Last week pulled one of my 6BRA barrels off and screwed back on the 7saum barrel (30" 8.5 twist Heavy Palma Bartlein) and swapped bolt heads on the Bighorn action. Haven't shot this barrel in about a year. Now shooting it with a TBAC 338 supressor. Velocity with a brake 3000fps/Berger 180 Hybrid. With the can sped up about 25fps, spicy! Slight stiff bolt, primer just beginning to flatten.
Re-laddered the load at 100yds, about 30rds. 2980fps, stacked 'em, low single digit ES, no pressure signs. Shot that load on paper at 1045yds, held vertical well. Yesterday 3 good friends and I shot on a private ranch, steel out to 1905yds. Shot at 935, 1225, 1405, 1520 and 1905. I used a Kestrel 5700 for my dope. Very seldom I use a Kestrel below 1000yds, feel it doesn't matter. At these distance it certainly does, wind direction/velocity effect on elevation..... Kestrel dope tracked perfectly out to 1905. Plate at 1905 36" wide x 24" high, managed 5/10. Misses were wind. My dope at 1905yds from a 100yd zero 18.1 mils elevation, easy part! Every 1 MPH pushing the bullet 19.2", narrow wind window, fun part! Wind at the shooting position was mostly the opposite of the mirage at 1905 even more fun! Shooting the 7saum in three matches in the next three weeks. Good to walk away with the confidence of my dope tracking, gun works!
Braked vs supressed 7saum, certainly a different recoil pulse. Brake-sharp/fast pulse, suppressed longer/slow pulse. Need to load the bi-pod slightly more with the suppressor to control the recoil, rifle comes straight back. I also added weight to the rear of the chassis, filled the hollow 1 1/2" LOP spacer with lead shot/epoxy, 1 3/4lbs. With the 30" barrel and suppressor balance point was way forward. With the extra weight balance point 3" in front of the magwell, I believe is perfect. Rifle weighs 20 1/2 lbs now according to the bathroom scale.
fritz, how did the Steel Safari go? See the temp was up against 100 degrees on Saturday, brutal.
Temps were "warm" on both Friday and Saturday. Winds were reasonable up to maybe 1pm. Bright and sunny skies made for shadows and harsh lighting. Many people had challenges spotting targets on South and North courses. West course was likely the easiest of the match.
Sunday brought cloud cover, way cooler temps, and.....wind. I was on North for Sunday with an early start. Stage 1 began with the wind sandblasting us in the face while spotting and shooting. The wind blew my tripod over twice, took my hat off my head while wearing ear muffs. Estimated headwind speed of 20+ but I didn't want to pull out the Kestrel. Impossible to keep the rifle stable on the tripod, but RO'd for Curtis W. who got 5 of 6 on the stage. Which is an indication of why he finished in the top 5.
For North 2 and 3 headwinds of 15-ish, gusting from 10 to 18 per my kestrel. Even a backwards-pointing ball cap was stripped from my head while wearing ear muff, so I shot bare-headed for the rest of the day. As RO, I set up 5-6 feet right of Curtis and we still shouted at each to communicate. Fishtailing head winds, but often we could hold on target. However, wind pushed our bullets .1 to .3 mills up (1/4 to 3/4 MOA), so many of us shot over targets.
Stage 4 had left to right wind, now we're holding off targets. Stage 5 had windholds in both directions. Down angle shots of 250-500-ish yards. I shot over the first plate at 1 o'clock, holding center. OK, up wind, left wind. Held left of plate #2, shot landed left. Held center of plate 3, shot over the top, wind now 5 mph from right. Held bottom of plate 4 with 5 mph wind from right, landed left. Held bottom of plate 5 with 10 mph hold to the right, landed left. Held a little below bottom of plate #6 (500 yards), reduced elevation by one click, held 15 mph wind from the right, landed on left point of target. Effective 17-ish mph wind, pushing the bullet up almost 1 MOA.
For stages 6-8 I found 17 of 18 targets, missing the Mars-scape #$&^@ target on Stage 8. Shot at all 17. Hit only 1 target. Effective winds from the right of maybe 17-24 mph. Bullets being pushed up 1/2 to 1 MOA. The wheels fell off for Curtis, too, as he only hit 3 of 18 on these three stages.
A few people stated this was the worst winds they could ever recall at the Safari. I wore a Goretex jacket all day.
I am pleased with the new Arca rail on the McMillan stock. It makes for quicker transitions to the tripod and it's more stable than the VYCE clamp. I should have brought rear sticks for the wind however, as even in kneeling positions on Sunday I was tossed about. I saw a few using really tall bipods, then using a tripod leg to stabilize the rear of the gun. This seemed to work well when the shots require more elevation than regular bipods, but the winds made single tripod use a challenge.
