Oct 21, 2010

Brief range trip

It's been far too long since I got to the range for ANY kind of recoil therapy. With gun hunting season fast approaching, it was time for me to get out and check the zero on my guns. I took advantage of some of the beautiful weather we've been having and headed out, shotgun and muzzleloader in tow.

I started with my muzzleloader. I had some issues with this last year; specifically, my sights had gotten banged around hard enough to throw them WAY off. I fixed that but didn't take a deer with it. Earlier this year I found the right base to mount a scope and put a fixed 2x scope on top. (Don't get me wrong: the fiber sights T/C puts on their guns are top-notch, but I prefer a scope.)

At the range, I got it settled into a bench rest and boresighted at 25m, then loaded and shot one to make sure I was on paper. Three minutes right and five minutes low. Made the adjustments I wanted and the second shot was one minute right and seven minutes high.

I backed the target out to 100m and checked elevation. 4MOA high and 1/2MOA left. In other words, my windage is fine, but the elevation wasn't where I wanted it yet. I dialed it back down, and took one more shot. Dead center windage, a hair over an inch high. In other words, perfect - I'd be comfortable using this out to 150m or even 200m with a little holdover.

Since I was running short on my preferred bullets (T/C Shockwave sabots, 250gr) I ran a bonded Shockwave from a non-benched position to double check. It widened out the previous hole.

A note about modern muzzleloaders: they have the accuracy to compete with nearly any cartridge-firing rifle. Most of them will handle "magnum" powder loads - that is, 150gr of black powder or substitute equivalent. I don't see the point in abusing myself or my equipment like that, particularly with the results you can see here. 100gr-eq of 7-7-7 (two "50-50" pellets) with a Winchester 209 primer, underneath a T/C Shockwave 250gr spirepoint sabot.


Done with the muzzleloader, I pulled out my trusty 870 - slightly battered, but it's been a great gun. For deer season, it wears a 21" fully rifled barrel with rifle sights and gets loaded with Remington CopperSolid 1oz sabot slugs. I have yet to hit a deer that requires tracking with this setup; interpret that how you may.

Shot one was WAY left - barely on paper. A bit of adjustment on the windage brought it to about where I wanted and a third shot shows it to be about four inches low at 75yd. I didn't have any more slugs with me (or an allen wrench to adjust elevation) so called it good with a mental note to move the sights up one notch before the season starts.

My shoulder is a bit sore now - I don't shoot hard-recoiling guns that much, and usually with more than a flannel shirt as padding. Of course, when there's a deer in the sights, recoil becomes a non-issue.

One month until gun season opens...

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