05/27/2012 RANGE REPORT
The range gods were smiling today, our local range is noted for wind especially as the ground starts to warm, however barely a breeze & warm so off to the range.
To start off, I did a quick boresight and shot 2 rounds (lower left bull) and then made some adjustments to the scope to "bring it in". After 25 rounds, the rifle was shooting 1" groups at 50 yards, by the 6th group (upper right) and shooting lines (upper left) I was confident enough to get a "virgin rifle" range report. It was also interesting to see the groups shrink as more rounds were shot. After 150 rounds the groups were a jagged hole at 50 yards.
First a few things about the rifle. Shooting from the bench, the comb of the stock was very comfortable, as being a lefty I could not take full advantage of the palm swell, but the cheek weld and grip was comfortable none the less. Closing the bolt shot after shot had a solid feeling to it. The bolt felt smoother and smoother as it was getting broken in.
I did notice one thing and don't know if it is a common element or just individual to my rifle, but the last round in the magazine just didn't want to feed properly. 22 fired 5 round mags out of 25 and 3 different types of ammo had this happen, so I become tolerant of it. The bullet also deformed slightly and the shot actually printed badly on paper. A couple of the groups below have that 5th and 10th round printing away from the rest of the group. No big deal though, the magazine spring pressure can be tweeked, hopefully that is the only issue on that topic.
If there was one thing that really problematic was the trigger. Way too much creep (which will be fixed with a trigger kit in the future) that was inconsistant - one time it was somewhat smooth taking up the slack (yes, that is where that saying comes from), and sometimes it was gritty and in "stages" - BUT when the slack was taken up, the trigger broke clean, on the lowest poundage setting advertised as being anywhere between 2.5 to 3 lbs. There is no doubt in my mind that the groups below can even be smaller (especially at 100 yards) with a "proper" trigger.
10 round groups shot from the bench, Harris bipod & rear bag. Optic set on 10X, 1" bull at 50 yards, 1.5" bull at 100 yards. 3 ammos used: Federal Bulk Pack HV, CCI Standard Velocity, Wolf MT. All ammos were weight and rim thickness sorted, then randomly loaded into the magazine to create a random "straight out of the box" condition. 10 rounds were fired off target between ammo manufacture change.
Groups were measured center to center (CTC) and outer edge to outer edge (ETE). The ETE measurements were less formal, if it was just under and inch, I reported -1". Groups that were going the 32nds route were just reported -9/16" for example.
74 deg F, 67% Humidity, <3 MPH 3:00 wind, sunny, 50 Yards.
79 deg F, 65% Humidity, <5 MPH 3:00 wind, sunny, 100 Yards.
When moving to 200 yards, the wind picked up and was 5-12 MPH changing from left to right. I didn't feel it was a fair condition to do a 200 yard report, but hopefully a near in the future range trip will produce better conditions and report.
Overall (except for that 5th and 10th round slightly deformed failure to feed) the 455 produces some decent groups, no doubt a lessened creep will improve the 100 yard groups. I was expecting to do a little better at 100 yards with the CCI and Wolf ammo, but the fact that the shooter not being familiar with the trigger could be the reason for the rifle not meeting my immediate goal of 1" or less. Another session will be shot and compared after the trigger kit installation. But as far as producing groups with different types of ammo, the rifle is pretty consistant. Except for one hit with Federal bulk pack, 9 of the lower grade rounds were under 1.5" at 100 yards! Most likely after the trigger kit and more seasoning of the barrel is achieved, the mid and higher graded ammos will produce those MOA groups at 100 yards. Another thing to point out is that the 455 appears to be less finicky to ammo changes than other rimfires I've used.
Off hand shooting is a little tough as the rifle is a bit nose heavy, but addition of weight can be added in certain areas for a better balance if one chooses to do so.
All in all the rifle is solid, consistant, and a good looker too. As a "virgin" rifle with no historical proven performance enhancements (trigger, mounting bolt torques, etc.) it did well. A few of those minor adjustments and I'm very confident that it will be scary accurate at 50 yards, and a 1" or under shooter at 100 yards.