Range Report: I’ve Got My Boomershoot Load

At least for the Remington 700. I’m still working on the Encore.

If you’ve been following the saga, I’ve been trying loads using both the Sierra 175 grain MatchKing bullet that the 700 5R was designed around, and the Lapua 155 grain Scenar bullet that is almost identical in length to the Sierra. I’ve gotten some good groups, but I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and work on an accuracy load until the last couple of weeks. The first thing that I determined was that I could safely push the 155’s a lot faster than the 175’s, and with ballistic coefficients of 0.508 and 0.505 respectively, faster is better – especially since I’ll be shooting at targets 700 yards away.

I’m also a subscriber to Handloader magazine, which just paid for itself. The December, 2008 issue contained an article by one Gary D. Sciunchetti, an apparent obsessive-compulsive who wanted to develop “the most accurate .308 load.”

He went overboard.

Based on his belief that the single most accurate commercial load available (defined as giving the smallest groups in the largest variety of rifles) was the 168 grain MatchKing in the Federal Gold Medal Match loading, he set out to test every possible combination of cartridge case, powder, primer, and bullet in the 165-168 grain range. Very quickly he settled on Varget as the powder of choice. Where it got interesting (for me) was when he came to primers:

There is a rule of thumb that magnum primers are good if you need them, but if you don’t need them, don’t use them. Needing them is generally viewed as using a large volume of slow-burning, deterred ball powder, or extreme cold weather shooting. The .308 Winchester does not meet this requirement, but this research was to include all primers that might be suitable.

What he discovered was that the CCI 250 Large Rifle Magnum primer provided better results with Varget than any of the other eleven primers tested – all else being held the same.

If I hadn’t read the article, I wouldn’t have even considered a magnum primer.

Anyway, my testing started out with similar magazine-length loadings of 155 Scenar and 175 grain SMKs fired at 300 yards, which I reported on back in January. That was when I decided to concentrate on the 155’s. For my next test, I loaded the bullets out just shy of the lands, which made them much too long to fit the magazine, but that’s OK for Boomershoot. I don’t mind single-loading. I loaded twenty rounds each of loads ranging from 45.5 to 47.5 grains, in half-grain increments, ten each with CCI BR2 and ten each with CCI 250 primers, and fired them over my chronograph, getting two five-shot groups at 300 yards for each load. (Use this and any web-based data at your own risk. The Hodgdon web site lists 47.0 grains as a max load for the Sierra 155, but I am seating the Scenar way out there, yielding more space in the case.)

The load that gave the best performance (FOR ME, remember!) was 46.5 grains over the CCI 250. So last week I loaded up another hundred rounds, twenty each at 46.3, 46.4, 46.5, 46.6, and 46.7 grains – ten using BR2’s and ten using 250’s.

Here’s the data for the 46.4 grain load using the BR2 primer:

Shot Velocity
1 2903
2 2883
3 2901
4 2822
5 2837
6 2840
7 2883
8 2897
9 2897
10 2868
Avg 2876
ES 81.92
Sd 28.96

The two groups ran just over 2″ at 200 yards (I’m shooting at a different place, and 200 yards is more convenient there.) Now, here’s the same load using CCI 250 primers:

Shot Velocity
1 2929
2 2895
3 2905
4 2914
5 2911
6 2903
7 2900
8 2910
9 2899
10 2913
Avg 2908
ES 33.64
Sd 9.74

Both groups ran just over 1″ (except for a called flyer). The magnum load picked up 30 fps, and the standard deviation dropped into the single-digits! My shooting partner brought his 7 Mag rifle to practice with. His 168 grain commercial load wasn’t significantly faster than 2900 fps! There’s quite a bark when I touch off this load, but there were no pressure signs of any kind.

This week I’ll assemble 100 rounds of this load and see what I can do with it at 200 and further out. I’ve got powder now, 500 more bullets coming, and about 800 primers left.

I’m In.

I’m In



We are Simon Jester.

We are not anarchists.

We are not Far-Right or Far-Left. We are the seventy percent in the middle.

