Shooting 500 Meters is a #%@&*


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Jayhawker
June 11, 2009, 07:14 PM
A couple of weeks or so ago, I was on this forum showing off some targets shot with my Model 12 Savage .308 at 300 meters that turned out pretty good. Today, I took the same targets, rifle and ammo to 500 meters and have to say it let the steam out of me in a hurry. The pics are of the two best of six targets. Those other four didn't even have all five shots on the page. I was shooting due north. The wind was variable from six to twelve mph from the east. I was using a 6X20 scope. I was also using 150 Bergers which seem to be what the gun likes the best. I tried 175s but that really opened up the group. Is this about par for the course for a factory rifle (and a shooter inexperienced at 500 meters) or do I just need to keep practicing (and maybe get a more powerful scope)?

The left target is 5.074" center-to-center. The right is 6.711". MOA at 500 meters is 5.75".

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/6830/dsc01544l.jpg (http://img521.imageshack.us/i/dsc01544l.jpg/)
By gunshooter (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/gunshooter)

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Soke
June 11, 2009, 07:27 PM
Is that..."good" at that range? I mean it is 500 meters..

C-grunt
June 11, 2009, 07:27 PM
Well your still at MOA. I think thats pretty darn good shooting there. The lighter weight 150s will lose steam faster and be moved more by the wind than a heavier round. Try loading up a 168 grain round. My 10FP loved the Win Ballistic Tip 168 grn rounds, of course the most expensive rounds I could find!

Either way, a little more practice would probably shrink that up a little.

.38 Special
June 11, 2009, 07:31 PM
Hopefully the "hunters" who think 500 yard shots at big game are no big deal will take a peek at this thread.

500 yards is a long shot, regardless of how much you paid for your rifle.

armoredman
June 11, 2009, 07:32 PM
I wish I could shoot that well at 500 meters...

Jayhawker
June 11, 2009, 07:33 PM
Soke: That's part of the problem-I don't know what to expect. I tried several years ago with another rifle but gave-up on 500 meters in a hurry.

C-grunt: No 168s available in this town. I'll have to order some.

P.B.Walsh
June 11, 2009, 07:34 PM
I wish I could shoot at 500 yards or meters!!!!!

Jayhawker
June 11, 2009, 07:38 PM
P.B.: It's one of the few advantages of living next to nowhere.

I'm really glad to get these responses. I'm retired and shoot during the week alone and really don't have a comparison base of folks to talk with.

P.B.Walsh
June 11, 2009, 07:44 PM
I live the a d**m city, I can't even shoot my Gamo air rifle :cuss: I can only occasionly go out and shoot. :cuss:

Lovesbeer99
June 11, 2009, 07:46 PM
I'll bet an 18 power scope might help, but other than that your problems is what? you shot just over 1 moa at 500 yards and ???

If you were expecting 3" groups you are a master shooter, or just a master at setting expectations too high.

Good shooting -

1858
June 11, 2009, 07:48 PM
Jayhawker, in order to avoid frustration and disappointment, it's always good to have an idea as to what we can reasonably expect in all forms of shooting. It would be useful to have a chart showing what an average, good, excellent and world class shooter can do at different ranges in different shooting positions with different firearms/calibers. However, until that chart is available, about the best you can do is to look at National F-Class records.

F-Class has the TR class which is either a .308 or .223 caliber rifle that can be supported at the front and/or rear in the prone position. This is the closest comparison to your rifle and possibly style of shooting. The current national record held by Paul Phillips for 500 yards, 15 shots, slow fire, prone is 149-8x. The 10 ring is 1 MOA and the X-ring is 1/2 MOA. So he didn't shoot under 1 MOA because he had to score at least one 9. 15 shots is A LOT more difficult than 5 shots but it should give you an idea as to what's possible.

The F-Class TR 20-shot, slow fire, prone national record at 500 yards is 197-7X set by P. Hayes so he/she also had at least one shot (and possibly three) outside the 10 ring so again, not MOA.

I think you're doing a mighty fine job.

:)

Jim Watson
June 11, 2009, 07:53 PM
And you ought to see what happens at 600, 800, 900, and 1000 yards.

Wind is the big actor but lighting changes also have an effect out of proportion to the range.
You can buy MOA at 100, you have to earn it at long range.

DRYHUMOR
June 11, 2009, 07:55 PM
Don't discount the wind coming at right to left, that and a heartbeat is more than enough to move your rounds.

Try again on a calm day, and try to time the trigger break to your heatbeat- either before or after.

usmc1371
June 11, 2009, 08:54 PM
You know whats really sad is there are "hunters" out there who couldn't even find that target in their scope at 500 yds but have no problem taking a shot at a deer or elk at 500 yds.

Thats great shooting at 500 with a regular rifle.

Jayhawker
June 11, 2009, 09:11 PM
1858: I'm shooting off bags on a concrete bench. Is shooting prone considered a more accurate method?

Jim Watson/Dry Humor: Although Western Kansas weather, especially the wind, is not inclined to be nice to shooters, I'm going to try to wait until it swings back to the south again. I'm also going to try early in the morning to see if I can avoid heat waves

xmanpike
June 11, 2009, 09:17 PM
I still dont trust anyone who shoot in meter increments :)

Jayhawker
June 11, 2009, 09:27 PM
xmanpike: Have we met somewhere before?:D

1858
June 11, 2009, 09:35 PM
1858: I'm shooting off bags on a concrete bench. Is shooting prone considered a more accurate method?

I would think a concrete bench would be about as ideal a platform as anyone could want for accuracy, but prone shooting is perhaps more practical and applicable to hunting and other situations. Regardless, F-Class is all shot prone and those are the target rifle (TR) records that I listed.

:)

Jayhawker
June 11, 2009, 09:56 PM
1858: I've been taking an online look at F class topics in Google. After seeing some of the equipment those folks are using, I'm a little more satisfied with my stock Savage and even the four other targets that had bigger groups. I think a 36x scope would be useful at 500 meters and I may have to start saving my pennies up for one. The downside of a more powerful scope though, maybe magnifying the heat waves we always put-up with out here.

FlyinBryan
June 12, 2009, 01:00 AM
yup, 500 is a long, long, looooooooong ways.

have you seen that youtube video of the guy shooting at almost 900 with an ar15 and hitting the notebook sized plate almost every shot?

just amazing!!!!!

if thats your first crack at 500 id have to say it pretty darn good.

better than i could do.

armoredman
June 12, 2009, 01:06 AM
500 meters is due to silhuette shooting, the Tucson Rifle Club I worked at for a while had a LOT of differant ranges - it was over a mile wide. All were measured in yards, except the silhuette range, which was graduated in meters, 500 of them.
Remind me to tell you of the time I found a car on the far end of the 500 meter range, and nobody around...

Detritus
June 12, 2009, 01:54 AM
You can buy MOA at 100, you have to earn it at long range.

exactly.

