In the first post on this rifle, here, I shot 175gr rounds from various manufactures from Berger down to Fiocchi (cost & inherent accuracy wise). This time, I’m shooting 168gr from various manufacturers: IMI, Federal, Fiocchi, and Mag Tech. Berger doesn’t make a 168gr HPBT match, at least, easily found for sale. So, I’ve got 4 match grade HPBT rounds to compare.
As you can see by reading the first report, the Berger 175’s were top notch in accuracy and quality of production. Lapua brass, match primers, superb projectiles, and bordering on ‘scary’ accuracy.
Now, to be fair, I fouled the barrel prior to my anecdotal evidence experiment, and didn’t clean the barrel inbetween brands. So, the Fiocchi had the dirtiest and warmest barrel temps to deal with. To rule that out, next phase, after the 168’s, I’m shooting the Fioochi first and the Berger’s last, with IMI (new batch of 175gr Match) ad Federal in the middle. We’ll see how that goes. Digression complete.
Something else I’m doing doing different is checking impact of the torque of the action screws on accuracy. Savage says they should be torqued between 30 and 35 inch pounds. I’ve torqued them as close as I could to 33 inch pounds. So, we’ll see what happens. If the first 3 shot groups (yeah, I know, 5 rounds is a better test and I’ll do that later) are more than an inch, I’ll adjust the torque to 35 pounds. If it shrinks it, great, if it opens up more, I’ll back it down to around 30 and see what that does.
Here’s the results as they were shot.
185 Gr Federal “Juggernaut” – HUGE disappointment as these rounds are loaded with Berger bullets and about as expensive as the Berger/Lapua 175gr below (about $1.24 per round). I really expected them to equal, if not best, the Berger brand. While not ‘bad,’ per se, the 1.5 inch large group was either a fluke or an indicator of possible QA concerns due to the lack of consistency.
Small: .416 Inches
Large: 1.5 inches
175 GRAIN HPBT MATCH COMPARISON
Berger 175 gr HPBT: The most accurate, and most expensive round in the 175gr range. You do get what you pay for! $1.24 per round, delivered.
Small: .311 inches – I’m thinking with some practice, I could easily do “one hole groups” with this ammo.
Large: .837 inches
Avg: .574 inches – Basically a half inch at 100 meters. On average. Don’t get NO better than that with factory loaded ammo!!
Prime 175 gr HPBT: I could easily stick with these due with the price point of .94 per round delivered; 30 cents per round less expensive than the Berger (which is a SUPERB round). If I were to be concerned with budget, this would be my round of choice.
Small: .540 inches
Large: 1.04 inches
Avg: .730 inches
Federal Match 175 gr HPBT: Meh. Federal Match oughta be better out of the box.
Small: .478 Inches
Large: 1.88 inches
Avg: 1.26 inches
Barnes “Precision” 175 gr HPBT: (Rounds had obvious water spots on the projectiles from improper storage – could have had something to do with performance, but all brands were purchased from the same distributor – no other problems noted whatsoever.) Will not use – actually feel I wasted the money on the test ammo.
Small: 1.61 inches
Large: 2 inches
Avg: 1.74 inches
MAGTECH ‘First Defense’ 168gr HPBT Match: If I go 168gr, these are going to be my round of choice…..these are the ‘poor man’s’ accuracy round. A real sleeper! Excellent performance all around. Average about exactly between a half in and three quarters of an inch group at 100 meters! REALLY good factory load alternative for 168’s.
SUPERB performance, especially when one notes MAGTECH is an ‘economy’ brand.
Small: .383 inches
Large: .832 inches
Avg: .670 inches
IMI 168gr Match (HPBT): Meh. I expected more out of IMI ‘sniper/match’ rounds. All 3 groups were very consistent, two of which were within .001 size differential. They do shoot the same, but the inherent accuracy wasn’t tight enough for me to consider these as my ‘go to’ round.
Small: 1.07 inches
Large: 1.30 inches
Avg: 1.22 inches
Federal 168gr Premium HPBT Match: Not happy AT all….my rifle doesn’t like this round; surprising, in that it likes other 168’s. I really thought this round would be at the top of the 168 crowd….
Small: 0.90 inches
Large: 1.5 inches
Avg: 1.2 inches