Tips and tricks, examples and cautions for using the Ballistic_XLR ballistics calculating spreadsheet workbook.

6XC Load Development – Analysis Time

This little case seems to really like being as full as possible and/or run a little hard and put away a little bit wet if you get my meaning. We broke in the barrel with 15 shots but as you can see from the data below, around shot #6 things stabilized. By round 10 I had warmed up the barrel a bit and was vacillating between baking rounds in the chamber while I wiggled around trying to get a natural point of aim and firing quickly when I was already at a good NPoA.

All discussions of load data and charge weights come with the “don’t copy me and hurt yourself” disclaimer. Don’t just run my loads, work up to them. These are all on Norma brass, F210 primers, 115gn DTAC bullets and COAL at 2.8″.

Around shot #6 things pretty well started to stabilize. Inconsistently going between firing quickly and baking rounds in a warm-ish chamber widened the ES a bit around shot 11.

After grinding out the first 15 rounds to break in the bore and establish a zero; this was a BRAND NEW barrel after all, we took a little break and went to check the target. The new barrel shot to such a different POI than the prior barrel that it took quite a few shots just to get on steel at 100yrds. By round 10 we were on steel at what seemed like pretty close to POI=POA. Enough to move to the BoxToBench Precision 100yrd Load Development Target and dialed the zero in on the cold zero aiming point. 5 rounds at the cold zero put us at 15 shots and we were already seeing each set of 2 bullet holes (because: adjust, fire 2, adjust) either touching or very close to it. We’re pretty excited about the performance we’re seeing so far.

After the first 15 shots and letting the gun cool down I settled in to go for groups for record. Starting off we did the Coach’s match load (CML) which is 38.5gn of H4350. Then the RL-23 was run followed by N550 and IMR-4166. To wrap things up we came back to the H4350 and did the 39.5gn load then finished out our paper punching with 5 at 39 grains. After that I had 5 rounds left and wanted to drop a shot on the 900 yard target so we went up there and I rang the gong for 5 rounds of 38.5gn. There’s a called flyer (obvious) on 4 of the 6 aiming points. I wasn’t in the most stable position and I knew it.


My velocities are a solid 150fps above what Coach gets from his Enfield rifled barrel of the same length with the same load. Ok, to be completely transparent, it’s not EXACTLY the same load. We do actually seat the bullets about .120 deeper forn my new barrel than Coach’s barrel but I can’t see 150fps difference from that. This is the polygonal rifling in full effect. Less friction because you’re not engraving the bullet, you’re swaging then and then twizzlering them, if only ever so slightly.

So now on to the powder results. H4350 you see the curves change shape as you fill the case up. To my eye it almost looks like someone’s grabbed on to the right side and started pulling the string taut. Group sizes went down as powder charges went up but we’re talking about going from a .75″ group to a .71″ group to a .3″ group. The academic in me is crying out to be let loose with a scale and all of my reloading supplies to do a 1/10th grain at a time experiment. But, that’s expensive and I have other matters to attend to. The experienced rifle shooter in me says, “You do realize that any one of those is sufficient for the 1000yrd stuff you’re doing right?” The competitive rifle shooter in me says, “Take the 39.5 and let’s go home and load ammo before you change your mind again.”

This is Coach’s match load in his current barrel. Featuring a tight 10.87fps standard deviation from my gun and a not disappointing .75″ group this load showed promise. I just don’t want to tune it. In Coach’s gun this load runs 150fps slower, has a 32fps SD and turns in the same .75″ groups.
The group size collapsed on this load down to .4″ until I popped a flyer into it (which I called) that took the final group to .71″. 40fps ES is a bit on the broad side for me out of a 5 shot sample size. I could maybe do half of that. This load does suggest it might want just a little more powder.
When we give it 39.5 grains the dissonant came into harmony and it made a .3″ group with 2fps SD’s and 5fps ES. It’s running mild pressures and making within a gnat’s ass of 3,000 fps where I’d draw the velocity line anyway. 2900-2950 was our target and we’re there with a solid load.

Onward and upward. We still have loads to analyze. Everyone knows that after my experience with it in .243AI and 6.5x55AU that I’m a big fan of Reloader 23. It’s sloooooooow burning and has been returning impressive velocities with reasonable pressures from very heavy for caliber bullets in relatively long bores from very overbore cases… as you would expect it to do if you are at all familiar with Boyle’s Gas Law. We had no idea how much to start with so we did exactly what Coach did with it for my .243AI. We filled the case up to the body:shoulder junction, dumped it out and weighed it and put that much into 5 cases. It came out at 38 grains with no drop tube, just a funnel and a weighing pan.

