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Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

 
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  #1  
Old 03-06-2010, 01:31 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tyler, Texas
Posts: 13
Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

Rookie needing advice!
OK guys. I have been hunting 6 times, bagged 2 deer, and this past year, started plinking, at longer and longer distances, just for fun. I am hooked, and on a budget. (I know, bad combo.)

I have always borrowed a gun to hunt with (i know, you can't take an ethical shot with a gun you don't "know" but hey, I'm a rookie).

I started saving for a gun (4 kids under 7 restricts your budget). Before I could buy, I won a Marlin XL-7 scoped combo in .243 at a church raffle for $10. Better than a sharp stick in the eye!

Anyway, I haven't even shot it. I have been reading for the past month about sighting, shooting, cleaning and care.

Here is what I have : .243 Marlin XL-7 with Nikon Buckmasters 4-12X50 *Never Been Shot*

I have my CHL, carry daily, and am very comfortable and familiar with SA handguns, but other than plinking with an old .22 Marlin 60, I have only fired about 10 rounds out of a rifle. Hopefuly I am stepping into this a bit ahead of the average rookie.

Here are my questions:

1. I read an article about cleaning the bore after each of my first 5-10 shots. Do I need to do this, or is this just for high-dollar super-accurate rigs?

2. I was going to sight in and set my zero at 200 yards using 2 boxes of Federal 115g rounds that I won with the gun. Is this a reasonable range for that scope, gun, round (and rookie)? My brother-in-law will be reloading my brass with 80g hunting rounds. Will I need to re-sight with those?

3. The synthetic stock has 2 raised "points" that apply pressure to the barrel at the forward end of the stock. I have been advised to sand these off to fully "free-float" the barrell. Should I do this?

4. I was told that I should fire 3 shots, adjust my sights, then fire another 3 at a fresh target. Is this enough to show where my groups are off?

5. I have also been told to fire around 15 shots, then let the barrell cool before shooting any more. Is this correct? If so, how long should I let it cool.

6. After many-many rounds of practice, What will the efective range of this gun be (when I am no longer a rookie)?

7. If taken well care of, how long will this gun last? How many rounds should the barrel last?

8. Knowing that the XL-7 is of nominal value, Is this going to be something that I can pass on to one of my boys as a "heritage gun" or will it be a worn out piece in a few years?


I have 100 more questions, and am doing this on my own due to budget constraints, so any advice and response is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:09 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
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Re: Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

I'll reply on what I feel comfortable with.

Embedded in your text:

Quote:
Originally Posted by crosshairsonTheCross View Post
Here are my questions:

1. I read an article about cleaning the bore after each of my first 5-10 shots. Do I need to do this, or is this just for high-dollar super-accurate rigs?

I'd say for every rifle. See here: Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels - Centerfire Maintenance

2. I was going to sight in and set my zero at 200 yards using 2 boxes of Federal 115g rounds that I won with the gun. Is this a reasonable range for that scope, gun, round (and rookie)?

Do break in and initial zero with the factory fodder. Break in is complete when copper fouling is at its minimum.

200 yard zero may give you a higher 100 yd point of impact than you desire. That will come with experience.

My brother-in-law will be reloading my brass with 80g hunting rounds. Will I need to re-sight with those? Most probably have to rezero. Once tuned and zeroed at you distance of choice then shoot at longer distances, out to your maximum shooting distance to determine bullet drops.

3. The synthetic stock has 2 raised "points" that apply pressure to the barrel at the forward end of the stock. I have been advised to sand these off to fully "free-float" the barrell. Should I do this?
Yep, hawg 'em off. ensure barrel is free floated all the way back to the recoil lug. Use a double thickness business card to measure.

4. I was told that I should fire 3 shots, adjust my sights, then fire another 3 at a fresh target. Is this enough to show where my groups are off? Or mark the first three shoots then adjust.

5. I have also been told to fire around 15 shots, then let the barrell cool before shooting any more. Is this correct? If so, how long should I let it cool. Depends on how fast you shoot the 15 shots. If you shoot three, mark three, return to bench and shoot three more, your barrel should be cool enough.

6. After many-many rounds of practice, What will the efective range of this gun be (when I am no longer a rookie)? On the order of 1000 yards at paper or even a chuck. THere is a post on here, somewhere, where a fella shot a chuck at about that distance with a hornet.

7. If taken well care of, how long will this gun last? How many rounds should the barrel last? Keep it cool. Use it wisely it will out last you. You'll get an itch for something more or different long before you wear it out. You can burn the barrel out in well under an hour if you wish.

8. Knowing that the XL-7 is of nominal value, Is this going to be something that I can pass on to one of my boys as a "heritage gun" or will it be a worn out piece in a few years? Yes. See #7


I have 100 more questions, and am doing this on my own due to budget constraints, so any advice and response is greatly appreciated.

Keep readin' and askin'. It'll all come together.

Also go here:
Load development made easy.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:30 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Ohio
Posts: 163
Re: Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

Roy pretty well said it, but I disagree with him one 1 point. DO NOT file down the presure points untill after you shoot it for accuracy. You can do that at any time, and the gun will probly shoot better with them filed, but some are more accurate with the presure points. Make sure your is not one of these befor you start sanding.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Timber Lake, South Dakota
Posts: 303
Re: Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

Roy hit everything but I do have to agree with Catfish. I'd wait and see how it groups before I'd start making any changes. I have factory rifles that shoot my handloads at a 1/2 inch without anything done at all. If it just isn't grouping well, ( 1.5 inch @ 100ys with factory loads) Then I'd start getting after it.

The 115 grain bullets are a bit heavy, if I remember right, you have a 10 twist barrel. I don't think it's going to stabilize that long bullet very well. You're optimum weight will be somewhere around 80 to 90 grains.

Yep 1000yds after you get your feet under you. Living in TX you should have plenty of room to set up targets and log bullet drops.

Make sure that your scope is mounted properly. Even guys who have had a lot of years of shooting seem to have trouble getting that right. Secure your rifle in a rest and make sure that it is level. (use a level) After that you can remount your scope placing a level on the top scope turret. Having a properly mounted scope will become more and more important as you stretch out our legs.

.243 is not a barrel burner it should last a long time. Just don't just blast 15rds off. It's like drinking beer, you can drink all night if you only have one an hour. Like Roy said, fire three then check, tape and record and make corrections.

Good luck,
Tom
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2010, 04:00 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tyler, Texas
Posts: 13
Re: Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

RoyInIdaho and Catfish:
Thanks for the advice. I know that it may seem elementary, but I like to take good care of my "toys" so that they last, and "if it's worth doin', it's worth doin' right."

I have 4 kids. Hunting is a dying art. I hope to be able to develop this as a family pass-time that will go on for generations.

God Bless.
Matt
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2010, 04:05 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tyler, Texas
Posts: 13
Re: Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

Tom

Good words.

Thanks
Matt
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  #7  
Old 03-06-2010, 04:12 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Tyler, Texas
Posts: 13
Re: Rookie W/ First Rifle seeking advice.

Further explanation.
On removing the points and free floating the barrel.
After I break in the barrel with 25-30 rounds, cleaning after every round for the first 10 or so, and after every 3 till I hit 30, how will I know if I need to float the barrel?

At that, what if I float, and the performance drops off?
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