I still remember the first time i settled in behind a rifle (a Savage 12FV in .223) to shoot at 600. It was one of the first F-class style matches held at my local range (non match use of the 600yrd area is difficult to arrange/setup).

somewhere i have the score card but to be honest I was simply happy i was able to keep em all in the black.

you're doing rather well to have two groups that small on your first go. don't take it hard you've exceeded that ability of a large portion of your peers. and it takes time and practice to go further.
like others have said the wind is the probably the largest factor at this point. so of course if you continue down this road, and i hope you do, you'll spend time learning THAT skill set, and from everything i've seen nothing but range time can really teach it.

anyway i have lots of other thoughts on this, but it's late and there are folks here who've forgotten more about long range shooting than i'll ever learn.

Jayhawker
June 12, 2009, 09:38 AM
Thanks, one and all, for the encouraging words. One thing for sure that I've learned is that the folks shooting so well out to a thousand yards and beyond have indeed had to work to get there. Those pictures Zak Smith and others post make it look easy until you try it.

DRYHUMOR
June 12, 2009, 09:47 AM
Those heat waves are your friend. As you adjust your view (focus) through them out to the target, it's a good indication of what the wind is doing. You can read it and use it to your advantage.

Jim Watson
June 12, 2009, 09:49 AM
Western Kansas weather, especially the wind, is not inclined to be nice to shooters, I'm going to try to wait until it swings back to the south again. I'm also going to try early in the morning to see if I can avoid heat waves

Several years ago when Ross Seyfried did his highly publicized one mile shooting with "Miss America", he did his best about 2 am when the air was the calmest.

Jayhawker
June 12, 2009, 09:58 AM
Jim Watson: I'm a rank amateur and will probably stay that way if the thought of 2 AM trips to the range turns me off-which it does. At that time of the morning at our range, I'd be shooting blind and probably murder some helpless coyote.

Mr_Pale_Horse
June 12, 2009, 12:59 PM
That is outstanding shooting. I shot at 500 one time, with a 7x57, topped with a VX-III, 1.5-5X. I can proudly say all 20 shots were grouped nicely inside 12" neatly near the bottom of the 4'x8' sheet of plywood :o

Jayhawker
June 12, 2009, 01:07 PM
On the several other targets I shot, that's exactly where mine went and they all went with the direction of the wind. There would be 3 or 4 shots on the paper with the rest either in the plywood or even unaccounted for.:cuss: Glad to know I'm not alone.

USSR
June 12, 2009, 02:42 PM
I think a 36x scope would be useful at 500 meters and I may have to start saving my pennies up for one. The downside of a more powerful scope though, maybe magnifying the heat waves we always put-up with out here.

Listen to the "downside" part of your argument. Although I typically use a 6-24X power scope for 600 yard and 1000 yard F Class, I can't think of a time I had it adjusted above 20 power due to mirage. Wind calls are best determined by watching the range flags.

Don

1858
June 12, 2009, 03:26 PM
I agree with Don ... a 36X scope will do more harm than good. There are folks out there that use a 10X scope at 1000 yards with good results. I use a 6.5- 20x and a 8.5-25x at 600 yards but typically they're dialed down, particularly for the rapid fire stages. With the TMR reticle, "framing" the target results in faster and more consistent target acquisition during rapid fire.

Those pictures Zak Smith and others post make it look easy until you try it.

This is one of the problems with long range shooting ... there's so much misinformation (misrepresentation) out there and just plain BS and it gives people the wrong idea. Most of us post our best work and this gives a false sense of what can be expected. Zak is obviously a very competent and experienced long-range "tactical" shooter, but his achievements (and posted groups) won't help a novice that's thinking about getting into F-Class. Frankly, I'd like Zak to write an article describing his transition from starting out as a novice to where he is now. That would really help many people that are considering (or are too intimidated) getting started in long-range shooting.

Every long-range discipline has its own set of demands, challenges and requirements. Even within the same discipline, small changes can have large effects. For instance, 15-shot slow fire prone compared to 20-shot slow fire prone. Shooting is one of those sports where the difference between a GREAT shooter and an average one is deceptively close. For the majority of sports, the difference between average (amateur) and great (professional) is HUGE. Take golf for example. The difference between Tiger Woods and a 20 handicap playing the same course would be obvious even to someone that doesn't know much about golf. To the casual observer, the difference in long-range shooting may not be as obvious. Almost anyone can consistently hit a 2 MOA target at 600 yards with decent equipment and a minimal amount of practice ... anyone. To consistently hit a 1 MOA target or 1/2 MOA target at 600 yards is exponentially more difficult for a number of reasons. Just consider the approximate surface area of a 2, 1 and 1/2 MOA target at 600 yards ... 124, 31 and 8 square inches respectively!!

If you shoot reactive target type matches, the requirements for you to do well are different from those for an F-Class competitor. F-Class has an 1/2 MOA X-ring, the TR class is restricted to .308 and .223, the target range is fixed, your rifle can be supported front and rear, you get sighters and there's no rapid fire stage. Reactive targets similar to the ones that Zak shoots are typically larger (1 MOA or 2 MOA), you can use flatter shooting "wind-bucking" calibers, but you don't get sighters, the targets are not at fixed distances, you may or may not use a rear (or front support) and there's a significant time constraint. Top shooters in both disciplines are equally impressive but they're not likely to show up at each others events and take the top spot.

A long winded post but just some things to think about for anyone that hasn't tried shooting at over 500 yards. I think most here would be surprised at how easy it is to hit a man-sized target first shot, cold bore. My very first shot ever at 600 yards was 1" high and 3" right of center. All I had was some chronograph data, a ballistic program and a .300 Win Mag. ANYONE can do it!!

:)

Art Eatman
June 12, 2009, 03:53 PM
One advantage of living in the boonies is having a benchrest on the front porch, and a 100-yard backstop. I finally got off my duff and set up a shooting table for a target at 500 yards. (I felt smug about my "good eye" rane guesstimation; it lasered at 489 yards. Good enough for government work.)

I was pleased to discover that my "Ol' Pet" '06, capable of sub-MOA at 100 yards, also shot sub-MOA at 500. A Simmons 44Mag 3x10 scope.

My first-ever effort, I had to hold about a foot upwind of the edge of the 22" steel plate in order to get center hits. Kentucky windage holdover when you're zeroed for 200 yards is also interesting. :)

Reaching out beyond 300 yards is indeed a learning experience. Lotsa respect is owed to those who are good on beyond 600 and 700 yards...

RP88
June 13, 2009, 01:06 AM
why are you whining? You hit the damn target with consistency. That's pretty good. I would probably embarrass myself attempting to hit it once. Well, not really. But it'd be a feat just to hit it for me.

Jayhawker
June 13, 2009, 11:36 AM
RP88: Sounds like you need a "Good morning". Thanks for bumping my post in any case.:D

Bart B.
June 14, 2009, 04:15 PM
Here's some insights to shooting at 500 or 600 yards from someone who's won prone slow fire matches at these ranges with a .308 Win. with both aperture and scope sights.

