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New PRS/NRL rifle wanted.


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I am having shoulder surgery, so I am going to be off shooting for a few months.  During that time, I feel like I have an opportunity to assemble a new rifle.  I am thinking a Chassis rifle, detachable mag, good barrel, the works.  I intend this to be a PRS/NRL rifle, and am not limiting myself on caliber.   I would like help to pick a caliber, an action, a barrel and a chassis. 

 

SO, I intend to use this thread to help me decide exactly what I am building.  This is only going to be a fun rifle and I am an experienced reloader, so I don't care if I have to make my brass from scratch, but if something like 6.5 creed (with a GOB of factory ammo available) ends up being the best choice so be it.   Buying the exact components seems better than starting with a factory rifle and then taking a ton of parts off and replacing them.

I have accounts over on AS, SH, etc. but I have no street cred there, so asking there will just get me "STFU NOOB" ... and I don't have much of an idea who knows their stuff there...  

 

So, I think Caliber first.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Short version for PRS get 6mm BR and load 105 Berger Hybrids with Varget in Lapua cases at 2800-2860 fps. Runner up is 6 Dasher with same components with option to go faster. 

 

PRS and NRL may have different caliber virtues. I can speak to PRS. East of Mississippi, most PRS competitors tend to use a 6BR based cartridge at 2800-2860 fps. Common are 6BR, 6BRA, 6 Dasher, and 6GT. Many start with 6.5 Creedmoor and move to a 6mm. Those that do not reload tend to 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor. 6XC and 6CM are less popular now as they use more powder and tend to have less barrel life (barrel life is a big deal for many including me). I say east of MS as west of MS wind more of an issue and you may want the extra speed of 6CM. The PRS game now focused on minimum recoil to "see" impacts on target (or misses) to make corrections. 

 

Fireforming for 6BRA and 6 Dasher was an issue in the past but now Alpha makes 6BRA and 6 Dasher brass.

 

I am dedicated to PRS now and getting more experience, I shoot with a lot of PRS shooters better than me. Common response to "what PRS caliber" is start with 6BR. The only issue with 6mm BR is you have a relatively narrow window of powder burn rate - Varget is king but N140, A2520, H4350 work plus others. Lapua, Peterson, and now Alpha brass. Small rifle primers - CCI450 popular but not required. 105 grain projectiles - the 105 Berger hybrid is king followed by 107 SMK (109 Berger Hybrid popular too). 

 

I started with 65CM and still use it for practice/hunting. I bought a full MPA 6BR rifle last year - that is a great "one check" solution. I picked up a deal on a used 6XC rifle that I loved but barrel quickly died - I just had it rebarreled to 6BRA for my backup rifle. All that said, I shoot a full Exodus made 6 Dasher now and I love it.

 

Next hot topic should be scopes - long range rifle glass is a fun and $$ topic.

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I went thru this last spring/summer.  I had been shooting PRS on/off for a few years with a factory RPR in 6.5CM but the rifle never really fit me very well.  Opted to go semi-custom when I met a gun at my local club who was a machinist/gunsmith and he offered to spin up a barrel in whatever caliber I wanted.  My choice of calibers came down to three:  6CM, 6BR, and 6GT since I wanted the lighter recoil of the 6mm variants.  With my 6.5CM I could keep the target in the FOV thru the recoil when prone and had the bipod loaded, but it was 50/50 when shooting off barricades, tires, fence posts, etc.    

 

Upside of the 6CM was availability of factory ammo but shorter life expectancy of the barrel.  

 

Upside of 6BR was very easy to load for, components were available, but I read that the go-to powder was Varget (which I didn’t have) and while some people had load using H4350 it wasn’t the best choice.  I also heard that some people had feeding issues with the 6BR and/or the mag feedlips required tweaking.  

 

Upside the 6GT was availability of factory ammo (Hornady from GAP or Peterson), 4350 works great with 6GT (which I have a bunch of), fairly easy to load for, no mag feeding issues, and a little better barrel life than 6CM.  

 

I went 6GT

 

 

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Edited by 2MoreChains
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Ok, I just did a little research on the 6mm calibers mentioned and 6GT seems to offer the best combination of benefits, so 6GT it is. 😁

 

I have the optics covered courtesy a couple of simply awesome prize table certificates, Thank you to both Burris and Vortex for supporting the sport(s)!!!

 

So, now I need to decide Action, Chassis, Barrel.  At this point I will freely admit I do not have the talent or the machine shop tools required to chamber/headspace a rifle myself, thus I won't actually be gunsmithing, I will be "assembling" a barreled action...     It seems this limits me a bit to gunsmiths that have maybe less than a 6 month backlog if I am getting a barreled action instead of pre-fit parts.

