Accuracy in the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle

After my initial testing of the Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle in 223 Rem I was pleased with its accuracy.  I decided it was time to take the rifle out for a field test, hoping to shoot some marauding wild dogs.

In preparing for that I discovered the magazine well of the rifle was slightly shorter than the rounds I had loaded.  The length available for rounds in the magazine well was 2.330 inches.  With my loading of the 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, that would require it to be seated 105 thou off the lands, if it was to fit in the magazine well.  I had only tested seating depths out to 50 thou.

Some more range work was called for.  I loaded up a series of batches of the 55 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips, varying the seating depth from the 105 out to 160 thou, in steps of 10 thou.  Today was a fabulous day for shooting groups; being a clear sky with negligible breeze.

I had not previously ever seated Nosler Ballistic Tips, of any calibre, so far back from the lands and I did not know what to expect.  The Weatherby Vanguard HSP Varmint Rifle had so far shown itself to be accurate without any fussiness, so I was hoping it would maintain the very acceptable 0.8 MOA accuracy.

I was pleasantly surprised as I fired off my series of three-shot groups.  The rifle shot even better, pecking out a series of 0.3 MOA groups.  For an unaltered, off-the-shelf rifle, I thought that was fantastic performance.  I will load the 55 grain Nosler BTs to 150 thou off the lands.  That will put me squarely in the middle of 0.3 MOA territory with rounds that will easily stack and feed from the magazine.  A couple of minor scope tweaks will have the bullets printing on the verticle, just over 30 mm (about 1.25 inches) above the point of aim.  That will give the rifle an effective 200 metres range.  In the coming days, I will take it out after those wild dogs once again, enormously confident in its ability to do the job.

I should have one, maybe two, more range sessions where I will test some handloads for the 50 grain and 40 grain Nosler BTs, plus some more factory ammo.  I am looking forward to what that shows.

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