We are not Capital “L” libertarians, although we do have sympathies with their platform.

We are neither bitter clingers nor conspiracy nuts.

What we are is a group of folks that think we see liberty and freedom eroding in our beloved United States. We see the policies and agendas of the hirelings in Washington D.C. heading toward an abbreviation if not outright abrogation of the Bill of Rights.

We think that the Federal government is grasping to consolidate power using the current crisis, since as Rahm Emmanuel said, it’s a terrible thing to waste. We think the Federal government, not just this administration, is more interested in self-serving personal, political, and party power than it is in actually doing its best to do the least.

This President didn’t make it this way. It has been heading along this path since Woodrow Wilson held political prisoners and FDR held four terms as president; since Johnson’s Great Society and Nixon took us off the gold standard; since Bush Sr. lied about no new taxes, Clinton desecrated the Oval Office, Bush Jr. rammed through the Patriot Act, and Obama wanted every high school kid to ‘volunteer.’

For almost a hundred years, our country has been heading towards becoming a Socialist, centrally planned, Nanny State where the Federal Government tells it citizens how to conduct business, what they could grow in their own gardens or on their own farms, and now even how much a private citizen is allowed to earn before punitive and illegal taxation takes it away.

Now is the time to make it stop.

Can I get an “AMEN!”?

The Constitution of the United States of America tells us how our government is supposed to operate. It tells us what powers they have been lent by its citizens. It even delineates what powers each branch of government is supposed to have. Our Federal Government, all three branches, has over-reached. Continually.

The Declaration of Independence told King George what we felt about the way he was treating the Thirteen Colonies. It also told the world what we as Americans believed were natural truths about how government should work, with the consent of the governed. It amazes us how many of the things the Colonies begged King George to address have raised their ugly heads in the present day. We are taxed without our consent for government programs we don’t want. We are told that our natural resources are not ours to do with what we would. We are even told that our property can be confiscated if the government thinks it can get a bigger tax base from a different owner. Our elections are swayed by huge amounts of dollars and the willing collaboration of the old media giants. More than that, our elections are influenced by unconstitutional law such as McCain-Feingold, communist groups such as ACORN signing up 200,000 illegal voters in Ohio, and terrorist groups like the Black Panthers staking our polling places such as in Philadelphia. And we, the legitimate voters of this country are forced to accept the results.

Our voice has been ignored, even to the point of telling the citizens of a state that a duly enacted and overwhelmingly voter-approved constitutional amendment would not be allowed to stand due to political correctness.

Our representatives have listened to us on occasion however; only to be overturned by a penstroke from the Executive Branch, like when we said we didn’t like the idea of bailing out the auto industry.

Our legislature has pretended to listen to us about our need to protect our country’s borders, but then come back and tried to tell us that they have changed their minds. All the while trying to curry favor to their own districts with pork projects.

We flood D.C. with calls and letters and emails demanding that the administration not burden our grandchildren with huge government debt that will necessitate huge tax increases, but are told that our thoughts on the matter have no bearing because some things are just too big to fail; only to hear the same legislators come back a few months later and demand punitive taxes on those companies it gave money to against our wishes.

The current administration has appointed all of these extra-constitutional “Czars” to oversee what they view as problems in our country and in our world, including an avowed Communist.

This administration, as well as far too many legislators, clings to a philosophy of man-made global warming that is far from settled science and has decided that “Cap and Trade”, regardless of the huge burden that will place on the consumers, is necessary to limit carbon emissions. The fact that it has been tried in Europe and FAILED to limit carbon emissions doesn’t matter because this program will generate huge tax dollars for the government while at the same time penalizing the consumers of energy in the form of higher energy bills.

Another thing that has failed in Europe and elsewhere is the idea of universal health care. Yet still our government is racing headlong towards rationed medical procedures, diagnostics, medicines, and preventive care because it is yet another way to control the population. It is very hard to tell the government “No” when you or your spouse, or your child, depend upon the government owned and run kidney machine, insulin shots, or cancer treatments.

