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Its been fun riding the hell out of this Poverty Pony to the land beyond 750yds. Now I have dope, ammo, equipment, and experience to shoot the AR-15 platform from 100-1000 yards with no scope dialing.
Started off with zeroing the rifle at 100 with the yellow box of BTTs @2500. These were plinker rounds and nothing special. At 100/200/300 hits were no problem tried a couple shots at 500 but wasn’t 100% on that and it was near the buzzer so not bad for first round.
Shout out to WLS – the We Like Shooting Podcast/Youtube channel. The guys there know their stuff and keep you up on new products in a funny and charismatic way. Check out the latest episodes on You Tube.
Next buzzer round(about 30 mins) I just single fed rounds to Fire Form – shooting them at 2/3/500 pretty easily – These are slow rounds @2400. Taking slow shots on bags with the new glass is where I really settled in. The glass was crisp and the side focus was nice, the dials are nice, the mount seems solid, all in all the glass choice is greenlighted – All the money spent where you want it.
Then started dialing in elevation to get and test the 100-1000 hold theory. So The theory is just dial for 600 yd zero and then use hold under/overs so that there is no dialing. At 100 sighting plate, dialed -6MOA and test fired = 6” higher. This confirmed my dialing so I dialed in a total of -19MOA and took another test shot confirming the elevation on the 100 yd plate.
Then went back with the Slow and Low ammo @2500, and confirmed dope on the short range 1/2/3/500. I was able to hit some of the smaller swingers at 500 even the next to smallest swinger a couple times. One thing I DID notice is that when using the Hold Unders is that the windage is not marked on the upper part of the reticle like it is on the lower part of the reticle. when I was having to hold -2MOA wind and 2MOA elevation, it was a tad trying. Still I think that is a bit of nitpicking overall the new glass made hits easy. I finished the buzzer round and prepped for moving to the long range.
There was a little dialing in zero for 600 and the wind, but once that is settled, the holds worked GREAT! NO DIALING! I was able to make hits at 600 and 750.
I tried for 1k with the slow and low ammo a couple times, at 27MOA I was aiming a bit low I believe but I wasn’t getting confirmed hit so I stopped. I was holding above the “O” in MOA in the reticle. In retrospect, I believe I could make hits holding 25MOA – It appears that Strelock Pro may have lowered the velocity due to temp algorithm a bit and cause more MOA than needed.
There were some other people shooting the plates and the monitors were off, making confirmation of hits a bit more challenging. Again, the glass here made it able to spot shots easier than before. I didn’t even bring my spotting scope.
With the afternoon range day-light starting to run out, I figured this was my shot to try for 1k so broke out the good Fast ammo and and confirmed 600 yd zero. 750 seemed to be a tad less hold than I had estimated and I then tried 1k on the plate and got a hit, thus confirming holds. Next round of the buzzer with a clean paint on 1k I was able to sprinkle ~ 10 out of 15 shots on the large circle plate and even a few shots on the smaller plate as well. I just finished shooting all the ammo I had.
At the end of the day I Annealed 427 brass ready for the good stuff! Goodbye 223! Made some new Laminated Load cards.
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I had planned to go Turkey Hunting in the backwoods of Alabama Saturday morning. That got delayed and I ended up riding around with my old friend in the Miata with the top off. Ripping through the gears on the back country roads with new tires on the rear brings grins ear to ear. As 7 yr old kid packed in the back seat of an old blue Ford Escort with my little sister, I had always dreamed of driving a red sports car to Grandmas house – finally happened.
In addition to breaking the 870 down so it would fit in the trunk of the Miata, I also brought the 6mmARC, the Ruger 10″ 22s, and the CZs (ZomBullShadow, SP-01 Racegun, 97B mostly stock). I had planned to also do some target shooting and test some new loads in addition to turkey hunting. – all the gear packed to the gills in the Nimble Ninja (a common occurrence). I decided to stop in just after lunch at Bob Gibson’s Original BBQ house and with Swann Creek WMA range was only 15mins detour on the way back home made it an easy decision.
