Here is a follow up to my earlier post about my Voelker customized Remington 541-THB and its Weaver T-36 scope.
Well, my knee replacement surgery was on January the 8th. After finishing my hour of leg exercises this morning, I asked Karen if she would drive me over to the range to shoot a little while. She thought that was a fine idea and we headed over just before noon.
The SK Rifle Match had shown the most promise so far in the Voelker Remington. I put a single box in the range bag and we headed for Sheffield.
We only carried the one rifle. Karen's corneal transplant of her right eye (shooting eye) was performed on January the 5th and even though her eye was showing miraculous progress, she thought she would wait a little longer before shooting.
I had placed nine 1 inch Birchwood Casey dots on the back of a 50 Foot Slow Fire Pistol Target. She walked it down to the 50 yard berm for me and stapled it up. I had taken my heavy Caldwell rest and its accessories out of our vehicle just before my surgery (no point burning gas to drag that hunk of iron around for several weeks). I didn't want to burden her with carrying that around for me today. So, we used the club's utilitarian Midway blue metal rest and rear rabbit ear sandbag. Its a functional set-up. The only 50 yard 240 USBR target I ever shot was with this bag and rest about three years ago. I skipped putting up the Caldwell Wind Flags because it seemed relatively calm (I later wished we had put them up).
I had fired over a hundred rounds of several different types of ammo through this rifle before the surgery. I wanted to give the rifle a good test with the SK Rifle Match from a clean barrel. You know, get it clean, pick one promising ammo, season the bore with that ammo, and put a couple of hundred rounds through it to comply with Brian Voelker's suggestion to "shoot it dirty". A couple of nights before the surgery, I had used the Voelker supplied rod guide, some Hoppe's #9, a couple of dozen cotton patches, a quality jag and rod, JB Bore Cleaner, and a final patch with a drop or two of Break Free CLP to prepare for this next test before putting the rifle away.
Today's results are posted below. The calm breezes turned into light gusts at time. On a beautiful mid 60s day like today these winds can sneak up on you and Karen and I shared some laughs of frustration about them.
I started with the bottom single dot and then progressed left to right through the next two higher rows (the groups are numbered in order). You wouldn't think that I would have been so excited about that first .79" group but this is the rifle that consistently would throw a 1+ inch flyer everytime from a cold barrel (prior to the Voelker rebuild) and even worse from a clean and cold barrel and this would occur after only a few minutes of cooling. The groups seemed to tighten up nicely and I thought number 9 was going to be a quarter incher after cutting the same hole with the first two shots. But, my failure to catch a crossing rear right to left front wind cost me. After the third shot disaster and the realization the wind was still holding, I took the center hold again and sacrificed the fourth shot to confirm the influence. The wind stopped and number five piled into the first two holes. I am pretty sure the next range session will result in even tighter groups.
I coaxed Karen over to the scope to look at the groups. I regretted it at first because a 36 power scope is not the optimum choice for a person that has not shot in over two and a half years (that's when the eye infection that destroyed her cornea was) to try to peer through. I made sure her seat height was correct, I adjusted her holding positions, and her cheek weld. I explained to her how powerful the scope was and how critical the eye relief was with this scope. Finally, she got a feel for it and the scope's view quit flashing between black and daylight for her. She was actually intrigued by the clear view with her "bad" eye and the fact that the target sheet virtually filled up the entire field of view.
I said that there were five rounds left and asked her if she would like to try a group. She said she would. She walked down a three inch dot and stuck it on our target.
We got her all adjusted into position again and she squeezed off the first shot. With disapointment in her voice, she said that she had missed the entire target. I said, "what" and had a look for myself. I already had a clue as to what may have happened. A left over target paper was pasted under ours on the backer and the shooter was using three inch BC dots on it. I had noticed earlier that one of his/her dots was just below our target paper and there was not a hole in it. I had almost dumped some foulers in it until I decided to record the cold barrel group. Sure enough, Karen had picked the wrong dot and placed a hole in the edge of its black diamond.
After pointing it out to her and getting her back on our paper, she proceeded to make four solid hits going into .66 inch. We thanked the good Lord, the young donor's family, and the skilled surgical team for bestowing her with this second chance at vision in her right eye.
A great first day back at the range. We picked up Burger King #1s with cheese on our way home and enjoyed a late lunch on our 105 year old front porch with the sun shining and the birds singing.