Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Other Things We Learn At The Deer Rifle Sight-In (The 2008 Late Edition)

The Good, the Bad, and the "Whoa, Nelly!"  One hopes the 2010 program will be a little less interesting.

Tried to work off my service hours at the gun club last Sunday but the 40 mph winds, rain, sleet, and snow combination reminded me more of an episode of "Deadliest Catch" than it did a sensible day on the range. Yesterday was much better.

The Good... One shooter showed up with a new Nikon scope on his rifle saying "the gunsmith bore-sighted it", so of course we put him on the bags at the 25 yard line. Guess what? It actually was boresighted! He put his first shot an inch low and precisely centered at 25, so we sent him to the 100 yard line for more refinement. A youth minister shot his first centerfire - a borrowed pre-64 M94 with factory open sights - quite nicely once I explained what to look for in a sight picture. He shot into an inch at 25 yards, then made several groups at 50 you could cover with the palm of your hand, outshooting the owner of the piece by a good margin. His hunting hosts promised him a box blind with precisely that sort of shot so he was good to go.

The Bad... There was a fella shooting a Remington 710 with scope that wouldn't take any adjustments. The club member coaching him noticed the cap of the vertical adjustment turret was stove in. Then he noticed that the blow that ruined the cap also gave the scope tube a sot of ~ shape. Said fella drove off to buy another scope. He returned with a brand new 3-9x big box cheapy ("$65 bucks; what a deal, eh?") and some very scary looking steel cased 30'06 roundnose softs (Russian Barnaul). They barked louder than a muzzlebraked 300 Weatherby and made a muzzle flash the size of a beach ball that was visible in bright sunlight. He had to use a block of wood to hammer the bolt open two times in three. It was all he had so he persisted but managed only a eight inch pattern at 100 yards as the last whistle blew.

And the "Whoa, Nelly!" The most striking event of the day was a father and son team who arrived with the young man's brand-new, custom-ordered Savage 110 in 243 Winchester (nice wood and a scope brand I've actually heard of). Excellent choice for a new hunter's first deer rifle.  Junior fired the first shot from the bags at 25 and completely missed the paper. Such things happen. We checked the bore sighting. Wasn't perfect but the shot should have landed within a cubit of the bull. I refined the bore sight and Dad took another shot. Nothing. Clean paper. How could this be? As the case fell to the ground it looked very wrong. The case mouth was huge and the neck ruptured in several places. Sheesh, did he get a rifle chambered for 358 Winchester or something? I picked up the case. It had no neck at all. What gives? I look at the roll mark on the barrel. The special-ordered 243 Winchester pride-and-joy was in fact a 25-06 Remington! The short case was apparently held back enough by the extractor for the primer to pop, send a .24 caliber bullet rattling down a .25 caliber bore, and create an all but straight walled empty with just a touch of the long chamber's shoulder showing. Son wanted a 243. Dad ordered a 243. The shop delivered what was supposed to be a 243 and sold 243 ammo for same. Somewhere between the factory and the gunshop counter someone's paperwork was not in order. How it is Pop and The Boy didn't notice will likely become the stuff of family legend. Gratefully no one was harmed and Junior seem genuinely pleased by the upgrade.

Well, that's it for recollections of Deer Rifle Sight-In months past.  In a couple weeks I hope to offer the 2010 edition...