Monday, March 14, 2011

Rio Salado "Legacy" Match

So, I choked with a 204 out of 300 at Washington's Birthday.

I did much better at the 2011 Legacy match at Rio.  This was a 50 shot match, all shot at 200 yards.  I shot a 412-2x out of 500 possible.  That's a personal best at 82%, and I'm pretty happy about that.

I ran this match with my 1:9 twist AR-15, shooting factory Prvi Partizan 75gr match ammo.  No keyholing, so my 1:9 can stabilize 75gr ammo.

Things learned:
1.  I shoot seated MUCH better with an AR than an M14.  The extra height to the sights, and the extra vertical distance on the grip due to the pistol grip, help me with my long body from the seated position.  My seated was my best component yesterday, and I got away with a 94-2x on it.
2.  I think I've picked up on something with standing.  I'm eager to try again.  I did a 72 on my standing this weekend, which is certainly not spectacular.  I had 1 miss.  But, towards the end, I realized I could control a component of my natural point of aim with my support arm, based upon my wrist's angle at the delta-ring (I support the AR's barrel with a reversed hand grip at the delta-ring for standing).  Rotating my wrist helps "settle" the rifle in the direction I want to go.
3.  Buttstock tension into the shoulder pocket is really important from prone.  When I shot slowfire prone, I noticed that my 7-ring hits were all happening when I'd slack off on pulling the buttstock into the pocket.  When I'd tighten back up and pull with the pistol-grip straight back into my shoulder firmly, my shots would tighten back up into the 10 and 9 rings.  Tight-tension into the pocket = hits in the 10-ring.  Light-tension into the pocket = hits in the 7-ring, down 2MOA.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Washington's Birthday CHOKE!

204-1x out of 300.

[hangs head in shame]

That's 68%, whereas my last two matches have been 80%.

I think I got bit by a lack of environmental knowledge.  We went directly from standing to rapid prone with no sighters.  I was shooting low, by about 3-4 MOA.  Part-way through my rapid prone my spotter team-mate told me I was hitting low.  I adjusted hold from 6-o'clock on target to center of target for 3MOA increase.  That moved me from the 5/6 ring area to the 7 ring.  I dropped off-target with 1 shot, scoring 1 miss.  Part way through that string the sun peaked out.  "Lights up, sights up!"  When the light gets significantly brighter, you tend to drop your shots 2 MOA on target.  So, my 3MOA sight hold adjustment got mostly negated by the increase in light.

So, I now know I lose about 3-4 MOA when going from standing to prone.

And I'll remember to compensate for increased light (or a decrease in light by dropping my sights 2MOA when the sun is obscured by a cloud).

Not happy with that score.  But, there's always next year.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Who Says Nickel-Plated Brass Isn't Any Good?

So, previously in January I wrote about a need for new brass.  I ended up ordering 500pcs of Remington nickel-plated new brass.

I went out Sunday morning to test my loads.
New Remington nickel-plated brass
168gr Hornady A-Max bullet
CCI #34 primer
IMR 4895 powder
2.790 OAL
Lee FCD, moderate crimp
Case trim length: 1.990
I found a LOT of case weight variation.  164.0 to 167.5.  I'm not certain if that's because it's Remington brass rather than something with a higher reputation for consistency (Nosler, Norma, etc) or due to the nickel plating that could introduce greater variation.  I grouped the cases into similar-weighted (+/- 0.2gr from a center standard) lots of 5 for each powder charge below:
Powder charges:
5 rounds 39.5gr
5 rounds 40.0gr
5 rounds 40.5gr
5 rounds 41.0gr
5 rounds 41.5gr
I did confirm the weight of each powder charge, though I allowed for a variance of +/- 0.1gr rather than trickling for a perfect target weight.
I didn't weigh the bullets.
Discard farthest "flier" from each 5 round group.  All fliers were called as sight picture was brought into question.  Measure group with 4 best confident shots.  Shooting position was improvised prone rest on top of range bag and padding.  Target  was 100 yards.  Groups measured with a tape measure since I'm too lazy to go hunt down my micrometer right now.
39.5 group:  1.875"
40.0 group:  2.375"
40.5 group:  1.125"
41.0 group:  0.5"
41.5 group:  1.625"
Pretty clear what it likes.  I've never found a sub-MOA group before.  Nifty.    I've never shot a sub-MOA group before, even with a scoped rifle.  Yeah, it was from an improvised field rest, but it still wasn't some stupid caldwell lead sled from a concrete bench.
And... did I mention I trimmed all my new brass for this load development (25 pieces) in about 4 minutes?  I love my new Giraud trimmer.
I'm happy with the nickel-plated brass.  It's not nicked/dinged on extraction so far, whereas new brass will pick up a nice gouge on the side of the case as the extractor flings the case against the front of the op-rod.  These cases are tough enough to escape unscathed.  Extraction groove on the case also has no visible deformity, whereas a typical Federal brass case will have a visible scratch or dent on the rim from even the first firing.  After 4 firings, the rim becomes difficult to seat into a reloading shell holder due to the scratches in the extractor groove.  We'll see how these hold up over time.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Nutnfancy Project (TNP)

I've stumbled across this fella who goes by "Nutnfancy" and has a long-running series of videos on YouTube.

