RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

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m1ckDELTA
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RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#1 Post by m1ckDELTA » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:26 am

Oh, "that other ammo..."

I spent a full day at the range today after a disappointing half-day yesterday. Today, however, I was accompanied by a brand new Lead Sled Sight In Edition (it's a "Solo" without L/R leveling feet). I purchased it on the way home from the aforementioned "disappointing half-day". Also in attendance was my Burris Fullfield II scoped TC Compass .308 (baby's first day out), some targets, and 150 rounds of ammo. It was an enlightening 7 hour day.

Since I had just bought the Lead Sled Sight In Edition (LaSSIE, henceforth) I decided to start from scratch and spend the morning reinstalled the scope as I did the prior day, using a level, and even my calipers to make sure the scope ring gaps were even (I have stated elsewhere that I'm a bit OCD). The LaSSIE front strap, wrapped and strapped securely to the forestock, worked a treat in keeping things solid and level while I worked on the scope. This was such a pleasure compared to yesterday's initial installation using just sandbags. It was definitely more confidence inspiring. I certainly wouldn't be questioning the scope installation if things went as poorly as yesterday.

Not being able to get a group smaller than 5-7 inches with a brand new rifle and scope is a special kind of demoralizing, especially on a lovely Friday afternoon in the foothills. Oh yeah, those groups were at 50 yards. Sad face. Very sadface.

Yeah, well, I'll never know for sure how much, if any, the sandbag scope install contributed to Friday's disheartening performance; certainly not as much as the real culprit. Trying to shoot groups using those same sandbags didn't help either. The LaSSIE is such a vast improvement over sandbags in this department. Kinda goes without saying, I guess; considering that's literally, you know, by design. Bags were not the real culprit, though.

I enjoyed spending a leisurely morning at the bench building the Lead Sled, re-installing the scope, drinking coffee from my old school Stanley thermos, and just soaking in the start of a beautiful Southern California day.

Noon rolled in and it was time to get ta shootin'.

It was deja vu. I just could not get a reliable grouping. This is about when I began to first realize I was in willful denial. I bore sighted and tried to get a good group several times throughout the early afternoon. This is a god time to point out that the LaSSIE did improve my groupings from the previous day; I went from Friday's 5-7 inch groups to 2-5 inch groups today. The Lead Sled had helped to remove a lot of variables including me for the most part so I could no longer avoid the obvious reason behind the problems. When I finally admitted the truth the result were night and day. I like plinking with my 9mm carbine and .22 lever action using cheap ammo as much as everyone else but the TC Compass comes with a 1" MOA guarantee. I didn't buy it for plinking (although there will certainly be some of that in due time); this trip to the range wasn't to "plink".

I have to admit though that, going in, I thought, "How bad can the PRVI be???"

Bad.

For sighting in?

Real bad.

And, yes, I had been warned.

Heck, it's even published that the 1" MOA guarantee only applies when using "premium ammunition".





It's amazing how a less than spectacular day can turn around so quickly. I stopped trying to sight in using the PRVI and broke out the Federal Copper. I got my guaranteed results within the first three groupings. I was elated. Sort of surprisingly so in that I knew I'd feel good when I finally got a good group but I didn't expect it to happen so quickly after making a simple adjustment; an adjustment that had nothing to do with the rifle, the scope, or my technique. It even happened using the last bore sighting I made while still shooting the PRVI.

Could it get any better?!?!

Yup.

After grouping well with the Federal it was time for the rubber to really meet the road. It was time for my handloads. There was trepidation. There was that moment of doubt. "Did I follow all the steps correctly?"

"Is my ammo safe???"

I took a moment, took account, and remembered, "Yes, absolutely I did. I followed every step to the letter and implemented every step by the numbers."

"It's all good,"

I wasn't going to blow myself or anyone else up today.

I broke open the 50 round MTM ammo storage box. The round inserted into the chamber smoother than either the PRVI or the Federal (I used the Compass' magazine once to make sure it worked then manually chambered each round from that point on). I took a moment to enjoy the moment. I fired my first hand loaded round! When I looked through the spotting scope I saw a hole touching the bullseye. Another shot. A hole touching the previous hole! Another shot and a hole next to, but not touching, the others. Another equally good shot followed but the last shoot looked to be a flyer until upon closer examination I realized it went through the two touching holes There is a special kind of glee one feels when one realizes, "My handloads are 'premium ammunition."

