Nov 12, 2012

Brief Range Report

Gun season for deer opens this coming Saturday. I have high hopes that it'll be better than last year; it certainly can't be any worse.

Today's weather was decent, so I tossed a target and the hunting guns in the truck and went to the range. It was windy, but I'm tossing 250gr slugs at ~1800fps. At 100yd, the wind drift will be minimal.

I started with my muzzleloader (a T/C Omega, if you care); my standard hunting load is two 50gr/50cal pellets of Hodgdon 7-7-7 behind a T/C 250gr Shockwave bonded sabot. The first shot went about four inches high of the bull. I dialed it down a few clicks, and it punched dead-center. One more shot to confirm was about 2" high. Perfectly acceptable, and I put it aside.

On to the shotgun. I swapped to a Mossberg 500 in 20ga with a rifled/scoped barrel about two years ago, and I've killed several deer with this gun. My standard slug is a Hornady 250gr SST, and it's consistently been a bang-flop cartridge. I haven't had to follow a deer more than about 50 yards using this setup.

I popped a slug in, settled the crosshairs on the target, and pulled the trigger. Four or five inches left and a few inches low. I dialed in a couple minutes of elevation and a touch of windage, and shot again. Six inches right and bang-on elevation.

Adjusted the windage a bit left and shot again. Good windage, ten inches high.

*facepalm* One more try, and it was again good windage, eight inches low. Screws are all tight... Crap.

I'm not going to sit there chasing a zero (at $3/shot!) without knowing what's going on. The slugs I was using had been riding in my center console all year and may have suffered some from that ... but not that much. I'll pick up another (fresh) box later this week and try again; if it's not consistent in three shots and zeroed in two more I'll be putting it aside for the season and hunting with the muzzle loader and my Contender pistol exclusively. (I can also bring out the iron-sighted 870 if I so desire.)

I don't have the money to buy a new scope, and I'm suspicious that's where the problem lies. The scope is a MADE IN CHINA no-name that came with the package and doesn't scream quality. I'd like to put on a compact 4x or something like a Redfield 2-7x. But that's not this week's problem.

To be continued...


Wolfman said...

I made the mistake of buying a cheap Tasco once. Did the same thing- every shot from my 06 would put the crosshairs in a new and interesting spot. Traded it out for a fixed 4x Bushnell. Much better. Thats a budget scope I highly recommend for reliability.

ZerCool said...

Kinda where I'm going, Wolfman. It was fine for the first couple seasons, but it's a cheap scope and it's been knocked around a bit in the woods and such. Today's recoil may have been the death blow. I'm not a huge Bushnell fan; I've got one of their Banner scopes on a rifle and it's "ok". I prefer Nikon, and might spring for something nicer. We'll see. As I said... not this week's problem.

Old NFO said...

Yeah, I was going down the bad scope trail over here too... It could be bouncing the reticle on the recoil!