Beginning Long Range (For Me) w/ Iron Sights

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by DMW1116, May 30, 2021.

  1. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    I finally got peppy enough to shoot out past 100 yards with my A4 clone. I was shooting handloads with 55 grain FMJ Hornady bullets at about 3000 fps. I had sighted in at 2.5” high at 100 yards aiming for about 3” at 150 yards, which was the planned maximum trajectory height. I was able to keep 8 of 9 on a 12” target at 200 yards. I have no idea where the 9th shot went. It didn’t hit the surrounding cardboard 18”x24” backing. It didn’t hit my 12” target. It didn’t hit one of the target legs, which is typically where most misses land. It’s possible it went through one of the other bullet holes but I couldn’t find it. This was from a bench, which is the only way we can shoot rifles at the facility I used. Not counting the mystery shot, I could hold about 4-4.5 inch groups.

    This seems ok for the first try but I imagine there are many that can keep all their shots in the 3” bullseye. Part of this exercise was to test the elevation drum on my carry handle, which seems to work fine. The groups are really to big to judge more than just saying higher or lower or maybe a little more left or right.
     
  2. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    4.0" - 4.5" groups at 200 yds. from an iron sighted rifle are nothing to sneeze at. Good job!!

    The further you shoot, the more critical how shoot the rifle becomes. Things like natural point of aim, cheek weld, sight picture, et al. are of paramount importance. In my experience the best and easiest way to learn is to participate in High Power competition. I competed locally several years ago and when I started, I just thought I knew how to shoot. There were some guys in our club that taught me the principles I mentioned above and that completely changed how I shoot and how well I shoot.

    So hang in there and keep at it!!

    jHvyu4Nl.jpg

    35W
     
  3. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    2 moa with that bullet is pretty good. There's a reason you don't see FMJ at benchrest matches.
     
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  4. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    That’s true. I had figured my eyesight and shooting ability would be more limiting than my bullet choice, but all of it adds up. As soon as I can find more powder, I want to try some different bullets, but for now I have a fair supply of these. This load shoots a pretty good from my scoped 223 also.

    Which brings up the question, how much better, if any, could I shoot if I were to use a scope? Would it be better to try different loads with a scope for load development or is it better to test the same way I plan to shoot?

    Next time I want to move down to an 8” target and see how that goes. Maybe a smaller target will give me a better focal point, or I’ll just miss more.
     
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  5. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    Is that a 30-06 using cast bullets at 1450 fps? That’s the kind of thing I’d love to try with my uncles Enfield. I plan to start with my 336 in 30-30. It’s encouraging to see cast loads capable of such accuracy. A reduced load on the old Enfield sounds good too.
     
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  6. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    The key to shooting irons is the ability to get a precise and consistent sight picture. For me if I have a bullseye that's the same width as my front sight I can shoot pretty good.
    I have an A2 set up for service match with a WOA built upper IMHO shooting irons is a rewarding endeavor but optics have their place too.
     
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  7. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    I kind of view irons like I view bows for hunting. If you hunt for fun, bow hunting seems more challenging and ultimately enjoyable. If you hunt because you’re hungry, you need a gun. If I need to hit the target I use optics of some sort on rifles. If I’m doing it for fun I like irons.
     
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  8. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    Agree 1000% the last pig I shot it would have been impossible to tell what I was aiming at without some magnification.
     
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  9. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    Yes, that's a 1903A3 I sold some time back. A few weeks ago I found a Smith Corona 1903A3 in a pawn shop that someone had bedded into a really nice sporter stock and it's a shooter too.

    FVTNHeml.jpg YmS7agNl.jpg 0SIw3Gqh.jpg

    I haven't worked on it at 200 yds. yet. I'm in the process of getting a "correct" stock to put it in.

    But these old rifles seem to love cast bullets.

    Regarding sights vs. scopes, it's not much different than a bow vs. rifle; you just learn to hunt differently. I shoot at least one deer every year for meat and can't remember the last time I used a scoped rifle. It's been either an open sighted lever rifle or a revolver.

    35W
     
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  10. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    Kind of straying from the OP but I think that learning to shoot flintlock rifles helped my long range shooting more than anything else I have done because of the delay between squeezing the trigger and the actual powder ignition causes you to hold the sight picture longer.
     
