Short Rifle, Long Range: Testing our 16.5″ 308 Remington 700 out to 635 yards

Performance of our Remington 700 chambered in 308 Winchester that had its 1:10 twist #6 Shilen barrel cut to 16.5″ was impressive with factory ammunition at 100 yards (see “Super Short Precision Rifles: Is there such thing as a 16.5″ 308 Tactical Bolt Action Rifle?”).  In fact it was so impressive that we decided to do a little bit of load development and long range shooting.

We ordered the following reloading components from Brownells:

  1. Sierra 175 grain Matchkings (749-004-665)
  2. Norma308 Winchester brass (749-007-541)
  3. Reloader 15 powder (749-011-189)

Primers were Tula large rifle.  We have had excellent results, with low standard deviation with this primer in every cartridge we tested it in.

Three different loads were assembled and brought to the range for accuracy testing (Note: if you haven’t reloaded with Norma brass you are missing out, the quality is amazing.) Firing at 100 yards, off a bipod, with a rear bag loads grouped between .376″ and .894″.

Had our chronograph not taken our cold bore shot, we would have had velocity data to report.  Be warned, when you mock your friends for shooting their chronographs, bad things happen to yours.

175 grain SMK at 100 yards.  .376".

175 grain SMK at 100 yards. .376″.

Two three shot groups were then fired at 200 yards and measured .635″ and 1.027″…. we were hooked.

Here is our first 200 yard test target, .635"!

Here is our first 200 yard test target, .635″!

Packing up and heading to a larger facility, we decided to put our rifle through the paces.

Zero data is printed on a label and taped to the inside of the rear scope cover.  The improvised table lists the range in yards, elevation adjustment in MOA, 10mph full value crosswind correction in MOA and the holder over in MILS from 200-600 yards using a 100 yard zero.

Zero data is printed on a label and taped to the inside of the rear scope cover. The improvised table lists the range in yards, elevation adjustment in MOA, 10mph full value crosswind correction in MOA and the holder over in MILS from 200-600 yards using a 100 yard zero.  We used zero data calculated from factory Gold Medal 175, which was spot on leading us to believe velocity was around 2400 fps.

All shooting was done prone, from a bipod with a rear bag. We engaged a series of small metal plates and paper targets from 200 to 635 yards away.

A view of the our rifle on the firing line.  The front rifle is the 308 we were testing.

A view of the our rifle on the firing line. The front rifle is the 308 we were testing.

During the shooting session, we fired 110 rounds total.  Three five shot groups were fired on paper.  One at 300 yards and two at 500 yards.  The 300 yard group measured 1.823″, and the 500 yard groups measured 2.618″ and 3.147″! See pictures of targets below.

300 yard group, 1.823".

300 yard group, 1.823″.

Our first 500 yard group, 3.147".

Our first 500 yard group, 3.147″.

 

Our second 500 yard group, 2.613"!

Our second 500 yard group, 2.613″-.499 MOA!

2.613″ 500 yard five round group in hand, steel was engaged with a vengeance. Hits on 5″ plates out to 500 yards using hold overs was a breeze.  Hitting a 2/3 size IPSC target at 635 yards (the furthest piece of steel on the range) effortless.  Below, see our 400 yard group on an IPSC target using holdovers…

Here is a five round group on an IPSC target shot using a 3 MIL holdover.  We didn't bring a ruler, but as you can tell from the picture, the gun worked well!

Here is a five round group on an steel IPSC target shot using a 3 MIL holdover. We didn’t bring a ruler, but as you can tell from the picture its a legit group!

Our little rifle weighs in at 12.89 pounds as equipped including the bipod- about 3 pounds lighter then a 24″ 700 we built with the same stock and a #7 contour barrel.  The Surefire brake did a good job mitigating recoil and the Surgeon detachable magazine bottom metal fed every round.

The rifle handles great, consistently shoots a half minute of angle or better and is a solid performer.  Ballistic data we ran suggests the 175 grain load will stay supersonic until around 850 yards.  If you know your zeros and estimate range well, this is every bit of an 800 yard rifle.

While it seemed a little foolish cutting the barrel as short as we did at the time, we are glad we did.  Now we just need to buy a new chronograph….