Reloader 23 showed me with my .243AI that it likes a full case (I’m sensing a trend here with these slow burning magnum powders) and that it’s pretty hard to put enough into a 6mm case based on a .473 case head to blow the damned thing up if you’re seating to SAAMI/CIP lengths. 38 grains produced pretty nice velocity. A testament to the efficiency of the 6XC case setup. Still with 28fps SD’s, 66fps ES and a .68″ group of 5, it would “do” but I’d want to develop it more if I were to use it. We did find that RL-23 is a great option. Somewhere around 40 grains should give high 2900’s at reasonable pressures even when seating bullets deepish.

                                That right there is porn star sloppy.

Pressing on, we have N550. A double base NG/NC powder known for being a little temperature touchy after 90F and for being pretty darned expensive. 36.5 grains of N550 gave us a nice narrow 11.95fps SD’s on ES’s of only 29fps. Still a little tall but velocities were touching 2900 and pressures were VERY low. It also grouped a .2″ group of 5 shots. Oh man am I tempted to increase my powder budget by 25%. We figure we could fill the case on this stuff somewhere around 39 grains at 3,000fps. But, I don’t want to develop a load; much less an expensive one, if one jumps out at me and that H4350 load at 39.5 grains is hard to beat even with stupid tight groups.

             A lot of promise in this one. Super stable velocity potential.

Now we cross into “Coach style load” territory. So far we’ve been on the very slow side of the slow side of the rifle powder spectrum. Now we’re going to cross the street where the Beatles fans turn into Stones fans and start dragging their knuckles. Not really. Just making fun of coach. The defining line between a “Me” style and a “Coach” style of handload is I like my powder to burn all the way down the barrel giving consistent pressure all the way without a huge spike of pressure in the case itself. My way is easier on brass but harder on barrel throats because there’s more grit coming out of the case neck this way. Coach likes his pressure to form in the case, for all the combustion events to happen in that space and then to use the built up pressure. He also tends to jam bullets rather than jump them where I jump them at least a little bit normally.

Making a Coach style recipe means you know you’ll see pressure sooner or later in your experimenting. That being the case and the fact that there was no data for IMR-4166 (which is around Varget/IMR-4895 burn speed) we elected to hot-foot bloody educated guess it. I calculated that 37.5 grains was about the most we’d want to try and so we tried that. It came back hot enough to imprint my ejector hole on the brass so that’s at least 1 full grain too much juice. It did however make 3080fps with a 2fps SD and a 6fps ES for 5 rounds. Drop a grain or two and you’re right up around 2950-3000fps. What a smoker though! Too bad the pressures were simply too high.

      If it wasn’t running north of 70,000psi This would be my new load.

Below you can see the velocities as they came out of the gun during testing.  You can see it took about 5 rounds to season the bore and then it’s pretty much standard load development wavy gravy until you get to 2 very specific sections whose extreme flatness gives away that something very cool happened there and needed to be paid attention to.

So while N550 turned in the best group and ok SD’s, the extremely tight SD’s and the super tight group out of the 39.5gn load of H4350 has won the day. I might mess with bullet jump a little but really, I’m happy. Best not to waste barrel life.

On the topic of barrel life. Common wisdom is somewhere north of 1500 rounds but under 2000 before it’s smoked. Well that’s about a year and a half or 2 worth of life. That’s from a conventional Enfield rifled gun. I run Columbia River Arms polygonally rifled barrels which have been giving me very long barrel life and I used only HBN coated bullets for the last 1000 rounds (it’s at north of 1300 rounds now).

                     6XC Dimensions

My .243AI still runs like a laser. I only took it off because seating depth was longer than my magazine, but there’s plenty of bullet still in the case yet. I could take it another 500+ rounds if I was willing to single feed. Pushing 115’s at 3200 can’t have been gentle on it and the expectation was that by 1000 rounds it was going to look like 5 miles of rough road down the bore but it’s not. It’s smooth as glass still and makes tiny 1000 yard groups. So if we take this barrel life thing to mean the point at which the boat tail is up inside the neck of a loaded case when seated equals cooked, my .243AI will have gotten something like 2000 rounds before its death. Thanks to some combination of the HBN coating and the polygonal rifling.

