By Bill Wade
Recently, I contacted Sierra Bullets, http://www.sierrabullets.com on their TECH LINE (800-223-8799) to inquire as to which bullet would
perform best on Prairie Dogs with my 220 Swift.
Confident that it is a matter of opinion, I wanted to get their opinion. I plan to use Sierra Bullets this summer at the Prairie Dog
Conference, so I figured I should at least ask them for their thoughts.
Rich, the Ballistic Technician I spoke with, gave me a couple of options and told me his personal favorite. I scribbled down the charge
weight that he likes, next to the bullet on their chart that was laying on my desk.
He asked if I had been to the plant and taken the tour. I had not and he encouraged me to stop by when I get a chance.
I thought that he said IMR4895 was his favorite with the 55 grain pill, didn't write it down because I assumed I would remember. So after the
call, I grabbed my books and cross checked. Sure enough, it was listed and the charge was in the range.
I grabbed a box of Spitzer Boat Tail 55gr at the gun shop and loaded 3 charge weights starting low and working up to the Tech's favorite.
When I fired the third charge weight I just shook my head in disbelief. The groups were fantastic http://www.centerfirecentral.com/220groups.html
and I was thrilled.
This week, things slowed at work a little, so a buddy and I headed for the Sierra plant. It is only a couple of hours away and I was sick of
I was not sure what to expect. Would it be a scheduled tour with a group of people or what?
We walked in and told the receptionist that we had come to tour the plant. She asked us to have a seat and someone will be right with you.
We waited a couple of minutes and Dave Brown, one of the Ballistic Technicians came out to greet us.
No group, no crowd, just the 3 of us headed off into the offices. Dave took us to the area where the Technicians do their thing and introduced
us to 3 or 4 of them, one being the one I had spoken to on the phone. I handed Rich one of my cards and he remembered our conversation.
I asked him if it was in fact IMR 4895 that he recommended and it was not, it was 3031. Damn the bad luck, now I have to try that powder too
(smile). He sat down and pulled up the 220 on the Sierra CD program and printed off a page for me showing the data using a 55gr bullet.
We headed off into the plant with Dave and got to drool over all those bullets just sitting around waiting to meet targets. He showed us each
step of the bullet making procedure, and explained some of their quality control checks.
The machinery was fascinating just considering the crucial timing required for this plate to move here and this punch to come down now.
It was really neat. I don't begin to understand all of it but it was definitely a learning experience.
Then it was off to the range where they test bullets from each lot. It was a reloaders dream. Presses everywhere and railguns with extra
barrels in the rack. 2 small holes through the concrete wall gave the view down the 200 yard range under the plant.
I guess testing bullets could get boring, but it would be fun for a while, anyway. I asked the shooter if he enjoyed shooting at the local
range on the weekend he said "yes, but I am not interested in reloading when I leave here".
I suppose after reloading 10 rounds for each lot of bullets, it would tend to drive you ballistic, pun intended.
Anyway, it was a very educational little side trip. I have used Sierra bullets for years in all my rifles and it was a pleasure to see their
operation and meet the folks involved in creating what I consider to be a top quality product.