Range Day With Annie

Larry and I went to the range this morning.  I brought Annie (a Savage 111 Long Range Hunter chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum, topped with a Weaver T-Series 36×40 scope, for those of you who are new or may not have been paying attention).  I also brought my HiPoint 45 ACP pistol to continue the prove-in process on the replacement provided by the factory the second time I sent it in for repair.

We started at the pistol pit, where he did his thing with his Glock, and I ran over a hundred rounds through the HiPoint.  The first three mags were Hornady TAP carry ammo, because I wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to have issues with the good stuff.  All three mags went without a hitch.  The rest of the 100+ total were my reloads.  They were more recent reloads, which are at about 75% of maximum load.  My older reloads are loaded at about 98%, but both use Rainer plated hollow point projectiles, so feed characteristics and reliability between the two should be identical.  Zero malfunctions.  I’m rapidly regaining much of the confidence in HiPoint firearms that I lost during the warranty fiasco earlier this year.

Then it was time.  Time to go to the rifle range.  It took a while to set up the bench and other things necessary to make ready for Annie.  Finally I was ready to go.  I started at 25m, to make sure she was on paper before moving out to more realistic distances for the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge.  The bore sight was close, and after three rounds, I had adjusted the scope sufficiently that it was centerline and an inch or so high.

The target was moved to 100m.  BOOM!  Nothing.  No new holes in the paper, and no cloud of dust from the berm.  Larry guessed that the bullet was still climbing at that point, and suggested that I aim lower.  Several rounds and an aim point of about four feet low, and I finally got a puff of dust.  From the top of the berm, several feet higher than the target.

At the bargain price of $4.54 per round, I couldn’t stand to use too many rounds sighting her in.  Since my intentions were to final zero the scope at 300m (the greatest distance available at my range), I decided not to fuck around at 100m any more.

Out to 200m with the target.  I spun the elevation knob on the scope a couple turns to correct for the massive amount of climb, and after a couple more rounds, I finally got it on the paper.  I gradually walked it in until I got my best shot for the day – about an inch from dead center, slightly high and right.

I would have completed the task at 300m, but there are only three lanes that go all the way to 300, and four guys had shown up while I was getting her dialed in at 200, and took up residency in those lanes.  Plus it was around 100°F, and I had already sweated out at least a gallon of water.

I deemed Annie good enough for now, and will return for the fine zero at 300 as soon as I can.  Final damages, $95.34 worth of ammo fired.  By the end of the day, the bolt seemed to be slightly easier to manipulate, but I still had to use a boxed end wrench over the handle as leverage to be able to open it.  If I knew exactly what to polish to make it move more freely, I’d damn sure do it.  As it is, though, I guess I’ll just have to let her loosen up over time.

Although I shot most of the rounds from the bench, I did fire a few rounds from the Harris bipod.  All in all, I learned several things today.

Annie doesn’t kick nearly as much as I was expecting – similar to shooting a 3″ magnum round of 12ga buckshot through a home defense size/weight shotgun.  Perhaps even a little less.  The combination of the muzzle break and whatever Savage uses in their AccuStock works extremely well.  (Larry may disagree with this evaluation.  He shot it twice, but I’ll let him speak for himself, if he so desires.  Edited to add:  Here is his take.)  Speaking of recoil, a Remington 700 in 300 Winchester Magnum that I shot a few years back kicked a hell of a lot more.

The bullets climb an astounding, almost unbelievable amount between 25m and 100m.

I need a lot of work learning to hold her steady and manage my breathing.

The scope is excellent, although the eye relief is quite specific.  Slight distance changes cause the glass to go dark.  When you’re the right distance, though, it is crystal clear.  The 1/8 MOA clicks are quite accurate, and the recoil seemed to have no effect on the zero.

Any day at the range is a good day, but today was a particularly good day.  Larry would giggle like a schoolgirl every time I touched a round off.  Especially the time when he found himself sitting in exactly the right place to get his hair parted by the blast from the muzzle break.

We returned to my house, where we bitched about politics and told stories until Larry had to leave and get on with his day.  Today, life is good.

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