Load Development and Accuracy
The rifle more than lived up to expectations when we took it to the range. After a couple of zeroing shots at 100 yards, Rob kindly allowed me to shoot the first group. My first shot hit the tiny red spot (see photo) that Rob was using as an aim-point. Shot two touched the first and the third shot made a nice clover-leaf which, as you can see from the photograph, measured about three-tenths of an inch. Rob took over and not to be out-done, fired a five-shot group under one-half an inch. Off the bipod, with no load development, I thought that this was an excellent result and accuracy may improve once we have played with the load and run-in the barrel.
Our loads were based on work done by Darrell Jones for his 6.5×47 bench rifle (see Gun of the Week 72). Darrell tested many powders and bullets, and he worked up some good loads using Vihtavuori N550. We used this double-base powder, moly-coated Lapua 123gr bullets, and Federal primers. I’ve already built my own 6.5×47 and I must thank Darrell for sharing his very thorough load development. With a brand-new cartridge such as the 6.5×47, the “official” load data is very limited. Being able to follow Darrell’s recommendations saved us a whole lot of time and money. Availability of American powders varies in the UK and the supply of Vihtavuori is much more reliable (and cheaper!). This influenced my decision to go with the N550.