Hope for the Future?

No, not the stupid politicians.

I want to show you a page from an introductory high school science textbook.  It’s an illustration pertaining to an explanation of precision and accuracy for laboratory experiments.

Science Textbook
 

Also, I want to acknowledge that this month was light on content, with the exception of a couple of posts.  I’ve been busy with a project I hope to take public soon.  The content for next month is already gearing up to be substantially more substantive.  

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Guest Post: Hearing Loss- A Hidden Epidemic Among Hunters, by John O’Connor


The following is a guest post by John O’Connor.  I generally don’t accept guest posts, but this time I was drunk and thought it was the ghost of the great gunwriter Jack O’Connor.  OK, not really.  (John is probably wondering what he got himself into at this point.  Don’t worry John, that’s all the tasteless humor I had on hand for today).  
It seemed like a pertinent topic, he asked nicely, it’s well written, and it wasn’t a spam email.

Enjoy.

__________________________________________________
Hi my name is John O’Connor, I am a father, outdoorsman and passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  Over the past few years I have become more and more interested in hearing loss.  My father and grandfathers, who are and were all hunters, are affected by hearing loss.  I feel that there is a general lack of understanding around the issue and it is our job to spread awareness where we can.  Check out my new blog at bloggingwjohno.blogspot.com!

Hearing Loss: A Hidden Epidemic Among Hunters

Safety is a primary concern among most hunters. Unfortunately, many only associate hunting safety with firearms usage and overlook hearing preservation. Many doctors say that hearing loss is unfortunately common among hunters, who often choose to go without hearing protection in the woods for fear of missing conversation or the sound of prey. By the time many hunters start using hearing protection later in life, they’re already suffered serious hearing loss and a range of negative effects on quality of life and safety. Below is a look at the causes for hearing loss in hunters and ways that hunters can save their hearing.

How Hunting Causes Hearing Loss

Without hearing protection, the loud noise of a gunshot is enough to cause permanent hearing loss. Less intense noises often require extended listening to cause permanent damage, but this isn’t necessary with the extremely high decibels of a gunshot. When hunters take multiple shots within a few seconds, the risk of permanent hearing loss increases significantly. Game calling can also cause damage with frequent practice indoors. In many cases, the hunters who suffer hearing damage are the younger ones who have yet to lose any hearing yet. Unfortunately, these individuals also have the most hearing to lose.

Why Protection Is Important

Loss of hearing can affect sufferers in all areas of life. Inability to communicate effectively, and the resultant isolation, can result in loss of self-esteem. Being unable to hear music or television can cause depression. In some cases, hearing damage may also reduce employability in certain settings.

Tinnitus, a disorder involving constant ringing in the ears, is a common problem in many people with hearing damage. While tinnitus isn’t life-threatening, it can become profoundly unpleasant for those who suffer from it, even causing problems concentrating or sleeping. While lifestyle changes may reduce severity of tinnitus for some people, there is no known cure for the disorder.

How Hunters Can Protect Hearing

Depending on application and budget, hunters have a variety of options for preserving their hearing. Earplugs are the most basic and common protective device. Some prefer earplugs to muffs in the field due to their low profile, but earplugs don’t offer sufficient protection to many calibers. Earmuffs provide greater protection than earplugs, and they’re also more comfortable and less invasive. For even greater protection, users can stack earmuffs with the use of earplugs. Finally, electronic earmuffs are a preferred hunting solution for those who can afford them. While they protect against the report of gunfire, they use an external, battery-powered amplifier to let the wearer continue to hear low-decibel noises, such as talking to friends or rustling animals.

By taking precautions from a young age, hunters can count on being able to retain more of their hearing into later life. If damage occurs, it will be possible to use a hearing aid or hearing aids.  My father who has been hunting ever since I can remember is affected greatly by hearing loss due to hunting.  Now in his late 70’s he still continues to hunt but always makes sure he has his hearing aids in and has brought the proper hearing protection with him.  Hearing protection is just one more way that hunters can stay safe while practicing their sport.

Controlled Round Feed: Cutting Through The Hype

One of the reasons I chose the FN PBR-XP, which has a Model 70 action, as my rifle is because I had long read of the many advantages of the Mauser 98 action and its derivatives.  The one thing that is cited over and over as a big deal in reference to the 98 and the pre-’64 Winchester Model 70 action is what is almost always referred to as the “massive claw extractor” (the most overdone rifle phrase ever?), and controlled round feeding.