Well then, I expect something like 4,000 rounds of life from my 6XC and something like 6,000 rounds from Coach’s since we’re giving his the Modern Sparts Systems Accuracy Oil treatment for its whole life. If I pull 4,000 rounds out of this barrel I’ll be surprised as hell. 3,000 rounds wouldn’t go amiss though and would be well representative of my real expectations.

How will it all turn out? Stay tuned to find out.








There doesn’t seem to be quite enough variety out there. 6XC can do wonders with quite a number of powders. It’s not all H4350’s world. Coach and I did some experimenting and we have some helpful results. We’ll be doing some more testing with other powders in the coming weeks.

This data came from our initial efforts at load development for my new 6XC barrel for my prone/PRS match rifle. So far it looks like we’ll be using a 39.5gn charge of H4350 to get just shy of 3,000 FPS and single digit SD’s with groups at about half an inch. It was a very tight decision as I would normally have chosen the actual winner which was N550 in a slightly lighter charge. N550 is super expensive compared to H4350 and we have several 8lbs jugs of H4350 on hand and only about 3lbs of N550.

Since we’ll be using the same load in both of our rifles (don’t forget there’s a 2nd new 6XC barrel identical to mine ready to go onto Coach’s gun), we will of course have to make sure the load performs acceptably from that rifle but so far, I haven’t made a test load I would feel bad about using in a match.

Peep out the data below and enjoy. If you have some data you’d like to share, be sure to leave it in a comment and I’ll be sure to approve it for publishing.

The 38.5 group was actually fired at the CML dot. FYI.

Chamber: 6XC (CIP)
Brass: Norma Large Primer, .013″ neck thickness, .003″ neck tension
Primer: Federal 210
Bullet: 115gn DTAC RBT HBN coated jumping .040″
Barrel: Columbia River Arms P3 (Polygonal 3 land) 25.5″
Muzzle Device: N/A

H4350 (well we did test it a good bit)
Brief: 37-40gn seems to be a decent window. Known solid performer. 3000fps is probably pushing pressures a bit for maximum brass life. Getting the case as full as possible seems to help SD’s but pressures rise rapidly at the end of the capacity limit.
38.5gn: 2929 average, 13fps SD, .75″ group
39gn: 2964 average, 15fps SD, .71″ group
39.5gn: 2977 average, 2fps SD, .33″ group

RL-23 (Reloader 23)
Brief: 37-40gn seems to be a decent window. Likes a full case. SD’s really open without a pretty full case. Meters terribly. Burns clean. We estimated we could pop 40gn in the case and get 2950fps. More testing coming but this was a very soft load pressure wise. RL-23 is super slow burning.
38gn: 2837 average, 28fps SD, .65″ group

Brief: 35-38gn seems to be a decent window. Expensive powder but turned in a stunning pair of development groups at .1″ and .2″ with single digit SD’s. Pressures were mellow and it was a very quiet shooting load. People should start looking closer at N550. We started very soft
36.5gn: 2892 average, 12fps SD, .2″ group

Brief: The load listed below is HOT by at least a full grain. Reduce 2 grains minimum before attempting to use. We got brass flow into the ejector hole with this load. The above noted, this is looking like a stunner. Low SD’s have been routine with this powder in every overbore case we’ve tried it in with a heavy bullet. Might be better for slightly lighter bullets than we tested.
37.5gn: 3086 average, 2fps SD, .53″ group

Enjoy this freebie from BallisticXLR. ReloadingXLR is an Excel spreadsheet (compatible with Google Sheets, OpenOffice, and most other spreadsheet applications) for metallic cartridge reloaders looking to track the load performance, reloading costs, firearm inventory, box labels and statistical data.

A number of customers have asked for this resource and since it’s such a useful tool and I’m feeling generous, I’m giving it away for free to the masses. Download by clicking the image below and enjoy!



Here at BallisticXLR we like to keep abreast of the movement in the firearms industry. This includes the latest in cleaning and lubrication products. Modern Spartan Systems has entered the market with cleaning and lubrication products which promise “green” technology, advanced chemistry, superior effectiveness and most interestingly, increases in muzzle velocity, reductions of group sizes and extending of barrel life. Well, we just can’t let an opportunity for a Pepsi Challenge like that go without tossing our hats in the ring.

