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March 26, 2023

Gun Thread: End of March Edition!

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Howdy, Y'all! Welcome to the wondrously fabulous Gun Thread! As always, I want to thank all of our regulars for being here week in and week out, and also offer a bigly Gun Thread welcome to any newcomers who may be joining us tonight. Howdy and thank you for stopping by! I hope you find our wacky conversation on the subject of guns 'n shooting both enjoyable and informative. You are always welcome to lurk in the shadows of shame, but I'd like to invite you to jump into the conversation, say howdy, and tell us what kind of shooting you like to do!

Well I made it down to WeaselAcres for a a couple of days renewing my roots on the land. I didn't do any shooting this time, but you may recall last summer the sickle bar mower broke for no reason while I was trying to cut down a tree with it. Evidently, a sickle bar mower is designed to cut grass and not trees so this weekend I disassembled the bar and drive mechanism for inspection in an attempt to figure out what is wrong with it. Suffice it to say I need to order some parts.

2023 NoVAMoMe stuff is still down below (no new updates this week).

With that, step into the dojo and let's get to the gun stuff below, shall we?


Farm-O Update-O
Apparantly I now have a goat at the farm. I didn't realize stray goats are a thing but this little guy has taken up residence under my camper, so it looks like I'll need to get some goat chow. One of his hooves is a little overgrown, so I'm going to make some calls and see if I can get someone to look at it. WeaselGoat's name you ask? John C. Garand.

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John the Goat


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F-Class Shooting and Scoring - a Primer
As promised last week here is a little primer on F-Class shooting and scoring which might help you appreciate the amazing results from the 2023 South African Nationals and F-Class World Championships currently being held in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

There are two styles or classes of F-Class shooting. F-Open and F-T/R. The differences are allowable rifle weight and calibers, as well as the mechanism supporting the front of the rifle. Open class rifles can be slightly heavier, are usually firing a 6.0 to 7.0mm cartridge and use a mechanical front rest. F-T/R rifles are lighter, usually .308 Win caliber (.223 Rem is allowable but few use it), and use a bipod as a front rest. Both are fired on the same targets, and really boil down to shooter preference. For example, I was an F-Open shooter but coached an F-T/R team. For various reasons, most shooters typically choose one style and stick with it for the duration of their shooting careers due to the specialized gear required for each. A good overview of F-Class shooting can be found in this article originally published in Guns & Ammo in October 2007.

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ICFRA F-Class Long Range Target

International F-Class shooting is governed by the International Confederation of Fullbore Rifle Associations (ICFRA), and the targets used vary somewhat from the standard F-Class targets used in the United States. The center is a "V" rather than an "X", and the outer rings are scored 5, 4, 3, 2 rather than 10, 9, 8, 7. The size of the rings are the same at 5", 10", 20", 32" and 44", respectively. Long range matches are fired at 700m, 800m and 900m on the same style target for each, with 15 rounds plus two convertible sighters for score. A convertible sighter simply means the first two sighting rounds can be converted for score at the shooter's discretion. Shots in the 'V' or 'X' ring are tallied separately, receiving the highest score (5pts or 10pts) and the V or X count is used to break ties. This differs from U.S. matches in that 20 rounds are fired for score. With me so far?

So in an international match, such as those being held now in South Africa, a perfect score would be 75-15V (15x5 plus the V count) where a shooter placed all 15 rounds in the V ring, and would beat a score of 75-14V where a shooter had one shot outside the V ring but still inside or touching the 5 ring. Remember, there are usually three matches per day beginning at 700m (766 yd.), then moving back to 800m (875 yd.) and ending the day at 900m (984 yd.). Thus, a perfect day's shooting for all three matches would be 225-45V.

The South African Nationals started on the 21st, with many shooters using it as a warmup and practice for the World Championships beginning on Monday the 27th. So let's look at the scores for a sample match, Day 1 Match 3 of the SA Nationals, The Dalrymple Cup at 900 meters.