And now our Federal government has asked for more power. It isn’t even trying to hide it anymore. They want the power to regulate to the point of confiscation the administration of every business in the United States, just for our own financial safety or course. They want to regulate our salaries and compensation. They want to bankrupt the coal industry, which provides eighty (80 !!) percent of all the power in this country. They don’t want us to be able to drill for oil or natural gas. But at the same time they don’t want to allow the transmission of power from wind farms or solar farms across the countryside because they say it will affect the natural beauty of the desert or they don’t want their view cluttered out past Martha’s Vineyard. They want control of the means of production, the type of crops we grow, and the structure and location of the buildings in which we live. And, despite their protestation to the contrary, they want to disarm us. Too much has slipped out about that for them to be able to deny it any more.

And yes, we repeat, they now are asking for more power. This isn’t just theft, it is a bloody strong-arm robbery with a knife in your ribs.

Now, here is where Simon Jester comes in.

This whole thing isn’t about the Democrats or the Republicans, because they are both taking us to the same place and they aren’t afraid of us anymore. It is about our Constitutional form of government. The Rights were there before the words were written, for they are inherent in all people. They don’t come from government; government, no matter how hard it tries, cannot dissolve them. Now, here we the people are, having all these Tea Parties, trying to show our government that we, the seventy percent or so of the country who is right smack dab in the middle trying to raise our families and give our children better lives than we had, are tired of this grab for power. These Tea Parties, where no one actually throws anything in the harbor, are getting hardly any coverage from the press. In fact, the TWO counter protestors at the March Tea Party in Orlando got as much or more local coverage than the under-reported thousands who attended the rally. So, short of actually committing acts of vandalism and felonious assault, how are we going to get noticed?

Simon Jester. A symbol, since “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” by Robert A. Heinlein was published in 1966, of dissent against authority. Let the press, and the government, and your neighbors know that you are paying attention to what the Federal government is trying to do. Let someone ask you what that little devil underneath the word “Citizen” across your chest means and then explain it to them. Explain to the one pool reporter who shows up at the next Tea Party that you and Simon have your eyes open and are watching as the government tries to control your life. Explain to your pastor, or your waitress, or your barista at Starbucks, that our government is power hungry and that you and others like you are trying to be heard.

We are Simon Jester. So are they.

And so are you.

Billy Beck advocates mass civil disobedience. I don’t think this is a harbinger of that, but it’s better than nothing.

The Greatest Scientific Discoveries are Not Accompanied by “EUREKA!”

The Greatest Scientific Discoveries are Not Accompanied by “EUREKA!”

But rather they are most often heralded by a muttered “That’s interesting . . .”

New Cold Fusion Evidence Reignites Hot Debate

By Mark Anderson
First Published March 2009

Telltale neutrons appear, but skepticism remains

25 March 2009—On Monday, scientists at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in Salt Lake City announced a series of experimental results that they argue confirms controversial “cold fusion” claims. 

Chief among the findings was new evidence presented by U.S. Navy researchers of high-energy neutrons in a now-standard cold fusion experimental setup—electrodes connected to a power source, immersed in a solution containing both palladium and “heavy water.” If confirmed, the result would add support to the idea that reactions like the nuclear fire that lights up the sun might somehow be tamed for the tabletop. But even cold fusion’s proponents admit that they have no clear explanation why their nuclear infernos are so weak as to be scarcely noticeable in a beaker. 

The newest experiment, conducted by researchers at the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, in San Diego, required running current through the apparatus for two to three weeks. Beneath the palladium- and deuterium-coated cathode was a piece of plastic—CR-39, the stuff that eyeglasses are typically made from. Physicists use CR-39 as a simple nuclear particle detector. 

After the experiment, the group analyzed the CR-39 and found microscopic blossoms of “triple tracks.” Such tracks happen when a high-energy neutron has struck a carbon atom in the plastic, causing the atom to decay into three helium nuclei (alpha particles). The alpha particles don’t travel more than a few microns, though, before they plow into other atoms in the CR-39. The result is a distinctive three-leaf clover that, to physicists, points to the by-product of a nuclear reaction. 

