Flyinphill's RRT

  • After a year of being a lurker and having little practical knowledge to add to the discussion's I finally was able to shoot an actual LR bolt rifle. These were my first ever shots with a bipod, a rear bag, or any bolt rifle other than a wooden-stocked hunting rifle.

    The gun is my wife's Howa APC with a Burris XTR II 3-15 mil reticle and Atlas bipod. It is chambered 223 with a 20" 1:9 twist. Ammo for all shots is PMC Bronze 55gr FMJ. This is a brand new gun, just cleaned the barrel. Trigger is stock, not even cleaned yet.

    First target probably doesn't have much to say. First group of shots all over the page is my sighting in on paper, most of them off-hand from about 15 yds. Then I backed up to 35 yds prone no rear bag and took a couple more sighters, then a 4 shot group with no scope change, POA is the top left corner of square. Then backed up to 80yds with the bag, and took a couple more sighters with scope adjustments. Then a 3 shot group at top right and 5 at bottom right. Other than lots of horizontal stringing, don't know there is much to see here.

    I then cleaned the barrel and went out to where I can shoot farther. Next 2 targets are at 125-130yds. First target has clean cold bore shots with POA at center. The scope was not touched from the 80yd shots in previous target. Definitely moved right with clean bore, then walked back left to about original POI after 8-10 shots. I then shot 4 5rnd groups as numbered with corners as POA, never touched scope.
    By now, I knew I had some issue going on with my position or setup. I had so much tension in the back of my neck and shoulders that the fatigue was starting to affect me. I messed with LOP, cheek riser, bag position, bipod length, etc. Never really did figure out what I was doing wrong. That is why I am going to SD in a few weeks.

    Another target at 125-130yds. Shots in center are junk. I wanted to move the windage 2 clicks right, and moved 2 left. It took a couple shots to realize the mistake, then dialed it back to correct setting. The 4 other groups are no change to the scope. By #7 I was really struggling with muscle tension, and was having a tough time even hitting the eye box. #7 is actually 3 different attempts to approach the rifle and try to find position.
    I almost quit after #7, but I wanted to get 50 rounds down the barrel, so I decided to finish #8. Glad I did, because the first 3 shots were the only ones all day that felt anywhere near correct. Every other shot all day left my post-recoil POA high and right (lefty shooting) but after these 3 I was almost perfectly still on target. The 4th shot was not as good with a shift from recoil. I had 2 more rounds laying there, so I stuck then in the mag and tried to rediscover that magic. It didn't work, but still my best group.

    I have a lot to learn.

    On a good note, the rifle seems solid. Had a couple of 1.25 MOA groups, and that last group is 1 MOA with $.35/round AR bulk ammo and a terrible driver. Not sure I could expect more from a $800 gun/$1900 rig.

  • Proper ammo would go a long way toward showing that rifles capabilities. With good match ammo, I would not be surprised to see some 1/2moa groups.

    If you loaded up some 52gr SMK's, you might be impressed.

  • Your body and your rifle must be in line with your POA. NPA isn't just Joe Tactical running his mouth. Your first three shots on #8 where you were still on target after the shot proves you and the rifle are capable. Orkan will have you shooting bug holes for sure.

  • @orkan said:

    Proper ammo would go a long way toward showing that rifles capabilities. With good match ammo, I would not be surprised to see some 1/2moa groups.

    If you loaded up some 52gr SMK's, you might be impressed.


    When I first got my "LR bolt rifle" I too ran a couple boxes of PMC Bronze through it and got much the same results. Then I did as Orkan suggests here . . . . and what a difference! Shooting cheap ammo just isn't going to tell you much about your shooting skills or your rifle's capability.

  • @orkan said:

    Proper ammo would go a long way toward showing that rifles capabilities. With good match ammo, I would not be surprised to see some 1/2moa groups.

    If you loaded up some 52gr SMK's, you might be impressed.

    Loading myself is the ultimate goal. I thought that shooting a 223 would be cheaper, but not with factory match ammo. It is just as expensive for 223 as 308. Handloading looks like it would be cheaper, after I invest about another couple grand in the rest of the equipment I need. Should only take 8,000-10,000 rounds of handload to recoup my investment. Until I buy a Prometheus. Then its 25,000 rounds.

    I will grab a few different boxes of match to experiment. But since this is my wife's gun and I am just shooting it until KRG gets Howa stocks ready, I will probably buy some Lapua 55gr FMJ for her to primarily shoot. Don't know if it is any better than the PMC, but we will have tons of once-fired brass formed for this chamber. And it is essentially the same price for loaded ammo as just the cases. If it doesn't shoot that any better and/or she gets up to speed on handling the gun, then I will look into some factory match.

