APO Field Test
Big Game Hunting Season 2018 – Montana
We try and take advantage of any opportunity to get APO equipment out into the field for real world feedback from novice and experienced users alike. We are committed to improving our products in an earnest effort to improve our customers experiences on the shooting range or in the field hunting. This hunting season we wanted to get the SABER M700 Sport-TAC, Ashbury’s version of a Modern Sporting Rifle, into the hands of an experienced big game hunter to see how APO’s purpose built sport utility rifle performs in the wild! You can read more about APO’s SABER M700 Modern Sporting Rifles here.
APO Custom Shop client Britton, an experienced and accomplished hunter out in Montana, offered to field test APO's SABER M700 Sport-TAC rifle chambered in .30-06 this hunting season. He’s got tags for big game and predators which are a great match for the .30-06 Sport-TAC! In 2016 Britton cleanly harvested this nice Montana Big Horn Sheep at 388 yards and this Pronghorn Antelope (above) in 2017 at 596 yards both with his APO custom built SPR-300WM precision rifle chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum. Really nice field shooting!
Britton plans to give the SABER M700 Sport-TAC a real-world workout over a couple of months in different configurations on his upcoming hunts. APO provided him with a complete rifle, ammunition and various modular shoulder stocks, hinges and alternate forends so he could set up the SABER M700 Sport-TAC MSR the way he wants to hunt with it! Also, we’ll get some honest feedback on APO’s use of the very popular Magpul CTR carbine shoulder stock with ¾” cheek riser on this field rifle and does it really work for hunting or just look tactic-cool?
We’ve asked him to treat our gear like it’s his own and let us know what works and what doesn’t. If you have questions after reading his upcoming field reports, you are welcome to email us and we’ll get you an answer.
Why .30-06 you ask? Good question, because .30-06 Springfield is a proven big game hunting cartridge over 100 years old. More importantly we could really test the Sport-TAC's performance with Federal's Edge TLR 175gr for hunting and Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr BTHP for long range target shooting. The barreled action is a hand select Remington M700 SPS Threaded Muzzle with a 20" 1:10" twist barrel built up in our versatile lightweight SABER MRCS-AR modular rifle chassis with a base rifle weight of 8lbs.
The SABER M700 Sport-TAC rifle's three (3) shot acceptance group precision of 0.2 MOA was nothing short of exceptional for both types of ammunition! Amazingly, these two Federal Premium ammunition's were the best of the five tested, with the others averaging just over 1 MOA which was really not bad for hunting ammunition. Do you need a 24” or 26” barrel to be effective at intermediate to long range big game hunting scenarios? How about in a ground blind or tree stand? The answer is… B.C. will let us know, but back here at APO HQ think the answer is NO!
The velocity of the Federal Edge TLR .30-06 ammunition out of the Sport-TAC's 20" barrel is 2,635fps, which is about 100 fps lower than factory spec and certainly acceptable for off the shelf ammo. We expect that as the barrel breaks in, the ammunition velocities will increase. Also, the good news is that we intend to precision hand load some of the Edge TLR bullets in 175gr and 200gr to improve the rifles down range external and terminal ballistic performance.
We chose the Edge TLR bullets (click to watch video above) as they were specially designed to provide better terminal ballistics (expansion) at lower velocities encountered at longer ranges; the goal obviously is a well placed shot in the vitals resulting in a clean ethical kill. We are extremely pleased with the overall sub-MOA performance and accuracy from our SABER M700 Sport Utility Rifles with quality ammunition like that from Federal Premium!
The Sport-TAC model should be available in early 2019, with SABER M700 Precision Rifle variants with slightly heavier barrels available in .308Win and 6.5 Creedmoor available now.
For more information on the SABER M700 line of rifles visit SABER-M700.com and read this field test review focusing on hunting and rural defense in Real World Survivor Magazine. If you happen to be interested in a serious tactical version of the rifle check out the SABER M700 TR (Tactical Rifle) in .308Win and 6.5 Creedmoor its pretty sweet!
More to follow and keep up with the latest on APO’s social media channels!