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Did some terminal tests today.

Temps edged up close to freezing point today so after the snow quit blowing I loaded up the Polaris Ranger and headed up to the range to test some ammo.

Kriggevaer provided some 8x57 200 grain Lapua factory loads for the Husky and these prompted the shooting, but for comparison I also shot an 8x57 handload consisting of 46 grains of surplus IMR 4895 and the Remington 185 grain bulk component bullet. Also shot was my favorite hunting load for the 6.5x55, the 140 grain Remington PSPCL over 45 grains of Hodgdon 4350SC. This latter load goes 2590 fps from my Ruger M77. It is a proven killer on deer and elk for me, and since I know how it kills game I decided to shoot it as a control of sorts.

The following picture shows the rifles: my Husky 640 in 8x57 and my Ruger M77 in 6.5x55. Also shown in the pic is the ubiquitous American 1-Gallon plastic milk jug that forms the basis for my ballistic media. I have used these filled with water for years and they provide an excellent and cheap method for testing and comparing bullets.

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/122206Bullettest1TheRifles.jpg

In front of and in between the jugs I use pieces of 1/2 inch plywood to add some herkyjerky resistance to the bullets. This is my standard setup as shown:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/122206Bullettest2TheSetup.jpg

The procedure was as follows: All shooting done at 20 yards from sitting on a chair {to keep the jugs in-line with the shooter}. One round was fired into the coyote target {shown in the background} to make sure of exact point-of-impact and then a round was fired into the jugs. This causes quite some mayhem with the jugs and plywood, and plastic caps blow many yards away, some winding up on the other side of the big backstop. It is wet, cold and sloppy work in winter, but the results are worth it. I like to test my bullets before i use them on game, and over the years have found this method useful. An idea of the wreckage is shown here:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/122206Bullettest3TheWreckage.jpg

Here are the bullets from today's test:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/122206Bullettest4TheBullets.jpg

Left to right as follows;

6.5x55, 140 grain Remington PSPCL. Penetrated 3 boards and 3 jugs, dented 4th board but did not penetrate it. Found in 3rd jug. Knocked over the 4th jug. Retained weight 101 grains, 72%, diameter .52".

8x57, 185 grain Remington PSPCL. Penetrated 3 boards and 3 jugs, dented the 4th board but did not penetrate it. Found in 3rd jug. Impact ruptured the 4th jug. Retained weight 132 grains, 71%, diameter .53".

8x57, 200 grain Lapua factory load with "Big Blue Nose" exposed lead tip. Penetrated 3 boards and 3 jugs, dented 4th board, no damage to 4th jug. Retained weight 145 grains, 73%, diameter .62". {BTW: POI was same at 20 yards with this load as the 185 handload. That was handy!}

8x57, 200 grain Lapua factory load. Shot into a "Modified Setup"...

The "Modified Setup" was...

As the proceeding progressed, I got curious. On the other side of the backstop is my gut dump for butcher stock and game guts, etc. So I strolled over and pried a recently added sheepskin from the frozen ground and dragged it back to the testing board. There I cut it up and wrapped the jugs with the hide to see what would happen. Here it is after the shot was fired:

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/122206Bullettest5Sheepskin.jpg

Anyway, the farthest right pictured bullet above penetrated 3 jugs, 2 boards and 5 wraps of sheepskin. There was no dent in the 3rd board so evidently the hide did indeed add a bit of resistance to the bullet. Retained weight 147 grains, 74%, diameter .68".

I fired another 185 grain remington into a similar setup. It is not pictured because I could not find the bullet! It barely made it into the 3rd jug from the look of the jug, but where it went is unknown. I have had this happen before. Bullets do weird things!

I should add that when we tested the 130 grain .270 and 150 grain .30-06 last winter, they penetrated 2 boards and 2 jugs, retaining little weight. Such bullets fired at 2800-2900 really come apart fast and up close the explosive effect will absolutely convince you of their ability to bloodshoot vast amaounts of meat even if you've never shot anything with them.

Finally, here is a pic of a couple more bullets.

http://i38.photobucket.com/albums/e115/Skaapskieter/122206Bullettest5Others.jpg

On the left is a Remington 140 grain 6.5x55 bullet recovered from a deer shot at about 30 yards a couple years ago. Strike was on the high shoulder angling down and the bullet was found on the opposite side of the critter. Due to the angle, the penetration was about 17 inches, not too much different from the distance bullets travel in my media. A milk jug is 5.5 inches thick, so 3 of them along with an inch and a half of plywood is, well, just a wee bit more than 17 inches. Retained weight of this 6.5 bullet is 69 grains, 49%, diameter .55".