We’ve gathered up a number of match rifles and plinking rifles. We’ve gathered defense pistols and target pistols. We’ve got trap shotguns and hunting shotguns. We’ve got high end optics, mid range optics and low end optics. We’re even bringing a cannon, a real antique Trapdoor Springfield and a new manufacture reproduction Sharps rifle in .45-70. We’ve got rimfire, centerfire and even fuse fired.

Test Protocols:

Variable Controls: We select a single load specification to complete each test with. Air temperature/humidity/pressure/wind are kept as stable as possible. Guns are not shot hot (when hot to the touch we take a break in testing to cool it off naturally)

MV Testing: We apply the entire MSS cleaning system as directed including conditioning the bore with Accuracy Oil. We compare pre-cleaning (dirty bore) velocity averages, standard deviation, coefficient of variation, minimum and maximum. Data is tracked and logged for each string as well as for each individual shot. Strings are 3-5 shots. 5 shots is the standard. 3 shots is used only where barrel heat becomes an issue during testing.

Accuracy/Precision Testing: We track group size for each string of fire during MV initial testing. After the barrels reach copper equilibrium and bench gathered data is of sufficient volume (where velocities and group sizes seem to stabilize and we have at least several 5-shot strings of velocity data post-treatment) we take the guns into competition because, hey, we are competitive shooters and that’s where the metal meets the meat so to speak. Match scores with MSS treated rifles are compared against past match performance (we have books full of our match scores).

Barrel Life: We have obtained 2 identical Columbia River Arms barrels chambered in 6mm XC. Both are chambered with the same reamer on the same lathe by the same gunsmith in the same week. Extra care was used in selecting a custom reamer and machinist gunsmith capable of the required precision to minimize tolerances like run-out. Both barrels are being put into existing match rifles. Both rifles will shoot the same load spec (this makes load development unnecessarily tricky but we’ll deal with it). Loads will use the same lot of brass/powder/primers/bullets and both will used only HBN coated DTAC bullets from David Tubb. One barrel will be treated with MSS’s system from the beginning, the other will not. After every 200 rounds we’ll re-clean & re-treat the treated barrel. On the control barrel we’ll clean every 200 rounds with Wipe-Out (which we prefer over Hoppe’s #9 & Sweet’s 7.62). We’ll track the barrel life via match scores, throat erosion pace, velocity retention and group size until we have a clear winner. We estimate it will take 1000 rounds to get to a usefully good answer.

Raw Data By Shot String Average:

6mm XC

7mm BR

6.5×55 Swede

.223 Remington

Raw Data Shot-By-Shot

Initial Results

What we see with the .223; which has the most shots through it since treatment, we see that MV’s have stabilized. Group size average during treatment was over 1 inch. After treatment group size for a 10-shot string was .7 inch. SD’s were dropped roughly in half. Minimum string velocity (a component of velocity extreme spread) increased substantially without a sympathetic change in maximum string velocity as well. A gun/load combination that was getting on my nerves is now showing signs of being a potential sweetheart.

What we see with the 7mm BR, the 6mm XC and the 6.5×55 Swede so far is very similar to what we saw during the early phases with the .223. A lot of volatility during the treatment phase followed by what appears to be (NOTE: APPEARS TO BE, these are early results, too early for real conclusions) some stabilization. What we have not seen are dramatic, sticky (meaning that the effect persists) increases in MV. If anything what we see are slight reductions in peak velocity and slight increases in minimum velocity. That’s an increase of consistency which any shooter would gladly take over any token velocity increase.

As you move up and to the right you’ll see progression. Groups at bottom and left are at the beginning of treatment. Top and right are end of treatment. L-.223,M-6XC,R-7mmBR

What we did see pretty universally (only the 7mm BR didn’t improve) is a reduction in group size. Could this be a rebuke of our blanket advice to avoid unnecessarily cleaning a rifle? Maybe. It could also be due to more consistent friction leading to more consistent harmonics. It could be the stars aligning. Part of that advice to clean as infrequently as possible is economics based. It takes a good number of shots (so far it’s looking like at least 5-10 and as much as 40+ in some cases) for a barrel to get to copper fouling equilibrium. Part of it is based on the notion that most rifle barrel wear out in the real world of sport shooters comes from overly aggressive and overly frequent cleaning. We do both. Our metallic silhouette rifles mostly get cleaned after every 100-200 rounds (except my red gun). Our PRS/prone guns historically get cleaned almost never… like every 400 rounds or so.

