Posts Tagged ‘savage’

Oct
7

The Spot Drill: Revisited

You may remember my post about trying a spot drill.

In that exercise, I shot one round each at twenty 1″ targets, with the object being to hit each target. I hit 18 out of 20 with the Varmint AR in that exercise.

I wanted to try this drill with the Savage Model 10 Tactical, but I feared shooting 1″ spots from a bag on the bench would be too easy. So, to make the challenge a little more realistic (and a lot more challenging!), I decided to shoot at 1/2″ targets from a prone position using only a front bag.

Shooting a prone spot drill with the Savage Model 10

Shooting a prone spot drill with the Savage Model 10 Tactical

As it turns out, this was more challenging than I thought it would be, mainly because I was in the prone position. Lying flat on the ground, every beat of my heart made the crosshairs jump off target.

Needless to say, I did not do as well as I did previously. I ended up hitting only 8 out of the 20 targets, with a few more being very close.

I was only able to hit 8 out of the 10 spots

I was only able to hit 8 of the 20 spots

I tried the same setup with the WOA Varmint AR-15, and scored another 8.

I know it sounds easy – we can shoot 5-shot groups in 1/4″ all day long, how can it be so tough to put a bunch of shots in spots twice as big as our groups?

All I can tell you is, give it a try.

If you’re new to this game, here’s a few pics to help you understand what we’re trying to achieve…

Target is 100 yards away - no magnification

Target is 100 yards away - no magnification

View of the target through the scope at 4x magnification

View of the target through the scope at 4x magnification

View through the Nikon Monarch X at 16x magnification - the maximum

View through the Nikon Monarch X at 16x magnification - the maximum

In that last picture, you’re looking at exactly what I’m seeing when I’m shooting this drill. As you can imagine, the slightest bit of movement, even that from the shooter’s own beating heart, will move the crosshairs off target.

Of course, I can’t blame my low score on the rifle or the ammunition, because it’s a demonstrated shooter. The only thing I can do is keep practicing. We’ll revisit this again soon.

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
Jun
6

BSA “Sweet 22″ 6-18×40 Scope

It was finally time to get around to replacing the Redfield scope I had on my Savage Mark II BTVS in .22LR. The Redfield was a spare scope I had, and I mounted it on the Savage when I first brought it home, and I had no intention of keeping it dedicated to that rifle.

I looked at a number of possible scopes to put on the Savage. The MKII BTVS is an accurate rifle, and I wanted something that would complement its accuracy. My list of desired features was short but demanding:

  • High, variable magnification (at least 14x)
  • Clear glass
  • Adjustable objective
  • A BDC of some sort would be nice
  • Under $400

Unfortunately, the price spec ruled out contenders like Leupold and Zeiss. The Nikon Monarch was an option, but didn’t have a BDC for rimfire cartridges. I had heard a lot of good things about the BSA Sweet 22 6-18×40, so I thought I’d check one out.

BSA Sweet 22 6-18x40 on Savage Mark II BTVS

BSA Sweet 22 6-18x40 on Savage Mark II BTVS

I usually avoid Chinese glass like the plague, but I was really having a hard time finding exactly what I wanted, even at higher prices. The BSA had very good reviews, and was only $154 from SWFA. I was skeptical, but went ahead and ordered one.

I must admit, I was pretty impressed when the scope arrived. The scope was solid, the reticle was clean (I’ve seen too many cheap Asian scopes with fat or sloppy reticles), and it even had nice aluminum, fine-threaded lens covers and a sunshade. Instructions were very basic, but clear. The glass on this scope is fairly clear, on par with Simmons, or perhaps cheaper Nikons, like the pro-staff line.

The Sweet 22 scope has a bullet drop compensator built into the turret. Much like the Leupold Mark AR, you zero in the scope, then adjust the sleeve that encircles the turret to the correct mark. Unlike the Leupold, this BSA has triple markings on the elevation turret for 36, 38 and 40 grain 22lr rounds.

I mounted the scope on the Burris Xtreme rings I already had on the MKII, did a quick bore-sight and headed to the back yard.

Sweet 22 mounted on the Savage and ready to zero in.

Sweet 22 mounted on the Savage and ready to zero in.

According to the instructions, you zero at 100 yards, then adjust the sleeve on the turret to the 100 yard mark for your bullet weight, tighten it down and you’re done. After that, if you want to shoot at 50 yards, turn the turret to 50 and shoot. 300 yards? Turn it to 300 and you’re ready to go.

