Another Hi-power practice.

I was out at Minneapolis Rifle Club again this week for a Hi-power practice, but instead of the usual routine we had a mini match.

*I had planned to get to the range early to shoot some small bore before the practice started, but the traffic a 3pm was as bad as the traffic at 4 that I usually drive through so I arrived later than planned. When I got to the range I realised I hadn’t brought any 50m targets with me, but then I found some old targets with clean diagrams which I put up. I continued to set up hoping to get in 20 minutes before I moved to the hi-power range, but then discovered I had left my sights at home. Thats what happens when you don’t do it regularly.*

Ordinarily we will shoot at either 200 or 300yds and shoot the full course of fire for that distance, this time however we reduced each detail to 10 shots from 20, and shot at both 200 & 300yds.

I started in the pits and pulled for the 200yd rapid sitting and offhand (standing) slow fire. Then we changed over and I shot the sitting and offhand then moved back to 300yds and shot the prone rapid and slow fire, before going back to the pits so the first group could shoot 300yds. Then we cooked some sausages.

My offhand was better than expected, I have been steadily improving. I mostly got 10s & 9s with only a few flyers (see below). The X came after I had been holding in the aim for a bit longer than I should have and decided to come out of position and start again (positive reinforcement experience there). The 7 (shot 8) was frustrating but I was pleased that I called the shot accurately.

200yds Offhand scorecard

200yds Offhand scorecard

 

My sitting rapid was less successful. My scope stand is good for prone shooting but is too short to allow me to use it to see my sighters when sitting. I adjusted my sights based upon what I could make out with the naked eye, but I ended up dropping my shots to the right. Although I have managed to develop a stable sitting position, in order to get my eye behind the sights I am canting the rifle to the right, which is probably the explanation for the position of my group (see below).

200yd sitting score card

200yd sitting score card

 

At 300yds we started with the rapid fire and again I didn’t do as I had hoped. The targets were in shade during the sighters and I had opened up my rear aperture a bit, but the sun came out again during the string and I think that may have contributed to my error (I know, excuses excuses!).

300yd rapid fire score card

300yd rapid fire score card

 

The day ended well with the 300yd slow fire. My sighters were in the 10 ring and it only got better from there. 100-6 was my final score on that detail. The guy marking my target complimented me on my shooting, then asked where the other four Xs went. To be honest I can’t explain why I pulled those shots to the right, but I will think about it.

300yd Slow fire score card

300yd Slow fire score card

 

It was a beautiful evening to spend at the range.

Evening light in the pits

Evening light in the pits

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1000yds on Stickledown

A friend posted a link to this video on Facebook and I enjoyed it enough that I thought I should share it here.

I did a little of this kind of team shooting before I left Scotland, once even on Stickledown with the Scottish rifle team (only for practice though).

It is a very pure shooting experience, almost like indoor smallbore where you just forget about the world and focus on the job of releasing shots exactly the same way each time. No distractiopns from the wind flags, just you, the rifle, and the target (and the hand that slides past your face to adjust your sights, and the voice telling you when you can shoot). There is a great satisfaction in the process of firing a shot then reloading and getting on target as quickly as possible so you are able to fire as soon as the coach gives you the word. The faster you can shoot after getting the go ahead the less time the wind has to change, and I got to a point during some shoots that I was releasing the shot within seconds of hearing “go on”.

I really enjoyed it and this video brought it back for me.

New Powder.

Since I started loading for .223 I have been using my supply of Vihtavouri N-140 to push the bullets down the barrel. This is all well and good for the 300yd & 300m slow fire details with 80gr bullets, but when I am shooting rapid fire strings it seems unnecessary to use such an expensive powder.

Accurate 2520 8lb jug

Accurate 2520 8lb jug

I have now acquired an 8lb jug of Accurate 2520, a much more economical powder (made in the USA rather than Finland) which has turned out to have other advantages.

The most significant difference between N-140 and A2520 is its shape. N-140 is an extruded powder whereas A2520 is ball.

Ball powder

Ball powder

The down-side to this is that it burns slightly dirtier than N-140, but the up-side is it meters much more consistently. In fact it meters so consistently through my new powder measure that I have stopped weighing every charge; which speeds up the reloading process wonderfully.

Once I got my powder measure dialed in, it consistently metered within a 20th of a grain either side of my target weight. Which is close enough for rapid fire and offhand (standing), and probably slow fire prone as well.

Powder scale

Powder scale

Loads made with A2520 appear to have a similar point of impact to my previous loads made with N-140 and they cycle through my rifle without any issue. There are no signs of pressure issues so far, in fact the primer was barely flattened so I could probably bump up the charge a little if I felt like it.

Anyway, so far I’m pretty pleased with it. I will be trying it with 80gr bullets for slow fire soon, then I will be able to better see how it compares to the N-140.

600yds at Gopher RRC

Last night I went to Gopher Rifle and Revolver Club to shoot in their 600yd practice.

I had originally planned to take my Swing, but a busy weekend meant I had no chance to load ammunition for it, so I took the AR with some 80gr loads I had in my cupboard.

The weather was hot, it was above 85 F (around 30 C) during my detail. The wind was light but a touch variable and I was adjusting back and forth 1/4 – 1/2 minute now and then.

We arrived late and the first detail was almost done, but there were enough people willing to pull targets so both myself and Phil (my ride to the range) could shoot in the second detail.

My first sighter was an 8, but then I pulled it in and came out with a respectable score (see scorecard below). I kept mostly in the 10 but was hovering around the X. I felt like my group was a touch larger than it should have been considering the light wind. Phil suggested my load might need tweaking.

I also had trouble with sweat running into my eyes (I had to stop to get a towel out of my bag shortly after starting), and dirt on my lens which was exacerbated by the sun shining from my left and highlighting the dust. I adjusted my foresight aperture down from 3.3mm – 3mm as I was seeing too much clutter around the aiming mark, and I think my group tightened a touch from that.

My butt stock again worked without major issue. The butt plate is a bit slick, I had tried to make it stickier by attaching bits of a moldable rubber material, but when it set it wasn’t very sticky. In the next version I will make it smooth and glue on a piece of rubber material. I also discovered while cleaning that the adjustment bolts were no longer tight. This didn’t affect my shoot as the design doesn’t allow the stock to move without loosening the bolts quite a bit more, but it is still something to think about.

Below is my scorecard, and beneath that is a post shoot “selfie”, as you can see I am a bit red in the face.

After the shoot I went to a bar with a few of the other guys and experienced a miscommunication with the waitress. I’m pretty sure I ordered a glass of water but somehow she heard orange juice. I drank it anyway.

600yd Score card 9th June 2015

600yd Score card 9th June 2015

A hot day at 600 yds

A hot day at 600 yds