I found his stuff while doing research for a .22 "tactical" rifle.

Gotta say, I like a lot of his reviews.  He doesn't seem afraid of saying "this thing right here sucks!"  In particular, his candid disavowal of the FNP-45 and the FNX series of pistols due to magazine design caught me as thorough and honest.

In particular, I like his methodology of weapons testing.  Take the thing out and run-n-gun it!  See if you can make it malfunction.  Don't just jerk around with Caldwell bench rests, shooting for sub MOA groups.  Tell me about the ergonomic fumbles and foibles as you're engaging a mix of steel and paper targets.  Put 50-100 rounds through it in a minute or two and warm it up properly.

And, those of you who read my blog who already have your firearms situation squared away, you might like his ideas on techniques and gear to carry magazines, and holsters, and slings... as well as knife reviews, outdoors gear reviews and just philosophy videos.

Check him out on YouTube:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rimfire steel pistol match

I had very mixed feelings about the rimfire steel pistol match I was looking forward to in earlier posts.  I went and participated in it yesterday.

A lot of new shooters were there.  I love new shooters.  I am constantly looking for new shooters to mentor.  I teach them proper technique for best accuracy, and then I teach them how to sacrifice technique for speed (to the best of my own limited skills) if it's necessary to do so.

However, in my opinion a timed steel match is not the place to go if you don't know the manual of arms of your gun or don't have the strength to run the bolt on a .22 pistol.

I was particularly irked by the notion that a person can show up with an absolutely filthy gun where the bolt on a Ruger MkIII acts like it's been lubed with a 50/50 mix of peanut butter and elephant snot.  They shoot and get malfunctions.  They can restart the stage for a failure to feed, failure to eject or failure to fire.  You do the math and find out how many times that particular type of gun can manage to get 10 shots off with 0 failures.

Other irksome discoveries were new shooters who didn't know how to turn on their red dot sight on their ninja-ized Ruger MkIII, new shooters who came with 1 magazine and had a 50 round course of fire until their turn was done, and new shooters who need to be told a dozen times inside of 3 minutes to keep their finger off the trigger while loading.

I love new shooters.  But new shooters belong with a coach, in a low pressure environment, where they can learn proper fundamentals and gun handling skills.  Not at novice-to-intermediate events where people are looking to move to another stage of marksmanship.

A lot of what I saw would have people kicked off the range at other events.  Too many muzzle sweeps, too many fingers on triggers.

I left after two stages.  I left because the pace was so accursedly slow and there were too many of the new shooters in line in front of me, and because I was cold and didn't wear appropriate clothing, and because I was moderately worried for my safety.

That being said, I did learn a little bit in my short stint there.  I started to REALLY get a feel for that fine window that comes after recoil but before conscious recovery, where you can settle the front sight on the target and squeeze again, getting 5-6-7 shots off a second.  I experienced just a hint of that feeling, and I think the shot timer over my shoulder helped me to focus on it, along with the steel giving auditory feedback of acceptable accuracy.

I need to run more, but I think I'm going to build my own steel setup for rimfire rather than going back to this rimfire match.  I want to experience more of that link between the front sight and the trigger.  It was enlightening and I think the Buckmark is going to end up being a great tool to explore it in greater detail.

Friday, January 14, 2011

That's it. Militarize the Border. Marines, RFN!

That's 1 of 2 possible things:
1.  An act of War.
2.  An act of International Terrorism.

I don't care which you call it.

I want some bloodthirsty, rampaging Devil Dogs down there YESTERDAY.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Brass

One of the points of frustration I've been dealing with for rifle shooting has been quality of reloads.  In particular for .308 Winchester.  I've been fighting some extreme velocity variation that manifested itself in a very embarrassing way at a match, with one round falling about 6-8 feet short of the target at 500 yards and slamming into the concrete berm that shields the pit crew.

That particular problem was due to my case trimmer having an oversized case mouth pilot.  I've learned that I have to resize after trimming in order to get ideal case neck tension.

Last match, I shot a 176-3x from slow prone, and once I got dialed in to my zero I was ringing 9, 10 and X hits with only the rare 8.  I lost out with about 8 or so rounds while I tried to "dial in" from the 7 ring.  Lowest score I got on any one shot was a 7, but I walked almost all the way around the bull before finally finding the center.  I could have had 10 more points if I started zeroed or at least closer to it.

However, my brass is all part of this batch of Federal once-fired stuff that gets soft easily.  Then there's 100 rounds each of various other headstamps.  I've got brass in so many varied stages of firing (once fired, three times fired, four times fired, Winchester, Remington, Federal, MagTech, Lake City, etc) that I can't predict how the lot will shoot.

I've been in need of some new brass for awhile, so today I ordered 500ct of Remington nickel-plated brass.  The nickel will make my brass easier to distinguish from other competitors, and the lot of 500 will allow me to shoot new virgin brass at the next 8 or 9 competitions before I have to start shooting once-fired brass.  It's my hope that the nickel coating will better protect brass from dings during extraction and give me extended brass life.  It's about a $20 premium over standard brass in lots of 500 so it wasn't too painful as an experiment.  If I get one more loading out of them than standard brass then they'll be worth it.

And the lot of 500 will make it easy to work with:
-the same headstamp
-the same firing
-in lots of cases in the same weight