Archive for September, 2010

Sep
7

.22lr Shootout – Part One

I tried to do a .22 LR shootout over the weekend. It was on the windy side (10-15mph) and sunny, and I’m suspicious of my Chrony results. So take this report with a grain of salt.

For this comparison, I tried to level the playing field as much as possible for these very different rounds. All shots were fired out of the Savage Mark II BTVS from the Benchmaster Black Rifle Rest.

For each brand of ammo, I loaded a 10-round magazine, fired 5 fouling shots, then the remaining 5 shots for a group. All five shots were measured to determine group size.

I will try to revisit this soon, but for now, here’s the data:

Ammo Type Avg FPS Group Size Price per 50
Lapua Center X 1439 0.687″ $9.00
RWS R-50 1268 0.492″ $15.00
Eley Tenex Pistol Red 1407 1.942″ $18.00
RWS Rifle Match 1411 1.448″ $8.00
Eley Target 1377 1.206″ $4.80
Eley Sport 1377 1.117″ $2.80
SK Rifle Match 1390 0.671″ $6.50
SK Hi Velocity 1254 0.660″ $6.00
Sep
6

The Spot Drill

Accuracy. Precision. Repeatability. These are the things we strive for, the things we put so much time and effort into achieving – We’re constantly looking for any edge to improve the accuracy of our firearms.

Today we’re going to work on the weakest link of the accuracy chain: The shooter.

We’re all familiar with shooting groups, and with the right rifle, we can easily shoot a 5-round group in under 1″ at 100 yards. But can we shoot a 1″ target with one shot at any given time?

Practice the spot drill and find out.

I was first made aware of the spot drill on Sigforum, and the member speaking about the drill saw it on Sniper’s Hide forums, so credit where credit is due. It is an excellent exercise that will force you to concentrate on shooting fundamentals like breathing and trigger control.

The idea is simple: place 20 1″ dots (targets) approximately 3″ apart. From 100 yards, fire one round at each dot… if it touches the dot, it counts as a “hit.”

Warning: this is NOT as easy as it sounds, and it’s unlikely you’ll clear all targets on your first try. In fact, if you’re not used to doing a drill like this, you’ll be doing good to clear half of them.

I do have a some experience in similar practice, having done a bit of silhouette shooting in my time. I decided to run a spot drill today with the new varmint AR.

Twenty 1" targets set at 100 yards - one shot each

Twenty 1" targets set at 100 yards - one shot each

It was a beautiful day out today – high 60’s, sunny, but a wind that was constantly blowing from 10 to 15mph. But hey, I like a challenge.

Starting with a clean rifle and a 20-round PMAG full of Black Hills’ 40-grain VMAX, I shot a 10 shot group to foul the barrel and check for drift. The group measured 1.069″, a bit of a spread from my .9″ group from a few days back.

After a scope adjustment, I fired off another 10 rounds, and the group measured .969″. Not too shabby, considering the wind.

Two groups of 10 shots for fouling and adjustment

Two groups of 10 shots for fouling and adjustment

Time to start the drill.

The first shot hit almost 1″ high. Whether it’s me or my rifles, the first round I chamber out of a magazine is almost always a flier, so this did not particularly surprise me. I missed again on my eighth shot, but managed to clear the rest. Again, not bad, considering the wind.

The Spot Drill Target - 18 out of 20

The Spot Drill Target - 18 out of 20

The spot drill is definitely an excellent training tool, and I highly recommend practicing it to improve on your shooting fundamentals.

Sep
5

Benchmaster Black Rifle Rest

The Big Brown Truck showed up last week with a new rifle rest from Benchmaster.

Benchmaster products are made in the USA, and that was my number one requirement for a new rest. Other requirements were versatility and stability, but also portability – I didn’t want something huge and heavy, like most pro-grade bench rests. And lastly, price was a bit of a factor – I had a $200 limit for a rest, and this came in nicely at 129.95 from Amazon.

This particular model is the Black Rifle Rest, dubbed so because it supports the rifle in a higher position than common rifle rests. This allows for the extra height required to support the magazines and pistol grips of AR-platform rifles.

Benchmaster Black Rifle Rest

Benchmaster Black Rifle Rest

Of course, it also works just fine with traditional rifles.

Benchmaster Black Rifle Rest with Savage MKII

Benchmaster Black Rifle Rest with Savage MKII

This rest is put together nicely. It is quite strong and sturdy, with three stout, adjustable feet on which it rests. There is plenty of elevation adjustment for the casual shooter in the form of a 3-position coarse and fine-tuning adjustment knob.

Coarse and Fine elevation adjustments

Coarse and Fine elevation adjustments

There is a handy bubble level built into the front rest. The included filled front bag is nice and wide, and will suit a wide variety of forearms.

Level built-in to front rest

Level built-in to front rest

The rifle buttstock is securely seated in the leather pouch at the rear of the rest. Not only does this help hold the rifle nice and steady, it also absorbs a fair amount of the rifle’s recoil.

Rear support

Rear support

The Benchmaster Black Rifle Rest has been working great so far for my applications. It fits in my XL range bag and it holds the rifles plenty steady. If I shoot some magnum calibers off of this rest, I’ll put a couple sandbags on top of the frame, but it works great as-is for .22 – .270.

At this price point, this is a tough rest to beat.