November 18, 2017 General Studies

Last month I mentioned that I had tried Nosler’s new Ballistic Tip bullets for the first time and found that the Lexan-tipped slugs did not deform in the magazine under recoil . . . not even the last round in the magazine. While that was, in fact, the case with the particular rifle I used that day, it turned out to be just another lesson in why one should never make generalizations . . . at least not in print!

A couple weeks after my initial tryout of the new Nosler BT’s, I used them again in a Remington 700 in .280/7mm Express and, 1o and behold, the third, fourth and fifth rounds showed progressively worse flattening of the sharply-pointed tips. It wasn’t, of course, as severe as it would have been with a lead-tipped slug, but it was noticeable enough.

Naturally, upon seeing those peened points I wondered why I hadn’t experienced the same thing with the glass-stocked Ruger 77 in .284 Winchester that I had used earlier. In fact, with the glass-stocked .284 weighing over a pound less than the .280, I should have gotten more peening, not less.

It was then that I realized two things: First, my custom Winchester was based on a standard-length Ruger 77 action so that even with the 150-grain bullets seated way out where I like them, overall cartridge length was just over 3 inches leaving roughly 1/4-inch between the bullet tips and the forward wall of the magazine, and second, I had long ago replaced the stock Ruger 77 follower and spring with a much stiffer unit from a ’98 Mauser. Consequently, I not only had a 1/4-inch buffer, but the stiffer tension on the rounds in the magazine discouraged their forward movement under recoil. The net result was virtually no tip-deformation in the .284, yet a noticeable amount in another rifle generating even less recoil.
It would seem, then, that in typical rifles of the .270, 7mm Magnum, .30-06, and .300 Magnum class there will indeed be noticeable point peening under recoil of Nosler’s new Lexan-tipped bullets but it will still be far less than with a conventional bullet. Perhaps equally important, however, is the durability of the round under rough handling and dropping.

In that earlier report I also mentioned that the accuracy with the new Noslers was at least as good as with the 150-grain Solid Base slugs I had been using. Subsequent bench sessions with that same .284, the .280 I spoke of, and my 7mm JRS all showed excellent accuracy. I still haven’t fired enough rounds through enough guns to say that the BT’s are more accurate than their equivalent Solid Base predecessors, but everything so far points to it. And there’s a reason. According to Bob Nosler, the Lexan tips, being considerably lighter than their equivalent in lead, moves the bullet’s center of gravity further rearward. The net effect is a balance point very close to that of a hollow point. And we know that all match bullets are hollow points.

Bob also tells me the expansion characteristics for the Ballistic Tips are equal to that of a conventional, lead-tipped bullet out to 300 yards; beyond that it is superior. I sure wish I could have had some of those new Noslers in time to take over to Tanzania last December because the open expanse of the Simanjiro Plain required some extremely long shots. Though I generally make a point of getting as close to the game as possible, I ended up taking a Grant’s gazelle at a measured 440 yards; a gerenuk at 415, an oryx at 385, and a little Thompson gazelle at 310 yards. Of course, to do that kind of shooting I had a dead-steady rest from a prone position. Four animals would hardly have given any definite results but with the rest of our bag consisting of another 20 or so animals taken at ranges from 125 to 250 yards or thereabouts, it would have been a good all-around field test. As it was, I was using Nosler’s 150-grain Partitions in my 7mm JRS and in all honesty I must say it would have been pretty difficult to improve on their performance. JAEGER LION RIFLE

Back in April I visited one of this country’s oldest and most prestigious custom gun houses, Jaeger’s in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. Founded by Paul Jaeger in 1929 when the typical “custom rifle” was a chopped-up ’98 Mauser or ’03 Springfield, the little gun shop in Jenkintown soon became nationally recognized as the builder of some of the finest sporting arms of the era. That tradition continues to this day.
Paul Jaeger learned the gunmaking trade in Germany from his father, Franz, who, in turn, apprenticed to August Kersten, originator of the Kersten lock. It was the blending of old world skills and craftsmanship with new-world realities that established the international flavor that has always characterizied this company. For over five decades now sportsmen could bring into Jaeger’s the most exotic, sophisticated side-by-side shotgun, drilling or double rifle and be confident there would be someone there who was familiar with the mechanism and could fix it. Conversely, Jaeger’s has always been one of the best sources for purchasing similarly exotic sporting firearms of all types.

