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The H-S Precision SPL 7MM

2015-07-29-H-S Precision

My taste in hunting rifles has changed dramatically over the years, much like one developing an appreciation for the finer things in life as they mature. Once I was perfectly content with the best rifle I could find off the shelf. That purchase was usually dictated by price and I would buy what I considered at the time to be the most accurate rifle I could afford. That approach yielded some spectacular shooters and some less than stellar. My favorites have found their way into my gun safe or slung on my shoulder come fall, while the others were sold into oblivion.

I am assuming many of you have a gun-buying background similar to mine. And as such, you probably question the sanity of anyone willing to pay $2,000, $3,000 or more for a hunting rifle, let alone putting a scope that costs nearly as much on that bad boy. I mean what could that rifle possibly do that my factory one can’t? Dead is dead, right?

As I matured in the rifle world and my tastes for a fine shooting long arm became more refined, I found my answer and it’s simple – you can shoot nearly any ammunition through a custom rifle at MOA or better.

Now, before I raise the ire of my fellow shooters out there, I know there’s the exception and I know you can handload for nearly any factory rifle and get it to shoot well, but the top-shelf rifles seem to do it far more often, with far greater predictability and far less tweaking, all things considered – including factory ammunition.

I will confess that with the refinement of my rifle palate came fewer indulgent (or compulsive as my wife would put it) purchases than before, and oh how I do miss the excitement of bringing home a new boom stick (much to my wife’s chagrin). But other than saving my marriage, let’s take a look at what else separates a top-shelf rifle from the rest, and why it’s worth that eye-popping price tag.

Size matters. Over the years I have come to the conclusion that how tight your group is under ideal conditions, gives you more margin for error in the field. To further explain, let’s do some simple math.

It’s widely accepted that a rifle that shoots 1-1.5 MOA at 100 yards is considered accurate for hunting applications. So let’s say your rifle is grouping 1.5 MOA or 1.5″ (1 MOA equals 1.047” but most just round to 1” as I am doing here) at 100 yards from a bench. If your rifle maintains accuracy, theoretically it should only gain 1.5″ per 100 yards thereafter. So a 200-yard group will be 3″ a 300-yard group will be 4.5″ and a 400-yard group will be 6″. As you can see we are quickly approaching a potentially non-vital hit as our distance increases. Now, let’s look at a gun that shoots ½ MOA, which most top-shelf rifles guarantee.

At 200 yards a ½ MOA rifle shoots a 1″ group, at 300 it will open up to 1.5″ and at 400 we are looking at 2″ group. That’s a whopping 4″ tighter or a 67% improvement in accuracy over the 1.5 MOA rifle!

Now, let’s take those same rifles into the field and fire them from a field-shooting position. Say you’re prone over your pack after you huffed up a ridge, the snow is blowing hard over your right shoulder and your heart is slamming against your ribs as you struggle to find your breath in the thin air. Here’s the kicker, a giant muley buck steps into a clearing 400 yards away (remember in this scenario we are not debating ethics, only the performance of the tools at hand). He has roughly an 8” kill zone. Which rifle would you rather make the shot with? Did I make my point? I hope so.

So what does all this lead to? Well, in enters one of my favorite custom rifles, the HS Precision SPL.

Long considered the backbone of the HS line, the SPL rifle is the quintessential, all-around hunting rifle. It’s not their lightest or most costly, but all the ones I have shot group ½ MOA or better with my handloads and factory Hornady Custom ammunition. It sports a 10X cut barrel that reduces stress and distortion during the manufacturing process, improving accuracy significantly.

At the heart of this rifle is a Pro Series 2000 action. The best way to think of this action is as a finely tuned, fully tricked out Remington 700 action. It locks snugly and cycles buttery smooth. The trigger is nothing short of world class and breaks crisp and clean, just they way you want it on a custom rig.

The composite stock is impervious to weather and hard use. It won’t swell in high-moisture environments like other stocks will that result in pressure points along the barrel and inaccuracy as the final outcome.

Chamber all of this in what I think is arguably the best western big game caliber, the 7MM Remington Magnum with 160 grain bonded bullets, and you’re more than ready for anything the Rocky Mountains can throw at you.

I bet you can’t guess what rifle I will be using on my elk hunt this fall?

About Dan Turvey, Jr.

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  1. Your article is confusing minute-of-angle measurement with distance measurement. A rifle that is 1.5 MOA at 100 yd is also 1.5 MOA at 200 yd. That is because MOA is an angular measurement that, by definition, increases with distance. What you should have said is that a 1.5 MOA rifle will group 1.5″ at 100 yd and 3″ at 200 yd (rounding to 1″ at 100 yd). Don’t mix MOA with group size! The group size increases with distance, but the MOA measurement absolutely does not!

