I received this barrel several months ago and thanks to someone forgetting to turn the summer thermostat down here in Phoenix I haven’t had the overwhelming urge to brace the temperatures. It finally got down below 100 at 0900 in the morning so I made my sojourn out to the desert with some test ammunition. I had intended to shoot an AR alongside this one but time, thanks to a dead battery, didn’t allow it. I sighted in the LBC for an F-Class match and put the 6X45 Savage up to do its thing.
26” Black Hole Weaponry 6X45. 1:8 twist. All shot at 100 yards. All CCI 450’s and necked up brass not formed to the chamber. Everything fewer than 95 grains was shot at 2.310 like I would in my AR’s. The 95’s were shot as a potential for long range, 500 yard, matches and were loaded long. Normally a single load in the AR but I have a windowed magazine and a PRODUCTION BILLET AR15 lower that will allow me to go 2.45 so it is doable if one had the urge to do that.
I did not do my usual two groups per charge as I wanted a smash and grab on numbers and potential development down the road. Normally I try to shoot one type of powder for a whole series of XXX bullet then giving it a light cleaning and moving on to the next powder. I have found doing this seems to give better results as the first few shots over dissimilar powders may well skew the results against that load until it has its own powder coating. If one shoots two powders back to back and the next trip the order is reversed invariably I have seen groups change and often reverse in best load results if a cleaning is not done between the two.
I started out with some 55 grain Varmageddons. I had never shot that style of bullet and was interested to see how they would do. Not terribly impressive on a first glance. . I may well revisit them later this winter AA 2200 was so so in accuracy but the speed was there. Not enough tradeoff in my opinion on that one unless I can tweak it some.
I tried some TAC that does well for me in other loadings. I noted the group was vertical so this one might be bumped a bit tough I was already above most published data on this one. Pressure seemed to be OK no issues on extraction and the primers had nicely rounded edges. No flow was noted on this one..
I moved up to the 70 Varmageddons for the next batch not knowing what to expect as I had not tried these before. My 70 of choice in the 6X45 is usually the Speer offering. I did find that this one will take some work. I found that AA2200 while extremely fast just hated getting teamed up with this bullet in this rifle. I found the speed to be a good 200 FPS over the other two powders tried and the groups were definitely not something to put in ones wallet unless he carried a rather large one. The primers were flat on my first loading and bolt lift was far heavier than I would even consider as usable. I have some loaded down somewhat for the AR so I am interested to see how it does.
I tried some Benchmark that was respectable at a tad over an MOA for accuracy. The speed was about what I expected. I only shot one charge weight on that one as it was an afterthought. I definitely want to try this one as it seems to work well across the 223 sized cases normally being well balanced in speed and accuracy for me being very predictable.
The third powder was IMR 8208 XBR. I’ve had stellar luck with this one in so many cartridges lately I had a gut level feeling that it would do fine. Two charges down range gave me an average of just a hair under one inch. The mirage was kicking in about this time so I am suspect of the true ability of this one to deliver. Certainly usable for most general shooting.
I tried a few 87 VMAX as I have a small ton of them setback for my 6X6.8 and 243 LBC. I’ve shot the 87 match bullet in my 3Gun rifle for decades so was hoping for a viable option. XBR delivered so so results at a bit over an inch and an experiment with X-Terminator, AA2230, opened my eyes as to what not to use. I had loaded some RL 15 and had a hunch this would do fine. I’ve shot a heavy charge of RL15 in my 6X45 AR at 500 yard F-Class matches under the 87 Mach for several years and true to form it came through again with the one load I tried. A bit of a tweak and I would be happy to use this one all day long.
In the 6X45 I feel the 87 is about it for the top weight, maybe 90, but the draw of the heavy bullet seems impossible to resist in this day and age. Stretching the 6X45 out to raise case capacity that is in excess of 32.7 in my chambers helps to keep it manageable for accuracy and case life. I shoot the 95’s in my 243 LBC all the time in matches and for the money I have found them running right with the Bergers in accuracy. I shot three powders with two charges in of AR Comp, one with Benchmark, only three bullets on target, darn black birds, and three of 8208. Six groups down the tube with only one exceeding an inch showed me some interesting things.. Doing the math gives me an aggregate of 0.718 for the six groups. I would say that it likes the 95 SMK. If a fellow threw out the big group the five group aggregate average would run right on 0.633. The velocity hung around 2850 on this one which is very respectable for the 6X45 and it appears to be magic in all my 6X45’s making it a viable choice for many venues. I do know it is a good steel banger in my AR’s in matches having brought home more than its share of Gold over the past three decades for me.
The 95’s were the last shots fired for the day with no cleaning prior to these with 85 fired previously. Oddly enough the AR Comp targets were the last ten shots for the day bringing the round count on this barrel to 115 for the day and 118 total. I sure had a smile when I pulled those off the target board.
This was the Benchmark. As noted only three shots as the starlings are in season so… It shows promise.
The next up was the 8208 that I had loaded one extra set a bit lower than I was interested in. Not bad though it did bust the inch mark once. Certainly it is a powder looking at in the future.
The last ten shots of the day were fired after a lot of sweat in the eye with the mirage steadily climbing. If I had shot these out of the gate I might have been tempted to pack it in..LOL I’m sure someone that had a bit more skill could have cut these down a bit.
It was a great day at the range and with the temperatures dropping I’ll be spending more time enjoying the Saguaros and road runners. I will document and report on the AR15 that I want to shoot this week and may well try some of the bullets IO traditionally load in this one.