I live off the grid, wind turbine tower with anemometers at 35 and 65ft. Been studying, watching, recording wind for 15yrs. For the year so far about average, a little higher the last 30 days or so then normal. On average 3mph difference between the two anemometer heights annually. 2009 highest winds recorded. Never felt the need to use a Kestrel wind meter!
Thanks. I gather there were some ferocious winds along the front range recently which some blamed on the jet stream.
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
Yep, lots of snow drift fences. Maybe the biggest wind farm I've ever seen right next to the ranch -- at least with modern towers.
I believe the shot market stage was at 955 yards. Going by memory from what I wrote on my wrist dope card yesterday, as the distance isn't listed in the stage. Alpine and I shot it at maybe 1pm. We had 6 shot maximum on the stage. Had to hit the confirmation plate near the shotmarker, then up to 3 rounds on the shotmaker. Smallest group of 3 hits in the shotmaker became one of the two tie breaker stages.
I had wind dialed via turret for just over 30 mph from the right. Elevation was spot on, but first shot was a little to the right of the confirm plate. Dialed back windage to maybe 27-28 mph, was a little right of center plate -- therefore I was allowed to shoot 3 rounds for size.
My first two shots were were almost on top of each other. Then the (right to left) wind died down, I held a little left, but the round sailed right and slightly high. Total group size of 11.8". I asked the two ROs if that was OK. The scorer said it was pretty decent in this wind, especially give a non-magnum caliber and elevation variance of maybe 4". The RO stated that a number of people took quite a few rounds to hit the confirmation plate. Some didn't even hit the plate, and thus never received a tie-breaker score. The top guys had three-round groups of about 2".
I have only lived in Colorado and Wyoming. Whenever the jet stream dips, bends, and twists in funky ways around Colorado, we experience big winds. Our family has owned land east of Denver since the 1880s or 1890s. My grand parents spoke of winds back then that uprooted and snapped trunks of pine trees on our ranches.
From my earliest years, I recall winter & spring storms when 100+ mph winds funneled down the mountain canyons between Golden and Boulder. These occur every few years.
The wind blows around here. Has done so for a long time. Will do so for a long time into the future. If someone really wants to experience what the jet stream can do to wind speeds on land, try a hike on Mount Katahdin or Mount Washington in the east.
As in the past, there were two divisions in the Nightforce ELR match -- Open (for any gun) and Hunter (for rifles weighing 16 pounds or less). My 6.5CM weighs 1-2 ounces under the Hunter limit. Most of the Open rifles are magnums. Some are 7mm bores or less, but many are 30-cal or 338-cal. The match allows bores up to .416, although I don't know if anyone uses that big of rifle. Many of the Hunter-class rifles are magnums, too.
Last year, the top scores were virtually same for both Open and Hunter. The top Open guy used some flavor of 338 (more oomph than a 338LM) and had solid experience shooting even larger rifles in the King of Two Miles competitions. The top Hunter guy used a 6.5-06. Winds were more reasonable last year.
This year the top 9 shooters used Open-class rifles. I didn't stick around long enough to hear what calibers. The first Hunter-class was 10th and he used a 6 Creedmoor. That's right, a PRS-competition-type caliber. IMO the heavy winds this year really showed how magnum chamberings perform better at distance in wind.
Alpine and I shot in two different squads. We started in #5, but were bumped to #6 to balance the relative speeds of the squads, and thus keep the match flowing. Looking back, squad 6 was better for us, as the shooters were more experienced and had their collective acts together. Only a few of us in the two squads shot suppressed. Nearby squads seemed the same. One guy had the same TBAC Ultra 9 on his rifle that I use. Standing back and timing/spotting, I realized just how quiet the Ultras are.
My ears and noggin were rattled from being around braked magnum rifles all weekend. My right ear was stuffy during the entire 5 hour drive home. It finally "popped" when I hopped into the shower. My ears are still ringing a bit today. And I wore plugs and electronic muffs all weekend. My distaste for brakes grows.
I saw more rifle function problems than I'm used to seeing in a match. I suspect that hot-rodding ammo for the long distances was a primary reason.
The first to go down was an AR10 in 6.5CM. This was not the right match for a semi auto. A combination of hot-rod ammo, 80+ degree days, lots of wind-blown dirt/sand, and he had a gun that needed multiple mortorings to extract spent casings from the chamber. Saw that occur on 3 of the 6-ish stages I shot with him -- before I was bumped to the next squad.
Next was a gun with obvious pressure signs -- sticky bolt and difficult case extraction. After a few of these, the extractor on his bolt broke. Supposedly his buddy had an extractor in his vehicle, which they would retrieve in a couple more stages.
Sticky bolt after sticky bolt, in both squads. It was worse on the second day, as the temps were a little higher and sun was out full. A petite gal on our second squad often had to slap the bolt handle multiple times to get the bolt to lift after each round. A squad accessory should have been a large rubber mallet.
