When we last saw our intrepid heroine, she was venturing down the rabbit hole of outriggers, zeros and facial bruising. In this episode she will be slipping through the twisted wormhole of investigating, prototyping and trialing…
I wrote that beautifully crafted sentence
two three four weeks ago and it has been sitting in an “I-have-things-to-do” induced digital limbo ever since.
Many things have happened!
two three four weeks, I have shot every single range at Trentham, re-engineered various bits of my rifle (remember how last time I realised that the sight block was the very last thing on my rifle to be modified? Well… It turns out I was wrong AGAIN) and learned that adjectives have an actual order that they should be used in… whoulda thunk? De-mystified Here
Let’s start at the beginning…
Expensive sight blocks and fancy-pants fabricating
After realising that my sight block was a sub-optimal width, Jared was straight onto the Barnard website ordering a new one.
After the usual top-quality customer/vendor interaction with Barnard, my new block arrived. We had assumed (damnit!) that a brand new sight block would be the same width as the optimal-width 1983 blocks (the outside of the action being the same diameter and all…). It turns out that this isn’t actually the case. My original sight block is about 6 mm, Jared’s is about 12 mm and the new blocks are in the middle at around 8-9 mm… Rats.
On the plus-side, the threads are less worn than mine, There are many extra forward holes for sight adjustment, and it makes around 5 MOA difference in windage so I decided to run with the new block for now. I had a clever plan where the current Bolt-Retaining-Pull-Spring-Pin-Thingy (note-to-self check adjective order) could be transformed into a fixed pin (with a small bolt modification) which means that I could move my sights all the way forward to make use of the front holes on the new block. Go me!
For anyone who is not familiar with the Bolt-Retaining-Pull-Spring-Pin-Thingy, here it is! Basically it stops the bolt from falling out… you have to pull on it with your left hand while manipulating the bolt with your right hand to get the bolt in and out…
Sadly, this was not quite as easy as it sounded. I sent my bolt away to our amazing gunsmith and received back a soul destroying note along the lines of “Sorry – Your super-hardened-bolt-steel/tungsten/titanium/chromium bolt is too hard to machine – I have grinded a run-in which should work with Bolt-Retaining-Pull-Spring-Pin-Thingy. Could try diamonds but not keen” (Disclaimer: not actual words.)
FukityfukityfukityFUK…BUGGER! Vic needs a lesson in communication. Gunsmiths are amazing creatures but mindreaders, they are not!
The bolt works beautifully with the existing setup of Bolt-Retaining-Pull-Spring-Pin-Thingy… no pin-pulling required. Here is an awful photo the original bolt (Actually it is Jared’s bolt but you get the idea).
And the modified bolt: It slips in and out easily.
Looks like I need to find a sight-block based solution…
The LAST Modification to Vic’s Original 1981 Barnard Rifle… (Actually, Seriously, the Last One)
The Very Last One…
I really did think that replacing the sight block would be the very last replacement on my action… turns out there is one more little thing… The Bolt-Retaining-Pull-Spring-Pin-Thingy…
There is no place in my new sight block for a Bolt-Retaining-Pull-Spring-Pin-Thingy as the newer actions have a fixed bolt-retaining pin. I also want to make use of the forward holes on the block so getting rid of the actual sticky-out pull-pin bit would be useful. It needs to remain springy because of limitations of what can be done to the bolt. After a small amount of perusing and some quick illustrations, I came up with this design.
All I need to do is turn up a pin, scavenge a spring and drill an 8.5mm hole part-way through my sexy new sight-block… how hard could it be?
The Sight Block
Well… it turns out, not too hard. I quickly located a friend with a lathe and a drill press. One very interesting and educational evening later, here is the result… before and afters. You can figure out which is which!
To my delight, with clever use of washers, I can use ALL of the holes on the block if I want… yippee! 🙂
Here is the end result with the new sights (since this photo, I have moved the sights all the way to the front of the block). Sorry about the blurry photos.
I think I have now shot four times since I last posted. Most of it has been in the rain. I am not sure if rain is a good or a bad thing but my results have been great! Here is a selection of some of my best over the last month…
Week One – 3, 5, 600yards
300 yards was all about finding a zero but I scraped in a possible at 500… Not bad for my first official shoot of the season!
600 should have been the same but I discovered a problem with my sloppy marking of the scale on the front outrigger… Lesson learnt! Now that I can see how it all fits together, I will be getting the scales engraved rather than using a mixture of nailpolish and pencil.
Week Two – 8, 9, 1000yards
More learning, gales and a sudden torrential downpour. I shot well but my favourite shoot was my unofficial training shoot at 1000 yards. I think 49.1 is my best ever 1000 yards score!
Week Three – Double 600 yards
This was on the back of a training camp. My position was ripped apart and reassembled. The score isn’t anything much (I still have to figure out this wind-reading business) But the group is very pretty! I have some work to do to tweak my new position but more on that another time.
Week Four – Double 300 yards.
And here is my most recent – another possible!
To the Future!
In the past four weeks, I think I have shot better than I ever have before. Two possibles and a bunch of 48s and 49s. Not only has my group size shrunk, I can also keep my right eye open and keep an eye on what the flags are doing which has made my wind-reading much more accurate. There is a long way to go but I am on the right track.
I still need to get my outriggers re-built as my sights are still too low and way too close to me. My shooting can only get better once I am not dealing with looking through my eyebrow anymore!
And to finish off, here is me practising at home in my pretty new position!
This week coming we will be in Blenheim shooting the Spring Champs! Stay tuned 🙂