Sunday, August 17, 2014

Long Range Shooting Phase 1 - Week 1

Today I got a chance to go check out to AGC's range, try out my Ruger American Rimfire setup and meet new folks. Everything went really well. We got the rifle sighted in for 100 yards and I even ended up participating in the club's match. Even though I only shot a 28 out of 50, I'm happy with everything so far; gun, gear, range and people. Yesterday, I completed the safety orientation which was very detailed. While I don't have a range badge just yet (I'll pick it up tomorrow) AGC will be very good for many of my future projects.

I'm sun-burnt and tired but it's so worth it. I'll update this post later on with the details but know this; the Ruger American Rimfire ended up shooting very well at 100 yards with CCI Mini-Mags. The gun shoots better than I do. I'll just have to get better and try different ammo to tighten up the groups but it looks like it can shoot around 1.5 to 2 inch groups at 100 yards as is.

The Update

This post will end up being more about Day 1 through 4 instead of just Day 1. After joining up with the club last Saturday (Day 1), I spent several hours each day on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at the range. I ended up taking Wednesday to rest up. I picked up my range badge on Monday but I was able to shoot with the club on Sunday as a guest of one of the members.

Sunday was spent getting up early and getting prepared for the day by figuring out what I wanted to take, buying a box of CCI Mini Mags from Basspro and Shoot and See targets from Walmart. After getting my ammo I headed out to the range early. My club was to have a rimfire match around 12:30 but I got to the range early so I could watch a match at the 200 yard range and try to pick up pointers and suggestions; it wasn't a very fruitful endeavor. After the 200 yard match was over I went looking for my club's members so I could link up with them and introduce myself. I'm very appreciative of the club members as they were all nice and very helpful. One of the members was willing to assist me with sighting in the Ruger American Rimfire. While we were sighting in the rifle for 100 yards, the others were setting up for their club match; Small Caliber only. Sighting in my rifle basically proved what I already assumed; that I need to work on consistency. After watching me test the rifle, the guy assisting me took a turn on the rifle. He was able to shoot a 3 shot group that measured about 1 to 1.5 inch with the CCI Mini Mags (36gr) I had acquired. I didn't remember to take a picture or even measure the group so I apologize for lack of good data. I'm glad he was a decent spotter as it made sighting in the rifle much easier.

After prepping the rifle, I was invited to compete in the club's match. Everyone else was running rimfire rifles as well; mostly Savage Mark IIs and Ruger 10/22s. One team even had a Ruger American Rimfire (RAR) just like mine. The husband and wife team did mention they were disappointed with their RAR but I hadn't had much chance to ask why.

The match consisted of 3 stages where you had to shoot 5 rounds at each of the 10 steel targets from 100 yards. Each stage was shot from a different position (standing, sitting or prone) with the targets being smaller or larger based on the position. Smaller for prone and larger for standing (off-hand). The smallest target was the size of a golf ball; I only hit that one once. I ended up shooting pretty well in the sitting position but not well for the prone (those targets were pretty small). I scored a 28 out of a possible 50; my partner shot a 32/50. I have no idea how the other shooters did. After the match was over, we all sat around talking and eating sandwiches until people were ready to leave. After cleaning up everyone left.

Monday I purchased my range badge along with one of the ACG's rimfire steel targets. The picture below is of the target stand that came with the steel target I bought but I replaced the hanging steel target with a 12 inch Shoot and See target so I could practice with the RAR. These shots were the first 30 shots of the day. I had a decent group with the first 10 shots with an exception of the one shot you see on the far right. That was my only flier for the first 10; otherwise I managed to put in about a 2.5 inch group. You can clearly see that the first 30 shots had some fliers. I will need to work on my consistency to fix those.

In addition to the RAR, I took out my S&W M&P 15-22. I took a few shots with it to see if it was any good at longer ranges. Seeing as it only has iron sights which had to be dialed in, I was able to place a few shots at 100 yards that weren't very tight. I think the issue was more with me than the gun. Someday, I might see about a scope for the M&P to see how well it shoots. After several hours on Monday, I left for home for rest and food. While deciding if I even wanted to go out again on Tuesday, I thought about making a larger target stand since the short one I bought isn't suitable for distances less than 100 yards.

Tuesday, I got up early again and worked out how to improve my target stand. I ended up running to Walmart and the local hardware store for parts and ideas. I ended up piecing together some PVC for the feet and 3 foot wooden rods that are attached to the back that telescope up. The stand needs to break down so it fits in my car. The feet are easily detachable and even break down into individual pieces for easy transport and storage. The rods telescope up so I can attach a large piece of cardboard which I stick the targets to. I decided to start using the 6 inch targets for practice which lets me put 9 targets up but there is plenty of space between the targets to put smaller targets in. Towards the end of Tuesday's shoot, I started putting the little black dots from the target you see in the image above in between the targets. I had moved the target to around 25 yards so I could sight in my Ruger MKIII 22/45. The black dots make perfect little targets at that distance. It required me to compensate for the new elevation. The image below shows the first 60 shots I took for Tuesday. All these shots are from 100 yards. Working from left, down then moving to right, down you can see the different 10 shot groups.

The first group isn't that great. I'm not sure if it was me or just getting the rifle up to temp or something, but 2 of the shots were off to the right of the target. The second group was better. The third and fourth groups I feel were pretty good but you can see me stringing the shots with the third group. The fifth group had something weird going on where half the shots were way right. I'm not sure if I've uncovered some issue with the rifle or the scope setup after making lots of shots or if I just really sucked then. The sixth group was me trying to figure out what was wrong with the fifth group. I did make an adjustment to the scope but I un-did that later as it didn't seem to help. I'm hoping it was just me.

I covered over the holes in the targets with the dots and tried again but the groups were about the same. I did make an attempt at a 10 shot aimed rapid fire which resulted in an okay group. As a said earlier I had moved the stand to about 25 yards so I could shoot the 22/45. While the stand was at 25 yards I put those black dot stickers between the lower targets. After shooting the 22/45 I picked up the RAR and started shooting for the black dots (the dots are about 1 inch in diameter). Most of the time I was able to get a hit on the first shot with 3 shot groups being around 1 inch. I'll blame the lack of tighter groups on the fact that I had to compensate for the elevation change which means I had to aim the cross hairs lower. Again, after several hours at the range, I left for home to rest, get food and clean the guns. I also shot groups using different ammo including Eley Club Xtra but I'm not sure if it's that much better because I'm not shooting well enough.

All in all, I had a nice break from work and had a good time at the range. While I spent 3 days in a row there, I'll likely be making my visits to the range about one day a week maybe every week. I need a better rest and I may need to make some adjustments to the stock on the RAR. Hopefully, I will be able to tighten those groups up enough. On a side note, I may make an attempt with the RAR on the 200 yard range just to be funny.

Update 2

I changed the title to Week 1 because I went back today (Saturday). This time I only took out some Remington .22 Golden Bullets. I'm not exactly pleased with the majority of my groups but I did produce a single 5 shot group from 100 yards that measures around 1.3 inches. All my other groups were pretty much crap as the Remington's didn't seem to be consistent.

I will put this here and in my RAR reveiw. I do NOT recommend Remington .22 Golden Bullets for the Ruger American Rimfire. The only reason is because I kept getting gas in my face. Around 1 in 8 shots would eject gas back in my face. I was not getting this with the CCI's or the Eley's that I've been shooting this week. However, I would still use the Remington's in my autoloaders because the autoloaders have enclosed actions where the RAR is open top. I wear glasses but you should remember to wear eye protection.

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