I’ve never been much of a rifle shooter. I qualified Marksman both times that I shot during my military service, but that only took making thirty-five out of forty hits at a simulated 100, 200 and 300 meters. I shot again for familiarization during my law enforcement training with the state of Florida in the mid-1990’s, and did well enough, I guess. I’ve owned a few rifles:
- multiple 22s,
- a .243,
- a .270,
- a 30-06,
- an AK-47,
- a Mosin Nagant,
- a Saiga in .223,
- a couple AR-pattern rifles in .223, and
- my current EBR in 6.8 SPC
However, I doubt if I’ve fired a thousand rounds through all of them combined. That includes the 22s. My current Ruger 10/22 rifle was bought off the shelf a few years back. She’s as Plain Jane as they come – wood furniture, standard barrel. It was always generally reliable, but as with nearly all 22LR guns, it had occasional issues due to shitty ammo.
In 2009, I bought and installed a Hornet Custom “B” trigger assembly. I don’t remember if I ever live-fired it after installation. Like I said, I rarely shoot my long guns. Late last year, Sean suggested the Volquartsen bolt tune-up kit, which consists of a new extractor and firing pin. He said that he’s never had a malfunction since installing it on his 10/22. I bought and installed (with minimal effort) one of the kits. At the same time, I bought a Ruger BX-25 magazine – something else I didn’t know existed before Sean enlightened me.
Earlier this week, I took it to the range, in what would ultimately become an exercise in frustration. The firing line is ten minutes by car from my driveway. While normally convenient, this ended up being too far. Because my dumb ass forgot and left the ammo can that contained, you guessed it, the ammo, on the floor of my office. Something I did not realize until I had unloaded everything from the car, and even set up the spotting scope.
I packed everything back into the car (nobody else was there, and gun people tend to be honest folks, but why create a temptation?), and back home I went. Twenty-some minutes later, I’m back at the range with everything. I set up, and walk a target out to 100 yards.
I then load the mag with CCIs, since the cheap shit that I have varies in power and I wanted an accurate zero. I had installed the ancient 3-9 Nikon Prostaff scope that came with my AR. For some reason that I no longer recall, I chose not to use it on the AR.
Bang, bang, bang. Look through the 40x spotting scope. I think I see one hole at three o’clock, but I’m not certain. Damn my old eyes! I waddle my fat ass out to the target, and sure enough, there is a hole at three o’clock, about three inches from the center. And another hole also at three o’clock, but nearly off the paper. And a third hole nearly off the paper at five o’clock.
Gawd, but do I ever suck! OK, all the holes were to the right, so let me adjust the windage a bit.
Bang, bang, bang. Waddle back out to the target. One hole is at 2:30, pretty close to the best shot from the last group. The other two are off the fucking paper. To the right. After I adjusted the scope to move the impact point to the left.
OK, maybe they labeled the damn scope wrong. I spun the windage adjustment back where it was, and kept going about the same amount more.
Bang, bang, bang. Waddle back out to the target. Damn if I know where the bullets went. There were no new holes anywhere to be found.
Fuck this shit. I moved down to the far end of the range where they have a target stand set up at twenty-five yards for the expressed purpose of getting it on the paper before attempting longer distances. (Run-on sentence much?)
Bang, bang, bang. OK, I can actually see the holes with the spotting scope. All three right and low. Spread of several inches, though. I really suck. Spin the windage a complete turn in the direction that should move bullet impact to the left, and several clicks up.
Bang, bang, bang. One near bullseye, two at the bottom of the target at six o’clock. There is no way that I fucking suck this much.
I decided to try the iron sights as a reality check. The scope rings are designed to allow one to use the existing sights, but for some reason, I couldn’t get a good sight picture. I pulled the damn scope off and tried again.
The scope mount is a thick chunk of metal, designed to allow the use of Weaver or rail type mounts instead of the normal, puny 1/4″ 22 scope ring mounts. This thickness blocks my view of the bottom of the “V” of the rear sight. And the screws are too damn tight for my wimpy screwdriver.
Well, fuck me running!
Not wanting to waste the trip, I shotgun-aimed it and managed a three inch-ish pattern at twenty-five yards – better than the scope ever did. It would appear that the Nikon is, to steal a phrase from Larry, miserable balls of suck and fail.
I’m not slamming Nikon optics. They make some of the best camera equipment on the planet, and I’m sure it was a great scope before it got dropped/ran over/radiated a few too many times. It is old, and it shows. Obviously, it was abused or damaged at some point in its life.
Unfortunately, the only other glass I have is a fixed 4X BSA, a POS Bushnell 1X red dot, and an even bigger POS 1X NcStar holographic sight. Oh, and the 4-12X that is on my AR. That I haven’t sighted in yet because the rings that I initially bought for it ended up being useless. And I didn’t get around to buying a decent set of rings until last week.
Since one of the purposes of the range visit was to test the reliability of the weapon, I proceeded to fire a hundred fifty rounds of four different brands/types of ammo. I know that a hundred fifty isn’t many, but it was all I could stand after the frustration of the day.
Verdict: No malfunctions of any kind. The Ruger BX-25 magazine is awesome, and worth every penny that they ask for it. I’d buy more if I could afford them. The Hornet trigger is as sweet, smooth and crisp as I could ever ask for. (I’m not a trigger snob, so take this part with a grain of salt. Hell, I think that the trigger on my HiPoint 45 nightstand gun is nice.) The Volquartsen bolt components appear to function as intended. I’m happy.
Now, I get to install the BSA and hope that it is better than the Nikon. Update to follow. I think I’ll refrain from cleaning it, just to give the reliability test a little more validity. Plus, I’m just not in the cleaning mood.