Next to it is a Prvi Partizan 285 grain 9.3 bullet fired from one of my Huskys. It penetrated 7 jugs and retained 260 grains, 91% diameter .76".

Conclusions?

I REALLY like the 200 grain 8x57 load. Penetration was excellent, weight retention excellent and as you can see, mushrooming super, with recovered diameter larger than the 185 grain Remington PSPCL. This thing should be a fine killer on deer and elk within reasonable 8x57 ranges!!

There was really bad light today so I wasn't able to chronograph these 8x57 loads, but that is next on the agenda.

Finally, remember, this shooting takes place at very close range. Penetration will typically increase substantially for most bullets at common game shooting ranges out to several hundred yards. But these tests are useful for comparing bullets with a known performer.

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.

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Edited by - LeeSpeed on 12/22/2006 10:27:54 PM

Kwahe
Gunboards Premium Member



USA
128 Posts
Posted - 12/22/2006 : 10:56:53 PM
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Really great work, Lee! Obviously lots of effort put in and great info came out of it. Your displays of what happens at the terminal end of a shot are as convincing as anyone's anywhere, I suspect more so.
I love the part where you talk about the 9.3 at the "meager" ballistic perfomance we love best. It really is remarkable how that big bullet pulls away from what most hunters think of a pretty good bullets and loads...here I'm thinking of calibers and cartridges that mimic the performance of the 6.5 Swede and the 8mm.
It's just plain nice to KNOW what these bullets are going to do, isn't it?
Kwahe


SteveR_1
Gunboards Premium Member



134 Posts
Posted - 12/23/2006 : 12:48:33 PM
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Very nice pictures and results of your testing, it is very helpful to see somebody who is doing it, rather than, "I heard..............". As soon as I get set up for reloading in my new house, later this winter, I will share some of the results with everyone.

Thanks,
Steve


LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 12/27/2006 : 09:56:15 AM
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quote:
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Originally posted by Kwahe


It's just plain nice to KNOW what these bullets are going to do, isn't it?
Kwahe

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Yes, that's it. As I have time {and milk jugs...} I hope to do some more work with the 9.3x57, etc. I would like to test the 285 PP versus the 270 Speer and see what happens there.

This procedure normally doesn't show radical differences in penetration between bullets of similar velocity. However, it DOES from time-to-time show significant differences in what happens to the bullets in the media.

Things can be modified, too. A piece of 1x3 oak flooring is REALLY tough and if added can give some idea as to what may happen to a bullet if it strikes a heavy bone on the way to the vitals. I have also used actual elk bones to see how they effect bullets. Heavy bones are very tough on bullets and can really help to give a good impression as to what to expect between bullets/velocities.

Finally, if you want to see what happens to a deer/elk bullet that first strikes a tree, such a setup can be made and the results compared to the control.

As a control, I like using a bullet like my 140 Remington in my 6.5x55 that I have solid field experience with. Helps get a feel for the performance of others. In the case of the 6.5x55, the more I shoot game with it and the more I use it in testing, the more I am absolutely impressed with it. Kicks like a .243, kills like a .30-06!

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.


LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 12/27/2006 : 9:34:23 PM
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I FOUND IT!!

Here's the Remington 185 grain noted above. The rascal penetrated 2 boards, 2 jugs and 4 wraps of sheepskin. It lodged in the sheepskin that wrapped the last jug and must have fallen out when I picked off the skin. The impact ruptured the 3rd jug but the bullet did not enter it. The snow melted and there it was on the ground, right where I'd been looking but missed it.




Anyway, it expanded to .61" and retained 137 grains weight for 74%. I still like the 200 grain Lapua better. Interestingly, the retained weight is the same PERCENTAGE of original weight as the Lapua was. Curious coincidence!

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.

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Edited by - LeeSpeed on 12/27/2006 9:35:50 PM


kriggevaer
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1709 Posts
Posted - 12/27/2006 : 11:42:38 PM
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LeeS', I forgot to mention this - the Lapua factory specs claim 2,437 fps for Big Blue Nose. For a big ol' bullet like that out of an 8x57, that is some steppin' out. Would work great on elk. The only problem with that bullet is trying to find some more to reload.

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kriggevær

"Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun..."



