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Long Range - Iron Sights - Old School

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by JustsayMo, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Well-Known Member

    Range = 800 yards, conditions variable wind from left mostly, sometimes right at us, occasionally down slope.
    Sights - Montana Vintage Arms tang sight mounted on a Marlin 336 Cowboy in caliber 38-55 Win.

    A friend of mine is incrementally ratcheting up my long range reality with every visit to his ranch. I was still wrapping my mind around 600 yards from my last visit and this time we headed right out to the 800 yard line. 800 yards involves some hiking and he had everything prepared upon my arrival and we marched out to the 800 yard line.



    Being ace camera guys (not) we really upped our game and took a tripod with us to film the proceedings. Here's our state of the art filming set up...


    Here is my friend getting ready to take on the 800 yard Dinger, which is really the 400 yard dinger with another 400 yards tacked onto where you plant your butt. The dinger is near the small tree just to the left of and out beyond the row of bigger trees in the upper right hand corner. WAY out there - it was a mere spec on the front sight post.



    We walked the shots in. the first shot landed about 50 yards short so he made an elevation adjustment on the MVA sight. The next hit the foot of the target stand! By the next shot he had the elevation and now it was a matter of out guessing the wind which varied in both intensity and direction.

    Once he had rained down a number of shots using the sticks and had the sight setting dialed in he decides to take on the 800 yard dinger OFFHAND!


    This photo was taken seconds after an 800 yard offhand hit on the dinger. Notice the suppressed smile. I'm not sure if it was disbelief or what but we both laughed out loud once it sunk in that he rung that dinger (LOUD) OFFHAND!


    Not one to rest on his laurels, he loaded another five and sure enough, he hit it again... :D

    Next it's my turn, here is some video of my first attempts at 800. Sorry for the poor quality audio but the wind messed with the mic.

    YouTube - Marlin 336, 38-55 Win, 800 yard dinger

    We burned through 120 rounds of 38-55 on the 800 yard dinger and I learned a lot.
    -800 yards is a LONG ways!
    -The 400 yard dinger looks small at 400 yards. It looks tiny at 800. It's about the size of a chair... maybe a little shorter.
    -The Ding takes even longer to get back to us but you CAN hear it.
    -It is difficult to shoot AND it is difficult to spot at that range.
    -Even with good feedback - dirt splash, visual of impact, positive ring - the wind might push the next shot 3 feet off with the same hold.
    -I sent at least ten Offhand at it and at best could only come close. My friend, at worst only came close and hit it twice!
    -Good glass is a must! A good spotting scope would have helped. The bino's were good but a hit could only be confirmed by sound from that distance. We had a number of probables but until we walked up to the dinger didn't know for sure.

    Once all the 38-55 ammo was sent down range and about a half mile of walking each way was done, we realized there were some more primers left undented on our belts :D ;) Since the correct answer to the most asked question - "You got anymore?" - is yes! We shot what we had in our side arms and on our belts at the 400 yard dinger from the 400 yard line.... ;D ;D


    This required some serious hold over. His 44 special Bisley Blackhawk rung it on the first shot and again on the next cylinder. My 45 Colt New Vaquero had it surrounded but failed to make it clang... :-[ but man was it fun trying ;D ;D

    We resisted getting the Marlin 39's out which was about the only thing we had ammo left for and figured we already had more fun than is legal in most states and we better save it for later.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  2. rduckwor

    rduckwor Well-Known Member

    Good for the two of you! You're better men than I. Not sure I could see 800 yards much less hit anything out there.

  3. Oceans

    Oceans Well-Known Member

    BRAVO! Well done, and that is a good looking Marlin there too. I can see you know how to handle your gear. Smart to wear braces(suspenders) rather than just a waistbelt, and they make wearing the gun belt so much easier, good looking "Threepersons" type holster too.
  4. General Geoff

    General Geoff Well-Known Member

  5. 68wj

    68wj Well-Known Member

    Good shooting in gorgeous country makes for a great day:D
  6. whalerman

    whalerman member

    Extremely enjoyable posting.
  7. John Wayne

    John Wayne Well-Known Member

    Wow, I would love to be able to shoot there! Most outdoor ranges around here are mud pits strewn with propane tanks, old TV's, and other things people have shot.

    What kind of groups do you get with that rifle at 100 yards?
  8. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    800 yard target is size of a "chair?"

    That would make it about the same size as the aiming black on an NRA Long Range target.

    ...so size of the 7 ring?

    sounds like lots of fun
  9. alemonkey

    alemonkey Well-Known Member

    Awesome....I have a 38-55 Martini being built for me. I love those old straight wall rifle cartridges.
  10. Ridgerunner665

    Ridgerunner665 Well-Known Member

    Hey...I think I recognize you guys from somewhere.
  11. sledhead76

    sledhead76 Well-Known Member

    Great pictures and an awesome narrative! And a beautiful range as well, I'm jealous!
  12. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a lot of fun and a good learning experience. And that sir, is an afternoon well spent.

    I once found one of you guys with the Quigleys at the local range near my dad's place in Troy, MT. He was only shooting at 300 yards but the size of the target (steel rooster) was small enough that it still earned an approving nod from everyone on the range each time he ran steel.

    I've taken my M1A out to 600 yards on point targets with iron sights. I thought it was an accomplishment when I managed to score hits my first time out at that range. Adding another 200 yards is exponentially more difficult, so congrats.

    Here's a look down the powerline maintenance road where I did my shooting. The far side where the road starts heading back up is about a mile away, with the crest of the far ridge being in the neighborhood of 2000 yards. My target is about 600 yards (613 according the to rangefinder, IIRC) down the right-hand tree line.


    And here's the camera zoomed all the way in. You can barely see the target sitting off to the right of the road near the second pole up from the bottom. Look for the paper plate...


    And the results--10 shot string, sitting, M1A Loaded, 147 gr S&B FMJBTs:


    So yeah, shooting long range with iron sights is a challenge, but it is a lot of fun and I think it does a lot to improve one's confidence and proficiency with a rifle. Ranges that intimidate most shooters with iron sights begin to look downright easy pretty quickly.
  13. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Well-Known Member

    WEG: the dinger is 20" wide by 32" tall.

    JW wrote:

    The rifles will do better than the nuts behind them... Less than 2" typically and sometimes right at 1" for a five shot group. Another friend of ours shoots sub 1" groups with his 336 Cowboy in 38-55 off the bench.

    Another major factor is the loads. His will shoot a .379" sized bullet. Mine needs a .380". With a .379" my group size doubles.

    I'd really like to find a mold in the 250 - 270 grain range with a gas check. I think I can drive them a little faster. The Lee 379-250 RF I'm shooting now (mostly) will shoot the first 15 or so shots well at 1500 fps but starts to degrade due to leading after that.

    MTM wrote:
    VERY well said MTM
  14. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    I can't even SEE that far out!
  15. husker

    husker Well-Known Member

    i cnt find the paper plate
  16. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Well-Known Member

    That's very impressive shooting. I'm just getting past 400yds myself. I hate the wind.
  17. herkyguy

    herkyguy Well-Known Member

    I shoot my M1a Standard out to 563 yards at a truck tire. I've struck a fire extinguisher propped up against the tire, but not with any consistency. If i keep my shots inside the tire, i leave quite happy for the day. There is something really cool about pulling the trigger, feeling the recoil, then looking up and seeing the impact downrange toss up some sand.

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