First off, shooting accurately off a bench with any cartridge shooting a 170 or so grain bullet out at 2600 fps from a rifle weighing less than 10 pounds ain't easy from a rest atop a bench. Although one may hold an area the size of a golf ball on the 500-yard target and get the shot off with the sights aligned on that ball plays hell getting a rifle/ammo combination that shoots zero MOA at that range to hit it. The reason is how the rifle moves while the bullet's going down the barrel. Maybe one in a hundred people will be able to do it. As we all don't hold the rifle with exactly the same grip force and position each time we shoot, a 1/2 MOA capable rifle/ammo system will typically shoot worse than 1 MOA at any range because folks just aren't repeatable enough to do that well.

Second, most folks will shoot more accurate slung up in a good prone position they've mastered than shooting the rifle resting atop something on a bench top. The best prone slow fire match rifle competitors hold an area about 3/4 MOA and get most of their shots off inside a 3/8 MOA area and their bullets will strike within 1/4 MOA of where they call the shot....with aperture sights, no scope. Best example I know of was watching Corky Tyson set a 600 yard record at the Nationals shooting a 200-19X with all 20 record shots going into a 4 inch group centered a bit up and to the right in the 6-inch X ring.

1858's comments about the accuracy most folks post in threads like this one are misleading is very true. Best example is any group record cited; each of them represent only a tiny percentage fraction of what's typical accuracy wise. A reveiw of online benchrest 600 yard (or any range for that matter) scores show groups typically range from 2 to 4 inches; many are bigger and few are smaller. Every single group record on the books is more luck than the combined results of rifle building, ammo loading and bullet shooting skills. The smaller that record group is from what the holder and his rifle plus ammo typically produce is evidence of more luck than normal.

If one wants to see what his shooting hardware (rifle, sights, ammo) and software (the human element and position) have accuracy wise, shoot at least 30 consecutive shots. The resultant group's what the combined hardware and software accuracy is. Period. Now, if you want to impress someone, cut out the smallest 5-shot cluster of holes from that 30-shot group then show that off.

The above aside, that's darned good shooting the originater of this thread brought to our attention.

kwelz
June 14, 2009, 04:45 PM
This is why I always roll my eyes at people that complain the 5.56 "Can't hit a target past 300 meters"

Most people have no idea how far 100 Meters is much less 300 or 500.

I think the OP did pretty well, much better than I would at that range.

Wildfire
June 14, 2009, 05:09 PM
Hey There:
While that is not really call terible shooting it could be better. But you left out way too much info for any real help.
Twist rate, FPS, {150 s are not that great at long range} But work at 500.
168s would serve you much better and they can be loaded if your twist rate is good. Metal fit ? Scope Fit ? Trigger ? Action tight ? what kind of rest ?
The wind where you measured it was not the same at other palces on that range .... temperature ? A lot can come into play if you want sub min. of angle accuarcy... I have seen beginners at the 500 meter do very well at 1.5"

You may well be able to do this too. But the gun and the shooter must be as one.
Good handloaded ammo will be best here . While some factory ammo is becoming very accurate it will have a long way to go to beat a good handload. Buy the right tools and check a box of Premium factory ammo sometime. you will be shocked at the out of spec junk it really is. Every thing from head spacing to bullet seating dept has way too much variance to be extremely accurate.
that statement may cause some debate, but then those of us that really know , really know. The rest guess..........

HKGuns
June 14, 2009, 05:12 PM
I'm pretty sure I couldn't even see the target that far out....You're fine by my measure!

22-rimfire
June 14, 2009, 05:19 PM
Not bad shooting. I do like this quote about hunting and shooting at a whopping 500 yds.
Hopefully the "hunters" who think 500 yard shots at big game are no big deal will take a peek at this thread.

I have shot AT groundhogs at 500 yds and adjusted based on where the dust blossomed up. They had no idea what was happening. It is most difficult to shoot at that range and you have to practice.

300 yds is about the effective limit for me with a 270. I have my doubts if I would take the shot anyway unless I was hunting pronghorn or mule deer and that is the only kind of shot I could get.

Wildfire
June 14, 2009, 05:32 PM
I see that you have some responses from some that appear to shoot long. That is always cool to get the right stuff.
They know what it takes. And that some days are good and some are not.
You may have more bad days than good ones. that is OK.
Some issues were mentioned. Cold shot... that first shot usually is going to be different than the rest. Then it is up to the barrel , It may tolerate lots of shooting or may loose accuracy fast. You need to prove that part.
Again , your groups were not all that bad for starting out.
Each gun will have it's sweet spot . I know a man that can drive 10 rounds into what almost apears to be the same hole at 200 but that same gun sucks at 100 and 300.
heavy rifles shoot better at extended ranges also. So one of the other guys here had some good things to say also.
Shooting prone is a totally different thing then off a rest at a bench. Prone requires a steady hold that is not all that easy do. Sounds as if he has done very well at his prone shooting and is to be admired for that.

In all competative shooting there will always be a faster and better shot then the last guy.

1858
June 14, 2009, 06:48 PM
If one wants to see what his shooting hardware (rifle, sights, ammo) and software (the human element and position) have accuracy wise, shoot at least 30 consecutive shots. The resultant group's what the combined hardware and software accuracy is.

I'm relatively new to long-range shooting but the more matches I shoot, the more sense this makes. Wouldn't it be great if we could head off to a match knowing 100% that our rifle and ammunition, under the BEST possible conditions, are 1, 3/4 or 1/2 MOA at 600 yards, 800 yards or 1000 yards!! How many of us know for sure what our rifles/loads are capable of? I don't know what mine are capable of ... I sure wish I did though. Most of us develop loads at 100 yards or maybe 200 yards and then we only put three or five shots on the paper and call it good. This says very little about long-range performance.

With this in mind, yesterday I shot 2 sighters and 20 rounds in 22 minutes at 600 yards using a rear bag for the first time. Another shooter kindly let me borrow his bag and this opportunity gave me a much better idea as to what my rifle and loads are capable of. The target is interesting for a number of reasons. The wind was blowing from the 10 o'clock position between 0 and 6 mph (for the most part and measured with a Kestrel 4500NV) but it would change direction too with some stronger gusts. Due to some errors (oversight) on my part, I dialed in a windage correction of -1.50 MOA (assumed a 3mph crosswind) for the first sighter (S1). The shot was almost 11" off to the right (no 2 MOA cold bore shot!! :o ) but +13.00 MOA elevation was close, but I knew that ... D.O.P.E. = data on previous engagements! For the second sighter I dialed in -2.25 MOA ... still not enough at almost 4" to the right of center. My final correction was -2.75 MOA and was close but -2.50 might have been better (kind of wish I had 1/8 MOA adjustments). The final correction indicates the actual crosswind value was about 5mph.