    • SAB is correct! Anyone writing a story like this should know better!

    • Thank you for the correction SAB and I promise it was a fleeting moment on my part. I got so busy writing this and a million other things that I intertwined the two. I am going to get with our blog manager when he gets back and hopefully get this corrected. Thanks again for the heads up! – Dan Turvey, Jr.

      • No worries, Dan! I figured it was a “fleeting moment,” but I also felt it important to point out the error in order to prevent the propagation of disinformation…

  2. We have 9 HS precision rifles for hunting, benchrest and tactical shooting in calibers from 6mm BR to .378 Wby. and all shoot under 1/2 MOA and most shooting 1/4 MOA. We have other shooting systems with Bat, Surgeon, and Defiance actions and none shoot better than HS. We are very fortunate to have a custom rifle manufacturer in Rapid City that shoots and hunts with the products that they build and you will not find a more knowledgeable staff to assist you in building your “dream rifle”.

  3. I am selling my HS Precision SPL in 300 WSM. To get one in a smaller long range caliber as i don’t get to elk hunt. Love these rifles. Have another in 25-06. If interested it is on gunbroker.com
    Don’t want to Hijack the post, but really want to sell it to get another.

  4. Surprised the Editor did not pick up on such a glaring error when it comes to MOA doubling at 200 yards? That just doesn’t make sense, we would never hit anything past 300 yd regardless of the rifle if that were true… MOA is constant.

  5. Does HS Precision maintain their relationship with Lon Horiuchi?

    • For those that don’t recognize the name Lon Horiuchi, he was the “sniper” that shot an unarmed women who was holding a baby at Ruby Ridge IA. HS Precision has refused to comment on the status of his relationship with the company nor have they apologized.Many folks,myself included,will NEVER touch an HS product. If you are looking for a rifle that will consistently shoot sub moa with most factory ammo, try looking at the Tikka T3 line.Super smooth bolt,fantastic trigger,lot less money.Love my T3 CTR,1/2 moa with Federal GMM, 3/4 moa with any decent factory ammo.

  6. Error aside, I also shoot a H-S Precision and agree that it is an amazing rifle. 1/2 inch groups all day long if I can do my part. Paired with a Swarovski scope and an Outdoorsmans ballistic turret it is a hunters dream.

    • Love my custom .300 Win Mag with 700 action and hand-loaded 180 gr Swift Sciroccos exiting the barell at 3150 fps. A Swarofski 3×18 with Outdoorsman’s ballistic turret removes the guess work. My 300 yd Zero allows long shots to be taken with confidence.

  7. I have an almost factory Rem 700 in 7mm Rem mag that shoots 1/4 inch. And also a (believe it or not) Marlin 336 in 30-30 that shoots under 1 MOA. Get a good scope and trigger and practice.

  8. Gentlemen, thank you for pointing this out. I got MOA and group size mixed up and stand corrected. SAB you are absolutely correct. I am terribly sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

  9. Was watching Eastmans on tv the other night and they said the best cal. for the west is a .300. I for one agree with you on the 7MM. Have shot mule deer at 937yards,750 yards and a lot closer and they all go down. The 7MM will kick the .300s butt out past 700-800 yards everytime!I have many HS rifles and a few customs.

    • Ronny, we all have our favorites here in the office. Guy and Ike love the .30 cal, Mike and I like the 7MM. In large part the .30 cal will do what the 7MM can just better, unless you are reloading, then the 7MM is a whole other animal. They will all get the job done and to each his own, I am just a sucker for those long, sleek .284 bullets with high B.C.’s!

  10. What I would like to read about is a similar fashioned scenario where the author compares an off the shelf Rem 783, a Wal-mart special Weatherby Vanguard, Browning A Bolt III, and a HS Precision rifle in a similar snow blowing 400 yd shot at a muley. Use off the shelf ammo vs factory loads and the same BDC scope. Tell me the difference in the rifles. That would really help me invest in my next purchase.

    • Thank you for the idea and that’s something I will certainly look into Adam but as I already said in my piece, the custom rigs typically outperform the factory rigs in terms of repeatable accuracy with a variety of ammunition (factory and handload), thus the added expense of the platform. The whole point is to get the most accurate rifle you can and when it comes to shooting in the field you have an “extra margin of error” built in, and I use that loosely in that your errors as a shooter aren’t over-exaggerated by and already plus MOA rifle.

  11. I had a similar desire for a Rem Model 700 CDL in 300 SAUM. Sent it to Kevin at Accurate Rifles in Montana to have it accurized , free floated, glass bedded, square up action, and hand lap the bore….and it was only able to shoot 4 inch groups at 100 yards. They are not in business at that location anymore. Hope you are reading this.

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