Swinging Steel Plates at 600 yards
With a second invitation to come and shoot the 600 yard distance in County Tyrone, I put my preparation time to good use by getting 60 fresh once fired 6.5×55 Lapua Brass cases annealed, dried, cleaned, neck sized, chamfered and primed for loading with Vhitavouri N160. The annealing and drying process was a two day operation before loading and bullet seating could begin.
With 60 fully loaded rounds of 6.5×55 waiting at home, I made my way from Dublin in anticipation of a good days shooting to ring steel like a campanologist on a Sunday morning.
Once the paper targets of other shooters had been pinned up at the 300 and 600 yards our shooting began at 10:30am as the first shots reported along the valley floor.
I used my scope elevation settings from my previous visit to the range as a reference point to begin with; which was 12 MOA (Minutes Of Angle) and 4 MOA of windage to the left on a ¼ click Leupold VX 6×18 scope sitting on top of my Steyr Pro Hunter Mark II.
With my opening shots striking low on the larger 4ftx4ft steel plate I could see that a little additional elevation was needed to drop in on my POA (Point Of Aim) so I upped this by 1 MOA.
For reference at 100 yards 1 MOA is calculated as 1 inch in distance and at 600 yards 1 MOA is calculated as 6 inches.
Shooting only from a prone position and with the aid of a Harris Bipod raising the muzzle about 10 inches, I settled the rifle butt into my shoulder pocket and shot after shot dropped into the steel targets, I was ‘bang’ on. The factory trigger on my Steyr is pretty crisp.
With an ‘aim’ to reduce my target size I moved to the smaller 3ftx3ft steel swinging plates and I am happy to report that every shot fell into those plates sending a delightful ring back up along the valley to the protected ears of the shooting line.
Pedersoli, 45-90 Sharps Rifle
At the range I was offered a shot with a Pedersoli, 45-90 Sharps Rifle. We sighted in on a 300 yard target board, but from the 600 yard firing line it was approximately 400 yards in distance from the muzzle of the Sharps Rifle. With the 45-90 black powder cartridge loaded, I lined up the peep sights for my first shot and as expected I shot some dirt. The recoil of the rifle was firm but not aggressive and the puff of black powder was more the attraction for others to watch. I can see the attraction in this firearm and in its shooting as Silhouettes can be shot with Black Powder Cartridge Rifles also.
Here I am holding a 45-90 black powder cartridge with a cast lead bullet, ready to send it down range with a smile.
If there is to be another venture to the 600 yard range before the winter settles into the country roads and surrounding hills then I will see what I can produce on paper as a shot group.
Reloading For The Future
As Sundays weather had taken a turn for the worst I put being indoors to good use; so with eager anticipation I spent the morning handloading a new batch of annealed brass loaded with N160 and topped off with a Lapua Scenar 139g HPBT (Hollow Point Boat Tail) copper jacket bullet, ready for the call.