H & R Handi Rifle in 25-06

 

I recently had the opportunity to shoot a rifle chambered in 25-06 and WOW, what a shooter it was. A few days after this, I found myself searching the internet for rifles in this caliber, as if I need another but what the heck, what has need got to do with anything. I wanted one.

 I searched and searched and after many hours of trying to decide which brand and style I thought I wanted, a light bulb went off and I remembered how accurate my H&R .223 is and said why not another H&R. They are light, not a bunch of money, look good and if the new one shoots anything like my .223, I will be a happy camper.  

So I decided, it was going to be an H&R Handi Rifle in 25-06. The search was one, from one gun auction to another but after a few weeks and not hide nor hair of what I wanted, I called my local gun guy and ordered and new one. 

 Now, I was in search of the perfect hunting bullet, as I was not going to target shoot a whole lot with this but hunt from a stand overlooking a few 250 to 300 yard shooting lanes.

 I have had great success with a Barnes bullet in my .223 so this was the bullet I wanted to work with in my new 25-06. There was only one problem, I did not have a Barnes reloading manual. I had six other brands but no Barnes. Here is what I have found in my 30 something years of reloading about reloading manuals. Generic are fine but if you want to concentrate on a specific bullet brand and that bullet brand publishes a reloading manual, you need to have one. The reason is simple. The generic brands have generic information and the specific bullet brands like Barnes Bullets will have little tricks of the trade about their bullets that the generic books usually will not have. So I was back to the store for a Barnes reloading manual.

 A few days later the manual showed up and that night I opened it to research the loads for my new toy. WOW, what a book, it has hundreds of full color pictures of successful hunts, yes I mean hundreds of full color pictures of skilled shooters with their prizes. Now I said earlier, I have several other manuals and none of them have anything like this. This Barnes reloading manual is worth the money if for nothing else but the great pictures.

 Now I am ready, I have my new toy, my reloading manual, Barnes bullets and for the loads I wanted to work with, I would be using MAGPRO by Accurate and MAGNUM by Ramshot. Based on the data these were the powders that were going to give me the best accuracy and with me this is what it is all about. I want to be able to dot the i, not hit the barn door.

 Other components need are Winchester brass, Federal GM210M primers and a case trimmer.

With everything in hand, I was ready for this task.

Let me make this statement before I go any further. Reloading is not like making a cake. If the cake recipe calls for one egg and you think by adding two the cake will be fluffier that is okay with cakes but not okay with reloading. With reloading, you cannot ad another pinch or substitute one component for another and expect to be safe or get the accuracy you want. Stick to the data in the manual. 

From my conversations with the Barnes technical support guys, which by the way are more than happy to help with your task, I know that the Barnes bullets like to get a running start before hitting the rifling in the barrel. So you have to seat them in the brass a little farther than some other brands. (tricks of the trade from above)

I started by measuring 100 of the brass and found all needed to be trimmed a little to accommodate seating the bullet to the correct OAL. Once I had my brass trimmed, I determined I would start a little hotter than the minimum recommended load and work up to the maximum in increments of 2/10 of a grain and seat the bullets starting at OAL of 3.010 and work up from there not to exceed an OAL of 3.250.

 When at the reloading bench, it is important to pay close attention to what you are doing and write everything down. I have a log that I use when reloading that I am able to record, case brand, primer brand and style, bullet weight, brand and style, case length, bullet seating depth, powder brand, make and weight, date and other stuff.

 These loads should have a muzzle velocity of around 3100 to 3300 fps, using MAGPRO powder and a Barnes 100-grain Tipped TSX BT bullet.  This combination should give me a flat shooting bullet to 300 yards with the rifle sighted in at 200 yards. Based on my calculations, if the bullet is sighted in at 200 yards, 100 yards should be about 1 inch high and 300 yards should be about 4.5 inches low.

 After several hours at the bench, I am armed and ready for a day at the range. Now comes the fun part.

 I start by getting my Lead Sled and chronograph set up, then my targets and rifle. If you are going to have along day of shooting anything much larger than a .22, it is a good idea to have a Lead Sled, so your shoulder is not like mush the next day and when you are trying to test loads for accuracy, it holds the gun still to give you the most accurate shooting you can expect.

 My first few rounds were loaded for test and so I could get use to this rifle before my actual accuracy teat started and after shooting a few of these, I like this rifle a bunch.

 Well, what a nice day at the range, only a few other shooters all day, the winds were calm and the temperature a pleasant 70ish.

I shoot all of the loads I made and had a great time with this little fun rifle. I tested a few of the Barnes bullets in wet newspaper and found each performed superbly with a nice weight retention of about 97 percent average and each opened just like a flower, giving the hunter a good penetration with nice cutting edges. This rifle, Barnes TSX bullets and MAGPRO powder is the combination I will stay with as the results below shoot great and are as accurate as anyone can hope for.

 I did one modification to the rifle. I free-floated the barrel by sanding a small amount of wood on the fore grip. This is pretty standard with all rifles I shoot unless they come with a free-floating barrel.

 My results for 200 yards with my new H&R Ultra Hunter Rifle in 25-06 using MAGPRO powder and Barnes 100-grain Tipped TSX BT bullets:

MAGPRO Powder Grains

OAL Inches

FPS Average 5 Shots

Accuracy

5 Shots Inches

59.9

3.019

3312

0.78

60.1

3.017

3319

0.70

60.4

3.012

3325

0.51

 

 This rifle is similar to my other H&R in accuracy and easy shooting. It is not too heavy. It shoulders well and is a great all around rifle for hunting anything I will be hunting in Florida and Georgia. The recoil for the 25-06 is mild and plenty manageable for even youngsters. This round is a very effective hunting load out to 400 yards for a skilled shooter and out to 200 yards for a novice. It has plenty of power for game up to mule deer, black bear and even elk.

Test in ballistic gelatin show the Barnes 100-grain TSX penetrating 21.3 inches at 300 yards when fired from a 25-06. Thatís just 19 percent less penetration than a 180-grain TSX from a .300 Winchester Magnum provides (26.3inches). 

 

 

Click on these pictures to make full size

 

 

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