Look at me going all metric… A few weeks ago, I finally had the opportunity to get the Ruger Precision Rifle out to the long distance range. And boy is that fun!
It’s a version 1.5 RPR in 6mm Creedmoor. After the first round of Precision Rifles, Ruger made a few minor changes and introduced a 6mm Creedmoor version. I once looked up the differences between the v.1 and v1.5 but don’t recall them now. Recently, they updated it again and it’s an official v.2.0 version, which was a win for me because that’s how I got mine so cheap. GrabAGun was blowing out my model for $799 back in March, so it was pretty much impossible to pass up.
After scoring the gun, I started looking for an optic. I was soooo close to pulling the trigger on either a Vortex PST II or a Burris XTR II when I stumbled on a YouTube review for the Athlon Ares. I read reviews, watched videos and researched as much as I could. In the end, I took a chance on the Athlon, and I don’t regret it at all. It’s the Ares BTR 4-27 x 50 with an illuminated Mil reticle. It’s a first focal plane with a nice Christmas tree design for both holdover and wind. I also saved at least $400 on the scope over the other two top choices.
For rings, I ordered up a set of Burris XTR Precision Rings. They are a horizontally split, 6-screw design with a unique set of inserts that allow you to cant the scope for additional elevation. You can get up to 54 MOA of offset, depending on ring spacing. The rings come with a whole set of bushings to customize the amount of offset. The RPR already has a 20 MOA rail on it, so I started with an additional 10 MOA. That turned out to be too much. When zeroing the gun at 100 yards, I ran out of elevation; the gun was still shooting high. Thankfully, I thought to put the extra spacers in the range bag, so I swapped to 5 MOA. That gave me enough to pretty much bottom out the turret and zero at 100 yards. The scope has 24 Mils of adjustment, so at 1,000 yards I have 864 inches of elevation. Since the 6mm needs closer to 340, I’m just hitting center of the scope at that range. If I ever want to shoot out to a mile, I have enough elevation.
Finally, I ordered up a Leapers UTG Keymod mount bipod for the gun and a Vortex anti-cant level for the scope. All in, I have a few hundred dollars of change left over from a $2,000 bill for the whole package.
The Range Trip
As per range procedure, I started off by confirming my zero at 100 yards. I had loaded up 40 rounds of 105 gr. Nosler Custom Competition bullets over a moderate charge of H4350 and IMR4451 (20 of each). The primary purpose was to fire-form the brass so I can start working up some real loads. These shot well enough at 100, so I moved out to 600. The first shot on the full-size IPSC landed right in the center. I shot another round there, then moved on to the gongs. The 12”, 8” and 6” were all hit before I moved on to the 750 berm. At 750, I dialed up the elevation and again center punched the IPSC target. I also hit the 12”, 8” and 6” gongs before trying my hand at 1,000 yards.
After double-checking the wind, and my ballistic solution, I dialed in the elevation and sent one. I couldn’t see where it went, so I tried another one. After a second “did not see,” I went back to 750. The shot at 750 landed right in the middle of the target, so I was pretty sure I was on the right track.
After double-checking the ballistic calculator, I decided to add another .2 Mil to see what happens. That should have added about 7” of elevation, and I was pretty confident I was low, so I sent one. It was a miss, saw it land low, so I now knew where I was. By my estimation (looking through the scope to a target 1,000 yards away), I landed about 12-18” low. I dialed up another .2. I saw the impact right in front of the target. Another .2 Mil and I saw my first splatter on the target. It was in the low-left quadrant of the 4’ x 4’ target.
Having already burned through most of my ammo, I started playing around with my holds. The wind was coming and going, and it was raining intermittently, but I managed to land another 4-5 shots in that same quadrant. It was a really good feeling to see shots land on target that far away.
I wish I had thought to take pictures of the targets as I went down to paint. However, the second I backed the golf cart out of the shed, a squall came in and it began to pour. By the time I passed the 500 yard berm, I was soaked. One thing I noticed was the vast difference between how flat everything looks through the scope. Back at the bench, when I shifted from 600 to 1,000, it really didn’t look like there was 400 yards between them. But driving that distance it became clear just how far that is. And when I turned the cart around to drive back, I noticed just how far from the shoot house I was.
I have a few loads worked up to test to see how tight the gun can shoot. If things go well, I’ll be down there this week to test out the Optimum Charge Weight process with both the Custom Competition bullets and 107 gr. Sierra MatchKings. Those will be propelled by H4350, but I’m looking forward to giving IMR4451 another shot. I also have some Hornady 108 gr. ELD-M pills to try out. Hopefully, I can land on a 1/2 MOA load fairly quickly and I can get on to working my way out to 1,250 yards. I’ll keep you posted how that goes.
Ever since I started hitting steel at 300 yards, I’ve become addicted to shooting rifles at ever longer distances. When I started hitting at 500 yards, it began to get exciting. Now that I have my AR dialed in, that’s not terribly difficult. And the RPR makes it downright easy. I was frankly surprised how easy 600 and 750 were. But, like the owner of the range told us in long range qualification class, nothing good happens beyond 1,000 yards.
Lots to learn yet, but I’m enjoying my journey down the long-range rabbit hole.