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The Clawwwwww.  The Claw is our master.  The Claw chooses who will go and who will stay.

Controlled round feeding is described as the extractor having control of the cartridge from the time it picks it up from the magazine until the time that the ejector kicks it out of the action.  What I had pictured in my mind is that the cartridge is never free to lolly about in the action; that the extractor would basically have control over the cartridge before it left the feed lips of the magazine.  This is supposed to guarantee that even if you are firing upside down, or in the weightless vacuum of space it will function perfectly (have you ever tried to load a rifle and work the bolt with a spacesuit on?  It’s not as easy as it sounds).

After I had a few rounds through the rifle, I decided to examine the claims of controlled round feeding, and see how they stacked up to the reality of my rifle.  I’d like to note that I’ve never had a malfunction thus far.  First let’s take a look at how it works.

The bolt is pulled rearward so that it clears the round at the top of the magazine.  This allows the round to rise up under spring pressure and engage the feed lips of the magazine.  This puts it at just the right height for the bottom of the bolt face to engage it.

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As the bolt is pushed forward, the bolt face touches the case head and begins to push forward.  On my Model 70 (I won’t speak for any other rifle), the extractor does not have control yet.

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As the bolt moves forward the round is pushed clear of the magazine’s feed lips.  The case head pops up and is held only lightly by the extractor.  It is nowhere near what I would consider “controlled” at this point.  The rear of the cartridge is low on the bolt face.  If the bolt were pulled back from here I think it would lose its hold.
 

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As the bolt continues forward the cartridge begins to straighten out in the chamber, which causes the rear of the cartridge to rise up on the bolt face, thereby pushing it a little farther into the extractor.  At this point if the bolt were suddenly retracted the extractor would probably be able to retain a hold on the case, but I wouldn’t guarantee it.

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I was a little disappointed that only at the point that the bolt ceases forward movement is the round high enough on the bolt face for the extractor to truly have control. Then the bolt can be retracted, moved back and forth, and it will not lose its grip on the round until it travels back far enough for the case head to hit the ejector, at which time it will kick it out.

Here’s what full control looks like:

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As the bolt is pulled rearward the orientation of the cartridge is unchanged.

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The following two photos show the same thing from two different angles.  Two things are about to happen.  First the bolt face will clear the round in the mag, allowing it to pop up.  Second the case head of the round that is currently held by the extractor will contact the ejector which will throw it out.  In my opinion the timing of these two events is backwards because it allows an approximate 2mm window in which a double feed can occur.

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The following photo shows the vulnerable moment in which a double feed can be caused if the bolt were to begin moving forward from this point.  The bolt face has gone back far enough to clear the case head of the round in the magazine, but not far enough to contact the ejector.  If the bolt knob were pushed forward from this point, the bolt face would try to begin feeding the lower round while the extractor is still holding the upper round in place.  The lower round will push the tip of the upper round in the receiver ring, which fortunately stops it from getting stuck too badly.  A quick pull to the rear with the bolt knob will eject the upper case.

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If everything goes correctly, as the bolt continues being pulled back, the ejector will kick the old case out:

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It is often said that controlled round feed actions cannot be single loaded.  That is not the case for this rifle.  I have it on good authority from a member of the FN team, so this isn’t just me being a crackpot.  Let me show you.

As with any bolt action, if there are rounds in the mag, you’ll need to push them down allowing the bolt to pass over the top round without feeding it.  You can then toss a round into the action.  If the magazine is empty just throw your round in.  The round will  not be under control by the extractor, just hanging out like a push feed.

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When the bolt is far enough forward it the case that it’s pushing will drop slightly because it slides down the shoulder of the round beneath it.

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As the top round begins entering the chamber it gets tilted enough to allow the extractor claw to clear it.

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At this point the cycle is exactly the same as if the round had started in the magazine and the rifle will slurp the round down like a raw oyster (YUCK!!!).

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The exception to the ability to toss a round in the action is if the round is pushed forward into the chamber prior to closing the bolt.  The extractor claw cannot clear the round in this case and will have to bend outward in order to complete the feeding cycle, close the bolt, or extract the round.  This situation makes the bolt very difficult to close; it has to be slammed home or the butt needs to be hit on the ground to try to extract the round without an extractor.  Moral of the story: don’t try to push the round into the chamber, just toss it in the action!

