I finally got a chance to get out and do some load development with my new build and my Black Hole Weaponry 18” barrel. Barrel is heavy stainless steel, 18” 1-8” twist and has polygonal 3 groove rifling. Barrel was properly broken in with the typical 50 round barrel break in procedure.
I wanted to use some different powders for the testing, but all I had on hand was H335 and H4895. I didn’t use the 4985 as the first load, which was minimum load was so compressed with LC brass, that it put a deep groove on shoulder of the bullet when seating. I heard way to much “crunching” when seating the bullets and it spooked me to much to go any further. I may do some testing with Benchmark, Varget and BLC2 later on, but I really want to stick with H335 as I load several calibers and loads with it. Dirty, but I have found better accuracy with it than any of the above listed calibers.
For bullets I am a Hornady junkie so I used the 68 grain BTHP and the 75 grain BTHP. All of which were coated by myself with moly in the tumbler. I really like the BTHP design for long range shooting. Bucks the wind much better than anything else I have used.
Range setting was a nice 68-70 degrees, 100 yard indoor rifle range. Bi-pod and sand bag only were used. Scope was a 6-18x40mm Nikon Buckmaster with Mildot reticle. I believe the mildot reticle is a must for varmint hunting.
Groups were all measured from outside diameter to outside diameter across from the furthest bullet.
First load was 23.5 grains of H335 and the 68 grain BTHP bullet. Average group but measured .969”
Second load was 23.7 grains of H335 and the 68 grain BTHP. Group was really weird. 3 close shots were the last 3 fired. The 3 close shots grouped .471” and I wont even measure the other two
Third load was 24.0 grains of H335 and the 68 grain BTHP. Third load wasn’t pretty either. 1.754” Barrel didn’t see to like 68/H335 combo very well.
Now on to the 75 grain. Gun seem to really really love them.
First load was 22.0 grains of H335 and the 75 grain BTHP. First load had a cold bore flyer but the group measured .581” Very nice.
Second load was 22.3 grains of H335 and the 75 grain BTHP. Second load had a cold bore flyer as well, but the group measured .519” I like this a lot. Best group of the day shooting and started thinking this barrel was scary accurate.
Third load was 22.5 grains of H335 and the 75 grain BTHP. Third load and a flyer with a group of .944”
Forth load was 22.7 grains of H335 and th3 75 grain BTHP. Forth load had a bad flyer that went low instead of high???? Not sure what was up with that, but the group measured .803”
As you can see the groups started opening up with the higher charge. Seems 22.3 was about as high as you can go with this set up and still get a good group.
Fifth and final group was too spread out to really know what happened. Didn’t like 23.0 grains with the 75 grain BTHP. Group was 1.101”
With barrel break in and test loads my round count is only 90 rounds total. At around 500 I should see better results, but how much better can you ask for really? I shot just a tad bit over ½” group at 100 yards. In an 18” gas gun, that is about what you can expect. I don’t know if many manufactures will guarantee anything better.
Here is the set up I’m running. Black Rain Ordnance upper and lower, 2 stage RRA trigger and LPK, Hogue Free float tube, 18” SPR Black Hole Weaponry barrel and Miculek break.
Carl with Black Hole Weaponry, will build you just about any custom AR-15 barrel want. This barrel ran me $260 dollars and was worth every penny. I have got the same or worse results from more expensive Manufactures, never any better. I have a 20” custom 6.5mm barrel being made now and will be doing an accuracy test and review very soon. Price is what “normal” people on a “normal” budget can afford. Spending less that 400 dollars on a barrel usually means that accuracy wont be as great, but that’s not the case with Carl’s barrels. Trust me, Carl will treat you right and does what be can to make the customer happy.
I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I did. I have finally found my Prairie Dog Killing Machine for next year. I will follow up with this review after I hit the 1K mark and see what accuracy is. I’m sure I wont see much if any decrease and 1k will come fast with 2 hunts already booked.