Monday, April 28, 2003

Well, the weather has not been cooperating and when the weather has, my family hasn't so I've been unable to shoot much (or anything else related) and have had nothing to talk about. Until today...

Went back to the .22 Hornet barrel on Contender #1 and off to the range this morning. Dave R., John T., Adam H., and Scott H. were there and Mr. Greene showed up with his buddies to test yet more .54 NSSA barrels that Mr. Greene has made. Got to test the Hornet at 50, 100, and 150 yards with both the 35 gr. Hornady VMAX loads and the Remington factory. VMAX won by a large margin. I shot one 3-shot group at 150 that measured .3"!!! The Remington was nothing near that. One reason has to be that it doesn't put the bullet close enough to the lands. There is quite a bit of difference in that regard.

Anyway, after a morning of fellowship (the other fellows shot a Marlin 1895SS .45-70, a Ruger No. 1B in 7mm Mag,, a Marlin 983(?), a "sporterized" M96 Swede, a Ruger Ranch Rifle in .223, the .54 Mississippi rifles, and a stainless Savage 110 in .308 with a heavy barrel), I headed home, mowed the lawn, walked the dog, ate lunch and then headed out to Mom's to put new flowers on Dad's grave and check out the local groundhog (aka whistlepig, aka woodchuck) population, .22 Hornet barreled Contender carbine in hand.

Now, I've heard of groundhogs climbing trees but I've never seen it happen, until today. It was pretty warm, about 76 degrees Farenheit, and I was mosying along when I heard what I assumed to be a mighty big fox squirrel on tree trunk. I looked towards the sound, to my left, to see a 8-9 pound groundhog about 4 feet up the trunk hugging that old pine for all he was worth and looking directly at me. Range was about 30 yards. I shot him and then moved in for the post-mortem. Yep, he was dead. The 35 gr. VMAX had done a fine job (as it should have). I don't know if he climbed up to get a look at me or thought he was escaping, but it wasn't a smart thing to do. I'm sure he's feeding something tonight.

This is my first varmint with this particular barrel. I'd hoped to get a shot at 150 to test the bullet (loaded over 13 gr. L'ilGun for an estimated 2800 fps) but that was not to be.

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