It was Saturday October 11 at 1000 hrs, 71 degrees, over cast and the wind was gusting out of the south 15 to 20 mph when "She Who must be Obeyed" threw me out of the house and told me not to come back for at least three hours. In fact her exact words were;
"I bought you a year membership at the Horse Thief gun range now go use it, I have an afghan to lay out and finish. I don't want you in my way."
My response (as I headed out the door rifle, ammo and range bag in hand);
"Yes Dear, your the Boss Dear, anything you say Dear."
Note: Yes this is another Mossberg SSI article.
After signing in I tossed a target board in the back of the Bow Tie P/U and drove over to the west to east 300 yard range. After planting the stand in the 200 yard holder I set up the rest and sand bag. Pausing to clear my head I thought;
"Damn that is a long poke and you ain't shot that far in a long time."
Slipping a 150 grain Remington Core-Lokt round of 30-06 ammunition into the chamber and closing the action I pressed the butt stock into my cheek and shoulder. Finding the target with the 9 power setting of the Leopold scope I tried to settle the cross hairs on the center of the target and decided it wasn't going to happen with the wind gusting out of the south the way it was.
When the gusting died down a few moments later I steadied the hairs and squeezed of the first round.
30 caliber holes are hard to see at 200 yards even on 9 power so I ejected the spent brass and moved to the next bench where my 45X spotting scope sat focussed on the target. The wind had picked up again wobbling the scope making it difficult for me to see the hole in the paper a few inches low and a tad to the left.
Back to the bench with the rifle on it. I loaded the 2nd round and after letting the wind abate sent it down range. For some reason I was able to see it through the Leopold. It had landed dead center about an inch low. I verified it in the spotting scope before launching the 3rd bullet. Number 3 hit about half way between 1 & 2.
Hopping in the Bow Tie I drove (your damn right I lazy) down and eye balled the target numbering the hits with a Sharpie in the process.
Back at the firing line I put shots number 4 & 5 on the paper.
Nobody was more surprised than I when I saw that the last three shots I fired made one ragged hole that could be covered with a quarter.
An off the rack Mossberg hunting rifle with a low end Leopold scope and Remington factory hunting ammo produced a sub MOA group at 200 yards. Okay I am impressed.
If I can shoot this rifle with this barrel (30-06) and the .223 bull barrel (yes the one with the 25 year old Simmons 3-10 44 mag scope) I have for the same receiver as well as I do with factory ammo, I can't help but wonder how good the combinations could be with meticuously reloaded rounds.
I have no doubt these tools are capable of more accuracy than I will ever be able to record with them.
I acquit myself pretty well on the longer ranges but I will be the first to admit that, especially with the gusting wind, today was an exceptional day for me.
- Rifle - Mossberg SSI 30-06 -24 inch 1 in 10 inch twist barrel
- Scope - Leopold Rifleman 3-9x40 LP- 56160
- Ammo - Remington 150 grain Soft point Core-Lokt
- Range - 200 yards
- Wind - From the South 5+/- mph - gusting to 20mph
- Temp - 71 deg & overcast
Why 200 yards and not the full 300?
If memory serves correctly before today I have only taken one shot past 100 yards in the last 3 years (Re: This past Late Decembers Hog hunt when I took one at 175 yards with the .223 barrel. In fact that is why the 5 shots pictured are about 2 inches low; That barrel (30-06) is sighted in at 100 yards and that is all the further I have ever shot it. All game I have harvested with it has been 80 yards or less.
As time and reloading permits (ain't factory ammo getting high dollar?) I intend to put both those calibers on paper out to at least 300 yards. For now though I'll keep the century zero as I do not anticipate having to shoot any farther than that during any of the hunting trips I have planned through the end of the year.