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BiggerHammer

Savage "6.5 Badger" project. 26" Blackhole 8 twist P3.

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Awhile back when Matrix bullets came out with their 6.5 160gr VLD with a BC of .685. I knew I had to come up with a cartridge to get maximum performace out of such a bullet and for me that translates to velocity. Here in Central Washingtons open country. Where varmints and game animals can to taken as far out as a shooter and his rifle are capable, the 6.5 Badger made sense. This rifle was put together for long range big game and my Persenal addiction with shooting Rockchucks at distance. It is big , it is over bore and for those of you on the "Efficiency" wagon it is grossly inoficient and in my own sick way if those types find it offensive, that is slightly pleasing for me. This was not designed as a "High Volume" Prairie Dog town rifle.

 

 

The 6.5 Badger is a .338 Remington Ultra Magnum necked down to 6.5 , minimum case taper, the shoulder moved forward and a 40degree shoulder. The reason I went with the .338 RUM case over the full length longer RUM case such as the 7mm RUM was simply the fact of cartridge overall length. I will continue to and have built almost all of my custom hunting and long range rifles on the Remington 700 action. Designing this cartridge on the .338 RUM case will allow me a COAL with the 160gr Matrix that will feed from a standard Remington 700 ultra magnum magazine box as a repeator.

 

This being a test rifle for the cartridge, I decided to build it on a Savage action so I could head space the barrel myself. This is the first Savage rifle I have assembled with a pre-fit barrel. This rifle will see multiple wilcat chambered barrels for testing in the future and I like the fact that switching barrels out is such a simple task.

 

I started with a base rifle, a factory blued Savage 110 in 7mm Magnum that I purchased in 96. The rifle was used several times back then by friends to shoot Mule deer and then has been in storage or a safe gathering dust since. The rifle was broke down and the and the action, after market heavy recoil lug, barrel nut, rear action bolt, bolt callor and bolt release were sent off to Gorge Custom Coatings here in Washington to be Cerakoted in "Savage Stainless" .

 

My reamer and "go" gauge and Blackhole barrel had just arrived from "Jay" at BHW. I would like to thank Jay for his customer service and fit and finish of the barrel. I would also like to thank "GLShooter" for his hand in this. As soon as the BHW 6.5 Badger barrel arrived. I sent it off to Killer Innovations where they hooked me up with the bead blasting of the barrel, laser engraving of the cartridge designation and the timing of one of their stainless Killer Innovations muzzle brakes.

 

I then looked for a stock for the test rifle, it had to be a synthetic stock, one that was on hand and ready to ship with a full length aluminum bedding block. There weren't many stocks to meet my "Need it right now" time schedule. I settled on the Choate Tactical and with a call and a card No# it was in route. The stock arrived and 2 days later the action and barrel arrived back on the same day. I assembled the rifle and it was time to form some brass.

 

Seeing my custom 6.5 Badger dies were still at heat treat with CH4D it was time to make due with what was on hand for forming. I took 20 new .338 RUM cases and ran them through a .300 WSM. Full length die first with the expander removed for the first stage of forming the case, next I ran them through a .270 WSM full length die with the expander removed. Final stage was a trip through a RCBS .270 WSM bushing die with the proper bushing. I only sized enough of the neck to getma good slight crush fit when chambered. Those case were then primed then loaded with 14gr of Bullseye & Cream Of Wheat. Then it was off to COW fire form cases, I got a excellent case form with the 14gr of Bullseye. These cases were then loaded with the 160gr Matrix VLD and US869 powder. Starting at 93gr and working up.

 

It was time to fire the first test cartridges through the rifle, most hotrod wildcat 6.5's sport 30" plus barrels. My thinking was that the 3P Polygonal barrels have a reputation for being a bit faster. So I wanted to see if I could get 30"' conventional barrel velocities out of a 26" polygonal. I wasn't disappointed with the first three rounds fired from my test rifle. The first three shots averaged 3337fps over the Magnetto Speed with the 160gr Matrix with a BC of .685 that is impressive in itself as a start! I had pressure signs right away and after a quick assessment it was contributed to the necks/ overall neck dimension. The necks would need to be turned and the 93gr charge shot again and worked up from there. So this is where I'm currently at , I have my neck turned loaded cartridges ready and I heading out to shoot them. I'll update this post as the load development continues.

 

 

Here are some pictures of the project in progress.

 

The start

 

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After Cerakote

 

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Killer Innovations muzzle brake

 

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The parts pile before assembly

 

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Matrix 160gr 6.5 VLD's.. SEXY! ! !

 

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Laser engraving of the caliber designation

 

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The action assembled with a Sigma Machine custom stainless bolt handle with aluminum bolt knob

 

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The rifle assembled

 

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Ready for the range and testing

 

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6.5 Badger cartridge pictured 3rd from the left. In order left to right. .450 Remington Ultra Magnum/ 500gr Hornady, .375 BME/350gr Sierra MatchKing, 6.5 Badger/160gr Matrix, Badger percent case .338 RUM.

 

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In order left to right. .338 case, 6.5 Badger, .375 BME and to keep it in perspective :)) a Lapua 6.5-284 case far right.

 

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6.5 Badger left, .338 RUM case right.

 

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Today's shooting resulted in 3599fps for the 139g Lapua Scenars and a average of 3302fps for the 160gr Matrix on top of 93gr of US869. The CCI 250 primers have to go! I'm going to have to get my hands on more Federal 215's. I was only using the CCI's due to the fact I was out of the 215's.

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Holy S.....

 

I was looking at a .26 Nosler as a new toy. This seems a bit faster. Will be following this to see if there is enough barrel life to get through load development.

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From what I've read the 26 Nosler isn't delivering advertised velocities.

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From what I've read the 26 Nosler isn't delivering advertised velocities.

I don't know about that but I disproved their down range energy claims in about three minutes. Not that I understand ballistics or nothin.

 

Greg

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I don't know about that but I disproved their down range energy claims in about three minutes. Not that I understand ballistics or nothin.

Greg

I read it the same. I can find true North in a hurry and I know what's South of it.

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*** UPDATE ***

 

Time to spin up another barrel, I shot the Black Hole barrel out in less than 200 rounds. It went from 1/2" - 5/8" in groups to key holing everything in a flash. I'm going to have a 30" Benchmark barrel chambered and compare the round count. The chambering is obscenely over bore to say the least. We have one other barrel chambered in the 6.5 Badger, it's a 30" McGowen and it's still shooting, we will see how long it lasts. It's fast though. It's shooting tight and launching the the 160gr 6.5 Matrix VLD's at 3460 fps!

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Yep. Bethlehem found out a long time ago if you build a big enough fire you can melt steel.

 

Greg

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I'm sending the barrel off to have it cut down to 22" inches and rechambered to a 6.5 SAUM, .264 Win Mag, 6.5 STW? I haven't decided yet, then I'll campare barrel life and round count compared to the 6.5 Badger. I've always wondered if the polygonal can hold up to the hot rod chamberings as compared to the standard enfield rifling. We will see.

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Differnt steels different rates. Different powders different rates. It's not the rifling that goes bad it's the alligator cracking in the throat.

 

Greg

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Oh no.. You and I both know a bullet moving that fast needs a little "Grip" I'm curious to see by comparison that the "Polygonal" is providing that grip for a bullet at that velocity. I was more than careful not to shoot that barrel hot. I shoot allot of Black Hole Barrels, as do you with the ones that are given to you. This is strictly a test in fact and performance.

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My theory is the standard rifling rounds off and looses the engraving consistency. I think the polygonal will remain stable. Even shooting them slow that much powder will be a blow torch on the throat.

 

Greg

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