Went out this morning to take a run up in the sagebrush to see how well it’s dried out. The snow has melted off down low and it hasn’t rained in a while so I thought I’d take a run up where I sometimes shoot long range to see how the roads are doing. Mud is a big problem this time of year.
There is a public range/shooting area down pretty low on the way in. I almost never shoot there and usually don’t even stop by late in the year because of the “crazies” doing their last minute thing just before hunting season. I hadn’t been in there since last summer but this morning I got in there early and figured I drop over the edge and take a peek at the range. You never know when some dummy will leave $50.00 worth of new brass laying around. The range at one time had 4 benches made of concrete but the “crazies” have destroyed them almost completely.
No body there and no brass but……I’d heard that someone had packed some steel out across the bottom and that it was waaaaay out there. Being curious about what their definition of “waaaaay out there” was, I did a little glassing with the “big eyes” and spotted it. They had set it up to be within 500 yards of another spot up the road but the gov. guys have been fixing the fences and they can’t shoot up there any more. From the “range” where I was sitting I ranged it at 829 yards with the Swarovski.
Since nobody was there and it was early on a Monday morning I figured I had time to pop off a couple of rounds in peace and quiet.
I had my portable bench in the back of the truck and since the ground was a little muddy I got the bench out, set up the 7mm AM on the bipod and was getting ready to shoot at the steel.
Just then a “crazie” popped over the ridge and drove down to the range and parked his pickup truck. I almost packed up and left but he was sitting over at the far end so I proceeded to line up and get ready for the shot. Then, just as my luck usually runs, the ‘ol pickup starts up and he drove over by my truck. Not paying much mind to what I was doing or what I wanted to do, he hops out and starts jabbering about shooting in general.
This is a range area where most of the “crazies” set up just about anything they can pack out there for targets, shoot it up and leave it. Most of the “junk” is at 100 yards or less. I was set up over the left edge of the range and the “crazie” asked me why I had the “new fangled” gun of mine aimed so high just to hit the “targets” piled up at about 100 yards.
I told him I wasn’t shooting at the 100 yard stuff, but at steel at a range of 829 yards over where the ridge starts to rise across the little valley. That produced a round of cussing and assorted expletives that pretty plainly informed me that I was not only crazy but a liar. First he said there’s no steel and second he said if there was something over there nobody could hit it and that I was full of $h!t.
Since the “big eyes” were still there on the tripod straight behind the bench, I told him to take a look. He did look and, low and behold, he then said he could see the plate in the sagebrush. He conceded that there was really a steel plate over there but that he still knew it couldn’t be hit from where we were.
Well, seeing as how he had called me a liar etc. etc. I told him to watch through the “big eyes” which were directly behind me and that we’d see how close I could come.
It was a cold bore shot but I had all the data I needed and there was zero wind. I went through the procedure with the Kestrel and GPS, input the data into the Palm and had my necessary elevation needed. He was watching this but didn’t say anything. I kind of got the feeling that he was the kind of guy that never had set or used his VCR and that the date was still flashing, if you know what I mean.
Then I dialed the elevation turret and he started in jabbering again. Said something about if I had such a fancy gun, why did I have to adjust the scope just to shoot it. I took a little time to explain the hows and whys and then I told him to just keep looking through the big eyes.
The steel was about 12”-14” square and angled slightly to the left and after the obligatory delay both of us saw the lead splat from the 200 grain Wildcat and then after the slight delay we heard the bong of the steel. You could clearly see the impact about ½” high and about 1”-1.5” to the right of center. Kind of nice shooting at a virgin piece of steel that was painted and waiting.
I slipped the ear plugs off, racked the bolt, caught the empty, put it in the MTM box, took the bolt out and layed it on the bench beside the rifle and stood up.
My first inclination was to tell him what I thought of his initial statements about me and the gun and then I was inclined to tell him what I thought of him, but for some reason I just stopped, stood there and looked at him.
After a few seconds he cut loose with some more choice words, stuck out his hand and said he’d better be hungry because he was having to eat his words.
That broke the tension and we ended up talking for about another half hour about hunting, shooting, guns and especially the long range stuff. He was genuinely interested but said he was too old and set in his ways to start into something new and would just stick to his ‘ol 308 and his “brush hunting”.
After talking to him I realized he wasn’t really anything but just a little rough around the edges, spoke his mind and didn’t really care what anybody thought. I asked him if he wanted to try a shot and he declined. I touched off one more round, we saw it splat about 1” high and right on for left and right.
I loaded everything up and headed on up the road farther into the sagebrush and as I drove up the slight incline up and out of the range area I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him at what was left of one of the concrete benches with his 308, leaning over the bench, and he was looking through the scope. I couldn’t tell if he was looking at the 100 yard stuff or if he was trying to look at the steel across the valley but whichever it was I hope he had fun popping off a few rounds. I’ll bet he tried at least one shot at the steel across the valley.;)
When I came out a couple of hours later I didn’t even bother driving over the edge and down to the range but I kind of thought about the ‘ol guy and how his 308 had shot for him. I kind of hope he rang the steel.