In 1952 Paul Jaeger’s nephew, Dietrich Apel, emigrated from Germany where he, too, learned the gunsmithing trade, then came to work in Jenkintown. Since 1977 Dietrich has served as president and chief executive officer for Jaeger’s.

Anyway, the primary reason for my visit was to see the “Lion Rifle”, the fourth in a series of five guns being built for Safari Club International to auction off in successive years at its annual meeting in Las Vegas. Called the “Big Five Classic Masterpiece Collection,” each rifle was commissioned to an independent builder who was given free rein as to its composition, save for the fact that each gun would carry through an embellishment theme appropriate to the animal being commemorated. Rifle No. 1, for example, celebrated the elephant; it was a turnbolt. 458 built on a highly-modified ,98 Mauser by the David Miller Company, which fetched $41,000 at SCI’s convention. In ’83 it was Champlin Firearms building the rhino rifle, another bolt-action rifle chambered in .375 H&H and built in Germany by Friedrich Wilhelm Heym. It went for $65,000.

When I visited Jaeger in April the Lion Rifle, a .375 H&H on a pre-’64 Model 70 action, was about half completed. Like the other “big Five” rifles before it, the Jaeger effort is a joint one. Dietrich Apel has assembled four craftsmen, each of who will contribute his specialty to the project. The metalwork and stocking are being done by two of Jaeger’s own, full-time professionals, Alfred Gallifent and John Mercer, respectively. The checkering will be the work of Dennis Richards, and the engraving will be done in Germany by Jaeger’s own craftman Claus Willin.

I’m tempted to describe all the custom features of this superb work-of-art-in-the-making but it wouldn’t be fair to the artists until the project is complete. When it is and ready for auction, we’ll do it here. Incidentally, the proceeds from the auctioning of these Big Five rifles goes to various conservation and hunting promotion efforts of Safari Club International. WINCHESTER .22 SUPER-MAX

There’s a new .22 rimfire offering from Winchester this year that sounds rather interesting; it’s of the “hyper-velocity” genre, the one began a good many years ago now by CCI with its Stinger. When first introduced the nearly, 1,700 feet per second (fps) claimed for the Stinger’s 32-grain hollow point really set the rest of the industry scrambling around to come up with a competitive load.

First to answer the challenge was Winschester (then the Winchester-Western division of Olin), with its Expediter, a .22 that shoved a 3-grain lighter bullet than CCI’s Stinger at a claimed 1,680 fps. In retorspect, I believe Winchester may have jumped on the super-velocity .22 bandwagon a mite early. I think they eventually discovered what Remington and Federal had already found out–that producing a Stinger-type round that delivered the kind of accuracy .22 shooters were accustomed to, and doing it without pressure problems across the gamut of firearms the round would be used in, was no small order.

I guess as the guys who just burn the stuff up by the billions, we shooters take the .22 rimfire’s high degree of accuracy for granted, but to mass produce ammo to that degree of sophistication within the performance parameters that have been in place for decades is tough enough. To suddenly increase both pressure and velocity and maintain those same standards of performance and flexibility is tougher yet.

Remington and Federal, you’ll recall, waited a while longer before coming out with their answers to the Stinger–Yellow Jacket and Spitfire, respectively. In my experience these two, as well as CCI’s Stinger, were more accurate than Expediters. Apparently, that was generally the case whenever the inevitable accuracy comparisons were made.

Anyway, the Expediter was quietly retired a couple of years ago and is now being replaced by the new Super-Max, a 34-grain, truncated-cone hollow point design that sneaks out the muzzle at an even 1,500 fps, the same nominal velocity of Remington’s Yellow Jacket and Federal’s. Spitfire. That’s still 210 fps faster than a conventional .22 LR high velocity load.

Again, in my experience, I’ve found the compromise velocity levels chosen by Winchester, Remington and Federal to be more conductive to accuracy. The Stinger is still the velocity champ but before settling on speed alone, do what any serious rimfire shooter does; make your own 50-yard accuracy tests and determine which brand produces the best accuracy in your own particular rifle.

Like its competitors, Super-Max should be an excellent all-around plinking and hunting load. At 50 yards that 34-grain slug is still going 1,250 fps and delivering 118 foot pounds of energy. At 100 yards those figures are 1,080 and 88.


I'm Amanda

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out