About two months ago, my good friend and custom rifle builder Bruce Baer, challenged me to shoot the Mile. I told him that if he builds the rifle, I'll take him up on the challenge.
I gave him a barrel that I had and then pestered him repeatedly for two months to chamber it. After he chambered the barreled action, I bedded it in the stock and completed load development. All under his guidance.
Specs on the rifle: .338 Big Baer, .338-.408 Improved reamer designed by Baer, Krieger barrel, Lawton 8000 repeater action, Vias brake, Jewell trigger, NXS 8 x 32 NP1, shooting the 300 grain SMK, McMillan A-5 stock designed by Baer to accomodate the larger actions. Rifle weighs about 21 pounds.
This weekend we made the trip to the Thunder Valley Rifle Range in Kimbolton, Ohio. Thunder Valley is an IBS sanctioned 1000 yard range. They had their first two matches this weekend. Range owner and rangemaster, Tom Sarver, also holds the Mile shoot in conjunction with the 1000 yard match. Along for the trip was Bud Williams, Bruce Baer, and my father.
Baer and Williams shot the Mile match two years ago and Bear won group with 22.5" and Williams won for score. We all entered the 1000 yard shoot in light and heavy gun with Williams winning Heavy gun shootoff for score with his .308 Baer.
We talked about shooting three or five shot groups at the Mile and decided on the five shot group with a spotter only for sighter shots. No communication between spotter and shooter during record fire.
I shot the first relay with Baer as my spotter. First shot on cold clean barrel was center mass on the white sighter steel plate. Second shot was approx 17" high but center mass. I made a correction and the next three shots were in the center of the plate. I immediately went to the record target. I fired five shots with no correction for conditions between shots.
Sarver retrieved the target and told us that the fifth shot was 1.5" right off the paper but in the group.
He officially measured the 4 shot group at 3.806". Estimate of the five shot group was 7.75".
Oh well, I'll settle for a four shot group like that.
The wind picked up and we shot a few other record targets later in the day. The conditions were far from what they were earlier, winds were switching and the mirage was heavy. Baer ended up beating us with a 23" group with three shots in the center of the target.
What made this day even more special is that my 80 year old dad was with me. After all, he's the one that got me interested in this crazy sport...