Quite a few custom rifles come with an
accuracy guarantee. This new Nosler rifle is no different; three-shot, .5-inch accuracy is
guaranteed, a bold claim for any rifle. With todays advanced machinery and talented
operators, however, the tolerances needed to manufacture precision parts makes the
guarantee doable in most cases - doable only if the parts are assembled by hand by a
knowledgeable gunmaker who knows what he is doing. I guess thats why they call it a
While you can read all about function and
accuracy claims in magazines, the bottom line is how the rifle performs at the range. A
box each of handloads using 150-, 165- and 180-grain bullets was assembled for a day at
the range. Also included was a box of Noslers Custom Ammunition using its new
The day at the range was not particularly
conducive to wringing the best out of the rifle. The temperature was 97 degrees Fahrenheit
with a 10 mph headwind. The mirage at 100 yards looked like dancing snakes between the
bench and the target. Expectations would be satisfied, considering the conditions, if
everything stayed within an inch or less.
Four groups of three shots each were fired
with each of the handloads using 150-, 165- and 180-grain bullets. All were loads taken
out of the Nosler Reloading Guide using IMR-4350; seating depth was set at the factory
overall length of 2.860 inches.
The barrel was cleaned after each 12-shot
string. No particular procedures or precautions were followed concerning barrel heat.
Needless to say, in the 97-degree weather, after 12 rounds you could singe your fingers on
When the targets were retrieved, there was a
pleasant surprise. Of all 12, three-shot groups, the largest measured a little less than
an inch, and the smallest was right at .5 inch - very good considering.
The last series of targets was fired with the
Nosler Custom Ammunition loaded with the 180-grain AccuBond. Loaded in the Nosler
ballistics lab, Nosler Custom Ammunition comes in a sturdy plastic box with an attractive
label that has a ballistic chart on the back so you know what that specific load is doing.
After 36 rounds of .300 WSM, one might have a
tendency to be a little flinchy, but the excellent stock design and an additional recoil
pad tamed it nicely. The first group suffered, as the second shot was called out, and
stretched the group to .75 inch. The other three groups measured .5 inch or less. Had the
second shot in the first group gone where it was intended, the .5-inch guarantee would
have been met under some fairly challenging conditions. As it was, three out of four
clusters at .5 inch or less isnt bad.
With the accuracy attained under those
conditions one can only imagine what the rifle might do in ideal weather. I dont
know if you could brew up a handload that shot as well as the new Nosler Custom
Ammunition, but it sure would be fun to try.
If you have been paying attention, your
antenna should have gone up with the mention of Nosler Custom Ammunition. The rifle
package is just part of the new product news coming out of Nosler. It is a lot more than
the loading for the new rifle.
For years the Nosler ballistic lab has been
providing loaded ammunition to writers and industry dignitaries for seminars, factory
sponsored hunts and different shooting events. This service is now being offered to
everyone but with a different approach.
When you go through the listing of over 200
different loadings, notice the absence of some of the most popular cartridges. Missing
from the list are .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington, 7mm
Remington Magnum, .30-06, .300 Winchester Magnum and the three (.270, 7mm and .300)
Winchester Short Magnums. Sounds odd to leave out some of the most popular cartridges on
the market, but it was done by design.
The reason for their absence is that each is
available loaded with Nosler bullets in the Winchester Supreme, Black Hills Gold, Federal
Premium and Norma lines of ammunition. It was felt there was no need to duplicate what is