F-Open Results
Link to full SA Nationals Match 3 F-OPEN results

F-T/R Results
Link to full SA Nationals Match 3 F-T/R results

As you can see for this match, the winner in F-Open, M. Chui, shot a 75-12V.That means he was in the 10" 5 ring for 3 rounds and inside the 5-inch V ring for the remaining 12 shots. Not bad at 900m. You'll notice the guy in 2nd Place (a.k.a. first loser) did the same thing (the order of V counts can further break ties). As a matter of fact, each of the first twenty-eight shooters did not drop a point and are separated only by V count. Note to NZFrank - do you know Mr. M. Chui? If so, please offer him my congratulations!

Now let's look at F-T/R for the same match. The winner in F-T/R, J.D. Cilliers, fired a 75-9V. That's six rounds in the 10" 5 ring and nine rounds in the 5" V ring. It's not uncommon for F-T/R scores to be slightly lower when compared to F-Open due to the differences in the front rifle support mechanism, among other factors.

A bunch of my shooting buddies are there competing in both classes and shooting very respectable scores, while others aren't shooting the SA Nationals and are waiting for the World Championships to begin. To say the level of performance in competitive F-Class shooting is high is probably the understatement of the year. Let me just sum it up by saying a 5" circle at 900 meters is a very small target, and to make that shot 12 out of 15 tries is pretty amazing. The skill required to be competitive requires discipline, years of preparation, practice and the execution of every shot flawlessly. Next time you're shooting for groups, think about that. Diligent practice and application of good solid fundamentals can be rewarded with amazing results, and every single one of these guys and gals was a new shooter at some point. All it takes is a bunch of practice and dedication!

If you're interested in following along next week, here is a link to the 2023 F-Class World Championships Results page. As the Worlds get going, you're likely to see some fierce competition and remarkable feats of marksmanship.



Guns of the Horde
First up, our pal MkY shares a range report of his trip with an air rifle.

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I'd written you earlier about my new-found trouble with springer break-over air rifles. I solved it by going with a PCP rifle (Pre-Charged Pneumatic). I bought the Benjamin Marauder, in .22, and a 4500# scuba tank to refill it. Maybe $1100 total? Local dive shop charges $12.50 to refill the scuba tank

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This gun has now had 600 shots through it, and it seems to be consistent from 2800# to about 2000#. I expect the KE would be down at the lower end, naturally, so maybe not the hunting range of pressure. I had to re-sight it this morning. Rough handling is my guess; grandkids, employees, anyone who wants to shoot it gets to. I sighted it in at 30 yards. Previously I found it drops precisely 1 3/4 inches at 50 yards.

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These are the targets at 20 yards. 10 shots each. Slightly low at 20. Not a worry for squirrels or brown-headed cowbirds.

I diagnosed my own flyers. Seems I have a tendency to slightly move the rifle to see where I hit. Good follow-through will solve this. Technique is technique, whether shooting a 7mm mag or a PCP in .22. Absolutely quiet. Sound hitting the target is louder than the discharge. No recoil.

Very nice shooting, MkY! And you're right, all of the same fundamentals of basic marksmanship are required, regardless of the caliber, which makes this a very cost-effective training tool. Nice shooting!


Next, our pal Coelacanth shares a family heirloom!

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Just above the grip is a very small crown stamp

My father-in-law wanted me to have this. It's an Enfield Model 2 Mark 1. He traded for it and its mate while running an artillery battalion in Vietnam. He said they were sequential serial numbers, and that one was right twist, the other left twist. He shipped them home at the end of his tour, and his bag was opened, and one was missing. It's a top break with a DA only trigger and is still very tight. He'd shot it rarely and it is spotless.

Very nice, Coelacanth! Thank you for sharing it with us!


Range Reports
Next up we have a range report from our pal Washington Nearsider.

After meeting up with the NoVa Moron Gun Club last Sunday, I was uber motivated to get my rifles out and turn money into noise at CF Phelps Sighting-in Range.

I took my battle rifle (Larue Predator in 5.56), my battle rifle trainer (S&W M&P 15-22), and my precision .22lr (Ruger Precision rifle) with the purpose of confirming/zeroing my optics before CF Phelps closes for the season on March 31.