What do you think we’ll see as final results? Comment below!

Numbers don’t lie so if you want to see those numbers, scroll down and check ’em out.

Definitely seeing a velocity boost evolving during the treatment phase. Looks like SD’s are growing but we won’t know the long term trends on this for another week as there are more shots to fire. Treatment phase is 5 sets of 5 shot groups. Between each group we apply a very light coat of MSS Accuracy Oil down the bore on a patch wrapped around a brush. That pulls the carbon out pretty well and puts another layer of their crazy effective lubricating oil down the bore.

This test data shows 50 rounds of history gathered during bench-rested zero-checking, load development and grouping data collected over the last year with me not cleaning the bore at all on my heavily customized, Columbia River Arms barreled Mossberg MVP .223 followed by another 25 rounds of very recent history from last weekend’s testing with MSS’s cleaning system being used.

Avoiding much discussion of velocities we can look at group sizes. This rifle with this load has been a pretty consistent 1-1.5MOA rifle. It doesn’t like this load, never has, and that has annoyed me because it should be a killer load. During the testing and doing the Accuracy Oil re-application treatments I saw very consistently that the first shot was wild, then the 2nd-5th shots gradually closed in on each other finally ending with shots 4-5 stacking on top of each other. Overall group sizes started at 1.2MOA and by the end of the initial Accuracy Oil treatment plan had reduced to a very nice group under .7MOA with the last 3 shots touching and the first 2 just slightly off that cluster (could have been shooter error but I doubt it). This behavior was consistent from the first string to the 5th string. I have not cleaned the barrel after shooting. I did run a patch down the bore with Accuracy Oil on it though. Before shooting next time we’ll run a few dry patches down the pipe to make sure it’s completely dry and then we’ll see what happens.

Each string below represents a 5-shot set with statistics reported for the string. This load has slowly evolved over the last couple years with a little OAL and a little powder being added between string 1 and string 9. I stopped messing with the load spec after string 9 because I just wasn’t shooting the gun. Now I’m sticking with that practice while we finish up our testing. 75 rounds in to the testing we’re seeing definitely trend line activity but we’ll save the analysis and conclusion drawing until we have more data.

So what do you think? Will this trend continue? Will it even out? Will it reverse? We shall see.

Note: This is not one of my match loads. This is a load I never shoot in competition because it’s not been consistent enough. I’ve wanted to do a little more work on it because it’s a really mild load with long legs. I chose this load because it’s not a one-holer out of the gate so we have some room to see if MSS’s claims are worth taking seriously. So far, they’re at least intriguing.

Stay tuned!

Back here in the Meccastreisand armory and man cave, Coach and I have been busy cleaning the entire armory in preparation for a wild thrashing head to head test of Modern Spartan Systems firearm cleaning and lubrication products against the old standby of Hoppes #9 & Sweet’s 7.62 and RemOil. While we’re busy doing that we’ve lined up a special discount for our loyal readers to make your holiday self-gifting a little more pocketbook friendly. Head on over to and use code BCLEAN19 to get a 10% discount on your order.

We’re going whole hog with this test. We’ve got the important baseline data gathered in the form of our score cards from each competition we enter. We’re going to be looking for how we do in matches, not just on the sighting bench (the occasional sighting bench will be used however). We’re going after some interesting questions. The question that really matters, “How will using this product actually affect my life?”.  That breaks out into two areas: Time and Targets Hit. In the end it all boils down to those two things. How much life you have to not live in order to take care of your guns so they work for what you want them to do and how many more times will you hit your target than you used to?

For black powder cartridge guns, will MSS Accuracy Oil help prevent the build-up of carbon fouling that makes us have to clean the chamber half-way through a match? Will that make us more consistent shooters in the back half of match? Will not having to clean mean fewer POI changes? How many points is this worth in the real world? So we’ll test using a .45-70 Trapdoor Springfield rifle. An actual antique. We know that after 30 rounds it starts getting plain old difficult to get a round in it due to fouling build-up. Will we be able to make it to 40? Could we stretch it to 50? When it does come time to clean is it going to be a brush job or a mop job?

Beyond the mindset shifting, how about not having to go into the back half of a match with the rifle shooting differently than it had been? After you clean them they take a few shots to foul-in, so to speak. A clean rifle will usually shoot to a different point of impact than a lightly fouled rifle. How will this new cleaning suite do for us? If we get away with not cleaning in the middle of the match and the rifle is then shooting consistently how will that affect our scores?