However, I did see Curtis W. do this and send a round into the rocks at the edge of the cliff -- maybe 20 feet in from of his shooting position. He couldn't get high enough for the closest target on that stage.
It was interesting RO-ing Curtis. My tactics on 5 of the 8 stages were really close to his -- he just executed a whole lot better than I. On two stages I gave him a count down from 10 seconds. Curtis squeezed off the final shot as I was saying "one", cleaning those stages. Which means that five minutes is tight for even the best shooters.
There were 12 carbine shooters, 70 bolt actions. I think the carbine participation will grow. When some carbine guys missed their 1st or 2nd shots on a target, they just went to war on the plate. You want to say, "Dude, just slow the $&%^ down and watch your impacts." I honestly think it would we fun to enter the carbine class.
I think it will take me another 10-20 years to get good at this match. Some of the new shooters I spoke with stated they had no idea that something so simple in concept could be so difficult in execution.
Ya, the Safari/Team Safari is like no other match. The only way to practice for it is to shoot it. Anyone considering shooting it suggest the Team Safari first. That way you'll get to share the beat down, humbling experience with a friend.
Sometimes, events which occur under the clock can be hard for our reptilian brains to comprehend, but are worth a chuckle once the dust settles.
Saturday -- 8am, South course. I just smoked the first stage -- feeling good, but knowing the first stage is gimme stage. 6 of 6 points are now in the bag, and I needed only half of the 5 minutes for the stage. It's nice to start the day on a high note.
It's hot already, with a few hundred yards walk to the second stage. I'm swilling a pint of some fizzy orangeade-thingie during the walk. I know stage 2 will be a challenge -- looking into the morning sun, light contrast will be harsh, targets will likely be in the shade of juniper trees. I glass for targets with binos, find only 5 of 6, am rushed for time, I must now setup a kneeling tripod position because two of the targets aren't visible from prone.
I look in the scope and there's some a insect-shaped-Rorschach thingie in my scope view. Holy$&*@#!!! Pull back from the scope, realize there's no killer bug about to strike my face, but something's wonky with the ocular lens. Of course the sun is in my eye and time is running short. Nothing to do but get back on scope, and hope I haven't fubar'd my purty NF ATACR.
As I turn to ocular to zoom in and out on targets, the blob moves. Yikes. I yank my first shot, then recover....a bit....and whack a few targets before time runs out. After showing clear to the RO, the first course of business is to see how badly my scope is messed up.
Turns out it's a small pool of orange fizzy drink that I slopped on the rifle scope while walking and drinking. A quick use of lens wipe, a chuckle with the RO, and we're off to the next stage. With a closed lens cover, of course.
You should try the GAP Grind.... the Pro shooter is responsible for building up and correcting shots for the Am as well as shooting their own Course of Fire. It's 3 days of work - but a lot of fun.
Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language - Gen Robert E Lee.
The GAP Grind sounds interesting, but there are other matches which are higher on my to-do list. Honestly, I don't know how I would fit into their team concept. I'm a long ways from being the pro, but I'm not the noob either.
From what I've seen and heard, the Grind is geared more towards an east-coast PRS match than a west-coast field match. If I understand some of the differences:
- PRS stages tend to be geared towards speed shooting from multiple positions on relatively easy-to-hit targets. Lots of shooting from props.
- Field matches tend to be geared towards precision shooting from prone-ish positions in natural terrain at more challenging targets, with more generous time constraints.
- Evidently, east coast matches are commonly held in low-wind conditions, where the shooter rarely has to aim off-target.
- West coast matches (or at least the mountain and plain matches I've shot in) often have stages/days where the wind truly sucks. As an example, at the Safari, my last stage had targets that were 2-ish MOA wide. I was holding off target 6-8 MOA for lateral wind drift, and trying to guess at least 1 MOA of vertical wind effect.
If I trained more for PRS events, I know I'd get better at them. But in reality, I like field-type events better.
The GAP Grind is designed to "give back" and develop more shooters for the sport. It can be intimidating to participate in a PRS match without guidance.
The PRS is designed to "get out of the prone". I'm not saying that all shots from the prone are easy …. it's not indicative of real world experiences. Many stages are designed within a 90-120seconds engagement window. And success can dictate that building a solid position should take only 15-20 seconds. Barricades, Rooftops, Hides, Pipes, Tires, Vehicles are all fair game and in use.
Wind is what it is. And there are plenty of shots that are taken "off target" due to conditions.