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Larue Predator

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S&W MP 15-22

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Ruger Precision Rifle .22LR

When I got there, I immediately realized I'd left all my 5.56 magazines at home. It was raining pretty good, and I didn't have the ammunition to zero the red dot (Vortex Crossfire) I just put on the weapon, so I gave very, very serious thought to just packing it up and going home. But then I remembered that Osama fought in the rain, and one may not get to choose prime weather conditions when shooting for real, so I settled in to zero my 15-22 at 25m.

I quickly accomplished this, but .22 is cheap and fun to shoot, and I was there by myself, so I happily shot away for a while before switching over to the RPR.

I zeroed my optic (Vortex Diamondback 6-24x50), and then, as an experiment, used that zero to shoot at 50m and 100m. What I learned was more shocking than I should admit on this Smart Military Blog, but I was surprised, so perhaps some other shooters can use the gouge I picked up.

Shooting Eley Benchrest Precision rounds, I had a dead-nuts zero at 25m (5 rounds through one hole), so I expected I would hit low at 50m and 100m. This was NOT the case. At 50m, I was .75" above my zero, while at 100m, I was almost exactly 5.00 inches below. It took me a good minute of thought before I realized that at 25m, my rounds hadn't yet reached apogee*, or the top of their arc. Typically, sights and optics are arranged in such a way that the bullet leaves the weapon on a slight upward angle which forces it to climb before it peaks and then begins falling as gravity works on it. That means your round will intersect your zero at two different points - on the way up, and on the way down. This is not news to the seasoned shooters here, but for me it was revelatory. I noticed A Thing and was able to work out the why of it on my own.

Once I solved The Mystery, and had built myself a dope calculus, I began trying to use my optic to its maximum potential by engaging random targets (rocks and such) at unknown distances. The Diamondback is a First Focal Plane scope which means the reticle gets bigger as you zoom in. That means that if your round impacts -1.5 MRAD below your zero at 1x magnification, it will also impact at -1.5MRAD at 24x magnification. This is handy once you know where your round impacts at different distances


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1x Magnification

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15x Magnification

I was successfully able to engage various rocks from the near side of the range all the way to the backstop berm up at about 140m using the Swiss marksmanship theory, or 4th Generation Sniping. This theory basically holds that most human beings are actively trying NOT to be shot, so one doesn't typically have long periods of time in which to set up a one-shot, one-kill scenario. Instead, the Swiss view quick hits with more rounds expended as superior to a perfect single shot that took more than a minute to set up. The idea is to place effective fire on the target as quickly as possible vice putting a round through the target's left eye. You may never get to even take the shot if the target doesn't acquiesce to being still and exposed for as long as it takes you to acquire, dial, and engage him.

They use a 25m zero, which is also a zero at 300m using 5.56. If the target is close, they aim at the belt. If the target is far, they aim at the neck. Near is defined as being able to pick out clothing details or hair color with the Mk 1 eyeball.

It works for me, and as I don't intend to shoot competitively, effective fire is my actual goal.

The rain never quit, but I had a fantastic time. I learned something significant (for me) re: ballistics and was able to apply that lesson to engaging actual targets at unknown distances.

I'm going to go again next Friday so I can zero my battle rifle, and I'll keep my apogee lesson in my back pocket.

Great report, Washington Nearsider, thank you!


*For the ballistics nerds out there, the top of a projectile's arc in flight is also called the Maximum (or Max) Ordinate and also sometimes Vertex Height.

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If you're interested in learning more, here's an article on various characteristics of Point Blank Zero and Ballistic Arc.


Speaking of John C. Garand (the actual guy, not the new WA goat) here's an interesting video.


There were lots of favorable comments on the GunBlue490 video last week on inspecting revolvers. Here's another video, from a different guy, on pre-purchase inspection of S&W revolvers.


Learning about the Telephone

Q: Weasel, can we have a video on learning about the telephone?
A. Yes.


