Monday, September 14, 2009

Tactical Matches

For those of us that didn't go to Camp Perry for the Nationals, we held a tactical match. It was a fun change of pace.

Herman and I teamed up and had lots of fun. This is us firing simultaneously on targets at 300 yards. Herman is shooting a Remington 700 with a Leupold scope and I'm shooting an M1A installed in a Sage Mk14 EBR stock with a Bushnell 3200 10X mil-dot scope.

The targets are a collection of little colored shapes around 6 to 8 inches in size on a frame 300 yards away. They come up out of the target pits. The range officer gives you a color or shape. And the two of you have 10 seconds to get your act together and fire on exactly the same shape before it's wifthrawn.
It'd still been more fun to have gone to Camp Perry.

CMP Games 2009 Preparation Notes

Gun Notes

Took the M-1 Garand, M1093A3 Springfield and Enfield No.4Mk1* to the range. Got them dialed in with good zeros at 200 yards.

The Springfield still makes the most amazingly small groups and my notes match the old notations about the tip of the front sight being slanted. Got a better picture for managing that in this pidgeon's little brain. LOL.

The Garand groups were bigger than I liked. It was making touching holes in the X for me when I tested it on the 100 yard range on Saturday but only 10 ring patterns on Sunday. Remembered on the way home that As-Issued Garands have aircraft carrier wide front sight blades. Need to line up on the center of the post. Found the old notes about making a pencil mark in my notes. Will do.

The Enfield rang around a 10 ring group. Was able to improve it by noticing that the rear aperture hole is bigger in the Enfield. Larger than the optically indifferent diameter of a target aperture. That means one has to put a little more attention to centering the front post in it to get it to shoot tighter. That should get me deeper into the 10 ring with this gun. It's pushing Sierra 174gr Match Kings over a moderate charge of H4895. Will have to run them over a chrono to make sure the SD's are happy.

More "to do's" with guns,

1. Need to take the M-1 Carbine out and shoot a refresher with it.

2. Need to decide if I want to work up a load for 80grs under either N540 or Varget instead of H4895 for the Creedmoor Cup.

Eyes notes (more precisely shooting eyeglass notes),

1. Move the glass frames so that the view is through the center vertical axis of the lens to take maximum advantage of the way the progressive lens is cut. Gets the best image clarity on the front sight.

2. It's critical to change the rotation of the lens slightly for CMP shooting. It's because of the shape of the stocks. Correct lens rotation is about 5-10 degrees further over in head position tilt versus where the lens should be for working with the AR-15. Plan to set it one way for the CMP phase AND MAKE SURE TO FIDDDLE WITH AND RESET IT AT 200 YARDS on Wednesday for the AR-15 before beginning the Creedmoor Cup phase.

3. When in doubt go for contrast. The yellow filter works best. No filter is very clear but more susceptible to light changes. The gray filter gets the eye more open but that seems to work against the objective of smallest apertures = sharpest views.

"If you can't see, you can't win."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

CMP .22 Sporter Strategies

The 2009 CMP Western Games are coming. This year they are again holding a .22 Sporter match. This is a really fun event involving six stages of fire. Prone, sitting, offhand. Slow and Rapid for each. One must use a sporter type .22 LR rifle, no target guns allowed.

Last year I shot this match with a Ruger 10/22 equipped with a Tech-Sights aperture and post sight emulating the sights of an AR-15. It had a sling which helped immensely. However I made the mistake of using cheap Remington plinker ammunition and had a couple of misfires.

So this year I started searching for other ways to do this. The weakest part of the 10/22 solution was the trigger. Ruger factory triggers run around 8+ pounds with hard and gritty feelings. Yuck! The rules say 3 lb minimum weigth.

The other thing I noticed is that the guys with scopes had an advantage over my shooting in the same T-class. Scopes and aperture sights count as the same to the CMP. The maximum scope power allowed is 6X.

Option #1 presented itself at last years CMP Games in the form of surplus Mossberg M44US trainer rifles they were selling for mere $175 apiece. Naturally practically everyone there picked one up and yes they are great rifles. You did have to scrounge around for a new plastic trigger guard and a couple of magazines. They are old WWII era rifles and the old plastic had become brittle but there are vendors out there that specialize in parts for these old guns. I enjoy shooting mine immensely. This is defintely an improvement over the Ruger 10/22 for an aperture sights solution.

