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Topics - autoxforfun

Bolt Action Rifles / Further Evidence of Cabin Fever
Well, I finally pulled the trigger and ordered a Savage Elite Precision in 6mm CM.  This has been on my list for awhile and not getting out to shoot what I had got the better of me.  So it should be here in about two weeks...and then 10 days to clear.  I got a pretty good price from the local Sportsman Warehouse.  So I now need to decide what Scope to put on in while I wait.  I could have built it from scratch but this will cost me less and it all comes assembled.
Competition / IR 50/50
I was getting cabin fever and decided to participate in an IR 50/50 rim fire competition on Saturday.  This is the first time I shot with these guys and this type of fire sequence.  Basically, you get a 20 minute session with unlimited sighters down the side and on the top with then 1 short per target for record.  A perfect score is 250-25x.   There were a couple 250 scores which was impressive.  My poor score put me towards the bottom of the standings.  The target is at 50 yards and you do this 6 times.  This was the first time I shot the 22lr in competition and went through 250 rounds.  At that rate, I'm going to be looking to buy more and these days, that is a challenge....especially for the good stuff.  

The 22lr is a tough one to shoot since you are at the mercy of how the factory ammo performs and the slightest wind moves that slow moving light bullet around.  Fun and a great tool for studying the wind and it's effect.
Electronics / Software / Gadgets / Target Cameras ??
I am working on a deal where I will get access to a very large piece of property and should be able to setup positions out to 1000 yards.  Really looking forward to it.  Since there will not be a 'pit' or folks marking shots, I will need a way to observe these shots from the bench versus traveling down range to the target.  This is not a new problem.  So have others on the forum used target cameras for this purpose?  There are a few out there and the maker of LabRadar has just announced one as well.  What do you guys do?
General Discussion / New Leader
Don't know if any one noticed but today Grant took the lead position for the highest number of posts at 4763....he is one ahead of Dave who held the top spot until today.  This is nose bleed territory for most of us.   :)
Bolt Action Rifles / X-Bolt Rebarrel
This has been something I've been wanting to do and with the lock down, I have some time to start working on it.

I have an X-bolt in 223 Rem with a 1:9 twist barrel.  I really don't shoot much 223 and have other rifles that are better if I do.  So I was thinking about changing the barrel to a 204 Ruger.  The action is the Super Short Action so only a few options available.  I think I have someone that can make a barrel threaded correctly.  But my question out to the forum is, has anyone put a new barrel onto an X-Bolt?  From what I've read on other forums, they are not all that easy to do and easy to damage.  I have found little to no useful info on the web on the topic.

If I can figure this one out, then I'll probably start shooting the X-Bolt in 6.5CM more since I'll know that I can replace the barrel at some point in the future. 
General Discussion / For my fellow 'gear heads'
The weather in CA changed from 70-80's and clear to rainy and cold.  I'm not complaining at all since we definitely need the water but it did put a crimp in my range time.  Soooo, since my racing season starts in a couple weeks, I figured it was time to get the little buggy back together.  Great weather for working in the shop on the car.  I had spun a rod bearing at the end of last year and I got the motor back together last week.  So it was time to put it in the car along with tranny and all of the hoses/lines that goes with it.  All that's left is priming the oil pump, starting and putting the body back on (that takes 5 minutes).

Photos attached of course.
Competition / 600 Yard NBRSA Match
We had a great early spring day out here in CA.  The weather is the one thing that makes this state great.  Sunny morning, temperature in the 50-60's and our typical wind at the SacValley Shooting center...which means is was a bit gusty, unpredictable and difficult to read.  Folks tell me that the 1000 yard range is one of the most difficult to shoot because of the changing wind conditions.  There were 19 competitors and I ended up placing in the middle.

I shot the 6mm Grendel in the Light Gun and then the 6mm CM in the Heavy Gun.  My best group in Light Gun was a 1.941" group and a 48-0x score.  I've scored better but this was my best group size in a match. Best Group for Light Gun was a 1.221" group and a 50-4x  Light Gun is 5-shot groups which helped in the wind...easier to get all of the shots off before the wind changed.  For Heavy Gun, with the 10-shot groups, the CM didn't fair as well.  The best I did was a 5.402" group and a score of 88-2x.  I have shot better 10-shot groups but couldn't put it together today.  I don't remember the exact winning group size but I think it was in the 2-3" range for the 10 shots.

