Obviously, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. This month has been surprisingly busy, but not in the traditional sense. Life has sort of gotten in the way. And, to be honest, the shooting has not been my highest priority. My dry fire practice has been inconsistent, and today was the first day I’ve gotten to the range since the first outing with the DMTR (which I have now taken to calling, “The Musket”). I have been writing a rather lengthy article about gun culture and how we can go about improving it, but I’m not sure it would be appropriate to post here. I have an invitation from another blog to write for them, but I’m also not sure what I’ve written is appropriate for them, either.
In any case, it was nice to get out to the range again. It was 55 degrees and slightly overcast, with a soft breeze swirling about. Since nobody was around on this particular Sunday, I had the run of the place. I also took the opportunity to step up to the 100 meter range for the first time. I only took the DMTR today to practice the fundamentals with iron sights, and to also prepare for the upcoming Appleseed shoot in August.
I’ve heard it said that shooting at longer ranges will exacerbate errors in shooting, and it is certainly true. I noticed several things shooting today that I want to take away.
The importance of finding that natural point of aim (NPA) cannot be overstated. I always knew of the concept before, and thought I was applying it. But today, shooting at double the ranges I have been, I could clearly see its effect. Settling into a position with sights on target, closing my eyes, shimmying around, and opening them to see where the sights fell made a huge difference in my shot stability. Properly done, picking the right NPA made the sights fall right back on target after each shot with very little input from me.
I need to learn the A2 sights better. I spent nearly the first hour chasing a zero. My last outing, I was shooting at 25 meters. That zero proved to be way too high at 100m, being off the top edge of the paper. I thought I had maxed out the elevation on my front sight post and would be unable to get a good zero. This turned out to be false, and I finally got it figured out after 35 shots. Using this 100m zero with the rear sight drum meant to be zeroed at 300m will be problematic, if I choose to use the rear drum as intended. I have read a process for adjusting the rear drum for a 100m zero and having it still be correct on adjustments for 300 and out. I’ll have to see if I can dig it up.
For targets, I was using a NRA A-9 (I got a good deal on a couple packs of 20). It’s a single bull target meant for 50 yard small bore. The black is 3 and 7/8 inches wide, so just under my desired accuracy requirement for 100 meters. For zeroing, I was using some other Storm Tactical printed targets I had on hand with a center dot that is .5 mil wide (just under 2”). At these ranges, the targets were bordering what on what I could clearly see. The peep sight helped with my astigmatism, but I don’t think I could have done it much further without magnification.
As for shooting itself, I felt rusty. I have been dry firing in home at relatively close ranges, but I’m seeing the limitations. Dry fire, especially with a semi auto, cannot replicate the recoil impulse and loading action. In my dry fire sessions, I always thought my sight picture was “good,” and I was satisfied. In actual firing, though, it was not always the case.
I finished the day with three targets and three positions all using the TAB sling. Five shots each. The first five shots were taken from crossed ankle sitting position. This was with the last of the Independence 55gr 5.56 that I was shooting during the first part of the day. Overall, I am satisfied with this result. There are two shots in the lower right of this paper that were intended for the next target down (I stacked them vertically).
The next position was squatting. Historically I really like squatting, but today it was my weakest. I used five rounds of some Federal xM855 I had in my range bag. Shots were all way high and right, with two appearing on the wrong target. During firing, I noticed the rifle had an abnormal amount of jump up and to the right. I also noticed that my right elbow was sitting on top of my right knee, rather than bracing in front of it. The shots that ended up on the correct paper were after this adjustment. I don’t like posting this target, but I have to stay honest. This position needs work.
The prone position was last, using five more rounds of xM855. I felt very stable, and made a conscious effort to keep my right elbow further out to the side and my left elbow tucked under the rifle as close to centerline as I could get. The shots all ended up slightly high, but this might have been due to difference in velocity between the Independence 55gr and the Federal. There was, however, some horizontal error that I’m not sure how to account for. I think it’s just going to come down to more practice. As these were the last five shots today, I felt myself rushing to just get them over with. That may be a sign in the future to keep practice sessions a bit shorter.
Overall, I wouldn’t call it good shooting today. I was frustrated by the chase for a zero, and then rushed at the end. But at least I got out there again.
Sadly, the DMTR is out of commission for a bit. I was using my OTIS kit to clean it tonight. I may have too aggressively packed a patch. The plastic eyelet snapped in half in the bore, leaving the other half of the eyelet and the patch stuck pretty tight. I have a Tipton cleaning rod and JP bore guide on order from Midway. I should have it by next weekend. But if not, I can always switch back to using Ascalon with the PST scope.
That’s all for today!