Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

This is a discussion on Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist within the Rifles forums, part of the Sniping Related category; Well, we (my wife and I) threw caution to the winds and shelled out for the above firearm. But what to feed it? Is the ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Davy's Avatar
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    Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    Well, we (my wife and I) threw caution to the winds and shelled out for the above firearm. But what to feed it? Is the throat on the Savage Series 12 VLD with a 1 in 7 twist long enough to accept 80 or 90 gn Berger VLDs? If so, we'll be really, really stoked! If not then, it'll have to be something up to and including an 80 gn SMK - and we'll still be stoked, just not as far down the range . I've ransacked the net but can't find the confirmation I need that this particular varminter rifle can take those long-bodied Bergers without any issues. The Savage LRPV in 1/7 appears (I can't say for sure) to be okay with the heavier Bergers, but perhaps it has a longer throat than the VLD. I look forward to experimenting with loads for this new rifle, but match grade bullets aren't cheap. I would like to make sure I am choosing correct projectiles to make a start on searching for and working up to an appropriate long-range load for this calibre. Any advice will be much appreciated.

    Thanks

    Davy
    'And then it was that I could see the power of God helped men if they would only trust Him."
    (Sergeant Alvin C. York)

  2. #2
    Senior Member Davy's Avatar
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    Re: Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    I am really excited about this reloading project and the 1 in 7 twist. There exists the possibility that a heavy Berger just might do the job of maintaining or staying close to supersonic out to 1k. Sadly, there is also the possibility that if I go about this with too much blind enthusiasm the bolt may be heading in the opposite direction at similar velocity. As you say, the only way may be to buy some and try some (Mindful of the dire consequences of a reckless approach to loading them up!).

    But it really is interesting! Here's a picture of me explaining it all to my wife on the way to the range.



    "I say, Darling! These 90 gr Match VLDs may well be the answer! You see they've got a G7 ballistic coefficient of 0.281! Imagine that, Darling! That means if I can run them up to a muzzle velocity approaching [censored] fps, and subject to wind, temperature and humidity variations on the test day, they'll still be doing a highly desirable warp factor 9 at 1000 yards! But the really good news, Dearest, is that if a short throat necessitates jamming the projectile into the lands or, alternatively, compressing both it and the experimental charge down into the case, then even after deductions for my ambulance and funeral expenses, you'll still have enough left from my life insurance to get the purpose-built, long-range .223 rifle which I should have bought for you in the first place!"

    A little knowledge coupled with a lot of enthusiam can be a very dangerous thing! So I'll start very conservatively with shorter length bullets and beginner loads and work up nice and easy. Should be fun. At the very least, we will get out to 800 without too much trouble (I hope ).

    Regards

    Davy
    hoagymaster likes this.
    'And then it was that I could see the power of God helped men if they would only trust Him."
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Davy's Avatar
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    Re: Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    Stumbled on to this video: Savage 12 VLD at 823 yards with 75gn Amax and a 1 in 9 twist! Nice to see a well-organised shooter go about his business. Now if a 1 in 9 can do that at 800, what might the 1 in 7 be able to manage beyond that? It will be interesting to try to find out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47dzAAC9 ... re=related
    'And then it was that I could see the power of God helped men if they would only trust Him."
    (Sergeant Alvin C. York)

  4. #4
    Senior Member gsmithplm's Avatar
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    Re: Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    Here's a thought, check around and see if anyone has a bullet comparator with a .223 shell. Beg, borrow, or steel one or two of each bullet. Test.

    --OR--

    Ask Savage! :mrgreen:

    Most factory guns have a throat so deep that they can pretty much take anything you have (kind of like that Lovelace chick). You may have to single load the, but...
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    Graham Smith, SFC, US Army (Ret)
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Davy's Avatar
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    Re: Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    :lol: I was trying to avoid the 'deep throat' analogy!

