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.

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