I stood there in my shop, Creedence blaring through Pandora, muttering obscenities under my breath while I stared hopelessly at a long range gun, a long range scope, and a set of Warne rings that were too low to marry the two star-crossed lovers. The scope, a Bushnell 3.5-21 HDMR that had served valiantly at the Bushnell Brawl. A scope that’s so good, it’s going to get a nearly perfect review once I write it up. The rifle? It’s Underground Tactical’s Long Range Bacon Maker chambered in 6.5 Grendel. And my preliminary and somewhat scientific testing says its a hell of a thing . . .
I rummaged around in the shop and ended up finding a scope for the gun to wear, a Leupold Mark AR 1.5-4X. A scope that’s not really a good complement for this cartridge, but I wanted to get a rough feel for accuracy and function, and the low-powered Leuopold is capable enough for that role.
I started as I always do with a group at 50 yards just to establish horizontal symmetry. I watched as three shots made a large(ish) ragged hole, made my corrections, and brought it out to 100 yards.
Back at 100 yards, I ran three five-shot groups through the gun and my chronograph to establish a 100 yard zero and get a number to plug into my ballistic calculator. As you can see, with a 4X optic from a prone position using the bipod and a rear bag, I was able to consistently get five-shot groups measuring in the 1.3 to 1.4 MOA range.
A 4x magnification for a scope is plenty good enough for short range work, but when you’re doing groups at 100 yards and beyond the scope really doesn’t have the precision you need to get a read on how accurate the gun can be. I’m inclined to believe that a scope with a bit more magnification would help shrink these just a touch. And FYI, the ammo I was using was Hornady’s 123 gr. SST factory load.
Once I had those numbers, I drove the truck back to a flat spot at a foot over 460 yards, set up my shooting mat and settled in. The wind was super calm, never really gusting above 5 mph. I dialed the indicated elevation on the scope, held just a hair to the right of the center line and let five fly.
You can only see half of my shit-eating grin in the photo above, but I’m encouraged by the initial results. Two MOA at 460 yards is nothing to sneeze at and I’m almost certain that a higher magnification optic will help the results.
Thus far, the Bacon Maker’s clearcoat finish is my only quibble. It seems to be chipping. That said, the gun’s had several sets of rings taken on and off for various T&E demonstrations (including the Texas Firearms Festival) since it left the workshop last October. Other than that, the UT 6.5’s ran 38 rounds without a hiccup and managed to put rounds accurately where I wanted them. Initial indications are good, but stay tuned for a full review – after we burn through the rest of this case of ammo with a more suitable optic in place.