Now, that’s great in theory, but the BDC is calibrated to standard Remington loads. Most match 22LR cartridges are subsonic, so the BDC isn’t going to work for them.

Fortunately for me, I primarily shoot two types of ammo out of this rifle: Lapua Center-x, which is a 40 grain subsonic solid lead match bullet, and SK Hi-Velocity HP ammo. The Lapua Center-X has a slight edge in the accuracy department, but only at 50 yards or less.

So, just to see how the BDC would pan out, I zeroed at 100 yards with the SK, and adjusted the turret sleeve accordingly.

I then moved my target stand to 50 yards and turned the elevation turret to the 50 yard mark. It was close – an inch or so off. Since I rarely shoot at 100 yards, I re-zeroed at 50 yards and readjusted the turret sleeve to read “50″ in the 40 grain row. Then I shot a pretty nice 5-shot group.

5 shots of SK Hi-Velocity at 50 yards with Savage MKII BTVS

5 shots of SK Hi-Velocity at 50 yards with Savage MKII BTVS

Now that the scope was zeroed for the SK at 50 yards, I switched to the Lapua and went for a re-zero. This is where I lucked out: After I zeroed with the Lapua at 50 yards, the BDC marking in the 38 grain column on the turret was at exactly 100 yards. Then I shot a nice 10-shot group.

10 shots of Lapua Center-X at 50 yards

10 shots of Lapua Center-X at 50 yards

Pleased with that, I decided to play for a bit:

So now, if I want to shoot the SK at 50 yards, I turn the turret to the “50″ mark in the 40gr column. If I want to shoot the Lapua at 50 yards, I turn the turret to the “100″ mark in the 38gr column. This is not really what it was meant for, but then again, the BDC doesn’t really do a great job in its intended use. At least I’ll be able to put it to a good use with my special circumstances.

All in all, this isn’t a bad scope. The glass is decent, the reticle is clear, and the eye relief is reasonable. The BDC sorta-kinda works, but isn’t precise enough to rely on. It’s a lot of scope for $150, but if I were to do it all over again, I’d spend the extra money on a Nikon Monarch with a mil-dot reticle and forego the BDC.

Mar
19

Articles Inbound!

Some new gear is in, and a bunch of ammo is on its way. We’re going to have some exciting articles in the next coming weeks.

First, we have a brand new Sig 556 to break in. We’ll walk through the process of breaking in a new factory production barrel (much different from a hand lapped barrel like White Oak or Kreiger makes).

The Sig 556 barrel has a 1:7 twist, which is well-suited for heavier .223/5.56 bullets. We have a few varieties of match ammunition from 62gr-75gr that we’re going to run through the Sig to see what she likes.

We’ll also be looking at the HK USP 9mm compact as a carry weapon, and seeing how accurate this factory pistol can be with 8 varieties of 124gr 9mm ammo.

Match .22 LR ammo is inbound for a rimfire shootout! The Savage Mark II BTVS is one accurate bolt-action rifle, and we’ll have several varieties of match ammunition from Eley, Lapua, SK, RWS and Wolf to send down-range.

And last but not least, a new Shooting Chrony F-1 is on its way. This will not only help us understand more about the ballistics of what we’re shooting, but it will help us isolate ammunition issues and give us a feel for the consistency and quality of the ammo we’re testing.

Happy shooting.

Mar
13

Range Report: .223 Ammo Shootout

We had a nice, calm sunny day with a very light breeze here in the midwest – perfect weather for a .223 shootout.

The idea behind this comparison is to find highly-accurate new ammunition that the average person can buy. Personal handload recipes are going to weed out a good 80% of the folks out there that don’t have the capability to roll their own, so we’re going to look at some ammo that anyone can go online or pick up a phone and order.

I tested seven high-quality brands of 50-55 grain ammunition, all rated in the 3200fps range – well-suited to the 1:9 twist of the Savage Model 10 Tactical.

The high-quality .223 ammunition tested

The high-quality .223 ammunition tested

The rounds were shot at 100 yards from The Bench. Because neither The Bench nor myself are perfect, I shot 5-round groups of each ammo, and measured the best three of the five rounds, center to center, to calculate the group. Until I get some better bench equipment, this is the method I’ll be using to calculate when talking about group sizes.

