As Hurricane Harvey made landfall across the gulf in Texas, rain bands hit Florida but I decided to take a chance and drive the two hours to the Manatee Range just in case there was a break in the rain that would allow me to continue testing. When I arrived it was dead calm, 79 degrees F, 99% RH and 29.92" HG and steady and the rain had stopped.
I set up a target at 400 yards, dialed the Swarovski Z3 BT to 400 and shot a six shot group with the H4350 loading of 42.1 grains.
There was no mirage so I could see my shots at 400 today through the spotting scope pretty well and the shots were in a nice group relatively well centered but a tad low. Velocities were 2645, 2624, 2615,2620,2637 and 2643 for an average muzzle velocity of 2631 FPS with an ES of 30 and SD of 12.7.
So there it is, job done, this is a clone of the Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X factory load, same velocity, same accuracy. It would have been good to shoot the factory loads side by side under the same conditions to verify the same point of impact as well but in my sinality, I forgot them.
Here is a pic of the six shot group fired at 400 yards with the H4350 clone.
The rain was beginning to move in again but I did have time to fire a five shot group with the IMR4350 loading I had chosen which was 41.2 grains. I chose this one because I had noted in the ladder test that although the velocity was lower than I would like it put three shots nearly through the same hole one increment above and below that charge weight. When I see this clustering in ladder tests, often that is an accuracy node, found without all the accompanying rounds fired and time spent of firing five shot group matrixes. So, I was curious to see what this one would do.
The first shot I could see was low perhaps just a little lower than the H4350 clone load but not out of the ordinary for a load that I knew would be about 30 fps slower and indeed it was 2590 fps. The next shot I forgot to set the trigger on the chronograph. The guy next to me was shooting a short barreled .308 with a brake which was loud enough to trigger my Lab Radar, so I was disarming between shots to prevent getting his velocities mixed in with mine and I forgot to arm my radar and missed that velocity. I could see it was higher but in line with the first shot. The next shot was 2608 but I couldn't see where it went, the fourth shot was 2592, and the fifth shot was 2600 but again I could only see the two holes through my spotting scope. The average velocity of these four shots was 2598, ES 18, and SD 8.2.
As I drove the golf cart down range at the next cease fire to retrieve my target I could see a heavy rain band approaching so I just grabbed it and headed back to the covered firing point. Racing the rain I made in just before a deluge enveloped the entire range that would have spoiled this unique 400 yard target. Quite frankly I've never seen anything like this, four of the five shots had passed through the same hole. What kind of coincidence would create this?
I have no explanation for why the first shot was so low. Still even with that low flyer it is a 3/4 MOA group fired from nearly a quarter mile so not bad but I can't wait to load more of this load and see what they do. Those four shots through the same hole grabbed my attention.
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Robert J Stokes