This morning, my friend Larry stopped by for a range visit. He needed to check the zero on his Mosin Nagant rifle, and wanted to put a few rounds through his carry pistol. I wanted to zero the scopes on my 10/22 and AR-15. I also wanted to do a rough zero on the scope for Annie. Yes, I have named my new toy Annie, in honor of Annie Oakley.
We started by making sure everything was on paper at twenty-five yards. The Mosin was near perfect, and both the 10/22 and AR-15 were quickly dialed in close enough to move on to the one hundred yard mark. Before leaving the twenty-five yard area, I attempted to get Annie’s scope close. I removed the bolt, visibly aligned the bore with the target, and attempted to line up the scope. I was unable to do so.
I moved the adjustment a full turn, and never saw any movement of the crosshairs. After about two turns, the knob got a bit tight, and then I felt what seemed to be slipping of the internal threads. There were numbered marks on the scope like what one would see on a torque wrench, but despite my attempts, I was unable to use these marks, or otherwise adjust it. It looked like the knob (also numbered) should have moved along the cylinder where the fixed markings were, but there was no movement. We tried pushing on the adjustment knob lightly, thinking that perhaps there was a locking mechanism that needed to be released by either pushing or pulling the knob before turning. This only resulted in what felt like threads slipping. Again.
The same symptoms were present for both the elevation and windage (azimuth) adjustment knobs. No matter what we tried, the scope showed a point of impact that was off the paper both left and low when the bore was lined up perfectly. I deemed the scope a piece of shit, and we moved over to the one hundred yard line.
For the record, as soon as I got home, I removed the scope, packaged it up, and sent it on its way back from whence it came.
At the one hundred yard line, the Mosin proved to be more accurate than the shooter, so all was well in that department.
The 10/22 was off the paper low, as expected, based on the previous zero at twenty-five yards. The appropriate adjustments were made, and a respectable group was shot. Acceptable considering that the shooter is a novice when it comes to rifles, and the scope was a fixed 4X BSA POS.
The AR was off the paper high, which was a surprise. I expected it to arc up somewhat past twenty-five yards, but I did not expect it to be a foot and a half higher at one hundred yards than it was at twenty-five. I adjusted it down to a little over an inch high. I would have taken it out to two hundred yards for a final zero, but another shooter had arrived, and I was having trouble steadying the rifle and controlling my breathing. I don’t have sandbags or any other sort of rest or bench, so I decided to call it a day.
We then moved over to the pistol pit. I had brought my nightstand gun – a HiPoint 45. I know that they are butt-ugly, but I was impressed with the gun after the first couple hundred rounds that I put through it with nary a malfunction. It had some minor feed issues the last time I took it to the range, and I polished the feed ramp afterward, expecting to return it to its former glory.
It failed to feed on almost every round. The initial round didn’t want to chamber, and I had to pull the slide back after nearly every round in order to get enough inertia to finish chambering the round. Ejection was no problem, but feeding was a major issue. I used everything from my own reloads to premium ammo – Speer Gold Dot, CorBon, Hornady TAP, Federal HyrdaShock. Basically, I shot up all my old carry ammo, trying to find something that it would feed. I tried two different magazines, to make sure that the magazine wasn’t the problem.
I don’t understand how it went from absolute reliability to FTF on nearly every round. I cleaned it well after the last range trip and the feed ramp work, so I know that wasn’t the problem. I’ve taken it apart, and will meticulously clean and inspect every part in an effort to discern the problem. Until then, it will be replaced on my nightstand by my Taurus model 617 .357 magnum revolver.
To say the least, it was a frustrating day. Yes, a bad day at the range is better than a good day at work. Fellowship with Larry is always a pleasure. But now I have to find and order a different scope, and figure out why the hell my HiPoint has gone from reliable firearm to boat anchor.
For now, though, it is time for sleep. I’m tired, and grumpier than normal. That is not a good thing. At least I don’t work tonight.