If you look at the target, you can that the elevation range for all 20 shots for record was under 1 MOA (in fact it was 0.75 MOA). The X-ring is 1/2 MOA, the 10-ring is 1 MOA and the 9-ring is 2 MOA. Bear in mind that the outside edge of each ring is LESS than the MOA values because the bullet hole only has to break the ring to count, so that's accounted for in the actual ring dimensions. Anyway, assuming a consistent hold on the target (big assumption), the deviation in elevation should indicate the rifle's and the load's accuracy potential since crosswind shouldn't affect elevation (do you agree with this Bart?). As for the wind, you can also see the group drifting to the right into the 9-ring. The group was drifting in the direction that the wind was blowing. This is where skill AND luck come in. As far as I remember, I was trying to time my shots with the wind gusts but with almost a full second flight time, it's tough to do. I will add that the bag didn't work perfectly for me ... I had to rest the butt on my hand which was resting on the bag, but overall, I was more steady than my usual technique of not using any rear support. With practice and the right size bag I could most likely improve the group .... in elevation at least. The total group is somewhere between 1.2 and 1.3 MOA.

The shots shown below were shots #46 through #67 for the day with no cleaning of the barrel between the first shot #1 to the last #67. The load that I'm shooting consists of Lapua once-fired (in the same rifle), neck-sized only brass, Nosler Custom Competition 168gr HPBT bullets, CCI 200 primers, 43.2gr of Reloder 15, a COL of 2.848", and based on chronograph data and empirical data on the target, the bullet's MV is right at 2,700 fps. The barrel is 26" long with a 1:10 twist.

DISCLAIMER: The scorers in the pits weren't supposed to use pasties on the target but they did and royally screwed up the paper. I had to do some major reconstruction and the one shot I'm not sure of is marked as #19. The numbers aren't representative of the order in which the shots were fired (with the exception of S1 and S2).

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/rem700_308win/fclass_tactical_targets/06-13-09/600y_slow_061309.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/rem700_308win/fclass_tactical_targets/06-13-09/600y_slow_9ring_061309.jpg

:)

Jayhawker
June 14, 2009, 10:15 PM
I don't know if I'll ever shoot that good or not but I'm glad this post has provoked some really good responses from obviously knowledgeable and experienced folks. I don't have any official targets but I think I'll try shooting that 30 shot string with a homemade target on a big piece of poster board.

A couple of people have suggested 168 grain bullets which I'll try when I'm ordering again. I'm shooting a factory Model 12 Savage with a 24" heavy barrel and 10-1 twist. Thus far, no 168 or 175 grain bullet tested at 100 meters has been able to out shoot the 150 grain Bergers. I've tried various powders and loads and never could best what I could do with the 150s. Whether success at 100 meters would be reflected at 500, I'm not wholly sure. I've heard people say that the long-range VLDs don't "come into their own" until they gone a considerable distance. I know the day I posted the pics of my targets, I had tried with 175s and got groups twice the size of the ones with the 150s.

1858
June 14, 2009, 10:48 PM
Jay, I would think that your 1:10 in barrel would do well with 168gr and 178gr bullets given the faster twist rate. My barrel is a 1:10 too. What powders have you been trying? I really like the A-MAX bullets and will be using them (178gr) at 600 yards from now on. The Nosler Custom Competition 168gr bullets are a very good value compared to the Sierra MatchKings that I used to use.

:)

Jayhawker
June 14, 2009, 11:16 PM
1858: I've used Sierras and Berger at 168 and 175. Powders have included Varget and RL-15 among others. That's what I can remember off the top of my head. I'm always open to suggestions. If nothing else, it would be a good excuse to shoot my rifle more. Would you test your loads for accuracy at 100 yds or at 500? It could be that the heavier bullets affect recoil enough that it throws me off and indeed would be more accurate if I had better technique. Bottom line here is that I'm just not too experienced with my .308 at 500 meters. I have a safe full of pistols that, up until now, I've been shooting regularly. What got me back to shooting my rifles is the shortage of small pistol primers. I'm having to ration myself to be able to make any pistol ammo at all.

jbkebert
June 14, 2009, 11:30 PM
Nice shooting I really don't think that is all to bad of a group at 500. I hunt mulies in western Kansas and wind is definalty not your friend. Like most of the folks have already said try a heavier bullet and it will buck wind a little better. Still nice to see a KU fan hugging a rifle instead of a tree.:neener:

And you ought to see what happens at 600, 800, 900, and 1000 yards.

Recently had the chance to shoot at a 1000 yards in SW Kansas. We took one of those card board cutouts of people you see in front of beer displays. It took my 11 shots to finally hit mid waist on the target. Was shooting a .300 win mag loaded with 180 berger VLD. Even with a spotter walking rounds it is harder than most people think it is.

Jayhawker
June 14, 2009, 11:35 PM
jbkebert: It's worse than you thought: I'm not just a fan but a 1968 graduate of KU.

jbkebert
June 14, 2009, 11:47 PM
I spent most of the morning bidding a job in manhattan about three blocks from the stadium. Brought back blurry memories of going to school at K-state

jpatterson
June 15, 2009, 12:41 AM
Nice shooting! And Rock Chalk :)

Hammerhead6814
June 15, 2009, 12:58 AM
The fact that your even hitting a target at 500 meters means your probably better than some of us here, me included. My longest shot ever was at 317 yards using a Savage .308 rifle, and to say I missed is an understatement. My spotter had to ask: "Did you see another deer out there?" :o

1858
June 15, 2009, 02:21 AM
I've used Sierras and Berger at 168 and 175. Powders have included Varget and RL-15 among others ... Would you test your loads for accuracy at 100 yds or at 500?

Those are two of the better, well-established powders for .308 so I'm not sure what the issue is. However, you're obviously doing fine with what you're using at 500m. I think you should test your loads for accuracy at the range that you intend to use them at. I work up loads at 100 yards and then test them out at 200, 300 and 600 yards by shooting them in matches :). The load used for the target shown in my earlier post was developed at 100 yards. I would NEVER consider working up a load at 500 yards right off the bat since there are two many variables to worry about at that range. I would find the best load at 100 yards and then "tune" it a little at the required range. If you use a chronograph when working up loads, once you shoot them at longer ranges, you might see as much as 100 fps difference between the MV recorded by the chronograph and the actual drop based on elevation corrections on your scope.

:)

MarineOne
June 15, 2009, 06:33 AM
That is a great example of near MOA shooting and it's something you should be proud of, so don't be hard on yourself.

On the first target (left side) you've got 3 shots almost straight up and down. This shows how your breathing was affecting your shots. That flyer off to the far left makes me think you might have jerked the trigger a tad since you had a nice group with the other 4.

On the second target (right side) you've got a nice grouping on the upper half of the target, again with an almost straight line of impacts and one flyer off to the bottom right. Again, the straight line of impacts is breathing, and that flyer is from jerking the trigger.

There are only two things I can recommend:

- Smooth out the action of the trigger, and maybe even lighten up the amount of pressure you use to pull it.

- More practice, but only if you want to get into .75 to .50 MOA. It will definately improve your almost 1 MOA groups but let's be honest ..... your shooting at 500m right now shows a great deal of promise and this is some really nice shooting.

I'll said it again just because it needs to be said ..... that's some great shooting.




Kris

Bart B.
June 15, 2009, 06:41 AM
Here's some comments on some posts' sections in this thread....

