400 primers, new Lapua brass, and the Benchmark powder I had previously used. (Did I mention how consistently that powder dispenses from my RCBS Chargemaster Combo?) I picked up some CCI 450 Small Rifle Magnum primers at Cabela's during my last visit and will be trying those with the BLC-2 powder I'm using with the Nosler 120gr bullets.
This 4 shot group did pretty good. The 1st three shots fell into a .338" group but my 4th shot opened it up to .700", as shown above. Average velocity was 2812 FPS with an extreme spread of just 13 FPS. Without burning up more V-Max bullets at the range, I can live with this level of performance (accuracy and velocity) for varmint control on my farm. On a side note, I bought the above boxes quite some time ago when I decided I wanted a 6.5 Grendel. Now I wish I had scooped a bunch more.
The string in the above photo had .8 grains more powder and I've decided this will be my max load, though it is still more than a grain under the book's max. The primers look OK (no craters) but I noticed the extreme spread increased to 36 FPS wherein the prior groups were running about 1/3 to 1/2 that value. Average velocity for the 5 shots for the group in the above photo was 2910 FPS. The 5 shot group measured .694".
So....at this point, I think my load development for the Hornady 95 gr V-Max is finished. I might revisit it once I address the mil-spec trigger on my poly lower. At this point, there is just as much of a chance that it is me kicking that shot that doubles the group size. Most of the groups I shot today had 3 shot groups in the .3" to .36" range. That is certainly tight enough to make me think I may not be doing this rifle justice....or at least the hand load.