Sunday, July 23, 2017

2017-07-23 Merritt long range

It's been a while since I last went out to do some long range plinking.  In light of the latest record set by one of the boys from The Hill, it's hard to claim that any of our past "long range" shoots or even this one, can be described as long range, lol!

His record makes our shooting seem like throwing rocks at the side of a barn from 5m away, but but ignorance is bliss I suppose because me and 3 pals still drove out to Merritt, set up some steel and had a great weekend.

We set up targets at our usual spot, this time at 250m, 550m, 970m. 1295m, and 1630m.  When we got there, it was windy as hell, just like last time, but at least there wasn't rain, lol!

Jay and Jay White walking out to 100m to set up a gong for zeroing.  There was another target set up at 100m off to the side which I wasted about $80 worth of ammunition trying to obtain a zero on my 700.  Lessons learned, don't try to zero a rifle facing the sun, with a 20mph cross wind, with no spotter, shooting at a target that's already full of holes.

Alex's DT Covert.  Nice rings asshole, I want them back, haha!

Alex taking aim with the Cadex Tremor.  

Jay White's Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5cm

My 700.  The one that cost me two boxes of Federal Premium Gold Medal Match 175gr SMK to get zero.  Actually, with help and a fresh target sheet, I got the job done in 3 rounds, and once it was zeroed, the rifle was like a laser.  There was a time when I was shooting junk ammo through it.  Atomic "match" ammo loaded with 175gr SMK, which performed great under 300m, but went to shit beyond that.  I thought my rifle was a lemon and didn't shoot it for years, favouring my Savage 10TR which reached out to 1,000m with relative ease.  By the time I got around to shooting my 700 again, I'd already learned garbage in, garbage out, and feeding junk ammo will only produce expensive noise.  I'd picked up a few boxes of good match ammo last year and the 70 performed amazingly well at 800m the last time we were out, so I thought I'd try her out a little further.

Alex's Tremor was still kicking hard, and he had a rough time with it this weekend.  Not only was his shoulder a bit sore after 20 rounds, he got a little peck from his scope cap, but nothing serious.  Definitely not worthy of earning the title of Pirate, lol!

I also brought out my ACR for some pinking and predator defense.  I'm fairly convinced I can plink with this thing out to 550m.  Our buddies Mark and Matthew joined us the next day and Mark brought his XCR in .223 and I was able to hammer the 550m repeatedly and with ease, despite some pretty messing winds.  I will definitely have to invest in some half-decent glass and magnification like a 3-9 or even better something like a 5-15.  Mark's running a Primary Arms 4-14x44m, mil/mil and in FFP and it had a bullet drop reticle that was practically dead on.  I am definitely thinking about getting one of these for the ACR.

The red dot and 3x magnifier is fine for events like 3gun and plinking under 250m, but beyond that, the 2moa red dot will cover most targets.  I could have pulled the Eotech off my IUR and tried it this weekend, but I was too lazy.  I've had this ACR for a while now, and I had a hard time gauging precision of the new barrel with the 2 moa dot, even at 100m.  The best group I managed was 1.75 moa, but I have a feeling with proper glass and match ammo, the rifle is capable of better.

At 1,300m, my 700 and Jay White's RPR in 6.5cm were hammering the gong with relative ease.  Granted the wind may have been working in our favour at that moment (tailwind instead of a lot of crosswind), but it was good feeling being able to reach out to that sort of distance consistently.  The lighter color splashes are likely the 6.5cm and the darker ones are probably hits from the .308, taking a bit more paint off the the plate.

I'm sure Jay White was quite happy with his performance that day, I know I sure was.  I almost got rid of that rifle after this one particular range trip where the rifle was flinging rounds at a variance of 4 meters or so, at 400m.  It turns out it was the ammo, and with good ammo, my 700 delivers.

More lessons learned, despite promises from tent-mates that they don't snore, wear ear-pro anyway.  Alex started going off like a lawn mower at about 2330 and I only got a break from the noise at 0030 when he got up to take a piss, and 0430 when he got up to take a dump.  I slept a total of maybe 3 or 4 hours tops, lol!

Breakfast was glorious, thick cut bacon, and use the bacon grease to cook eggs.  Next time we'll prepare egg whites only for Jay White, lol!

Jay and I confirmed the second day that we were able to hit 1,300m again and we did.  Next stop, 1,630m.  I may as well spoil it now though, we were sadly disappointed that none of our shots at 1,630m hit.

So, aside from Alex getting kicked hard with the 50, he had a bit more bad luck.  Alex likes to load his ammo hot, and he may have pushed the boundaries on the life of some of his brass.  This is a casing head he ripped right off his brass, while the rest remained in the chamber......

.......and for the rest of the weekend, his DT was given spotting duty.

As mentioned earlier, our buddies Mark and Matthew joined us the next day and they both had a go on the Cadex Tremor, and compared it to the PGW LRT-3.  Both concluded that that the Cadex kicked a bit harder than the PGW.  That's 5 people now (including two pros) that have actually compared the two rifles side by side and have noticed that the Cadex kicks harder, likely resulting from the design of the muzzle brake.

After gaining some confidence with the 700 at 1,300m, I wanted to nail that gong at 1,630m (1 mile).  I had the confidence that I was not that horrible, and I would have a chance, but it was not destined to happen this time.  I got behind my 50 because the wind felt stronger the second day, and even though I confirmed I was able to hit 1,300m with the 700, I had to earn it compared to the day before.  
With Matt spotting for me, I walked it in with my cheap(er) 660gr American Eagle and got it so damn close that the splashes were a hair away from the plate.  Since I was so close, I should have continued trying instead of waiting, because after the break, the wind had changed from a consistent tailwind to cross winds that threw the shots off by 3 mils.  3 mils at 1,630m is a lot

I've got to decide whether I want to continue shooting the cheaper 660gr American Eagle, or go with the 750gr Horandy.  With the better BC of the Hornady, that 1,630m shot may have been possible, or at least more likely to land.  But that would mean spending more money for ammo, and spending the time to rezero and collect new DOPE for the new ammo.  Do I want to continue making expensive noise, or do I want to spend huge dollars to improve my odds of hitting (not guaranteed, just improve the chances).  

I may have to wait and see how my .338 performs.  Sellier and Bellot .338 match ammo is still relatively inexpensive, but match ammo for .338 can run up to about $120+ for 20 rounds, and that's getting close to 50bmg match ammo costs.  SB is also not readily available and currently sold out everywhere.  My buddy Hermes from Reliable can't even order it at the moment, so I have to wonder what am I going to do.  

Another thing to consider is that the .50bmg is definitely less pleasant to shoot compared to the .338lm.  Mark was telling me that his organization was testing new rifles and between a selection of 50s and 338s, the 338s were favoured at the end of the day.  That being said, a suppressed 50 kicks about twice as hard as one with a brake.

I guess I'll mull it over a bit longer.  I'll have to decide whether I want to keep my 50 as a sub 1,000m anti-material plinker and focus on the .338 for long range and precision, or start coughing up for match ammo on the 50 and improve my odds.  Alex had a good arguement for the Hornady though, in that I probably wouldn't shoot my 50 as much as say my 308s or 223s, so once in a while, when I bring out the 50, I won't be wasting my time or ammo.  A valid point was that with the cheaper ammo, I may expend more of it trying to walk it in to the target.  

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