I wasn’t satisfied just to examine the feeding of my rifle.  I wanted to see how much better it really was than a push feed action.  The king of the hill as far as push feeds goes (in terms of it being everywhere) is the Remington 700.  Here’s a video of the two as I try to induce malfunctions:

I was quite surprised at the way it turned out.  I think that the push feed in this case almost has an advantage during the feeding cycle, because it really doesn’t care where the round is in the action as long as it’s pointing forward.  The controlled round feed has the potential to run into problems during feeding if the cartridge gets ahead of the extractor claw, although this scenario is extremely unlikely.  The one problem that I have had when hand feeding rounds into the Remington 700 is that if the round is tossed in there too far the round can get caught to the left of the left feed lip on the magazine, and is a little difficult to pry out.  That hasn’t happened to me with the Model 70 yet.

I think that the claw extractor is probably more likely to free a stubbornly stuck case from the chamber.    Both seem to eject well, although the controlled round feed offers more sensitivity for the force of ejection.  The controlled round feed action makes a press check a smidgen easier, because you can retract the bolt and check it without having to close the bolt.  This won’t work on a push feed, because it’s extractor doesn’t capture the case until the bolt is fully closed.

For what it’s worth, with proper technique a push feed will feed upside down, or in the vacuum of space, and was made to be used with a spacesuit on, and I’m a liar.

What I found out is that each system has advantages and disadvantages.  None of which really amount to much in normal use.  I could be that my rifle’s feeding isn’t timed right, but I’m not going to assume anything.  Pick a system, become well-acquainted with it, and you should be fine.

_________________________

After a bit of thought on the subject I came to a couple of conclusions.  The push feed may have gotten its bad reputation because of old timers who were used to their controlled round feeders and were lazy about closing the bolt knob fully when cycling out unused rounds or something similar.  The second thing, related to the first thing, is even if you have and use a controlled round feed, don’t get lazy about closing your bolt fully, even if it’s “just a press check”.  Build habits that work across platforms and work all the time.

 

 

 

Book Review: Contact!: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival, by Max Velocity


Contact
I first heard of this book when the author contacted me and told me I would like it.  Not satisfied to simply take his word for it, I did what any good blogger would do, I asked for a copy to review.  Max, or Mr. Velocity as I like to call him has a pretty good sense of humor.  This is what the email exchange between us looked like:
Mr. Slinger:  Here’s the info of the first of my complicated network of proxy mail 
                       recipients  (address redacted)”
Mr. Velocity: “We can do a dead drop next time, communicating only by coded 
                       notes, that we eat after reading……:-)
Mr. Slinger:  I’ve been eating coded notes for years.  The amount of fiber in my 
                      diet is incredible.  My GI tract would run circles around that of a man 
                      half my age.”
Mr. Velocity: ” Love it. Ha!”

Anyone who thinks my jokes are even remotely funny is OK in my book.  But this article is not about my book, it’s about Contact!, so let’s get to it.