    Roger on the comparator. Happily I have a set which includes the .308 and .223. I have the Hornady OAL guage and ordered the .223 shell for it today. The rifle will be here in a few days but will remain in the store for a few weeks or even months until the licence gets approved! However, I can still measure the throat length in the shop and do some figuring from there. I would certainly like to hear from any who have tried those heavier bullet weights or have Savage 12 1 in 7 twist info in general.

    Glad to hear most factory models have the throats fairly long and really do hope that will be the case with the VLP as it will make for a lot of fun trying variety of loads and bullet weights/shapes.

    The single loading won't be a problem as our comp rules demand it. The big Bergers will probably necessitate the single round loading anyway but for other loads where I have a choice I will be keen to see if there is any difference in accuracy between mag length and close to the lands. Just a day or two ago I made some .308 loads set .03 back from the lands (I still don't feel comfortable getting them any closer and not at all sure that I want to try.) I got 0.9 moa which is all the rifle and I appear capable of at the moment. Just out of interest I loaded six of these rounds to mag length. Fired two just to get a rough chronograph estimation (not definitive of course - just a rough idea). The difference in accuracy between the ones loaded near the lands and the ones in the mag was nil. Again not definitive; I would need to shoot a lot more of the mag length rounds to be sure, but it served as an indication that - in my case - loading near the lands may not offer much advantage unless increasing the length to .02 off produces a significant change.

    One interesting and logical difference was the mag-length rounds were around 60 fps faster than my longer competition rounds. The powder charge was at the lower end of the spectrum so neither load showed any pressure signs.

    I look forward to seeing comparative results with the .223 when I get the chance to do the work. I might try to work up a light hunting load that would fit the mag. Some folks say the 1 in 7 twist vaporises 55 grain projectiles; others claim they get 1/2 moa with them! That's the net (and maybe life) for you! I will just have to experiment. Lots to look forward to there though if I take it in small steps.

    Will post range reports when I get the chance. Meantime its reading, measuring (with the Hornady 'Lovelace' :shock: ) and gathering some bits and pieces (ring$ and a tapered base$ - conveniently forgot how expensive the accesories can get!!!!). Thanks for those valid thoughts.

    Cheers

    Davy
    'And then it was that I could see the power of God helped men if they would only trust Him."
    (Sergeant Alvin C. York)

  6. #6
    Senior Member gsmithplm's Avatar
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    Re: Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    Out of curiosity, what distance and conditions are you expecting to shoot? If it's F-Class then by all means try and work up a load for the VLD's.

    If it's under 600yd and you don't expect a lot of wind, you'll be surprised at just how well SMK 69gr bullets will do.

    And don't forget the 77gr SMK and Hornady 75gr. Those are fairly easy to load for and perform pretty well.
    Graham Smith, SFC, US Army (Ret)
    "There's no right way to do the wrong thing."

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    Re: Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    I've just been using Mil. Issue sniper ammo out of my Bravo/Yankee built M4 w 1/7 twist and its superb at 300 yards, I don't have a longer distance to practice, Yet! SH
    Card carrying gunsmith since 1984, Rabid rifle collector and builder, collecting all rifles from east to west the long way

  8. #8
    Senior Member Davy's Avatar
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    Re: Savage 12 VLP .223 1/7 Twist

    gsmithplm:

    Wifey will be shooting 'F' Class out to 1000 if we can manage it, but we're not too worried if we don't get that far. Even so I would just love it if we could use the 80 or 90 grain VLDs successfully.