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  11. 35 Whelen
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    35 Whelen Contributing Member

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    @Steel Horse Rider you're not straying at all, and what you described when shooting a flintlock is called follow through. It means staying in the aim after the shot has been released.

    Thanks for bringing that up!

    35W
     
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  12. PonyKiller

    PonyKiller Member

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    The follow through is an underrated portion of practice in my opinion. As it was described to me by my father and uncle in later years, its part of the patience and self control of practice that helps you not to rush things the. Kind of "slow is smooth and smooth is fast"mentality. My uncle told me with the rifled shotguns and sabots, if I follow through correctly I could see the sabot drop in the scope. As soon. Once I did and kept the technique I cut my slug gun groups almost in half, I think part of it is focusing on something more other than the recoil on something that kicks like s slug gun.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2021
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  13. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    I went back and looked at some older targets using a scoped rifle and factory ammo and I was shooting about the same. I haven’t tried it, but I think that rifle would hold 2 to 2.5 inch groups at 200 yards with hand loads using match bullets. I have a few 77 grain Match Kings to spare so I plan to try them in the A4 clone and see if that shrinks things down. That’s way easier than just practicing like I should, though both load and skill are important. It will be a couple weeks before I get to try them.
     
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  14. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    From an article on BPCR load development:
    What to do with leftovers from the previous batch?
    Shoot them, you need the offhand practice anyhow.
     
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  15. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    Ok so back to a 12” target. I tried an 8” target today and went 1 for 7 at 200 yards. I’m glad I was the only one there.
     
  16. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    I went back to 100 yards and rezeroed the sights. They were quite a bit to the right, about 2 inches. This would have put them off the right edge of the target at 200, though the left most shots would have been on the target, which is what happened. Now the sights are dead on windage wise.

    I’ll have to work on elevation just a bit next time. It’s about 3” high at 100 yards. I’m using a detachable carry handle sight and F marked front sight/gas block assembly. Based on all my research, one click on the elevation post on the front sight gives about 1.25” of movement at 100 yards. Based on my shooting today, the windage knob gives about an inch per click at 100 yards.
     
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  17. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Honestly, I can shoot peeps about as good out to 300 yds or so as I can a <4x scope. Higher magnification, of course, starts to take over after that. Shooting long distance is simply a skill to be learned.
     
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  18. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    The range I usually go to goes out to 200 yards but ultimately my goal is to be able to regularly hit out to 300. I still need to try some different bullets for this rifle.

    I used a fairly thin front blade on another rifle today and was wondering if a thinner post would work on this rifle?
     
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  19. czhen

    czhen Member

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    The only reason I don't buy a Miroku Winchester in 30.06 or 308 is the lack of iron sight.
     
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  20. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    I feel today’s rifles often come with what I’d call vestigial iron sights, like the little left over claw on some large constrictor snakes. There are some very sophisticated iron sight systems that often cost more than a decent scope. I’m very close to getting a KNS front sight aperture just to satisfy my curiosity.
     
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  21. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    There is a theory I've explored... the idea of holding your target even after you fire the shot. Many years ago I read an article by Ross Seyfried about regaining your sight picture even after the recoil impulse is over. After that, I started paying attention to how I was shooting... and I noticed that if I was only making one shot, I tended to pull off the rifle, or drop the sight picture on the pistol almost before the bullet left the barrel (exaggeration, but you get what I'm saying.) Forcing myself to slow down, and stay on the target materially improved my accuracy, and particularly on rifles.

    Shooting firearms with a slow ignition... flintlocks... and slow lock time... some single actions, would certainly benefit from holding your sights, but even something as benign as an AR, too.
     
  22. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Say what?
     
  23. czhen

    czhen Member

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    Charlie98, Miroku new production M70 the caliber that I'm interested lacks of iron sight, very few models comes from factory; nowadays chasing an used one is practically impossible.
     
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  24. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    That's about what I've been able to get from my Ruger GSR at 200 yards.... With a 2.5X scout scope. So I think you're doing pretty well with irons. It's all relative of course.
     
  25. DMW1116

    DMW1116 Member

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    Is that the Gunsite Scout? I handled one and it’s nice, but it was in 223 and I was after a 308. The sights it came with were pretty good though. I’m not sure how to feel about scout style scopes. I’ve never used one.
     
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