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.
    i8Jy7sE.jpg

    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.
    6AFdgIu.jpg
    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.
    7eGrT0K.jpg
    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.

    +1

    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:

    @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 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.
    t2RMTJK.jpg
    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.
    INGvSIh.jpg
    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.
    lcgdIWh.jpg
    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.
    vKUs1Uv.jpg
    d4W1iCC.jpg
    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).
    dnbjR8m.jpg
    g2hxsgl.jpg
    zSohVRt.jpg
    More vertical stringing, except the last group.

    Then I tried some Fed GM SMK168, 2 5-shot groups.
    hb7oOi1.jpg
    Z2LOig2.jpg
    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.

    CtQQOQ8h.jpg



  • 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.


 

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