We hypothesize that not cleaning will mean not rushing around between relays and that’ll mean up to about 3 more points since we won’t have to break out of our shooting mindset to go clean the rifle. We also hypothesize that not having the mid-game cleaning in play means we should be able to pick up 1-3 additional points. If either or both of those actually happen I know that success is infectious and we’ll feel the effect. When we’re on a hot streak we’ll usually pick up a point or two just on the think-good-do-good principle.

These same principles apply to the other guns we’ll be testing against. With pistols, will my Glock cycle our handloads just a little bit smoother? We load that ammo the way we do knowing full well that it occasionally presents us with type 1, 2 and 3 malfunctions which provides a very useful surprise malfunction clearance drill to keep us sharp. With our long range precision prone guns will we pick up that elusive 3-5 points that haunt our scores but rarely show themselves? Will it take fewer, the same number or more shots to get the rifle to settle down after cleaning? Will we get smaller groups? Will velocity spreads be affected? How about those mystery flyers?

What will happen with our rimfire silhouette rifles? Will our scores increase? We’ve been shooting within 3% of our current scores for about 2 years now. Admittedly we don’t get nearly as much practice as we used to so each match we start pretty well cold anymore. Will my M1 Carbine feed smoothly without that mid-magazine malfunction? How will my shotgun react? Will I finally be able to get that last bloody target and run a clean round?

Well, better lubrication makes things work more smoothly that’s for sure. Lubrication that lasts is a great thing and might as well be a ghost for all the luck I’ve had up till now trying to find. Cleaning products are a whole bigger thing. Anything strong enough to be effective is likely to be strong enough to damage the steel we’re trying to clean. It’s also likely to be toxic as all get out. Will MSS’s cleaning regime be easier on the elbow grease?

Right now we don’t know. We’re stripping and cleaning everything we have right now to get them all back to unfouled dry metal. Once that’s done we’ll go out and get them dirty again. We’ll track groups and velocities to see how long they take to settle down. Then, we’ll clean them again but this time with MSS’s goodies and then we’ll use their metal conditioning protocols and see what changes in the form of velocities and groups as well as in terms of what happens to our scores in real competitive match shooting situations and in our training regime.

So, yes there will be math and we will get a quantitative analysis. There will also be real world results which are qualitative by definition but which lead to quantitative results that can be fairly measured against prior data. Stay tuned.

I got my Exact Shooting sizing die and Coach and I tried it out against his brass on his existing 6XC match rifle (below). It’s a thoroughly customized Savage 110 that looks as much like a hunting rifle as it could without being anything like a common hunting rifle. It’s been blueprinted and fitted to a custom stock set up for metallic silhouette competition. You may have trouble seeing it but there’s a very vertical pistol grip with a pronounced palm swell, a very high Monte Carlo cheek piece and a wide fore-end all tightly bedded to the 110 action. It sports a single shot sled and a very rare Canjar single-set trigger. Up top is a US Optics SN3 3.8-22×44 MOA ERGO parallax optic. This bad boy has over 1300 rounds through it and is still going strong but we have to assume it’s got only so much life left. In testing with the Exact Shooting sizing die we discovered that his brass was so highly variant between Lapua 6XC and fireformed RP .22-250 cases and number of firings that we weren’t getting the consistency needed to show any difference on paper or on the chronograph. The thing grouped one-hole to begin with and we were in single-digit SD’s anyway so no surprises there. That said, what we had noticed was its tendency to throw random flyers off quite a few minutes of angle during matches and we had no identifiable cause for it other than the brass or shooter error.

We set up his brass to run .003″ neck tension and .0025″ and .0035″ an found no useful differences on paper. That’s using a .2645, .265 and .2655 bushing with his old brass. When the new brass came in the necks were thicker and so we had to neck turn but that’s getting ahead of things. Thankfully the Exact Shooting die comes with several bushings in .0005″ increments so setting neck tension extremely precisely is as trivial as measuring and selecting a bushing.

In tracking his scores, we see that Coach went from 16-24% to 35% just by changing from his 6.5BR running a Vortex Viper PST scope to the 6XC with a US Optics SN3 scope. Prior to sizing his brass with the Exact Shooting die his scores were peaking at 35%. After we started using the Exact die his scores didn’t shoot up very dramatically if you’re paying attention to the raw score thought they did increase by several hits. But, when you break it into percentages and track that month to month you can see a real difference. The first match on the new dies he scored 46.6%, the second match was 55%. Next month we’ll get a third set of results. His average fluctuation in scores from match to match when there’s no equipment change is +/-6%.

