Well… It seems that lately this blog has been all about artwork so here is a post (mostly) about shooting to balance it all out!
Saturday – Club Day and Some Troubleshooting.
For a while now, my rifle seems to have been stringing vertically. We noticed the problem just as nationals started last year but for ages we put it down to my eyes reacting to changes in light or just barrel fouling. Now we are not so sure as it seems to be getting worse and my fullbore scores and plots look nothing like my smallbore cards! A Noptel session seemed to indicate that there is nothing wrong with my sighting or position as I was getting similar groups to Jared and keeping the shots well within the V ring. This narrows it down to a flinch or rifle problems. I am journeying towards solving the problem in this post! Jared doesn’t feature much so apologies to all of his fans…
My club shoots this weekend at 500 yards made me even more determined to figure out what was going on. In the first string I had a tricky patch of wind and I was getting elevation shots as usual. I ended up with a 44. My second shoot was equally frustrating and almost all of it was my fault! My first sighter was on the wrong target and then my second was a 2. I adjusted and got a 5 as my first counter! Cool! My next five shots were 5s circling the bull but then I dropped a 3. It was slightly low and way out to the right so I checked the wind and then did the rounds on the rifle, making sure everything was tight. It turns out that my rear sights had come loose (another ongoing problem – add a new sight-block to the list of future purchases!). The last 4 shots were fours and threes.
I was getting ready to blame my rifle or my sighting or loose sights but then I looked again and noticed that my last 5 shots were almost all on the same waterline as three of the 5s… DOH! I had assumed that the centre of my group was in the middle of all the fives but it seems that two of them were out of group and I was actually grouping at the bottom of the 5 ring (and in hindsight, very likely misreading the wind for the last shots.) Oh well… Another lesson learned! I probably lost 3 or 4 (or more!) points because of this and in the end scored a 43.
And because everyone loves pictures of me, here is some eye candy…
Jared got a 44 for his first shoot which he blames on his wind zero being out by a minute and a half. He managed a 48 for his second shoot which is a nice score. Well done!
We both decided to do a coached shoot as we both quite enjoy coaching and both need practice under coaching. It seems like a win-win situation to coach each other.
Jared got down first and under my fantastic wind coaching, he shot 3 Xs and a couple of Vs. Jared threw one point (and called it), and one point was lost because I didn’t quite have the group centred. (shots 9 and 10 below don’t count because I kept the sighters lol!). The circled shots in the middle were Xs and the squared shot is the one that Jared called. Totsl: 48.5.
My own shoot wasn’t so great. We had a pretty tricky patch of wind and… well… I will let the plot sheet say the rest. It isn’t the most dramatic example of what is going on with my shooting but you can kind of see it. Despite tricky conditions, Jared was keeping the wind within the 5 ring (the 4 ring on the plot is actually the 5 ring and the V ring is the X ring – this makes it all look a LOT worse than it actually is!). I released shot 5 just as Jared told me to wait so was blown out to the right. I scored a 44.3 in the end. All the points were lost through elevation.
I am determined to get to the bottom of this elevation problem – whether it is me or the rifle, it needs fixing! I suspect that the trigger body is touching the stock due to some shiny wear marks on the stock. These, equally, could be from when I position the action in the stock as I install it. I have filed down the suspect bits of the trigger housing just to make sure.
I was lucky enough to have Rick Finchim and Ross Mason help me out after shooting. I closely watched Ross’s methodical step by step elimination of potential problems and have carefully filed the process in that special corner of my head for future reference! The conclusion that was reached, was that it could possibly be a bedding issue as the action is rocking a little in the bedding. I will trial some aluminium-foil shims around the bolts (very Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance!), and/or trial Jared’s action in my stock.
Ross also helped me adjust my trigger. it is now nice and crisp and light… it feels lovely!
Jared is convinced that the problem is my barrel which possibly came from a bad batch of barrels from a particular well known manufacturer. I hope it isn’t this as a new barrel will be expensive!
Jono has offered the use of his borescope next weekend to have a look. Thank you so much Ross, Jono and Rick for all your ongoing help!
Sunday – Wairarapa Spring Meet.