1858 says:Anyway, assuming a consistent hold on the target (big assumption), the deviation in elevation should indicate the rifle's and the load's accuracy potential since crosswind shouldn't affect elevation (do you agree with this Bart?). I agree, as long as the wind speed doesn't reverse or change speed very much. High power rifles have a small amount of vertical shot displacement in cross winds. It goes from 9:15 on the clock with a right hand twist and wind from the right to 3:15 with a wind from the left. Typically not seen unless a 5 mph wind shifts from one side to the other. It's about 1/4th as much as what rimfire 22 rifles have.

The most accurate barrels I know of that shoot 168's through 180's from .308 cases have 1:12 twists. 190's and 200's need a 1:11 twist for best accuracy. 150's up through 165's do well with 1:13 twist. But it takes a 1:9 twist for 220's and a 1:8 twist to do well with 240 and 250 grain bullets. Any bullet spun faster than what's needed to stabilize it will probably not shoot too accurate as they're all unbalanced to some tiny degree and the centrifugal forces created will make 'em jump too far off the muzzle axis when they leave the barrel.

Powders; IMR4064 has shot the smallest 600 yard groups with 168's up through 190's in .308 rifles. Varget may well be best for bullets in the 150-gr. range but IMR4350 works wonders for 200-gr. and heavier ones.

And milder primers tend to shoot the most accurate even if they're not as uniform as hotter ones might well be. They cause the bullet to be more gently pushed into the rifling without deforming it instead of slamming it in with enough force to deform/unbalance it as the bore swages its diameter down.

One can test long range loads at 100 yards but be aware they open up 5 to 10 percent each 100 yards further down range. It's a myth that some bullets/rifles shoot smaller MOA groups at longer ranges compared to shorter ones.

Mr. Bojangles
June 15, 2009, 06:43 AM
There's no shame in your game. Shooting at long ranges is disproportionately difficult, for example moving from a 100 yard target to a 300 yard target is much easier than moving from 300 yards to 500 yards. :banghead:
It never hurts to keep practicing, though.
I work with a guy who says he goes deer hunting at 500-600 yards :scrutiny::confused:. Yeah, right.

Bart B.
June 15, 2009, 09:49 AM
MarineOne, your comment:On the first target (left side) you've got 3 shots almost straight up and down. This shows how your breathing was affecting your shots....is of some interest.

How do you know the vertical shot stringing for those three was due to his breathing and not caused by muzzle velocity or ballistic coefficient spread?

1858
June 15, 2009, 01:29 PM
One can test long range loads at 100 yards but be aware they open up 5 to 10 percent each 100 yards further down range. It's a myth that some bullets/rifles shoot smaller MOA groups at longer ranges compared to shorter ones.

This is good to know .... I've had a number of "experts" at my local range and matches tell me otherwise and it never made any sense to me. They use catchy phrases such as "the bullet hasn't gone to sleep yet". My current .308 load will hold 0.50 MOA at 100 yards but as you can see from my target it's close to 0.80 MOA at 600 yards ... that's very close to 10% for every 100 yards (compounded of course). :)

I'm going to hunt down that IMR 4064 powder and I hope the 178gr bullets work well out of my 1:10 barrel. If a 1:10 twist is less than ideal for a 168gr bullet, then a 178gr should be better although still not ideal. As it is, I'm not disappointed with the performance of the 168gr Noslers.


as long as the wind speed doesn't reverse or change speed very much. High power rifles have a small amount of vertical shot displacement in cross winds. It goes from 9:15 on the clock with a right hand twist and wind from the right to 3:15 with a wind from the left. Typically not seen unless a 5 mph wind shifts from one side to the other. It's about 1/4th as much as what rimfire 22 rifles have.

Thanks for the explanation, I've already made a note in my range book.

:)

lykoris
June 15, 2009, 01:54 PM
I understood f-class shooters tested them at 300 yards(e.g on a new barrel) and for a given calibre already had an idea of the fps they were looking for so for load development it was more shooting over a chronograph in working the load up :confused:

Jim Watson
June 15, 2009, 02:37 PM
There was a guy on the benchrest board who set up one of those Oehler Accoustic Targets at 100 yards and a paper target at something over 300. That way he could plot the same bullets at two different ranges, no statistics involved. He said he had never ever seen a group that was smaller in MOA at 300+ than at 100 yards. I consider that a strong indication that the "sleepy bullet" theory does not hold water.

I did some shooting with my BPCR at 200 metres yesterday. I would have preferred 300 but did not think the spotting scope would resolve .40 holes that far away on a rather foggy morning. I wanted to plot each shot in order so as to track the buildup of fouling. Turned out that the first two shots from clean and cold were meaningless on elevation and chasing the spotter before the barrel is warm and fouled is a waste of effort. Pretty close on windage, which is an even stronger factor at 1200 fps than 2700.

Jayhawker
June 15, 2009, 02:38 PM
I set out to find some Sierra 168s. It's a little like looking for primers. After going through all the usual on-line retail outfits as well as stores within driving range (few and far between out here), I resorted to calling Sierra and ordering a box of 100 from them. I won't tell you what I had to pay for buying from them directly but if I did it again, I sure the hell wouldn't tell anyone I did. To give you an idea of how tight things are, I got the last box they had on the shelves.

In any case, the tech there suggested RL-15, 4064 and 4895 in that order. He also said it's their policy to hold seating depth to no less than .010" off the lands although I'm well aware that every rifle will be different in it's preference. I'd like to know what other posters are doing in this regard. He agrees with posters in this thread that a 168 "should", given all things equal, shoot a smaller group at a given range with a 1:10 twist but also says that he's seen many rifles that have their own preference and it just could be that mine "likes" the 150s regardless of the twist, range or otherwise. I believe,(not positive on this) that I read in this or another forum, that Zac Smith shoots a lighter bullet at distance as well. The Sierra tech also said that his own preference for load testing, was 200 yards.

So I'm going to get some brass worked up. Those 168's should be here in a couple of days since they're just over the Kansas-Missouri border from me.

lykoris
June 15, 2009, 02:54 PM
That is interesting Jim.

I'd asked the question what makes a rifle f-class material and was told that you need to see how it groups at 300 yards and the result is a good indicator of how it will perform at 1,000 yards - shooting strings at 100 yards isn't beneficial.

Bart B.
June 15, 2009, 03:13 PM
For all the sleepy folks 1851's referring to when he says: "They use catchy phrases such as 'the bullet hasn't gone to sleep yet.' " Ask those sleepy folks how in the dickens does the bullet know which way to change directions when it does go to sleep. If that sleeping bullet can figure out where it is in an imaginary group plane at a shorter range then change direction such to get back closer to center down range, then one of the "mysteries" of ballastics will be solved.

More explicit, ask one of these "sleeping bullet experts" how all the bullets low and to the right change directions opposite those up and to the left to get back towards center. I've asked this for decades and nobody's even tried to explain it.

This aside, most bullets will cone or nutate a bit after leaving the barrel, but they stabilize well by 100 yards down range. But their direction doesn't change. They can only change direction by the application of some external force such as wind.

