Shooting the Colt Cooper M2012 Rifle in .260Rem

By Bob Shell

Colt Cooper M2012 Rifle
Colt Cooper M2012 Rifle in .260 Rem
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Apache Junction, AZ –-( At various times during their history Colt has produced rifles for the sporting market other then the various m-16 products.

Their newest venture Colt has teamed up with Cooper Firearms of Montana on a bolt action called the Colt/Cooper M2012  model.

Cooper Firearms of Montana has been around for over 20 years and they are known for producing quality rifles. Like most Colt products, it is not a low dollar item.

For more info on their line of fine products you can go to

Some of the features include a laminated stock and a muzzle brake. With the .260 caliber rifle as my sample, I feel that the muzzle brake is not necessary. That caliber doesn’t have a lot of recoil to begin with and the brake will just add to the noise. The 22” barrel is grooved which will lighten it a little and will aid in cooling it down.

Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle Bolt
Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle Bolt
Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle Bolt Face
Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle Bolt Face

The bolt possesses three locking lugs which makes the lift 60 degrees as opposed to the normal 90 degree lift. It is a personal choice as to which system you prefer as each has its advantages and disadvantages.

The bolt also has spiral grooves, which may aid in cooling it down. The action looks strong and safe as befitting a modern rifle. There are gas ports which would protect a shooter in the very unlikely event of a case rupture. There are 5 and 10 round magazines available so it will be legal in most areas.

With all of these laws being passed you should check in your state to make sure the 10 round magazines are legal. Checking a head of time might save you from an expensive and embarrassing mistake.

The release button located in the back of the magazine is quick and easy to use. The magazine is metal rather then plastic used on some less expensive models. Time will tell but it should be more durable but I would definitely have a spare or two if it was going to be a primary hunting rifle. Normally the magazine is the first thing to go on a gun. So with any detachable magazine rifle that I own there would be a couple of spares.

Personally, I am not a big fan of detachable magazines as it is just something else that can get lost. My first choice is a blind magazine but I am from the old school way of thinking.

No sights come with the rifle but it has a picatinny rail for scope mounting which is a plus. Mounting a scope proved to be extremely easy. The finish is a matt color, which is an advantage for hunting since there is no glint given off. It has a thick and soft recoil pad which would make it more desirable for people who might be recoil shy. In addition, the rubber might grip on the jacket quicker which would aid in getting off a quick shot.

It has some good features for a hunting rifle. Naturally, there are some factors in selecting a hunting rifle and price would be one of them.

One of the family of cartridges based on the .308 Winchester case, the .260 enjoys a modest popularity. Everyone who makes bullets makes them in 6.5 caliber. Weights go from 85 to 160 grains in various styles.

With that selection deer sized game can be successfully hunted out to 300 yards or so. Black bear and wild boars are on the menu using the proper bullets. For the handloader there is the added benefit of reduced loads for small game that you might be inclined to eat. Like many other similar calibers the .260 benefits from the better bullets that have been designed in the last 20 years or so. With the modest size case, cast and reduced power loads will work well. With the lighter weight bullets varmints such as coyotes are on the menu. With the rifle, a factory target was provided using a 120 grain Sierra and the group at 100 yards was about ¼” which shows excellent accuracy potential. I have some factory loads plus some handloads to start testing. Since I have a bunch of .243 cases, I necked some up to use for the testing. The .243 cases work well giving good accuracy and service. While not necessary I used them because I have so many, more then I need for my .243. The 6.5 caliber has been around for many years starting with some military rifles in the 1890’s. Today there are many aerodynamic bullets, which aids in long range shooting without using calibers that have excessive recoil.

Barnes Bullets 6.5mm 120gr
Barnes Bullets 6.5mm 120gr

The 6.5 caliber is popular so consequently bullet selection is good. There is a verity of weights from 85 to 160 grains and the .260 can handle all of them. For instance, Barnes makes several weights and styles that will handle any hunting situation that a .260 has any business encountering. They have both loaded ammo and bullets for the reloader and in my years of using Barnes products they always perform well. For info on their line of fine ammo and bullets you can go to They have a good selection of lead free bullets for those areas that require those type of bullets plus there is an extensive loading data info on their bullets.

Sierra Bullets
Sierra Bullets

Like most other bullet makers Sierra offers various styles and weights. It became apparent early on that the Sierra bullets would provide excellent accuracy. If fact the rifle I received came with a target shot with Sierra bullets and it was almost a one hole target. If extreme accuracy is your goal then this is a good place to start. For more info you can go to

Hornady offers a good selection of bullets but I don’t see a listing for .260 ammo though there are other 6.5 rounds listed. Bullet selection is good and for hunting Hornady bullets always have done well for me. If you want a 160 grain round nose they have them. For info you can go to and get a listing plus other good info.

DoubleTap .260 Ammo
DoubleTap .260 Ammo

If you are a non reloader another viable option for factory ammo is Double Tap. They make fine hunting loads in many calibers and their line of ammo is always expanding. That is another product that I have used for some years with complete satisfaction For info you can go to their site at


 LOAD                                      BULLET                                           VELOCITY                       COMMENT

10 grains HS-6                       85 grain Sierra HP                      1402                               nice

44 grains RL #  15                 85 grain Sierra HP                         3180                             fair   

10 grains HS-6                      100 grain Sierra HP                       1522                           decent

39 X 4064                              100 grain TSX                               2880                            inconsistent   

Barnes                                   120 grain tipped                          2909                             fair

37 grains 4064                    120 grain TSX                                2664                               ok                      

38 grains RL # 15                130 grain Sierra HP                       2660                              consistent

40 grains H-4350                130 grain Sierra HP                      2568                    super accurate

Double Tap                           140 grain Nosler Accu                 2632                                 ok

9 grains HS-6                         140 grain cast                              1253                         very consistent

Double Tap                           140 grain HP                                 2614                               consistent

42 grains H-1000                 140 grain trophy                         2264                            very mild

43 grains H-4350                 140 grain trophy                            2781                              HOT !