    BTW: Any specific reason you threw out 52gr SMK? I figured something heavier like 69gr would be the recommendation, unless you are concerned with barrel twist for heavier rounds. Looking around, I can't really find a lot of factory match that is lighter than 68-69gr. Black Hills has reman 52gr, PMC has new 52gr, and Hornady has steel-case 55gr. And that is about it.

  • @flyinphill pretty much every 223 will shoot the 52 smk’s to the best of its ability and gives you a good idea of the rifles accuracy potential

  • Yeah, you'll need to watch out for what the 9 twist can easily stabilize. I've just had extremely good luck with the 52smk as it pertains to accuracy/precision.

    Many other bullets can provide an excellent experience as well. Clearly the heavier varieties will be better at long range, especially when the wind gets blowing.

    Getting started with the basics to load your own .223 is not expensive, and you always end up having a use for another press floating around. I'd rather load my own ammo using the most inexpensive equipment available than buy store-bought ammo. Absolutely gargantuan improvements in group size can come from loading your own. I cannot possibly overstate this.

    You could be loading your own ammo for as little as $500. The expensive equipment just makes the process easier and less time consuming, while making even better ammo.

  • As soon as I get back from your class, collecting loading equipment is next on my list. I have a few things already.

  • @orkan said:

    Yeah, you'll need to watch out for what the 9 twist can easily stabilize. I've just had extremely good luck with the 52smk as it pertains to accuracy/precision.

    My 9 twist .223 Howa with a 20" barrel will stabilize the 77 Nosler CC .
    Shot them various distances from 100 out to 570 last range day.

    My 12 twist Howa 223 would shoot the 52SMKs exceptionally well using 25.0 IMR4895. Kinda got the load here from brittel and orkan although I believe they were using H4895.

  • @mamalukino Wow, I didn't think 77s were even on the table with 1:9.

  • @flyinphill
    It’s barrel dependent, some will stabilize heavier pills than others. Velocity will also play a part in stability as well. Generally the 1 in 9 twist is good for 69 and under but I had one 9 twist barrel that wouldn’t take anything over 60 grainers.

  • I think when I order the bulk Lapua FMJ I will also order a few different match ammos in different bullet weights. That will give us something to play around with and at least see what it might can stabilize.

    Of course, I really could use a chrono to have some idea of what is actually happening. More money. Good thing you can't take it with you.

  • @bull81 said:

    It’s barrel dependent, some will stabilize heavier pills than others. Velocity will also play a part in stability as well. Generally the 1 in 9 twist is good for 69 and under but I had one 9 twist barrel that wouldn’t take anything over 60 grainers.

    I had the 77s loaded with 23.0 RL15 for a 20" AR with a 9 twist. They shot real well in that barrel also.
    I believe the 9" rate varies from maker to maker; some are 8.6 and some are 9.40 (or there abouts) actual twist.

  • I went out Sunday to shoot 2 new rifles. One of my friends and I are going to Greg's class in 3 weeks, and we both have new rifles for the task.

    His rifle is a Tikka TSR-1 in 308 with a Burris XTR II 4-20x50 on it. He couldn't go out on Sunday so I took it and started putting some rounds through it to start the break-in process and get a basic zero. If you read above, you will see that I had decent results out of PMC Bronze in a 223, so I was hoping to maybe get something similar out of 308 PMC. No such luck. Neither rifle got better than about 2.5 MOA, and it was very erratic. I put 40 rounds through it, zeroing close on paper then backing up to about 80 yds. There is really nothing noteworthy about any results, other than the rifle ran flawlessly and PMC 308 is not good enough in this rifle to really learn anything.

    I also took my new rifle, which is a Howa barrelled action on a KRG Whiskey 3 chassis. It has a Tangent Theta TT525P on it. I took a similar approach with mine, putting 40 rounds through it, getting zero, and eventually backing up to 80 yds. It was giving me mag feed issues the whole time, maybe I will start a thread on that specific issue later. Other than that, it was similar results to the Tikka.

    But I also had a box of better ammo with me, some Federal Gold Medal SMK 175gr. So after the 40 initial, I wanted to try some better ammo to see if the gun/shooter was that bad, or if it was all ammo-related. It was getting dark and starting to drizzle but I wanted to get a few more rounds in. So as a control, I shot 5 rounds of PMC with POA of the corner of the orange square.
    The POI is clearly low and slightly left, which is how the barrel seemed to be drifting as I put rounds through it. About 2"/2.5MOA group, not much else to say about it.

