A Day of Learning at the Range

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Oct 5, 2011
Southeast Texas
So, spent a couple hours at the range yesterday and managed to learn a few things. These are 5 shot groups, and were not shot extremely fast, about 1-3 minutes between shots. First, I will post a picture of my final target so that when I allude to it, you aren't having to try to imagine what I am talking about :p


My first target was the center diamond, and my cold bore shot actually took out the top tip of the bullseye. I was hoping that it was going to be the start of a really great day! I don't handload, so it wasn't a load development day or anything, just a day to relax and put some rounds downrange before heading back to college this weekend. Anyways, my second shot impacted just low right of my first and then 3, 4, and 5 followed about a half inch below that to round the group out at around 1.5".... not what I was hoping for, and I know the rifle was capable of better.

Anyways, after my final 3 shots of my first group impacted about a minute low of my POA, I corrected for a minute of elevation before firing my second group (lower left diamond). I also let the rifle cool for about 15 minutes. After the cool down period, I fired my first shot; perfect bullseye. Again, feeling pretty good. Second shot; touching the first. After my second shot however, a R to L wind picked up, and I did take notice, however, I did not know how much it would affect the trajectory, so I did not try to account for it for this group. Shots 3, 4, and 5 impacted about a minute left, but with good elevation so I was happy overall.

The wind did not let up for the rest of the trip, but I also did not want to adjust my scope to account for it. I wanted to shoot, and have a target so that I could see how much the wind (that I estimated to be staying around 10-15 mph) affected POI when my POA stayed constant. After the trip, all of these targets were copied into my data book, and I think that overall it was a much better learning experience than if I were to go out and shoot 5 sub-MOA groups. I also think that it was interesting to see that even though the barrel was fouled prior to going to the range, after my initial "cold bore" shot and shot immediately following, my 1 minute elevation change stayed constant. Does anyone have any other reason as to why that may be? Was it just due to the barrel temp? Or the additional fouling possibly? Or even both?

ETA: I forgot to add, the shot to the bottom left of the group shot at the top right diamond was a called flier on my part. Measured as part of the group, but not a mess up induced by the gun, ammunition, or environment. That one was definitely on me. There were several shots that I didn't feel great about after pulling the trigger, but that was probably one of the worst; even before checking where it impacted.
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all of your reasoning sounds logical, and...all in all some great shooting. I would guess that your cold barrel is just fine! it goes right where you want it. possible heat (pressure on the barrel from the stock?)and/or fouling, but those groups are very respectable, you don't state caliber or bullet weight. that can make a difference! you said you don't reload so you're kind of stuck with whatever you get from the store until you find the best load for your gun. also temp as well as wind will have an effect on your results. those groups are plenty good for hunting! if all you do is punch paper, and you want tighter groups, it's time to reload.
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Sorry, forgot those little details! It is my fairly new Remington 700 SPS Varmint .308. I was shooting Federal Gold Medal Match 168 gr SMKs. It was the first time that I have shot the gun in windy conditions, but every other time that I have taken it out with FGMM it has averaged around .8" groups. I'm excited to get into hand loading, but until then, I am extremely satisfied with FGMM.

Sent from my HTC One X
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