Target sizes vary from 1-3MOA. Half of the targets are generally "field fire" with no berm and the others do have a berm/backstop to allow correction of missed shots.
Mover systems is a skill that must be practiced to ensure success. We are fortunate to have 150, 300 and 500 yard lateral movers. The 500yd mover is a dual opposing system. So two movers that move opposite directions. And a differential wind to the mix and it gets really sporty.
Now add the number of competitors - 400 for the GAP and 300 for the Kahles Cup.
All in all.... it's a great time. And one of the best competitions.
Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language - Gen Robert E Lee.
Yes, wind is what it is, but wind trends vary by region.
Taking notes from some of the better competitors in my neck of the woods, I'm starting to think of target widths in wind speed terms. In other words, how much can I miss the wind speed call and still hit the target. I find that closer and more generous steel targets are often around 3-4 mph wide around here. Maybe 2-3 mph wide as we get to 400-800 yards. Often 1-2 mph wide for the really long targets and the mess-with-your-head smaller precision targets. This is with 6.5mm and 6mm bore rifles -- the wind call windows are smaller with 308, and larger with the magnum 7mm and 300 bores.
Of course, with diamond-shaped targets the wind window gets smaller if there are elevation errors on target.
In my neck of the woods, most matches are not held in the woods. Sure, there are stands of trees here and there, but it's more often prairie, desert, or rocky terrain. Generally we are not on flat ground, but have ravines, hills, valleys, and mountains which affect wind flow. There are no "shooting lanes" cut from the forest -- shooting lanes which often protect bullet flight from the wind.
My home range is on rolling pasture land without trees, with elevation changes of up to 200 feet over 1,000 yards. There's a 50+ tower wind farm about 5 miles away. Over the course of a normal day, wind speeds generally vary by at least 10 mph. A good shooting day is 4-12 mph with gusts to 15. A bad day is 10-20 mph with gusts to 25 mph. Wind direction generally varies in direction by 120 to 150 degrees in the compass for a given day, switching directions every few hours. For in my primary target array, for targets of 450-900 yards, winds from the north push the bullet down .1 to .4 mils, depending on wind speed and target distance. Winds from the south generally push the bullet up .1 to .2 mils for these same targets. West and east winds have no effect on elevation. Just the quirks of the location.
This weekend a few of us compete in an ELR match in central Wyoming. There are three wind farms on the ranch's borders, two of which we see from about half the stages. In last year's match here, we saw dramatic effects from the wind -- and it wasn't even that windy (by Wyoming standards) for the match. The canyons and ridges funneled wind in interesting ways, resulting in wind corrections that were both vertical and horizontal. Over some 200 rounds fired, I recall holding on target no more than a dozen times. Most was on a "gimme stage" of 5 targets out to 800-ish yards, right as the wind calmed down between switching directions.
Last week's north winds at the Steel Safari (Blue Steel Ranch in NM) produced wind horizontal and vertical effects that even the old timers weren't used to.
The Raton NM sporting match is shot in a canyon which always has at least one 180-degree wind switch during the day. Sometimes the switch occurs during one's 4-minute course of fire on a single stage.
The Battle of Breakneck match in NE has suffered winds of 30+ mph. The multiple canyons there can produce wind currents which might be left-to-right for the closer targets, but right-to-left for the farther ones.
Competition Dynamics' team match in Douglass, WY is shot in multiple canyons. Wind sometimes changes directions by 180 degrees over the course of a 1-hour field stage, switching between up- and down-canyon. I've seen wind speeds vary from 5 to 20 mph over the course of a 1-hour field stage.
The Zia range in Albuquerque is notorious for westerly winds, with speeds up to 15-25 mph in one match. That was enough to cause bullet flight to be .2 to .3 mils high at common target distances for right-twist barrels. That's all wind-speed related, as the Zia range is quite flat.
Two of my shooting buddies have shot this match as Pro's. Both said they had just as much fun as their amateurs.
First PRS match I shot in New Mexico was certainly a little intimidating, more then half the participants were wearing jerseys...
A few years ago I shot a match in Holly Colorado. Kind of the same format as the GAP grind, experienced shooters paired up with new guys. Myself and a good friend were the squad leaders, the other 4 inn our squad never shot a match before. One guy just had a 6.5x7 chambered and had a duplex reticle scope. Winds were 15-30mph most of the day. My buddy and I would would lay next to him on our rifles when he was shooting and have him hold on a rock, edge of target stand for wind... measured with our reticles. Doing this he cleaned a KYL rack at 400yds, I don't know who was more excited about that!
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