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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know I am long winded, but where else can I tell my tale?

Today was range day. I took three rifles;

1. Mannlicher-Schoenauer Model 1961 MCA in .30-06
2. Marlin 1895
3. Winchester 94 in .32 Winchester Special

I carted all my stuff to the line, walked down and set up two targets at 100 yds, and figured I would treat myself to shooting the one I’ve had the longest, the M-S. Sat down, loaded three rounds, chambered one, lined up, relaxed, squeezed…


OMG!!! I’ve never shot a .30 of any sort with no pad, but I never dreamed this thing would pound my shoulder like that! I tried again, and it felt just as good, so I cycled the last round out, put it back in the box, sleeved the M-S, and that was that for that rifle today. I had more to do; I couldn’t very well cripple myself on the first rifle, could I?

I thought I would try the .32 next. I just knew my shooting time was going to be limited, and I was going to need all the ice I could put my hands on tonight. So, I loaded three, and lined up, relaxed, squeezed… what a sweet shooter! I am amazed! I cycled it, caught the empty on my forehead (now I know that this is a straight over head ejector), shot the next two. Very nice. Trotted on down to the targets, and was amazed to see that one round from the M-S was three inches right and ten inches high from point of aim. The hole wasn’t even on the paper! Gonna need some serious rubber between me and it before I try that again!
Looked at the other target, hmm… there are three suspicious looking holes an inch or so below the edge of the paper. Check sights. Leave other target for 1895, trot on back to the line.
Checked sights on Win – sure enough, the rear are all the way down, I am aiming at 6 o’clock, and it’s off the paper. Up two clicks, three more shots, this time avoiding the empty brass, let’s try the big boy! Load two in the 1895, and I swear, I am back to shooting the M-S, but its worse! Shoot the second round, walk down and look at targets. Win still low, but on paper, more or less point of aim, 1895 target has one hole, one inch down from top edge of paper. Ok. Change target for Win (I like that one, no kick really), walk on back to top, SWAG the 1895 two clicks down, one up for the Win. Load five for .32 shoot them, load two for 1895, grit my teeth and shoot them. Walk on down to targets (its pouring rain now) notice I must have been breathing while shooting the Win, hits all over, but vertically middle of target area. Pay attention next time, changed that target. Looked at 1895 target, two new holes, both in the nine ring, two inches from each other. Good for now! I am putting that baby away till I get a GOOD decelerator!!! Loaded the Win back up with five, paid attention to what I was doing, and this time got two inside the seven, and two inside the nine – the fifth was in the white, don’t know what happened there. I am happy with the Winchester now, the only thing wrong with the whole thing is that I have to aim 3-6 inches left of where I want to be, and that is just at 100 yds! I think this rifle is going to get a peep, going to have to find one. But it sure does shoot nice!!!! 1895 now sighted to 3 inches high at 100 yds with factory sights. I like the Marlin sights better, and time will tell if I feel the need to change the rear. The way that thing kicks, I should have held out for a .45 Colt!!!
 

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A good day. Hope you had fun. It can be frustrating and I am sure the rain did not help.

Are you up for a little advice from someone that's been there. Shoot for group and don't care where they hit on the target. Only move sights after groups are resonable or are what you want. Moving to point of aim is simple after that and if you have mount or optics problems they will show up as well as your bench rest set up and of coarse your technique.

You will have more fun and get more info this way.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Chief - I was sort of doing that, trying to get into the vertical plane first so I could at least find the strikes. It just so happened that the 1895 hit right where I wanted it to, and hurt too much to go any more to make sure it was not a fluke. I will shoot it a couple times each time out, but won't be able to sit with a box until I get a good pad. I have been kicked by a horse, and I would rather that anyday than what I shot yesterday! But I do like the way it handles still.

The Win I just got where I wanted to verticaly, it is still all over the paper, but that could be me, or a too new barrel. Time will tell. And I don't plan on moving the sights for windage, I would prefer to find a nice redfield peep sight for the reciever, remove the factory one and fill the hole with a blank - not too thrilled with that rear sight as is.

I will always take the advice! The only reason I want the vertical strike on paper is that there are entirely too many holes there to figure out what is mine, biggest clue was the holes with the dryest inside! The rain really was not bothersome - I had to walk in it, but the firing line is nicely covered.