It was perfect weather, and I was shocked to see the range not even half as full as last time on a Saturday. Parked at the 100 yd pavilion and signed in. I had been suffering a putrid cough and loss of voice – shouldn’t be COVID as I can still smell and taste plenty, but it wasn’t fun – I braved through it and kept my distance.
First up, was the 6mmARC, confirming my “Jam the Lands” load, which worked very well to fire form about 20 cases of converted 6.5 Grendel Basic Brass. Worked great, I thought the single feeding would be an issue but it wasn’t bad at all. A friend happened to be there with his LabRadar, which brings up a question – aren’t all people with Lab Radars considered friends?
We confirmed the velocity of the of my settled load of Leverloution over 105 Bergers to be ~2550fps. I let him shoot a mag and try the rifle and got video using the ATN. Chased down all brass and it looked good. So next is loading a single case until the neck is split (4-8 times will be my guess). Then try same test using the annealer after each firing.
Next up was the 10″ Rugers. First was the Black Grand-Mamba (scoped). I sighted in at 50 yards and made some adjustments to the scope. It shot very well but then I noticed a bit of slop that I thought was coming from the push button release, but it was actually the scope mount coming loose off the receiver ( I don’t think I locktighted them). Next up was my Bond gun – the Stainless MKII 10″ barrel version with stock trigger and gold Vol Bolt.
It shot good but did have some light strikes which the MK4 finished no problem. I started shooting at small items on the 100yd berm. I was Benched and bagged so it wasn’t very difficult to get the berm targets to dance around a bit. Mostly close/about 2″ off, but also some direct hits.
I was holding the front post about 1/8″ high off the rear sight and using CCI SV factory 2nds. I did notice that hits on self healing plastic targets at this distance did not make the target move very much/at all.
Lastly was the CZ pistols, which the 97 ruled the day. I started with the ZomBullShadow, and the 90gn ammo I had just made. It did not have enough power to cycle the gun.
Switched to new Berrys 115 load and they would BARELY cycle the gun and would ONLY cycle with firm grip (great example of limp wristing).
I DID get one of the bullets to jam the action up tight. looks like the offending round did not get sized or plunked. Bagged the pistol and swiched to SP-01. Quickly realized that my dot battery was out so switched to the 97. 50 roudns of the Standard RN loads and it shot great.
9mm 90gn Hornady hollow points with nickel cases. They fired fine, shot like a 22, but didn’t have enough oomph to fully work the slide. This resulted in the case being held in by the extractor and not even hitting the Ejectorm just stayed along for the entire ride, keeping perpendicular to the slide, not picking up the next round and jamming the gun with the brass hitting the breechface just a tad off center. But, the highest load that I used I believe DID work the slide, and I remember checking the brass and it seemed OK, cratered, but not pierced – so need to finish making those (~150 bullets) at highest TESTed powder charge and do accuracy/function testing with the Ruger PC9.
The Berrys 115 gn seemed to run GREAT in the ZomBullShadow – at first. Then I got a round that hadn’t been sized at the base and it jammed the gun. I did get to shoot about 3 mags of them and they ran great. The round that locked the gun probably didn’t get sized properly/all the way(short stroking the press when getting case feed adjustements setup maybe) Either way need to plunk all rounds for the gun. The gun was bagged and dis assembled at home, looks GTG now.
Next up was the SP-01 Racegun! – This gun Would have ran great BUT, I left the Dot ON and the battery was dead. DANG!
The 97 came out and reigned supreme on that day. 4 mags shot GREAT with the stock 45 loads I had made (Berrys 230RN over Alliant Power Pistol). Called that a day and packed up to head home.
