First Impressions: 22 GT

What is the 22 GT?

Based on a .308 case rim, the 22 GT is a .22 caliber version of the 6mm GT and is a result of a collaboration between George Gardner of GA Precision, and Tom Jacobs of Vapor Trail Bullets. The benefits of the 22 GT include problem-free feeding in AICS magazines and standard short action receivers, properly headstamped brass, an appropriate case volume for lower SD velocities, and lower recoil combined with higher speeds and flatter trajectories. 

Reloading

We had no issues with reloading 22GT. Similar to 6GT, Alpha Munitions offers 22GT OCD headstamped brass ready to load from the factory, so there’s no need to neck down, fireform, etc. You certainly can use 6GT brass that has been converted to .224, but overall, it’s a very straightforward process. Here is our process from 1x fire to reload:

  • Anneal every 3rd firing
  • Lube, size, and de-prime fired cases using a SAC modular sizing die and .22 cal decapping pin (We used a .247 neck bushing and target .002” of shoulder bump)
  • Tumble brass with stainless steel media for ~30-45 minutes and let dry (Dry tumbling and ultrasonic cleaners also work here)
  • Use an expander mandrel to set neck tension (We use a .2225 diameter expander)
  • Trim (if necessary), chamfer, and debur case mouths
  • Prime – Load – Shoot

Brass, Bullet, Primer, Powder

Our setup: 28” Brux 360Precision Custom Competition Contour barrel, 1:6.5” twist, standard spec 22GT reamer w/ .169” freebore

Our components: Alpha Munitions 22GT OCD brass, Berger 85.5gr LRHT, Federal 205M, and Hodgdon H4350

General disclaimer: We highly recommend selecting a bullet based on your application, chamber, barrel twist, and freebore. Similarly, select a powder based on your bullet selection, barrel length, and speed goals. It’s important to use components that work well together in your gun and will maximize performance for your specific use. What works for us in precision rifle competitions is obviously not optimized for varminters, hunters, etc. With that said, there are many different combinations that can be used effectively in a 22GT. Hornady 88gr ELD-M, 90gr A-Tips, and Sierra 95gr SMK are all popular bullet choices as are any powders with burn rates somewhere between Varget and H1000 (H4350, RL-16, and H4831sc).

No did not experience any issues with component availability. The brass comes and goes depending on Alpha’s production cycle, but as mentioned earlier, 6GT brass can also be converted (Hornady/GAP/Alpha) if needed. The Berger bullets have been and continue to be regularly available, along with Hornady ELDs and A-Tips. Powder and primers will likely be the main shortage culprits, but as stated above, there are plenty of combinations that will work well depending on what you have or can find.

Actions

Between 22GT and 6GT, We’ve used:

  • Accuracy International AT-X Gen 2 (current)
  • R700 footprint custom clones (Impact, Defiance, etc.)
  • Tikka T3x

Feeding issues 

We experienced very small feeding issues when we first tried it in the AT-X with AX/AW mags. Seating rounds as far rearward as possible would cause the bolt to skip over the case head instead of picking it up and feeding it into the chamber. The remedy to this was to move the cases forward in the mag so the shoulder interfaced with the forward rib in the mag (see picture). HRD 6BR/Dasher mag kits can likely be made to work with slight modification to the spacer (they are slightly too long to work with the GT case), but just moving the cases forward in the mag has been 100% reliable so far.

Feeding issues with GT cases/AICS mags in general have also been well-traveled, though we have not come across one so far that can’t be made to work reliably with slight feed lip modification. This is mainly action, chassis, and mag dependent, but the issues are always similar to those described above where the bolt will not always pick up the round. We’ve also seen GT cases fed using BR spacer kits (MDT, Primal Rights, etc.), though this will likely limit your seating depth as you run out of room in the front of the mag.

Chronograph Results

Again, as a general disclaimer, we always recommend starting low and working up to pressure, and velocities will always depend on a number of factors (environmental conditions, barrel length, bullet/powder used, and so on). In a standard 26” barrel with standard freebore, a 22GT loaded with 85-95gr bullets will yield muzzle velocities anywhere between 2900 and 3200fps comfortably.

In our test gun specifically, 35.0gr H4350, Berger 85.5gr LRHT, seated ~.020” off the lands produced an average MV of 3101fps with standard deviations and spreads in the single digits. We are confident in saying this charge weight is operating well within the pressure limits of a GT case, but again this will largely be dependent on the end user.

