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Always learning

26 Jun 2019
@ 08:16 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

A couple of things revealed from my latest range session.

I finally got the results I was hoping for with the 5R and factory ammo. I tried some ‘cheap’ Aussie Outback 168gr MatchKing loads and got a series of .5 MOA groups. Velocity was good at 2700fps on the nose. Interesting observation that I shot better groups prone over a pack than off the bench with sandbags. Probably technique, as I haven’t been on the bench much over the last few years.

Second thing I found out was that my new Model 7 .223 showed my the flaws in my shooting technique. Hard to believe? Maybe, but over the course of 18 rounds the group size varied from 2.25 - 1.1”. Most of the variance was horizontal. I had to work super hard behind the rifle to get good groups! My gut feel is the 6lb 15oz all up weight, short stock and super slender stock proportions weren’t helping. Shooting 75gr BTHP Hornady ammo, I was truly surprised at the movement of the rifle under recoil.
This just reinforces Nathan’s point about stock mass versus weight. Wish I could get a 5R shaped stock for the Model 7! Secondly, there’s a chance that it’s not the gun, it’s probably you.....

The reality - The following day the .223 rolled a deer over, in the bush at 20-odd yards. The 75gr Hornady bullets were brilliant, and I appreciated carrying
it on the walk out fully loaded with meat.

Replies

27 Jun 2019
@ 09:25 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Always learning
reading that..... couple of things came to mind.
the mod7 is a short light rifle designed to be carried all day and shot at game... perfect for a bush hobbit.... maybe not so flash as a dedicated range beastie.
improving your technique will help with the short n light rifles too...possibly even more than with the heavy ones.
enjoy your venison.
27 Jun 2019
@ 09:44 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Always learning
Thanks Mike, making some prosciutto with one of the legs as an experiment, see how that goes?!?

You’re right about short and light, that’s exactly why I bought it, plus it’s good for the whole family to use with the shorter length of pull. I just found it interesting how I had to work just as hard (if not more) to shoot the wee .223 than the .308 that theoretically has twice the recoil. Showed me how the 5R is designed the way it is for good reason.

At the end of the day, 1moa is more than enough accuracy for a cartridge that will be used to only 200yds. But you know what us gun nuts are like, always trying to get the best performance possible!
04 Jul 2019
@ 11:38 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Always learning
I learned today that if you don't hold the rifle properly, you get a scope in the bridge of your nose. Not once, not twice, but three times. Apparently, I am a slow learner.
04 Jul 2019
@ 04:22 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: Always learning
Coming eye-to-eye with a scope happened to me long ago
in Alaska while shooting a scoped Mannlicher. Hasn't happened
since.
04 Jul 2019
@ 07:29 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Always learning
Just last weekend I watched a guy sighting in his new .308 SPS stainless at the range. Places down his tacticool pack and gets set up behind the rifle. Fore end laying over the pack unsupported, shooting cross arm style. I noticed the old scope had about two inches eye relief, and sure enough as the hammer drops, old mate gets a good kiss on the brow. Saw it coming from miles away.
It was a shame as there were a few guys trying to give legitimate helpful advice that fell on deaf ears.
05 Jul 2019
@ 06:09 am (GMT)

Robert McLean

Re: Always learning
Opened up my eyebrow shooting a moose when I was a young man. Bled lots and for a while. Was leaning the gun against a tree. Luckily I didn't need a follow up shot. Lesson learned...
07 Jul 2019
@ 01:11 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Always learning
Or I could just put another scope on it with an additional inch of the all important eye relief. Never thought about that. Getting old sucks.
07 Jul 2019
@ 10:29 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Always learning
There are two very good elements to this thread which others can learn from and should take note of.

Nick has described the difficulty of holding a very small and light rifle versus the level of accuracy he is trying to obtain. Factors such as heart rate and breathing will be effecting results. Stresses from his working week will show as errors in his technique. Nick needs to be aware that a proportion of his accuracy issues may be from the ammo, especially the black ammo with steel cases which suffers quite a bit of velocity deviation. Note also that he is not having issues with felt recoil, but is instead noticing the smaller potential issues while trying to maintain a very steady hold using a slender rig.