Other notes and observances: There was one 9mm round that was right on the edge of performing/running the slide. I remember limp writing one of the dev loads and the gun would jam – firm grip it would run. I went back and forth a few times to confirm. I have had a couple of light development loads exhibit this issue before, but not quite this evident. It was actually kind of cool, to be able to make the gun jam jut by having a slightly softer grip, but I don’t ever want to load action match rounds on that hair line verge of not working, better to powder up!
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Disclaimer: do your own research and use common sense when reloading. I am not responsible for your results. Don’t try this at home or at home office either…
Here are the steps that worked for me. I wouldn’t even attempt this without a great annealer. That thing is worth its weight in brass.
Scope footage: 1/2/3/500 yds – watch the scope tap dance like Danny K…
UPDATE – 2022: I did a new year run 1/9/2022 run of 250 cases that I found from last year.
For the most part the process was the same. I did have about 20 cases that had a fold/crease in the mouth/shoulder area. I think this would be fixed if you could extend the start of the die funnel or somehow put an initial crimp on the case-mouth. Also I noticed that after sizing and such, when mandrel sizing it, some shoulder were collapsed. I used some neck lube and then all GTG. From there they were swabbed/cleaned and champhered/deburred.
This batch also was sized minimally, so I’m hoping that they will be able to fire normally vs having to jam them in the lands and single fire them. I am test loading 20 of them with a mix of Hornady 100gn and 105VLDs for comparison.
- Use Pilot 01 for all annealing and RCBS #3 shell holder – the H45 was too tight and the other RCBS was too loose letting cases slip and fall in the annealer to be turned upside down and picked out. RCBS#3 just right.
- Analyze to find Annealing Code A:
- Took me a sec to get the hang of the Annealer again which menu to get to in order to do the analyze.
- Annealing Code A LOGGED: 0116
- Anneal all brass using Annealing Code #A – this was very quick ~1 sec each.
- Lube – lanolin mix in bag and did find that swabbing the interior casemouth helped quite a bit when the expander ball is coming back through.
- Size (single pass) – Shoulder Bump noted – 3.152″ (taken/matched from another previously fired case) with H comparator on shoulder and calipers. BUT keep in mind shoulder is not fully formed yet so that reading is close but not exact. THE heavy duty RCBS press at the range was defiantly a help and it did size smoothly but did take some effort.
- Anneal to relive stress after sizing. Discussed with local wildcatter and and decided to do another round of annealing. Analyzed to find Annealing Code B LOGGED: 0149
- Anneal all brass using Annealing Code #B
- Trim – With normal brass, the trimmer trims down to 1.485” but it was leaving the new brass at 1.495” with is /5 thou too long. So I had to adjust and then thinking about it – most likely due to shoulder variation.
- Champher/deburr – used the hand tool
- Clean (if needed – blow dry chips away)
- Prime – RCBS hand primer
- Drop powder – 25.0 Gns of W748 – 6 test rounds
- Shot bullets – Failure to Fire – no primer indentations at all.
- Local wildcatter advised on seating the bullets long to make sure the casehead was up against the breech so that the firing pin would activate. Seat bullets (jammed) too long to load in mag, need a sled mag. Single Feeding jammed lands worked and rang plate ~ 6″ low @100yds (I didn’t care about accuracy just that it fire formed)
- Fire Form Results – WORKED for 6 cases will test more – looks good. Can still see some faint stretch marks on the brass in the shoulder/neck area but seems GTG.
- Dissection Results
- Load repeatedly to see how many firings it will take (> 4 = grins).
- After Fire Forming, Analyze to find final Annealing Code C. This code will be used after every firing until brass is toasted.
- Next Batch of processed brass will be using a slightly different die setup.
- Remove the decapping pin from RCBS SB 6ARC die
- size lubed case in single pass
- then use Sinclair mandrel 6mm dies to form necks – less stress on the necks
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I was 4 or 5. Hauling down the old country roads with mom and dad in back in ’80 in old Val (the white station wagon my mom traded her green 68 firebird on). The radio starts playing my favorite song (basically the only one I know) – Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton. “Playing with the queen of hearts, knowing it ain’t really smart, the Joker is the only Fooo-oohh-ooolll that will do anything with you!” then I’d start making the guitar sounds.