Sure, it was only the 50 yard sight-in, but I was sporting a 100 yard grin on my face. Especially after the way things started; it felt like a thousand yard win. The rest of the day was spent with that grin plastered all over my face. I must have looked like a nutter but the folks at this range were a friendly lot, nevertheless

The day was close enough to the end to forego going out to 100 yards. That would have to wait till next weekend. With my newfound confidence, however, I decided to spend the remaining time rekindling my fight with the PRVI. I didn't win, no one can, but it was fun to end the day plinking with some cheap ammo knowing my rifle was perfectly zeroed for the initial 50 yard sight in.

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#2 Post by senorgrand » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:17 am

Congrats!
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Release the tapes!

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#3 Post by Bisbee » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:50 am

Good story. Good day!
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#4 Post by CDFingers » Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:26 am

Great report--shows that perseverance furthers. Also premium ammo shoots better than brand x. Fun and satisfying day. Reloads!

CDFingers
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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#5 Post by eelj » Sun Dec 31, 2017 10:27 am

How much privi ammo do you have left? I'm surprised it is so bad.

One question about your reloads, is the brass used a mixed lot or is it all the same brand? I'm looking forward to reading how well it does at 100yds.

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#6 Post by highdesert » Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:56 am

:thumbup:
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#7 Post by m1ckDELTA » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:35 am

eelj wrote:How much privi ammo do you have left? I'm surprised it is so bad.

One question about your reloads, is the brass used a mixed lot or is it all the same brand? I'm looking forward to reading how well it does at 100yds.
I've got plenty of PRVI and I understand their brass is well regarded so it's all good. As for the brass that was used for my this first batch, it was Hornady Match brass.

I'm looking forward to the the 100 yard range day as well and will definitely report back. I'll be bringing some reloaded PRVI brass that day and am hoping for equally good results. Since the Hornady brass was charged only .3 grains above the minimum (37.7 is minimum w/IMR 4895) I'm not going to compensate for the smaller volume of the PRVI brass. I'll use the same 38 grain charge and hopefully it will only result in a nominal speed difference that won't negatively impact the grouping. Heck, maybe they'll get better.

I full length resized, conditioned, and primed 50 pieces of PRVI brass this evening.

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#8 Post by eelj » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:24 pm

Just a suggestion but you might consider a neck sizing die. You are using this ammo in one bolt action rifle so the brass has been fire formed for its chamber, all you need to do is size the neck to hold the bullet. Full length sizing cause the brass to stretch which will require case trimming and after 5 or 6 trimmings the brass should be discarded, or so they say.

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#9 Post by Marlene » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:48 pm

Agree with eelj. You could even neck size by adjusting your FL die to not size the rest of the case. On most full length dies, you can get better than 75% of the neck sized before the die starts to touch the body of the case.
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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#10 Post by eelj » Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:32 pm

Marlene wrote:Agree with eelj. You could even neck size by adjusting your FL die to not size the rest of the case. On most full length dies, you can get better than 75% of the neck sized before the die starts to touch the body of the case.
Bolt actions and single shots are the best rifles for hand loaders. Autos are best for brass manufacturers.

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#11 Post by m1ckDELTA » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:04 pm

I only FL sized the PRVI so that after the case's first reloading it would fireform with my load and not PRVI's factory load. When manually loading rounds into the breech and comparing the three different batches of ammo, the PRVI, Federal, and mine (Hornady Match brass), I noticed that the PRVI was a little tighter going into the chamber. I figured that the FL resizing would make the reloaded PRVI brass chamber a little smoother going in and I'd be more confident about the precision of the fireforming. Once fireformed from the FL resizing I'd only neck size going forward. That was my reasoning for FL resizing.

However, after resizing I took measurements and there was no appreciable difference between the factory ammo casings and my resized casings. Live and learn; neck sizing from the get go, from now on going forward.

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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#12 Post by Marlene » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:33 pm

For future reference, pretty much any fireforming is good, unless it's a really really light load. Also, tighter chamber fit is better as far as accuracy is concerned; the issue is trying to present the projectile in to the bore as perfectly centered as possible.
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Re: RANGE REPORT: Rifle sight-in, new gear, my first handloads, and... that other ammo.

#13 Post by m1ckDELTA » Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:51 pm

Marlene wrote:For future reference, pretty much any fireforming is good, unless it's a really really light load. Also, tighter chamber fit is better as far as accuracy is concerned; the issue is trying to present the projectile in to the bore as perfectly centered as possible.
Good info. Thanks.

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