January 28th, 2024
Sunday GunDay: Way’s Wicked Accurate Rimfire Benchrest Rifle
Most folks would be very impressed with a centerfire rifle that can shoot a quarter-inch group at 100 yards. But to do that with a rimfire rifle, shooting little .22 LR cartridges, that’s quite an accomplishment. Today’s Sunday GunDay story spotlights a superbly accurate new .22 LR Benchrest gun belonging to Forum member Dave Way. This rimfire tack-driver was crafted by respected gunsmith Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy. Check out this five-shot group Dave shot once he had figured out his optimal tuner position. That is mighty impressive for a rimfire rifle!
A sub-quarter-MOA group at 100 yards is impressive for a centerfire rifle. But for a rimfire rifle, it is truly stunning. Check it out — this rifle hammers!
I tested three lots of Lapua Super Long Range today. This lot looked really good so I bought a case. It’s a blast shooting this rifle over wind flags. It’s amazing how little wind it takes to move the bullet at 100 yards. I was having to hold off today to finish up groups. That’s when it’s the most fun. — Dave Way
Dave posted in our Shooters’ Forum: “To say I was impressed with the quality of the action and the accuracy of the rifle would be an understatement. I shot five different lots of Lapua Midas, Lapua Long Range, and Lapua Super Long Range ammunition. At 50 yards all the groups were pretty tight. I was shooting in some wind, using flags. One lot seemed to stand out so I put a target at 100 yards and shot three rounds in it as aiming points. I shot three five shot groups with the last 15 rounds of that lot that I had with me. All three groups were under 1/2″ and they were getting tighter as I moved the tuner!”
Above are initial 100-yard, 5-shot groups Dave Way shot with his rifle, while experimenting with different tuner positions. The largest group (on left) was a 0.416″, while the smallest (on right) was 0.296″. The average of the three groups was a stellar 0.369″ (0.352 MOA).
Dave Way treasures this rifle and praised Alex Wheeler’s skills as a gunsmith: “I have never received a rifle from Alex that didn’t shoot incredibly well and this one is no exception. I’m just getting into the .22 world so I don’t know if this is good, great, or excellent accuracy but it seems pretty accurate to me.”
Lot Testing and Tuner Experimentation Pays Off
Here are some initial groups Dave Way shot during initial ammo testing. They are all under half-inch at 100 yards. That’s pretty impressive — but read on. When Dave optimized his tuner position and found a great lot of Lapua Super Long Range .22 LR ammo — his groups got even smaller. Dave notes: “They could have been better but I was just getting used to the trigger and everything.”
Here are a series of three-shot, 50-yard groups. You can see this rifle is quite consistent. This is with five different lots of Lapua .22 LR ammunition.
Lot Testing with Lapua Ammo — Three-Shot Groups at 50 Yards
|Holeshot 2500X Right Bolt, Left Port Action
Muller Works 1:16″-twist, 8-groove Barrel
Holeshot Barrel Tuner
Leupold 40x45mm Competition Scope
Gunsmith: Wheeler Accuracy
|Holeshot 2500X actions and Holeshot tuners are now produced and sold by Precision Quest Products.
Have questions about this ultra-accurate rig? You can discuss this Wheeler-built rimfire rifle in a current AccurateShooter Forum Thread.
Three 50-Yard Groups, All Under 0.180″ — That’s Consistency!
With the right ammo, this rig is wicked accurate. Here are three groups shot at 50 yards one after another. Dave shot these three 5-shot groups consecutively while optimizing his tuner: “Working with tuner the last two trips to the range. [It was] very consistent and pretty tight at tuner setting 162. Here are three consecutive 50-yard groups (5 shots each).” The biggest group (at bottom) measured 0.175″ (0.334 MOA), while the smallest group (middle) was a stellar 0.154″ (0.294 MOA) — that’s mighty impressive!
Alex Wheeler Crafted His Own Superb Rimfire Rifle First
Gunsmith Alex Wheeler of Wheeler Accuracy has, over the years, concentrated on ultra-accurate mid-range and long-range centerfire benchrest rifles, along with some stellar long-range hunting rifles. But Alex has started to venture into rimfire shooting. Prior to building the Dave Way rimfire rifle featured here, Alex built a “sister rifle” for himself with similar components. That gun turned out so well that Dave asked Alex to build another. And, as you can see, Dave’s new Wheeler-built rimfire rifle turned out to be a true tack-driver.
Alex credits Dave’s shooting skills: “I don’t think its possible for anyone to send a rifle to Dave that doesn’t shoot. He just has a knack for it. I’m glad I got into the rimfire stuff. I don’t have any interest in rimfire competition but it’s taught me a lot about bench manners and I get a lot more trigger time. It’s a great tool to learn wind flags with as well. It should make me a better centerfire shooter. That was really why I built mine. I normally sell every gun I build eventually and Dave was going to get mine but I said you should start gathering parts, I think I’m keeping this one!”
Lapua Long Range and Super Long Range .22 LR Ammunition
Dave Way had great results with his Lapua .22 LR ammo. Lapua Long Range and Super Long Range ammunition comes from Finland, and is designed for the growing long-range rimfire disciplines with targets at 100-300 yards. This ammo delivers very low ES and SD numbers. Our friend F-Class John tested this ammo and confirmed it performs very well (SEE Test Video).
Capstone’s Marketing Director, Geoff Esterline, explains: “Each production lot of Lapua’s [LR and Super LR] are test-fired in 50-round groups for dispersion. The results determine whether it makes Super Long Range or Long Range packaging.”