Article by: Sandro Cintra

Sometime in 2021, I decided that the whitetail deer doe population was way too high compared to buck numbers at my farm in Kentucky. Does were eating and consuming more than their fare share of food and natural resources, directly impacting our efforts towards setting the farm up to provide quality forage for bucks in the area. I then consulted with a professional from the hunting industry for a 2nd opinion and we both concluded, I had to start managing does or we wouldn’t make progress improving the habitat.

During that time, I was set on bonded bullet so I found some Remington loaded factory ammo with the Scirocco 180gr. It shot so well during sighting in that I was super content with the accuracy, but had yet to shoot any deer with it. During the first weekend of KY gun season, I was inside my tobacco barn overlooking a 2 1/2 acre food plot.

It wasn’t long after legal shooting hours that 4 does were already in the field. It was then, that I decided to put into a real scenario all the competition shooting training I had for hunting too. The volley of rounds flying was over in 30 secs and all 4 does were dropped in their tracks on impact. This was no further than 150 yards.

Initially, I thought the caliber and bullet combination would be overkill, but I was determined to not have to drag a dead doe back up the 100 feet drop of slopes near by! I did that by myself, one too many times before! Thus why I selected the 300 win mag and a heavier bullet combo for whitetail. All shots were high shoulder shots too, shot placement certainly counts!

Fast forward a few years, and I started using Thunderbeast Arms suppressors as the owner of that company, Zak Smith and I have worked together in another line of work prior to him founding his company and leaving the IT sector. I should add that I believe, that the ultra 7 is probably the best suppressor money can buy for a bolt action rifle, period. Light, quiet, very consistent and in same cases improved accuracy in other rifles too. The model is the Ultra 7 in 30 CAL by Thunderbeast.

I then tried to source some new Remington Factory Ammunition but realized after seeing the price of factory ammo north of $65 per box, I needed to hand load again. See, I accumulated all the reloading tools, and supplies over the years from shooting competition that I decided to try to replicate that 180gr Scirocco load. I also wanted to try a fast powder that would require a lesser powder charge so I could manage the felt recoil and be more efficient if I had 4 more does standing inside of 200 yards again this season!

I proceeded to use brass I had fired from this rifle before and assembled my reloading bench using reloading techniques I was very successful with in the past as well. It might be overkill but here it goes;

Brass cleaned in a wet tumbler with stainless steel and brass cleaner solution, distilled water and dish soap… Then, the brass was wiped clean and air dry for 24 hours before going thru the reloading cycle… Brass was now dry and ready to be resized and bumped back in the shoulder by 0.003”. I tested this newly resized bass on this rifle chamber prior to reloading the components. I also removed the firing pin from the bolt to make sure I was feeling just the right amount of shoulder clearance in my chamber after resizing the brass. Then, after making sure a full resize of the brass was done, I deburr the inside and outside of the neck, gently… followed by applying a wax lubricate inside of the neck with a light coat, as I was getting ready to push the brass thru an expended neck mandrel which would give this load a precise 0.002” neck tension. This step is key to my reloading practice, neck tension!

I then used a powder that is on the fast side for 180gr bullet but a powder that is repeatable and known for being more temperature stable than others. Hodgon 4350!!! We only needed a powder charge of 68gr to push that 180gr bullet beyond 2,900 FPS! Then, it was time to make sure all primer pockets were uniform for consistent ignition. At this time, mind you I had prepared only 20 cases and it took me from start to finish about 2 hours of work from a dirty fired used case to a fully assembled cartridge, ready to fire again.

So, I went to my local range and using what is possibly one of the most exciting products launched recently in the shooting industry, the Garmin Chronograph! This small, light and super accurate device is worth every penny and every serious shooter should invest in buying one! It is a must!

I shot the 1st cold bore shot and noticed something I have become accustomed to feel from time to time when shooting a rifle with the perfect load. Lack of harmonic vibration passing thru the rifle to me and when I see my sight lift during recoil.

So you see… if a rifle and load are perfected and match each other in the right time of the bullet exiting the barrel, I can definitely feel less vibration and a better sight recovery. Many times before while developing loads for competition, I started to notice a correlation between lack of vibration thru the shot sequence and accuracy down range.

When I recalled the target back from precisely 100 yards, I was somewhat convinced the group was good but never this good. In my entire 20 years of shooting competitively, I only shot 2 groups during load development or practice that were slightly better than this. They were thru the same hole, which for bench-rest shooters is not entirely uncommon.

Yes, I brought on bench rest reloading techniques for this load development as I was already doing the reloading work, so I decided to not cut any corners. But, I didn’t expect a hunting rifle that has been traveling from FL to KY often and honestly hasn’t been cleaned in probably more than a year to shoot a 3 shot group this small. This is certainly my best load development shooting group with any long action rifle I have ever shot!

Rifle build, 24” carbon fiber barrel and chamber job by Proof Research.  Model – Conviction Ti in 300 Winchester Magnum!

Scope by Kahles – K318 3.5-18x50mm FFP
Badger light alloy rings
Thunderbeast Ultra 7 30 Cal supressor

300 win mag Norma case
180gr Scirocco Bonded
Federal Large Rifle Primer
Hodgon 4350 powder
2,968 FPS