Ok, I finally made it to the range, but I didn't beat the challenge (this time). Still it was a great trip, and very productive.
I started with some factory ammo just to get the scope on paper and then on target. Shot groups were good and I started to try the challenge with factory ammo, but I had three different hand loads that I couldn't wait to try. Plus I had three loads for the .303 to try and a .22 that me and friend just finished building for another friend that is no longer with us. Needless to say it was a busy trip.
I had 10 rounds of each load. My plan was to use 5 to zero the rifle for that load and the remaining 5 for the challenge.
The first load (24.5g Accurate 2460 w/ 55gr. Speer Hot Core) wouldn't cycle the action. I added an adjustable gas block and had it set for factory ammo. That load was obviously lower than factory. After three rounds I gave the remaining rounds to my buddy to run through his mini tactical. Group wasn't great.
The second load was the same as the first but with 25g of powder. The first load was primarily just to check that load and make sure it wasn't too hot. So it was on the week side intentionally. The second load didn't cycle the first round, but it did fine after that. I was having a hard time seeing my groups and zeroing it and so I went down to check my target after the first five. Group was decent but not on target. I also bit the bullet and put up a shoot 'n see to make this a little easier. I made an adjust and fired 2 at the shoot n' see. They were close to center and high. I made an adjustment fired the last three and was still off, and group wasn't very good.
Then I went to the third load (25g IMR 4064 w/ 55gr Speer Hot Core). The first shot was low right and it didn't cycle the action. I went ahead and fired the next four without making any changes. They cycled just fine, and the group was absolutely outstanding. I then fired the next 5 and my group fell apart. Groups don't normally just fall apart like that and so I started checking things out. Scope was loose.
I was pretty much out of time by then and I was out of reloads.
(those are 1/2" squares)
I didn't beat the challenge but it was a great trip to the range, and I learned a lot. The adjustable gas block was really sensitive to changing loads, but did fine after the first round. That sensitivity also made a big difference in POI. My loads are still a little week compaired to factory loads. My mini loves IMR 4064. The shoot n' sees are the way to go when your eyes just aren't quite as sharp as they use to be. And I need to spend some serious time playing with my new quick detach rings!!!!
580 series with Hogue stock, adjustable gas block, rod, Wag. rail, and Burris 3x9x40 E1.
Now I've got some bullets to load up!!!!!