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So, Fitch, how about an after-action report?

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  • So, Fitch, how about an after-action report?

    ​​ How was the rifle shooting last weekend, and what did you learn?

  • #2
    Glad you asked, we just got the gear unloaded and settled in from our day at the range. I didn’t bother taking pictures so you’ll have to trust me.

    Four of us left town about 9:00 this morning and arrived at about 11:00. A guy was there shooting at 600 yards, he knew our host and was about done so he wrapped up giving us the range. We started out at 200 using the high power target set ups, with someone in the pit sometimes pulling the targets to mark them or just calling the shots on the radio. We had both guns sighted in at home for about 1-1.5” high at 100 and both seemed to be about 5” low and a bit right at 200. Made adjustments to both and I’d say we were around 2moa and centered. The boy shot 2 three shot groups consecutively and the last shot opened up a bit, he may have pulled it but we decided to let the gun cool (Rem 700 Mtn rifle) and switched him over to the .222 he was gifted. He was consistently hitting 9’s or better after a slight elevation adjustment but the old steel tube Weaver ain’t what she used to be clarity wise and needs to be replaced.

    After that we went to move back to the three hundred yard berm and as we were loading a rainstorm moved in. We headed to the target building by the pit to wait it out, when we came back out 3 local LEO’s were setting up at the covered benches off the 200 yard line so we let them have the range. Couple hours later we finally got back to 300. The boys 7-08 was centered and about 6” low from the 200 yard zero. My .270 was surprisingly only 4” low. Figured that was a good reference point for now so we got the .222 back out and let the kid burn some ammo. After a couple shots the drop looked to be about 5-6” so I told him to start holding off for elevation. Last five shots were all X’s or 10’s.
    At this point it was getting late so we decided to move back up to the benches and recheck 100 yard zero after having made the changes earlier. He was moa 2” high and centered with three shots, I fired just two, also 2” high and about 1/2” left but just 1/4” apart. Decided to call it good. We didn’t get to shoot here at home last weekend so still hade the .243 and .22/250 with new scopes to sight in. Let him dial them in then packed it in.

    Take aways:

    i pulled one shot 5” right at 200 but other than that we should be able to manage 300 ok. Other than the 100 yard zero check from the bench we were shooting prone off my small Caldwell Jr rest with no rear support. We’d brought our packs with some clothes packed but didn’t use them. Not concerned about that.

    300 yards doesn’t look as long as I’d thought it would, but 9x magnification isn’t as big as I thought either. This probably has to do with the amount of 50’ shooting we do with the .22’s offhand. I still think that’s some of the best practicing we can do.

    My Redfield rangefinder appears to be right on.

    Had one dud Barnes, in my .270. The Barnes loads for both guns were kept in a cooler with cold packs and stayed cold. The rounds had condensation on them so maybe that contributed. Tried the round 2x but no go. Not sure if I should call Barnes about it.

    Looks like we might get back there next month, but in the mean time the other guy who rode along has a friend here at home with a range that goes out to 900 and it looks like he may see if he can bring us out. I also have the friend with the 200+ range that we can use as well. Think that will be our best bet for overall practice.

    We got back tonight at 8:30. We did stop in a Field and Stream store just to look around. The kid spied a Sitka Cloudburst jacket marked on clearance for $249.97 from $329. Plus a yellow sticker for 75% off that. Price was $62. Fit both of us. Couldn’t leave it there. It’s new but the hang tags were missing so I’m thinking someone may have returned it as it was also the only one marked down. Don’t care.


    • #3
      Couple other things.

      Before the rain came in it was getting quite warm giving boy his first real look at mirage through a scope. This is where the old Weaver’s limitations became obvious. I may look into having it refurbished because it seems to work ok otherwise.

      I’m better understanding DEP’s writing of liking “gobs” of magnification as he’s aged. I’m sure better glass would help, and the clear safety glasses I was wearing definitely had some distortion to them, but I’ll definitely be considering at least 12x on the top end for future scope purchases depending on the application. My league .22 wears a Weaver Grand Slam 4-16x42 which is overkill, but I’m hesitant to start swapping stuff out now.

      I would have have liked to have shot more regular groups than we did but as a guest decided to just roll with it. Getting to learn how the High Power game works was neat but it was a bit distracting. We still accomplished the goal of seeing what we had to work with talent and equipment wise and we can fine tune from there. Turns out the other two guys only shot a couple times each, it appears the reason the made the trip was specifically to give us the opportunity. We also got invited to come to next weeks match but we have plans already. There was talk of getting the boy set up moreso than I. The kid’s getting noticed for his abilities and he’s pretty much past the point of what I can do to coach him. I don’t know how this will play out but will take it as it comes.


      • #4
        Sounds like a pretty high-end range, with pit and all. I don't get to the longer ranges enough, and I should. Mostly for variety.

        Dud's happen, and I wouldn't be super concerned about it unless it was an issue of undersized brass in your rifle. Mostly because it could happen again, and if you've got game in your sights...

        Condensation likely had no effect. Most ammo is relatively water-resistant (not proof) and primers are surprisingly resilient. I can't remember if you are a reloader, but I would pull the bullet, look for evidence that the primer ignited, see if there is powder in the case, and then check the brass for being undersized, just to find the root of the problem.

        Or, just forget about it as it was likely a fluke and will never happen again. Life is too short for fretting.

        This is a time of practice, dreaming and overall anticipation at our house. My oldest son is back from military school (Grandparents house) and is begging to shoot some large-bore rifles (Red Ryders in the basement) and was stoked to find out that Mountain Lions were already in season here (squirrels.) This weekend we will likely pour a couple of drams of whisky (Grape soda) and discuss all of our best and most skilled shots (lucky) and plan a hunt or two.


        • #5
          The dud was the only one I can recall for this rifle, but still have the Hornady round from the boy’s 7-08 last year. (I really bought that rifle for myself, guess it’s what I get for letting him kill his first buck with it) I don’t handload but it may just be a matter of time, holding out for the right deal on some used equipment. Finding a bullet puller should be easy enough so I’ll check both at some point, but in the meantime not sweat it. We’re checking out a big gunshow / flee market on Sunday, no telling what may follow us home.

          Sounds like a campfire is in order for the weekend. Enjoy!


          • #6
            Look what I found on my phone.

            I’d forgotten about this, the boy’s first three shots with the 7-08 at 200 yards. I was in the pit with our hosts friend while they were on the line. We plugged the holes with golf tees and raised the target so they (the boy and our host) could see the group in the spotting scope. You can see the pasters covering the holes in the old target we were using. After a while it got tough figuring out which shots were which so I gave up with pictures.
            I actually realized earlier today that even though I thought we were sighted in we had switched ammo to the Barnes which we’d never used before. I also had him try some factory Nosler 120gr Ballistic Tips that hit just about an inch above the Barnes. Next range session we need to try the Barnes, Nosler and also the Hornady loads we had sighted in with to get an idea of their comparative POI’s.

            Edit to add: The Nosler and Barnes are both 120gr but the Hornady loads are the 139 gr Interlocks. I’m curious about how the poi differences will turn out.
            Attached Files
            Last edited by fitch270; 08-10-2019, 06:19 PM.


            • #7
              Strange. I have never had a misfire with a Remington round, but can happen. I believe Big R loads all the Barnes ammo at the Lonoke plant. From the looks of loaded brass, it’s Remington all the way.




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