What a Difference a Rifle Makes
Here’s what I did in June with #1, my Sako 75, 30-06 during load testing:
I apologize for it only being a five shot group, but I didn’t shoot this for an article, just load testing. What we have is a 1.3 MOA group with some vertical dispersion. The vertical you see is not the load, which has a standard deviation of 10.3, and it’s not me. The rifle is showing indications of needing to be bedded. When I can afford the materials, I’ll write an article about pillar bedding and use #1 as a test case. I consider this group to be indicative of the maximum precision that I’m capable of getting out of the rifle at this point.
Because #1 is not as accurate as I’d like it to be, I made an exception to my general rule of only using it to shoot the targets I post here. What follows are photos of targets I shot with the Remington 700 that I also shoot frequently. Here are the details on that particular rifle: blueprinted action with old style “Walker” trigger, 26” .308 Krieger barrel (I’m not positive of the barrel contour, but it’s “heavy”), custom reamed chamber for Federal Gold Medal 168 SMK load, pillar bedded McMillan stock, IOR 2.5-10×42 FFP with mil reticle and mil turrets.
On my first day at the range I shot this group from the Remington 700:
That’s 0.8 MOA from 100 yards. I would like to do better; this shows that I need to become more consistent, with more finely tuned fundamentals, and have better concentration. I think the rifle is capable of 0.4 – 0.5 MOA with the ammo I’m using.
I shot just over 100 rounds that day from the Remington. About 40% was group shooting. Most were 10 shot groups and sub minute. A lot were just searching for NPA. On about 10 shots total, I could see my impacts with no significant movement of the crosshairs. For five glorious shots in a row my reticle held firm on a small bush on the berm. I tried to repeat this but was not able to.
I tried the same thing with #1. Here’s what I got:
What you have here is two separate five round mags with a trip downrange in between coming in at 1.6 MOA. What I think is happening is vertical stringing that gets worse as you go. Maybe heat, but I’m still looking forward to pillar bedding it as soon as I can afford the materials.
Now for unsupported prone with the loop sling:
I decided to use the Remington again, because I had a sneaking suspicion that I could outshoot my 5 shot bipod Sako 75 group using a sling. Here’s what happened:
That’s 10 rounds from military prone with a loop sling coming in at 1.3 MOA. I can live with that for now. The point of aim and sight settings are the same as the bipod prone group above. My face is closer with the sling, and the eye relief is too close. I even got a kiss from the ocular on my forehead, but not as bad as with the beating I took during the cross leg sitting group. What improper eye relief does is change the relationship between POA/POI. I now can record in my DATA BOOK (the all caps means I’m yelling at you. Sorry, I’ll write an article next month to explain further), that I need to come right .2 and down about .1 and try again to verify.
I didn’t take my time and I didn’t try to hurry, about a shot every 10 seconds with a pause in the middle to top of the rifle. My range partner for the day made a remark that I was shooting fast. I didn’t feel like it.
Here’s the Sako 75 group from unsupported prone:
That comes in at 2.4 MOA. Note that it looks exactly like an expanded version of the Sako’s bipod group. There was no break between the two mags this time. Someone was waiting to use the range, which was the same situation with the unsupported Remington group. I think I like the Remington group better.
There you have it. Not bad, but with plenty of room for improvement. Overall, working on this is of lower priority to me than the positions like offhand, where I last shot at around 8-9 MOA groups.
What really hit home after this article was a difference the rifle makes in prone. If I could get a 10 shot, sub MOA bipod prone group out of the Sako, I would be satisfied with it (I think). I’ll try to do that in the future, and of course I’ll post an article about it here.
I have to confess that in bipod prone, I’m still not quite getting how to set my NPOA. When I get it worked out, I’ll be sure to share that as well.