Monday, January 31, 2011

Home up on the range

Twas a beautiful day on the range yesterday. I got some work done too, some bittersweet. I have poured a lot of time into perfecting handloads using IMR 8208 XBR with 155 grain Nosler J4s, and yesterday I proved that those loads shoot accurately, but sadly were too hot. This was confirmed when the ballistics of these rounds at range did not match the speeds advertised by my CED M2 chronograph a month before, and in fact was waaaaaay off.

The CED M2 did not accompany me home in the same condition it was when we arrived, which is no great loss considering it had only given me one realistic reading in five trips to the range. I'm fighting intent to send the remainder of the device back to Competitive Edge Dynamics with a smart ass letter. It's amazing the devastation that seventeen rounds of 230 grain lead round nose will do to shitty plastic.

On to happier things, I had loaded up some Reloder-17 rounds with 175 grain Nosler J4s for a ladder test, as I only had fourteen of those bullets left and I wanted to put them to the best use. At 570 yards I got a perfect reading on where the two nodes were, which confirmed my suspicions almost exactly.

A disclaimer: work up your own rounds for your own gun, and do not rely on what you see on the internet for a starting load. If you do not know what you are doing, get help from someone who does or you may wind up destroying your gun and your face. Reloading is fun and safe when done right, and can be disastrous when done wrong.

With that said, I have already done a great deal of shooting with this combination, and know where I need to be. I started out with two sighters of 47.6 grain charges: one for 100 yards, and one for longer range, which both of them printed where I wanted. You can see the second sighter in the below picture just above and to the left of the 8" bull. For the charged loads of the test, I dropped down 2 MOA from my sighter, and had marked the bullets with colored sharpies to make the impacts readable. The bottom three shot holes are 47.6, 47.8, and 48 grains of Reloder-17 under the 175 grain bullet, grouping nicely on the same horizontal plane. I anticipated the top of the lower node at 48.1 grains, so this is good data to me. After that, the 48.2 and 48.4 grain loads walked up the target, and then the 48.6, 48.8, and 49 grain charges grouped well. At the 570 yards I was shooting, I had 12 1/2 MOA of elevation dialed in on my scope. The top three charges could stand to come down 1/4 of a MOA, which would put my velocity at 2,710 fps. That's awesome from a 20" barrel, and defies the 2,560 - 2,600 fps readings that I got from that shitty CED M2 chrono.

Here is my 100 yard target which I used to zero the 8208 XBR loads. The bottom right shot hole was my first round which jammed the gun. With the DPMS/SR-25 style bolt, the cam pin can be inserted either way through the bolt carrier, and if you dont pay attention during assembly, you will have your brass cases ejecting into the left side of the receiver instead of out the ejection port. The M16 bolt can only be assembled the correct way, so I guess old habits die hard. After that I had a little zeroing and shooting position adjusting to do, evident by the bottom middle target, with the bottom left being a solid five shot group from my rifle, and what I expect from it accuracy wise. At 400 yards I was printing 3" five shot groups, but I had ejector swipe marks on all the case heads and slightly flattened primers, meaning that these loads were too hot. Also, earlier OCW testing over the shitty CED M2 chrono had given me velocities of 2,783 fps with these loads, but actual testing gave me velocities nearing 3,000 fps!!!! Waaaaay too hot!! I may back down to the other load in the near future, but for now I'm going to do some seating depth testing with the Reloder-17 loads. Also, check out the top left group from my little DPMS AR. Not bad for a 7 power scope!

The Mosin Nagant carbine that I picked up awhile ago loves PRVI ammo in the 150 grain loads, but produces some fierce recoil! It certainly beats the corrosive Russian ammo I had been shooting. Here is a three shot group at 100 yards off sandbags:

Here is a three shot 10" group at 400 yards off sandbags, shooting between the visible 3" orange dot on the right and another just outside of the picture on the left. With open sights and a short barrel, I'll take that group any day.

Other than that, I did a little shooting with the old 1911 at 100 yards for fun with my wheel weight handloads. Good stuff. Now I've got some more loading to do to reach my goal of having perfect handloads. Do you think I'll ever get there?
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