I went out this weekend to double check my load in the 338 thunder and make sure it hits where it is supposed to at various ranges. I also wanted to shoot it from a bipod this time around to see how comfortable the new stock is from the prone position and to get ready for the upcoming big game season.
I got started fairly late in the day because I thought the wind would die down a bit just before sunset. Well, it didn't until way after
sunset. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] Luckily, I brought my wind flags and tripods so I set them up at the target and every couple hundred yards back to the 1000 yard line.
I had to test another gun at 600 yards for group so I did that first and by the time I got around to the THunder, it was so dark that I could just barely make out the outline of the gong but I couldn't see the hits on it. THis was partly because I ran out of white paint and all I had left was yellow to cover the hits of the other gun I was testing. Yellow is much harder to see than white all the time but especially in low light conditions.
I hurried and drove back to the 1400 yard marker and put the bipod on the thunder and quickly put the following data into my pocket pc:
elevation 4600 feet
225 accubond at 3310 with bc of .568 zeroed at 326 yards
3 o'clock wind at 2 mph (based off wind gauge reading and wind tail positioning)
Exbal said to dial 30.25 IPHY for ups and 1.5 IPHY for wind.
If the bullet hit the gong, it would strike with 1287 ft/lbs and have a velocity of 1605 fps. Time of flight would be 1.80 seconds.
Well I got the shooting pad rolled out and realized I had forgotten my hunting pack (which I practice with as my rear rest for hunting situations) back at the bench at 600 yards. So I had to use the only thing I could, my roll up foam pad. This was not the best rear rest as you can imagine. It was so bouncy that it was hard to concentrate on the target and the rest at the same time. And time was running out quick. I could just barely make out the gong by this time and could not see the hanger or the tripods of my wind flags!
ANyway, I dialed in, relaxed and squeezed the trigger. A long second later, I saw dust which looked like a mushroom cloud from an atom bomb appear just left of my gong but it had the perfect elevation. In my haste to quickly fire before it got dark, I didn't notice the sudden increase in wind velocity my flags were telling me. Since it was so dark, I had no mirage or grass to tell me the wind situation and I simply forgot to check the flags. From looking at them now, I could tell I was back to a 6 mph 3 o'clock wind. So I dialed in another 3 IPHY's of wind, and let it rip again. This time I heard the distinct "dongg" of the bullet hitting home but I could not tell where it had hit because it was so dark. I knew however that it must have hit in the yellow part somewhere because there was nothing in the white.
So I had four shots left and just began shooting as fast as I could get lead in the air. On the fifth shot, my wonderful foam rest gave way just as I touched the trigger and it felt like it went a mile off course. To my surprise, I still heard a "doongg". But when I went back to look through my scope at the gong, it was nowhere to be found. What the heck? THen I saw it again, then it disappeared, then it was there again! It turns out that my last shot hit on the far left side of the gong and it torqued the bailing wire on the right connecter so hard that it snapped and the gong was twirling around in the wind! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif[/img] Now that is some power!
When I was done firing, I looked at my watch and it had taken my exactly 9 minutes to lay my pad out, attach the bipod, figure my calculations, and shoot six shots at 1400 yards. Easily do-able in the field when hunting-especially if the game isn't alarmed. And you could probably throw out the time it took to attach the bi-pod because it would already be installed and rolling out a shooting mat would also be a non-issue.
Anyhow, when I drove up to the gong, I could see in my headlights that it was a way better group than I could ever expect given the situation and bad rest. I snapped this pic with the help of the headlights. Notice the shot out far left that broke the wire.
And here is the group in the daylight along with a pic of the new Mcmillan HTG stock which I really like. If you look real closely, you can see one of the shots just barely ticked the edge of the gong but the vertical dispersion of this group was amazing:
Here is a pic of the 600 yard spot before it really started to get dark!
Now it's time to start hunting!!! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]