I could shoot that Winchester 94 all day, what a rifle and round! It almost feels like it weighs as much as the 1895, and the front to rear weight ratio is similar too.

Yes, it was a good day!!
 

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Hi Mike,

A couple of thoughts, from someone who has had to sight in a .458 Win.....

Don't shoot off sandbags, all hunched down. Sit up straight and shoot with your elbows on the bench (padded of course). This alone makes a big difference. Won't hurt groups too much and will keep you from getting smacked in the face by stocks with too much drop.

If I have to do some initial shots to find the zero, with a heavy recoiling gun, I shoot sitting or kneeling at 25 yards. Too late for that advice and it was raining besides, but field positions are so much easier to take recoil with (except prone). Standing, even with 505gr. factory loads, the .458 was entirely tolerable, although I would not want to shoot it all day like that.

Don't necessarily need a deathgrip on the gun, but squeeze firmly with your hands, especially the front hand. Adds weight, basically, to the gun because now the recoil has to move your arm back with it. This technique alone moves my .338 into the same recoil class as my .30-06, because I usually shoot the .30-06 without holding onto the forend (use left hand to control the rear bag). I have a habit of holding the gun very loosely on the bench when shooting rifles for groups, but the .338 cured me of that, at least for anything over .30 cal.

One of the recoil pads that you wear on your shirt is probably a good idea too.

I like the Decellerator pads.
 

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As I've become older, I increasingly want to enjoy my range sessions, and not have them become endurance lessons that make the next week miserable!

What Mike G. says is absolutely right about heavy recoiling rifles. Absolutely the two most painful positions to shoot them in are prone and bench-rested as you can't roll your body with the recoil, instead you become a solid obstacle to a severe and sudden impact.

However, as we all find out, the benchrest is far and away the most efficient place to fine tune a rifle and load for accuracy and sight adjustment. When I take heavy recoiling rifles down to my range, I've got a 25 lb. bag of lead shot that goes between the butstock of the rifle and my shoulder! Nope, it's not a macho type practice, but it sure tames that whack of a recoiling rifle or slug-gun at the bench! With the heavy hitting rifles that I shoot, and all the range time spent in load development and bullet testing both in QC and in developing loading data and for article writing, this is the only way that the sub-MOA groups I post for the .444 and other such cartridges are attainable, at least for me!

For what it's worth, you might give the idea, or a variation thereof a try the next time you take that lightweight MS or Marlin 1895 for a test drive at the range.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
You are all right! Funny too! I would not have thought of the bag between me and the rifle.

Mike - I was exactly as you described, sitting at the bench, but not using any rests but my elbows and hands. No death grips, but I was not really holding so much with the fore hand, I will alter that for the next ime I take out the dinosaur blaster! The Winchester didn't really need anything but firm contact with my shoulder, that one was a real joy to shoot.

Marshall - I think I will try kneeling or sitting on the ground next time, I am comfortable and maybe the ability to "body rock" will take some of the sharpness from the recoil. Yea, I should get a whole one more shot out of the 1895!!

I have been looking online at the Decelerator pads and the Kickeze pads - sure enough two will be coming my way!

Thanks guys! I think I will sneak up to the gun shop and get another box of .32 to relax with. Something tells me I am going to have to reload sooner than I wanted to. This is too much fun!!!
 

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nfm Mike,
when you're at the gun shop you should try to get the same brand ammo as you had used, that way your brass will be the same when you start reloading. Buy 5 boxes! :)
 

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Mike,

I have one of the PAST Magnum Recoil pads that you wear and can attest to it's effectiveness. Some of the guys I shoot with don't think that's manly enough, calling it a "bra", but I don't care. When it comes to heavy 45-70, 375 Win, or 356 Win loads in a tee shirt it can only be fun if you aren't playing the part of a punching bag. Appearances take back seat to being able to shoot the rifle(s).

