Monday, November 3, 2014

Of Blogshoots and Long Range Zen

So, this past weekend was Murphy's shoot. Good folks getting together to shoot cool guns and raise money to combat cancer - really, it's hard to see how this could get better, right? Folks came from as far away as Ohio, New York, and Michigan to play with us, and from the general comments, a good time was had by all (and we raised quite a bit of money, too).

Keads set up a side-match bowling pin shoot, with folks getting to choose prizes donated by several people. Five pins, best time to knock all down wins. I brought my Colt Gold Cup and high-end SIG ammo 200-grain .45 ACP for the task - and wound up using my Smith & Wesson model 27 .357 Mag. with FMJ reloads. Go figure. Ran twice, took *forever* on the first run, had a respectable run the second time, but that had to do more with the .357 Mag. blasting the pins into each other than solid hits.

Other highlights included shooting an M60 (yes, I got to run the Pig), Stretch's SWEET Swedish Mauser (5/5 hits on 10" steel at 100 yards), and Larry's Barrett M82 (I think; apologies if I got the model wrong, it's the semi-auto variant, no idea which version). #1 Blogdaughter brought her Brown Bess (bitchin' alliteration!); I brought a smattering of my favorite rifles and handguns, and a 10" AR500 steel plate for fun.

One rifle was a full-on York Arms custom .223 Wylde AR: custom trigger, custom barrel, receivers, etc. I'd tested that rifle using run-of-the-mill American Eagle 62-grain FMJ fodder, and gotten 1/2-MOA groups out of it. Ringing a 10" steel plate with it was utterly boring, especially since it was zeroed at 100 yards, so the crosshairs were *dead on*. I also had my Savage model 10 in .308 Win. for the long-range (more on that later).

Another rifle was quite the surprise: It's a York Arms lower that mates to a custom 16" carbine upper from York, but with a 20" Bravo Company rifle upper attached. It's a standard 1:7" twist, Government-profile upper with a standard A2 front sight (and bayonet lug; I haven't bought a rifle without one since leaving MA...). I picked it up thinking it would be fun to do an A3-style AR rifle, but now...

Turns out, this rifle is insanely accurate. I sighted it in at work on the 50 yard range, and turned out a 0.6", 5-shot group. Three rounds were touching. On the 100 yard range, hitting the steel plate with this setup got boring to the point where I pulled out pistols instead (The S&W model 27, ironically, got fewer hits than the Ruger 22/45 - roughly 3-4 hits every 10 shots, not bad given the wind).

And then it was off to the 400 yard range. With OldNFO. Nope, no pressure there, nossirree. I've seen NFO shoot. I'm not in his league. I'm not even in the same zip code as his league. But I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity to put some of the long-range shooting skills I learned through NRA Outdoors Long Range Shooting Clinic over Memorial Day weekend, so I manned-up and shot the qualification needed (1 MOA or better at 100 yards).

Well, I decided to use the Bravo Company upper. Three shots, 1" easy, qualified for the long range. Just that easy. The group was even precisely where it was expected at 100 yards with the rifle sighted at 50 yards. Three shots from an improvised rest (my range bag) at a peel-n-stick target later and I was qualified to shoot on the long range.

NFO and I wandered over sometime after noon. We each had a steel plate, plus a hostage-type target we put in between the two 10" plates. We took turns shooting and spotting, and if you think shooting for OldNFO is intimidating, try spotting for him. Actually, that's not true, because spotting for NFO is easy; you just have to call which part of the plate he hit. Because he can hit.

NFO dials his scope in for range; I prefer to have a set zero and use the tic marks on the reticle for holdover. His method is more precise, no question about it; he let me shoot his Remington and it was crazy accurate dead-on center crosshairs at 400. I had a devil of a time getting the hold right, but when I finally nailed it on each rifle, it was damn impressive.

The Savage .308 Win. took a little getting used to. It has a 200 yard zero, and I think I was holding for 100 yards the first couple shots. Knowing you can make a shot but not seeing evidence is rattling, but it got ironed out to the point where the last 4 shots were dead-on (mental note: the 400 yard hold on the Savage is the first large tic mark under the crosshairs. Mental note2: get a freakin' log book). Even made a couple head shots on the "bad guy" in the hostage scenario.

The York Arms custom Conspirator was no surprise: with Federal Match ammo, it was absolutely dead-nuts on reliable and accurate. I think I made either 8 or 9 out of 10 hits with it, a combination of an exceptionally accurate rifle, a great trigger, and the low recoil of .223 Rem. in a large, heavy gun. I even used it to make a solid shoulder hit on the "bad guy", with NFO calling shots and telling me when to shoot.

I have no idea what possessed me to try the 20" Bravo Company upper at the 400 yard range. I suppose I was a little overconfident after making hits with three other rifles, that I figured the budget-conscious rifle deserved a turn. It took a couple shots to figure the hold (and folks, if you ever get the chance to have OldNFO spot for you, I highly recommend it...), but once I gleaned where it was hitting, I made 3 out of 5 shots with the BCM upper. Not bad for an upper I paid less than $500 for...

Finding out I hadn't lost all my long-range ability from Memorial Day weekend was great, but spending time with friends on the range (or off) is even better.

Thanks Murphy!

That is all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


libertyman said...

I see you are adapting well to your new surroundings! Think of a time in spring to have a shoot down there and we can do a blog shoot south as well as up here if folks are willing.

Remember now, you are the guy from the NRA!

Murphy's Law said...

Thank YOU for coming out. See you next time...unless you get the itch to shoot something sooner, in which case, hit me up.

Bubblehead Les. said...

And there was much rejoicing!

Except for the Weather.

Crossed Fingers, next stop, NRA Convention in Nashville.

Stretch said...

"SWEET Swedish Mauser (5/5 hits on 10" steel at 100 yards)"

The ammo you were using was Federal Gold Medal w/120gr Sierra Matchking.

And the rifle was made in that magical year of 1911.

Keads said...

Good to see you again and thanks for the donated prizes for the pin shoot!

Old NFO said...

Yep, fun times. And we need to talk about holds sometime... I was frankly surprised at how well that BCM did. You got a good match with ammo and barrel twists on that one! The only reason I'm better is I've been at it a LOT longer than you have. I made the same mistakes, got smacked upside the head time and again. Trust me...