Recoil

Like most of what we’ve stated above, recoil will always depend on a multitude of factors. We’ve spent most of my time shooting competitively using 6mm bullets (105gr Hybrids to be exact) at velocities from 2800fps all the way up to 3150fps. Without going too far into how bullet/rifle weight, balance, height over bore, muzzle devices, etc., all affect felt recoil, We can comfortably say that the 22GT recoils less than its larger caliber counterparts.

Basic physics states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that if you shoot a 105gr bullet at 3150fps and an 86gr bullet at 3150 fps out of the same gun, you will feel less recoil with the lighter bullet. With that said, we believe there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to recoil impulse. All else being equal, yes, a 22GT “outperforms” a 6mm in this regard, but there are many different ways to manipulate the way a gun reacts when you fire it. In essence, if you’re trying to decide between .224 and .243, We would not let this be a determining factor.

Performance

Both 22GT and 6GT are high-performance, competition-oriented rounds. Both perform exceptionally well in terms of accuracy and consistency, though we would argue that a majority of that comes from the ammunition/loader/shooter, and not the round itself. Having used various 22cal and 6mm cartridges over the last few years, we don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer – there are a lot of different ways to achieve the same end goal, but the GT is definitely up to the task.

Specifically speaking, we feel that the high-BC .22 cal bullets do as well as or even better in the wind than some 6mm offerings at this point, but again, it will largely depend on the shooter and application. It has not been uncommon to see the 22GT produce 100-yard 5-round groups in the .1s and sub-.5 MOA groups at distance. Then again, it’s not necessarily uncommon to see a 6BR, 6 Dasher, or 6 Creedmoor yield the same results.

Final Thoughts

All-in-all, we really like the 22GT for its performance and ease of use. It’s extremely consistent, low recoiling, and forgiving to load for. With that said, we say the same thing every time we try a new round: it works well, but it’s certainly not hitting targets that we would otherwise miss.

Machined vs Forged

Machined

Machined receivers are milled out of a solid block of aluminum called billet stock.

The two most common aluminum alloys used for machining AR receivers are 6061-T6 and 7075-T6. The main difference between the two is the amount of zinc alloyed with the aluminum. Among the aluminum alloys suitable for firearms manufacture, 7075 aluminum offers the greatest strength, corrosion resistance, and resistance to heat. T6 refers to the type of temper (the heating and cooling process) used to increase the strength over that of untempered metal.

Advantages of billet-machined receivers include the extremely tight tolerances (often measured to within a tenth of a thousand of an inch = .0001) made possible by the machining process. Tight tolerances throughout a build translate into increased accuracy. In addition, since these receivers are cut by a CNC machine following a program, they can be customized to create shapes and features not possible through the forging process. 

Forged

Forged receivers are blocks of aluminum that are heated and then pressed into shape under several tons of pressure. The forging process forces the aluminum grains closer together and aligns the directionally thereby increasing the strength or the resulting part. Since forged receivers are stamped from a single mold, they can be mass-produced and are therefore less expensive and more common than machined receivers. A disadvantage of the forging process is the inability to create some of the sharp edges, fine details and tight tolerances made possible by the machining process. 

What about weight and strength? 

Weight differences between the two tend to be negligible and are most affected by any customization of the receiver away from mil-spec. And unless the receiver is used for other than its intended purpose (hammer, battle axe, etc.), the strength differences between the two types will be negligible. 

In conclusion, whether you choose a machined or a forged receiver, either will give you decades of problem-free service.

Range Medical

Be prepared for medical emergencies while at the range

We all know the three rules of gun safety; keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, keeping the firearm unloaded until ready for use and never placing your finger on the trigger until ready to shoot. Following these rules helps to ensure our safety and the safety of those we’ve brought with us to the range. However, we can never be sure of the level of safety being exercised by other groups at the range, and accidents can and do happen. For this reason, some thought and preparation should be applied to the scenario of you or someone in your group suffering a severe injury while at the range.

The simplest preparation for a medical emergency while at the range is information. Since you yourself may be the victim of a medical emergency, everyone in your party should know the name and location of the range as well as the location and directions to the nearest emergency medical facility. Calling 911 should always be your first course of action in any emergency. However, the tendency for gun ranges to be located in areas with weak or no cell signal makes having this backup plan a good idea. 

In addition, everyone in your party should know the location and contents of the first aid kit. It would be a shame if available medical supplies were not used when needed because no one knew there was a first aid kit nearby. 

