Reloading for the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) 6.5 Creedmoor
Not only does the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) introduce many shooters to long range shooting, it also introduces a lot of the same folks to reloading. While some 308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition can be found for fairly decent prices, the serious RPR shooter will likely want to reload his own ammunition to save money and gain accuracy. In this post, I’m going to take a look at load development for the RPR.
Approaching reloading in general, or for a new rifle or cartridge the first time can be daunting. While you may understand the loading process, the choices in brass, bullet, powder and primers can be difficult to make. In this post I’ll give you a few ideas where to start and you can see how my factory, stock, Ruger Precision Rifle performed.
So many choices, so little time
I decided to concentrate on four different 6.5 mm bullets (above, left to right, 147 Hornady ELD-M, 142 Sierra MatchKing, 120 Lapua Scenar-L and the 107 Sierra Tipped MatchKing) and two powders (H4350 and Varget) that I have known to perform well on other 6.5 Creedmoor rifles I’ve loaded for.
While 6.5 Creedmoor brass options were somewhat limited in years past, the manufacturers offering brass has exploded. Quality brass is available from a wide range of companies, but I’ve found the best value brass to be Starline. The Starline 6.5 Creedmoor brass I’ve used has performed exceptionally well. Of the hundreds of cases I’ve fired of it, I’ve had exactly 1 bad case (mouth wasn’t properly formed). Every other case has greatly exceeded my expectations. In this post I’ll be using Starline brass with a large primer pocket.
For purposes of this post I picked a standard CCI #200 large rifle primer. Historically I wasn’t much of a fan of CCI primers, but as I’ve tested and shot them more and more I’ve found them to perform quite well.
WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only. They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours. Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
I equipped my RPR with a Nightforce 8-32x56mm NXS held in a Spuhr mount (both are available through Brownells). I loaded the new Starline 6.5 Creedmoor brass on a Forster Press with Redding Competition Dies. All shooting was prone, from a bipod with a rear bag. Velocity data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 Barrel Mounted Ballistic Chronograph.
I was pretty impressed with the overall results. For all bullets and powders, group sizes ranged from .558″(.533 MOA) to 1.539″ (1.470 MOA) with an average group size of .878″ (.839 MOA). Standard deviation for all 19 different loads was 15.0 feet/second.
For loads utilizing the 147 Hornady ELD-Match and H4350, muzzle velocity ranged from 2,473 to 2,538 feet/second. Standard deviation of the loads ranged from 8.0 to 15.3 feet/second with an average standard/deviation of 11.7 feet/second. Group sizes ranged from .558″ (.533 MOA) to .773″ (.738 MOA) with an average group size of .630 (.602 MOA).
For loads utilizing the 142 Sierra MatchKing and H4350, muzzle velocity ranged from 2,586 to 2,678 feet/second. Standard deviation of the loads ranged from 12.1 to 22.6 feet/second with an average standard deviation of 16.0. Group sizes ranged from .626″ (.598 MOA) to 1.130″ (1.079 MOA) with an average group size of .927″ (.885 MOA).
For the 120 Lapua Scenar-L and Varget loads, muzzle velocity ranged from 2,912 to 2,954 feet/second. Standard deviation ranged from 3.8 to 20.6 feet/second with an average standard deviation of 12.8 feet/second. Group sizes ranged from .803″ (.767 MOA) to 1.539″ (1.470 MOA) with an average group size of 1.149″ (1.097 MOA).
The 107 Sierra Tipped MatchKing (TMK) and Varget loads, muzzle velocity ranged from 3,014 to 3,132 feet/second. Standard deviation ranged from 9.4 to 29.9 feet/second with an average standard deviation of 19.0. Group sizes ranged from .618″ (.590 MOA) to 1.244″ (1.188 MOA) with an average group size of .861″ (.832 MOA)
Of the loads tested, 15 out of 20 were sub MOA and 8 of 20 were sub 3/4 MOA! That’s with new, unprepped brass in a factory rifle!
So what should I load?
I wrote this post to show RPR shooters a number of different loads and how they might perform in their own rifle. Keeping in mind that this was a factory rifle, I was extremely impressed with the overall results. While each of the bullets and powder combinations shown had at least one load that performed well, the Hornady 147 ELD-Match bullet paired with H4350 seemed to be the best all around load for this particular gun. Your RPR may prefer a different bullet, case or primer.
I’ll be back with more posts on the Ruger Precision Rifle, stay tuned…
To learn more about the 6.5 Creedmoor, take a look around rifleshooter.com. To purchase an RPR, click here.
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