1858
June 15, 2009, 03:31 PM
Jayhawker, I wish you'd ordered the Nosler 168gr Custom Competition HPBT bullets from Midway $190/1000 ... a way better deal than the Sierra MatchKing bullets. I used to only shoot Sierra bullets but this year switched to A-MAX and Nosler with ZERO regrets and no deleterious effect on accuracy.

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=1758477639

Bart and Jim , you realize that I'm 100% in a agreement with you that this "sleepy bullet" theory is BS? I didn't believe it then and I certainly don't believe it now.

Bart, I just want to say that you're a breath of fresh air with your "tell it like it is" approach to long-range shooting. There is so much BS and just plain misinformation on the internet. I think if you keep chipping away at it we might all learn a lot and hopefully new shooters will be encouraged rather than intimidated.

:)

lykoris
June 15, 2009, 05:05 PM
It's a myth that some bullets/rifles shoot smaller MOA groups at longer ranges compared to shorter ones.

this seems logical to me. I have never heard of the 'sleepy bullet theory'.

I have a belief in the point I made above though...it seems plausible. He said a lot of guns will shoot 1moa or even .5moa at 100 yards but you cannot extrapolate that out to 1,000 yards and expect the same. And for that reason he said shooting at 300 yards gives you an indication of the potential at longer ranges 600 - 1,000.

I'm very interested.

Also what is the interest to f-class shooting 100 yards unless fire forming brass / chronograph work in working up a set velocity on a new barrel ?

Jayhawker
June 15, 2009, 05:27 PM
1858: They are out of boxes of 100. If they did not shoot in my rifle, I'd be left holding the proverbial bag if I'd bought a 1000. Thanks for the heads-up anyway.

Bart B.
June 15, 2009, 05:31 PM
Jayhawker's comment on Sierra's tech rep:He agrees with posters in this thread that a 168 "should", given all things equal, shoot a smaller group at a given range with a 1:10 twist but also says that he's seen many rifles that have their own preference and it just could be that mine "likes" the 150s regardless of the twist, range or otherwise. ...is of some interest to me.

I used to shoot high power rifle matches with Sierra's ballistic tech who tested most of their bullets at their California plant from the early 1950's to the mid 1980's. He also was one of the best high power match/long-range rifle shots on this planet. In one of the tours he gave me "behind the scenes" at their plant, he mentioned the barrels they tested their 168 and 180 grain HPMK bullets with were 1:12 twist as that's what he got best accuracy with. The best of these would shoot 1/10th to 2/10ths inch one ten-shot group after another at 100 yards.

Interesting indeed that Sierra's rep says a 1:10 twist would be good for 168's at "a given range." Considering the fact that for 50 years, the 150-gr. spitzer bullet in the .30-06 cartridge in Garands and machine guns with 1:10 twist barrels originating from the .30-03's 210-gr. round nose bullet spun them too fast for best accuracy. Leaving a bit slower in the 7.62 NATO, these bullets did much better accuracy wise, from the 1:12 twist barrels the new cartridge standardized on. But the .30-06 did very good with the 172-gr. FMJ boattail bullet which was standard from the mid 1920's to the late 1930's in the 1:10 twist barrels it was shot from.

And also the rep's other comment:He also said it's their policy to hold seating depth to no less than .010" off the lands although I'm well aware that every rifle will be different in it's preference. I'd like to know what other posters are doing in this regard.Most rifles shoot best accuracy wise when the bullet's seated against the rifling. This does two things quite uniformly; one is to present the same resistance each time the bullet gets pushed into the bore and the other is to center the bullet in the bore when it's fired. One needs to be careful as if you have to unload a live round, you don't want the bullet to get stuck in the leade. Sierra's always shot their test loads with the bullet backed off a few thousandths from the rifling, but they still shoot very, very well indeed.....with full length sized cases; something they've done since the early '50's.

lykoris asks:Also what is the interest to f-class shooting 100 yards unless fire forming brass / chronograph work in working up a set velocity on a new barrel ? To me, it works for getting a zero. There's little difference in accuracy between new cases and those fired then full length sized; either is typically better than any version of neck sizing. Proper tests have proved this over the years. I've never got concerned about muzzle velocity; rarely measured it on someone's chronograph as I've never owned one. I don't care how fast the bullets get to the target; just how close together their holes are in it.

lykoris
June 15, 2009, 05:47 PM
There's little difference in accuracy between new cases and those fired then full length sized; either is typically better than any version of neck sizing.

that's interesting also.

I was under the impression fire forming your (new) brass to the chamber of your rifle was an integral part of accuracy, neck sizing and annealing only thereafter :confused: :confused:

.38 Special
June 15, 2009, 07:31 PM
This is good to know .... I've had a number of "experts" at my local range and matches tell me otherwise and it never made any sense to me. They use catchy phrases such as "the bullet hasn't gone to sleep yet".

In my experience, this -- and the "MOA at 200 but not 100 or 300" business mentioned by "King Ghidora" a page or so back -- is usually the result of scope parallax.

Deckard
June 15, 2009, 07:37 PM
I haven't tried shooting at 500 meters (it might not do my ego much good). I don't even think there is a range that big in my area.

Jim Watson
June 15, 2009, 08:08 PM
shooting strings at 100 yards isn't beneficial.

I think the point is that if you are at the "one ragged hole at 100 yards" level of accuracy, the differences may not show up. A master class friend shot some of my ammo and said that it was undistinguishable from his at 100 yards but showed more vertical than horizontal at 600 while his was shooting round groups. He thinks my powder charge of 44 grains, - 0, +.1 (Varget, with 175 gr Sierra) based on the way I run my PACT dispenser and scale is not good enough, that he gets his dead on to the same tenth of a grain.

He does a lot more brass prep than I do and I wonder if that might not make more difference.

Bart B.
June 15, 2009, 10:35 PM
Jim Watson comments on his master class friend's powder charge weights:He thinks my powder charge of 44 grains, - 0, +.1 (Varget, with 175 gr Sierra) based on the way I run my PACT dispenser and scale is not good enough, that he gets his dead on to the same tenth of a grain.Don't let your friend read this, Jim; he'll think you're crazy for even mentioning it.

Back in 1991 when a few of us former US Palma Team members were developing loads for Sierra's prototype 155-gr. Palma bullet, we ended up using 45.3 grains of Varget metered into new cases primed with Fed. 210M igniters. Charge weight had a 3/10ths grain spread and bullet runout was up to 3.5 thousandths. 20 rounds were taken at random from the Dillon 1050 progressives loading that stuff and tested for accuracy at 600 yards. All twenty went into 2.7 inches. So much for having to have tiny, near zero, spreads in powder charge weights.

When several thousand rounds of that ammo was shot later that year in an intenational match with top long range folks attending from all over the world, I asked a few dozen of them what they thought the accuracy was at 600 yards. All sorts of barrel lengths, bore, and groove dimensions were used. They all said about 3 inches. So much for the belief that each barrel has to have each load tailored to it.

