Years ago I used to have a very, very accurate Remington 700 Sendero in .300 Win Mag. I sold it some years ago and replaced it with a Savage 10 with the 4-14 ACSS scope in 7.62 NATO. While I miss the long range accuracy of that .300 Win, I’ve not been disappointed with the Savage.
Two weeks ago I took it to a square indoor range and put 30 rounds down the tube to see what kind of groups I might expect without making any adjustments to the rifle or glass. The only ammo I had on had was some Fiocchi 165gr Sierra HPBT Game King, which is a great hunting round. I’m fond of the 165gr as a general purpose bullet as it performs very well out to about 700m, and the Game King is designed as a purposeful hollow point.
I was ok with the results; best group, once it was sighted in, was just about an inch at 50m; so 2 inches at 100 is fine for hunting, however, my projected application for the Savage is to distract and disrupt a ‘zombie apocalypse’ against my neighborhood.
As I hadn’t shot this rifle, admittedly, I did things backwards. All I did to prep it was to patch the barrel and check the optics for solid mounting. After I shot it and came home, I took it completely apart, cleaned it, and then used a torque driver to tighten the action screws to the recommended inch pound setting from Savage.
I went back to a square outdoor range with 3 different brands of ammunition in two weights: 168 & 175gr – two with Sierra HPBT Matchking projectiles and one set with Berger projectiles.
All shots from the bench, cool to warm barrel, no cleaning between groups, 100 meters, temperature around 80f, partly cloudy, humidity about 75%.
Suffice it to say that the results, with much higher quality ammunition and having the rifle prepped made quite the difference!
This is the result:
Berger Match Grade 308 Winchester Ammo 175 Grain Open Tip Match Tactical
This was the most accurate (and most expensive) rounds used in my Inherent Accuracy Test, Phase 1. As you can see, it’s pretty good ammo. The small squares are 1/4 inch X 1/4 inch, and this is a really good just under or at 1/2 inch group. The Berger rounds use the best of everything, to include Lapua brass, match projectiles, special power blends, and match primers. It shows. But they’re spendy. Between $1.30 and $1.50 a round, depending on where you get them, and that doesn’t include shipping! Add another .40 to .60 a round after shipping. Sometimes you can get free shipping if you buy lots of 200 rounds. That may come later for me if I choose these as my primary, but even so, they’re expensive! That’s about $30 a box or more.
Next up is Federal Gold Medal 308 Winchester 175gr Sierra HPBT Match King. This group was just over a half inch but under 3/4’s of an inch. The price point difference between this and the Berger is significant, at about $7 a box cheaper than the Berger. The Federal rounds are also top quality, with the same Sierra bullet, ‘virgin’ brass (so described by Federal) proprietary powder mix, and really consistent primers.
The Federal is less expensive by quite a bit, ranging from .92 to $1.70 per round (this price had a free shipping note so long as you purchase 200 rounds). The range is a lot wider, but at the least expensive end, adding shipping to the cost makes it about $1.50 or so a round, or $25 a box, and with the eye of a coupon shopper, you can probably get these for less than $20 a box, shipped.
Last, but certainly not least, as the ammo is MOA capable, is Fiocchi’s submission to the 175gr match market. Titled, ‘Fiocchi Exacta Rifle Match,’ it’s performance was acceptable, though a bit disappointment as it is about the same price as the Federal, which performed clearly better in this test.
I have some IMI 175gr BTHP SMK OTM Razor Core Match coming, so this portion of the test won’t be complete until that gets expended.
After the 175gr performance comparison is complete, I’m going to do 168 gr as well, same brands (except Berger, as they don’t make 168’s), same conditions as much as possible. I’m including the 168’s as potential ‘go to’ ammo as I was weaned on them back in the day, and I wouldn’t fee right not giving them a chance.