So, when we get off of analyzing paper targets and into match conditions the difference is 11.6%-20% improvement in score from not using the Exact die to using it. That’s far enough outside his average fluctuation that we can regard this as statistically relevant and significant because the ONLY change that’s been made is what die we’re using to size his brass. It’s also showing sign of an upward trajectory that we may not have found the far side of yet. If he shoots 60-65% next month that will be a sure sign.

Coach setting up for stage 2. Scotty and Meccastreisand spotting and keeping score.

Now I’ve got 2 new barrels in from Columbia River Arms. 27 inch blanks in 6mm with 1:8 rifling twist on 3-land polygonal Caudle type rifling. We’ve got a custom chamber reamer being cut which will keep brass at minimum dimension. We’ve got new brass that’s been neck turned to fit the new chamber and we’ve got Coach’s old barrel to do initial load development with so we don’t send any shots we don’t need to down the new barrels.

A pair of blanks and a custom reamer gets 2 identical chambers.

At the same time, because we’ve got 3 barrels in 6XC that will be available we’ll be testing some cleaning and lubrication products from Modern Spartan Systems. I’ve seen their Timken bearing race friction test and was surprised enough to give them a shot. Coach & I will be running one test which is to recondition his existing 6XC barrel using their product line and see what that does on paper as well as under match conditions. We’ll also be leaving 1 of the new barrels untreated and running the other barrel with the Modern Spartan Systems cleaning and lubrication products. I can hear you objecting now saying stuff about Coach and I being different shooters so how will we know and blah blah. Well, the reason we’re building 2 identically performing and identically chambered rifles is so that we can bring only 1 rifle to a match, splitting carrying it and being able to improve our scores by having effectively a follow-up shot on every target. That will cause a bump in our scores right away so we’ll test that with Coach’s existing 6XC to get an idea of what a second-strike opportunity does to our scores.

Testing on the old rifle illuminates the gain we’ll get from sharing a rifle. Sharing a pair of rifles with only one major difference (use of MSS products or non-use of them) and switching back and forth from one match to the next gives us the ability to clearly see what the cleaning and lubrication does for us over and above the sharing of a rifle. Looked at over several matches  this is a great way of showing where differences in scores come in and gives a good way of assigning causal factors. None of this is ever likely to show up on paper. Even if it did, the statistical differences found in short range group size testing and velocity testing where the differences are relatively small is not helpful. We want to see what happens to our scores. That’s where the rubber meets the road so to speak.

Carbon Destroyer

Crystal Clear

Accuracy Oil

So how about some specs? Well, our custom 6XC chamber will use a .270″ neck which provides .003″ of total clearance. That’s very tight on purpose. We don’t want brass being worked hard and .003″ means just enough clearance for good bullet release without overworking the necks. The body diameter at the web will be .472″ which gives .003″ total clearance to our brass out-of-the-bag and should not suffer from sticky bolt lift like some 6XC’s can as our die sizes to minimum leaving a base at .469″. Freebore is being set to give us an initial bullet seating depth that puts the shank/boat-tail junction of the bullet .030″ below the neck/shoulder junction of the case with 115gn DTAC bullets. We’re targeting 2950fps for the eventual load which should be doable on about 40 grains of something like H4350 or H4831 but we will try Reloader 23 and H1000 and similar magnum-y powders. Things could come in +/- 75fps from that so we’ll see how it all breaks out when we get there. Both barrels have to shoot the load identically for us to be happy which promises to complicate load development.

We’ll be taking the Modern Spartan Systems cleaning product suite for a little ride on more than the new 6XC barrels over the coming months. Others including TiborasaurusRex have taken this stuff for a test run but nobody seems to have done much scientific testing and reported on it so we’re going to. This test is going to require something like 100-150 rounds per gun and will be carried out across nearly 100 guns over the next several months. We’re going to try it on Trapdoor Springfields, Sharps rolling block .45-70’s, black powder cannons, metallic silhouette race guns, .22LR match bolt-action rifles & semi-auto pistols, 1911’s, Glocks, Springfield XD’s, Colt/S&W/Dan Wesson revolvers, shotguns, military surplus rifles, plain ol’ hunting rifles, AR-15’s, front-stuffer .50cal black powder cap-lock rifles & pistols and more. We’ll do a test of performance & reliability, then fully strip-clean each gun, then do the test again after treating them with MSS goodies.