    So then I put in 5 rounds of Fed GM SMK175 with no scope change.
    This is a bit under 1"/1.25MOA. I know some of this spread is due to me, especially this group as I was rushing a bit with the rain moving in. It actually looks like it may be 6 shots, with two touching at the bottom. More on that later.

    It was raining less but getting dark, so I decided 5 more rounds of SMK would have to do. My recoil management is terrible, leaving the POA about 2 feet right of the target every shot. So this time I moved up 4 clicks and took it slow and tried to rebuild the NPA every round. What I got for this group was unbelievable. And I don't mean that in a hyperbolic term, I mean I literally don't believe the results.
    I have no idea where #3 went. It either went exactly through #1 or #2, or I completely missed the paper, board and everything. Or maybe it is the possible #6 in the previous group. But that would mean a 5" miss, and I know I didn't mess the shot up that bad.

    As I said, I don't believe that group. I don't think that the gun, ammo, or the shooter are capable of that group. Other than by random chance. It was starting to rain again and almost dark, so I didn't get to shoot any more to confirm or deny.

  • @flyinphill
    That’s good shooting on that last group, I wouldn’t say the gun/ammo combination isn’t capable of that nor the shooter. Like you said you paid attention to the details and concentrated on your NPA and the results showed that. Good job

  • Went back out this past Sunday and shot my Howa 308 again. After last week, I had a severe bruise to the bone on my collarbone. Still a bit sore even today, 10 days later. So I tried positioning the butt farther away from my neck and more in the upper pectoral muscle. After 95 rounds on Sunday, I only have a small level of soreness and no bruising. That is the good news. The pics will show the bad news.

    All the pics are from a 140yd setup.

    The barrel was cleaned so I put a few rounds of PMC Bronze down to foul, then shot a few groups to try and learn my new position. A 5 shot then 10 shot group.
    The vertical stringing is massive. Like about 5". And consistent.

    After the first 45 PMC I switched over to some match ammo. First is three groups of Fed Gold Medal Match SMK175. 5 shots each except 4 on the last (lost a round, found it in grass later).
    More vertical stringing, except the last group.

    Then I tried some Fed GM SMK168, 2 5-shot groups.
    Again significant vertical stringing.

    So at this point, I have to believe that something I am doing is causing this stringing. I still have a significant change in POA after recoil, moving up and right (lefty shooter) after every shot. It is moving so far that the target is completely out of the scope picture. And after several shots of firing, repositioning NPA and firing again, I find myself having walked all the way off the right side of my shooting mat. I have trouble getting in the eye box as well, with my seeming to be too close to the scope. I even smacked myself in the forehead with the scope on several shots. I tried playing around a bit with LOP, and even moved the scope forward one pic rail position, but still have the problems. Basically, everything about my technique is screwed up. And I am not really sure where to go from here to fix it.

    On a good note, my friend's Tikka TSR-1 is a shooter. Using Fed GM SMK175 he put back-to-back 5-shots in about 1/2" groups from 140yds. And he had never been behind a bipod before that day. We are going to trade rifles for a while next time we shoot to see if it is really me, or the equipment. Pretty sure it is me.

  • What are you using for rear support? Are you having to rebuild your NPA after each shot? I’m guessing you don’t have your head or cheek weld in the same spot for each shot.

  • @norcal_in_az said in Flyinphill's RRT:

    I’m guessing you don’t have your head or cheek weld in the same spot for each shot.

    What facts support this conclusion?

  • @orkan a bad rear support letting the rifle jump out of position through recoil. Or his eye not being lined up with the scope the same each time.

    I’m sure you’ll correct me if I’m wrong. Iol

  • @norcal_in_az There is no possible way I can know without observing the shooter. There is no possible way you can know either. The number one cause of vertical in shooters groups is neither of the things you speak of.

    You say "lol" as if it's funny talking out of turn. It isn't. What's your round count so far this year? There's another forum where you are free to mislead people all you want. This isn't it. Remember where you are and what is expected.


  • Are you going to the class in SD this May?

    The class will answer your questions.

  • @dddoo7 Yep, I leave next Wed.

  • @flyinphill said in Flyinphill's RRT:

    @dddoo7 Yep, I leave next Wed.

    ... and we'll work out the cause of this vertical quite surely. ;)

  • @orkan And that is why I planned to attend the class long before I even had a rifle to shoot. I am way too old and too busy to learn shit the hard way when I can learn it the right way from the beginning.

    Good new is my lifetime count behind a bipod and a bag is about 250 rounds. Not enough to learn any bad habits yet.

  • Wow, I did not realize that I had not posted here for 2 years. Amazing. My memory is that I had put up a bunch of updates, but I guess not. Getting old.

