What should one do on their 39th Birthday? Get drunk? Eat crap? Nothing? I decided to go shooting for the day with mild persuasion from the ever keen Raf. Sam, the other Gunsandzen regular also came along for the ride.
Raf taking a selfie before we get down to business.
We headed down to Bisley for the day. We are all NRA members and Bisley is the nearest place for long range shooting. It was decided that the morning would be on the 100yd range for some testing. Both Raf and I had new optics which needed zeroing. I have a Vortex Sparc 2 red dot mounted on my .22 AR upper. I hope to begin practical mini rifle in the new year with it.
The AR mini rifle. I really need a dedicated lower with a lighter butt but that is another story..
We set up on benches at the 100yd mark. Sam began plugging away with his custom RPA .308 nicknamed by us as “the green monster”. He was happily shooting thumbnail sized ragged holes. His set up is so sharp that 100yds is a pointless proposition. The weather had been a worry for us. Predictions of hurricane strength winds the evening before were mildly concerning. So far so good, despite it being cold the rain was holding off and the wind was running about 15mph steady from right to left full value.
The .22 took some work to sight in. Even with Sams 32x scope it was tough to see the holes in the shootnsee targets. The clouds were heavy and light was at a premium. I ended up using the sandbank to get on. Once the Vortex red dot was zeroed the rifle hit consistently giving a 10″ spread at 100yds. Considering it has a 12″ barrel that was not too bad. Mini rifle comps will be run close in at 15-75yds. The targets will be a variety of steel plates. You do not need sub moa accuracy, just reliability and speed.
Sams green monster making light work at the 100yd range
I ran CCI minimags at first. The gun did not like them and had a few jams. The bolt was not running back far enough which led to ejection problems and feed problems. I then tried some American Eagle high velocity. That ran fine. The lube I am using (napier) seemed to get a little more tacky in the cold weather and I believe this had something to do with the cci issues. It ran minimags fine during the summer…
before anyone moans the camera was on a stick!
Meanwhile Raf was on the bench next to me with his Enfield and a Remington 700 stalking set up with a very nice Nikon optic. The Remington proved highly accurate after getting zeroed and the Enfield put in some decent looking groups although they seemed to sit in three shot strings before POI would change a little. More on that later. Raf is ever the outgoing courteous gent and immediately set about making friends with nearby shooters. Before long we were all checking out each others rifles and giving them a go. Sam took some shots with a Mosin Nagant which made him chuckle.
The Mosin and Rafs Remington 700 stalker.
After much fun is had we retire to the Clays cafe for lunch. A bowl of hot chips and a coffee taste amazing when your hands are turning blue with cold. We always eat at the clays. The food is good, the staff are friendly, the price is great and you can watch the clay guys busting round disks with expensive over n unders while you eat.
After lunch we head off to the 1000yd line. Order of the afternoon – get on target and compete in a little comp .303 vs .308 again (Raf still believes his antiques can better modern tech..). When we arrive the first thing we notice is the wind. During lunchtime the wind increased. Alot. We now had gusts of up to 40mph to contend with. I take first round hits pretty seriously. I input the weather data and dial in the corrections. I manage a first round hit landing at 5 o clock in the 4 ring (bulleye scores 5 and then you have rings scoring 4,3,2,1 respectively. A first round hit in those conditions at 1000yds is a decent shot in my book..
Meanwhile the other 3 are struggling to find paper. Raf hates maths but eventually relents and resets his zero then dials in dope from my ballistic computer. He hits the target… Sam still struggles to get his rifle on paper as does Simon (recruited by Raf from the morning session!). Poor Simons running irons on a Mosin so I am not surprised he struggles. Brave efforts eventually get him onto the target after quite a few coming up short.
Raf reaching out to 1000yds with his scoped Enfield
And so the comp starts. Sam doesn’t find paper for the first three shots. Raf is hitting paper but the shots fall to one side or another dragging his score down. I manage to hold the 4 ring and then start putting in a few bulls with a smattering of Vs. I was very happy given the awful wind. I ended up with a 62.4 out of 75 which put a smile on my face. Sam also started finding fours and fives but his misses had put him out of the running. Raf soldiered on but ended up feeling frustrated with his kit.
We shot late into the afternoon until the light grew dim and our fingers became numb. I was literally shaking from the cold once I stopped shooting so i packed up in rapid fashion.
After the shoot Raf took his rifle to the gunsmiths. It was riddled with issues which were the fault of the guys who assembled it and sold it to him. The gunsmith (fultons) showed Raf the action was able to move a little in the stock which was the reason POI was changing at short range. It demonstrates what a good shot Raf is that he was able to hit paper at distance with an ancient, poorly assembled rifle!!
We all had a superb day. As we got in the car to drive home the rain began to fall. Some luck we had with that! Then it was home to wash my kit, dry it, sort out used brass and oil guns before locking them safely away. We vowed to hold the 1000yd comp again once Rafs rifle has had some love and attention.
Thanks to Raf for taking pictures (above) and for coming! Thanks also to Sam and Simon for shooting and the NRA who do a pretty good job at running a vast shooting complex. Most of all thanks to you guys for reading..