 

 

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Optics - Burris and Vortex popular. I use the Burris XTRIII. Suggest you get MIL based (MRAD) versus MOA scope/reticle. Nothing wrong with MOA but 99% of the PRS competitors I see are using MRAD and all will be talking drops/wind in MRAD.

 

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Actions - currently many (most) PRS competitors choose an action that accepts prefits as that dramatically reduces the cost of replacement barrels (and wait times). Rule of thumb, actions since 2017 accept prefits and actions pre-2017 do not accept prefits.

 

Actions: There are multiple action companies - think Ford, Chevy, Ram pickups - that all do essentially same thing with minor differences and they each have their fans.

Buy once cry once solution - I suggest the Impact 737. Many prefits available.

Origin action is very popular and is cheaper.

Believe it or not, the Tikka factory action has a strong following. Essentially people buy a Tikka hunting rifle and break it down - use action for a custom build and eBay out all the parts. Tikka action accepts prefits.

A stock Remington 700 action will require additional work for truing, etc. - most suggest just buying a custom action and skipping a Rem action.

Savage - don't do it for serious PRS. No doubt can be accurate and certainly inexpensive but the action is just clunky. I have a Savage 223 trainer with thousands of rounds through it but not for competition. 

 

Chassis: Most competition actions fit the Rem 700 dimensions and fit into chassis for Rem 700 clones. MPA, MDT, XLR are the bigger names for chassis. MPA seems to dominate east of Mississippi. MPA introduced their new Matrix Pro Chassis recently - many competitors moving to the PRO and therefore many deals on used MPA Matrix (not pro) and BA Comps. (SH classifieds your friend here).

KRG Bravo is arguably the best of the lower cost chassis - I have two and love them. Careful - tendency to option out a Bravo increases costs such that maybe better to buy MPA to start with.

XLR Envy Pro great chassis. (Black Friday sale right now!)

MDT sells a lot of magazines (watch for Black Friday Pricing). MDT ACC is popular competition chassis.

 

Barrels: again, many to choose from. In 6GT (and similar), need 7 or 7.5 twist to run the 105 to 115 projectiles. Most finish at 26 inch (+/-) threaded 5/8x24 or 3/4x24 for brake. Big question - which contour? PRS moving to heavier contours for even more weight. Minimum contour now seems to be MTU moving to various increasingly heavy contours up to 1.20 or 1.25 straights. I just used a Rock Creek blank with the Proof Competition Contour for my 7 twist, 26 inch 6BRA rebarrel of a pre2017 Defiance action. Many Black Friday sales right now on prefits and blanks. Preferred Barrel Blanks, PVA, Straightjacket Armory and others.

Edited by ranger
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Here is a suggestion: Look at the "Production" PRS rifles. Max price = $2500. One check you can get a complete PRS rig minus scope and minus brake. I am a fan on Masterpiece Arms (MPA) as I shoot in Southeast around a lot of the MPA team members (and owner). GA Precision does them also but sell out quickly.

 

Suggestion 2: Snipers Hide always full of deals on "used" barreled actions. Just have to be careful of round count. There are deals on there right now.

Edited by ranger
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Ranger gave you a lot of good info on actions and barrels.  To add to his comments:

 

For the the 6GT and any of the 6mm variants as well as 6.5CM you’re in the “short action” category and all of them use the .308 bolt face.  So down the road if you want to go back to 6.5CM or try one of the other 6mm all you need to do is switch barrels.  The other thing to consider for your action is do you want a 90 degree bolt throw or 60 degree?  As with everything there are pluses and minuses with each.  

 

60 deg:  shorter bolt lift, less to lift, and less likely to run into anything you have protruding from your scope body (knobs, levers, etc).  Downside is sometimes it is a heavier bolt lift which could slow down the bolt throw (washing out the advantage of the shorter bolt lift) and cause you to lift your cheek off the buttstock which means you need to re-acquire your target.  But I certainly have seen plenty of people run their 60 deg bolts pretty damn fast with no interruptions.  

 

90 deg bolt throw is thought to have an easier bolt lift (1 finger) and easy bolt close (1 finger).  Downside is the exact opposite of the advantages of the 60 deg bolt: have to lift the bolt higher and your finger may run into the scope or knobs.  With the way my scope is mounted I have not run into this on my 90 deg bolt and I appreciate the easy lift/close.  

 

I second the advice about getting an action that is based on the Rem 700 pattern for no other reason that the wide range of aftermarket support in the form of triggers, stocks/chassis that are inlet for that pattern.  

