With H.S. Precision sitting almost in my backyard out here in western South Dakota it is easy to get a look at their product line. And I really like the Pro Series 2000 SA SPL varmint rifle. The SA stands for short action and the SPL means Sporter Light.
H.S. apparently believes there is a real need for a very cool ultra lightweight centerfire rifle out there in the prairie dog towns, speed goat water holes, and over those calling rigs when taking on coyotes and other related critters. They are right. When first shouldering the rifle that was equipped with a Leupold 4X12 VX-II scope, I found that the total weight of the complete rig lacking rounds in the magazine was under six pounds.
With an ultra light pencil thin barrel that is fluted to again drop off excess heat and weight the slim sporter benefits from a lightweight stock in a composite material. It also has an all-steel magazine well but still retains the heft of a 22 rimfire rifle. With all that, the rifle can still be chambered with the power of a heavy centerfire cartridge locked inside its slim custom stocked wrapper.
The Pro Series I was introduced to for testing and review by H.S. Precision was chambered in 25 WSSM, a very versatile critter control cartridge, as well as a very effective whitetail, pronghorn, or mule deer round. I have tended to lean toward the 25 WSSM out in the open West quite often, as I do own several other rifles chambered in this cartridge. When it came to live fire testing the new rifle handloads came to the forefront. With a set of Redding dies in a three-unit set I can buy new Winchester brass, or resize and neck up both .223 WSSM, or 243 WSSM of which I have about a lifetime supply sitting around the storage room currently.
What was of real interest here was possibly obtaining an answer to the question regarding how well the new H.S. Precision rifle could take on the temperamental super short 25 caliber round as a handloaded affair? Many a riflemen has met his handloading match trying to get the most out of this cartridge, and I am no exception to the rule. The fact is simple, 25’s in super short cases can be a devil to work with at times.
I settled on of 51.5 grains of Ramshot Hunter, Federal LR primer, and an 87-grain Speer TNT bullet. With a muzzle velocity of 3,500 fps these would be hard-hitting missiles out on the open prairie.
First up was the need to create a load for sighting in the rifle. I settled on of 51.5 grains of Ramshot Hunter, Federal LR primer, and an 87-grain Speer TNT bullet. The once-fired factory nickel-plated brass needed some additional work beyond a simple resizing in the full-length Redding die. The cases were first run across a torch so as to anneal them a bit softer, and with luck increase case life a bit.
These Winchester plated cases can be tough to work with because they are also heavy, with very thin walls. At times they move through a reloading die quite stubbornly. I was in luck however, as my first series of loads ran smoothly without any problems. With a muzzle velocity of 3,500 fps these would be hard-hitting missiles out on the open prairie.
When chambering the Super Shorts as once-fired handloads in a rifle that is not dead-on perfect in terms of its chamber reaming, the WSSM can hang up, or simply not feed. In some rifles I had to rotate the chambered case by hand to find the original position at which the case had been previously fired. But as a testament to, well, the precision of H.S. Precision this rifle fed and functioned perfectly with handload or factory rolled ammo, including the 110-grain Accu-Point from Winchester.
Not a single element of chamber problems was found. Accuracy H.S. Precision rifles are 10 X cut-rifled. That’s old school my friends, and what it means is that using WWII-era methods of rifling a barrel to insure the lands and grooves are sharp edged and don’t tend to build up bullet jacket material. This helps maintain accuracy. These rifles shoot straight. I am basing that on this test rifle as well as the several others I have reviewed over the past several years. In terms of barrel length the buyer has a choice that ranges from 22, 24 or a 26-inches.
Action bedding is reinforced block style, but in the case of the H.S. rifle stock this is a full-length operation and not just pillar bedded at the magazine well. When ordering a rifle the buyer has a choice in opting for 16 different stock colors and patterns. From camo to bright blue the choice is yours. For those that desire it a muzzle break can be installed at the factory for a small fee.
On the first day on the range I was able to shoot moa groups at 100 yards via my home-rolled Speer-capped fodder. This shooting was done off a very simple light plastic portable bench and rest by Case-Gard. With a move to a Big Shooter heavy prairie dog shooting bench that was truck mounted for mobile field use things improved to the point that this lightweight field rifle was shooting like a bench-rest rifle.