NoVAMoMe 2023

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Not so fast on the gun stuff, buckaroos! We have a little bit more on the NoVAMoMe to discuss. In fact, this will be the first of a long and seemingly endless series of reminders to get yo' big butt off the couch and come out and meet some of your online friends. Let's kick things off with a few NoVAMoMe FAQ.

Q: Is it fun?
A: Yes. Just ask anyone who has been to one. You will have fun, or else.

Q: When is it again? Did you say June?
A: Yes. A thousand times yes! June 10th, from 1pm til 6pm or so.

Q: I'm sort of a dork. Can I just slink-in, watch for a bit and then slink out without having to actually speak with anyone?
A: Yes. In fact, we have strategically placed large potted ferns for lurkers to hide behind.

Q: Will bluebell be there? I really want to meet bluebell.
A: Of course! Well, assuming things go well at the parole hearing.

Q: Is there food and drink?
A: Yes! $30 for a bigly buffet, and a cash bar. We had to bump up the food price a bit to cover costs this year.

Q: Can I make references, even veiled references to the secret MoMe location on the blog?
A: NO! Seriously, please don't.

Q: Sounds great, Weasel! How do I sign up?
A: We will again have an online page with registration and payment specifics, however, it's not yet live as we're still working out a few of the details. Keep an eye out here on the ol' Gun Thread or the main page sidebar for more info in the coming weeks.

OK, I'm talking to YOU Mr. or Ms. I'll Go Next Time. Guess what? The next time is here. It's a really fun event and we would love to have you join us. Hopefully some NoVAMoMe veterans will speak up in the comments and encourage the introverts to stop being big baby chickens and make this the year to come out of the shadows!


Musical Interlude
Here are the Doobie Brothers and Long Train Running


Gun Basics 101
New video from the She Equips Herself gal! This week's video is on handgun cleaning.


Cigar of the Week

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I took a chance a few weeks ago and ordered a couple boxes of Corrida Nicaragua Robusto cigars from Cigar One and to borrow a phrase, Holy Shitba... er, Holy Smokes!

Here is a brief write-up from Cigar Afficionado and here is the Corrida website. Very well constructed and they come in profiles from mild to el strongo. Cigar One has boxes of 20 on sale right now for $132 + shipping, or about $7 each. Honestly, I'd pay twice that. They're really that bueno!


Here are some different online cigar vendors. You will find they not only carry different brands and different lines from those brands, but also varying selections of vitolas (sizes/shapes) of given lines. It's good to have options, especially if you're looking for a specific cigar.

Bobalu Cigar Company

A note about sources. The brick & mortar/online divide exists with cigars, as with guns, and most consumer products, with respect to price. As with guns - since both are "persecuted industries", basically - I make a conscious effort to source at least some of my cigars from my local store(s). It's a small thing, but the brick & mortar segment for both guns and tobacco are precious, and worth supporting where you can. And if you're lucky enough to have a good cigar store/lounge available, they're often a good social event with many dangerous people of the sort who own scary gunz, or read smart military blogs like this one. -rhomboid

Anyone have others to include? Perhaps a small local roller who makes a cigar you like? Send me your recommendation and a link to the site!


Ammo Link-O-Rama
I'm really very seriously not kidding around anymore. Buy Ammo
AmmoSeek - online ammo search tool
GunBot - online ammo search tool
SG Ammo
Palmetto State Armory
Georgia Arms
Target Sports USA
Bud's Gun Shop
American Elite Ammo

***Mail Bag***

This week's mailbag entry is from our pal Just Call Me Roger. Funbags in the Mailbag!!

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Please note the new and improved protonmail account gunthread at protonmail dot com. An informal Gun Thread archive can be found HERE. Future expansion plans are in the works for the site Weasel Gun Thread. If you have a question you would like to ask Gun Thread Staff offline, just send us a note and we'll do our best to answer. If you care to share the story of your favorite firearm, send a picture with your nic and tell us what you sadly lost in the tragic canoe accident. If you would like to remain completely anonymous, just say so. Lurkers are always welcome!

That's it for this week - have you been to the range?

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posted by Weasel at 07:00 PM

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