Suns Out, Guns Out
Looking out over the green hills of Tyrone and across the valley, the steel plates lay nestled among the rushes dancing in the flickering sunshine. There wasn’t a breathe of wind at the firing point as firing sticks in all sorts of calibres lined out. On show we had .260 ackley improved, .300 win mag, .308, 6.5×47 and my own 6.5×55. This was going to be an eventful day and no doubt one that might involve a few chosen words as targets escape the crosshairs.
Going The Distance
With the all clear and range is live command given we went hot. Working off my previous 600 Metre elevation and windage settings I ran my first 139g Lapua scenar down the cold bore. It was almost there. The windage just needed shifting to the left 3 full MOA, in ‘real money‘ that is approximately 18 inches at 600 Metres. Then I followed up with a second shot. This shot dropped in at the foot of the plate. Two shots in and it was looking good. Other shots from the 300 win mag and .260 to my left boomed across the valley in chorus, quickly followed by some hustle and bustle of instruction from their spotter. Holding over on the elevation my third shot found its mark. I run a fourth and a fifth to the same mark finding the plate at 600 Metres. I was ‘bang‘ on target. Happy with this fast acquisition I stood back to leave the bore to cool off. I had no plans to fry and egg on the barrel. I grabbed a quick snack as breakfast seemed such a distant memory and gave my eyes to spotting for the .260 ackley improved.
Stretching It Out
Copper began to find its mark as everyone got warmed up and dialed in. It was interesting to see how other shooters shot and prepared for their shooting. The technical aspects of how each shooter lay in prone, what opinions they had on their shooting and from a ‘gun geek’ viewpoint what hardware they were using for front rests, rear rests, scopes and the rifle itself all interested me.
Back behind the scope I decided to dial in for a 12 inch plate that the range finder eye balled at 700 Metres. I knew this would be tricky as it was going to test the Steyr and its 139g bullet to the limit. With a spotter on point, I dialed up an additional 3.5 MOA and rifled of a shot. It was close, but no cigar. A few shots followed as I tried for a hit on target. A cross wind had picked up as the day grew old. The red flag was flat out at 11 o’clock. Using Kentucky windage I finally rattled the plate leaving it to swing like a pendulum, elevation was dead on, it was the windage that would become the guessing game.
The larger calibres of the .260 and 300 win mag also began to rattle the plate at 700. A bit of craic was being had, it kept the day light hearted as we swapped in and out of shooting details, giving our shooting sticks time to cool off.
My Lapua 139g handloads were coming to an end, the dark skies were rolling in and not to mention my stomach telling me to get a move on. I shouldered the Steyr and dialed down to the 600 Metre plate once again and in quick succession I chambered and run the last off my ammo out to rattle the 600.
We all had a great wee day of shooting and I hope many more to come.
In the video below I am shooting my Steyr Pro Hunter Mark II with Lapua 139g Scenar HPBT copper jackets. If you listen closely you can hear the satisfying thud of the bullet as it strikes the 600 Metre plate.