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:
- Sierra 175 grain Matchkings (749-004-665)
- Norma308 Winchester brass (749-007-541)
- 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.
Two three shot groups were then fired at 200 yards and measured .635″ and 1.027″…. we were hooked.
Packing up and heading to a larger facility, we decided to put our rifle through the paces.
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.
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.
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…
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….