Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Just received my mail and in it, a copy of Townsend Whelen's "The American Rifle". 1st Ed!

Should be interesting reading. Shows a picture of Dr. Mann's 200 yard (!) covered (!!) rifle range. Nice little house to load and shoot from as well. WOW! Wish I had one.

Discusses various cartridges of the time period in which the book was written and a lot of time is given to the service rifles and their cartridges.

Of course, I haven't read it yet, but it won't be long until I've gone through it a couple of times.
Well, it is raining again so I won't be taking the Seneca for a hunt. Do need to track down some H4227 though...

Will probably load some .357 Max as well.

You might have noticed some of my groups are in, well, sub-groups. I seem to have a lot of problem being consistent for a full 5 shots with the Contender because I change position so much when shooting. I've tried to mitigate that quite a bit by trying certain techniques but as you can see I often put 3 rounds together and then the next 2 together or 2 pairs, or have one shot just out of the 3 shot group. I don't think it is the gun, I think it is just me.

Of course, I've just started shooting from a bench quite a bit and am not using bags. If I can get somebody to go with me I'll post a digital pic of my technique. What I am trying to do is ensure that the gun is responding to recoil as it would in the field from field positions. To that end I rest my elbows on the bench and shoot from what might best be termed a sitting supported position.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Contender Parts Lists

For those needing access to parts lists for the Contender, they are posted here courtesy of Steve:

Contender® Blued Model Parts List

Contender® Assembly Drawing

Contender® Carbine Model Parts List

Contender® Carbine Assembly Drawing

Contender® Sight Chart

Contender® Twist Rates List
I sucked it up and went to the range. Not really so bad although it did come down a couple of times. The shooting benches are covered and the rain wasn't being blown so I was pretty comfortable.

Shot the .22 WRFM barrel on the Contender. 16¼ inches long, I've got a 3-9X mounted on it. Zeroed at 25 yards with the Federal Premium load and then checked the Winchester .22 WRF load. Found that if I moved the .22 WRF load up to center the 25 yard target, the Federal load was just above that. Still in the black on 50 foot target centers, this means that the gun is now zeroed for both loads.

I wanted to do this so that I could hunt groundhog size game with the .22 WRFM and switch to the .22 WRF for squirrel and rabbit.

Also tried some CCI ammo, but as usual, was unimpressed. Does "boom" more though. Why though, should I be unimpressed. See my .22 WRFM/.22 WRF groups for an idea of how good these groups are. 50 foot smallbore target at 25 meters.

A good day for brass pick ups. Lots of once fired .30-06, .243 Winchester and some 7mm Rem Mag. About half of the .30-06 was nickel! Somebody please explain why people don't pick up their brass if only to sell...

Oh, and no snow tomorrow. The Seneca goes out for the first time this fall!!
Today it is raining again (for the 2nd day in a row). No shooting I guess so will be reloading. Probably just as well as my wife has brought home a cold (which she kindly shared with me).

Need to get out hunting. Will take the .36 ML squirrel hunting, tomorrow? Some say it will snow. Don't really want to deal with that!

Monday, October 28, 2002

While it has been raining, I've been filling cases and making new .30 Herrett brass.

One thing though... Last week I had an interesting experience.

I've got a .35 Rem barrel for my Contender. A factory 21", I got it when I got my first frame. Data from the late Mel Sorg helped me get it up and running. I do mean running. While I won't repeat the data here, it would push a 180 at 2400+, 200 at 2300+, and 220 at 2100+. Still, case expansion did not exceed safe limits. I thought all was well and fired over 100 rounds of this ammo through the barrel. Even took it hunting. Last week, while waiting for my ISP to come back on line, I managed to get to the range with this barrel to check relative zeroes with the various loads. First up, the 220s. First round in the bull at 25. Right where it should be at this range. Second round, side by side with the first, but... the case stuck AND it bent the extractor. This is a sure sign of excessive pressure in the Contender.

Well I couldn't unload it and so right back in the case it went and right back home I went. Very simple to do, I removed the extractor and soon discovered it wasn't repairable and so I ordered 2 more (+ 2 more of the springs for rimless extractors and 2 more hammer springs, just in case). Now I've broken down all the 220 grain bulleted ammo and will take the barrel out (with a rod to knock out cases) and see just how it does with the 200s and 180s.