    A shooting friend introduced me to the JBM ballistics calculator (and the magnificent work of Mr Bryan Litz). I have never used a serious calculator like that before, but was forced to have a go due to this .223 issue. It's brilliant! Using the JBM data I was able to figure out the taper of the scope base we will need (20 MOA, I believe, will do it out to around 800 - more if we can work the loads up to the required maximum velocity. But 30 or even 40 MOA would be the safest bet.). However, if I have figured this out correctly, as the scope offers only 25 MOA up and down from mechanical zero, a 30 MOA will be good only for a zero setting of 300 or greater. While this is fine for the comps, it will be too excessive for hunting with zero settings for lesser ranges. So, provisionally, 20 MOA appears to be it - we cannot afford a scope with greater flexibility at this stage. By the time my wife feels the need for better glass, we may, perhaps, be able to afford an upgrade. I hope I got my thinking right and input the correct data, but thanks to JBM I was able to at least get an idea of the issues involved trajectory and base wise. Interestingly, with one load I checked out, an increase in ambient temperature from 15C to 30C would make a difference of 1MOA at 1000 yards (that's 10inches approx just because it got warmer!!!!). I used to wonder why people were getting concerned about altitude, humidity and temperature. Thanks to JBM, I am beginning to understand. I find the whole thing fascinating.

    According to the calculator (and subject to the limited IQ of me as the operator) those 77s you mentioned will stay supersonic out to 700 or so. We might make 800 if we are lucky with the 80 grainers. Problem will be driving the 80/90 grainers fast enough to make the 1000. As Adam said, getting out to 1k may be beyond our reach with the factory rifle. But we'll proceed with caution and see what we can do! Thanks for those suggestions re the comparatively lighter bullets. I will certainly try them and let you know how they went.

    I also hope to develop a nice close range (up to 200) hunting load so they may well fill the bill there too. Can't go much lower than 55s, however, because it seems like the fast 1 in 7 twist will chew them up. In the interests of accuracy, Berger recommend a 1 in 14 twist for their 55s!

    http://www.bergerbullets.com/

    If I hadn't joined Sniper Central I would barely have realised that these family companies existed let alone the cool and clever people who have made our lives as rifle shooters so much more interesting and exciting. I look forward to getting the Bergers into action too.

    SDH:
    duplicating that sniper load might be worth a go! Do you know the weight of the projectile? Any details on that ammo would be appreciated (as long as you don't breach the Official Secrets Act ). As usual, caution is the watchword, as I believe military 5.56 brass may have less capacity and therefore generate greater pressures than Remchester .223 brass for the same load (same issue exists for 7.62 NATO and .308 Win.). Lapua brass might approximate the military stuff but I don't know. So again, starting low and working up will be the way to go. I think we will hear more about the 1 in 7 twist rifle in general as time goes on. Meanwhile have a lot of fun at 300 with your M4. I find shooting at that range presents its own enjoyable challenges. Wish I could be free to do it here in OZ with an L1A1 (my favourite self-loader).

    Regards to all

    Davy

    (PS: SC is such a friendly site, I find myself doing more postin than shootin!!! On the other hand I have learned one heck of a lot from the members here which has produced better methodology and results (as well as a genteel poverty! :lol. Right, nuff said! I'm off to load some ammo.... ). Happy shooting!
    'And then it was that I could see the power of God helped men if they would only trust Him."
    (Sergeant Alvin C. York)

  9. #9
    Senior Member Davy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davy View Post
    Is the throat on the Savage Series 12 VLD with a 1 in 7 twist long enough to accept 80 or 90 gn Berger VLDs? If so, we'll be really, really stoked!
    Well Davy, it's been a while since you posted that question. It's 2013 now and here you are answering your own posts on your own thread. How sad is that! Despite this humiliation, however, I have to say I am indeed really, really stoked. With a variety of loads and bullet weights, the rifle is producing around 3/4 MOA groups at 100 yards and the only reason it isn't doing better than that is, as usual, me.

    As near as I can gauge it, the OAL to the lands is 1.964" when using a 90gn Berger VLD. Your milage will vary if you use a different bullet (see additional post below). Working very cautiously and conservatively with load development, the rifle appears to be quite comfortable with Berger 90gn VLDs. I am using AR2208 (which I believe is equivalent to Varget). I won't state the powder charge or seating depth in case (1) my data is ballsed up, or (2) it is correct but inappropriate to apply in someone else's firearm. Berger's website suggests experimenting with four seating depths to find the sweet spot (once you have a safe, workable charge): www.bergerbullets.com/getting-the-best-precision-and-accuracy-from-vld-bullets-in-your-rifle/

    I have yet to hunt for the sweet spot, but the projectile in the round currently used in my wife's Savage is lightly 'jammed' into the lands and it is not a compressed charge. I am using Lapua brass and, if I shake the round, I can just (barely) feel the powder shifting in the case. There is no problem with extraction, and while there is some (non-alarming) cratering of the magnum primers, they are not significantly flattened.

