Friday, July 11, 2014

Zeroing the "Snake Gun"

Eliseo R1 single-shot rifle.  Rem 700 long action core.  Bartlein Palma contour barrel in .284 Winchester match.  Jewell trigger set to 1 pound.

After scrounging parts for a year, my Gary Eliseo Competition Shooting Stuff R1 .284 Winchester long range rifle finally came together. It picked up the nickname "The Snake Gun" because of the water transfer finish that was applied to the rifle to make it look a little different from all the other tube guns that show up on competitive firing lines. Apparently, the look was interesting enough that friend Paul McMenamin thought it worthy of mention in a Daily Bulletin in his highly acclaimed website

Doing that German Salazar measuring thing.

So next comes the measuring to get the rifle set up to my body dimensions.  Luckily, I've been shooting another Eliseo chassis gun for sometime.  That one is an RTS repeater model in .308 set up for precision tactical rifle competition.  So set up was mostly replicating positioning for the various adjustment points of the stock.

Eliseo RTS in .308 Winchester set up as a tactical precision competition rifle.  This gun loves 175 gr. Sierra Match Kings loaded to replicate U.S. M118-LR.  The scope is a U.S. Optics 3-17X.

It's good when your match guns resemble each other.

The R1 sports a Sightron SIII 6-24X FFP with an MOA-2 reticle.

Next comes ammunition and once again it's measuring by inserting gauges to figure out chamber and throat depths.

An old Stoney Point gauge is used to measure distance to the lands.

Eventually after learning the ins and outs of using a mandrel die to expand case necks from 6.5mm to 7mm and using a sizer die bullet stem button to remove donut rings in case necks, one winds up with match chamber dimensioned .284 Winchester rounds ready for fire forming.

.284 Winchester that started out as 6.5-284 Lapua cases necked up to 7mm with a Sinclair mandrel die.  These bullets are Nosler 168 gr. Custom Competitions loaded on top of 53.5 gr. of IMR 4831 and seated to 15/1000th's jump.  

Live fire time has finally arrived!  So it's off to the range.

Barrel break in day at the range.  The ammo box says this photo is before round 1 was fired.

Barrel break in happens first.  Five shots meticulously cleaned between shots to remove any lingering machining residue from the barrel. Then a sight in string at the 200 yard bullseye using the Sightron SIII optic. Ok that's done.  Now to check the rifle's inherent accuracy with a fresh NRA SR center at 200 yards.

First group. The word "delighted" understates the elation of the moment.

These were literally the 11th to 20th rounds fired out of the gun's barrel. Wowza!  Zero out those turrets and have a look-see through a collimator to record settings.

I selected this scope over U.S. Optics. Nightforce and several others.  The turrets have a reputation for repeatability and the MOA-2 reticle is clutter free in the center where you need to be able to see and pick your hold off for the wind.
Next comes a period of examining and measuring spent cases to make sure the custom cut chamber is good to go.

This is what goes in the "Handy Dandy" notebook.

All is well.  Indeed, very well.  The main body of the case hardly changed dimensions during fire forming and the case neck expanded minimally. That is remarkably cool.

More ammo loaded and back to the range to send bullets over a chronograph.  The Nosler 168 CC's are coming out at 2,840 fps.  Plug the numbers into a ballistic calculator.  That's enough for these HPBT's to stay supersonic out to 1,500 yards.  Shoot and check come ups by dialing the scope turrets and firing at steel plates up to 1,000 meters away.. All is well. That took 20 shots. Twenty? Ok, I  indulged in some gratuitous plinking at the steel using hold overs by eye as part of it.  Just had to.  These are amazingly good numbers.

Now to the iron sights.  First place the rear one.

Phoenix Precision top-mount rear sight.  It's a work of art.

Then the front.  Both are Phoenix Precision units with Gehman irises. The rear also has an AOS MicroSight in it.

Phoenix Precision tall front sight.

This is where one is once again reminded one is shooting a match rifle and not a service rifle. The adjustments are intricate. Moving the sight forward so it doesn't hit your face or scratch your glasses for one thing.  It gets sorted out bit by bit.

Moved forward to keep the aperture from gouging my shooting glasses.

Amazingly even with all that movement the gun still mostly hovers in the 10 ring. 

Tinkering with iron sights searching for that elusive "match rifle" sweet spot.

But the mechanical zero is off. The rear sight aperture is not in the center of travel range at no wind zero.

The rifle is dialed into the center of the target but the sight assembly windage sits too far to the right.  Elevation is fine.

Next step is to use the use of a handy dandy Ray-Vin tool like the one in the photo.  It solves the front tower rotation problem nicely.

Ray-Vin sight adjustment gauge.  A work of art in itself.

One more dial in and group string ensues; this time with iron sights.

The "Snake Gun" in its natural habitat.  You can see the targets at 200 and 300 yards at the top of the photo.

And we walk back into the X ring once again.

Walking into the center.  Then, shoot for group.  Iron sights can perform!

And we're back to zero at zero mechanical.

Centered up and happy.

Last step, zero out the knobs.

Zeros at zero.  A beautiful sight to those of us that compete.

I like this gun.  It has potential.

This concludes the preliminaries.  Now we are ready to sling up and tackle a match.


Unknown said...

I searched the internet looking for instructions on how to zero out the knobs on my new Phoenix Precision rear sight. Luckily I found your blog that has exactly what I was looking for. Thank you, kind sir, whoever you are.

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