I can understand how much fun you're having. I've got an old (1930) Win 94 in 30WCF that is just a pleasure to shoot. None of this death grip required and after the hard hitters it doesn't even need to be snugged up on the shoulder much. This rifle is also the most accurate levergun that I have. Like your's it is rock solid and has no rattling parts, unlike my 356 Win. You can see file marks on the carrier from hand fitting unlike the stamped carrier that newer ones have. Too bad they don't make them like this anymore.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
kciH - You can be sure I will, and yes, I saved yesterdays brass, the .32 was so comfortable that I will stick with the Winchester 170 gr soft point. The 06 was 180 gr Remington corlokt, I won't do that again soon!

bart - I am going to look around locally before I have to order online, but thanks for that suggestion, and you are right, I would not care what it looked like if it worked. They might laugh until they shoot it without a pad!

Here is a question for y'all - barrel measurement. Is it from where the bolt locks up, or the transition of throat to barrel proper? I get the feeling it is the former, which gives my little 94 a whole 17.25" of properly guided launch.

Another question - what about cleaning under the forestock and protecting the inside of the tang where the butt mounts? Are these ever considerations? One does not quit hunting for the day when some rain starts falling, so are there worries of water seeping under the barrel? Does anyone practice a yearly full breakdown cleaning?
 

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nfmMike,
You can take the stock off your rifle and seal the bare wood, if there is any, with a quality stock finishing product. This will help to keep the wood from absorbing moisture. While you've got it apart, lube the hidden areas well. I don't worry about this unless I've had the gun out in the wet. It's not a bad idea to take the thing apart once in a while to make sure it has adequate corrosion protection under the wood. With a buttstock, you want to be sure not to rock it side to side when taking it off, just straight back, so you don't muck up the tang channel in the wood.

I use one of those "sissy pads" and it works great, take the sting out of the .340 and .35 Whelen AI. I'll even wear it with a 30-30 so there's no tattoo of a cowboy and horse on my shoulder if I'm wearing a tank top or thin t-shirt. They are also helpful if you find yourself behind a AK or SKS with a stock built for a child, they add a little length.
 

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kciH said:
nfmMike,
I use one of those "sissy pads" and it works great, take the sting out of the .340 and .35 Whelen AI. I'll even wear it with a 30-30 so there's no tattoo of a cowboy and horse on my shoulder if I'm wearing a tank top or thin t-shirt. They are also helpful if you find yourself behind a AK or SKS with a stock built for a child, they add a little length.
Backward Hick is right about the strap on pad adding length. For a short stock this is good but it works in reverse too. If there is one thing I don't like about the sissy pad is that it adds about 1/2" to the length of pull. This in turn makes the mount feel a little strange but it's not something you can't learn to get along with. I can only imagine what a 25lb bag of shot does in this regard. Guess we could get the hack saw out and take 1/2" off the stock of our favorite shooters...

You might consider the thinner of the available pads. Just spreading the impact out over a greater area provides a huge reduction in felt recoil in itself. Notice the difference when adding only a light jacket over your tee shirt. At least I can tell the difference.

And adding the Decelerator to the 1895 was a big help! I recommend it.

Happy trails...

Bart
 

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Hi, Mike:
The easy one first. Barrel length on anything but a revolver is closed bolt face to muzzle. So close the bolt, slide a cleaning rod down from the muzzle and measure how far it goes. For legal reasons revolver barrels are measured from the front cylinder face to the muzzle. It doesn't have to make sense, it's government policy.

I made my new benchrest 36" high so I don't have to lean into the gun. It's easier to roll with the punch when your back is vertical. Another problem is not moving your shoulder forward. This means that the recoil tries to move your shoulder beyond it's normal range of movement, and the impact is greater than if you move your shoulder ahead of the normal position an inch or so.

A scope with too little eye relief makes it worse, as you try to get close enough to it, your position gets worse. Either move your scope back or get a Leopold. Most models have an honest 4" of eye relief.

The PAST pads are great. I've got the field model, which is the thinnest. It doesn't interfere much when I'm wing shooting, but is beneficial at the bench. Actually I haven't worn it the last couple of times I've had the .30-06 out on the new bench. It's thin enough that young shooters can wear it and not be too far from the gun. A friend has the Blackpowder model. Note that it pads over the shoulder, unlike the other models. Very handy when he's shooting the .45-70 at 1000 yards, prone. A young friend has the Heraean model and likes it. She ran up a good string on clays one day while the boys were whining about how much the shotgun kicked. Of course they didn't know she was wearing it.
http://www.battenfeldtechnologies.com/pastshooting/products.html

Bye
Jack
 

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Discussion Starter #13
This is a great fountain of information!