Well today, I went to the local range with a small pile of Berger 105 BTTs over W748 (I had already done a ladder load to determine/confirm pressures/velocities) using the 103 grain data (Hodgon has recently added W748 to their 6mmARC online recopies). I had a feeling this would be a decent powder for the ARC(based on the burn rate chart) and landed a couple bottles a few weeks ago.
I have decided to settle, that is for an easy/cheap round that I can pump out on the 650 for short range targets (< 500yds). I created a new profile in the ATN Scope for this ammo at 2500fps. I used to bring 2 sticks to the range and staple pizza boxes between them, but alas I have shot up all my sticks, and only had this “good half” to go in my target stand at 200 yds. So I did this. I stapled the plate to the stand along the left edge, then stapled the playing cards to the right side of the plate. Theory being that if you are good (enough) you won’t shoot the stick.
I had to boresight and re-zero a couple times, but got on at 200. Benched and bagged, I started letting them fly. about every second. with a bag on the fore-end and a bag on the buttstock toe, it was very stable and easy to hold position and pump them in one after another. I tried to take a video, but mashed the button to take picture instead, so all my humorous narration was a waste.
But all is not lost. I got some meh groups on the fast fire, then moved to more slowly timed focused shots on the playing cards. I was zoomed to 20x for these shots, there are a couple that are pairs. I moved to the lower target, “The Queen of Hearts”. After only a few shots it was cold range and shadows growing so I retrieved target and laughed immediately and started singing the song once again…
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Cursed by my own advise that was not taken. After hours of fitting the bull shadow slide to my recent SAO build I took it to the rifle range to test at the end of the day last week. It was my secret highlight of the day, casually downplayed as “Yeah I got a couple pistols to run after we get chrono data” and similar.
Only 2 weeks earlier, I had posted somewhere, something to the effect of ” duh, that’s why you plunk your rounds”, in response to some problem with a new gun/reloads. Well, I was a little shy of the reverse capture guide rod system as I had never used one. I procrastinated and didn’t plunk rounds and figured the normal 1.125″ COAL round I had worked up using RMR 125 HPs would be fine. they ran in eveything else. Well, I got one shot and JAM and problems. I bagged it, went home, removed squib, checked COAL for this new barrel (it is tight). Worked up my loads and took some previously long ammo and seated it deeper until MAX COAL was determined for this bullet/chamber. Then I added ~0.015″ and got my new safe COAL. ITs about 1/8″ shorter than the previous round I was kind of amazed. They Shot great. After getting used to the gun on paper plate, I started doing double taps with that sweet SAO trigger at some clay pieces on the berm at 50yds.
I think my next on this bun will be reducing the load to make minor with the longer barrel, and then springing it lighter. It seemed like the stronger spring made the nose dip more that it should for follow ups. Something I’ve never played a lot with or timed just right, but I’m starting to get it.
This ZomBull Shadow SAO also fits in my shoulder holster – had to check!
As far as the 01 Racegun goes the big dot is just awesome! shot at pieces of clays on the berm, no problem. Did have a couple of minor issues with ammo feeding, but these were not plunked rounds so that should be resolved. I found this old 3D printed gripwell and put it on. the palmwells on it feel so nice!
Next up for this gun is a brass/alu magwell, remove front sight and put on old 75B slide, 8/12MOA diode, and slide racker. And tooling to work the comp up right with set screws and get back to major.
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My first CZ now has new live as a Zombie build. When I first got this pistol, it was poor condition with no rear sight. I built it up in phases – here is a link to that. Later I built an SP-01 into an Open Major racegun, and swapped all the guts between the two. I decided to build a Limited gun and went with the Bull Shadow upper from CZ Custom. This build required some fitting of the slide (basically clearancing on the inside of the dust cover).