A guy in the second squad shot some flavor of 30 magnum with Hornady ELD-M bullets. On the second day I saw at least 5 of his bullets self-destruct shortly after exiting the barrel. That was 2 of 6 shots on a 3-target stage, and 3 of 8 shots on a 4-target stage. He probably had MV over 3100 fps with a fast-twist barrel. It's pretty impressive to be right behind the shooter with good optics and see the bullet evaporate in mid air. A couple of times the gray cloud resembled what might come from a muzzle loaded rifle.
The conditions contributed to low scores for many of us. Proving that even the professionals have bad days, I finished just ahead of Brian Litz. Yep, the Applied Ballistics Brian Litz. We spoke briefly during the awards ceremony. Brian shot the match with a 338 Enabler, with some flavor of heavy Berger bullet (300-ish grain), trucking along at a little over 3100 fps. I feel like I used a Red Ryder BB gun in comparison.
I had a chance to video such an event last year. One of the guys at the competition was bitching and moaning that the etarget was not reporting his bullet impacts. I made sure he was in fact aiming at the proper target and enquired from his target mates if they had issues with the target. All was fine. As I was about to walk away to get my spotting scope to read his trace, he fired a round and I happened to see his bullet self-immolate out of the corner of my eye.
I fumbled with my smartphone and got ready for his next shot, which I captured and you can see here. When I showed him the video, he understood what was going on.
Here is the video:
Yep, that's it. It's not really as big or as dark as a muzzle loader's powder cloud, and the gray "poof" goes away quickly.
On the match's second day, I spotted the guy with the bullet problem from a kneeling position -- directly behind him and maybe one foot above his bore line. One of the other people in the squad suggested his bullets were exploding at the end of the first day. From my low spotting position, I knew I'd see either tremendous trace or bullets going haywire. From my observation point, the gray cloud of the bullet filled much of my bino's field of vision. And of course, I saw no trace. Another guy on binos behind me saw the bullet's shrapnel hit the dirt some 50 yards out from the shooter.
One of our local shooters had issues with the 180 grain 7mm ELD-M bullets in a magnum caliber. IIRC his MV was over 3100 fps.
How are the A-Tip bullets working for you?
Have you heard of A-Tips exploding like some of the ELD-M bullets do?
I finally have my Thunderbeast 22lr takedown suppressor in hand. Compared to centerfire cans, this rimfire can is really small. My only threaded 22lr is a JP AR15 upper. Here it is on a Wilson lower with NF SHV glass.
As one must expect, the can makes shooting with subsonic ammo very enjoyable. The semi auto is louder than a bolt action, but for now I must work with what I have. Two long & hot days of digging weeds across acres of pasture didn't do anything for my shooting technique. Basically, my accuracy sucked. Trying to rush shots before a rapidly advancing rain storm wasn't helping. Finally, I settled down on the last 5 rounds of Wolf Target Extra, just before the wind and rain hit.
5 rounds at 100 yards on a 4" square plate. 13/16" group -- about .81". This can opens a bunch of new opportunities for quiet practice time.
My 'smith completed work on the 308 bolt action -- where the two rear screws holding the rail to the receiver sheared off.
He said extracting the sheared-off screws was delicate work. Made him a little nervous, but he got them out. He determined the two front screws were not tapped deep enough into the Defiance receiver. This was the start of a chain of events:
- The 2 front screws bottomed out in the receiver's holes when tightened. Meaning that they appeared tight, but weren't producing enough clamping force on the rail.
- Most likely, the front 2 screws loosened slightly at first. Therefore the two rear screws held all the recoil forces of the rail and scope. Switching out to the heavier NF 7-35x scope was likely the final blow.
- The 2 rear screws were likely either over- or under-torqued, which contributed to their failure.
- The front 2 screw holes were possibly tapped to the same depth as the rear 2 screw holes. But with a 20 MOA rail on the receiver, the front 2 holes were too shallow.
Defiance sent my 'smith 4 new screws. The front 2 screw holes were tapped a little deeper. The McMillan stock now has an Arca Swiss rail running the entire length of the fore end. Yeehaw, back in business.
Monday spent the morning shooting with two good friends on a private ranch. Fun day! Got there early to beat the mirage. Mirage on this range can be a bear especially after a rain like it did the night before. Took my first shot at 6:45 in good light with just a little mirage. One of my buddies recently picked up a Zero Comp 5-27. 2nd time shooting with him and his ZCO. 1st time in the mountains looking at stuff in shadows.... Spent a fair amount of time going back and forth between the three scopes pictured adjusting the ocular of the others for my eye. NF ATACR 5-25, ZCO 5-27 and my Tangent 5-25. The ZCO is darn good, completely lacking in CA and handles mirage very well. BUT, the reticle is way too thick for my taste at .036 compared to the Tangent .025. The ZCO just like the Tangent parallax is very forgiving, can easily see well enough from 300-850yds with the parallax set at 300yds. It's not perfect a 850yds, certainly good enough to spot hits and misses at 850. NF doesn't do as well with this. ZCO being touted as a Zero Compromise little disappointing to see it come with cheezy bikini covers and not Tenebraex covers! My humble opinion Tangent is the glass to beat. Fun to compare this stuff.
