Having the correct barrel on your precision rifle may be the most critical necessity when it comes to actual application. While any high-quality barrel will shoot well, precision can be a bit harder to achieve. Not only does it require expert fitting, but it must also meet the needs of the shooter. Various barrel contours and lengths determine weight, velocity and even the balance of the rifle.
Accuracy requirements can vary significantly depending on a rifle’s need. In some cases, weight is not even a consideration, with accuracy and velocity (barrel length) reigning supreme. On the other hand, if you have to carry your rifle over great distances or for long periods of time, shedding some weight with a slight loss in accuracy or precision may be in order. Precision (small groups) may be critical in some competitions. In other situations, accuracy (repeatability and consistency) may be most critical. Having them all is great, but as a rule, there is some compromise. Such was the case with my 6.5 Creedmoor, designed as a sniper competition rifle. Built on a Stiller Tactical 30 action and using a Bartlein MTU-taper, 26-inch barrel, this rifle was both accurate and precise. Groups from a bench were consistently under 0.2 inches with handloads. Firing from prone using factory Hornady ammunition, groups of 0.5 inches or less were the norm. At a couple sniper-unit training sessions, I produced groups measuring less than an inch at 300 yards with Hornady’s 140-grain A-MAX rounds. There was no question as to its accuracy, precision and consistency. Its only real drawback was its weight. Placed in an AICS stock, the rifle was heavy, and with the suppressor attached, rather unbalanced. If I ever needed to pack it anywhere, it’d quickly become a chore. I needed a rifle with similar accuracy but less weight. Proof Research had the answer.
Proof Research Custom 6.5 Creedmoor
I met with Proof Research’s Derek McDonald to discuss my situation. McDonald is the marketing director of the company, and has some real-world experience with its rifles. When looking for a rifle to use in the 2012 24-Hour Sniper Adventure Challenge, he wanted it to be as light as possible. The challenge involved navigating over 30 miles of land—over and around the mountains of Utah—so weight was critical. At the same time, targets had to be engaged out to 1,200 yards, and the closer targets typically required both accuracy and precision.