The best lots of 7.62 NATO M118 match ammo used in the National Matches tested about 6 inches at 600 yards with a couple hundred shots per test group. Not too shabby at all for those not so good 172-gr. FMJ boattail match bullets. And with charge weights having 3/10ths grain spread at that. Accuracy of the M852 round with Sierra 168's was somewhat better but charge weights varied the same amount.

Bart B.
June 16, 2009, 07:12 AM
King Ghidora adds: I'm not even sure how people know how to tell when their heart is beating. I'm sure that would be an advantage at long distances though. Maybe that's why I never could match what others do.
The only advantage a beating heart has is it keeps your brain alive so you can shout with joy when you do good. Otherwise, it's a disadvantage to any shooting because it makes your sights bounce around on the target.

First time I ever laughed about it was at the Nationals years ago when doing laundry in town. A world class 300 meter free rifle shooter who had just won a big match in Arizona several months earlier, walked in the laundromat to wash her clothes. I congratulated her on the recent win then she said: "Thanks, but it was almost impossible." I asked why then she replied: "Well, I was fighting two beating hearts; not too good when you're 7 months pregnant trying to shoot a good score standing up on your hind legs." We both laughed about that.

Shooting prone slung up to a rifle with a scope, the crosshair's bounce up and down in a figure 8 (or something close to that) pattern about three times as tall as it is wide. Best way to get the area it covers as small as possible is to adjust the position of your elbows and legs as well as the angle your spine is to the line of sight until that "wobble" area is minimized. You can do this in your home aiming at the door knob on your neighbor's house across the street.

The folks who shoot the best scores laying on their belly have a wobble area about 3/4ths MOA and get shots off inside a 1/2 MOA area inside of that. Once they've mastered the position and get into it the same each time, they'll shoot the same scores with aperture sights as they do with scopes when the wind's calm. This happens because the rifle bounces around the same size wobble area regardless of what sights are used.

Using a scope has the advantage of letting you see mirage (heat waves) wrinkle across the field of view when it's focused part way to the target. Parallax doesn't exist when ones eye is on the optical axis with the scope "short focused" this way and is easy to do if the stock's cheekpiece is set correctly. When the mirage showing what the wind's doing picks up or drops off, you can hold off a bit to one side and still keep shots deep in the middle. You can't do this with aperture sights. You have to leave the sights to look through your short-focussed spotting scope to see the wind (mirage) change.

In a team match using aperture sights, you can favor one side or the other of the target's bullseye as the coach tells you. He's watching the mirage through his spotting scope and tells you what to do; you'd better do it, too. If your front aperture sight's got a spirit level on it (very important for long range) and you know where to put the bubble by canting the rifle to make a 1 MOA windage correction by doing so, that's easier and more precise than holding off. I've done this several times making 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or 1 MOA windage adjustments without having to take my hand off the trigger/grip to crank the knobs. 'Tis fun to do this with the rifle canted and the front sight bubble way off to one side and nail the bullseye dead center.

Jim Watson
June 16, 2009, 07:57 AM
Doesn't canting the rifle affect elevation, too?

MarineOne
June 16, 2009, 09:28 AM
How do you know the vertical shot stringing for those three was due to his breathing and not caused by muzzle velocity or ballistic coefficient spread?

I've spent too much time on a 500 yard/meter line with an M16-A2 shooting on the old Marine Corps "KD" course and saw it with my own breathing pattern. With irons I was shooting about 2.5 to 3.5 MOA with standard M855 green tip, so hitting the man sized target at that distance was easy for me. Out of the 30 times (5 days a week, 6 weeks) I visited that line, each time 10 shots were fired (300 rounds not counting alibi's) I only dropped 3 rounds.

Plotting and calling each shot was manditory in your range book and for me it really helped with my shooting with stuff like keeping track of breathing, temps, wind direction and speed, visibility, etc..




Kris

Howard Roark
June 16, 2009, 09:44 AM
Doesn't canting the rifle affect elevation, too?

Yes. Cant right, shoot right. The impact will travel in a downward arc in the direction of the cant.

Bart B.
June 16, 2009, 12:08 PM
Canting the rifle will cause both horizontal and vertical shot displacement from the point of aim. Grade school math explains how much there really is. The horizontal amount for a given range equals the cant angle's sine times bullet drop; vertical amount is the angle's cosine times bullet drop.

For example, an original 155-gr. Palma bullet drops 110 inches at 600 yards and 410 inches at 1000. Here's the results at both ranges for a 1 and 3 degree cant:

600 yd.;
1 deg. horizontal = 1.9," vertical = .002"
3 deg. horizontal = 5.8," vertical = .150"

1000 yd.;
1 deg. horizontal = 7.1," vertical = .060"
3 deg. horizontal = 21.5," vertical = .560"

You'll never see any vertical change. A 5 deg. cant at 1000 yards will move the bullet 36" to the edge of the 6-foot wide target and vertical change will only be 1.5 inches; not enough to easily resolve considering the accuracy one gets that far away.

Bart B.
June 16, 2009, 12:19 PM
MarineOne, your comment:I've spent too much time on a 500 yard/meter line with an M16-A2 shooting on the old Marine Corps "KD" course and saw it with my own breathing pattern.....&.....Plotting and calling each shot was manditory in your range book and for me it really helped with my shooting with stuff like keeping track of breathing, ..are interesting, but we don't know where this guy called those three shots you attribute to breathing. For all we know, he called 'em there. And what about the other shots different positions in the vertical plane; were they caused by breathing, too?

Never heard of "keeping track of breathing." How did you mark that in your range book? "In" and "Out" symbols?

1858
June 16, 2009, 03:23 PM
Back in 1991 when a few of us former US Palma Team members were developing loads for Sierra's prototype 155-gr. Palma bullet, we ended up using 45.3 grains of Varget metered into new cases primed with Fed. 210M igniters. Charge weight had a 3/10ths grain spread and bullet runout was up to 3.5 thousandths. 20 rounds were taken at random from the Dillon 1050 progressives loading that stuff and tested for accuracy at 600 yards. All twenty went into 2.7 inches. So much for having to have tiny, near zero, spreads in powder charge weights.

Bart, so how many PALMA shooters are using that load today? John Whidden certainly wasn't using it when he got the top score of 2232-93 in October of 2005 at the US PALMA team trials shooting a 155gr bullet with 47.0gr of Varget from a 1:10 barrel and weighing every charge on a Denver Instrument APX-200 (a milligram lab scale). :D

http://www.6mmbr.com/gunweek059.html


So much for the belief that each barrel has to have each load tailored to it.

I think that's an oversimplification at best. I don't think the accuracy of the load you helped develop and tailoring loads to a particular rifle are mutually exclusive. I will readily admit that I can't explain why one commercial load shoots well in a multitude of rifles, I have a hunch but nothing more. But there is no question that accuracy nodes exist for every rifle/load and this is clearly evident to anyone that has worked up a load using an accurate, systematic approach such as OCW.

