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Range Report May 5th, 2010
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:56 PM
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gitano gitano is offline
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Default Range Report May 5th, 2010

Well I finally "made" it happen. Man! what a hassle!

I'll offer a taste of what's to come, then relate the saga.

As some of you know, I have an armload of unfired rifles purchased over the last year that needed testing at least. Between the weather, the darkness, and work, I haven't been able to get to the range since I don't know when. I made a list of rifles that needed shooting, then shortened the list to those that REALLY needed shooting. I was able to get the list down to 11. They were:

1) The Savage 110 re-barreled to .338 Federal (AKA .338-08),
2) A Remington 660 in .350 Rem Mag,
3) One of the Remington Classic 8x57s,
4) .303 Savage,
5) Browning Low Wall in .44 Rem Mag,
6) Ruger Carbine in .44 Rem Mag,
7) Sht LE .22 Trainer,
8) Sht LE .22 Trainer,
9) BSA 12-15 .22,
10) SMLE .303 Brit,
11) SMLE /303 Brit, Long Branch.

So, I got everything organized for a day at the range and took off, heading the 26 miles to the Birchwood Recreation and Shooting Park. I got there and checked in, bought some targets, got a target stand and headed to the benches. I started unloading my pickup and... I had left all the ammo at home. (Didn't you do that recently BH?) I was DETERMINED to shoot today, so I packed everything up, drove the 26 miles BACK home, and got the ammo.

Once I got back to the range things started looking up. I intended to shoot the .22s first, then move on to sighting in those rifles fitted with 'scopes and then shooting the open-sighted rifles to see where they hit, and wrap up with some 100-yard 'plinking'.

The good news is that I got to shoot all of the rifles except one (I'll get to why that one didn't get shot later) at 50 yds, and most of them were a real pleasant surprise. HOWEVER, about 2 hours into the session, people started yelling to stop shooting and then telling us we had to leave. A brush fire had started behind one of the ranges' butts. The total area burning was about a 10' x 10' square. Good grief! The fire department arrived with THREE FIRE ENGINES, they got out in the party suits and started ORDERING people to pack up their weapons and "evacuate" the park "for safety reaons". I'm telling you, there were some SERIOUSLY PO'd people, and I was one of them. I dont' think I've ever seen something so incredibly blown out of proportion NOR a bigger bunch of jackasses than these firemen were. They REALLY ticked A LOT of people off.

So, while I didn't get to run things out to 100 yds, I did at least have a good short-range session that answered some important questions and clarified several 'things'.

I'll start with the .22s first.

I knew the BSA 12-15 was a 'shooter', but I wanted to see what it could do at 50 yds from a bench. Here's 10 shots with some cheapo Remington ammo:



Not great, but not bad. I'm sure I had better shooting with some other ammo I used when I shot the rifle in my back yard, but I'm satisfied with this for now.

Next was the "light" (colored - beech wood) Sht LE .22 Trainer. I didn't have high expectations from this rifle, being a trainer and not a target rifle. As you can see in the picture below, it wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. Again, I think different ammo will produce better results. Maybe halve the group size. The sights are a big issue. I wish it had a "V" rear sight instead of a LARGE aperture. A "V" or smaller aperture would produce smaller groups for sure.



Next was the "dark" (walnut) stocked Sht LE .22 Trainer. It did about the same as the beech-stocked one.



Next came the 8x57 REmington Classic. Some of you may recall that this rifle has an extraordinarily short throat. As such, I was hoping I would finally get an 8x57 to shoot the 125-grain bullets I wanted it to. It did. While this is only 50 yds, I like it! and I LOVE that Simmons 'scope with the side focus.



I had some 180s and some 220s also loaded, but I didn't get a chance to shoot them.

Next was the Remington 660 chambered in .350 Rem Mag. I wasn't too excited by the .350 RM chambering, but I got it for a song ($350 plus $38 shipping). I just saw one sell on GA for $800. This one appeared unfired, but I doubt that was actually true. I loaded up some Hornady 180s (remember, I like light-for-caliber bullets) with a "low" Optimal Barrel Timing charge, and a "high" OBT charge. This rifle has only open sights. These groups are FINE by me with open sights and my old eyes.

