Federal GMM 168\'s for 1000 yards
I recently decided to shoot an F Class match with my 308 Win. I have a lot of Federal Gold Medal Match (GMM) 168's and thought I might use them. There's been a lot of talk lately about them not making it to 1000 in any stable or accurate condition but being hard headed and remembering past experience(s) I asked decide to try them. Here's my results with a comparison to the Fed GMM 175's.
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First, it was nice to get to an organized match once again. I met XShooter and others, very friendly folks all around. There was a little shock from some of the highpower type shooters when the mention of cost of "tactical" rifles was broached. (A fella next to me had a Chandler and of course my G-A Precision.) Several folks had little to no love for the tactical rifle(s) certainly feeling they were too costly ("I could build you a better shooting rifle for half that!") and also scoffed at the durability claims seeing such claimed use as craziness and abuse on the grandest scale. (I suspect some of this was out of fear of the capabilities of the tactical shooters and some as PsyOps. )
Now the results, drum roll please......................
Finished my first F Class shoot yesterday, a lot of fun, very interesting and of course educational.
First I'll mention that there were several fellas shooting more traditional "tactical" style as I know it. Factory ammunition, low(er) power scopes, bipods, and even some 308 Wins. Several were quite easy to pick out of the crowd and I imagine I was in that latter category .
The fella I squaded with was a Palma/Highpower type shooter with two rifles, a 300 Win mag loaded hot and a 308 Win with handloads. I mentioned to him I'd try to be as unobstructive as possible but that I need a little assistance as it was my first match. He examined my rifle and gear, no terribly obvious scoffing there but some "one of those" was a little apparent (I didn't know if it was me being a newbie or the "sniper" rifle look. When I got on line and pulled my ammo out of the pack he immediately stated "Factory ammo?". I told him I was comfortable with the stuff and that's about all I've ever shot in the rifle(s). I also mentioned I was going to switch between the GMM 175's and GMM 168 to test their effective/accuracy at the 600 and 1000 yard lines. He was not impressed by that remark or my choice of ammunition. (I had the feeling that if I had been his kid I'd have ended up behind the woodshed for a short session ) I mentioned I was there for fun and education and that one of us is going to smarted at the end of the day. Once we got over our initial touchy feely greeting and equipment review we got along well and by the end of the day we were nearly best buddies!!!
Now about the F-Class match / ammo test.
I was shooting my G-A Precision M40a1 type rifle, Harris bipod, Leupold 3.5x10M1 LR, and a poly bead filled sand sock. We fired two (2) relays at each range (600 yards and 1000 yards) and I shot one of each relay distance with 175's and 168's. I shot on the F/TR class not the Open class.
Trajectory data The temps were pretty high, about 90 to 95 (estimate), humidity had to be at 100%, site elevation was 500ASL, wind light from 3 to 6 o'clock mostly with a few quick switched to 9 o'clock.
For the 168's I used 13.75MOA up and .25 to .5 (R) windage.
For the 175's I used 13.75MOA up and from 5.(R) to 1.25 (L) for windage to keep the wind.
I was a bit suprised that the Come-Ups were the same for the 168's and 175's at 600 yards. I feel that the lesser score with the 175's was primarily due to wind conditions as the rounds were dispersed horizontally on the target crossing the 'X" ring (we'll blame wind for the 175's lesser showing at 600).
Come-Ups for the GMM 168's at 1000, 36.5MOA with wind up to 2MOA (see, it was a light wind!)
Come-Ups for the GMM 175's at 1000, 34MOA and again up to 2MOA for wind.
As for the 168's performance at 1000 yards, I'm a little sceptical as to it being just the bullet that caused the lesser score. My relay was just before a little rain squall and the winds were on/off again with some running mirage. My round impacts we're pretty equally dispersed horizontal and vertical but I can't rule out wind and mirage. Once in the pits I checked the target and there was no indication that any of the the 168 rounds had keyholed and the response from the target pullers for my relay was no different that previous so I assume the projectile was still supersonic as predicted by the ballistic software. I know they observe the impact area for pulling the target but may also listed for the tell-tale "crack" as an augment to check the impact area. (Recall that the temps were in the 90's range, perhaps that's an out.)
Entire match info:
Total points dropped while shooting the 175's = 7
(Possible 400, score 393, 196 at 600 yards and 197 at 1000 yards. X count = 13)
Total points dropped while shooting the 168's = 13
(Possible 400, score 387, 199 at 600 yards and 188 at 1000 yards. X count = 19)
It's hard to argue with a 188 vs a 197 as a score and I'd probably agree that the 175's are better suited to 1000 yards but my data is a little thin for such a close comparison I'd guess. All-in-all I'd say for yesterdays application (31July2004) the 168's were on par with the 175's.
The fella I shot with did not fair well, he had trouble with loads and trouble in the pits. His scores were not near mine with many 6's and 5's, different class (Palma/Highpower vs F)shooter of course. He was still not convinced that factory ammo was the way for me to go, he thought I could have done better with handloads but I'm not at all convinced.
I had great fun, met great folks and shot well. I would certainly have liked to clean the 600 yard stage with the 168's but the 9 (the 18th round) was probably well deserved. It's been a lot of years since I've shot in an NRA type match (since 1986) and it was enjoyable and good to see so many shooters once more.
I'm gonna try it again soon... And once more some 168's mixed in just for comparison.
BTW: They have a neat little thing as a giveaway. Shoot an "X" as the first sighter and get a Wooden Dollar! I added one of these to my collection of "neat but soon to be forgotten stuff".
The targets were NRA style bullseye. "X" ring is 1 MOA, 10 ring is 2 MOA, 9 ring 3 MOA.