Monday, June 28, 2010

Range report

Saturday I went out to see how my rifle likes the 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match. I went back out to the old pond; only this time I took a weed eater to clear the vegetation, as I learned my lesson well from last time. Still, I ran the weed eater out of string and bent my machete in the two hours it took to cut a shooting lane.

I got there right at 1000, and the temperature was already above 90. After clearing a lane and setting up targets, I was soaked with sweat down to my knees. The humidity was at 48%.

A week ago I bought a 4 foot plastic folding table to shoot off of. I've eyed them for a long time, but all the folding tables I've come across are too rickety for range work, but not this one. It's good to go. It sure makes things easier than shooting off the hood of the truck, and it was nice to be able to drive down to the targets with A/C instead of walking.

With the table set up, I laid out the rifle and commenced to setting up the chronograph. I also walked down and set up a target at 100 yards to get these rounds zeroed. In that ten minutes time my rifle was almost too hot to touch just from being out in the sun. As for my target, I used a piece of thin cardboard from a pack of orange dots as it was field expedient, and also because I could measure it with the range finding reticle on my scope. I paced the distance off to start with, and between my well calibrated eye and the scope reticle, I'm convinced I was at 100 yards. Some teenage scumbags stole my rangefinder, so I'm learning to use other methods.

As it turns out I couldn't see my shot holes on the little six inch piece of cardboard, so I went back out and put up a piece of drywall that I had brought along to shoot my new 45 ACP handloads at. I got dialed in pretty nice, right after I shot a half inch three shot group just outside of the top right dot.

I wasn't there though to shoot groups at 100; I was there to dial the rounds in at 285 yards - as close to 300 as I could get on Saturday. My first three rounds I used .7 MILs hold over instead of the 1 MIL that I was supposed to use, which put me just under the bottom black dot. Despite that, they were tight, which made me happy:

I then fired off a five round group at the bottom black dot, which I pulled the first round high and to the left, and marked it so in my book before clicking off the next four rounds. That group made me happy too, discounting the first shot.

At that point, the gun was blistering hot. Normally it takes between ten and twenty rounds to get this gun to warm up a bit before it will shoot tight. It likes to run hot. Saturday was the exception, as there was no hiding from the sun, and I had to wrap the barrel with a wet T-shirt and stuff the whole gun in the case for twenty minutes just to be able to fire off another three round group. I would alternate shooting it and my little AR15 to keep from sitting around - notice the three little shot holes near the top black dot. Apparently the drop compensation chart that came with the Burris Fulfield II scope is off: those rounds were aimed at the bottom dot. Not a bad group though.

The mirage was terrible, and worse with each shot fired and minute passed. I have little to no experience shooting with mirage, and combining that with my sweat soaked face not getting a cheekweld, and you have a recipe for some piss poor shooting.

That would be my last group fired, this time at 256 yards, measuring 2.831". The three shots on the right are from the AR15. At least they're minute-of-groundhog.

As usual, here's some through-the-scope pictures. First, the Horus Hawk:

And the Burris on seven power:

Last but not least, I shot almost twenty rounds of my wheel weight handloads of 45 ACP to see how they did. I intended to shoot a lot of them that day, but I had had enough of the bugs and the heat.

Powered by six grains of Unique, they averaged in at 858 fps, which is dead on as a substitute for ball ammo. I'm happy as can be about that. I was shooting off hand at fifteen yards, not shooting for groups, and they all stayed within the front sight post. Can't do better than that for target fodder.

I am now going to mass produce some more 230 grain LRN ammo so that I can actually shoot my 1911, instead of just dreaming about it. I haven't shot the thing in many months due to ammo not being readily available or affordable. I am also going to stock up on the FGMM as it seems to shoot well in my gun, and JBM Ballistics says it will make it close to 950 yards or so. One day I hope to test it out.
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