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Mar 25th, 2012
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Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability #7086088
02/20/18 05:28 PM
02/20/18 05:28 PM
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The for the last week, I had been at Rifles Only in Kingsville, TX doing a bunch of shooting and training for the Bushnell Brawl. I shot the Train Up Mon-Wed, then was a range officer Fri-Sat for the Bushnell Brawl shooting match. Shooting USA was there filming, and the match will be televised in a few months.

During this time as a range officer, I observed over 100 shooters and spoke to many of them about caliber, bullets, and cartridge of choices (you know, cause that's what I do!). Many shooters are running the 6.5 Creedmoor, which is a great round. Other shooters were running 223's, 6 BR, 6 Dasher, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5x47 (my personal choice) and several 308's. What I found interesting was, the 4th place shooter shot a simple 308 (LEO Duty issued ammo, 175 SMK) and the 3rd place shooters in the match shot a simple 223 Rem (85 grain Nosler RDF at 2900+ fps, 26" barrel). Speaking to both of these shooters, they had practiced with many rounds and felt very comfortable with their rifle, ammo, and scope combo. They both had practiced heavily with their set-ups and knew their full "system". I call it a system, because it takes all 4 items- rifle, scope, ammo and shooter, to be working together. Both shooters mentioned that they felt a slight disadvantage out past 700-800 yards out to 1K. But both set-ups were certainly capable to shoot that far. Where they had the advantage was the 600 yards and in. They knew their "system" very well and could apply themselves and had the shooting ability to do so. In other words, they could drive the rifle very well. And I see this all the time. Many shooters chase the "best" caliber and bullet choices available, but do not spend the time to learn your rifle "system" intimately, inside and out.

When watching a lot of these shooters as a range officer, they do not have good form, are in a bad shooting position, have bad breathing, or poor follow through. To some shooters, caliber choice does not matter to them. They have selected an "adequate" round, and learned how to shoot it properly. These days, I think a lot of effort has been utilized to find "the best" caliber, and actual shooting skill has suffered. We also talked about how some calibers can make up for poor shooting technique because they are a laser beam to the target.

In deep thought, I think the caliber choice is much less important than having a true working "system". I think many shooters try to acquire the best caliber and bullet combo available, while not paying attention to the most important aspect- the shooter!




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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086100
02/20/18 05:33 PM
02/20/18 05:33 PM
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The hunting corollary to this is that most hunters are far better off getting in shape than buying a new rifle or wiz bang scope. Its easier to just go shopping, though.


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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086114
02/20/18 05:45 PM
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Very good observations Chad. It's neat to have a bad azz set up, looking good when you come to the line. But from then on,

"If it is to be, It's up to me"


IMPACT !!!!!


"I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"
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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086115
02/20/18 05:45 PM
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Weakest link in the system is the loose nut behind the rifle and getting that nut torqued to spec takes a lot of time behind the rifle, not the latest and greatest shinny new stuff.

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086156
02/20/18 06:07 PM
02/20/18 06:07 PM
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Good write-up Chad. The only rifle caliber I have ever had in a bolt gun is 308. I don't see me ever adding anything else. However the farthest I have ever had the chance to shoot is 400 yards. I know the game changes significantly beyond that.

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086157
02/20/18 06:07 PM
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85 grainers at 2900+ out of a 223? That's sick. My Tikka Varmint with a 23" barrel had trouble pushing 75 grainers past 2700 fps and went unstable before 700 yards.

I agree that knowing your system is super important, but it's also what separates the best from the rest because it's hard to ever have enough time (or money) to get that knowledge. Especially for the majority of the world who spend their day at a desk 40-50 hours a week.

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086265
02/20/18 07:29 PM
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I just pick a good flat shooting tack driver, and if I do my part, it’ll put rounds into the same hole.


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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086300
02/20/18 07:54 PM
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While I see what you saying, that you need to be proficient as a shooter with good fundamentals, I just don't understand why a seasoned person with these skills would hamstring themselves by shooting an inferior cartridge.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: redchevy] #7086320
02/20/18 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted By: redchevy
While I see what you saying, that you need to be proficient as a shooter with good fundamentals, I just don't understand why a seasoned person with these skills would hamstring themselves by shooting an inferior cartridge.


Man if number 3 or 4 upped their game and trained with a 6 or 6.5 they would have had a better shot at #1.

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: redchevy] #7086324
02/20/18 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted By: redchevy
While I see what you saying, that you need to be proficient as a shooter with good fundamentals, I just don't understand why a seasoned person with these skills would hamstring themselves by shooting an inferior cartridge.
I agree.

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086335
02/20/18 08:21 PM
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That's kind of my point. To some shooters, it doesn't matter. The 223 shooter liked that caliber mainly because he could see his impacts or misses with no recoil. The rifle stayed in place during recoil when shooting off of strings, barricades, and other objects. Inside of 600 yards, he's not giving up much.



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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086343
02/20/18 08:26 PM
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When it comes to hardware, you reach a point where getting substantial improvement becomes very, very expensive. When choosing a "better" cartridge from amongst a class of cartridges, the one that's "best" is only going to be marginally better. In optics, it's the same story---a very small margin of improvement can be very pricey. I think what Chad is saying here is that there's just too much focus on the hardware, and not enough on the software (the shooter). It's easy to buy better hardware, just whip out the plastic. Better software cannot be bought, it has to be earned, and earned through hard work.

He could just as easily said "it's the Indian, not the arrow."




