Rob’s Corner: PRS Gun Builds

By Rob Leatham
Posted in #Guns #Skills
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Rob’s Corner: PRS Gun Builds

September 4th, 2020

4 minute read

Last week in part one (which you can see here) of this two-part series on PRS, I gave you an introduction to PRS, or Precision Rifle Series. We touched on the basics of the sport, the types of guns used and what I’ve learned since I got started. In this second part, I’m going to show you three particular builds I have done for PRS, and how I did them (and why).

Rob has really enjoyed getting involved in PRS, and has built out several custom SAINT-based rifle to use in it.

PRS .308 Gas Gun Recipe #1

  • Springfield SAINT .308 Victor rifle
  • Proof Research 24” steel barrels (6mm Creedmoor with +3” gas system or 6.5mm Creedmoor with a +2” gas system)
  • Magpul PRS stock
  • ARCA rail
  • American Trigger Company (ATC) AR Gold trigger
  • Modular Driven Technologies muzzle brake (on 6.5mm)
  • Area 419 muzzle brake (on 6mm)
  • Nightforce Optic

My 6.5 Creedmoor is what I call a laser. It has printed near 0.5 MOA five-shot groups repeatedly. From the first round fired (Hornady 6.5mm 140-gr. ELD Match ammo), it has shot very well. Actually, the third round. The first two shots were used to get me on the 7/8” paster and the next three 5-shot groups were between ½” and ¾”. No break-in required, and no extensive testing of ammo. First try and I was done. I practice with the more affordable Hornady American Gunner 140-gr. BTHP since it is almost as accurate.

This is my current fave — the 6mm Creedmoor SAINT Victor with Nightforce 7-35×56 ATACR.

The 6mm is a little more finicky, but sub-MOA is achieved with Hornady 6mm Creedmoor 108-gr. ELD Match ammo and Federal Gold Medal Match 107-gr. Sierra Match King ammo. The lower-cost Hornady BLACK ammo, shooting a 105-gr. JHP, is nearly as good and an excellent option.

Note: The Federal load is very fast. It shoots 107 grains at 3,075 fps from my 24” barrel, and I have gone to an HP-style bolt and firing pin as the high summer temperatures in Arizona have raised chamber pressures.

Between the two, the 6.5mm is likely a better all-around choice, but I prefer the lower recoil of the 6mm.

PRS .224 Gas Gun Recipe #2

  • Springfield SAINT .223 Edge rifle
  • Heavy profile 6.5″ twist 22” .224 Valkyrie barrel and bolt
  • Magpul PRS stock
  • Springfield Victor handguard
  • ARCA rail
  • Trigger Tech Diamond Trigger
  • Muzzle Brake
  • Nightforce Optic
This is a .224 Valkyrie built on a Springfield SAINT Edge. If the distances are 500 and in, this is Rob’s go-to Gas Gun.

The .224 is a similar set-up but utilizes a .224 Valkyrie barrel and matching .224/6.8 SPC bolt. Note that the 1-in-6.5” twist allows proper stabilization of the Federal Gold Medal 90-gr. Sierra Match King ammo in any temperature or elevation — and to way-out-there distances. That’s right, a 90-gr. .224 diameter bullet. High ballistic coefficient (BC) and stellar accuracy of that bullet/ammo allow superior long-range performance (as compared to .223/5.56 ammunition). I have really become a fan of .224 Valkyrie past 500 yards.

PRS .223 Gas Gun – Recipe #3

  • Springfield SAINT .223 Victor rifle
  • Heavy profile 7″ twist 24” .223 barrel
  • Luth AR stock
  • Picatinnny lower forend rail
  • American Trigger Company (ATC) AR Gold trigger
  • Area 419 Hellfire Muzzle Brake
  • Nightforce Optic

Both my .223 guns (I have two identical uppers built, 23” and 24” barrel lengths) have very heavy barrels. These are my workhorse PRS trainer Gas Guns. A 1-in-7” twist allows them to shoot pretty much any bullet well. The Atlanta Arms Ammo loaded with 77-gr. Sierra Tipped Match Kings (TMK) have proven themselves to be excellent. That ammo shoots great in any .223 rifle.

However, any load with a quality 75- or 77-gr. BTHP works just fine. The old standard Federal 69-gr. SMK Gold Medal ammo is stellar if the range doesn’t exceed the 500-yard mark. Beyond that, the 77-gr. bullets are noticeably superior.

This is Rob’s 24” barreled .223 SAINT Victor with a Nightforce ATACR 4-16×42 scope.

Practice and Practical Comparisons

Considering the larger amount of practicing I’ve done with the small-frame .223 and .224 guns, it’s interesting that I don’t really mind the greater recoil of the larger-framed 6mm and 6.5mm Creedmoor calibers. The is likely mostly because of the effective muzzle brakes and keeping the guns as heavy as possible. But I am also getting better at staying behind the gun when I shoot. The increased downrange payload of the big guns is noticeably superior past that 500-yard mark, so I think it’s worth it.

I suppose with a little fiddling here and there all of my rifles could produce better accuracy, but it honestly isn’t necessary. My skill level is nowhere near able to take advantage of these rifles’ current MOA (or better) capabilities, so my efforts will be better spent building skills.

No Excuses

Now I have three legitimate long-range Springfield SAINT (gas gun) rifles that are ready for PRS. They were easy to put together and the results have been spectacular. I am beyond confident in both their accuracy and reliability, and that is a very good feeling.

And that’s about it!  Feed these gas guns some suitable Hornady, Atlanta Arms or Federal match-grade ammo and BAM!, you have an easy-to-shoot and accurate long-range rifle that’s perfect for PRS Gas Gun competition.

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Rob Leatham

Rob Leatham

Rob Leatham, captain of Team Springfield, has been with the Springfield Armory family since the late 1980s. He is a world-renowned competition shooter and firearms instructor who is highly regarded as one of — if not the — most-winning Practical Pistol Competitor in history. Rob's sheer number of National and World Shooting Titles make him unique in the firearms industry. He has trained shooters from all walks of life — from IPSC World Champions to Military Special Forces Operators and from Law Enforcement Officers to civilians for Self Defense. In the competitive shooting world of IPSC, USPSA, Steel Challenge, IDPA and NRA Action Pistol, Rob’s competition career has spanned decades.

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