I have been working on several new loads for various calibers lately but I haven’t been able to make it out to the range to test them out. Well, I finally made the time and took care of that.
The two loads I most wanted to test out were:
- .38 Special 148 Grain Hollow-based Wadcutters (HBWC) over Trail Boss powder
- .32 Smith & Wesson 77 Grain Lead Round-nosed (LRN) also using Trail Boss
I was really excited about using this particular powder because it is especially bulky and fills the cases very nicely. Unfortunately, these loads didn’t perform as well as I would have hoped. Neither resulted in the velocity I was hoping for. The .38 Special rounds were not going fast enough to stabilize and were keyholing the target. I will say that a 5/8ths inch long bullet traveling sideways at around 500 fet per second (fps) makes a fairly impressive hole in a paper target.
I am going back to a more traditional powder (probably Hodgden 700X) for both of these loads. While the loads were not a success the testing proved exactly what I needed it to do so from that perspective it was a success. My chronograph worked and showed me right what I needed to know.
Until I shot it…
I finished testing the two pistol loads I wanted to test so decided to get a little practice in while waiting to move over to the rifle range. Somehow one of my rounds hit the sunshade on the top of the unit and the whole thing took a nose dive into the dirt. That’s one of the problems and risks to this type of chrono and one I was willing to take as a trade off for the extra flexibility in the types of testing I could do (semi-auto handguns, bows and crossbows) and the price of the unit.
I will probably have to replace the sunshade but I will have to work with it a bit to see if there is any other damage.
I have always liked the idea of a small red dot sight on my hunting rifle. At closer ranges it is quick to being on target. It makes the rifle lighter and easier to carry in heavy brush. Plus, I can shoot with two eyes open and still see my target.
I was pretty sure it would work well enough at closer distances but I wanted to see if my marksmanship and experience had improved enough that I could use it at longer ranges as well; 100 to 150 yards (I know that’s not a long distance to many of you). I had a Primary Arms red dot laying around so I mounted it on my Ruger American Ranch rifle in 7.62×39 (7.62 commie) and loaded the rifle in the bag.
The little red dot sure changed the weight of the rifle and its balance point. I liked that just as much as I thought I would. I sighted the little optic in at 25 yards with just a few clicks and was shooting just fine at that distance. Fifty yards was the same. No problem with hits.
OK, so much for this idea.
At that distance I was still hitting the target reasonably well. In fact, back when I first started shooting center fire rifles I would have been pretty happy with those groups on a scoped rifle. Easy center mass hits on a man sized target at that distance but I like to be more accurate than that when hunting. My groups opened up a little too much for what I would be comfortable with for hunting.
Plus at that distance the target was visible but not nearly as much as it would be with even a 2x optic. The extra magnification will help ensure that I am hitting exactly where I want on the animal and hitting exactly what I think I am. Another test that successfully failed. I will be going back to the 2×7 scope.
The one test I really wanted to do but didn’t get a chance to was to test some .308 Winchester loads I put together some time ago. By that time the heat was really starting to get to me so I was about ready to go. Besides, I had already shot my chrono so…
…I’ll just have to head back out there again soon
Take care and God bless.