Well, the last couple days I have been able to give the 277 AM a little bit more of a work out. After some quick load developement, I settled on a comfortable load producing 3430 fps with the 169.5 gr ULD RBBT. This is about the tops that I can get in the 30" barrel with WC872. With the 185 gr ULD RBBT, I suspect the larger case volume of the 277 AM will show a larger velocity margin over the 270 AM but for my testing this load looked good.
After getting the load development finished I was waiting for a good day to do some long range testing. I wanted +1/2 mile test results to prove this rifle but for the last three weeks the wind has been terrible in my area, averaging 22 mph over a 3 week period and this weekend was supposed to be the same.
Only problem is I need to get this rifle shipped soon and the weather man was reporting a major drop in temps this week, down to the -10 degree range so I figured wind or not I had to test now.
Friday night I called my dad and asked him if he wanted to help me test a new rifle design and round at long range and he was more then willing to join me for some field testing. We packed up and headed out to the range 10:00 am the next morning and the wind was blowing VERY hard, averaging 25 mph with gusts going to the 30-35 mph range.
This is a pic from our shooting position 920 yards away from three water filled one gallon milk jugs. Generally I shoot off the rims but the above mentioned winds made this simply impossible so we set up in the lower creek bottom and winds were in the 15-20 mph range from out 10 o'clock position.
Having only zeroed the rifle at 100 yards it took a couple shots to get close to the targets and then I told dad to take three shots with the same hold. I was not overly concerned with hitting the jug, I just wanted to see what consistancy the rifle would produce in these conditions with the same hold taken for each shot.
I really wanted to see how someone not really experienced at long range shooting could shoot this rifle design. Not that Dad is not a fine shot, just more a traditional shooter, 300-400 yards is long range to him and he preferrs to get game to these ranges or closer which is great, he is quickly realizing he can reach out much farther though with fine consistancy. This is proven by this three shot group he shot in 20 mph variable winds!!
This group measured just shy of 6" ctc for the three shots!!
Having not shot the rifle yet and only having one round left, dad wanted me to take the last shot telling me to bust one of those damn jugs!!
Well, I will not say it was luck in any way but I was able to sit there and watch dad shoot and watch his bullets land for several shots. Using that information, it was not much of a challange and water spilled at the shot.
Was not a center hit, bullet landed on the center bottom edge of the jug but at 920 yards I will take it for a quality hit!! Especially in those conditions.
We packed up and drove over to the target to pick up our target and played with a newly aquired Magnum Research 50 Action Express revolver. We were shooting the great 440 gr WFNGC Cast Performance bullet loaded to 1350 fps. Pretty stout loading. Being a longer range nut I always have to push things a bit. So after we spilled some water at 30 yards, I targeted a rock at 190 yards. The big revolver placed three shots in the human sized rock easily. Two on the left edge and the last dead centered the rock!! I was impressed. This was with open sights.
Then I got cocky and targeted a similiar size rock at a measured 320 yards. At this range the big bullets were obviously unstable because getting consistant hits was impossible. No way it could have been my shooting [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]!!
We headed home happy with all the results and very wind blown.
This morning I woke up and it was 42 degrees, sunny, and dead calm!! I asked my wife is she wanted to do some 1000 yard shooting as she had never shot at this range before and wanted to start this summer with a heavy 6.5mm AM that I am in the process of building her. She agreed and again we packed everything up and headed up to the range. This time much earlier though hoping to beat the wind.
We got to within 3 miles of the turn off to our property and the winds hit!! Not as bad as the day before but still pretty stiff. By the time we set up the targets and drove back to the the spot we wanted to shoot we were again dealing with 10-15 mph winds.
Still we were there and wanted to see what the rifle would do with her as pilot. My wife is a fine shot, in fact I have to really pay attention of she will make me look silly with my own rifles!! AS such I knew she would not have a problem shooting but having never shot past 400 yards she was a bit intimidated at the idea of shooting at 1000 yards.
I ranged the target jug at 1006 yards and plugged the data in the Exbal program. It stated the proper hold would be 4 1/4 mil which with the TMR was perfect because there are 1/4 tick between the forth and bottom post.
We lined the rifle up and she took the proper hold. It took a few shots to get the windage right but the vertical hold was dead on the money!! Once we got within a foot of the target jug. I again instructed her to take the same hold for the next three shots and see what kind of group she could ver in the swirling winds. The first two shots landed very close, on center vertically but about 1 foot to the right of the jug. Shot three dropped to what appeared to be a few inches low and to the left of the first two, I was thinking a 1/2 moa group so far. We had three rounds left so I asked her if she wanted to try to hold another two shots in with those and make a tight 5 shot group at 1000 yards. She agreed!! The fourth shot landed a bit high and a bit to the left but still very nice. Shot five landed right under the first two shots!!
I was impressed.
She had wanted me to shoot the last shot and see if I could hit the jug again as I told her what had happened the day before with the last shot. This time though, my bullet landed about 2" to far to the right and no water was spilled!!
We drove up to the target rock and rough measured the group she had shot. It was a bit under 7.5" tall and just shy of 9" wide. Four of the five shots were in a 7.5"x5" group. In these conditions at +1000 yards I was very happy with the shooting of my wife, the performance of the rifle and the wind bucking ability of the Wildcat Bullets. All in all a very successful two days of testing. Although relatively short, very impressive in these conditions.
Obviously in good shooting conditions, a mature Canadian Whitetail will be in serious trouble out to well past 1200 yards easily!!
So for this project, its all finished but the shipping. Onto the next rifle to test!!