The forecast yesterday was tolerable for outdoor shooting - upper 30s and minimal wind. I flew out of work as Mr. Slate yanked the bird's tail, blasted through Phallus Sporting Goods for a .30 brush, and straight home to let the dog out.
While she did her thing I grabbed the Pale Horse, magazines, ammo, solvent, oil, rods, jags, and the like.
I zoomed down to the range - thankfully unoccupied, so there was no delay in setting targets - and dropped a target out at 50 yards.
I boresighted the scope to the rifle the old fashioned way, oiled the bolt and trigger pins, put one round in a magazine, and chambered it.
Lined up, pulled the trigger, and heard a disturbing "click".
I'll redact most of the cursing and gnashing of teeth here; suffice it to say the bolt was NOT keen on going into battery, and was now stuck. A bit of "yank the handle and butt-stroke the bench" popped the round out, I re-oiled things, and did get the round to fire.
Four inches low and three right. I'll take that for the first shot from a virgin barrel that's only been boresighted.
Wally is a fan of Armalite's break-in procedure (pdf warning), so that's what I did. One shot, soaked patch, brushed, dry patch. Repeat nine times.
There were more than a few rounds that did NOT want to chamber. I'm not blaming anything beyond a new rifle that needs to be worked in. Extra oil on the bolt lugs, bolt body, etc, seemed to help although being a bit messy.
After the first ten shots, a group of four got shot. These are York Arm's loads that Wally very graciously rolled for me. Again, fifty yards from a front rest:
According to OnTarget, that's a 1.08MOA group. Not too shabby at all.
I re-cleaned, moved the target out to 100yd, and tried five rounds of the VMax loads from York. I was aiming at the top left target, and they all went high off the page. I cleaned again, and loaded up five rounds of my precious Barnes Vor-TX blacktips:
Not quite as pretty - OnTarget says 2.25MOA - but I'll own that one. I was running out of light and the temperature was dropping; I rushed my shots and didn't make 'em count.
I still need to figure out the ballistics for these loads and probably bring my zero a bit lower. Two inches high at 50yd is coming in five inches high at 100, which is not optimal. I'm thinking dialing it down to about 1.5" low at 50 will be about right; that'll be 1.5" high at 100 and I can check out to 250 at my range...
I should mention that the last two magazines of five fed with zero trouble as the bolt and barrel marry up, confirming my earlier opinion that the issues I had were brand-new-rifle issues.
1 month ago