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Discussion Starter #1
Hi there, new to the forum and looking for opinions...
I have a Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmore with a 22" barrel. I am not getting the groups that I think the gun should be getting and I have tried all of the available factory loads, ALL. I am reloading as well, for me and my son (Ruger Hawkeye heavy stainless 26" barrel 6.5 Creedmore). He gets 0.5" groups at 200yds with 140gr A-max, 44gr Superformance, OAL 2.810 (0.030 leap to lands). I have tried the 140s in A-max and HPBT, the 129s in SST, the 123s in A-max, with IMR4350, H4350, Superformance, and now with Varget.
The Varget load produces 2950fps and 1.75" groups at 200, which is the best I have been able to get. The question for the forum members is: Is the Ruger American Predator with a 22" barrel CAPABLE of producing a smaller group? AND, if it is, does it work better to stabilize a long light round like the 123gr or do you think that a slow heavy round like the 140 A-max at 2725 fps is better?:confused:
 

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What group size does your son get with your rifle? Are you a 1MOA shooter?

What optic do you have on the rifle? What targets are you using (visibility & consistency of hold)? Firing from a bench? Prone? Off of a bipod, or sandbags, or using a machine rest and rear support?

What work has been done to the rifle, if any? Have you had trigger work done? Have you confirmed free float on the barrel? Have you glass bedded the action to ensure it's not shifting or slipping over the pillars (Power Blocks)? Have you lapped the locking lugs? Confirmed headspace, or at least measured case stretch?

If nothing has been done, and you're getting 1.75" groups at 200yrds, what makes you think a $400 budget rifle should do better? Sub-MOA for a entry level factory rifle with factory loads is doing pretty damned good. Ruger's satisfaction standard (not a guarantee) is typically 1.5MOA. You're surpassing that mark considerably.

Bullet weight selection decisions for your reloading is the same as any other cartridge. Since you're asking, I'll assume you're kinda new to precision rifle reloading, yes?

The 1:8" twist of the Ruger American Predator should comfortably stabilize 140grn pills in the 6.5 creedmoor. Generally a 1:8.5" or 1:9" is plenty. The 123's will spin faster, and they're easier to stabilize since they're a shorter bullet, but they also may not be long enough at the ogive to seat far enough out to reach the desired jump you're looking for. Either should shoot very well if the rifle is capable of shooting very well - but if it's not, they won't.

Reloading, if you know what you're doing, will most likely let you get down a little tighter in your groups, but - with all due respect - it sounds like you have unrealistic expectations out of a $400 rifle. Your son's Hawkeye, on the other hand, is a phenomenal freak of coincidence, a 1/4MOA rifle doesn't happen very often out of factory doors, so tell him to never sell that thing!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Been reloading a while, normally shoot a Sako TRG42 in 338 LM, .25 moa @ 500 with 250 hpbt hornady 33361. Son's rifle is a custom with a 28" stainless, trigger work, vortex scope etc. Shoots very well, but paid for it. As for my American, I have a Leupold VX-3 4.5-14 x 50, boone and crockett reticle. I didn't like the flex in the stock so I mixed up some blended epoxy and filled all the air pockets to stiffen up the stock, then torqued into the blocks and used a little bit of emery to make sure I had air all the way round the barrel. Jumping about 30 thou into the lands with last load (123gr A-max with 40 gr Varget travelling at 2950 ish fps. General elevation is 3000ft plus a bit, virtually no humidity in the mountains and shooting straight north. Tried tighter spacing but the pressures came up dramatically. Shooting with bipod and a bag under the heel. I pull 2.8 to 3 lbs on the trigger. They are pretty good out of the box so I haven't spent any time on it. Same as bolt lugs. I was asking the group what their experiences were with this particular rifle in the factory configuration. I watch internet videos where they are getting 1 moa results and better (same as me), but there is no reference to the type of ammo used on them.
 

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I wouldn't expect any better out of it. You can check the box on shooter, trigger, and inconsistent barrel pressure.

Interesting to see you need so much jump, that's crazy to me. All coppers need to get a running start, but I've never seen the thin jacketed A-max's need any jump. I generally shoot 5-10thou in my hunting rifles with A-max's, and kiss or jam with my bench rifles.

Only other box left unchecked would be string speed. How fast are you firing groups? It's a light barreled rifle, afterall, and fast firing can mean walking.

I guess I'd also question if over-spec torque into the bedding blocks is doing more harm than good. Not sure what the American spec is for action screws, but I'm never one to trust pillar blocking without bedding the action - too easy to create flexion in the action.

Is it shooting lines or groups? Vertical or horizontal stringing, or is a 10 shot group round?

But given those boxes checked, I'd think it's very fair to say that asking 1/4 or 1/2MOA out of a $400 entry level rifle is a bridge too far.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was surprised at how much jump there was on factory ammo. The Superformance factory ammo is supposed to be match quality but the average jump on them is 0.110. I used my COL tool to set each type of bullet into my lands and the closest I can get while still able to fit the round into the mag is 0.021 using a 123 gr A-max. I am setting the bullets for an OAL of 2.810 which gets me a little space in the mag for cold fingers and leaves me a 30 thou jump. The factory round with the same bullet has an OAL of 2.681. I'm not expecting custom quality groups with a $500 rifle (Cdn $), just want to make sure I am not missing a mix that would work better. As for the latest groups, I am pretty slow and methodical but they still tend to climb a bit by the time the 5th round is in the mud. Using the factory ammo I was lucky to get 6" groups at 200yd if you count the flyers. We found a good mix for my son's 6.5 real quick, seems to have taken a long time for the mix for mine. I experimented lots with the Lapua too, but that was mostly due to the powder situation here. H1000 is hard to get, same for Retumbo. VV powder never makes an appearance in the muskeg region.... Thanks for the comments.
 

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This is what I posted last year (April 2015) on my Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmore
Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmoor Predator Range report

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I finally got a chance to take my gun to the range. First off, when I bought the gun I got 3 boxes of 129 grain Hornady ammo. Because I got the gun long before we could get to the range (private) to shoot, I bought a set of dies, then bought 140 grain Hornady A-MAX bullets and 129 grain SST bullets. I loaded up 20 rounds of the 140 grain at mid-range load and 30 of the 129 grain, again at mid range powder load. These were loaded in new - never fired - Hornady brass using CCI primers with IMR 4350 powder. Went to the range on Saturday. I shot the Factory 129 grain first to get zeroed at 100 yards. Not impressed with the 3 shot groups - about 1.5 inches. I next shot the 129 grain that I had loaded up. A little better, but not much. Still not impressed. At this point I am getting pretty disappointed . I then went to the 140 grain. Holy cow - they shot perfect. Honestly, I never expected the groups I got. Each 3 round group was within 1/2 inch - 3 different times. Now I need to go back and change my loads for the 129 grain and get a better group out of them.
I have to say, the trigger on the gun is Great, close to the best of any gun I own. I really can't say anything bad about it at all
 

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I have a 6.5 Creedmoor, but mine is a custom with a trued Remington action and a Bartlein heavy contour barrel. My is VERY accurate with the factory Hornady ammo of both bullet weights. That said, I have tried a LOT of other loads and so far nothing is better than the Hornady stuff, at least not in MY rifle. I also hear the same thing from others. The point here is, the "go to" load for a lot of Creedmoor rifles, seems to be the Hornady factory loads. As far as the jump being a lot.........welcome to the world of Ruger rifles and their notoriously "loose" chambers.

As already covered, for a "budget rifle" it's probably about as good as you are going to get with the factory pipe on it
 
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