Why is this interesting? Because in 5 years of storage the ammo went from OK to over the top. I may have to drop a full 2 grains (about .5%) of the charge. Velocities should drop to 2200, 2100 & 1900 fps respectively. Acceptable, but not the barn burners I thought I had. However, they will be safer and not just for me but for those who take my guns (and ammo) once I've moved on to the "other side"!

Thursday, October 24, 2002

After examination of all data and cases I've concluded that I'll be using the W748 with the Nosler 140 gr. BT. Now to move to the next project!

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

More disappointment. I have no idea why my 21" barrel seems "fast" with factory ammo and slow with 140 grain bullet reloads. I can also easily match factory velocities with the 120 grain bullet reloads (2700+ fps). However, I really want to use the heavier bullets and get a point blank range of about 250 meters. The 140 at 2400 will do that but I suppose I'm guilty of wanting more speed and wanted 2500 fps. That is just not going to happen.

H4895, 33 gr. - 2358 fps; W748, 35.2 gr. - 2413 fps; H335, 32 gr. - 2366 fps; H322, 31.1 gr. - 2399 fps.

Seems that W748 (back to square 1) and H322 have the best potential. H322 did not exhibit any signs of excessive pressure (see Ken Waters about his methods) and I will re-examine W748 cases for expansion but I think that 35.2 grains is indeed the max charge with this powder. The charge with W748 is very accurate so that will probably be the load I use.

I think that it is interesting that there really is not that much difference between max charges of any of these powders. Availability or personal preference should play a big part in this choice.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Well, more disappointment today. The 7-30 Waters load with the 139 grain Hornady FP and W748 did not achieve the velocities expected. I will have to look for another powder, possibly H335. VERY disappointing. This load did shoot ok in that it was accurate and was right on at 25 yards.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Well today was a rather disappointing day at the range. Although the rain let up in time to do some shooting and the chronograph worked, other things did not work as expected.

.30 Herrett Sierra 220 grain Matchking, 13 grains 2400, CCI 200, velocity 1260 fps. All bullets keyholed!

7-30 Waters, Hornady 139 grain FP, 34 grains W748, CCI 200, velocity, approx 2350 fps. Very accurate, very slow. MUCH slower than expected.

Also, I did receive my 7.65x54 Argentine brass from Graf and Sons. Made by Hornady and headstamped "Frontier" and still showing the annealing color. Looks good. Now I've got to get more 215 grain bullets for my 1891 carbine.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Tomorrow, weather permitting I'll go to the range to test both the 220 grain .30 Herret loads and the 139 grain 7-30 Waters loads.

Saturday, October 19, 2002

I put some pics of groups up on my site.

The first is my .357 Maximum using the 180 gr. Hornady SSP. I shot this group at 100 yards and knew I was doing well then pulled the 5th shot. Thought that I'd shoot a sixth to make a nice braggin' size 5 shot group and pulled that, too. To heck with it. It is still a darn nice group from a 21" factory TC Contender barrel and proves that the Hornady 180 grain SSPs will shoot despite some detractors.

The second is my .44 Magnum. I had fired 4 shots and the shooter next to me noticed the rain come across the mountain. We sprinted to save our targets. Sorry it isn't 5 shots.Shows that this load with the 300 grain Hornady XTP will shoot as well. I'm sure that big bullet will penetrate as well.
I've been doing a lot of shooting at the range lately. Met 2 interesting fellows, Wimpy (sp?) Martin of McGaheysville and Fred Zimmer of Hairston.

Wimpy is originally from Craigsville and shoots a TC Contender carbine set up like mine, blue on Rynite. Gave me a BUNCH of brass, over 200 each .30-06 and .30-30 plus some other cartridges. Those on the .30-06 case head I'll be reforming to 7.65x54mm Argentine. Some of the .30-30 will be converted to .30 Herrett. The RP .30-06 cases will go to my son-in-law for reloading with his favorite 165 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip.  (note: as of 13 Apr 2010 I've not given these cases to Ben.  He moved on to a .300 Rem Ultra Mag and now to a 7-08.  I'll use them for the Garand.)