I started by dropping in all the cajun guts, the green SAO trigger going in first. I was able to do most of it by memory, getting confirmation hints on the trigger return spring and sear spring. It went fast than I had envisioned. I televised the build on Twitch, although nobody watched. Once I got the frame mods done, I turned to fitting the slide.
I just used files and sandpaper, around the sharpie and a Crayola marker. breaking the bevel on the dustcover allowed the slide to start going on, so I basically kept going. I left idiot racing stripes down the side of the slide but whatevs, going back I would have put thin tape on the slide and fit it that way. I was unsure if it was the dustcover or the slide rails. Started with the dust cover and eventually it started going back onto the frame more and more.
Testing commences today. Next ups are a magwell and S2 mag catch. With the long heavy barrel and awesome sights, this gun just points naturally.
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Chrono Results from the Strategic Edge Range 3/7/2021
These bullets are very similar, the VLDT is more pointy(spensive) and the BTT is more traditional(cheaper). The original load with Hybrid Target have been hard to find, hence using these bullets.
Chrono results are below. It looks like the lower charge weights are the most accurate, so its a toss up. I guess close range use the lower velocity with smaller groups, but on the longer range, may be better off with the higher charge weights that give less drop/drift but also smaller groups at range due to vertical stringing that comes from ES and SD.
105 BTT and W748 coming up next! Maybe throw in some CFE 223 as well.
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Where the radio runs out, in the hills of TN, there is a cove tucked in the woods that lets you shoot up to 1250 with live large Screen Impact monitors. It’s the safest rage I’ve been to, and its worth packing all the guns I can into my tiny red convertible and working the gearbox just one more time.
First up the 6mmARC Load Dev and ATN4k 5-20 NightVision Scope. This gun shot small silhouette groups at 750 last visit to this range (with the Nikon Buckmaster2) so the bar was set. I started at the short range with a confirmation zero at 100/ then quickly went to 2/300 with little issues. Shooting my Cultured round of LeverLoution and Berger 105 HTs. Then the cold Range Buzzer goes off. I setup the chrono using the BOG and a wood attachment and then run the dev batches to get velocities. In interest of saving components, I loaded 3 round groups at paper(groups A&B), mainly checking for velocity with these new profile bullets (comparing to the previous 105HT that shot great). I used the aluminum angle and carbon arrow (pointy stick) to change strings and it worked great.
With those chrono results done I moved over to the long range and back to the Berger HT load. With the rifle zeroed at 100 and target yardage set to 100 yds in the ammos BCsetup (for previous chrono testing/groups). I then changed the zero to 300 and then took a shot at the 300 yd target. I was way low – thought that’s weird, went back to 100, boresighted it again, confirmed zero at 100 again, then back to 300 and same thing. This time I realized what was happening (I think). So Here is the deal, I was thinking that the changing your target yardage setting in the ammo BC setup would automatically adjust your zero, but it doesn’t. BUT If you use the Ballistic Calculator option in the scope, you Can have it ZEROed at 100 yds and show the POA for 600yds (for example). Basically I thought this calculation (elevation at least) carried over when you adjust your zero from 100 to 300, but it doesn’t.
Not a huge deal, but you need to be expecting it and here is why. I was planning on just getting it zeroed on the 100yd sighting plate, then moving straight to 600/650/1k. I think the proper way to do this would be to have it zeroed at 100, find/estimate your drop for 600, rezero the rifle with that hold over, then set the target distance to 600 and take a shot to rezero rifle. IF you do not make those adjustments and try going straight from 100 to 600 changing ONLY the target distance, you would be seeing 600 in the scope display (zoomed in most likely around 12x) and your bullet’s elevation would be stuck at 100 yds. Once I figured out what was going on with that I figured OK, trying to spot little holes at 600 yds, by myself with a 5x scope – ehhhh….Not a great plan for conserving ammo. So I decided to play with/use the onboard Ballistic Calculator to show where to aim for 600 yd hits.
