Just posting up to share my latest build. An ultralightweight youth rifle chambered in 6.5mm Creedmoor. Here is a pic of the build.
Background - As many of you know, I have several youth hunters that range from 8 to 16. Some are really recoil and noise shy, while other can shoot any gun that I shoot. Last year, I did an antelope hunt win WY with my daughter who weighs in at 65lbs and is very recoil sensitive. After failing to shoot a couple guns with any consistency, I finally loaded up an 85gr bullet in a 6x45 (6mmx223 Rem) and dropped the powder to get a nice soft shooter. She was able to take an pronghorn at 280 yards with it, but that bullet just barely got it done and the gun weighed in at 9lbs which was a bugger to carry and she could not freehand that gun at all.
The idea started in Feb when I saw a new savage lightweight barrel chambered in 6.5 creedmoor on ebay which the seller claimed weighed in a 1lb 9oz. I ended up getting the barrel for just under $100. I had a older savage action already laying around and was able to order a new savage wood stock from Numerich for $65. So far, I am in this build for $310. The problem is I put all the components together without the scope and I even with the lightweight barrel I am still at 7lbs. Too heavy for a small kid.
I have always wanted to take a factory wood stock and lighten it up to see how light I could get it. Starting weight was 2.8lbs. I began by cutting off about 4 inches at the forearm. No need for extra wood there, they can only reach about 2 inches above the action. I next decided to reduce the forearm and the right behind the reciever to make it more comfortable for small hands. After that, I milled out wood in the forearm under the barrel and then used forstner bits and went to work drilling out extra wood from the buttstock. After a couple hours, I was down to 1.4lbs. Stained and sealed the stock. Finally, I swapped out the trigger guard from metal to plastic, and make a custom closed cell foam recoil pad and I now have the rifle down to 5.4lbs and still at $315 dollars for everything.
Added talley lightweight rings and a leupold 3-9x40cds and final rifle weight is 6.2lbs. All but my youngest and mount and shoot this offhand, although, not crazy accurate. It also ended up the lightest big game rifle I own.
Onto load development for the 6.5 creedmoor. Only 1 bullet is on my radar. 100gr Nosler BT. Good expansion for antelope and deer at lower velocities and a little more mass and cross sectional areas should make a more lethal bullet that the 6mm offerings. At this point, I just hope this bullet shoots in this lightweight barrel. Starting loads call for around 34 grains in a couple powders, so I drop down to 28 grains and start working. I have a problem in my first few trips to the range. There is not enough pressure to seal the brass and I am getting massive powder all the way down the brass and even on the bolt face. No good, but after a little research, I try a magnum primer and get improvement and then seat the bullet deeper. I am getting good results with a couple powders and really good results with IMR 4064 of all things.
I end up taking this bullet and powder through the OCW load development procedure and end up at 28.3gr which gives me 2240 fps of velocity. Recoil on this load is about the same as a standard 55gr 223 rem load, maybe a little bit lighter. This gives me plenty of velocity for expansion and enough energy out to about 300-350 yards for pronghorn and 250-300 for deer. After load development, I was thrilled to shoot 3 different groups at the range with the final load at 100 yards of .550", .470", and .420".
I make my own custom labels for my leupold cds turrets, so I put together my label from 150 to 550 yards. Took this out to 400 just to check my turret settings and hit 2 inches right and 1 in down from the bull with a little wind. This thing is a shooter, one of my most accurate big game hunting rifles and 1/2moa accuracy out of a light rifle is exceptional.
The final test will come this year as we have 2 buck pronghorn tags and 3 buck deer tags. Looking forward to see how this performs. I have already had the kids shoot it, all shot it really well with no fear and my 8 year old shot it multiple times and still wanted to shoot a few more.