Choosing An Economical Alternative
If you are a regular visitor to ‘Blunderbuss’ you will know that my choice of ammo for the ‘Annie 1710’ is somewhat off a shooting luxury. I have shot Eley Tenex and up to 3 years ago in 2012 I changed to Lapua Centre X. My move from Eley to Lapua was purely a financial decision as both ‘batch tested’ brands of Eley and Lapua shot exceptionally well and gave almost identical results on paper at 50 Metres. However the Lapua Centre X was coming in at a lower cost per brick of 1000 rounds compared to the Eley Tenex.
Cut Costs, Not Range Time
With financial rationalisation becoming the buzz word at a personal level I have been looking to further reduce my costs in my shooting sports without reducing the enjoyment and time at the range. After all it is my sport and one that takes me away from the daily grind.
I decided to give the lower priced Eley Sport a ‘shot’. Based on price alone Eley Sport was coming in around 40% cheaper than my current Lapua Centre X. This 40% saving no doubt will come at a cost, most likely in the form of shot consistency and accuracy when stretching to the longer distances of 77 Metres and 100 Metres where Turkeys and Rams can win or lose a match.
Ammo & Other Goodies
After a quick visit to my local firearms dealer ‘were we chatted and threw an eye over a few 9mm’s including a highly tempting CZ Sp1 that was in stock’ I walked out with a fresh purchase of 500 rounds of Eley Sport and fairytale daydreams of running that CZ through its paces in IPSC.
Paper Punching Precision
At the range I placed a bullseye target at all 4 distances, 40 Metres, 60 Metres, 77 Metres and 100 Metres for Smallbore Rifle Silhouette and set my ‘Annie 1710’ up for bench rest shooting. It was by no means the most expensive bench rest rig on the market. In all honesty it was an ‘MTM Portable Maintenance Centre‘ weighted down with a small sand bag. This allowed me to elevate and level off the ‘Annie’ giving me a consistent benched style shooting position. It worked out quite well for a make shift rig.
I kept my scope elevation turret at zero ‘this is my setting for Chickens at 40 Metres using Lapua Centre X’. My plan would be to work off my zero indicator to find the right elevation for the Eley Sport. It didn’t take long at all. Five shots in and I was confident that 4 clicks up would have me shooting centre groups. Once on centre I was pleasantly surprised at how accurate and consistent the Eley Sport was at 40 Metres. Maybe I got lucky with the batch but more testing to the greater distances was required before a thumbs up.
Using my Lapua Centre X elevation settings for the greater distances of Pigs, Turkeys and Rams proved very useful as a marker. Similar to the Chickens setting all I had to do was add 4 additional clicks to each elevation setting and I was bang on. The group consistency continued to impress all the way to the Rams.
Eley Sport was proving itself to be a contender for my Club Silhouette Matches. Not only was it delivering consistency it was delivering confidence at a fair price.
I shot through a full box of 50 and I wasn’t able to identify a solo flier. The left to right breeze added no complication to the equation . I am under no illusions that Eley Sport would never out perform the Olympic Grade Eley Tenex but in my not so scientific findings Eley Sport seems to have taken a liking to my Anschutz 1710. This is one little romantic coupling of ‘Ammo meets Annie‘ that I ain’t in any rush to break up.
Stand Up & Make ‘Em Count
On Sunday past I finally got some range time that didn’t include a brisk ice cold wind howling across the range. It was a pleasant non finger biting temperature. After lining up the 40 Silhouettes I popped into the clubhouse for a mug of tae and toast as the stomach was growling like a bear for my second breakfast. Now fed and watered I dialled in Chicken number 1. With a slight front foot adjustment for hip rotation to bring my field of view on target the first of my Eley Sport rifled off. Zipping through the almost breathless range it found the heart of that Chicken. Working the bolt I ejected the spent brass and quickly stripped another round from the magazine and charged the chamber. Target acquired, target down. Two for two. Confidence was growing with every hit.
With 8/10 Chickens knocked from their feet I relayed through Pigs, Turkeys and finally Rams, selecting the turret adjustments that I had dialled in on paper. Shot for shot Eley Sport was proving very effective at dropping each animal. As the last Ram clanged its way to the cold shadows of the dirt below I run my eye up and down my firing line. Counting what remained on their feet this dolly mixture of Chickens, Turkeys and Rams somewhat surprised me. I had tallied 33/40 without any bullet trouble.
I Am A Contender!
My initial testing of Eley Sport in a replicated competitive training scenario has somehow thrown the scales off balance. I was expecting to find flaws such as misfires and fliers but somehow this Eley Sport ammo had other ideas. It was out to impress. This ammo cycled without fail through my ‘Annie’ with every round firing. I have trusted Eley in the past with their Tenex, Match and Practice brands and I am now adding Sport to that growing list.
In a future post I hope to run a speed test over the Chronograph for this Eley Sport and compare it to the speed of my batch tested Lapua Master just to see if they are averaging around the same speed; which is a good indicator in testing to find a batch that suits the harmonics of my ‘Annie’. I look forward to the findings. Now it’s time to enjoy a few more shots down range without the science.