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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086348
02/20/18 08:28 PM
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If you run the numbers, the 223 is flatter than a 6.5 CM all the way out to 1K. And the 223 is only giving up about .1 of wind from 400-500, and about .2 of wind out to 600 yards. That's not a lot at all.

223 with 85 grain RDF at 2920 fps
Range Elev Wind
(yards) (mil) (mil)
0 --- ---
100 0 0.18
200 -0.38 0.36
300 -1.01 0.57
400 -1.77 0.78
500 -2.63 1.01
600 -3.6 1.26
700 -4.69 1.53
800 -5.91 1.83
900 -7.31 2.15
1000 -8.89 2.51

6.5 CM 140 ELDM at 2740 fps
Range Elev Wind
(yards) (mil) (mil)
0 --- ---
100 0 0.16
200 -0.45 0.32
300 -1.15 0.49
400 -1.96 0.67
500 -2.86 0.87
600 -3.86 1.07
700 -4.95 1.29
800 -6.15 1.52
900 -7.48 1.77
1000 -8.94 2.04



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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086411
02/20/18 09:25 PM
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Interesting calculations. Chad - do you know what powder he was running to get those speeds?

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086417
02/20/18 09:30 PM
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Excellent post Chad. up


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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: patriot07] #7086439
02/20/18 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted By: patriot07
Interesting calculations. Chad - do you know what powder he was running to get those speeds?


Yes. 25.0 grains of R15, LC once fired brass, 85 grain Nosler RDF seated out long, and Win SRP. He said it was right before pressure signs.



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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086516
02/20/18 10:53 PM
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24-inch barrel?




I'm here to give and receive knowledge, not affirmation or adoration. If you don't like it, mierda dura. Intellectual honesty is not for fragile egos.
Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086701
02/21/18 01:01 AM
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Reminds me a lot of bracket racing. Don’t have to have the fastest car, just the most consistent. Saw some guys kicking tail in long bed pickup trucks in the Spring Nationals one year. They raced against some very quick dragsters, but they could print the same time over and over where the “fast” cars ran inconsistent times.

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086899
02/21/18 03:06 AM
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Great observations Chad.

Some you guys act like the guys shooting the 223 and the 308 are using flintlocks.


Last edited by scottfromdallas; 02/21/18 03:07 AM.

Scott
Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086922
02/21/18 03:17 AM
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I thought I had to have a 6.5 whizzumbang to shoot past 150?

What you’re saying is absolutely correct.. hell, a Glock won USPSA Limited Nationals this year, competing against custom 2011’s that cost 2-3x as much.

That being said, it would seem as though a smaller, more cost effective round would be best. If a guy’s 223 ammo cost half as much as a 6.5/7/.30, he should be able to practice twice as much, right?


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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: Tactical Cowboy] #7086926
02/21/18 03:20 AM
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Originally Posted By: Tactical Cowboy
I thought I had to have a 6.5 whizzumbang to shoot past 150?

What you’re saying is absolutely correct.. hell, a Glock won USPSA Limited Nationals this year, competing against custom 2011’s that cost 2-3x as much.

That being said, it would seem as though a smaller, more cost effective round would be best. If a guy’s 223 ammo cost half as much as a 6.5/7/.30, he should be able to practice twice as much, right?


Eh lots of guys burn lots of ammo regardless of cost.


The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. -George Washington
Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7086957
02/21/18 03:52 AM
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Can still shoot more bullets for less cost if the ammo costs half as much.

You can drive a lot more miles for less money in a Prius than a Dodge 3500 dually, but for some reason people think they need the latter to drive 20 miles down the asphalt to go to the office.


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Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: Tactical Cowboy] #7086970
02/21/18 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted By: Tactical Cowboy
Can still shoot more bullets for less cost if the ammo costs half as much.

You can drive a lot more miles for less money in a Prius than a Dodge 3500 dually, but for some reason people think they need the latter to drive 20 miles down the asphalt to go to the office.


Can shoot for less cost, but a lot of guys make plenty of money to practice as much as they want with a more expensive round. I’m not one of those guys. I practice with a .22 for that reason.


The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference. -George Washington
Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: Tactical Cowboy] #7086979
02/21/18 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted By: Tactical Cowboy
I thought I had to have a 6.5 whizzumbang to shoot past 150?

What you’re saying is absolutely correct.. hell, a Glock won USPSA Limited Nationals this year, competing against custom 2011’s that cost 2-3x as much.

That being said, it would seem as though a smaller, more cost effective round would be best. If a guy’s 223 ammo cost half as much as a 6.5/7/.30, he should be able to practice twice as much, right?
223 loses a lot of its ammo affordability advantage when you start trying to push it long distances. 85 RDF costs as much as a 140 ELDM. I tried to do 223 on the cheap awhile back and realized I just wasn't saving much compared to a 6.5 and my bullet went unstable before 700 yards compared to the 6.5 going past 1,000 yards easily.

It's definitely more about the indian than the arrow, and it's about being comfortable with your rig from having shot it a ton. Not trying to disagree with Chad on those points at all. But pushing a marginal cartridge to its limits has its costs, both in terms of performance and affordability.

Re: Deep thoughts- on caliber choices and shootability [Re: ChadTRG42] #7087203
02/21/18 02:24 PM
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As someone who shoots a 6.5 creedmoor I agree with the above wholeheartedly. It doesn't much matter what you're shooting if you never take time to get good with it. Plenty of people shoot better than me with an array of rounds. I got the 6.5 because prior to I only had a 3030 and don't reload, had I already had a round that was suitable for long range hunting/target, even if it were a 308. I probably wouldn't have a creedmoor.


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