The "low" charge is the lower 3-shot group, and the "high" charge is the 3-shot group in the upper right:


I'm quite certain that if I put a 'scope on this rifle it will shoot nice small groups at 100 yds.

Next was the 110 Savage with the new .338 Federal (.338-08) bull barrel on it. I was really looking forward to seeing how this rifle was going to shoot. As I always do, I planned to bore sight it. As usual, I lined up the bore with the bull, and looked through the 'scope to align it with the bore. The crosshairs were at least 3' to the right of the target.

When I mount a new 'scope, I always run the adjustment knobs to the stops, counting the number of full revolutions needed to go from one stop to the other. Then I run it back half way so that it is centered. I had done this with this 'scope. I didn't think I had enough adjustment to make it all the way back to the bull, and I was right. I was a good foot away when I ran out of adjustment. Didn't seem right, so I removed the 'scope and loosened the rings then retightened the rings and remounted the 'scope. No joy. In the final analysis, something is WAY off. It could be:

1) The 'scope, (I doubt it),
2) The reciver, (not likely but possible),
3) The rings, (more possible), or
4) The bases, (most likely).

I'm going to eliminate the potential offenders one by one and find out what the source is and fix it. The only really BAD one would be the receiver being drilled not straight. That fix is the most difficult, but not TOO bad. Burris rings would likely handle the problem.

Disappointing that I didn't get to shoot it. Actually, I did shoot it twice to try to "fake it" and see if I could aim "off" and still hit where I wanted to. It was too "off". It wasn't worth wasting the bullets and powder.

Next was the .303 Savage. I loaded up three bullets: 110s, 130 HPs, and one 150 Ballistic Silvertip. I figured that the rifle was "made" for a 150, but I wanted to try some of the lighter bullets to see how they did precision-wise. The .303 Savage case isn't a large-capacity case by any means, and I wanted to see if the light bullets would "do".

In this picture, the 3 shots in the center bull (one right next to the .350 RM group), are the 110s. The four circled to the left are the .130 HPs. Then there is the single 150 Combined Technology Ballistic Silvertip just below the 130 group.


It doesn't look like the 110s are gonna "make the cut", but I think the 130s will. I may get some round-nosed (gack!) 150s and see how they fare. Since this rifle is a lever action, I was hoping it might "work" for my left-handed daughter. The ballistics on the 150s and above are not impressive from this case, and I'm not gonna 'push' this 100plus-year-old rifle. I suspect that the 150 CTBSTs will do well. Maybe we'll see next range session.

Next up was the Browning Low Wall chambered in .44 Rem Mag. I would have liked it better in .44-40 Winchester, but not the $400 more it would have cost for that chambering. I loaded some of the new "LeverLution" soft-tipped 265s. As you can see, not particularly impressive. I'm not sure what's wrong. Could be bullet; could be charge; could be sights; could be rifle. I think I am going to have to "focus" on this rifle if I'm going to get it to shoot.



Next was the Ruger Carbine chambered in .44 Rem Mag. I've wanted one of these since the day they first came out. Again, I got this one, used but in excellent condition, for $450 plus shipping. Much less than they are generally "going for" on the auction sites. Here again, I'm not happy with this group. I'm not sure I can make the groups too much smaller, but I'm CERTAIN that the rear aperture is partially at fault. It has already been removed.



The group isn't as bad as it looks. The top shot was at the upper bull. I forgot which one I was amining at. If you make the adjustment, the group isn't too bad. Still, I would like it much better at 50 yds.

Next were the "ugly" guns - the SMLEs. Truth be told, after shooting these rifles, I can see why people like them. I planned a "work out" for these two rifles. I had some 174-grain Hornady RNs (gack!) and some Sierra 150 spitzers. For each bullet and each rifle I had multiple powders and multiple OBT charges. I started out with the 174-grainers with charges of 40.4 grains of I3031 and 42.05 grains of X4064. Here's the I3031 group from the non-Long Branch:



There are only three shots in the group because I used two to figure out that it was shooting about 6" high.

Here is the 5-shot Long Branch group:


I like 'em both. And what "sweethearts" to shoot. I was really 'annoyed' that I didn't get to test the rest of the powders and charges at 100 yds. Nonetheless, these two show real potential. We'll just have to wait for the next range session.

Paul
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.22 trainers, .338 caliber, .338 federal, range report, savage


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