:)

MarineOne
June 16, 2009, 05:17 PM
And what about the other shots different positions in the vertical plane; were they caused by breathing, too?

The vertical plane is up and down. The horizontal plane is side to side.

Breathing will affect your shots vertically, which if you look again there are 3 shots on each target that are almost straight vertically. Then there is one close to the vertical group, and then one flyer on each of these targets which I'm attributing to trigger jerk.

I'm not sure if you're confused about what vertical and horizontal mean, or you're just trying to be an ass. Personally I believe it's more the latter than it is the former.

Either way, when shooting long range you need to keep track of the things I've already mentioned because you, like the rest of us, are human. We aren't locking the weapon into some handy dandy weapon cradle with hydraulic dampening and piezo-electric micro adjusting motors that will make you shoot cloverleafs are 500 yards.

When you record shooting conditions like sunlight, air temp, wind speed and direction, humidity, etc., you're documenting your patterns and can fine tune yourself, your loads, your weapon, the clothing you wear when you're shooting, etc., so that you can become a better shot.

There are alot of variables and keeping track of them will be a PITA but it's the only way to help you shoot long distance better.



Kris

Bart B.
June 17, 2009, 12:14 PM
1858, your comment....Bart, so how many PALMA shooters are using that load today? John Whidden certainly wasn't using it when he got the top score of 2232-93 in October of 2005 at the US PALMA team trials shooting a 155gr bullet with 47.0gr of Varget from a 1:10 barrel and weighing every charge on a Denver Instrument APX-200 (a milligram lab scale). I doubt anyone uses it today. That load was developed before Varget (Australia's AR2208) was imported and sold. Varget meters a bit more uniform than IMR4895.

International Palma requires the round to be 2.80 inches long. The load we developed had to be that way. Folks around the planet made reamers to chamber barrels such that the bullet would be set back a bit when loaded. John Whidden's barrel had a throat about 1/10th inch longer so he could use heavier bullets and that will easily allow 47 grains of Varget in the Winchester cases he used to push a 155 out very fast with normal pressures. I've shot 46.5 grains in featherweight (150-gr.) WCC58 cases with bullets seated to an OAL of 2.8 inches in a standard Palma/SAAMI chamber setting the bullets back about .010 inch. Muzzle velocity in my 32 inch barrel was 3190 fps; lightning speed for a 155 from a .308 but pressures were normal.

John Whidden claims 1/2 MOA accuracy or better 1t 1000 yards in his 1:10 twist barrel. That's possible if bullets have perfect jacket uniformity. I've got a sub 1/2 MOA twenty shot group at 800 yards with the original Palma load with IMR4895 and the prototype batch of bullets used. Tests were made on bullets some years ago spinning 'em at 30,000 rpm and those that spun perfectly (about 10% of them) were sorted out then tested at 600 yards. Several 10-shot groups were made with them averaging 1 inch with the largest at about 1.5 inch.

Sierra had problems getting really good jacket material in the late '60's and early '70's; their first 6.5, 7mm and 30 caliber long, heavy match bullets didn't shoot very accurate because of this. When they were able to get really good stuff, the bullets were better balanced and shot a lot more accurate. This is why folks demanding their 1000 yard target rifles be chambered in 7mm Rem Mag but very few shot Sierra's 168-gr. HPMK very well. Those 168's used to set the Wimbledon Match record at the Nationals in 1970 (by a very good friend of mine I still see every year) spawning the desire for that cartridge just happened to be from a batch of a few hundered testing super accurate at Sierra's test range.

Bart B.
June 17, 2009, 10:27 PM
MarineOne (Kris) says:There are alot of variables and keeping track of them will be a PITA but it's the only way to help you shoot long distance better.It ain't the only way. I never kept track of any of these variables shooting top long range scores, winning matches at various levels and getting my NRA Long Range High Master classification card (top 2% of all high power shooters at the time) and being a member of the US Palma and other international long range teams. I (as well as virtually all other High Masters) decided it was better to watch the wind when reloading and keep up with it instead of loosing it by wasting valuable time recording several data points when conditions were changing very fast; I ain't the world's best wind doper.

What's your track record at long range?

Howard Roark
June 18, 2009, 11:35 AM
International Palma requires the round to be 2.80 inches long. The load we developed had to be that way. Folks around the planet made reamers to chamber barrels such that the bullet would be set back a bit when loaded. John Whidden's barrel had a throat about 1/10th inch longer so he could use heavier bullets and that will easily allow 47 grains of Varget in the Winchester cases he used to push a 155 out very fast with normal pressures.

Does this mean John shot an illegal rifle?

Bart B.
June 18, 2009, 03:27 PM
Howard, to answer your question:Does this mean John shot an illegal rifle?No, his rifle was legal for the US Team Tryouts; they were held under US NRA rules for a Palma Rifle:

�� 3.3.3 U.S. Palma Rifle -
(a) A rifle with metallic sights chambered for the unmodified .308/7.62 or .223/5.56 NATO cartridge case. Rifles which also meet Rules 3.1 (.308 only) or 3.1.1 (.308 only) are authorized.
(b) A rifle with metallic sights chambered for the unmodified .308/7.62 NATO cartridge case. Rifles which also meet Rules 3.1 (.308 only) or 3.1.1 (.308 only or 3.1.2 (.223 only) are authorized.
Advisory: For competing in other countries, weight restrictions may equal 6.0 to 6.5 Kilos and require trigger weights up to 1.5 Kilo.

Howard Roark
June 18, 2009, 11:30 PM
Tryouts now require ICFRA legal Palma rifle (.308 only). For some reason the requirements change with the captian and coaches.

Zak Smith
August 11, 2009, 03:33 PM
1858,

I appreciate the compliments. I did write an article about F-class shooting a couple years ago after shooting a match at the CRC. I was the only F-class shooter that day. I am not an expert at the F-class or High-Power games; however, when I showed up at that F-class match the skills I had developed by shooting UKD targets in the field and shooting "dots" from the bench at 100 yards allowed me to shoot a decent score.

We run about nine field-style long-range matches a year (the Steel Safari and typically 8 Sporting Rifle matches), so I have had a lot of opportunity to see new shooters enter the sport through the years. My "Practical Long-Range Shooting" series of articles was intended to reflect both my own learning process and the learning process of those other new shooters.

Compared to four years ago, the would-be long-range shooter has a lot more going for him now. There are more and better resources available on the web (I hope to have contributed significantly to that) and there are better off the shelf rifle/scope options available (some costly however).

As you said with "anyone" being able to hit a 2 MOA target at 600 yards-- yes, with a rifle and data set up for it and a sighter or two. However, have them show up fresh and take only one shot, and the percentage of even good shooters who will make a hit on the first round will drop (of course dependent upon conditions). This is the challenge of the Steel Safari and the top shooter typically only gets 65-70% of the first-round hits available.

lobo9er
August 11, 2009, 06:21 PM
not to meny of us get a chance to even shoot at 500 yards, lol :) hunting or target shooting. if you can practice at 500 yards you could really get good, real good! keep it up!

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