My two favorite shooting positions in the Marine Corps were sitting and prone. I could get into the tightest sitting position,and shoot for how ever long it took my badder to fill or ammunition to run out. Never had to worry about where my shoulder was in relationship to its own travel either, used to be my shooulder was always pulled forward while reaching for a grip. My how things change! I no longer have a sling that can assist me in making my off arm a solid rest, and to help keep the butt more than firmly in my shoulder.

I will try all the above and see what works, that shoulder thing and vertical back will probably be the most beneficial. I might even try sitting on the ground instead of sitting on a bench. Thanks for all the tips, and the PAST web site. I am likeing those vests!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
First Range Day 2004

March 7. 2004

It was a wonderful day for shooting – temperature went up to about 60, with a light breeze that made a bit chilly in the shade, but bearable. The range is sheltered by mature trees on the windward side, so it was really turning out to be nice. I figured that maybe no one would show, the forecast had been for rain all weekend, but by 11:40 am, folks started arriving. All told, to start out with there were five shooters, with more than twice that amount of firearms.

My intention was to shoot my M-S 30-06, with iron sights, with 150 grain Remington factory cartridges and see how I liked them. I shot the 180s last year, and did not like it in the least – accuracy was there, but the recoil was too much, with a recoil pad, I could bring my shots closer to center, but I just was not happy – the LOP is already almost too much for me.

I loaded three cartridges and with out using the set trigger, aiming at 6 o’clock, the guy next to me spotted the strike at two inches high of center. I shot that and one more string of three, the last two shots using the set trigger (it didn’t do any thing for me), and kept four in the center, with two fliers, one high and one low – I must have been breathing.

I was so impressed; I hung up on 100 yards and took a target to 200. I sent the next eight rounds down range, with the same spotter, trying to get me on paper – but the target was to small, and my sight is good, but not self telescopic. I got two on the outside edges, and called it quits – I need a larger target or a scope. The target was the International 50 ft. rapid fire pistol target. Hey – it’s all I had!

I don’t know what the express sights are set for. With the high one folded down, there is a 300 marked on the back of it. And with it up, no markings. Does that mean the low sight is 300 meters and the high one farther? Could be; at 100 yards, the low sight is impacting 9 – 10 inches high of POA. But I tell ya, these smaller bullets have made a HUGE difference in my amount of respect for the inherent accuracy of this rifle, and I did not need the recoil pad. Next will be the 165 grain offering by Remington, see if the strike comes down a little.

Enough of that. I also shot an M77 in .223 that belonged to the guy that was spotting for me, and I spotted him while he shot his .17 HMR at 100 then 200 yards. He stayed grouped in 5” in the black at 200 yards. I also shot five rounds out of a 10/22 – I tell ya, after the bigger boys, you almost wonder if you touched one off or not, but it was still fun!

There was a very interesting .222 there that had a scope mount that was on the left side, but curved over to above, leaving space to use the iron sights. The same person had a Taurus Tracker in .454 Casull – I shot that at a 24” by 24” target at 100 yards and kept all 5 shots on paper. Very nice – less sting than .357 Mag. – much less.

All in all, for three and a half hours yesterday, I was in heaven. Shooting rifles, pistol, enjoying camaraderie with other shooters, all the crap of the work week pushed back into the dark corners of memory. What a nice day!

I was just thinking - and re-reading this thread - last years shots with the 180 grain rounds was 10" over POA too, so there is no difference between flight path of 150 or 180 grain at 100 yards, and by extention there will not be a difference with teh 165s. Hmm...

Well this rifle was not meant for 100 yards shots, I am sure, so it may be that this one gets a scope and is set for 6" point blank shooting.

Thanks for reading the update!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Oh! And I almost forgot! I found that the Federal 300 gr. JHP was a nicer cartridge to shoot than the Remmington for my 1895 - that was before hunting season last year that I found that out.

And of course I took my .35 Rem out to play. The .32 is waiting for sight disposition. I am not sure how I want to handle that. But no bigie, it's not like I have to decide this week!
 
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