Sunday rolled around bringing grey skies and gale force winds and we dragged ourselves out of bed at stupid o’clock to head to the Wairarapa. The drive was largely uneventful. We occupied ourselves by discussing our plan of attack for the day and reliving our adolescent years with a 90s mixed tape.. We decided that I would shoot my own rifle but if I started getting problems, we would install Jared’s action into my stock and see what happens. I wanted to see if my trigger modifications had made a difference so I decided not to install the tin-foil shim under my action.
On arrival at the lovely Wairarapa range, we battled our way through a small herd of cattle, did the usual meet and greet and got down to shoot. The weather was significantly better than in the Hutt with hot sunshine drilling its way through the local ozone hole and a steady (for now) left wind.
Our first shoot was 800 yards. Jared was down first and was shooting great shots with only one point lost to wind. Near the end of the shoot, the target fell out of the frame so Jared got out of position while it was fixed. On getting back into position, he found he was a whole minute high so lost a couple more points to this. More practice getting in and out of position might be in order, or perhaps, making sure your handstop is not loose…. right Jared? His score for 800 was 47. 3
My shoot at 800 was fairly mediocre. My first sighter was very low (3 ring) so I dialed up 2 minutes. My second sighter was very high (4 ring) so I brought myself down a minute or so. My first counting shot was even higher – a two directly above the bull! I adjusted from this shot as the barrel was now nicely fouled and it was a good shot. I then got a centre *whew!*. From then on, I managed a few centres, some 5s and 4s but nothing dramatically good or bad and ended up with a 44.2. Looking OK so far although I think some of the fours were borderlining on 3 – both above and below the bull. I decided to keep shooting my own rifle because my sighting or even flinching could be to blame for the elevation shots and 44 is not an entirely terrible score (well… OK… it is… but I have some things to work on…)
900 yards was very interesting. Jared learnt a lot about wind – he was either getting Vs/Xs or 4s with nothing in between – no straight fives! He got a 44.5. I, unfortunately, was not so happy. I was having some issues with the wind (it was getting a bit blowy!) but at the same time, I was getting huge elevation shifts. 2s and 3s directly above and below the bull and many 2s out to the sides due to wind. My group was definitely the size of the three ring! By the end of the shoot, I was about ready to chuck it all in and take up something less frustrating like competitive house-of-cards-building or similar… Jared reminded me that I can use his rifle for 1000 yards so I cheered up and got ready. My final score at 900 was a 32.2 – a bit shit really.
Oh well… at least my hair looks cool while I am scoring!
Well… honestly… we both had a giggle and both got slightly hammered by the small hurricane that was drifting back and forth across the range… Jared was getting twos and ones in both directions (and we can’t forget that awesome X!) and, as far as I can tell, he had a blast! He ended up with 32.1.
Jared chilling out while waiting to shoot. Those targets are a LONG way away!
A brief scramble involving hex keys, some swearing and a small piece of my soul later, Jared’s action was snugly bedded in my stock. I got into position and immediately tuned the air blue. *&^% filter *&^^% eagle eye *&^^% rubber thingy that tries to suck my eyeball out! Ick! I made a lot of it better but after all the shenanigans of installing the action in the stock, I had no time to give all the glass a well-needed clean. My sight picture was also sub-optimal because there was no way to put my lens on Jared’s set-up so I couldn’t see the foresight ring very well. I coped with the sighting and completely buggered up the wind to compensate! I had a very tidy waterline but ping-ponged between 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, mostly scoring 2s and my final score was a 31.0. Despite scoring lower than at 900 yards, I was feeling happier since my shots were going exactly where I was calling them and it was just my misinterpretation of the tempestuous conditions causing the low numbers.
In the end, Jared won C grade – congratulations! (although his only competition was me!) and I came last overall!
We both love shooting at Wairarapa and had so much fun! We can’t wait to shoot there again!
The next step for me is to get some sights sorted out for Jareds action so I can see if my lens is causing issues. We do not think that it is but it won’t hurt to check. 300 yards next week so we will have an opportunity to zero some sights then! We are going to invest in a shiny new Lilja barrel for me. I would probably need one by the end of the season anyway so it is just a few months early!
Just for fun, a quick glimpse of our lives outside shooting… We quite like dressing up in costumes and take every opportunity to do so! Obviously, Halloween is a perfect time for this… Here are our costumes from Friday night – Jared made a great grim reaper and Vic, a scary clown. We had a great night!