It was a good day.
Bolt Action Rifles / Two Ends of the sprectrum
I've been building a 338 Lapua Magnum to test my skills at a mile.  That is almost ready.  I have the is a monster at over 33" with brake. (Photo attached).  I went with X-Caliber for the barrel.  I have very pleased with them for all of my 6mm Grendel barrels.   Plan to start load development soon using RL-33 and 300g SMKs.  I sure hope that brake works well....that is one large bullet behind a ton of powder. 

On the other extreme, we have a very active 22lr benchrest group shooting at 50 and sometimes 100 yards.  I gave it a try a few times using my CZ-455.  Whole different story in shooting 22lr.  So I jumped in with both feet and ordered an Anschultz bolt rifle.  It has a heavy 27.1" barrel and weighs w/o scope in at 12lbs 8oz.  That is heavier than many of my Center Fire rifles.  The neat thing about this is that there is no loading required....just finding a good lot of 22lr ammo and playing with the barrel tuner.   I'm optimistic that my wife may want to compete as well...which would be fun.
Bolt Action Rifles / New 6.5 CM Barrels
I have been shooting two 6.5 Creedmoor for the past couple years.  They both reached over 2600 rounds so I replace both barrels a couple weeks ago.  Both are Criterion 30" barrels configured for a Savage Large Shank Action.  One that I use for NBRSA Light Gun is a 1:8 Twist bull barrel.  The one that I use for NBRSA Heavy Gun is a 1:7.5 straight 1.120" barrel.  Finally got out this weekend to start putting some rounds down them to start the break-in process.  I used up some old loads that I had but they were shorter than what I will need to load.  So after some break-in, it will be time to start updating the load for the new barrels.  The light gun will most likely shoot the 147 ELD-Ms (perhaps the 140 Berger Hybrids) and I am hoping to get the 153g A-Tips working in the heavy gun.

Since I wasn't going to put very many rounds thru the 6.5CMs I also took out the 243 Win.  This is the only Chassis rifle I have and it had been awhile since I shot off of a bi-pod.  Hard a great time shooting it at 300 yards.  I put out some targets with a Squirrel image on it....pretty small at 300 yards.  It was easily 1/4 MOS (Minute of Squirrel).  It was a beautiful morning, calm and 55 done just a the clouds were rolling in and before the rain started.
Reloading / New Loading Bench
As I am sure you all know, as time goes bye, you buy more stuff and therefore need more room.  That is what happened to my small loading bench that I initially built some years ago.  It is in the shop that is part of our barn....yes, I share the barn with some wonderful 4 legged creatures.  The shop was built to accommodate my race car habit.  I had carved a small section out for loading.  But the time had come to expand it.  So I bought a low cost 3'x6'x1.5" butcherblock counter top at Home Depot.  This fit perfectly where I had the space and doubled the room that I had previously.  It looked great when empty but now that all of the stuff on is on it....still looks a bit small.  It is strong and works well so that you can bolt the press directly to it and it is very secure.  Thought I would share.

Bolt Action Rifles / Latest Builds
With my work schedule, the rainy weather and racing season ramping up, I have had no time to spend at the range.  However, it has given me some evenings to work on a few new projects.

These have not been 6.5CM builds but a 6mm CM and two rather non-mainstream calibers....please don't ask why....they just seemed interesting to try out. 

1) I had a Grey Laminate Stock and a Savage Action that I used as the basis of a 243 WSSM.  I ordered an X-Caliber 30" barrel and a magnum bolt face and it is ready to start loading.  This is the strangest has a neck thickness of 0.020 which makes it a challenge to load.  As difficult as it has been, I must say I have learned a lot about turning necks and dealing with neck tension.....I have damaged a fair number of bullets along the way.  It makes the 6.5 CM seem too easy.  But it is now ready to shoot.  If this doesn't work out, I have the basis for a 7mm WSM or SAUM.

2) Since I had an AR-15 chambered in 6mm Grendel, I converted one of my 204 Rugers to shoot that as well.  The 204 started as a LRPV that I changed the barrel and the bolt face to support the Grendel.  That one is done and ready to shoot.

