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M14sRock 11-14-2009 10:13 PM

Long Range Rifle Day
Played hookie yesterday and went to the desert with my partner. The weather report called for 78f and "calm". Ha. It never got above 55f and the wind was a fairly constant 15-18mph, full value from the left (90 degree angle). Gusts were much higher, and the wind in the valley below us was very erratic.

We each brought along our LRB M25 rifles in JAE G2 stocks and IOR scopes.
I brought an M4gery (with A1 stock), topped with an Aimpoint Comp ML3 and a Hensoldt 2.5x magnifier as well as a 10x42 Super Sniper, a great scope for the money, (all in LaRue mounts) and a Saiga 7.62x39 that I have had for several months but never fired. More about that later.
My partner brought along an M4 with an ACOG, as well as his Larue Stealth topped with a Leupold 3.5-10 Police scope. The LaRue Stealth was dialed in with his handloads using the Sierra 77gr Matchking. Scary combination for anyone on the receiving end.

Our targets are homemade steel plates 13.5"x7.5", made from old railroad track connectors. The frames are simple rebar and duct tape. They can handle quite a beating (.50BMG ball at 100 yards does not penetrate). The divots in the plate are from .308 rounds fired at 25-50 yards.

We set up a series of 3 plates. The first was at 400 yards, second at 750 yards, and the third was 1,000 yards (but this plate is double size because it is 2 plates connected). Ranges were laser verified, and matched the locations we have used previously.

Cold bore shots at 400 were taken (M25's) and the wind affected impact (as expected) by about 3'. Jeez. Reading the wind is an artform that we are still learning, but we could tell that the wind at 400 was less than at 750, and less than at our position.

Our ballistics data indicated that at 750 yards, we would need 12 Minutes of windage with a 20mph cross wind. We ended up needing 28 Minutes. This was using 168gr Sierra MatchKings in .308.

With my M4 I changed ammo so all of my previous data was wrong. I re-sighted with PMC 55E that I have tons of (left over from the mid 90's) and ended up whacking the plate (400) with the Aimpoint pretty handily. Then the Super Sniper came out and made the hits keep coming. I did not have a 100 yard zero with these optics, so will need to do some range work with them. But they are good to go at 400 for now.

His M4 with the ACOG is pretty nice. Such a great optic, and so easy to use.

But the most impressive showing of the day was with my new Saiga. What a great little carbine!! I own some AK's and really don't like them very much. But this Saiga rocks. 16", chrome lined tube and crude iron sights. The front sight post was several times wider than the steel plate at 400 yards, but once I got my zero it was a piece of cake to whack the plate at least half the time. Using old, leftover Hungarian ammo. I'll write a post in the AK section about the Saiga.

We ended up being out from 6am to almost 6pm. Had an awesome time and learned quite a bit more about reading the wind. Ended the day being able to keep 4 out of 5 shots on the plates at 750 and 1,000. And the shots that missed would still probably have hit a torso sized target. The Kestrel wind meter is a mandatory piece of kit if you are planning to do some long range shooting, as well as a GOOD spotting scope and a book to record data and log shots taken. Know your bullet's BC, muzzle velocity, and use the JBM ballistics program to help you set up your dope.

I ended up firing 70 rds of Black Hills Match 168 gr .308, 100 rds of 5.56 and 150rds of 7.62x39.

skullcrusher 11-14-2009 11:04 PM

.308 in high wind at 1000 yds?

Forget windage, what was the elevation adjustment?

Also, please tell me that you are not shooting toward a blind road over the hill. :eek:

M14sRock 11-14-2009 11:30 PM


Originally Posted by skullcrusher (Post 186144)
.308 in high wind at 1000 yds?

Forget windage, what was the elevation adjustment?

Also, please tell me that you are not shooting toward a blind road over the hill. :eek:

Elevation is pretty easy. For 400 yards I was using 7.5 minutes of elevation (from a 100 yard zero). At 750 that went to 18 minutes and at 1,000 was 41 minutes. My partner ends up using almost 50% more even though our equipment is very similar. The elevation has remained almost unchanged from 50f to 110f.

The photo does not tell a complete story. The visible roads in this picture are essentially ATV/dirt bike trails left over from the days of active mining. The hill in the background is sort of like a plateau, more than a hill, and very wide. Our 1,000 yard target is about 2/3 of the way up the first face of the hill, left of the straight road. 750 is down in the flat to the right of a big tire stack. 400 is located below our hill, between the close road at the base of our hill and the road that runs into the middle of the objective lense of my spotting scope. It is a very safe place to shoot, with complete visibility from the top of our hill. And we only see other desert rats about once every 10 trips out.

We observe excellent range safety, and maintain our awareness in 360 degrees both for the sake of safe shooting and to make sure nobody is climbing our hill to get behind us.

canebrake 11-14-2009 11:33 PM

Great post Rock!

M14sRock 11-14-2009 11:49 PM

Thanks, Cane.

For a ref, the steel plate shown is approximately the sized of a human head/neck. With a bit of practice it is not a hard target to hit out to about 500. The work begins past 500, but it is fun work. Good optics help, but I can whack it pretty regularly at 500 (once I'm in the zone) with an M14 and iron sights. Good triggers REALLY help, but I was getting hits with my open sighted Saiga and they don't have good triggers. And my M4 has a chrome lined 1/9 tube and was killing the 400 yard plate with 55gr ball. That was surprising to me.

Pretty funny though, I spray the plates with yellow Krylon from time to time. At 1,000 yards the 168gr MatchKings barely chip the paint off. I've used the M14 out to 1,200 yards, but after about 900 it is panting pretty hard. After 1,000 I'm convinced the bullets are starting to wobble. Even the 175's.

But at 750, a 168gr Matchking will make the plate move visibly. I'll guess the plates weigh in at about 30lbs each? 5.56 will move it slightly at 400.

M14sRock 11-15-2009 12:04 AM

Here is a gratuitous shot of my partners M25 from yesterday. Krieger barrel, JAE G2 stock, IOR 6x42 MP8. This was my first LRB M25 (2.5+ year wait), but when my current rifle was ready to ship it got a new home in his safe.
We also got a private airshow yesterday from Edwards AFB which is only a couple of miles away. F22's, F15's.

jbshoots 11-15-2009 02:05 AM

looks like you had a pretty fun day there...nice guns too.

Txhillbilly 11-16-2009 02:07 AM

You lucky dawg,I wish I had somewhere close to shoot long range. I know yall had a great time out there.

M14sRock 11-16-2009 06:38 PM


Originally Posted by Txhillbilly (Post 186621)
You lucky dawg,I wish I had somewhere close to shoot long range. I know yall had a great time out there.

We did have a great time, and already have the next trip planned for Dec. We are hoping for a bit less wind next time though.

The_Kid 01-16-2010 10:55 AM

That is the nice place to shoot!

Beautiful rifles too! :)

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