“Taking all the data together, we have compelling evidence that nuclear reactions [are happening in the experiment],” says physicist Pamela Mosier-Boss of the Navy group.

If you find this sort of thing interesting, by all means read the whole article.

I was aware that DARPA had begun funding Cold Fusion research a while back, but I was not aware, as this month’s WIRED magazine reported, that:

The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) has long been known to harbor cold fusion enthusiasts; they’ve often managed to fit in their experiments in down time between other projects, and without official funding.

Wired further reports:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and it will take more than a few stray neutrons to shift the balance in favor of cold fusion when there is a formidable array of theoretical reasons to doubt that it is possible. Build a laboratory fusion reactor which generates endless free energy and people will sit up and take notice. Until then, the cold fusion club are better off keeping their heads down and avoiding attention.

Darpa may be home to many crazy ideas, but they don’t talk about cold fusion, either. At least not openly. However, a close look at their budget documents under “Alternate Power Sources” reveals that in 2007 they “Completed independent evaluation of recently reported experimental protocol for achieving excess heat conditions in Pd cathodes.”

Excess heat being generated by Palladium (Pd) cathodes is a signature of cold fusion. And in the 2008 research budget we find that Darpa are set to “Determine the correlation between excess heat observations and production of nuclear by-products.”

This sounds suspiciously as though Darpa has been getting involved in the cold fusion club – without mentioning it in a way that might attract undue attention.

Are we close to a breakthrough? I certainly hope so.

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

It is observed that the Statist is dissatisfied with the condition of his own existence. He condemns his fellow man, surroundings, and society itself for denying him the fulfillment, success, and adulation he believes he deserves. He is angry, resentful, petulant, and jealous. He is incapable of honest self-assessment and rejects the honest assessment by others of himself, thereby evading responsibility for his own miserable condition, The Statist searches for significance and even glory in a utopian fiction of his mind’s making, the earthly attainment of which, he believes, is frustrated by those who do not share it. Therefore he must destroy the civil society, piece by piece.

For the Statist, liberty is not a blessing but the enemy. It is not possible to achieve Utopia if individuals are free to go their own way.

Mark Levin, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto

(h/t: Hamilton, Madison, and Jay)

Edited to add:

I am reminded, once again, of something written a long time ago by “Ironbear” that I’ve quoted here on several occasions:

It would be a mistake to paint the conflict exclusively in terms of “cultural war,” or Democrats vs Republicans, or even Left vs Right. Neither Democrats/Leftists or Republicans shy away from statism… the arguments there are merely over degree of statism, uses to which statism will be put – and over who’ll hold the reins. It’s the thought that they may not be left in a position to hold the reins that drives the Democrat-Left stark raving.

This is a conflict of ideologies…

The heart of the conflict is between those to whom personal liberty is important, and those to whom liberty is not only inconsequential, but to whom personal liberty is a deadly threat.


Boomershoot is coming up at the end of April, and I’m feverishly working on loads for the Remington 700-5R and the Long-Range Pistol in .308 and .260 Remington, respectively. I’m using Hodgdon’s Varget powder in both, and I’m down to about 1 pound left from an 8-lb. keg.

And no one has any in stock anywhere, so far as I can tell.


UPDATE: 6:57PM – I have just returned from a trip up to Tempe to purchase about 6.5lbs of Varget from a fellow member of AR15.com, and Chris Byrne informs me that he’s willing to sell me one of his unopened kegs.

The internet is a wonderful thing!

Due Process?

A couple of posts down, the comment thread derailed a bit. One of the topics taken up was “asset forfeiture,” a subject that makes me a bit hot under the collar. A couple of the comments:

“Drug possession in the context you described is a catch-all bludgeon that the police can use to put people in jail because collecting evidence for real crimes was too hard. It’s a bullshit victimless crime, just like having an unregistered .50 BMG rifle sitting in a hypothetical California closet.”

It goes further than that, Oz.

In some states (or perhaps it’s a federal law, I don’t really know), a law enforcement agency can simply sieze your property, your vehicle, cash, and what-have-you, claiming that it is the result of illegal drug activity, all without arresting you, charging you, arraigning you, indicting you, trying you, or sentencing you. The gubmint can simply steal from you without the slightest pretext of due process of law.