3) My final work in process is a 6mm CM.  This is a pretty standard build but rather than a Savage Action I went with a Bighorn TL3 action and a 28" Shilen Bull Barrel.  I hope to make this a competitive Bench Rest Rifle.....see how it can stand up against the 6BR crowd.  I don't have the stock yet....that should be here in a few weeks.  So in the meantime, I have the two other builds to break in.

General Discussion / Shooting 10-shot groups
I've started shooting in some Benchrest Competitions which requires you to shoot both 5 and 10 shot groups (both for score and group size).  So when I went to range yesterday, rather than working on loads etc, I decided to focus just on my ability to shoot 10-shot groups.  I took some 147g ELD-M that I had loaded awhile ago and went to the 300 yard range.  I put up 18 targets and proceeded to shoot 18 10-shot groups.  It had been awhile since I took time to concentrate on my shooting skill.  So during this session, I noticed that I was not always focusing on the reticle versus the target, that I would have an occasional flinch and anticipate the shot and that I would not always load the rifle the consistently.  It was one of the best sessions I've had in awhile.  I attached some of the results...they are not going to win any competitions but I could definitely see improvement as I proceeded thru the session and addressed some of  flaws I observed.  Don't know if others just do this as matter of course, but it is easy to get so wrapped up in the load development that you forget about the shooter development.

General Discussion / If I had only listened more
I've been off-line for a few weeks.  I needed to first replace a corral that I built 30 years that was how I spent most of the Christmas/New Year's break I had from work....dug out the old posts and replace them and the railing.  It is now complete and the two boys seem pleased.  Then I picked up the crud that was going around work and that took me off-line for another week...but now I feeling good.  So time to head to the range.

Just before the new year, I shot a 600 yard practice and didn't fair that well.  It was a perfect day and the wind was not an issue.  But my groups had a lot of vertical spread.  So walked away pretty time for some experiments.  I took the same vintage of loads and went and shot them at 300 yards with my Labradar.

150g SMK, RL-16.  Expected MV around 2740 fps and SD/ES of 6/12 respectively.  What I saw was MV in the 2790-2800 fps and SD/ES in the 20/40.  These were not the same rounds that I remembered building.  So this is where I told myself I should have paid more attention to the advice from this forum.  There was a thread about what happens when you load rounds and then let them sit for awhile.  In my case, awhile was close to 4 months.  So I concluded that the SD/ES changes were do to some sort of 'Sticksion' causing inconsistent neck tension.  But what concerned me more was the significant increase in MV....had my barrel aged so much that I was getting much faster velocities.....and therefore need to adjust the powder charge.  

So I took and loaded some fresh rounds and did a ladder starting below my target load and ending where I expected to be.  Turns out that these were perfect.....the SD/ES returned as expected and my final node was perfect.  Attached are 4 targets, 5 shots each @ 38.6g, 38.9, 39.2, 39.5. 

Bottom line, listen to what folks tell you here and two, don't let your loads sit around too long before you shoot them.

Bolt Action Rifles / 6mm by any other name
After much thought and consternation, I have built a 6mm bolt long gun.  I looked hard at the factory options and really liked the new Savage Stealth Evolution....also, gman seems to really like his.   But knowing myself as I do after 66 years, I know that I can't leave anything alone and I would be changing barrels, stocks etc so why not just start there.   Before I started, I needed to define my objective for this rifle since I already have a number of very capable 6.5mm CM's in the safe.  I am starting to shoot in events that require that I shoot prone.  All my current configurations are pretty classic laminated stocks and after an event, my neck and shoulders are screaming.  So I am not fitted well behind these shooting prone even though I'm very comfortable on the bench.  So I wanted a configuration that is adjustable for cheek rest, pull and cant.  Also, one that takes a bipod very easily.  So I decided to build a chassis based rifle.

There are a number of caliber options in 6mm.  The three that I considered were 6 CM, 6XC and 243 Win.  The 6XC looked very interesting but I decided on the 243 Win since this is a caliber that I am already setup to load.  But it is chambered in a Match configuration that will allow seating longer to accept bullets like the SMK 110g.

 So here is what I put together.

Chassis:  MDT ESS with 15" forearm
Action:  Savage Model 12 single shot machined to accept AICS mag
Barrel:  Criterion 30" 1:7 twist --- 243 Win Match Chamber
Scope: NF Competition  (borrowed my one of the 6.5CM's --- will need to decide on what glass to add later)

Should have some rounds loaded and time to shoot by next weekend.