I dislike having to be fussy. Regular bench rest competitors tend to be fussy, and I guess that's the main reason I hung it up so many years ago. I dislike direct comparisons between people. If they're doing the best they can, then that's one hell of an achievement. Most people don't do the best that they can. To me, the fellow who keeps his seven-year-old pickup clean and waxed is doing a lot better than the guy with a last year's Mercedes-Benz that's dirty a lot the time, even during periods of nice weather. Keeping the pickup clean is not being fussy; it is simply a reflection of owner pride and caring about personal property.
At the time I decided the bench rest game had gotten to be too much for me, is when the money thrown at it was making too much of a difference. Guys who weren't particularly skilled at shooting little bitty groups were spending big bucks getting 22 and 6mm PPCs built, and then doing very well on days when the weather was calm. When it got to the point that the only matches worth competing in were those that were held when it was blustery, which made it difficult for the fair-weather shooters to dope wind, it was time to go back to just shooting with a friend or two and work together to improve our skills and techniques.
During that period, I was shooting with a pair of 6x47s. One was a re-barreled 40-X Remington, the other was built on a sleeved Remington 700 action. A third rifle, being used as a carry-about for varmints, was built on a little Sako single-shot bench rest action, which used to be available. It was fitted with the top-grade Douglas barrel in 12 twist, while the competition rifles were 14 twist; one with a Shilen barrel, the other a Hart. Here's the big deal... they all shot about the same. True, the little Sako with the trimmer barrel was not competitive enough to use in a match, but it still shot an easy quarter inch. The other two were always in the high teens (groups in 0.18-inch territory).
With all of the good press and word of mouth about the PPCs, and then the 6mm BR (and 22 BR, but to a lesser degree), the last nail driven into the 6x47's coffin was an article published in a well-known magazine for competitive shooters. It directly compared the 6x47mm with the 6mm PPC, and politely trashed the former. The report sounded articulate and sophisticated, but, as someone who has been involved in statistical analysis for a good portion of my life, I saw it as a bunch of self-serving crap. Here are some solid facts; The uniformity in velocity at which the bullet leaves the barrel is extremely important. The bullet has no brain, and does not know how it got down the barrel. Once the bullet has left the barrel, it's on it's own; no amount of body English or prayer can help it. The muzzle velocity of the 6x47 and 6mm PPC is essentially identical with bullets of practical bench rest weight. Both cartridges use the same amount of powder, although may be at their respective best with different powders. Both use the same primer. The standard deviation in velocity of both cartridges is, for all practical purposes, the same. The bullets that you can shoot in either cartridge are the same. So, what's different? The brass.
Excellent brass was and is available for the PPCs, while only regular production Remington factory brass was and is (occasionally) available for the 222 Remington Magnum. A quick pass of 222 Remington Magnum brass through a sizing die for the 6x47mm Remington instantly changes the brass into the latter cartridge case. For no particular reason, I use a full-length sizing die, do not lube the exterior of the case, and use a cotton swab to very lightly coat the inside of the neck with fine graphite for easier expansion. My die also has a tapered carbide expander. After doing a hundred cases, I trim the necks to precise spec length. Cases too short to clean up are set aside for walk-about field shooting, where they are more likely to be lost in snow or long grass. After de-burring the outside of the trimmed neck (by rotating and lightly pulling the case toward me over a fine mill bastard file, usually while watching TV. (I am one of the nine people in the United States who admits they like watching TV.) This is also a good time to lightly remove that inside neck burr with a proper chamfering tool, and check flash holes. When done, do a light outside neck turn; just enough to remove the high spots. This usually means that the cutter on my Forster has shined up about 50- to 60-percent of the surface. Now it's time to weigh the cases and sort them into groups. I'm usually able to get about 30 potentially match-quality cases at this point, which reduces down to maybe 20 after checking wall thickness and a few other details. These 20 cases will shoot in the teens out of a good rifle. The remaining cases are excellent for varmint shooting, etc., and will still shoot around a quarter inch. After firing, cases are always neck-sized only.
You have to practice saying something as a 6x47 owner/shooter. It is, "I would like to purchase some IMR forty-eight ninety-five, please." From 55- to 75-grain bullets, this is the powder that has always been the best for me on a consistent basis. When using 70-grain bullets, a pound of IMR-4895 is good for about 270 rounds. If purchased as an eight pounder, there will be enough for over 2000 rounds after tuning your load to that lot.
For information about the parent cartridge, the 222 Remington Magnum, please see that chapter on this site. Meanwhile, write a nice letter to Remington and ask them to make 222 Remington Magnum brass more frequently, and contact us here at Northwest Magnum so we can order either a 222 Remington Magnum or a 6x47mm Remington rifle for you. Choose from a Remington 40-X or a Cooper. For a trim, delightful rifle that you will want to have buried with you in the distant future, choose a Cooper Model 51 Custom Classic or Western Classic.