(or, ARE YOU SHAW IT’S THAT GOOD?)
I am now, yes. When last I left off on the Shaw Mark VII .30/06, I had shot it with bullets up to and including 165 grains, and had yet to try it with 180- and 200-grain slugs. This has changed. Due to a shortage of time, I was only able to shoot 180-grain Nosler Partition Protected Points, and these averaged 1.032-inch overall. Some of the groups went sub-MOA, and one went into .496, which is quite a sight, but there was a 25 mph wind gusting and that increased the overall measurement.
The 200-grain Swift A-Frames averaged out to 1.5-inch right on the nose. I’m certain I could cut .250 or so off this, or maybe even a half inch, but with these bullets going for $50 for a box of 50, a minute and a half will do fine. If you’d like me to try and beat that number, send boxes of 200-grain .30 Swift A-Frames to the Field & Stream editorial office and they’ll forward them. While you’re at it, send some 180-grain A-Frames as well. I’m out.
Note that the preceeding are full-fledged hunting loads with hair on their balls. I did not load them to get the smallest possible groups. The one exception was a batch of ammo I put together with 155-grain Berger match bullets. These averaged .735, and if I had screwed around with the cases and used Federal 210M primers, I probably could have shrunk that average.
Worthy of note also are the brand-new Federal 165-grain Trophy-Bonded Tipped factory loads, which averaged 1.013-inch, chronographed 2,840 fps, and expanded perfectly. They are an updated and much-improved version of the original Trophy Bonded bullet. Federal nickeled both the cases and the bullets and put amber polycarbonate tips in the latter, so they’re almost too pretty to shoot, but force yourself.
All told, the $975 Shaw shoots right along with rifles that cost $5,000 or more; I might lie, but those little holes in the paper do not. — DEP