243 WSSM 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max
243 WSSM 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max 3 shot groups.
My 243 WSSM A-Bolt Varmint Stainless Laminate rifle with a 20 MOA EGW Rail with low Four Hole Skeleton Weaver rings and a Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50 MOA second focal plane scope. Because the 20 MOA picatinny rail places the scope higher I needed the comb raised to get proper eye, cheek alignment. I recently had Karl McKnight make the fully adjustable comb and add the extra length to the stock I need with a new recoil pad/spacer. Karl did a fine job! I like the look and especially the functionality.
Oops! This explains why I didn't hit paper.
A 3/4 inch and 7/8 inch group for my first time trying the 105 Gr. Hornady A-Max out of my A-Bolt Varmint Stainless Laminate rifle.
Rick, a friend of mine, worked up a great 105 Gr. A-Max load for his 243 WSSM over a year ago. He has been shooting absolutely amazing groups with this load out to 600 yards. Before he worked up the load both he and I questioned if our Browning A-Bolt rifles with 1 in 10 twists would be able to stabilize such a long bullet. Rick proved that they would with his A-Bolt Varmint Stalker and Hodgdon H1000 powder.
This bullet really intrigues me so I had to see if I could get the 105 Gr. A-Max to shoot myself. I was able to purchase a couple boxes of bullets from MidwayUSA and then trying to get the Hodgdon H1000 powder has been a nightmare. Finally after over a year I was able to purchase a 8 lb. jug of powder after watching on Utah Gun Exchange's website. It cost me $275 for a jug, for powder that Powder Valley sells for $159... that is if they or anyone ever had any in stock. Well the good news is I now have powder. Yeah!
I took Rick's powder charge that he worked up by shooting a ladder of incremental charges. With the powder charge I then seated 10 bullets, 4 bullets at 2.35, 3 at 2.34, and 3 at 2.33 OALs.
I first fired one of the four 2.35 bullets into a clean target to make sure the load would hit paper. I then shot three groups of three bullets each. The 2.35 OAL bullets produced a 3/4" three shot group. The 2.34 OAL bullets produced a 7/8" three shot group and the 2.33 bullets only hit the paper one time??? This didn't make any sense at all until I went to move my chronograph, Oops there was two dings in the metal rods that come out of the chronograph. It was cloudy, then sunny off and on making it very difficult to get the chronograph to give me anything but errors so I hadn't been paying attention to it and oops I shot it, twice. Dummy me!
I'll see about giving my rifle a good cleaning and then load up some more and see how they shoot. Once I'm comfortable with the load I will post the load here on my blog.
Back at the range in June. This time trying to tune the load with a ladder test of powder charges.
243 WSSM 105 A-Max 300 Yard Ladder Test.
After having great success shooting my first ladder to develop a load for my 270 WSM with 150 Gr. Berger VLD bullets. I decided I should try shooting a powder ladder with the 105 A-Max to see if I could find a powder charge that was tuned to the 2.35 COAL.
The first shot was low and off the paper so I adjusted the scope for the remaining seven shots. Well, there really wasn't any definitive horizontal layer between any three bullets... if shot #4 had of been lower near 5 and 6...
Each load is 0.2 grains of powder greater than the previous load. The idea is that you chose the appropriate seating depth then shoot incrementally different powder charges to locate a horizontal node between three or more shots.
Although, the total vertical distance between all the shots is 2 inches and the group size is only 2 5/8 inches. This isn't too bad for a span of a grain and a half of powder difference at 300 yards. Any of the powder charges is probably plenty accurate enough for me.
I'll keep tinkering on this load.
100 Yard Three Shot Group on June 28, 2014
After shooting the ladder of powder charges last time out I didn't find any real node. The closest node I could find was shots 5 and 6. Given this I probably should shoot another ladder test at even greater distances. Given that I would like to take this rifle and load out to shoot at Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf course in the following week I didn't think I had time to tweak this load any more.
243 WSSM 105 A-Max 100 Yard Three Shot Group
Shooting load number 5 from the ladder group produced this three shot group at under 3/8 inches.
With little time to prepare for Spirit Ridge I decided to load up powder charge number 5 and see how it grouped at 100 yards. As you can see from the photo it shot really well, right under a 3/8" group. This is plenty good enough accuracy for me.
View load information for this 243 WSSM 105 A-Max load on my 243 WSSM Handloads page.