Next came exploring a scope solution. First came a BSA Platinum 6-24X target scope. This one had 1/8th MOA turrets and a mildot reticle. I initially mounted it on a Ruger 10/22. The trigger was still too harsh though so I put a better trigger in it. Alas, the improved trigger runs 2.75 lbs and I have no idea what one does to manage trigger pull weight on a 10/22. They have double spring sears similar to the FN/FAL. The 10/22 is a really nice gun now but doesn't make the grade for CMP competition. So abandon ship on that thought. I did put an email question in to Timney regarding their new 10/22 trigger asking if it can be adjusted to a 3 lb weight easily. Theirs, like most sporting triggers these days, is also factory set to 2.5 lbs.

Ok so third times the charm. Took a Marlin 25N bolt gun. Replaced the factory trigger with a Rifle Basix unit set to 3 lbs. Took the BSA scope off the Ruger and, after putting some Weaver bases on top of the dovetail to raise the scope so it's objective bell clears the barrel, put the 6-24X on the Marlin. Got sling swivels on it and off to the range.

50 yards. Bricks of Federal High Velocity Target ammo and Wolf Match Target. Both good ammo. Tested at 50 yards on the CMP Sporter target. Once sighted in it's clearly the slower and steadier Wolf ammo for this gun. Makes nice 1/4" groups at 50 yards.

Offhand test. 6X scope makes patterns bigger than I'd like at 50 yards shooting from the standing position. Wobble all over the place. Is it too much optical power or is it technigue?

Back to town. Midweek trip to the local indoor range. Offhand again. This time it's better. 50 foot offhand 50 shot group running about 1 1/2". That'll do. Need to practice to hone the technique. Fortunately it's indoor work and I love chewing out the center of a piece of paper with a smallbore gun.

I'm feeling more comfortable about Phoenix next month.

Remington 788: Another Evolving Story

Updated: 11/13/2014

Leatherwood A.R.T. scopes turn out to be pretty cool things. They are very fast to move for range adjustment and I do look forward to experimenting with the one I have more. But it does have some drawbacks.

Most important is that it's a single point solution. Setting the cam is specific to the rifle, cartridge, bullet, powder charge, optic, altitude combination. You can set it up well enough but you need to stay with that combination. Not so good if one wants to be able to switch more adeptly to say shoot different bullet weights.

Less important for hunting and tactical but critical for competition is that it's a 2-3 MOA rapid dialing solution. Just like tactical 1E/0.5W turrets, it's too gross for competing where precision and repeatability needs to be in the /18 to 1/4 MOA region.

So for my trusty Remington 788 the A.R.T. must come off. It'll be replaced by one of the best scopes I've found recently. A Bushnell 3200 Elite 10x40M. This is a 10 power mil-dot scope with 80 inches of elevation range and dead on repeatable 1/4 x 1/4 MOA turrets. They're rated for .375 H&H's and the image quality is excellent. The best part is they cost $200. They're an amazing deal.

Turns out modernizing Remington 788's is a quite popular. The guns been out of production for 0ver 20 years but there's a brisk business in Timney triggers for these guns and EGW makes 20 MOA Picatinny rails for them. How cool is that?

With a 20MOA mount and an 80MOA elevation range scope, reaching out to 1,000 yards will well within the dialing range of the system. Repeatable 1/4 MOA target knobs means one can change ammo, get a zero at any distance, and use the ballistics for that round to go back and forth from there. Optical range estimation is done the modern way using the mil-dot reticle. This will be much more very flexible. And so that's the direction this rifle will take next.

It does require more pencil pushing to stay ahead of the shot though and I still have to say the A.R.T. scope really is an elegant piece of firearms design.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A.R.T. Camputer Scopes

Am pondering the pluses and minuses of the Leatherwood A.R.T. scope concept. Put one on a Remington 788 with a Timney 2lb trigger. That is one really good rifle. Shot it with a Leatherwood today going after small to medium targets at 200, 300, 600 and 650 yards. It's very fast to shift ranges and certainly well suited for it's original intended task of sniping against people sized targets. It's somewhat trickier against smaller targets.

Am learning that at least for now there is some offsetting involved. Zero at 200 and 300 is at 325 on the range ring but 600 is at 475 on the ring and 650 is at 550. Clearly I have got more to learn about correctly matching the eccentric cam to the round ballistics. I'll keep working with it.

This means that for smaller 1 to 2 MOA targets this type of scope is a compromise just like the 1E/0.5W fast turret scopes.

Right now I have a feeling the good old 10X fixed power Mildot scope with 1/4 MOA target turrets has the advantage for small target work.