A lot of the rifles we see now have child-like proportions. They are actually quite good for training kids although the butt stocks can be too long. But with soft loads, the rigs can be put to work and a youngster can obtain inch to inch and a half accuracy from the likes of the M7 and Ruger American. The child can obtain a full handful of the stock just ahead of the mag well and the guns sit well over little youth sized day packs. Simple examples for kids utilizing the Ruger American include:223, .243 using Hodgdon H4895 / ADI 2206H reduced load data, 6.5 Creedmoor using Hodgdon reduced load rules, the .450 Bushmaster (remove the face slapping muzzle brake!), loaded with the 185gr Sierra or XTP HP bullets over 15 to 16 grains Trail boss, 1300 to 1400fps (come up 10 MOA to zero at 100 versus regular load). All loads to be used at close ranges (say 150 yards for 223, .243 and Creedmoor taking shot placement error into consideration). Each of these can be a pile of fun to work with.

If we go up in body size (women, average height and build) along with an increase in power (7mm-08 and .308), the systems can begin to fall over. The forend may be just OK for a full 'handful' but this is not always so. If the butt stock is long, this should really be cut down a bit for long term use which can ease a lot of problems. Youth rifles should also be cut down but as we all know, kids grow fast and for the sake of economy, downloading mum or dads gun can be easier. But there comes a point where it is time to set up the LOP properly. With the LOP corrected (in this example shortened to suit an adult woman), the scope should then be shifted forwards, well out of the shooters face, even if this means the adoption of a picatinny rail. As an aside, I should also mention here that hollow plastic butt stocks are the hardest to alter as these require filling with expanding foam followed by an inch thick cap of epoxy which can be screwed into (butt pad screws). Wood and laminates are the easiest to shorten. Old black plastic oil drums can be cut up and used as spacers to rebuild the LOP if the rifle has to be altered back to its longer LOP. Note that none of this work can help overcome the terrible forend designs we are now seeing on modern rifles. Nevertheless, awareness of potential issues can help us. Forend control issues needs to be driven home for the sake of proficiency.

Potent chamberings obviously magnify these effects. Lets say a guy wants a welter weight gun for back packing to far reaches. The gun is to be chambered for a potent round, .30-06 or heavier. The LOP is correct as delivered from the factory but the forend is very slender and also very short. The gun may have to be put into action fast (bear) without hearing protection so it won't have a brake, nor any other add-ons to help keep it trim. The one factor he needs to be mindful of is that the slightest deviation in technique will alter his POI. This is not so bad for close range work but if he wants to take a successful ridge to ridge shot, he needs muscle memory. My rule of thumb is this - if you finish a practice day at the range and your fingers are not aching from holding the welter weight, you simply don't have what it takes to use these rigs at distance with consistency (not to my standards anyway). The same goes the following morning. If you wake up after a day of practice and your fingers are not aching, then it was no more than a piss around. Do the job right (see long range shooting book) and you will develop the muscle memory needed to put a fly weight to use under a variety of field conditions. It will never be optimal, its a compromise gun, but we can learn to get by.

By the same token, don't be fooled by gun manufacturers BS websites. More often than not, the fly weights are a compromise - you get by. They are not optimal. Believing the BS on the modern gun review blogs is tantamount to being bent over and saying yes sir, please fill me up with adwords.

I went over optic mounting in the book series but it remains an ongoing issue. The number one problem I want each of you to be aware of, is that both gun and optic manufacturers tend to position their optics incorrectly. Unfortunately, we are being subconsciously programmed to mount to these positions. So yet again, the first step is awareness, you may have mounted the scope via subconscious programming. Consider nearly all gun / optic / blog websites as being potential BS when it comes to optic mounting, regardless of how ridiculous this might sound. Use the mounting techniques in the books, in our video learning series or simply take note of our current youtube vids.