    Anyway, I went out to shoot LR for the first time in months. Between losing our shooting spot last year, and the pandemic shutdowns, I have not really had a spot to shoot. I have not fired a round out of one of my bolt rifles since last Fall. But that has changed, and I went to my new gun club last week.

    There are other discussions of mine about this, but as a refresh, I am right-handed, left-eye-dominant. Not only is my left eye dominant, it also has far better corrected and uncorrected vision. So I discovered by just experimenting one day that I can shoot lefty far better than I expected. I have spent the last 2 years shooting just lefty, but seemed to never get past a certain point with recoil management. And finding lefty guns, or getting behind someones gun set up for righty, makes being a lefty shooter a real PITA. So with the long break between shooting, plus some far better contact lenses now, I decided to try shooting right-handed again this year. I was hoping that it would be an easy transition, with instant positive results. I would be wrong.

    I started off by shooting our Howa 223. It is actually a very accurate factory gun, but the Luth-AR stock has a really wide cheek riser that has always been less than optimal for me. I also shot off of a proper bench for the first time, which in retrospect probably caused me even more issues. I fired 65 bench rounds at 100yds, but no matter what I did, I kept having the POA move to the left and up after every shot. I would end up aimed completely off the paper every time. It felt like the issue is with my shoulder contact, and the problem was actually the butt moving to the right and going down causing the POA to move. I never got one round off that I didn't have this issue. And never really figured out exactly the issue.

    One good thing is the gun shoots. I really didn't care where the bullets hit most of the day, I was trying to work on me, not the gun. But I did try one group for size. This is the 223 with cheap PMC Bronze ammo, not bad for garbage AR plinking ammo. The circle is 5/8". I know from experience this gun with factory Fed SMK Match will put them all in the circle. But who cares about good tires when the driver can't stay off the guard rail.0_1595464645888_July 17 2020 Howa 223.jpg image url)

    I then tried to move to prone, and got quickly reminded why I have issues with the Luth-AR cheek riser. I spent about 30 minutes screwing around with positions, stock setting, you name it. And I could never get comfortably in the eyebox no matter what I did, other than dropping it all the way down and touching off of my jaw bone for position. With time running out, I gave up prone on the 223 and moved to my other rifle.

    So with my 308 Howa in a KRG chassis and Fed SMK 175gr Match, I put 25 more prone rounds down range. It was a disaster. The first round recoil management was so bad that the front of the rifle literally jumped off the ground and moved to the left so far that I was looking at 2 target stand to the left. Not exaggerating. It was ugly. So I kept trying to work on everything I learned from Greg's class, but it was just awful. I did get it to the point that I was only looking at one target to the left after every shot, so I guess that is improvement. But I literally never had one shot where any part of the target was still visible in the scope after the shot. Really that bad.

    You can see the horizontal stringing to the left of this one group. This is exactly the way the gun was moving, literally bouncing the bipod off the ground and sitting back down about 1/2" to the left every shot. I know this because I put tape on the ground to see how much and which way it moved for reference.0_1595465318838_July 17 2020 Howa 308.jpg

    So in all, it was not what I was hoping for. Not even a little bit. And I skipped talking about all the issues I had trying to get my left eye to not control the sight picture. Let's just say the old Scotch tape trick didn't do it, that just gave me a blurry picture. I ended up having to put one of the red target dots to totally block my vision. And I still was getting some eye fatigue. This may prove to be a bigger obstacle to right-handed than anything else dealing with recoil.

    I am going shooting tomorrow, maybe things will be different. I have been trying to sort out things dry firing, but have not identified anything wrong to this point. I am going to give it a while to see if I can make righty work, but so far I don't exactly have warm fuzzies about the prospects.

  • Banned

    Get yourself a cheap eye patch, typically found in the pharmacy isle. I picked one up two or three years ago when i was on spotting scopes all day, wish I would have thought of it earlier!

  • As the saying goes, you don't use it, you lose it.

    A small number of rounds down range very frequently will trump a lot of rounds down range infrequently.

    You can work through it. :)

  • Got back to the range a few days back, just getting a chance to report. Actually been twice, but I will report them separately, as they were very different trips with very different goals and learning.

    I know that technique is what I really need to focus on, but my shooting buddy wanted to go hit steel at longer distances. So I took both my Howa 223 and 308 to a new long distance range that just opened to the public named Coleman's Creek. It has been a military and private rental training facility, but opened up to limited civilian memberships this year. They do have some paper ranges, but are really more geared to steel on several ranges, with the longest being 1 mile.

    I went to the 1200m range seen here.0_1596349195479_1200+Meter.jpg
    A bunch of steel of all sizes and published KDs. Now I have never fired either of my rifles at anything but ~100yd paper, and have never fired at anything past maybe 300yds at the most. So this was something very new for me.

