Well… it has been a couple of big days here at HotloadeD with the bubbly flowing freely to celebrate Vic’s selection as reserve to the NRANZ Ladies rifle team to shoot the Collinson shield in Australia in July. This will mean we are both heading to the Australian Queens! I will go to support the ladies and shoot the individual events and Vic will be shooting the individual events and just generally being part of the team even if she isn’t shooting.
The other big news is Vic’s new barrel has arrived back from being fitted by Mike Collings. We recommend Mike if you need a new barrel fitted, not only is it fitted beautifully but Mike has turned down the front of the barrel so the sight radius is the same as the 28 inch Vic is used to, put the foresight on straight, included the other things we have ordered off him, and he was so fast! Mike is our favourite gunsmith!
A new barrel means we have to go through the long process of running it in. As far as we can tell, the purpose of running in a barrel is to get a thin hard layer of fouling which helps prevent the barrel stripping too much of the jacket from the bullet. Some great info on it here. We decided the best plan was to follow the manufacturers instructions.
On Saturday, we started the process. After each shot, we needed to give the barrel a thorough clean and remove the copper. It took about an hour and a half to remove the copper after the first shot! It got progressively easier from then on so by the end of Saturday, we had four shots down and Vic had very sore wrists from all the cleaning! Thanks to Jonno for the use of his borescope throughout the day.
On Monday, Vic managed to get out to the range at Kaitoke and finish off the first ten single shots and then do two groups of five (still keeping up the cleaning between the groups). By the end of the very long day, cleaning time was down to around 15minutes between groups and the barrel was starting to feel very smooth.
The process was finished off today with another four groups of five sent downrange and a group of ten to finish off… Vic’s barrel is now run in!
We got a chance to get down to shoot later on Saturday. I got down first and shot a 48.3 for my first shoot. I lost two to wind as it was the fun kind of wind where you shoot 2 minutes left for one shot then 2 minutes right for the next.
The second shoot was not so impressive. I got down and kept nailing the 5’s and V’s and then fired and nothing came up on the screen. Well… it was a V on the neighbouring target. Bugger! I carried on put in another 5 and V then lost another shot. This time it came up as an X on the target next-door! Maybe my natural point of aim was not perfect, but mostly I was so focused on the target that I was not checking the number. In frustration I fired my next shot and got a 4 because I didn’t adjust the wind. I lost my last one high and ended up with a very disappointing 38.3.
A big concern is that I have now put four shots on another target in four weeks so I really need to work on getting out of that habit.
I was feeling pretty happy and confident when I got down to shoot. I had just been told that I had made reserve on the Ladies team and I shot some good scores last week. I was looking forward to get a set-up for 500 yards because for some reason, I don’t have one yet. For my sighters, I shot a 5 and an X and continued along this vein for the next six shots. I dropped my seventh shot below the bull to get a 4 and I think this must have thrown my rhythm a little because my next shot was also a four but this time over the top. I had a little discussion with myself and we both decided to stop that nonsense straight away. I released my ninth shot…
V-Bull! Back in business! I finished with a 5 and a final score of 48.4…
By this time I was the last person shooting on the range despite the fact it was only just half past four! We had a quick break so that the markers from the other clubs could come out of the pits and go home and I jumped straight into my next shoot.
This one wasn’t quite so good. The wind had become a little more unpredictable (or I was just struggling by then…) and I had a little bit of a elevation-y group shift. I put two shots in a row directly below the bull. This was enough for me to wind on some elevation. Once I did this, my group was back to a very similar waterline to where it started. I think this could possibly have been a bit of a change in light as it was starting to get a little darker. I think the 4 at 5 o’clock was my first sighter. I am not too unhappy with a 46.2
And a Little more Nationals Prep!
Sunday was taken up with more reloading, I finished full sizing my brass so now I only need to neck size for a while and I sized 200 of Vic’s cases so now we can finish a good chunk of the reloading this weekend and we will be almost ready for nationals.