Book details:
Paperback
9.6”x6.75”x0.6”
Illustrated with black and white diagrams
298 Pages
A photo of Max that reveals that he is actually prince William.
Table of Contents (Condensed):
            Chapter 1: Starting Points
            Chapter 2: To Stay or To Go
            Chapter 3: Decision Making
            Chapter 4: Training
            Chapter 5: Basic Prinicples
            Chapter 6: Casualties
            Chapter 7: Post Event Vehicle Movement
            Chapter 8: Dismounted Tactics
            Chapter 9: Defense
            Chapter 10: Patrols
            Chapter 11: Tactical Use of Vehicles
            Chapter 12: Offensive Operations
            Chapter 13: Withdrawal
            Chapter 14: Conclusion
You can view Max’s bio here.  Short story is that he did a lot of soldiering in a lot of places.  He also runs a blog here.
The first thing that becomes apparent when beginning to read the book is that A.) Max has thought the post collapse scenario through pretty well, 2.) he really seems to be a subject matter expert in the field of tactics, c.) his advice is not simply geared towards showcasing his tactical knowledge, he really advocates a prudent course of action for his intended reader.
Contact! was written for the average person, probably with a family including children, that finds himself in the midst of a post collapse situation.  To that end Max stresses the importance of avoidance and concealment when dealing with potential contacts.  Simply put, the best way to win a fight is not to be there.  Sometimes that’s not possible, therefore Max wrote the rest of the book.
 A few things about the book stood out to me.  I’ve given some thought to the advantages of bugging out vs. bugging in.  Max really brings that decision down to a very simple level.  It makes it a lot easier to think it through in light of the perspective he puts it in.  There was also good information on how to handle the actual movement of bugging out.
When I got into the middle portion of the book, I started feeling like there was a little too much repetition of the tactical fundamentals and too many diagrams of movement.  I felt like I got a little lost a few times.  By the time I got near the end of the book, however, I actually felt like my understanding of the principles themselves had gotten much better.  The vocabulary and explanations started to be easily understandable, and I had to step back and realize that I was starting to get things on a higher level that I was previously.    
My own previous knowledge of tactics is very narrow, but within that spectrum I have had a fair amount of practice.  I felt that reading Contact! opened things up to a broader scope for me.  For example, I had previously understood the concept of “fire and movement” in a very limited sense in terms of, for example, the buddy rush, and bounding overwatch, as separate and distinctive maneuvers that I had not even considered might be different expressions of the same principle. 
I believe that understanding principles and context is more important that knowing minute subject matter details.  I think that reading this book helped me to grasp the overall principles, as well as some practical examples.
Criticism:
The tone of the book is somewhat relaxed, which I don’t have a problem with.  There’s also some humor, which I also appreciate.  What I thought was perhaps a bit too casual was the repeated use of the word “cool”, as in, “that wouldn’t be cool,” that I thought could have been conveyed a bit more thoughtfully.
I mentioned before how when he really gets hard into the nitty gritty of the tactics, the book gets a little tedious.  There are quite a few diagrams.  While they may be necessary, they can be tough for the uninitiated to digest.  Please keep in mind that overall the book did convey the tactical principles well overall.  I would just suggest to Max that perhaps rather than, or in addition to, the dry explanation of the facts and diagrams, to draw either on historical examples of the tactics, or to create a short fictional story that would grip the reader for a moment while providing an example that would come across with more life than a diagram.  People are wired for stories.  Why not take advantage of it?
He mentioned the possible use of snipers early on in the book, but did not provide any examples in the meat and potatoes of the tactical discussion.  Being interested in precision riflery and the tactical employment of snipers, it would have been interesting to read what Max had to say on the subject. 
Verdict (I get to be the judge and jury here):
Max offers a useful perspective on framing one’s plans and preparations.  Hopefully everyone has thought some scenarios through; if they haven’t then their brain probably is not doing much of anything (time to turn off the TV?).  Max has obviously applied some experience and logic to the problem.  His perspective makes a worthy read in my opinion.
  

Pant Pocket Field Repair


You might be confused about the post topic given the blog title.  I’m changing the blog to be called “Art of the Pants Pocket Repair”, but the graphics department is on strike so I haven’t updated the header yet.  Really, this is something that just worked well for me and I thought that other people might like using duct tape on their clothes.
Not being a rich man, I have basically 2 pairs of pants that I use.  Both of them are the wonderfully tacticool 5.11 taclite.  I’ve had the green ones since maybe 2009.  I have holes in both of the front pockets.  The hole on the left pocket is the oldest.  I patched it with duct tape and it held for about a month, even through several washings.  I redid it and drove on, later patching the right pocket once a hole developed there.
Here’s the patch:
Cut a piece of duct tape that’s about the size of the hole:
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I apologize for the flash photography.  Do you really expect me to not be wearing pants during the day?  Note the evidence of the previous patch.
Cut a slightly larger piece.  Place the smaller piece roughly in the center of the larger piece, with the adhesive sides together.  This will allow the larger piece to adhere to your pocket while the smaller piece keeps the adhesive from being evident from the inside of the pocket.
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Place the tape over the pocket hole and bask in the goodness of hole-less pockets:

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Now go ahead and put all the sharp stuff back in your pockets: keys, P-38 can opener, pens, knives, the odd loose rifle round, etc…  We all know that duct tape is impervious to anything, so don’t worry…






