Stopped by the range today, just to check something out on my M-1A.
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.
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.