A New 6BR Barrel!

Copyright 2023 – Stephen Redgwell

This 26 inch, bead blasted matte, stainless steel tube arrived…after a seven month wait. What was I waiting for? I wanted a simple but accurate rifle that had the capability of efficiently taking game at a distance. With the spotty component availability of the past few years, it had to use a minimum of powder. It also had to be able to deliver a bullet accurately with a minimum of recoil. And be powerful enough to drop whitetails. Enter the 6BR.

The 6BR is known primarily as a competition cartridge, but also has a small, but loyal, varmint following. The barrel would attach to the action shown below – a Thompson Center Pro Hunter. It doesn’t have a light trigger (4 lb) or anything that makes it a stand out. What it has is personal appeal and the power to cleanly take animals at a distance. In short, it has chutzpah.

It is a good whitetail cartridge. It is a good coyote cartridge. It is good at the range, or anywhere else where you need some reach.

The barrel has a 1 in 10 twist, is 26 inches long and features a 1 inch diameter, untapered (bull) contour.

After unwrapping it, I could see that Ron, the importer – www.nine35.ca and Match Grade Machine, the manufacturer – www.matchgrademachine.com packaged the barrel well.

I have some 65, 70 and 75 grain varmint bullets to try. Those old timey 70 and 75 grain Speer HPs work well. I have used both for years in various 6mms. They are accurate, inexpensive and nothing moves after being hit by them. To steer my payloads, I bought a Burris 6.5-20 scope last Christmas. Why a 6.5-20? I got it on sale for a great price! No worries, I won’t be carrying this around in the deer woods. I have scopes better suited to that sitting on the shelf.

And for the deer woods? I will see how the heavier bullets work, like Barnes 80 gr. TTSX or Speer’s less expensive, but potent, 85 and 90 grain cup and core bullet. A simple scope swap and the rifle will do well with bullets designed to take whitetails.

Depending on the bullet weight and powder, these have at least a 400 yard reach. In Ontario, there aren’t a lot of places where this is required however. Typically, ranges will be less than 200 yards.

The first thing I did was install it on the action. I wanted to make sure that everything went together properly. The hinge pin, helped with a little grease, should slide in and out. Most importantly however, that there had to be a positive lock up.

My list of things to do this spring is beginning to get longer. I saved some money! I had a pair of low mount Burris rings and they clear the objective lens using a weaver rail. Yowza!

The weather has turned warmer and the snow is beginning to melt. Here are the loads I am going to use to sight it in and take it for a short shoot.

I am going to try five cartridges for each of the five powders after sighting in, just to get a feel for how it shoots. They are not maximum loads, but should produce about 3250 fps. They should be good to about 250 yards with no holdover. All are about 1.5 grains under max.

IMR 8208 – 31.0 grains

H322 and DR8208 (a Canadian non-cannister grade propellant made in Canada) – 29.2 grains

AA2015 – 29.3 grains

AA2495 – 30.6 grains

I’ll let you know how everything shoots later in the spring.