The Ballistic Calculator icon/dot – Here is my opinion so far and what to look for an how to use it. Things that I noticed that can be confusing, but aren’t mentioned in the manual. You just have to play around with it to “discover the hardships”.
- Dot doesn’t show up unless you are in the specific reticle type
- Dot is hard to see in full sun on display (not using eyecup)
- Dot is hard to see/hidden by the vertical bottom reticle – If you are only dropping a couple inches and no wind left/right, the dot can be hidden by the lower reticle
Using the BC I took a shot at the 600 yd plate, but I couldn’t confirm a hit so the 600-1k ARC dream will have to sail another day. I think my plan for next time is walk it up from 1/2/3/500 using that sighting/zero method. Another plan of attack is to have 2 separate profiles for each ammo type. I need to try exporting what is in the BC to computer, then duplicate it and rename for LR (long range). Then I can have a 200 yd zero for short range, use the different reticles for holdovers or whatever out to 500. Then when shooting 600+ switch to the LR profile and have it zeroed @ 600 but use the BC for out to 1k maybe.
With some good and bad resutlsin on the new scope setup, I decided to break out the old 6.5 and make sure it is back on target and sighted in.
This rifle was my “pinky toe in the water” of LR. About as cheap as they get really, RAP, 20MOA base, Nikon Buckmaster II (4-12) BDC. It has shot 1k before but it has been years. Having recently remounted the scope to the rifle, shooting 1k was the defining goal of the day. Shooting 143ELDX plinkers at 12x zoom, I boresighted it at 100, then confirmed yardage. the VERY first thing I noticed about this scope after shooting the ATN is the clarity of glass v.s video screen[Edit:after thinking about it more I never adjusted the parallax bell on the ATN and left it tat 200yds from last range visit so clatity comparison will be done another sunny day]. The first thought that popped in my head was “ohh this is going to be cackewalk, OK..” and this is for a $150 scope range. I made a couple dialing errors in elevation getting to 600, but once I was dialed for wind/elevation the hits were dropping in. I held third circle for 750yd and hit/hit/hit/miss/hit. I could see the hits on the impact monitors. The ones for 600 were not up that day.
Time to try for 1k. Now in order to do this but keep the 600 yd zero, I just zoom out to 8x and hold post. First shot was 1’oclock hit on the big plate about 24″ high. Adjusted 6 clicks down and ended up with about 10″ group al around the center plate. Move to some of the smaller swingers with my last 3 shots and missed. The old bearded dude next to me and helping spot me a bit reminded me of Jesse Duke. He then shot his PRC at the center plate and kept a .3moa – amazing.. yep, that target is still in calibration!
On to the CZs – With the rifles done for I decided to pack them up and work on pistols now. I unpacked the SP-01 open racegun and the old ZombieB build for testing. Started off with some 9mm pulls for practice. These are pulled bullets that have been repurposed due to, well duh, the ammopocalypse. I had a jam with a couple, but was to be expected. Both guns ran fine generally but seemed to shoot low. I noticed I had to hold to the top of the plates to hit. I thought about adjusting sights, but this visit was mostly for functionality, so in the interest of growing shadows, I skipped it and just held high. I did notice that on the 75B that resting the dot on top fo the back blade (as opposed to IN it) got great results. Getting the plop plop of the plate rack was fun again. The racegun still needs grip attention as the mags were having issues dropping and I’m sure it is due to my custom grips/long screws. I took the Cajun spring pack to potentially adjust the rate, but skipped that too in the interest of fun. The $60 Ace/Race holster did work great! I’m sure once my grips and draw are down it will be a cheapo smoothie.
Lastly, I went back to pick up brass. I might not be doing that much more for the raceguns. More on that later. But for now, as for today, it was wrapped up with a cool drive down the country backroads weighted down ~20,000 grains less, smiles all around.
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Initial hot wash can be very useful for general range pickup brass. I like to do a quick 30-minute hot wash to knock off most of the dirt and grime before processing.
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