Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Good Range Day

Stopped by the range today, just to check something out on my M-1A.
I love this rifle. I've had it since the 1980's, buying it during the panic caused by George H.W.Bush signing the very first "Assault Weapons Ban" back during his presidency. I bought it new from a local gun shop, and I probably over-paid, but the price back then was $700.00 if I recall, and back then, Springfield Armory was still building them with GI parts; this one has an H&R barrel and a TRW bolt and the smaller bits are a mixed bag but the trigger was near match-grade and she served me well in competitions until I finally retired it after a particularly satisfying President's 100 match at Camp Perry in 2001. (Always go out on a good note, eh?)

I've only had it out a couple of times since, and that within the last year. But something seemed wrong, and my old friend wasn't shooting as accurately or consistently as I remembered. In fact, the last couple of range trips with it were pretty disappointing other than for the nostalgia value, enough so that it troubled me. You see, I love this rifle and clearly something was wrong.

I spent a fair bit of time wondering why it was shooting so bad, and my suspicion fell on the ammunition. The first time, it was reloads that I'd made for the M-60 and to be frank, I'd never cared for the bullets I'd used; they were military surplus ball projectiles from de-milled rounds and they'd been polished to a point where they were a bit more under-sized than I'd have liked. This wasn't an issue for machine gun fodder obviously, as pin-point accuracy isn't really something that MGs are designed to deliver, but maybe it was enough to throw this rifle off on the 100-yard range. So the second time out, I grabbed some de-linked MG ammo that I'd bought intact, figuring that it was nothing more than standard military FMJ in links, but again, the rifle shot like...well, like something a dog leaves in the yard. Now I was worrying that it was the rifle and not the ammo.

So today, I took it out again and started from scratch. I had some 1980's-vintage Winchester white-box stuff that was left over from my match practice days and I started out on the 25 yard line to re-zero the rifle as wit a .308, a 25-yard zero is pretty much identical to a 200-yard zero, and knocking two clicks of elevation off of that should put it right on at 100 yards. The first three rounds gave me a one-hole group a little low and right at 25 yards. A sight adjustment put the second two-shot, one-hole group right where I wanted it. This was how I remember this rifle shooting back in the day, and all it took was a switch back to decent ammo to get it back there again.

Moving over to the 100-yard line, I fired twenty-five more rounds, and with the exception of two flyers that were my fault, every round fell into the 6" 10x ring of the target I was firing on.

Did I mention that I love this rifle? It still shoots like a dream when I don't feed it crap ammo and I'm planning on taking it back out again tomorrow.
I also shot the Smith and Wesson M&P 40 again, and me and this pistol are starting to get to be friends. I scored a deal on a left-handed Gould and Goodrich leather holster for it so now I can at least carry it properly, and the session with this pistol following on the re-sighting of the M-1A had me leaving the range all happy.

So I went to the big-box store to buy a new gas grill because my old one developed a gas leak and set itself ablaze last night, and as I walked through the parking lot, I couldn't help but smile at these three stickers on a car I saw parked there:

There's always hope for America so long as enough of us keep the right perspective.

Oh--and I got my me new grill, too. And to break it in, I destroyed a rib-eye steak with it for dinner tonight. New grill look, same lousy results. One of these days I have got to learn how to cook or marry me some chick that knows. Sigh.

Still happy though.

15 comments:

  1. About when did they go to investment cast receivers on those?

    I've heard bad things about them, but as long as your has good forged GI parts, it'll probably last forever!

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    1. No idea when they started using the castings. When they started production, they were using surplus forged M-14 receiver blanks, but like anything else finite, they ran out eventually. As for the rest of the rifle, it's all USGI and I have almost enough spares to build a new one so I don't anticipate wearing it out any time soon.

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    2. I almost bought one until the guy behind the counter at my local emporium of bang told me about the cast receivers.

      Supposedly they've got their process down now and the receivers no longer crack when you least need it, but it still scares me to have that particular part being a casting.

      Guess I'll be sticking with my Garand.....

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  2. What I was told, back in the day, was that ammo designated for machine guns is made so that it will not shoot to the same exact point of aim- the idea is to have a "beaten zone". So de-linked maching gun ammo is, by design, going to suck in a good rifle.

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    1. I figured that I'd get some spread just shooting old surplus military ball, but I never expected what I got.

      Machine guns do fire a beaten zone but that's more the gun than the ammo. US military MG ammunition has always been the same stuff that they issue their riflemen, and in an ironic about-face, the CMP has been selling old Greek .30-06 machine gun ammo, linked and de-linked, to Garand shooters here for a few years now and it shoots great.

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  3. Anyway, when the GHWB scrap came out, I bought a AR-15A2 HBAR. And then, much later a CMP Garand. I think I've got it covered. :)

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    1. Sounds like it to me. And I got one of those HBARs back when Clinton was first elected because I lost a bet on that.

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  4. Been there, done that. My recommendation.....learn how to cook. Easier on the the blood pressure.....and the wallet.

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  5. Heh, I can instruct on how to run a grill. Gun? No so much. =)

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  6. Ammo IS usually the critical component... sigh

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  7. I am glad to hear you were able to solve your problem

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  8. First off, switch to charcoal for your grill. Gas is for cooking when the electricity is out due to hurricanes or other natural disasters.

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    1. Here is a ribeye grilled properly on charcoal and flavored with mesquite smoke.

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  9. Try the steak on a good cast iron grill or frying pan, flat side only.
    Have the pan hot, very hot when you put the steak on.
    Perfect steak recipes abound, almost everyone has one and they are all different. Most are good too. The same goes for grills, wood, LP gas, natural gas, charcoal, lump charcoal, coal, electric, covered or open they all work one way or another.

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  10. http://greatgrub.com/recipes/rib_eye_steak_on_a_gas_grill

    Yeah, the whole grill-on-fire thing is exciting with a gas grill. I forgot to empty the fat pan before I put a chicken on last time. It was very full. And very flammable.

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