Monday, December 23, 2013

Hot Days, Warm Barrels

Despite the unseasonal heat, over 85 by noon, Mrs. Graybeard and I hit the gun range today along with a friend.  Not just idle shooting, not that there's anything wrong with that, but to sight in Mrs. Graybeard's 10/22 Takedown and the friend's hunting rifle in 7mm Remington Magnum.  And to test out a modification I made to my Remington 700 .30-06 (a 1984 model I picked up in 2010).  

About a month ago, I was ordering something from the candy store, and was just short of the "free shipping" threshold.  So looking around, I stumbled across the Kwik Klip conversion kits to turn the 700 from the internal box magazine to a detachable magazine.  A little crazy, I'll grant that, but why not?  It turns out the installation was so easy it almost fell in place by itself, and I thought I'd try it out to make sure everything runs smoothly.  Excellent!
Ran the four round magazine it comes with at 25 yards, just to remember the rifle, then loaded six into the 10 round magazine and moved out to 100 yards.  According to the Winchester Ballistics app I run on my phone, the rounds I was using should rise another 2.6 inches on the way to 100 yards, so I aimed about that low and they behaved just as predicted.  Those are the diminutive but deadly Mrs. Graybeard's hands setting up a shot on the Lead Sled, not mine, and she got the same results.   Everything fed just fine (of course it's still a bolt action rifle, duh!, but magazines can barf up and I wanted to check it out with the gun warm from shooting). 

The other reason she and I needed to go was to check her Ruger 10/22 Takedown.  We've been having some issues with this gun and it just seems that the Takedown doesn't go back together accurately enough.  She was off at 25 yards by several inches, so it would be off the paper at 100 yards and unusable for real shooting at any distance.  We set it to zero, then went to break the rifle down.  Oops - the fold down front sight was jamming on the scope's front bell and preventing the take down!  The simple act of undoing the latching mechanism, twisting just a few degrees like that and then returning everything where it was put it off target again.  Here's the kicker: we replaced the first (Tasco) scope with that new one (BSA) because of similar issues we thought were from that scope.  We're down to one of two things: either leave it as a plain old 10/22 - never take it down again, in which case it's expensive for a stainless 10/22 - or talk with Ruger and try to figure out what's going on.  I've heard some talk about them going back together a couple of minutes of arc off, but that's all within the center 1" ring of the targets. If it's off 3", that's more like 12 minutes, and I think that's the kind of error we're seeing.

We also helped a good friend zero his Savage hunting rifle in 7mm Remington Magnum.  I've never shot that caliber before, but it seems pretty good.  According to that Winchester ballistics app, it shoots a 175 grain bullet faster than a 150 grain .30-06 by a few fps, but I'm sure the higher velocity and heavier bullet gives it higher impact energy.  His rifle was off zero, which he found on an annual hunting trip to Montana in October.  I think we straightened that out.

I know that the folks under an inch of ice in the Northeast aren't going to like to hear me complaining about it being 85, but seriously, I can use a break for some cool weather.  It has been under 50 twice this fall/winter and maybe under 60 one week total since last March.  It can be hot all year around here, and I can use the few weeks we might get every year to cool off a bit.  To be honest, the only people I know who don't like it to cool off now and then, and especially around Christmas, are the transplanted northerners who came here to get out of the cold.


  1. Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, with take-down anything it's common for zero to change a little, but it shouldn't change enough to make the gun useless. My BLR holds zero better than my 10/22 when reassembled, but different guns in different price ranges. And, without a scope and a rest I'd probably blame subtle zero changes on my eyes and steadiness (or lack thereof).

    I've had good results with a Nikon 2-7X on the take-down, and a similarly powered Burris on the one piece 10/22 (both are 1-inch centerfire scopes held to a receiver-mounted Picatinny rail with Leupold medium height QD mounts. The rail is just high enough to preclude use of the irons.); I don't know which model Tasco or BSA you used, but the Nikon and Burris may be just short enough to clear the rear sight (or, I mounted mine a tad further to the rear). For the take-down 10/22, try a different technique on the tension knob. Ruger's instructions say to adjust it to just allow reassembly, after which they ignore it. Do that, then add 1/8 turn more tension before shooting. Prior to disassembly, reduce tension 1/3 turn, and recover that same tension after reassembly, and see if that helps. It did with mine, but I still have a little vertical dispersion each time it's reassembled. I've seen "standard" 10/22s with very snug barrel-to-receiver fits (the barrel is retained by two allen head screws that secure a retention block to the aluminum receiver). I don't have the specs, but it wouldn't surprise me if the barrel/receiver fit on the TD was designed to be a tiny bit looser to facilitate take down.

    BTW, both my 10/22s are zeroed at 60 yards which allows for +/- .75" point blank from 10 to 75 yards (Federal 36 grain HP). I've seen "one piece" floated heavy barrel 10/22s do very well in .22 Silhouette so the basic action is good, as is the standard barrel attachment technique. A small zero error may be the price one pays for the convenience of a TD with an aluminum receiver.

    1. Thanks for the input. (Could have sworn I wrote this yesterday)

      I think we'll try what you did (reducing tension 1/3 turn at disassembly, cranking it back in) and see if that helps. I can live with a small error like a minute or two, but 12 or 15 is too much.

      The scope we have is a 4-12 x 40 BSA (neither one of us has the vision we had when we were 30). Before that, it was a similar Tasco that really seemed to have big problems. On a different .22 (not a Takedown) we zeroed it, took it to Appleseed, and then put the gun away for a few weeks. Next time we took it out, bullets were impacting almost 2 feet below the POA! It behaved itself after that, then we took it off and put it on the Takedown. Did the same thing on the new rifle, so I ditched it.

  2. Spoke to my step-mother in Cocoa Beach on Christmas Day, and she said the temp had dropped to the sixties there. She said she was shivering :-) Aren't you close by?

    1. Yes, the cold front came through the day after this, Christmas eve, although it warmed up since. I was just out running some errands and the outside temperature sensor in my Exploder said 80. The next break is supposed to be Monday. New Years eve, they're calling for 47!

      Floridians will be applying for blood transfusions.