LeeSpeed
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1024 Posts
Posted - 12/28/2006 : 09:19:18 AM
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I'll be interested to see what it chronographs out of my rifle. As soon as the stuff stops falling from the sky and the sun peeks out I plan to chronograph it and my 185 handload.

I like that 200, but I am a bit leery of the American 200's as most are designed for 8mm Rem speeds I suspect. At the ranges I shoot deer with an open-sighted rifle it might not matter. The thing I like about the Lapua is that it opens up so well yet at 8x57 velocity does not go to pieces. I like heavy-for-caliber, i.e. long-for-caliber bullets. Actual weight might not be the whole thing, but length and the ability to shed leangth/weight while penetrating seems to have a lot of advantages, negating the need for high-tech premium bullets in many calibers. I just wish there was a CHEAP 200 available for the 8x57. I don't think the 8x57 needs a complicated "premium"-structured bullet, just a traditionally-jacketed long for caliber round nose like the {unfortunately unavailable/expensive} Lapua!

That theory is borne out in the test by the other caliber tested. Every time I use and hunt with the 6.5x55 I am impressed. And the cheap Remington 140 grain bullet in the 6.5x55 sort of proves my point. It is the only bullet I have ever used on game {elk, deer and varmints} and I have no desire to switch to another.

There are real reasons why that caliber has earned a reputation for performing like a bigger bore and the tests demonstrate it. Right now I wish I had access to a .243 Winchester for testing. Some hunters see it as filling the small-bore deer-&-elk-killing slot similar to the 6.5x55 and someone I know wants one for deer right now so it is on the forefront of my mind. It "looks" so similar to the 6.5x55 yet I see them as totally different and radically differently performing cartridges. I'll admit I personally do not like the .243 for elk at all and deer only under very controlled circumstances. I admit to a sour taste over the round due to the loss of an elk by a friend under circumstances that I myself feel certain the 6.5 would have served well. I do know quite a few people that use them on deer and a few on elk and they will make some spectacular kills with them as long as the shots are held to absolute broadside and placed perfectly so the bullet only has to go about 6 inches. A quicker twist to stabilize 120 grain bullets {at lesser speed than the 100's} would help, but I don't see that happening. IMO if a guy wants/needs a very light kicking rifle for deer, bear and elk he can't get any better than the Norske/Svenska 6.5x55 and would be far better off avoiding the .243's.

The advantage of the 6.5x55 is not just that extra .5mm, but rather, IMO, the fact that the twist rate is fast, allowing those heavy-and-long-for-caliber bullets that have a lot of length to safely sacrifice on the way through a game animal. Put another way, that inexpensive 140 grain Remington bullet in the 6.5x55 ENDS the test above weighing more than a typical .243 Win/6mm Rem "big game" bullet weighs at the muzzle! The shots I have taken on game with the great old 6.5x55 have demonstrated what Scandihunters have known for over a hundred years.

What is the status of the .243 or 6mm caliber in Scandinavia? I do not believe it meets the energy requirements for big game in Norway, but roe deer? How about Sweden and Finland? Is it used in Greenland and Denmark at all?

For a light-kicker small-bore big game rifle, a custom .243 with a quick twist barrel shooting 130 grain custom bullets would be really interesting, but in the meantime that Store Gamle 6.5 is the the One for me.

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For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Jn 3:16 Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.


kriggevaer
Gunboards.Com Gold Star Member



USA
1709 Posts
Posted - 12/28/2006 : 10:23:24 AM
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Boy howdy, talk about telepathy - for years I never considered any bullet for the 6.5x55, but the 120-140 grain selections. Recently, I've been drawn back to the 156/160 grain bullets and have been studying my manuals and old articles on that. The heavy bullets are what gave the 6.5x55 its reputation for phenomenal penetration and minimal meat destruction. And, the rifling twist of the original military rifles was calculated for that weight bullet. It is more than a little ironic that it took decades to develop bullet technology that would withstand the velocities that American shooters think they need to kill game with, when the answer may have been in front of us all the time.
I don't have much experience with the .243. I know it is extremely popular, but just seemed a little too much for varmints and not enough for deer on up. But, I will have to learn that cartridge now since I just picked up a Schultz & Larsen M65DL .243 and I've had a S&L M54J in 6mm Remington for some time now. But, those cartridges will have to wait a bit, while I fool around with the HVA small ring 9.3x62 that will be here soon.
Ultimately the single most important factor, as our good friend SD Hunter wisely reminds us, is "Shot placement, Shot Placement, Shot Placement."

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kriggevær

"Roland was a warrior from the Land of the Midnight Sun..."
 
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