47 grains H-4831                 160 grain Hornady RN                2538                           Near max


The 6.5 caliber is a good big game choice because there is a good selection of hunting and target bullets and with the high sectional density of the heavier bullets, large animals can be dispatched with proper bullet placement.

The Colt/Cooper possesses a strong and safe action so it can take advantage of any reasonable load. In addition, since it isn’t a magnum size case reloading isn’t particularly hard. It isn’t fussy like a larger case may be. It is adaptable to reduced loads which is an important feature in my view. Brass life is good partly because I didn’t try to squeeze every last foot second out as there is nothing to be gained by that. If you want more speed then the .260 offers there are plenty of good options. In addition, the chamber is tight and well cut which contributes to accuracy and case life. A loose or poorly cut chamber contributes to short case life and poor accuracy.

Bob Shell Shooting the Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle
Author Bob Shell Shooting the Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle
Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle Timney Trigger Group
Cooper Colt M2012 Rifle Timney Trigger Group

Shooting the Colt was a mixed bag. The trigger pull is very nice which makes it easy to shoot accurately as it breaks cleanly at 4 LBS on my rifle. Some might consider that heavy but I had no difficulty and it can be lightened.

Since it isn’t my rifle I chose not to adjust the trigger pull though if it was I might be tempted to lighten it to 3 LBS. There is no over travel or creep, very desirable features on a precision rifle which this is. In other words it breaks like glass.

The magazine proved difficult to load and a couple of shooters complained about that, With a gun in that price range a problem such as that shouldn’t occur.

The magazine is easy to remove and replace. We shot at least 300 rounds and there were no malfunctions due to the magazine or anything else. The safety works fine but sometimes we had some difficulty in closing the bolt. I am not sure if it is because it is new or some other problem but again that is a problem that shouldn’t occur on such a rifle. It did become easier as more ammo was shot in it.

This rifle’s pricing puts it out of the range for the average hunter. A buyer would have to make a decision as to whether they want to spend that amount of money on this product. A sturdy and well-built rifle should last a lifetime, which this rifle is. This rifle is well built and I wouldn’t expect any breakage with normal use. So if you look at this product as an investment then it might be a good choice for you.

5 shots 100 yards Sierra 130gr
5 shots 100 yards Sierra 130gr

I mounted a Hawke 3 X 9 scope ( ) as I am looking at it as a hunting rifle. Upon getting it sighted in one thing became apparent right away. It is accurate with the loads that I tried. I have shot and tested a lot of rifles through the years and this is one of the most accurate I have found. In fact, it will out shoot me or just about anyone else from a bench. The heavy weight and muzzle brake aid in reducing recoil though with a .260 caliber I don’t see any problem in that regard. You can shoot this gun all day and not get a sore shoulder.

For hunting it has its uses but isn’t an all around rifle. For carrying, it is on the heavy side and the magazine projects quite a bit so carrying it one handed isn’t the ideal situation. It does have studs for mounting a sling for shoulder carry. If you are sitting in a blind and need good accuracy out to three hundred yards or so then this might be just the rifle you need. Accuracy at three hundred yards or more is good enough to hit any deer size animal and in fact small game such as woodchucks are in serious jeopardy at extended ranges. While a bit large for ground hogs accuracy allows such shooting and it is never a bad thing to have more practice with your big game rifle.

As always, the Hawke scope I used gives good clarity at all ranges. It is a deer pass EV 3 X 9 X 40 and while a basic model it is worth the price. Hawke has a great selection of scopes and other optics and for more info and prices you can go to

Some of the features for this rifle:

  • 22” fluted barrel with a 1 in 8 twist with 6 grooves ER Shaw barrel
  • Timney custom trigger breaks @ 4 LBS
  • Weight 8.5 LBS
  • Custom gray laminated stock
  • 5 or 10 round magazine
  • Suggested retail price $2795.

About Bob Shell
A Custom Reloader of Obsolete and Antique Ammo, Bob Shell, writes about the subject of Guns, Ammo, Shooting and Related Subjects. Visit:

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petru sova

$2,795 bucks for a Colt rifle with a junk E.R. Shaw barrel. You have got to be kidding.


you mounted a 75$ scope on 3000$ rifle…

“The magazine proved difficult to load… We shot at least 300 rounds and there were no malfunctions due to the magazine or anything else…” So which one is it??

i just cant get over the fact you mounted a 75$ scope on a 3000$ rifle…


Before you publish again, have your proof reader review correct usage of the words then and than. Repeated misuse above destroys your credibility!


At almost three grand it should come with a gun bearer. I will stick with Savage or a Remington.In the words of someone that i hate, at 300 yards. “What difference does it make” But if you have the money to waste by all means buy what you like and enjoy. If you buy the lower priced rifles you can spend the other two grand on ammo,gas,reloading supplies and hunting trips.


Muzzle BRAKE, not “break”.