The Candidates:

The Federal Premium 55gr Nosler rounds can be found pretty easily at most sporting goods stores. In fact, these came from Cabela’s and were about $24 per box of 20. These are great varmint rounds, and I’ve taken more than one critter out with them.

Federal Premium V-Shok - Nosler 55 grain ballistic tip

Federal Premium V-Shok - Nosler 55 grain ballistic tip

The Hornady TAP can also be found on the shelves, but it is a bit rarer than the Federal. Several online ammunition stores have it in stock frequently. The TAP in question was about $22 for a box of 20.

Hornady TAP - 55 grain Vmax

Hornady TAP - 55 grain Vmax

Georgia Arms is an online retailer, and they also have a brick-and-mortar retail store. Their 52gr HPBT Match is currently $24.50 for 50 rounds.

Georgia Arms 52gr Boat Tail Hollow Point Match Ammo

Georgia Arms 52gr Boat Tail Hollow Point Match Ammo

Their 55 grain Vmax is $28.00 per 50.

Georgia Arms 'Precision Plus' 55 grain Vmax

Georgia Arms 'Precision Plus' 55 grain Vmax

C&C Cartridge is a small loading company in Benton, IL. I had never heard of them until I came across someone at a gun show selling their wares. This high-quality ammo was almost $40 for a bag of 50 rounds (I transferred them to the boxes in the pic). As far as I know, they don’t have an online presence.

C and C Cartridge Company 55gr Vmax

C&C Cartridge Company 55gr Vmax

Thunder Ammo was a new one to me as well. I stumbled upon their products while searching for a good 50BMG load. 50 rounds of Thunder Ammo’s Vmax runs $32 in both 50gr and 55gr., and TA’s ammo is shipped in nice plastic boxes

Thunder Ammo 55 grain Vmax

Thunder Ammo 55 grain Vmax

Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

I thought the results were interesting – I was expecting Georgia Arms’ 52gr HPBT to perform much better than it did, and I’m surprised at how well the Hornady TAP performed. The Federal grouped much poorer than I expected.

As far as groups go, the gold medal goes to C&C from Benton, IL. However, from a consumer standpoint, it’s only fair to factor price into the grade, so I’m rating them as follows:

Ammo Type Group Size Price per round Grade
Thunder Ammo 55gr Vmax 1/4″ $0.64 A+
C&C 55gr Vmax 3/16″ $0.80 A
Georgia Arms 55gr Vmax 3/8″ $0.56 B+
Hornady TAP 55gr Vmax 1/4″ $1.10 B
Georgia Arms 52gr HPBT 1/2″ $0.49 B-
Thunder Ammo 50gr Vmax 1/2″ $0.64 B-
Federal 55gr Nosler 11/16″ $1.20 C-

Pics of the groups:

A+: Thunder Ammo 55gr Vmax

A+: 1/4" group from Thunder Ammo 55gr Vmax

3/16" group form C & C 55gr Vmax

A: 3/16" group form C & C 55gr Vmax

B+: 3/8" group from Georgia Arms 55gr Vmax

B+: 3/8" group from Georgia Arms 55gr Vmax

B: 1/4" group from Hornady TAP 55gr Vmax

B: 1/4" group from Hornady TAP 55gr Vmax

B-: 1/2" group from Georgia Arms 52gr HPBT

B-: 1/2" group from Georgia Arms 52gr HPBT

B-: 1/2" group from Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

B-: 1/2" group from Thunder Ammo 50 grain Vmax

C-: 11/16" group from Federal Premium Nosler ballistic tip

C-: 11/16" group from Federal Premium Nosler ballistic tip

I have to say, I won’t be buying any more Federal Premium – not only do I consider an 11/16″ group unacceptable for premium ammo, it’s also carries the highest price tag.

As happy as I am with the groups from the C&C ammo, I don’t think I’ll be buying much more. The owner of C&C is very friendly and accommodating, but he didn’t offer a quantity discount until the order reached 1,000 rounds – which he offered to sell for $750.00. At $0.75/round, I may buy a couple hundred to keep on hand for hunting with the Savage Model 10, but it won’t be regular shooting ammo for me.

The Thunder Ammo 55gr Hornady Vmax gets my vote. Consistent 1/4″ groups, great  price for custom loads, plus excellent service and fast shipping. I highly recommend.

Happy Shooting.