A few months ago I decided that I wanted to experiment with a short barrelled 30 cal rifle for woodland stalking and high seat use. All my rifles are relatively high velocity (2950 to 3550 fps) in 6mm, 6.5mm and 7mm with 26" barrels to squeeze every last bit of velocity out of them. I run light/medium for calibre bullets in them and go for fast and flat. With a mod on the barrel they are a pain in a high seat or even when walking through woodland, but are great for foxing from the top of a vehicle or on the open hill.
The new project was to go for minimal barrel length, long enough so that when the mod was screwed on it just cleared the stock, and using a heavy for calibre bullet to try to get all the powder burnt before the end of the barrel. There was no point in going for a super powerful 30 cal as I would never be able to burn all the powder, so selected .308. I estimated 2500 fps using a 170 grain bullet.
With the bullet travelling that slowly it would give me +/- 1" out to 150 yds which is all I wanted for a woodland rifle. In the past 12 months on the Roe and Muntjac the longest shot has been 160yds, shortest 40 yes and average 90 yes, so it should be fine for everything I want to do in the south.
With a terminal velocity of 2400 fps at the closest range and 2200 fps at the longest, I was going to need a soft bullet to guarantee expansion so for the first time I have decided to try the 168 Amax. I don't use them in the faster rifles as when they hit target at 3000 fps they have a bit of a reputation for blowing up and causing too much damage, but at the slower speeds I think they might well be the best thing to use.
I bought a second hand Howa in .308 from a chap on this site and got the barrel cut to 16". Put a Hardy mod on it and a Bushnell scope in 1-6.5*24 (I wanted something I could use for driven boar in the future as well as woodland stalking). Picked it up last week.
This morning I decided to zero it. I only have a little 50 yd range at home but it's fine to get rifles on zero and get an idea of what your 100 yd groups are going to look like. I had been given a box of Hornady TAP ammunition which uses the 168 grain Amax bullet so I though I would give them a go before I started on the reloading. Imagine my surprise when this happened:
I'm chuffed to bits. Three shots all through the same hole. It shouldn't get too much worse at 100 yds. I might even scrap the reloading plan and buy the TAP's for this gun, not sure I can get any better than that.
Theory spot on so far, experiment going to plan. Now just need to find myself a Muntjac to try it out on - can't use it on a Roe until November as all my bucks have been shot for this year but still a few Munties causing trouble. Will be interesting to see if the Amax work well at that speed or if they still do too much damage.
I will report back when I find out.