A second issue with optics is brand names. I still see guys hung up on brands. Perhaps it is peer pressure, who knows. The trouble is, if the scope only has 2.5 to 3.5" eye relief and you mount that on your piddle weight magnum gun, it will cut you open at some stage and you will (whether cut up or not) end up with a flinch. You will go on to tell all of your friends how potent this cartridge is that you are using - "behold - the 7mm Remington Magnum, the most manly of cartridges". In the mean time, my wife is off down the valley with a .358 Norma, thinking about getting the shot she wants before its time to head out and collect Riley from the bus stop, not once thinking about cartridge power or recoil. So basically, you will pay a pile of money for a branded scope that is going to cut you up and bugger your technique long term. Simple stuff- plain as day, once you have a true understanding of the subject.

At the moment, I am shooting a 750 grain bullet at 2400fps. I can assure you that this rifle / load combo feels as though it is knocking my ass clean off my shooting bench. The optic? A basic Sightron S-Tac 4-20 MOA. This is a budget optic and perhaps not the ideal recommendation for a premium rig. The point is, its holding together far better than other brands and is maintaining its zero in the field, delivering far more than I should expect from it.

Some very good points in this thread. Quite often, its not the power of the cartridge that effects accuracy and or felt recoil. The stock design and scope are (up to a point) the most influential factors along with technique. Shooting technique has a major effect on how we perceive stock proportions and optics. Poor technique will generally lead to a poor understanding and choices of stock design and optics - we simply cannot tell good from bad with any measure of authority. If a gun is set up well, it will help to guide the shooter in a more natural way towards good technique. Conversely, if we have good technique to begin with, we will set our rifles up accordingly.

Don't for a moment think that you are doing your wife a favor by fitting a brake to a gun. She may not be as fully versed in self bullshitting as your mates are who have learned to ignore the fact the concussion slap (and powder burns) from their brakes has given them a flinch. Cutting threads on a light weight narrow diameter muzzle is also a recipe for steel warping disasters, as is fluting. When you buy these little guns, you get what you get. Aftermarket stocks are the best fix for these guns but we are not always in a position to afford these options. The one thing you can afford while saving for a decent stock is good technique. As for other add-ons, you would probably get more joy from a bubble level mounted on a cock ring. Keep it real.

Again, a good thread guys, thanks to Nick and Paul for the open sharing, it will help inspire others towards a better awareness of what they are getting into.


07 Jul 2019
@ 05:26 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Always learning
Nathan has brought up another observation that I hadn’t previously mentioned with my wee M7; POI change. Last time I took it out for more testing, the POI had moved 1.5” down despite using precisely the same factory ammunition. I had on a previous range session set the scope for 1.75” height at 100yds, but this time around it was damn near right on zero!
The next observation, more about the internet and other shooters..... As I guess a lot of us do, I spend a bit of time checking out opinions and tests etc on the net. After my experience with my M7, I started to wonder if I was a just a rubbish shot, or if everyone else was taking the piss. The beauty of Nathan’s books and this forum is that it gives you the tools and confidence to know what’s real and what isn’t. Given my experiences with this wee rifle, I’m just not sure I can believe anyone’s claims on how small a group they can shoot with their ultralight machine. I’m an ok shooter. Not really good neither really bad. The variation in group size from best to worst with the 5R is .25” However for the M7 it is more like 1.25”. Is technique a factor? Sure is. Could Nathan Foster shoot better groups with it than me? You bet he could! But the fact is, as stated here and in the book series MASS in the stock is the major problem. After shooting my proper rifle (the 5R) the M7 stock is like trying to shoot a holding onto a stick insect..... Too small in the hands, too light yo settle into a rest and correspondingly just too damn ‘twitchy’
It appears to also be fouling heavily which isn’t helping, but the fact is the wee machine make it tough to be consistent. For no other reason but yo experiment and prove the point, I’m contemplating building a stock from scratch, and base if of something like my 5R or a sendero.
It won’t be fancy, but it will be functional and that’s the important bit. If I build it I’ll be sure to document it all on the forum for the interest of others.