    Up first was my 223, with PMS Bronze ammo again. I started off on a full-size IPSC torso at 390m (427yd). I did not have any dope, but guessed reasonably well on the first shot. By the third shot I had walked in the elevation, but the rounds were spraying everywhere. I did not really understand what was happening, as this gun/ammo is slightly over 1 MOA at 100yds. This should have easily stayed on this size of steel. But I only managed about 2 or 3 hits out of the last 12 shots. I did not have a good explanation as to what was happening, so I just wrote it off as being an accuracy issue with the ammo that did not show up at 100yds, but was showing at longer distances. Since this day, I have a potential new explanation, but I will save that for the next report.

    With it being obvious my 223 was not going to work with this ammo, I switched to my 308. A few nights before this day I got my first ballistic calculator app installed and started working with it. I don't have a chrono, but I did find someone that posted a decent write-up on a series of tests with factory ammo with a gun nearly identical to my 308. The tested rifle had a 24 " barrel and measured 2570ft/s with the exact ammo I use (175 FGMM), so I plugged in a guesstimate of 2500ft/s for my 20" barrel. This proved to be pretty close.

    The app called for 2.2mil at 380m, so I held over that much, and my first shot ever at steel was a hit. After 5 straight hits, I decided to move out farther.

    The next piece of full-size IPSC was at 725m (793yd), so we moved to that. The elevation call on the app was about dead-on, but I was not hitting this at better than about 40% of the time. Shots were landing all around the target with some hits. I also got to really experience wind for the first time. It wasn't blowing much, probably under 10mph (no Kestrel), but it was switching around a lot. Both of us were definitely seeing the effects of wind, but had no real idea how to actually read it.

    Now my friend, shooting the same ammo out of his Tikka, was ringing this 725m steel really well, nearly 100% once he walked it in. His gun is a bit more accurate with the identical ammo, and must have a good bit faster barrel as he needed significantly less elevation hold. But this was a much bigger difference than I would have expected.

    He wanted to move to the next one at 805m (880yd), so we did. At this distance, my stuff was all over the place. The elevation hold on the app was close, but it was missing in every direction. I think I hit it twice in about 15 shots. The Tikka was solid, in fact he waited for a bit of calm wind and ended his day with 5 straight hits.

    I did not really understand the huge difference in our ability to hit, as we are not THAT much different at 100yds. But looking at things with AB Analytics since then, I now suspect I was getting into transonic effects at these longer distances. Assuming my 2500ft/s is pretty close, I am hitting Mach 1.2 before 700m, and at 805m I am at 1.07. Now I have no experience with this phenomenon, so someone please let me know if my assessment about transonic effects is reasonable here. It certainly went from a decently-precise production rifle to a shotgun at everything I shot past 700m. While at the same time the Tikka with a clearly faster barrel did not.

    Summary-While I felt like working on recoil management was a better use of my time prior to going, I think it was worth the experience to go. I used a ballistic app for the first time, shot over 300yds for the first time, saw tangible effects of wind for the first time, and probably experienced transonic effects for the first time. Not that I am ready to really dial in to learning in-depth about any of these subjects at this point, but it can only help me moving forward to have at least an introduction to them.

    As for recoil management, it was significantly better than the first day back, as discussed in an earlier post. I mean, it wasn't good, just less bad. I was able to call most of my shots, with the target usually still visible in the lower-right corner of the scope after each shot. A big improvement from last time where i was looking at the target next to me after every shot.

  • 175SMK is not affected by dropping subsonic by any appreciable margin in my experience. I've engaged targets beyond 1500yds with a 16" 308 running them. You most certainly will not see a performance issue inside of 1000yds. What is the twist on your barrel?

    Could simply be that your rifle does not like that bullet. Could be you're not driving that rifle as well as you should. Mirage at distance can create massive reticle positioning (POA) issues for new shooters. Some instinctively overcome it, while others struggle.

  • @orkan Barrel is 1:10.

    As for the gun not liking the bullet, the article I referenced found that his similar rifle did not really care for them either. He reported an average of 1.14 MOA and a best of .84, which is similar to what I see with this ammo when my shooting doesn't stink. 0.84 is also about what you got out of it when you tried it when I was in SD for the class.

    What the article presents is that his particular testing showed that both the Federal LE Tactical Tip Matchking 168, and the Federal Gold Berger 185 were as much as 0.2+ MOA better than the Federal 175 SMK I have been using. Now I realize the many caveats and concerns about how this person did the testing and reported it. But just taking it at face value, it may well be indicating a bad bullet/barrel match going on.