First-Aid Kits

While store-bought first-aid kits are surely better than having nothing at all, buying a kit and tossing it in with your gear is hardly preparing yourself to handle a serious injury. Most off-the-shelf first aid kits are woefully understocked for handling a gunshot wound (GSW) and for this reason, adding to an existing kit or building your own is a better solution. Buy multiples of everything; tourniquets, battle dressings, hemostatic dressings, triangle bandages, gauze, etc. Just about every GSW will result in at least two wounds, an entry wound and an exit wound. In addition, there are several scenarios (passing through both legs, passing through two individuals) where one bullet could create four or more exit and entry wounds.

Training and Practice

Applying a large amount of pressure to the wound, packing the wound, and (if necessary and possible) applying a tourniquet are the steps needed to slow a severe bleed. However, the skills and techniques needed to accomplish this are beyond the scope of this article. If at all possible, obtain first aid training and while any training is better than no training, try to find a first-aid course that focuses on hemorrhage control. 

Once you’ve stocked multiples of everything in your first aid kit, buy one more of each to practice with, and then… practice with them! Keep them separate from your first aid kit and in a location where you will actually practice with them. (Pro tip: keep them wherever you watch TV and practice applying them to yourself or family members while timing yourself against a 30-second commercial spot)

In conclusion, having a properly-stocked first-aid kit and obtaining training on how to use the contents of that kit will prepare you to manage a severe bleed should the unthinkable happen. Stay safe out there!

Hunting for the best rifle

A guide to selecting and building a good hunting rifle

Below are three key elements that you should consider when either building a custom rifle or purchasing a stock rifle. These questions will help ensure that you make a smart purchase and are able to use the rifle for your intended purpose.

1. What are you going to hunt with the rifle?

One of the first question you need to ask yourself is what the purpose of the rifle is. Are you hunting varmints at only a few hundred yards? Or are you hunting elk out west and might have to take a shot at 500 yards plus. A common mistake is to try and have one rifle that will do both. Building a rifle to be the “Jack of all Trades” can be a mistake. When you can, and when the budget will allow, try to build a rifle for a specific purpose.

Second, you will want to look at selecting the right caliber for the critter you are hunting. The common conception is bigger is better. When building a precision hunting rifle that may not be the case. A perfect well-placed smaller caliber shot will be much more effective than a misplaced shot or even worse a total miss. So, you will want to chamber the rifle in a caliber that is enough to take down the animal but is also comfortable for you to shoot accurately. Having a comfortable rifle is key to placing the perfect shot!

2. Where will you be hunting – location and part of the county?

Make sure you understand the laws and restrictions on what you can use based on the state and local areas you are hunting in. You need to consider magazine capacity, bolt action or semi-auto based firearms and ensure they are legal to use in the area and type of game you are hunting.

Also, terrain should to be considered. Will you be hunting in the forest, open fields, or in the mountains? The terrain will determine the weight of the rifle as well as the maximum distance to a target. The stock and barrel will greatly affect the weight of the rifle and caliber selection will help determine the maximum distance for taking down a target.

3. How will you be using the rifle?

Are you going to be using the rifle for back-county hunting, shooting from Blinds or Hides, or will you be tracking your game? This question will help determine the overall weight of the rifle. If you are tracking or back-county hunting a light rifle will be key. Were as if you are hunting from a hide this maybe less of a factor. A light rifle is fine so long as it is accurate, comfortable and made of solid construction such as carbon fiber. Also using a carbon fiber barrel will help reduce overall weight of the rifle.

To discuss a custom rifle build contact us at info@360precision.com or call us at (215) 399-3598. 360 Precision is located in Bucks County – Warminster, Pennsylvania and we offer complete custom-built rifles that can be shipped to your local FFL. If you’re considering a new rifle build give us a call and we will be happy to discuss your project with you.

Best Steps for Accurizing your Rifle

Below are many of the most common steps that you can take to improve the accuracy of your rifle. Having a gunsmith perform the below steps will help improve your rifle’s accuracy and make you a better shooter.

1. Re-cut the face of the action true with the bore

So, what does this mean. The action will be put in a lathe and configured so that it is spinning perfectly true. Truing the action in the lathe means there is no run out in the action. Basically, the action is spinning perfectly on center with no wobble in the work piece. Once this is done the front face of the action/receiver will re-cut so that it is perpendicular to the center bore of the action. This allows the barrel or recoil lug to sit completely flush and straight with the action. We are trying to get the center bore of the action/receiver the same as the center bore of the barrel. The more accurate this center is the more accurate the rifle will shoot.