 

I also second the comment about buying an action from a shop that offers pre-fit barrels.  With the advances in CNC machining and exacting tolerances, this has opened up the option of shops spinning up barrels that they guarantee will fit a certain brand of action without having to machine a barrel to that specific individual action.  Granted, I ended up going with a gunsmith spun up barrel but that was bc of the pricing (7 hundred for a blank and GS services vs 5 hundred for a prefit and I would have had to buy the action wrench and a barrel clamp).  

 

For me, the big three actions came down Zermatt TL3, Lone Peak Fuzion, and Impact Precision 737R.  I got to try them all out, and in the end it came down to 2 things:  The Lone Peak and Impact just felt better to me, and the Impact was available from Altus whereas at the time Lone Peak was on back order.  Altus also offers Proof barrels in competition contour for the Impact, so down the road I may go that route (a friend of mine who got his action and barrel at the same time are probably going to split the cost of the action wrench and barrel clamp so we can DIY our next barrel swap).

 

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, barrysuperhawk said:

Ok, I just did a little research on the 6mm calibers mentioned and 6GT seems to offer the best combination of benefits, so 6GT it is. 😁

 

I have the optics covered courtesy a couple of simply awesome prize table certificates, Thank you to both Burris and Vortex for supporting the sport(s)!!!

 

 

Personally I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.  Plenty of people running 6BR, 6Dasher and 6GT at matches for a reason.  Advantage of GT (or may be a disadvantage) is the GT’s nickname (see my pic above).  

 

When I went scope shopping I had a specific list of features I wanted such as parallax, 10-12MILS per rotation on the elevation turret, locking cap for windage, magnification range, reticle style, 56mm obj lens for more light, etc.  The Burris XTR Pro checked all those boxes for me at a decent price with glass quality that is comparable to scopes that cost more.  And for rings, I usually pair the scope with rings from the same brand, so Burris XTR Signature rings were what I used to mount the scope.  

 

Agree, good to support those that provide sponsorship!  

 

 

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9 hours ago, ranger said:

@ranger

Oooh, thats hot...  Practical question, if I would BE planning on re-barreling to 6GT rather than buying that caliber to start, is there any reason not to buy the 6.5CM version and take advantage of the wider availability of ammo and components in the meantime?   What I am asking is that is 6 creed a better enough choice to make up for not being to walk into most any gun store and get ammo?  In my area, 65 creed is literally the easiest rifle caliber to find...  The only place I can buy 6 creed still wants $36 a box at the moment.  If I get 6.5,  I would think I could sell my 6.5 stuff pretty easily when I switch to 6GT.

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I run a 6 Creedmoor using 115gr DTAC at 3000fps. I just pulled my barrel at the end of season at 1500rds. It was still shooting less than 1 moa, (up from 1/3 moa) but I have a big match coming up and didn’t want to chance it. Running factory ammo (105 @ 2900) you should be able to get more life. Run the ammo hot or scorch the barrel and you will get less. 

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16 hours ago, barrysuperhawk said:

@ranger

Oooh, thats hot...  Practical question, if I would BE planning on re-barreling to 6GT rather than buying that caliber to start, is there any reason not to buy the 6.5CM version and take advantage of the wider availability of ammo and components in the meantime?   What I am asking is that is 6 creed a better enough choice to make up for not being to walk into most any gun store and get ammo?  In my area, 65 creed is literally the easiest rifle caliber to find...  The only place I can buy 6 creed still wants $36 a box at the moment.  If I get 6.5,  I would think I could sell my 6.5 stuff pretty easily when I switch to 6GT.

Actually, there has been times when 6CM more available and cheaper than 65CM. Norma ran a deal recently, Nosler too. But yes, you could go 65CM and rebarrel later. MPA sells prefits for $600ish. (Join PRS and get access to discount codes for barrels, etc. for many vendors).

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20 minutes ago, CavReconScout said:

I run a 6 Creedmoor using 115gr DTAC at 3000fps. I just pulled my barrel at the end of season at 1500rds. It was still shooting less than 1 moa, (up from 1/3 moa) but I have a big match coming up and didn’t want to chance it. Running factory ammo (105 @ 2900) you should be able to get more life. Run the ammo hot or scorch the barrel and you will get less. 

I ran my 6XC past 1500 rounds and it died mid-match. 115 DTACs going 2900ish also. I have a 65CM past 2500 and still going like the energizer bunny in my practice rifle. I run 6BR and 6 Dasher now and the better shooters tell me to plan on pulling barrels at 2000+ for match use but they probably will last longer (especially the BR)

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