The search for a long range load for the Mod 0 is complete.
I was able to slip away and test out the last bit of load development yesterday, gusty winds be damned, and I walked away impressed. I was shooting 5 round groups of the 123 grain Lapua Scenar loads using three different primers: CCI BR4, CCI 450, and Federal Match; all of them went in well under an inch, with the first three shots of the BR4s going into one teeny bughole. The fourth shot was pulled out by a big ass gust of wind -- a remnant of Irene -- and the last round was a flyer. See bottom left group (the 450 and Federal Match primer groups are not pictured):
The top three groups were an OCW type test with 123 grain A-MAX and IMR 8208 XBR powder. The tightest group in the middle is the recommended load for the 6.5 Grendel by pretty much everybody, and I suspect that it's at the far end of the accuracy node. I like it because it's got a little more speed than the 123 grain Scenar load - 2,495 fps on average over the Scenar's 2,476 fps. At less than half the price of the Scenars, I'm staking my claim in the A-MAX.
A pro tip for reloaders: virgin brass will never be as consistent as brass that has been fired in your chamber. This has always been my experience with every gun I've ever owned. I don't consider brass to be "mature" and give the best results and tightest groups until it's been fired two to three times. The Alexander Arms brass that I'm using is made by Lapua, and is the most consistent brass I've ever bought. With that said, it's still slightly undersized so that it can load into any chamber, and that means that there will be flyers here and there in your groups. So far I've used new pieces of brass in every load I've tested, and I'm pretty excited to see how much better this gun is going to shoot with resized brass, as in the past there is a marked difference.
I still want to play around with 107 grain Sierra Match Kings and 130 grain Swift Sciroccos, but not for a little while. First thing is to get this rifle locked in with the A-MAX loads on both the scope and irons.
Also of note, I dragged out the SKS to find out what the zero is for it at 100 yards, and I was rewarded with a 6" five shot group, four of the shots going into about 3". Not bad. My brother's girlfriend was holding fantastic groups with it off-hand at 15 yards, and was a real world indicator why rifles are the ticket for getting hits.