2. True the lug seats

The seat lugs are the part inside the action that interface with the lugs on the bolt. A rifle bolt will typically have 2 or 3 lugs on it. With the action still in the lathe, the lug seats will also be re-faced so they are perpendicular with the center of the action.

3. True the receiver threads (remove run out from the action)

Typically, factory actions will have run-out in the threads of the receiver. For the barrel to have the best interface with the receiver this run-out or “wobble” in the threads needs to be minimized and removed as much as possible. Run out in factory actions can be .003 to .010 and sometimes even more. This may not seem to be a lot but even thousands of an inch will matter and will be amplified when shooting the rifle particularly at longer distances. If you have the threads re-cut, you will also need to replace the barrel. Since the threads will be cut deeper in this process the old barrel with no longer fit properly. A new match grade barrel is recommended at this point to deliver the best results.

These three steps will greatly improve the accuracy of your rifle. These are typically performed by a qualified gunsmith that is familiar with truing your manufacturer’s rifle.

Once the receiver is complete, we can move onto the actions bolt.

1. True bolt face

The bolt face is the part of the bolt that comes in direct contact with the base of the brass rifle case. With the bolt setup in the lathe and running perfectly true the face of the bolt will be re-cut. This again reduces any inconsistencies that the bolt might have when it comes into contact with the rifle casing.

2. Lapping bolt lugs

In step two of the receiver process the lug seats where re-cut. This process of lapping the lugs on the bolt ensures that each lug makes good contact with the seats when the bolt has been closed. This step should always be done with the trigger installed. Typically, lapping compound is used to remove the high spots on the lug or lugs that are not making good contact.

Having these steps done will greatly improve the accuracy of your rifle. There are other items that can be done to the rifle. It is important to talk with your trusted local gunsmith and have them evaluate the rifle to see what steps they also might recommend.

To talk with 360 Precision about improving the accuracy of your bolt action rifle call 215-399-3598 or email info@360precision.com. We will be happy to discuss the process with you.

The Often Overlooked 6 Creedmoor

All too often I feel that the 6 Creedmoor is overlooked by many shooters. It’s a caliber that checks a lot of the boxes and I often hear people tell me that they want a rifle chambered in a caliber that will work for hunting as well as competitive shooting. So why not the 6 Creedmoor then? Here are 3 reasons I believe that the 6 Creedmoor makes for a good round.

  • It’s a good hunting round. So many people wan to believe that bigger is better. That is many times not the case. A 6mm or .243-inch bullet is a perfect round for varmint hunting and white tail deer. Also shooting a 6mm round produces less felt recoil than the larger caliber bullets. Less recoil allows a person to shoot or perform better behind the gun. You are less likely to flinch, and it is much easier to stay on glass and see the shot in case you need to make a follow up. So, for many types of hunting the 6mm bullet is a very good choice.
  • Over the counter ammo. Hornady, Nosler and Berger all make 6mm Creedmoor ammo. This makes shooting the 6 Creedmoor round even easier since you don’t have to reload. For many of us reloading is a way of life to obtain the absolute best accuracy out of a rifle, but there are a lot of people that either don’t have the time, budget, knowledge, or simply don’t need ¼ MOA accuracy for their rifle. In these cases, a shooter can go to a local gun shop or purchase 6mm Creedmoor ammunition online. Making this round an easy one to get started with.
  • Easily works for competitive shooting. I’m asked by a lot by shooters looking to get into the competitive world what caliber they should go with. Obviously, that’s a very loaded question (pun intended), but I find that the 6 Creedmoor many times is a good solution. Here’s why:
  • It still works as a hunting round (allows the rifle to have multiple uses)
  • Produces less recoil that the more common 6.5 Creedmoor (which is still a good round but is more difficult in to manage in the competitive world).
  • Lower entry cost since you don’t have to reload and can still find match grade ammo that is readily available.

So, if you’re just looking to get into shooting, whether its for hunting or competition make sure you take a hard look at the 6mm Creedmoor. Even if you’re an experienced shooter you may have easily discounted the round for one reason or another. Maybe it’s time to give it another look.

If you have questions or are looking to build a custom precision rifle give us a call and we would be happy to discuss all your options.You can reach 360 Precision at 215-399-3598 or send us an email at: info@360precision.com.