Not the actual collection being tested but the actual collection does in fact contain at least one of each of those, and then some.

We’ll be testing for groups, velocities of course but also for ease of cleaning as well as how long to copper equilibrium for those guns shooting jacketed bullets and resistance to leading on those shooting plain cast lead bullets that are going way too damned fast. There will be a big focus on corrosion resistance too since many of these guns are black powder shooters and all are exposed regularly to dust which is both thick and highly alkalai and has caused us issues with inducing surface rusting over the years. There are also a couple tests we have planned which we’re keeping under wraps for now so nobody steals the idea. Suffice it to say, those could make for some really interesting findings. Or they could make for a null result. Never know. Stay tuned!

Version 10.3 is officially live. This much anticipated upgrade includes a new Loophole Shooting feature, an improved Calc Form, tons of minor formatting fixes and other improvements to make your long range shooting experience as rewarding and successful as possible.

NEW! Loophole Shooting Feature: In response to high demand the new Loophole Shooting feature has been implemented. This includes the required minimum vertical size of the loophole required to place a shot on target with the loophole placed 10 feet (3 meters) from the shooter. There is no other external ballistics application in the world that integrates this feature with your primary DOPE. At this time the Loophole data is only on the 100yrd/m increment Full Sheet tab. This is with the assumption that if you’re shooting from behind a loophole that you’ve got more time to set up your shots including setting up a sniper range card, justifying the extra data that’s on the 100m full-sheet tab compared to the 100yrd/m half-sheet tab. If there is sufficient demand we’ll add it to the 100yrd/m half-sheet tab in the next patch release.

Loophole Technical Details: The Loophole Shooting feature provides you a loophole size in inches or centimeters required to make the shot without hitting the edges of your loophole or the barrier it’s been created in. This feature requires careful measurement of your scope height. The level of precision required is now in the .0x inches zone but only if you plan to use the Loophole Shooting feature. If you do not ever need to use this feature then .1″ of slop in your measurement of scope height will be inconsequential.

Why Loophole Shooting: When BallisticXLR was partnered with the RexReviews project with TiborasaurusRex, Rex explicitly forbade providing this feature to the masses. Now that we’ve gone independent, we don’t have to withhold it anymore and in keeping with our custom of providing you the most capable system regardless of who might get upset about it, it’s now been released to the public. We are committed to providing continuous upgrades with new major features and minor features that are already planned as well as responding to the requests of those that use BallisticXLR.

Other Improvements: Major and minor improvements have been lavished upon BallisticXLR version 10.3 which, as our flagship product, it richly deserved. Some improvements include a simplified and improved Calc-Form, font size and color changes to make for easier reading in low light situations. We’ve put new Sniper Data & Shot record cards in to replace the older FM-23-10 derived versions. Quick start instructions on the inputs page have been clarified and simplified. Borders, colors, shading, contrast and may other elements of style have been tweaked to provide an improved user experience.

As always, the simple download is only $10. You should really consider getting a support entitlement as ballistics is a complex science and setting up a ballistics package as full featured as BallisticXLR can be a little daunting for the uninitiated despite our best efforts to make it as simple as possible. A basic Bronze support entitlement is only $50 and comes with a copy of BallisticXLR. We also have Silver and Gold support levels which increase the number of allowed support requests and reduce the maximum response time. All support entitlements also come with free upgrades for one full year! Don’t miss out on new stuff or 1:1 personalized help when you need it!

Existing Download-Only Customers: If you have purchased a download-only copy of BallisticXLR (does not include BallisticPRS or BallisticDLR) within the last 30 calendar days and would like the upgrade to Version 10.3, email with your paypal transaction number & date of purchase and we’ll upgrade you free of charge.

Existing Support Entitlement Holders: If you purchased a support contract & download within the last 365 days you are entitled to a free upgrade to Version 10.3. To redeem your upgrade, email with your paypal transaction number & date of purchase and we’ll upgrade you to Version 10.3 free of charge. This upgrade does not extend your support contract.

Here it is. The long awaited video demonstrating in easy terms how to use BallisticXLR for simple and not-so-simple long range shots. It’s been kept brief so you don’t get bored or lost and there’s precious little repetition because you can always rewind if you need to.