Walking, Counting, Holding, Shooting & Hitting


I went for a walk at the range with my rifle and some ammo.  I painted the miniature steel humanoid target and filled my pockets with 30 rounds.  I started at 200 yards with the offhand position.  The idea was to stay with offhand until I couldn’t hit any more, then switch to something slightly more stable, until I couldn’t hit anymore and had to switch again, etc…
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Steele’s body measures 13” wide and 18.5” tall.  His head is 6.5” wide and 6” tall.  He tilts forward at about 6°.
At 200 I held over at about 0.5 mils from offhand and got 5 hits out of 5 shots.  I walked away from the target, counting my paces, until I figured I was out at about 250.  I was keeping track of my holdovers in real time as I kept track of my pace count.  The correction at 250 is 1.0 mils.  From offhand again, 3 hits out of 5 shots.  I switched to rice paddy prone before moving, and got an easy 5 out of 5.
As I neared 300 according to my pace, I continued to keep a rolling update of my elevation correction.  1.6 mils will get you there at 300 if you shoot with my rifle and ammo.  5 shots from rice paddy prone was good again for five hits.  Some of the hits felt a little dicey, so although I had no misses, I decided that I would switch to a sitting position for the next firing point.
Again with the pace count and walking.  At 350 I transitioned to open leg sitting.  My hold should have been 1.9 mils, but I somehow got 450 in my head and held at 3.0.  This caused me to miss 2 rounds until I corrected my hold for a total of 3 out of 5 at 350 yards.  Open leg was fine for that target at that distance, as well as being ideal for shooting from a decline.
At 400 I tried open leg sitting again with my hold at 3.6 mils.  I got 3 out of 5, purely because my open leg sitting was not up to the task.  That was all the ammo that I dared to fit into my cargo pockets.
With no dialing and no rangefinder it can be pretty painless to figure your point of aim out to a few hundred yards, given a reasonably sharp mind, a properly chosen position, and some minor knowledge of your trajectory.  There were times I could have gamed it a bit more and used a more stable position, but I wanted to have a nice balance of challenge and success.

My target may not be all that pretty, but at least I can look forward to lots of room for improvement.

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Preliminary Progress Report with the PBR-XP

-307 Rounds
-4 Cold Bore shots- all in the black of the target I was shooting.  The last one had 
     the  most significant deviation, slightly less than 1.5″ low.  Mitigating factors 
     may  include:
           -The last thing through the barrel was a blank round that had been fired 
             just over a week earlier.
           -The rifle had done a lot of travelling and had been exposed to a
             more humid environment.
           -The only bore cleaning I have done so far is with a boresnake.  I just 
             looked into the barrel and it looks like a copper mine.
-0 clean cold bore shots (see above)
-0 malfunctions
-The rifle’s zero and sighting system have been very consistent.  No surprises, 
     large or small.
 

 Cold bore shots:

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In the first few months of the blog I was pretty good about posting 10 shot groups from various positions with the Sako 75.  It’s been a while since I’ve done that.  I have myself a little “pop quiz” with the FN to see how I’m holding up.  The main difference between when I used to do it versus this time is that I used to work my positions pretty hard prior to hitting the range and testing it.  This time my positional shooting is not at its sharpest.  In fact it was rather rust laden.
I set up six targets.  The positions I tested were bipod prone, unsupported prone with sling, crossed ankle sitting, rice paddy prone, regular offhand, and what I’ve been calling modified offhand.  I’ll throw up a comparison of my previous groups with the Sako.  Groups are at 100 yards unless otherwise noted. 
Bipod Prone
I reset my position between each shot by standing up, making sure I was square to the rifle, and getting back down.  My group:
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                     Could ‘ve been a contender… if only… just ignore those errant 3.

The Sako:
‘Bout the same size, but notice that more are crazy,as opposed to only 3 crazies with the FN, and the degree of craziness is much higher, like, say, paranoid schizophrenia. 
Big Ol’ Heavy Remmy:


You can see maybe 3 crazy shots here, but a much more high functioning level of insanity.
I’m willing to blame myself for the 3 errant rounds with the FN.  I’m also willing to blame the rifle in case blaming myself doesn’t work out.
Unsupported Prone with Sling
I learned something about the FN when using the sling in prone.  This was the first time I had tried it because shooting prone with the sling when there’s a bipod on the rifle doesn’t make much sense.  It’s more of a vestigial skill than a useful one, unless Fred’s dream of everyone being handed a rack grade surplus rifle with a sling somehow comes true.  Onto what I learned… the distance to the front sling stud is short, very short.  The result is that I can’t get the flat of my support arm to contact the ground.   I’m stuck with my elbow pointing on the gravel.  I realized again why people think prone is uncomfortable.  I also realized why tall people just wouldn’t listen when I told them to use the flat of the arm- it just… doesn’t… work when the rifle… doesn’t… fit!

