September 7th, 2013, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Southern Maryland
9/7 Range Report
Sorry, no photos.
A couple friends and I went to a 300 yard range today. It's a week before one of them is getting married, and he wanted to spend a nice day at the range.
It was a bright sunny day outside, which was good and bad. Mirage today was a nightmare. My bolt gun has a 6-24 scope on it and I was shooting at 6 today. The tactical reticle on it was extremely difficult to use and I never did better than MOA with it, even though the rifle has done much better with this load at this range. My friend using fine crosshairs fared much better.
Wind today wasn't strong, but very confusing. Mirage downrange showed full value left to right. Wind at firing line was coming from 10 o'clock. A windage flag raised high behind the line was showing wind from 12 o'clock. I ended up giving 1 MOA windage with the .308 and was relatively on target. None of the .223s fired today had a consistent POI at 300.
He is actually a new shooter that the other guy and I convinced to take up precision rifle. A few months ago, we convinced him to buy a Savage 12 F/TR locally for a very good deal. Today was his first time past 100 yards. He shot spectacularly today, even shooting the best group of the day of 1.5" 5 shot group at 300 yards (.5 MOA). He is ecstatic about and immediately texted a picture of it to his dad. All in all, a perfect first time at 300 for him.
My other friend recently purchased a standard M1a and brought it out today, the second time he's ever shot it. It performed spectacularly. He was able to get hits on 8" steel at 300 yards almost 100% of the time shooting irons from bench. He was extremely pleased, which is saying a lot since he's an AR guy and never liked the M14 [until now]. In fact, he brought his precision AR build today, and his M1a outshot it! He's certainly happier with it than the AR. Although I have a feeling mirage had a lot to do with it since he was shooting the AR with optics.
I shot my match M1a, my newly barreled SPR AR, and a .308 bolt gun. Shooting the M1a was fantastic. I didn't bother using a rest, and only fired 5 shots prone with sling. 8" steel from prone was too easy, so I switched to standing. I think I only hit 2/10 on it, but my misses were extremely close as my friend was spotting for me. I moved to a 12X15 steel target from standing and hit 9/10. I tried to get them to take some shots standing at 300, but no takers. The guy working there (I won't say RO for reasons to be explained later) was amazed by it, and had never seen anyone even try standing at 300 there. My new Douglas barrel on the SPR did fantastic as well. Easily shooting sub-MOA with a 1-6 scope at 100 yards (had to sight in). It was doing ok on steel at 300 if firing quickly, however the wind was blowing that .223 round around quite a bit. My bolt gun was a bit disappointing. I shot 3 groups at 300, all right around MOA. I was having a heck of a time getting a good sight picture with the target dancing around in the mirage. It was showing a boil all day and I just tried to shoot through it. It was "good enough" on steel.
All in all, a spectacular day, especially for the new shooter that's getting married soon, except for:
This was a public range. While technically a business, there are no real RSO, and shooters police themselves. Unfortunately, as those that go to public ranges are well aware, many many shooters are woefully ignorant of proper safety procedures, or are just plain stupid. There is no line or cable to keep people behind the benches, and handling of weapons while people are downrange is common. Today however, it was much worse.
One of my buddies walked out to the 300 yard line to check his target. As he started to walk back, my other friend walked out to the 100 yard berm to post a target as he was having trouble with his AR and wanted to check zero. As he's a little more than halfway there, I hear a BOOM and an impact at the 50 yard berm. I guy [with his 8-10 son watching] decided to fire off his shotgun with a slug, thinking the range was hot and not seeing my friends, despite the guy walking out was only 20 yards from his POI and easily within LOS. I immediately started yelling and chewing the crap out of him. He actually still had the shotgun in his hand when I started yelling at him, so I reached for my sidearm. I decided not to draw when he put it down. Although he was considerably taller and larger than me, he looked terrified as I was chewing him out. He probably felt 3 feet tall by the time I was done. I felt it was necessary, although would rather have not done it in front of his son. He was very apologetic and left the range.
My friend heading to the 100 yard line is a lot more of a hothead than I am, but didn't join in as he felt my reaction was sufficient. I was actually surprised he didn't do anything since the last time this happened to him, it was in Iraq and his buddy next to him was hit. Another guy screwed up clearing his sidearm at the station. The guy at the 300 yard line didn't know what happened until he asked why I looked like I was about to kill somebody. Probably for the best as he probably would have crapped himself.
In the end it was a successful day, but I will be sure to be more aware. I have also been thinking about what I could have done to prevent it considering I was the one on the line. I'm actually not very trusting and decided to stay at the line instead of going downrange because I didn't want our guns walking off while we were 300 yards away.