Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Vacation and range report

I've been on vacation since last Friday. I'll be going back to work next Tuesday. It's a nice break.

Last weekend we went up to New York state to visit with one of my cousins and his family. He has two daughters -- 6 and 10 -- and my girls got to spend a couple days with them. This is only third time they've met and they get along really well, so we're hoping that they'll be able to come down to PA during Spring Break.

The weather was nice today, upper 40s and sunny, and Judith told me to go shooting. Who am I to argue? I went up to Wicen's with my Century R1a1 FAL and Savage Mark IIGL.

This was the first time I'd had the R1A1 out. You may recall that I had to send it back to Century because the hole in the receiver through which the gas piston passes was off postition, causing the piston to bind. Well, they did in fact fix it. I ran 50 rounds of Australian surplus 7.62 NATO through the rifle, from three different mags, and it ran perfectly with the gas system set to "4." (I didn't even try other settings.) I only shot out to 50 yards, where it was grouping in a bit under 2". Most FALs will shoot into about 4" at 100 yards so I'm fine with the accuracy.

This is my second FAL. The first was a Century L1A1 which I grew to dislike, largely due to the unbelievably loud muzzle brake. Rather than a brake, the new rifle has an American made copy of the Belgian short combo flash suppressor/grenade launcher. Even sans brake, recoil was not bad at all for a rifle shooting 7.62 NATO, and the muzzle blast was not obnoxious.

One thing I noticed upon getting the rifle home was that the Aussie ammo is clean. There were no unburnt powder granules in the bore. I don't think I've ever seen such clean ammo before. I have maybe 80 rounds of it left. Unfortunately, the supply of this seems to have dried up and I'll have to stock up on other 7.62 NATO, likely more of the South African in 140 round battle packs.

I put about 100 rounds through the Savage. This was the first time I'd shot it since rescoping it with my Weaver 4x28mm scope in high rings, which are necessary for the bolt to clear the ocular bell. The ammo I was shooting was CCI .22 LR Subsonic Hollow Point. It's very quiet and accurate stuff. When the crappy Savage trigger didn't cause me to yank the shot, I was able to put them all into well under an inch at 50 yards from a rest. Since my Ruger 10/22 also likes this CCI ammo I am going to place an order from Natchezz for at least 1000 rounds of it.

However, like my 10/22 needed a Power Custom hammer to improve the trigger pull, the Mark IIGL needs an aftermarket replacement trigger. Rifle Basix makes one for the Savage rimfire rifles that should bring the pull down to a couple of pounds with no creep. I will probably order one each for the Mark IIGL and my 93GL in .22 Magnum. (Incidentally, I've already tried a Savage home trigger job I found online. It improved the stock trigger but not enough.)

Why all the fuss about trigger pull? It's very simple. It is extremely difficult to shoot a gun accurately if the trigger pull is heavy, gritty, or too long. The effort expended to get the gun to fire has the side effect of disturbing your aim. This is why target rifles and pistols often have trigger pulls measured in ounces, not pounds. I'm not looking to get a pull that low, but something in the 3 to 3.5 lb range with minimal creep would go a long way to allowing me to extract the last bit of intrisic accuracy from these rifles.

A final observation, this time about optics. The Mark IIGL wears a Weaver 4x28mm rimfire scope. My 10/22 sports a Nikon ProStaff 4x32mm rimfire scope. Having now used both at the range, the Nikon is definitely the better piece of glass. It is brighter and the optics are a bit more clear. The price for each of these scopes is right around the $110 - $120 range, depending upon where you get it. So, while in the past I've recommended the Weaver to folks looking for a good .22 scope, from now on I'm going to recommend the Nikon.


DanS said...

"The weather was nice today, upper 40s and sunny..."

When you said nice, I assume you were referring to the sunny part and not the upper 40s part.

If you should ever see me post anything that says temps in the upper 40s are nice, call the police because I have either been kidnapped and someone else is posting or I taken leave of my senses and need another kind of help.

Aloha and Happy New Year!


Anonymous said...

Hey Dave,

Uh, I have very little idea what you are talking about with the network stuff. You are still about 5 years ahead of me. LOL. Good to hear the kiddlies are doing well. I finally got around to updating Charlie and Lillian's sites so check them out.

I think you need to invent the first ever rifle erector set, so that one could mix and match different parts, no danger there. haha.

Check you later bro.