    This load is chronographed at an average of 2489 fps. According to JBM Ballistics calculator that puts it at around 60fps above the speed of sound at 1000yards. Interestingly, JBM's calculator suggests that with border line supersonic loads a stiff headwind can reduce the velocity to subsonic by the time it gets to 900 yards or so. A few extra fps above the speed of sound are, therefore, advisable (subject to the load safety of course).

    Today, at 1000 yards with a rapidly varying 8-12 mph wind, a Redfield 3-9X Accurange scope, and a couple of bags of Pakistani rice for the butt rests, my wonderful little missus (with idiot husband calling the wind for her) ended up with a score that was far from F Class expert but (at our level) was competitive and earned her some valued compliments from men who know how to shoot. Yes, she got a few threes to be sure but she also nailed some 4s, 5s and 6s. On the second application (first time at 1000 yards with this rifle and load) the 3s were gone and any fours were due to that skittish wind. I called her to hold off 2MOA at one stage and then the wind came head on. I told her to aim centre, and she fired and - on the instant - the wind was back to 9 o'clock. Result? A four around two MOA to the right. Elevation for most of the time was within 1.5 MOA or better. The wind was the issue not the loads or my wife's shooting ability.

    Let's be honest, the Savage Model 12 VLP is not a dedicated F class fanatic's rifle, but at our competitive level it will get the job done. While it will be interesting to experiment with lighter bullet weights, the 1:7 twist is best suited to 80 and 90gn projectiles and, as a result, this rifle provides sufficient accuracy and versatility to offer my wife a lot of fun and challenge from 300 all the way out to 1000 yards. And (bearing that little Redfield scope in mind) it has all been achieved with comparatively modest financial outlay! A big salute to Savage and Berger: it has been a real pleasure to explore the possibilities and we are only just getting started.

    One thing: what has worked safely and well in our rifle may not do so in yours. Please start conservatively and measure precisely - particularly with regard to distance to the lands and seating depth.* The .223 Remington is a great little round but my hunch is that it is less forgiving and has less margin for error than the .308 Win (not that one should adopt a casual attitude to reloading a .308!). A cautious, gradual approach to development of those long-range loads will be rewarded with interesting knowledge and a lot of fun.

    God bless and have a great 2013.

    Regards

    Davy

    *SAFETY WARNING

    Just to reinforce the above point, here's what Hornady's has to say on the matter: "Remember, seating bullets without freetravel ("on" the rifling, or "into" the rifling) will require that you develop a new load with reduced powder charge then work up, or down, until you develop a load that is both accurate and safe" (Hornady. Instructions: Straight and Curved O.A.L Gauges, my emphasis).

    This is particularly important with the Berger 90gn VLD. It is exceptionally long so, safety wise, you can find yourself between a rock and a very hard place if you seat too deep (to accommodate a rifle chamber throat better suited to lighter and shorter projectiles) or, alternatively, in attempting to increase case/powder capacity and accuracy you 'jam' the projectile too far into the lands. An O.A.L guage, bullet comparator and caliper are essential. And even then: CHECK, CHECK, CHECK!
    Last edited by Davy; 02-13-2013 at 04:28 AM. Reason: Safety warning.
    'And then it was that I could see the power of God helped men if they would only trust Him."
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  10. #10
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    I have a Savage Model 12 in 223 and with Fiocchi 40gr Vmax I get .81 groups a 300 yds.
    I dont know what is the twist rate of this barrel.
    I want to replicate this load, does anyone have an idea of what powder and gr can replicate this load??
    Surplus

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