Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Busy weekend

I have to post this first: this was my view yesterday morning when I woke up:

I'll come back to that in a minute.

Friday I left work and started load development on the 123 grain Nosler Custom Competition bullets in 6.5mm. I used Benchmark powder this time instead of IMR 8208 XBR, partly because I love Benchmark so much, but also to take the .264 LBC in a new direction. I was rewarded for my efforts:

The groups are not tight at all, but in an OCW test that doesn't matter; you're not looking for groups, but whether several different charge weights have the same vertical point of impact, which the bottom three do. Yes, the bottom right load is over half a grain above the maximum load Hornady recommends, and if you do not know what you're doing, then do not try to duplicate my loads. Always start low and work your way up. I know this gun very well already, and I also know how to look for pressure signs.

With that said, I'm going to take the next step and narrow my charges down until I find the sweet spot, and then fiddle with seating depth. To be getting velocities over 2,500 in a 18" barreled gun with these bullets is significant, and in the future I may have to mess around with the Lapua Scenars again as there is still room left in the case with this powder.

Next up, I got invited to check out some land owned by a local hunt club, and if all goes well I'll be filling in a recent empty spot left by a previous hunter. While we were there, I got to shoot the MK12 down a power line at 652 yards, and I got to see what the 'ol girl is capable of. My first group with my handloads went into 6 inches, and as I was clicking off a second group, I was treated to the sight of a good sized black bear running across the power line at over 1,200 yards. Pretty cool. All of my other groups sucked right up until my last one, in which five shots (one of the shots from another shooter is circled) went into 2.8", four of them going into 1.3":

This is what's commonly referred to as a "refrigerator group", being a group that's noticeably tighter than any of the others. This is because either the shooter or the gun cannot produce a group like this on demand; in my case the former symptom being the relevant one. To be fair to myself, I was shooting off of a wobbly folding table, and would have done better firing prone with a rear sandbag. That wasn't an option due to the grass being so tall.

Going now back to the first picture, My family and I were invited by some wonderful friends to stay at their family's cabin up North in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The cabin was amazing, as was the surrounding terrain:

I had to ask myself why we don't live in a place like this, as living where I do now is not where I want to be. On our way home yesterday, the further the car took us from the cabin, the more I wanted to turn around and go back. When we were only about two miles away, we stopped at an intersection in the middle of "town" to check our directions for about a minute and a half, and there were no other cars to be seen; nobody pulling up behind us and blowing the horn. Of the the half dozen cars we did pass, several of the drivers waved, and not with their middle fingers, either. Pulling into my subdivistion two hours later, I had to swerve to avoid being hit head on by yahoos who were busy watching what was going on in somebody's yard. Oh well.

It was a great weekend, and the kids had a good time. Now I'm thrown back into the work week, but at least it's only four days!
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