It’s a really sad state of affairs when you can be the victim of your own gubmint and be called the victim of a victimless crime, even when there was no crime at all.DJ

The gubmint can simply steal from you without the slightest pretext of due process of law.


DJ, I like you, but as much as stickler for detail as you, you’re shockingly wrong there.

There’s complete due process of law. Your item is arraigned, charged, and convicted before asset forfeiture kicks in.
Very processed.

(Nitpicks aside, Asset Forfeiture was a bad idea gone very wrong. The “Due Process” that is conducted is so slanted that Kangaroos are known to complain about the courts. )Unix-Jedi

Theft under color of authority occurred before “asset forfeiture” was a legal gambit, and will occur if it’s not(sic) allowed. It’s something completely bloody different.Unix-Jedi

Unix-Jedi’s point in the thread is that there’s a difference between “asset forfeiture” – which has due process attached – and simple “Theft under color of authority.”

To me, that’s a distinction without a difference, and (risking a diagnosis of Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect) here’s an example of why:

Texas town’s police seize valuables from black motorists

Chicago Tribune

TENAHA — You can drive into this dusty fleck of a town near the Texas-Louisiana border if you’re African-American, but you might not be able to drive out of it — at least not with your car, your cash, your jewelry or other valuables.

That’s because the police here have allegedly found a way to strip motorists, many of them black, of their property without ever charging them with a crime. Instead, they offer out-of-towners a grim choice: voluntarily sign over your belongings to the town or face felony charges of money laundering or other serious crimes.

That would be “asset forfeiture with due process of law” – at least from the town’s perspective. (My emphasis.)

More than 140 people reluctantly accepted that deal from June 2006 to June 2008, according to court records. Among them were a black grandmother from Akron, Ohio, who surrendered $4,000 in cash after Tenaha police pulled her over, and an interracial couple from Houston, who gave up more than $6,000 after police threatened to seize their children and put them into foster care, the court documents show. Neither the grandmother nor the couple were charged with or convicted of any crime.

Hearkening back to that comment thread, that doesn’t mean they weren’t guilty of something, right? (Again, emphasis is mine.) This is “theft under color of authority,” but the law behind it is ASSET FORFEITURE.

Officials in Tenaha, situated along a heavily traveled state highway connecting Houston with several popular gambling destinations in Louisiana, say they are engaged in a battle against drug trafficking, and they call the search-and-seizure practice a legitimate use of the state’s asset-forfeiture law.

Of course they do! We can trust our “Only Ones,” can’t we?

Can’t we?

That law permits local police agencies to keep drug money and other property used in the commission of a crime and add the proceeds to their budgets.

“We try to enforce the law here,” said George Bowers, mayor of the town of 1,046, where boarded-up businesses outnumber open ones and City Hall sports a broken window. “We’re not doing this to raise money. That’s all I’m going to say at this point.”

Sure you’re not.

But civil rights lawyers call Tenaha’s practice something else: highway robbery. The lawyers have filed a federal class-action lawsuit to stop what they contend is an unconstitutional perversion of the law’s intent, aimed primarily at African-Americans who have done nothing wrong.

So if they do it primarily to whites, it’s OK?

Tenaha officials “have developed an illegal ‘stop and seize’ practice of targeting, stopping, detaining, searching and often seizing property from apparently nonwhite citizens and those traveling with nonwhite citizens,” asserts the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.

The property seizures are not just happening in Tenaha. In southern parts of Texas near the Mexican border, for example, Hispanics allege that they are being singled out.

A prominent Texas state legislator said police agencies across the state are wielding the asset-forfeiture law more aggressively to supplement their shrinking operating budgets.

(Emphasis mine.) Gotta keep that .gov hand-me-down armored personnel carrier fueled up, you know!

“If used properly, it’s a good law enforcement tool to see that crime doesn’t pay,” said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, chairman of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee. “But in this instance, where people are being pulled over and their property is taken with no charges filed and no convictions, I think that’s theft.”