    And there is no doubt I am a big problem here. My recoil management is not good by any means. There was some mild mirage that day but I did not think it to be significantly affecting me. I could be wrong.

    It is just odd to me how our guns deviated so much once we got out farther. My shooting likely didn't get worse, but the precision certainly did.

    BTW: Here is the article if anyone cares to read it.

  • @flyinphill Should have switched rifles for 10 rounds. That would have pretty easily proven if it was indian or arrow.

  • @orkan We actually talked about that, and plan to do that next time we go. Now that I have switched back to right-handed, this is an easier thing to do. Yet another reason to go righty.

  • New report:

    I went alone to my gun club and spent my time doing exclusively 100yd prone paper. It was some of the most productive 35 rounds I have ever fired.

    Prior to going, I went back and read Orkan's long post on the Primal Rights website about building position. It is a summary of what he taught in live class. so it is a good tool to go back and review. We covered so much material in his live class that you can't possibly retain all of it at once. This would prove to be a smart move.

    Once there, I didn't pull out my 308 at all, I stuck with the 223 for this entire session. I am still running PMC bronze, so groupings are never going to be great and will have the occasional flyer. But the much lower recoil makes it easier to interpret and adjust to what I am doing. I immediately noted how much better my recoil management was compared to the last 2 trips. I still had the reticle moving to the left and sometimes a little up after every shot, but not nearly like it was even the week before, and definitely nothing like the week before that. This time it felt manageable, and like I had some idea how to get in control.

    This first group is just a bunch of shots with me trying things. I didn't really care where the shots landed, it was strictly an exercise in recoil management. But the group shape follows exactly the way the reticle would move. Every shot is either on, or to the left, never right. And some are up as well. Exactly the way the reticle moves:
    0_1596696936395_1st Group JUly 31 2020.jpg

    Somewhere in the above group, something I remembered by reading Greg's article turned on a light bulb. I got in position, then realized my left elbow was way forward of my right. Not really sure why I was getting in that position, but by doing this, it put my shoulders non-perpendicular to the line of the rifle. I think having to screw my head around the too-wide stock to get in the eye box was making it a bigger problem, but was not the initial source of the problem.

    So what I figured out without firing a round was that by having my left shoulder forward, my right shoulder was falling back and opening the shoulder pocket. This allowed the rear of the gun to move to the right away from my body, which pushes the reticle left. So I worked on that position correction for a long while without firing a round. Then I continued to work on it with a few rounds in the above group. Once I was feeling better, I moved to this group:
    0_1596697492161_2nd Group July 31 2020.jpg
    Other than the one flyer, which I called when I did not get totally in the correct perpendicular position, the horizontal stringing is virtually gone (considering the low quality ammo). The POI also seem to have moved slightly right. But now significant vertical stringing has been introduced, like 3.5 inches. However, I have had this problem before and had a fair idea what was happening.

    Knowing that in the past this vertical stringing was a result of not getting the stock set properly in my shoulder pocket, I reassessed my position. I moved the stock lower on my shoulder where it contacts the collar bone differently, and fired this group:
    0_1596698193379_3rd Group July 31 2020.jpg
    These were all single shots, stop, reset position, and fire again. My adjustment to position the stock differently gave me far less, though still existent, reticle rise. With the exception of the one flyer, that is close to as tight of a group as I think this ammo can do. I have had slightly better, but not much. Not really sure about the flyer, could have been me, equally could be the ammo.

    With my time getting short, I loaded five more rounds, built position, and fired my last five without resetting:
    0_1596698567163_4th Group July 31 2020.jpg
    The three bottom hits are the first three shots. These shots felt-near-perfect, and no reticle movement. Notice how much lower the POI moved? This is as good as this ammo will do. But after the third shot, I felt myself lose the position. I should have stopped and reset, but I wanted to see if I could get it back without a total reset. As you can see by where the last 2 hit, I was not successful at this. Reticle rise was back, and POI was up. In retrospect, I should have stopped and completely reset after I knew I was out of position.

    So I am finding it interesting how much this gun will change POI depending on how I drive it. Whichever way I let it move in recoil is exactly how it will move on the paper. I can look at a group now and just about know what was happening without exactly remembering what it felt like.

    I am so glad that I now have a reliable, consistent place to go shoot. Two places in fact. I have never had that before and as a result I have been able to shoot every week for 3 weeks now. Now I know to some people that is nothing, but for me it has been such drama trying to go shoot anywhere that I have had issues staying interested in pursuing this hobby. The hassle of it all was taking the enjoyment out of it.

  • 5RuBEtGl.jpg

  • New trip, 33 more rounds on my 223. As always, seem to leave with as many new questions as new answers.