Lastly, I have learned over the last few years that EVERYTHING in life is a compromise. 5R is no bs accurate and consistent, compromise is the carry. M7 is a delight to walk with, compromise is exactly what we’ve been discussing here. The only question, is this the compromise that Im willing to make?
08 Jul 2019
@ 02:21 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Always learning
And "there's the rub". Use information from people who know of what they speak. (Not me.) Being the lazy sob that I am, I was switching the same scope between the 30-06 and the 300WM. Easy to do, accurate enough for load development. I did have it set fully forward and on the -'06, it had plenty of eye relief. But on the mag, the 3 - 3.5" wasn't quite enough. " EVERYTHING in life is a compromise.", mine was that I knew it was going to kiss me eventually, and I accepted that and carried on with my day. Next time, I will take the other scope with the extra 1/2" of relief because I may be a slow learner, but I'm not stupid.
08 Jul 2019
@ 04:29 am (GMT)

Frank Vallich

Re: Always learning
After purchasing, reading Nathan's "Books" and then implementing corrections to the hardware and practicing the physical techniques repeatedly for muscle memory my POI is most satisfying.

First I proved the hardware was functioning.

Then the control mechanism, the body(muscle memory), required shaping up.
From the Book the following points improved my POI to satisfaction. Be it open sights or scoped. It took a while for the mind to follow the complete firing of a cartridge. I knew I was getting close when I could finally see the bullet impacting the paper and reload a cartridge under control.

From the Book:

Our body needs to form a stable triangle: Elbows wide, body and shoulders low.
Prior to shooting keep your finger off the damned trigger.
Good forend hold is critical.
Sound forend hold combined with the use of a sling can greatly enhance accuracy and reduce felt recoil.
Use your arms to form a stable triangle.
Get wide and low.
Once you are centered on target you can then place your trigger finger on the side of the trigger. From here your trigger pull will be a slow curl onto the trigger shoe. Slow and steady. Think gradual.

All of the above is crucial and the importance of physical strength cannot be dismissed. Strength training. However it happens it needs to be done for control of the hardware. Have experienced the kiss of death yet here I sit. Never been kissed by the hardware I control.
09 Jul 2019
@ 08:26 am (GMT)

bryan long

Re: Always learning
Does the bubble for the cock ring go on the vertical or horizontal????

Asking for a friend not for myself.
09 Jul 2019
@ 08:49 am (GMT)

bryan long

Re: Always learning
What I get from the books is, Every detail, every step matters.
09 Jul 2019
@ 03:10 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Always learning
Exactly right, Bryan. After all, it is a learning process.

As for the bubble, all you have to check is that there is no cant. I said cant.
15 Jul 2019
@ 08:30 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Always learning
After almost beginning the process of building a new stock for the little Model 7, I thought better of it and decided to use the rifle as a yardstick of my shooting technique. Rather than hide any technique shortcomings with a change to the equipment, why not practice practice practice until I can get consistent results from the machine. It can only help shooting the long range rig ultimately.
Having now read the complete book set, I wish I could go back in time to the custom .260 I had that was a ‘lemon’ It was built to the highest spec (shilen barrel, trued M700, McMillan edge, Timney trigger) I was batching cases, neck turning, full case prep, using Redding competition dies but couldn’t bust below 1 MOA groups. The cure? Probably a sling, a book by Foster, a bit more range time and a healthy dose of reality....
28 Jul 2019
@ 09:58 pm (GMT)

Nick Dawson

Re: Always learning
On the way back from a great morning hunting I put down a three shot group with the Model Seven .223. Cracked out a neat 0.8 MOA group with the precise P.O.I that I wanted/expected. Just focused intently on the first principles, and happy days!
29 Jul 2019
@ 01:02 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Always learning
Nicely done, Nick.
 

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