Top to bottom.
Bighorn TL2 6.5x47 NF
Bighorn TL3 6 Dasher ZCO
Bighorn TL3 6BRA Tangent
Crappy picture of the range/targets.... Two track goes to 700yds, 850yds to the right of the power poles, a bunch of other targets to the right including 22LR. Furthest distance from this position 1050. We're obviously very aware of the power lines! Besides being aware of the power lines, this is a cattle ranch, cows constantly knock over targets.
Compared two bullets/loads through my 6BRA/338 Ultra at 850yds. Berger 105 HVLD/105 Hybrid. Virtually no difference between these two loads.
And when I got home from the range my re-barreled 40X 22LR had been delivered. Excellent day!
Last few months my 40X wasn't shooting as well as it did before. Tried a couple different lots of Lapua CenterX, neither shot that great. Maybe bum lots? OK, sent the barreled action to Lapua in Phoenix to have it lot tested with CenterX. They charge $50 for this service. They tested 24 different lots, 100 meters 10 shot groups, none shot. Bummer to get the phone call from the tech telling me to re-barrel. Not sure of the exact round count on the barrel, guessing 35K or more. Sent it to jelrod1 to have it re-barrel with Bartlien 20" Heavy Palma. Immediately in the chassis... and put 300rds on it, shooting great again!!
Good to have my baby back!
From your picture, I imagine the mirage can be bad. I have one shooting position at my range that is very tough to use when it's sunny.
Burgers on the hoof. Yep, they seem to think targets and stands make for good rubbing. I can't leave targets set up between shooting sessions -- even the T-posts without targets and crossbars are constantly getting bent.
Lots of rounds through that 40X barrel. No wonder it was toast.
I shot the 308 bolt action a bit over the weekend. Its Bartlein barrel now has close to 5300 rounds on it. So far so good, but I think it's beginning to show signs of getting long in the tooth.
With Magnetospeed attached to the suppressor, I shot steel at 680 yards. For a few brief moments the winds were almost calm, but mainly were in the 6-10 mph ballpark, with frequent directional changes. Lots of downdrafts from passing rain clouds. Right off the bat on the first day, Federal GMM 175 showed it still works. Switching headwinds made staying on the 12" plate a challenge. 2-1/4" vertical, but almost 9" of horizontal variation. Doh!
On this first day I shot another 5-round group of Federal GMM 168 right as the sky opened up. For the record, I didn't do very well under conditions of wind, rain, and lightning. Time to go home.
The second day was better, with more time to shoot. There was a light breeze from the right for this 5-round group of FGMM 168, with 2-3/4" vertical.
I also got 2-3/4" vertical groups with Hornady 168 Amax (final rounds of my last box) and Hornady 168 ELD-M. The 168 ELD-M loads show some real promise, and may be the ammo of choice if I rebarrel this rifle again in 308.
Accuracy was not so bueno with 155 grain ammo. I've seen good accuracy with 155 before, therefore the second day's results may indicate throat wear may soon be an issue. Hornady's 155 ELD-M ammo just didn't perform in 10-17 mph crosswinds from the right. Corbon's 155 Scenar was better, with verticals of 5-6". Still less than 1 MOA vertical variation, but not the 1/2 MOA I've seen in the past. I have no more boxes of 155 ELDM, and I won't buy anymore. I'll use the Corbon ammo for positional training, but won't buy anymore.
Eventually I will be down to stocking only Federal GMM 175 and Hornady 168 ELD-M. Then, just maybe, only one of these two.
I hadn't shot a 308 Win in many months. Lots of recent trigger time with 6.5CM and 223 Remy, with some 6CM. I forgot how much more a 308 recoils. Not in a way that revokes my man card, but in how it disturbs the sight picture.
At the end of the second day I put 10 rounds at 680 yards to confirm MV of a couple of Hornady 6.5CM ammo lots. There's a noticeable difference between 308 and 6.5CM. Sure, I saw impacts on target with every round, regardless of caliber. With the 308 the reticle almost always jumped off POA briefly, then I was back on target prior to bullet impact. Plenty of time with bullet flight to 680 yards. But with 6.5 loads, the reticle generally never left POA -- I saw my own trace a few times.
Been having a spirited debate with my shooting buddies about our Kestrels regarding wind input. Specifically input for WS1 or wind speed 1 and wind direction. Talking average wind conditions 5-15mph, not Wyoming!
Two different camps.
1. Always enter wind speed and direction of wind for WS1. This is obviously going to make changes to elevation based on wind direction.
2. Always enter zero for WS1 and always 10mph for WS2 direction doesn't matter. Constant elevation, base wind holds off of the 10mph number.
850yds, 12" target, my current DA of 12,570', 6MM 105@2910, shooting south
Zero WS1-elevation 5.18 mils
I'm in camp 2, dial 5.2 elevation, get the wind call right, hit.
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