Sometimes, you just need different components.

  • Some barrels just will not shoot certain bullets. It is rare that I run into this issue, due to the high quality rifles I shoot... but it still can happen. I thought I'd share a recent experience with a new 6.5 I'm working with.

    I started out working with some 6.5mm berger 140gr VLD's. I tried 4 different powders. I tried around 120 thousandths of seating depth variations in .025" increments. I tried every reasonable neck sizing diameter. My efforts resulted in 100yd groups which were no better than 1/2moa, with the average being around 3/4 to 1 moa and the worst groups being 1.5moa. At this point, I was thinking there's something wrong with this barrel... as I've never had 140vld's not shoot after this kind of work.

    For the heck of it, I loaded up 5 rounds using berger 140gr hybrids. I fired 2, then fired 3 at a separate aim point.

    Here is a target showing the typical groups from the VLD's on the left, with the two groups of hybrids on the right. All were fired at the same seating depth and charge weight. Ignore that single shot way low on the 2nd row, as that was from sighting earlier on.


    It's well known that VLD's can be finicky, but I had not seen this kind of issue in any rifle I've worked with to date. I pride myself on being able to do load development on difficult rifles, but sometimes I get a little too stubborn. I really wanted the VLD's to work, but should probably have been a little more flexible earlier on. I've got 125rnds through this barrel already. I could have saved at least 50rnds of that if I had been working with the hybrids to start... but then again, you don't know until you try. :)

  • We are creatures of habit. We go to what we know and expect it to work.

    Glad to see you got it worked out.