    I think I am starting to fully grasp how to control the windage movement on recoil. I don't always do it correctly, in fact I still do it wrong more than right. But at least I can identify the issue now. When I do get reticle movement to the left, I know it is caused by the buttstock moving right against my shoulder. As I noted in my last report, this occurs when I don't get square, specifically I let my left shoulder get in front of my right shoulder and get out of perpendicular. This has the effect of having my right shoulder sort of fall back and open up away from my body. The recoil simply takes the rifle down the path of least resistance, which is the less-supported outward direction of my stock shoulder. Simple physics, really. Unless, of course, I am completely wrong. Not out of the question at this point.

    My real struggle at this point has to do with the vertical movement of the reticle, specifically the upward movement after the shot. Almost every shot still does this, and I can't figure out exactly why. I was taking very close note of how I am interfacing with the stock this last session, and I am hoping that what I observed might at least put me on the trail to my issues.

    It seems that, in order to minimize the upward movement, I need to really slide myself down on the buttstock (or move the buttstock up in my shoulder, however you want to view it). To visualize this, what I need to do is address the rifle stock in a somewhat natural position, then intentionally and deliberately slide myself down on the stock. If I do this, upwards reticle movement is reduced.

    Sliding down like this is somewhat uncomfortable, I feel very flattened and strained in my back and neck, so what I find myself doing is raising the rifle instead of dropping my shoulder/body. But to get this comfortable, it ends up being raised a bunch, so much that a regular bag is not tall enough to get the back of the rifle high enough for me. I took some pics of the setup:
    0_1597025266716_High Bag Setup.jpg 0_1597025298854_High Bag Setup-Closeup.jpg
    The bipod here is up three clicks, and the bag is not tall enough to hold the rear to set NPA. I have to set it high, then squeeze the bag to get it to come down on target. I could stack 2 bags, or maybe get a bigger bag, but this just seems like I am not going down the correct path with a setup like this.

    From a physics viewpoint, shoulder down/rifle up to eliminate upwards rotation seems counterintuitive. The force of recoil is rearwards in a straight line passing through the center of the bore. Shoulder contact is somewhere below that line, so there is a moment created trying to rotate the entire rifle up in the front and/or down in the rear. It seems logical that moving your shoulder to contact the stock at a lower point would increase the drop distance, thus increase the moment resulting in more rotation.

    A quick diagram to illustrate the idea:
    0_1597023641198_Recoil Moment Figure.jpg

    But since this is not what is happening, then my assessment of the situation is likely somewhere flawed. I know my understanding of forces and moments isn't wrong, so there must be something else I am unaware of happening here. So I paid specific attention to how the rifle stock contacts my shoulder, and realized that if I address the rifle in a natural way (not sliding down as described above) the very top of the heel of the butt pad is sitting on my collarbone, and maybe a bit of my upper pectoral muscles, and that is about it.

    So now my theory is that in my natural position, with the only contact being at the very top of the stock, what is actually happening is that recoil is trying to push the butt down underneath my collarbone where there is very little support, causing the reticle to move up by moving the rear of the rifle down. Sliding the stock up places the pad on both my collarbone and my traps muscle above the collarbone. But having the stock contacting me this high also seems like going down the wrong path. My understanding was that a pocket created more with the upper ribcage/pectorals/collarbone is the correct spot. What is working for me is way higher than this, and seems like it is going to create other problems.

    So I tried lowering the bipod down to 2 clicks, and that put the bag height good. But again, to make this work I am flattened out, neck straining, and this REALLY moves the contact into my traps muscle. And doing this with a 13lb 223 left a nice bruise on my collarbone. This isn't the answer either, I can imaging what a bigger gun will do.

    I could keep going on about this for quite a few more paragraphs, but I think I will stop with it for now and see if anyone has any feedback. I will say that I suspect my equipment is partly the issue here, specifically the Luth-AR buttstock. It seems that it has a very large drop at heel, which only aggravates my issues.

  • @flyinphill You'll notice that many high end competitors will have their recoil pad customized and moved upward so that the contact point can be straight behind the bore. Your understanding of the forces is correct. Your understanding of your body, and its angles, and how the recoil pad will want to slide down them, is also correct.

    For what it's worth, my clavicle has a large contact area which is significantly larger and can be felt from outside my body with ease. Several thousand rounds of 338LM with a very hard plastic recoil pad one summer helped create that. Tens of thousands of rounds of other cartridges also helped. Yes it hurt, and yes I'd go through standard 3-5 day recovery times where I would shoot 223 and 22lr while it healed. However, it was a means to an end.

    Consider this article on the subject of bone hardening.

