Monday, July 09, 2007

Mini Vacation

Last week I took advantage of the fact that Wednesday was a company holiday by blowing off work on Thursday and Friday to get a long weekend. It was a nice, refreshing break.

It rained cats and dogs, but we still barbecued on the Fourth. I was able to get the food cooked during a lull in the rain.

Thursday the weather was mixded, some sun, some rain, so I took a trip up to Dixon's Muzzleloading Shop in Kempton, and then Cabela's in Hamburg. I managed to keep my credit cards in my wallet but I did pick up a new ramrod along with some tips at Dixon's for my M1717 French musket. At Cabela's I got a spare mag for my Savage 93GL, a hooded zip-up sweatshirt for the Fall, and one or two other items.

The weather finally cleared up on Friday, although the temps were in the low 90s. I hit the range along with my pseudonymous friends GeekWithA.45, Egregious Charles, and Argentium G. Tiger. Geek is supposed to post a range report so I'll just cover what I shot.

We went to the Geek's club where thankfully, the firing points are covered, so we didn't have to shoot in the sun.

We met at the Geek's house and took my Expedition down to the range. Between the four of us we had enough guns and gear to fill the cargo area up to just past the top of the rear bench seat. Geek took a picture but I don't have a copy yet, but it was pretty impressive looking.

Anyway, I finally got to shoot the aforementioned M1717 musket. I bought it last Fall at Dixon's. It was made in India and imported by Middlesex Village Trading Company.

I shot the musket at 25 yards using a load of 80 grains of FFg GOEX, a cast .662" ball, and a .015" thick cotton patch by Ox Yoke. I used Ox Yoke Wonder Lube (same thing as T/C Bore Butter) to lube the patches. The balls was pretty snug, so I'm going to try either a smaller ball or thinner patching.

I fired around 15 shots, getting no misifires or hangfires. The Indian-made lock sparks really well and the touch hole is placed exactly where it's supposed to be, just above the level of the pan. Ignition of the main charge is quick.

My group was about 6" at 25 yards offhand. That sounds horrible but considering that (a) the musket has no rear sight, only a bayonet mounting lug that doubles as a front sight, and (b) the trigger pull is close to 20 lbs., I'm not complaining. The group was centered a little to the left and below my point of aim. I need to get the trigger pull reduced considerably, which I'm sure will help my groups. I also need to do some load development, as the gun may group better with a different combination of powder charge, patch, or ball.

After finishing on the pistol range we headed to the 100 yard rifle range. I brought along my Colt AR-15A3 Tactical Carbine with its new IOR Valdada 3x32mm CQB scope. I'm happy with the combination.

Since I'd previously laser boresighted the scope at about 25 yards, I was already on the SR-1 target at 100, but about 6" high and 6" left. It was short work to get the scope zeroed. I ran 120 rounds of Federal American Eagle 55 grain FMJBT and 40 rounds of Wolf 55 grain JHP through the gun with zero malfunctions. I used two DSG Arms black Teflon-coated 30 rounders (made by D&H), 1 pre-ban Simmonds 20 round, and 1 pre-ban Adventurline 20 round mag.

I was pleased to see the gun run OK with the Wolf ammo. Compared to the American Eagle, it was quite a bit underloaded, impacting the target about 5" low at 100 yards. The last time I shot Wolf in the Colt was shortly after I got it in 2004, and I got several bolt-over-base failures to feed. It may have been due to the mag I used that day, or it may have been that the rifle needed to be broken in a bit. In any event, it looks like I'll be able to use cheap Wolf for practice now. Wolf .223 ammo is underloaded and the bullets don't fragment, so it would be low on my list of potential SHTF ammo, but it's fine for practice.

By the way, I don't buy into the "Wolf will break your extractor" thing. Even if it does, the difference in the cost of a case of Wolf and a case of American Eagle pays for many replacement extractors. I've seen worse brass cased ammo, e.g., Olympic.

After we finished shooting we retired to Geek's house where GeeketteWithA9 had marinated some steaks for us to BBQ when we got back.

The rest of the weekend wasn't as loud. {grin} Saturday we had a birthday party for Amanda, who turned three on Friday. Yesterday I grilled up some sirloins and salmon steaks to wrap up the weekend.

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