In 2008, in preparation for my first hunting trip to Arkansas, I picked up a Kimber 84M Classic chambered in .260 Remington, and I topped it off with a Leupold 2-7x3mm scope. I wanted something that was lightweight and not excessively powerful for the slightly smaller whitetail deer in the south, and that’s exactly what I got. The rifle is very light, handles very well, and feels great in my hands. The recoil is relatively mild, yet completely capable against deer.
Unfortunately, I have not achieved the accuracy I was hoping for. Free-floated barrel, aluminum pillar and glass bedded action, match chamber and Kimber’s reputation for quality all led me to hope for a ½ MOA rifle. Instead, I have been unable to find a load that beats 1½ MOA. The bullet I had hoped to use produced awful groups. I tried several different bullets and three different powders. In the interest of having something to hunt with that autumn, I settled on the Sierra 120 gr. Pro-Hunter. I took a deer with it, and the bullet performed flawlessly. All in all, it is a good deer rifle, but the accuracy still bothers me. The following year, I tried another powder and a couple more bullets, but there have been no improvements. Since then, I haven’t made any more attempts at load development for this rifle.
However, this week I happened to stumble across a 6.5mm Sierra bullet that I had never noticed before. Evidently, it is new. It is a 130 gr. hollow point GameKing. Visually, it looks much like the MatchKing, except that the nose has been precisely crimped into four scallops or petals. Internally, it has thicker jacket walls like the other GameKing bullets for controlled expansion. Looking through the Sierra manual at other GameKing bullets of this design, it is supposed to be a tougher bullet for improved penetration. I immediately ordered a box, which arrived today.
I have high hopes for this bullet. Irrationally, I suppose. However, Sierra makes accurate bullets, and they have often turned out to be the best for a given rifle.
I had prepared some brass yesterday (new cases, sorted by weight and neck wall thickness, uniformed primer pockets and flash holes, sized, trimmed, chamfered and deburred). I loaded up forty rounds today: eight five-round groups using four different powders. I intend to trek down to the unmanned range on Sunday to try them out.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
In addition to the .260 Remington, I wonder how this bullet would do in my 6.5mm WSM (a wildcat). A tougher bullet should handle the velocities quite well, although its ballistic coefficient is lower than other bullets I have been using. It may be too tough to expand properly in my brother’s 6.5mm Grendel, which would only give it about 2250 fps at the muzzle.
Update: Among my test groups, one powder shows some promise with this bullet: Hodgdon H1000. The two groups were 1.593″ and 1.668″ at 100 yards. A full range of testing is called for. I should be able to find a load that beats 1½ MOA, in which case I will switch to this bullet for my preferred hunting load. One caveat is that H1000 is a compressed charge, and it tends to spring the bullets a little out of the case.