    The right way is the right way. How it "feels" is not super important outside of your own brain. You can selectively turn off those parts of your brain that register this kind of pain very easily. It can be overcome with many meditative techniques. Once that area of your body has been trained, you won't notice it much going forward. It will require a few thousand cycles. Work with heavy hitters such as 338LM and 375CT can help speed things along. Be mindful to go at your own pace, and to enter a state of total relaxation before pressing the trigger. If you're wincing after each shot, you're doing it wrong. Your focus should be down range. You don't shoot for the sake of hurting yourself, but rather for the sake of being able to make an honest shot regardless of what you may be enduring.

    Equipment is a very important aspect. Time and time again I see people trying to learn the finest fundamentals with rifles that are not up to the task. They don't shoot precisely enough and they are not setup correctly enough. Sell every rifle you've got. Every optic. Everything that's not bolted down that's required for life. Get $10,000 together and call me. I'll give you a shopping list, and you can call Travis at TS Customs and tell him "I wan't this." Otherwise, the farther along you get with all this, the more you'll be trying to ice skate uphill.

  • @orkan

    "The right way is the right way. How it feels is not super important..."- I have no doubt about this statement, I tell people basically the same thing in my world every day. It is just in this situation, I don't fully understand what is the "right way". What "feels right" doesn't work, so it isn't right. What doesn't feel right does work, sometimes. But what works also puts me in a situation where I am having to muscle myself into holding position, which is also a problem. It is not that I am averse to pain, I have trained all sorts of combat sports, there is plenty of discomfort in that, believe me. But in your words, if you are in a position where you are using muscle force to hold position, it is not sustainable. I am simply going to need to spend more time experimenting at the range to try and sort it all out.

  • Have not posted an update, but have been to range both weeks since last post. Let's just say I have hit a plateau.

    2 weeks ago I ran 35 rounds through the 223. Not really much to say, other than the Lapua 223 I finally got shoots very well for bulk ammo. Almost as good as the Fed GM Sierra Match. But I am still not getting things right. I would have a few good shots here and there, even a couple of decent groups, but I just can't get any consistency. At the end, I tried shifting my hips to the right, and that seemed to really solve the problem of the stock moving away from me on recoil. It seemed to help square up my shoulders and get a better spine/shoulder alignment. But I did not have anyone to observe me, and no way to take a picture of my position, so I don't know if what I did was actually a good thing. But I left feeling like I had potentially figured something out.

    I went back last weekend, and it was more or less a disaster. Right off the bat I could not find anything productive with the 223. Nothing I did from the previous session seemed to be giving the same results. I don't know if I had a single good shot the entire 25 rounds I put through it. I would have a few where the reticle was back on target after the shot, but I could see it moving all around between the shot and the return. The reticle POA would be the same location at start and finish, but a bunch of movement in between. I seemed as if I have been able to eliminate the movement of the stock away from me during recoil, but appears that I have created a new issue with movement at the front.

    So then I switched back to the 308 for the first time in several weeks. It was simply horrible. Every shot I took had the bipod bouncing off the ground and landing to the left. There did not seem to be movement at my shoulder, just at the front of the gun.

    I was using this chamber flag to mark the starting location of the bipod. This is a pic I took before a shot:
    (0_1598548348931_Bipod Before.jpg

    And this is a picture after a single shot:
    0_1598548754171_Bipod After Reduced.jpg

    As you can see, it jumped and moved to the left about an inch. I am reasonably confident that I was not getting movement at my shoulder. In fact after a few shots with a big bounce, I tried reaching out with my left hand, picking up the gun and setting the bipod back next to the chamber flag, all while trying to not let anything move at my shoulder/bag area. Doing this would put me very close back on target. So it seems that all the movement was at the front of the gun, and little/none at the rear.

    I tried everything I know to correct this. I moved up on my shoulder, down on my shoulder, moved the system up, moved it down, more bipod load, less bipod load. Nothing worked at all. I ran 30 rounds and never got one shot that was even remotely good. In all it was truly one of the most frustrating days I have ever spent at the range. 3 hours, 55 shots, and I walked out of there feeling like I accomplished exactly zero. In fact, I left there more confused than when I got there.

    This shot should be very telling of what was going on. This is 8 or 9 rounds of 308 at 100yds:0_1598549213141_308 Stringing.jpg
    I have seen this before, about 2.5" of vertical stringing as a result of the muzzle rising on recoil. This looks exactly like the issue I was having when I was shooting left-handed. So far switching to right-handed has shown me no tangible dividends, I seem to be right back at the exact same place.

    I am going to try and go back this weekend, but we have the remnants of a hurricane moving through. That might prevent me from getting there. We will see.