Tag Archives: Varget

NEW: Shooters World “Precision” Extruded Propellant: Part 1

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There’s a brand new propellant on the market that claims to be equivalent to Hodgdon’s Varget, maybe better… READ MORE

PLUS! A Special Offer at the end of the article!

precision powder

by Ken Johnson, Shooters World

Beat Varget? It couldn’t be done. After all, THAT powder has got just about the most fanatical following in the industry.

It was a tall order that we placed on our Shooters World designers and quality assurance folks. Much discussion. Much head nodding, and head shaking, finger waving, white-board writing, graphs, arrows, derivatives and integrals, shoulder shrugging…and time. Much, much time. Trial after trial. Improvement after improvement. That was back in 2014 that we made the first appeal for this powder, this technology, and this burn speed.

We had tasked our manufacturer with the creation of a propellant that would out-perform Varget®. We wanted the same burn speed. We wanted the same density. We wanted easier and more consistent volumetric charging. But most importantly, we wanted superior ignition, and superior temperature insensitivity. We wanted it more accurate.

Shooters World Precision
Shooters World Precision
varget
Hodgdon Varget

Since receiving the early samples of this propellant, and our first production lot, I have made it my A-number-one objective to proof this propellant. If my personal name was to be associated with it, it had to be very, very right.

After what seemed like an eternity, made even longer by my eagerness to get my hands on this new propellant, I have run it through many cartridges. I have charged with it through numerous meters. I have run it at temperatures ranging from -65F to +165F. I have shot it for accuracy. Repeatedly, I have compared it directly to Varget®.

As I reviewed the published charge weights, velocities, and pressures of Precision and compared them to Varget®, there’s very similar performance. When I was directly comparing charge-for-charge, and load-length-to-load length, I found in numerous cartridges and bullet combinations that my ballistic results were within 25 fps of the published Varget® data. Same charge weight, similar pressure. Same charge weight, similar loading density.

That said, keep in mind that I’m an accuracy nut, and I’m not exactly one to follow the herd. I’m an Olympic shooter, and an Internal Ballistic Engineer. I don’t arbitrarily assign a cartridge overall length. If the goal is accuracy, I purposefully set each and every one.

precision testing
Testing has been extensive! Look closely at the chronograph display, and this is why I’m saying what I’m saying about how good this new propellant is!

And as you may know, cartridge overall length (COAL) can and does affect the pressure/charge weight/velocity relationship. It also affects accuracy, efficiency, and barrel life. So, I take it seriously.

One of the advantages of handloading is being able to define your own load length. Knowing this, we further assist the handloader by publishing resultant pressures, velocities, and charge weights, when a specific projectile is positioned very close to the optimal location. Why? Because it’s all about hitting the target. FIRST you’ve got to hit the target, only then you should concern yourself with velocity.

Our load lengths are purposeful. And because of that, as well the inherent (small, but significant) variations in testing results from barrel-to-barrel, our data is not an exact match to that data published by other companies. But rest assured, if you’ve got a SAAMI or NATO chamber, know that Shooters World reloading data is optimized for your chamber and/or your system. If you’ve got a European CIP chamber, know that we also support those chambers and cartridges with European load data too!

Some folks believe that “Temperature Sensitivity” is something that you sprinkle into propellant as it’s being made, like an ingredient. I’m here to tell you, there ain’t no “throw a couple scoops of Insensitivity-Pixie-Dust into the powder vat,” any more than there’s laces for your trigger shoe. Nope. Temperature insensitivity has everything to do with how the propellant burns before the system hits max pressure. That’s it. That’s the secret. And there’s no “secret sauce” that is going to change that fundamental principle.

precision propellant graph
Actual temperature data fired in .308 Winchester/168 Sierra MatchKing at various temperatures against Varget.

In validating Precision against Varget®, we used this fundamental principle in our testing. We took both Varget® and Precision out of their intended “happy place” and forced them to perform in numerous environments where they should fail. These methodologies will remain proprietary to Shooters World. But please understand that our boastful claims of superior temperature insensitivity and velocity standard deviation are founded on real-world results in overly demanding environments.

And it’s this combination of know-how, propellant technology, and shooter-to-shooter empathy that makes us different. We shoot. And we know shooting. All the load building work we do is tedious, but through virtuous and diligent work, we hope you find our products, services, and data the best.

shooters world logo

Want to give it a try, and skip paying the HAZMAT? Just buy 4lbs of ANY Shooters World Powder, and get FREE HAZMAT on your ENTIRE ORDER!

Check it out HERE at Midsouth

ken johnson

About the author: Ken Johnson works with Shooters World in the capacity of Ballistics Managing Partner, Laboratory Manager, and Ballistician. In addition, Ken has had a long and distinguished career as a championship shooter both with the USAMU and USA Olympic Team, having won numerous gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Pan American Games, World Championship, and other international events, as well as national championships at Camp Perry. 

Ultimate Reloader: Gavin’s First PRS Match

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Ultimate reloader first precision rifle series
Gavin goes prone!

Gavin’s First PRS Match: The Experience

By: Ultimate Reloader

For a long time I’ve talked with friends about trying out a PRS-style match. Life has been busy, but when the right opportunity came, I decided to give it a try. My friend and shooting partner Jim Findlay offered to help me prepare, and told me it would be “fun to shoot gas guns together”. I decided I would shoot an AR-15, and thought that would be an ideal opportunity to try something new: the 22 Nosler. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting myself into, but that’s typically the way things happen when you’re really trying something new. It was a great experience, and it taught me a lot about shooting. I also made some great connections and friends during the match. If you are at all interested in PRS (Precision Rifle Series, or just Precision Rifle in general) I would suggest you enter and compete in a match. You most likely won’t regret it.

