Monday, September 14, 2009

Range Day

We had a beautiful day yesterday and I was able to get out to the range for about an hour and a half. I brought a few toys with me: my Old Model Ruger Single Six in .22 LR, Ruger 50th Anniversary Blackhawk in .357, and my Remington 870 Wingmaster.

I started off with the Wingmaster since I haven't practiced with a HD shotgun in awhile. My 870 has a 20" cylinder bore barrel with rifle sights. I had a few different loads with me, a box each of Remington Slugger rifled slugs and 00 buckshot, and a box each of Federal Vital Shock Tru-Ball slugs and 00 buckshot in their Flite Control wads. Both the Federal loads were of the reduced recoil variety.

All rounds were fired at 25 yards. The Sluggers grouped in the 10 ring of an SR-1 military target with a 6 o'clock hold, while the reduced recoil loads have a point of impact about 6" higher at that range. This is because they achieve less recoil with lower muzzle velocity. This results in their spending more time in the barrel.  Thus, they leave the barrel while it's raised higher from the still significant recoil.

The Federal buckshot patterns into about a foot at 25 yards from this barrel (and also in my cylinder bore Mossberg Mariner). It might do a bit better in a barrel with some choke, but this is good enough for my needs.

The Remington 870 has a factory recoil pad, which is less punishing than a hard buttplate, but these loads all have significant kick.  Before shooting, I therefore put on my PAST Field Recoil Shield.   This is a rubber pad about 3/8" thick and makes a noticeable difference.  Even so, after 15 rounds I'd had enough. I wound up not shooting the Remington buckshot.

A budget minded person could do a lot worse for a one gun battery if he got a used Remington 870 with a short barrel for home defense, and a long barrel with choke tubes for hunting and shooting at clays.

As always the Ruger single actions were fun to shoot. I ran some Federal bulk pack 36 grain high speeds through the Single Six, and some Winchester .38 Special 148 grain wadcutters through the Blackhawk.

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