I measured the location of the sling stud in relation to both the butt and the trigger.  First from the butt to the forward stud:
     PBR:     25.75″
     Sako:    29.5″ 
     M14:     29.25″

From trigger to forward stud:
     PBR:     12.25″
     Sako:    15.25″
     M14:      16.25″

Obviously there’s a significant difference, but it’s really only noticeable in prone with the sling, so it’s pretty much a non-issue unless I’m shooting an AQT or something that requires me not to use a bipod.

Elbow instead of flat of the arm, as I was able to verify, equates not only to more pain, but to less stability.  Here’s 10 shots on paper:
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Not great, but it looks better than 10 out of the Sako:
Again with the Remmy:
Cross Ankle Sitting
This is a pretty good position for me normally.  I felt like I was struggling with all the positional shooting to a degree.  The less stable the position was, the more I struggled.  What I really noticed was that the creep in the trigger, and it being a little heavier than what I have been using was giving me a frustrated feeling.
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That’s pretty bad.  Here’s with the Sako from 300 yards:
Converting both to minute of angle, the Sako being about 3.6 and the FN being approximately 3.6/1.047 = 3.4.  I’d call it about a tie if I handicap the Sako for being at 300.
Rice Paddy Prone
I expected this to be pretty good.  It was frustrating. 
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If I measured it I didn’t take note of it, but the picture tells you what you need to know.  It was one of those times when the second mag lacks any semblance of concentration and blows the whole thing to (pick your expletive, I don’t use that language on the blog).
From the Sako:
3.6 MOA from the Sako.  This goes to show that in those less stable positions, a better trigger is more important that the rifle’s inherent precision, at least within reasonable limits.
Offhand:
OK, posting offhand groups is embarrassing for me.  Here’s the thing, try to find anyone else that will post them.  They are out there, but they’re few and far between.  My previous best with the Sako was 8.6” at 100 yards:
The FN gave me 11.5”, if I remember right.  See the little guy on the left that missed the target page?
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Modified Offhand
I’d been wanting to do a comparison on offhand vs. the modified offhand since I decided to switch to it.  I posted recently about the weight of the FN causing me to doubt whether I should abandon this in favor of returning to standard offhand.  My group was about 7” (I have no Sako comparison group):
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It barely passes the blurry paper plate test:
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My shooting could have been better, but that’s always the case.  Looks like I’m putting trigger work on my list.  

 

Reticle = Graphic Representation of Trajectory

Dedicated to A. Nonymous, frequent commenter and writer of ancient poetry (also author of 15-20 strangely worded spam comments per day on the article “Trajectory”  Here is a sample:

I have been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before. Here is my page: [deleted])


I’m still working on memorizing my dope, but more than that I’m on a journey to master my rifle’s trajectory.  Not so long ago, I thought of my trajectory on two levels.  On a theoretical level, I was aware that the bullet left the muzzle, rose to meet the sights, then dropped.  On a practical level, I could look up a number to adjust my sights (irons on the M-14) at any given range out to a certain distance.  That represents a very large gap that rendered me largely ineffective past my zero range.

I’ve been doing a lot of dry fire work with holdovers on my SWFA’s mil reticle.  As I mentioned about wind holds, holding actually lets you see what you need to input to the rifle in order for the bullet to hit the target.  In contrast, dialing for corrections “solves” the problem and removes it from the list of things to keep track of, which can be better in some circumstances.

I dry fire at a variety of things inside and outside, typically from ranges of approximately 7 to 300 yards.  To make my holding quicker and more consistent I’ve been doing a quick range estimation, followed by recalling my comeup (hold), then sighting using the holdover and firing.

What I’ve been trying to develop within myself is the ability to see the bullet’s trajectory in the reticle.  Imagine in the following photo that the arced set of lines represents a bullet going almost straight away from you, just tweaked at an angle slightly so you can see it:

MP-8 Reticle Graphic Trajectory with Ranges Resized
Please excuse the crudity of this model. I didn’t have time to build it to scale or paint it.


The left (pink) side of the arc represents the range prior to the zero range, which in this case is 100 yards.  This segment is just the bullet travelling up from the bore line to meet the line of sight.  The mechanical offset is a relatively large amount of distance to go up to get to the line of sight, which makes for a large range of correction to be applied at closer distances.