In this post, I’ll talk about preparing for the match, and the experience of competing in the match. In a follow-up post, I’ll go into more detail on the gear we used, and some of the gear we’d like to try in the future. So stay tuned for that!

Preparing For the Match

There were a few things to take care of before I started practicing with Jim in earnest for the match. I decided on the rifle platform I’d be shooting: it would be the AR-MPR AR-15 rifle, but with a 22 Nosler Upper. While I was waiting for the upper and components to arrive, I started practicing with 5.56 ammunition that I thought would be close to what I’d be shooting with 22 Nosler. I signed up for the match and paid my entry fee, and then downloaded the Practiscore Match App.

Practiscore is great, because you can read about each of the stages in order to prepare for each activity within the match. Here’s an example from the match I participated in:

After reading up on the match, it was time to create a game plan with Jim, and start practicing!

Practicing For the Match

Jim and I spent quite a few range trips preparing for the match, and I did quite a bit of practice up at my place, the “Ultimate Reloader Outpost”. First up was to sort out our gear, and get on target- we started at 600 yards. As I mentioned, this initial practice was performed with a .223/5.56 AR-15 configuration. With distances going out to 700 yards on match day, I chose to load 77 grain bullets for practice in 5.56 cases. At our 600 yard practice distance, these rounds did fine, but I wasn’t as confident about going out to 700 yards as they were getting into the trans-sonic zone.

Enter the 22 Nosler. The added velocity provided by this new cartridge combined with the extreme performance of the 70 grain Nosler RDF bullets I decided to use were a great combination. Here are the first shots I fired at 600 yards after the 100 yard sight-in and testing (see bottom group on target). The first round fired at 600 yards was on-target thanks to the G7 BC supplied by Nosler and Shooter App dope I had calculated. That’s a great feeling!

During our practice sessions, Jim and I focused on prone shooting, barricade shooting, and even shooting at a moving target at almost 600 yards. It was a lot of fun, but 90 seconds (the allowed time for each stage) was proving to go *very* quickly. Would I be ready on range day? I couldn’t wait to find out. Here we have Jim (far) and myself (near) shooting at 400 yards in preparation for one of the stages:

Match Day

On match day, I was fortunate to have friends Eric Peterson and Carl Skerlong running the camera and drone respectively. That meant I could focus on the shooting stages, and final preparations. I had printed out the courses of fire, had printed a dope card and zip tied it to my rifle, had dialed in the shooter app, and had all of my gear ready to go.

Overall, the match was more fun and more laid back than I thought it would be. The guys in our squad were all really helpful, and even loaned me gear to try out when they noticed my gear wasn’t right for a particular shooting activity. One such case was when Ken Gustafson (of KYL Gear) offered to loan me one of the bags he had made. Below you can see me shooting off the infamous unstable tippy tank trap with a KYL Gear bag, and I’ll have to say- it was amazing. It helped me lock down my rifle and get on target. What a great feeling!

I did run into some trouble- I had loaded my 22 Nosler rounds to max charge weight with Varget powder and experienced some failure to feed issues during the match. Initially I thought my bolt needed more lubrication, but after the match I discovered pressure signs on the rounds I had fired to investigate what went wrong. While I didn’t have malfunctions in practice, the match day was between 96 F and 100 F at the hottest part of the day- the same time I experienced issues. I was over pressure! I switched to a slower powder after that discovery (H-380) and found 22 Nosler to run perfectly (and at higher velocity), even in similar temperatures. I learned that you have to test everything you plan to use on match day, and take into account things like weather conditions as well. I also had my bipod fly off the rifle while shooting off a barricade- but continued with the stage and did alright. Even with these challenges, I kept on “giving it my best”, and I still had a ton of fun.

Summary

PRS is all about pushing your rifle skills to edge. You may have to hit targets at four different distances in 90 seconds- and dial in your dope between each shot. These kinds of challenges are super-difficult, but with enough experience and practice, it’s amazing what you can do. I saw guys that were so smooth, steady, fast, and accurate, it was mind blowing! It doesn’t come easy, and the guys at the top of the heap are super-dedicated. One such guy named Sheldon Nalos (in my squad) told me about how he dry fired off scale replicas he made of the T-Post Fox Hunt stage- practicing again and again until he was confident he was ready.

I don’t have the goal to be at the top of the heap within the PRS community, but I do think I’ll compete in more matches- they are super fun to experience, and the friends you’ll make may just last a lifetime. If you have any thoughts of trying PRS, I say “do it”! Stay tuned, because in my next post, I’ll talk about the PRS gear I used (and wanted) and then after that it’s time to go deep into 22 Nosler.

Thanks,
Gavin

Reloaders Corner: Pressure Curves for Semi-Automatic and Bolt-Action Rifles

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The following is a specially-adapted excerpt from the forthcoming book, Top-Grade Ammo, by author Glen Zediker, owner of Zediker Publishing.

When you’re handloading for semi-automatic rifles and bolt-action rifles, it’s helpful to realize they are not to be approached the same way. Continue reading Reloaders Corner: Pressure Curves for Semi-Automatic and Bolt-Action Rifles

Setting Up for Reloading

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Getting started in reloading isn’t difficult. In fact, reloading isn’t difficult. Reloading is the best way to save a few bucks Continue reading Setting Up for Reloading