You think correctly – but you guys in the legislatures are the ones responsible for writing these laws, and you have an uncanny knack of squealing “We never meant THAT!!!” when they get stretched and twisted.

David Guillory, a lawyer in Nacogdoches who filed the federal lawsuit, said he combed through Shelby County court records from 2006 to 2008 and discovered nearly 200 cases in which Tenaha police seized cash and property from motorists. In about 50 of the cases, suspects were charged with drug possession.

But in 147 others, Guillory said the court records showed that the police seized cash, jewelry, cellphones and sometimes even automobiles from motorists but never found any contraband or charged them with any crime.

(Emphasis – you know.) Don’t you feel safer already?

Of those, Guillory said he managed to contact 40 of the motorists directly — and discovered all but one of them were black.

“The whole thing is disproportionately targeted toward minorities, particularly African-Americans,” Guillory said. “Every one of these people is pulled over and told they did something, like, ‘You drove too close to the white line.’ That’s not in the penal code, but it sounds plausible. None of these people have been charged with a crime, none were engaged in anything that looked criminal. The sole factor is that they had something that looked valuable.”

In some cases, police used the fact that motorists were carrying large amounts of cash as evidence that they must have been involved in laundering drug money, even though Guillory said each of the drivers he contacted could account for where the money had come from and why they were carrying it, such as for a gambling trip to Shreveport or to buy a used car from a private seller.

Once the motorists were detained, the police and the Shelby County district attorney quickly drew up legal papers presenting them with an option: waive their rights to their cash and property or face felony charges for crimes such as money laundering — and the prospect of having to hire a lawyer and return to Shelby County multiple times to attend court sessions to contest the charges.

There’s your “due process” right there! Signed and notarized!

The process apparently is so routine in Tenaha that Guillory discovered presigned and prenotarized police affidavits with blank spaces left for an officer to fill in a description of the property being seized.

It’s an assembly-line!

Jennifer Boatright, her husband and two young children — a mixed-race family — were traveling from Houston to visit relatives in East Texas in April 2007 when Tenaha police pulled them over, alleging that they were driving in a left-turn lane.

After searching the car, the officers discovered what Boatright said was a gift for her sister: a small, unused glass pipe made for smoking marijuana.

Although they found no drugs or other contraband, the police seized $6,037 that Boatright said the family was carrying to buy a used car and then threatened to turn their children, ages 10 and 1, over to Child Protective Services if the couple didn’t agree to sign over their right to their cash.

“It was give them the money or they were taking our kids,” Boatright said. “They suggested that we never bring it up again. We figured we better give them our cash and get the hell out of there.”

So, what happens if the cops try this with someone who believes in personal sovereignty?

Several months later, after Boatright and her husband contacted a lawyer, Tenaha officials returned their money but offered no explanation or apology. The couple remain plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit.

Except for Tenaha’s mayor, none of the defendants in the federal lawsuit, including Shelby County District Attorney Linda Russell and two Tenaha police officers, responded to requests from the Chicago Tribune for comment about their search-and-seizure practices. Lawyers for the defendants also declined to comment, as did several of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

But Whitmire says he doesn’t need to await the suit’s outcome to try to fix what he regards as a statewide problem.

On Monday, he introduced a bill in the state Legislature that would require police to go before a judge before attempting to seize property under the asset-forfeiture law — and Whitmire hopes to tighten the law so that law enforcement officials will be allowed to seize property only after a suspect is charged and convicted in a court.

Well, gee, why didn’t you think of that BEFORE? Of course a lot of seized property (cars, boats, etc.) sits in storage lots and rots – for months or years – before forfeiture determinations are made, so perhaps that isn’t the panacea it’s made out to be, either, but it’s at least a start.

“The law has gotten away from what was intended, which was to take the profits of a bad guy’s crime spree and use it for additional crime fighting,” Whitmire said. “Now it’s largely being used to pay police salaries, and it’s being abused because you don’t even have to be a bad guy to lose your property.”

No, you just have to fit the profile.


(h/t to The Club)