Since close range typically requires speed, which typically equates to offhand, I rounded to the nearest half mil for my holds.  For instance, my 40 yard correction should be something like 0.3 mils.  I rounded that up to 0.5.  At 40 yards a 0.1 mil click equals about 0.14”, so being 0.2 mils off equates to being about 0.28” off.  If I ever get good enough in offhand to notice that distance, perhaps I will reconsider my rounding.  That’s about as extreme a change as the rounding will produce.

The right (black) side of the arc represents the portion of the trajectory after the bullet has reached the zero height and begins to fall.  It’s not meant to be to scale or anything, just a representation, although it should be pretty darned close in terms of what the comeups are.  At these distances I would generally expect to have a bit more time to take a steadier position and perhaps turn up the magnification on my scope.  The cost of being off of the actual correction becomes larger as the distance increases.

The reticle in the photo is the IOR MP-8, which has 15 mils on the bottom portion of the vertical portion of the reticle.  That’s the part of the reticle that’s useful for holdovers.  The SWFA mil-dot reticle that I have on the FN ends at 5, which pretty much tops me out at around 600 yards for holding over.  I’m fine with dialing after that anyway.

My understanding of trajectory has come a long way just by putting some time in behind an front focal plane scope with a mil reticle.  There’s a bit of memorizing and repetition involved, which gives me something to do while I’m not being indoctrinated by the tele-screen.  Thanks for reading.

Improvised Support: Chainlink Fences


I stumbled on what seems like a good method of dealing with chainlink fences between you and the target.  I have heard, but not confirmed, that there is a 25% chance that when firing through a chainlink fence your bullet will hit the wire and therefore end up doing something unpredictable.  I don’t know where that figure came from.  I think it was the result of someone’s unscientific test, the aforementioned someone being what I would consider a reliable source.
If you didn’t want to risk your bullet hitting the fence (not feeling lucky, punk?), and you would not or could not climb the fence for whatever reason, your other option would be to position your barrel so that the bullet would be sure not to hit the wire.  The problem is that the barrel, if stuck through the fence, is likely to touch it.  This might cause your shot to go a little wild, and will likely scratch up your barrel (oh well).  I figured out yet another good use of the bipod today:
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I’m not exactly sure how I came to deploy it like that.  It probably occurred over 15 minutes of me looking at the fence, then to the rifle barrel, to the fence, to the bipod, to the rifle barrel, etc…  Anyway, what worked best seemed to be extending the bipod legs all the way out.  As you can see, the legs are in the forward position.  The method I used to secure the rifle to the fence in order to keep it from shifting was to put one of the collar locks for the bipod leg all the way through the fence, and to place one just short of entering the fence.  The leg lock that was outside the fence gave the bipod something to catch on to the fence.  This basically allowed me to push in and “load” the fence slightly.
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The leg lock on the left goes all the way through.  The one on the right does not go in, but catches on the fence and allows the rifle to be pushed forward, flexing the fence slightly.
I had to make sure the nut that controls the tightness of the bipod was as tight as I could get it.  This kept the muzzle centered within the opening and not touching the fence.  At first I thought it was tight enough, but it wasn’t until I really turned it down tight.
Aiming the rifle in this manner takes a little getting used to.  To change the position of the sights, the butt needs to move.  Your ability to pan the muzzle is limited, so close range movers aren’t going to be the best with this form of support.
Stability seemed quite good.  I did not get to shoot with it at all.  If I get a chance to shoot a group you will be the first to know.
This is probably not very useful for most of you.  If you’re having trouble trying to figure out why you’d need to shoot through one, I’m kind of at a loss as well.  My brain just likes to invent problems and devise solutions.  Maybe your next big match will feature a fence.  If it does, and if you use this technique to good effect, you should probably send me a prize, or build me a cake or something.

Time Delayed Cold Bore Target: Shot 2

It’s been a rather long delay since shot #1 of this cold bore target.  Just because I’ve gotten a new rifle doesn’t mean that I’m not still interested in figuring this thing out.  Anyway, here it is:

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For those who may care where the rest of the group lands, here’s the rest of the rounds I had with me that day:

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I hadn’t handled this rifle much in about a month.  It was weird.  The length of pull felt ridiculously long, the stock felt skinny, the bolt, the bolt—the 60° lift is disconcerting it’s so short.  It feels like you’re not done lifting it.  I’d be short stroking it all over the place after getting used to a short action.  The mags felt solid and heavy and clicked in oh so nicely.  The scope image looks poor to me.  Little bit more recoil.

I’ll keep it going with the target and group.  Stay tuned.