Friday, July 06, 2012

Savage 110

Regular readers know the affinity that I have for my Savage 110.  In .30-06, it's been with me for several years and the more I shoot that rifle the more I like it.  Being the type of guy I am, I'm always chasing bughole groups and that Savage has been aggravating me lately.  I bought a bunch of pulled bullets, billed as 150 grain Federal Fusions and I've been trying to get them to work in several .30 caliber rifles.  Wonderfully accurate .308 rifles magically became 3" rifles with those bullets, so I decided I'd try them in the .30-06.  My -06 isn't a bench rifle, nor would it be considered a state-of-the-art long range rifle.  It is what it is, and that's a fairly accurate hunting rifle.  It shoots about 1.5-2.0 inches with whatever ammo I put through it.  It wears a Weaver fixed 6X scope and is not bedded in its wooden stock.  It's a hunting rifle, plain and simple.  Rugged, dependable, it has been lots of miles on the backs of ATVs and in my pickup truck.  It gets beat around, taken out of it's case and fired at things that need to be shot.  Whatever I shoot with it stays shot.

Anyway, I decided to try those Fusion bullets, the same ones that wouldn't shoot in the .308, and sure enough, they wouldn't shoot in the .30-06 either.  I tried every trick in the book and they turned in a fairly repeatable 3" group with everything I shot them through.  I was shooting them through the Savage this morning and accuracy was so horrible that I started doubting myself, doubting my rifle, doubting my scope.  Is something wrong?  Has my scope gone south?  Is the sun in my eyes, or the wind playing tricks? 

In a fit of pique, I decided the hell with it, let have some fun.  I took out a box of Garand loads, 47.0 grains of IMR 4895 with the 165 Sierra Gameking bullet.  This rifle has always liked this load, so I put the bags aside and shot off my elbows.  I shot four shots at one target, then looked through the spotting scope.  It was an okay group, but nothing to write home about, so I switched targets and fired six shots as fast as I could work the bolt and reload.  I walked down to get the target before coming home and sat at the bench to look at my shooting.  Superimposing one group over the other, I took my pen and circled the holes from one target onto another.  Then thought "I'll be damned."

That composite target reveals ten (10) shots in under two inches, centered one inch over the aiming point.  If my calculations are correct, that lets me shoot a game animal at about 250 yards and hold on hair the whole time.  There is not a lot wrong with that for hunting purposes.  Minute of deer out to 250 yards, with a hunting rifle, an un-bedded hunting rifle using a $200.00 scope.

It is true that I could spend some time and money, upgrading the scope, upgrading the stock, worrying about seating depths and doing ladder tests and I might find a load that works better in my rifle, but it won't make me a better hunter and it won't let me shoot farther than I can see on my lease.  Lots of time we spend time, effort and money chasing a bughole group and that's fine if that's what you want to do.  But I'm confident that my rifle and my load will seriously whack whatever I need to whack, and in the final analysis, isn't that what we want a rifle to do?

Sometimes good enough is good enough.

No comments: