@ 10:29 am (GMT)
Nathan FosterThere 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.