Saturday, July 12, 2008

Range Report - Winchester 1894

Last week, I went to the range. Last week, I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn (from inside the barn). Random Acts of Patriotism encouraged me to do a lever action range report (mmmm .... lever gun!). Plus, every time I look at the lever gun at Jay G's site, I have to wipe the drool from my chin. So I packed myself off to the range to get some shooty lever goodness.

I shot the Winchester model 1894, similar to the one here, only with a short (carbine) barrel:

Let me say right at the start that this is my absolute favorite gun, rifle or pistol. The iron sights are good (consistent), and the trigger is really nice - no creep, and a good sudden break. The .30-.30 gives some authority downrange, the carbine length barrel makes it very handy, and the solid construction means it has modest recoil. As a certified recoil wussie, that makes this a very easy rifle to make friends with.

I shot 40 rounds of .30-.30, in five shot groups, with a new targets each time for easy scoring. All shooting was done at 25 yards (I know, I know, but it's an indoor range), from a bench rest. First group of 5 was to see where the rifle's sights were zeroed.

I have a SuSE Linux CD-ROM to provide size comparison. Fighting for Liberty isn't the only "pompous Linux user" around!

So we'll give this a 'Gentleman's 3 inch group' - although it's high and to the right. OK, reload and correct the aim point:

Well, that's more centered. But still high. Then there was one of those "Earth to Ted" incoming bulletins - the rifle is probably zeroed at 150 yards; you're shooting at 25. Looks 2 inches high, which would be about right.

Correct, reload, fire. Last group (#8) was best, except for a flyer (after 40 rounds of .30-.30, my shoulder was getting sore, and I confess to a flinch):
A one-inch grouping (except for the antisocial Mr. Flinch). Overlapping bullet holes. X-Ring, baby!

OK, so I still suck - this was only 25 yards, from a bench. A nice rifle like this should shoot like this. But unlike last week, I was consistent in my groupings.

What I really need to do is fire 400 rounds, not 40, and at 100 yards, not 25. Then deer will ph33r me, but that wouldn't feel good for either my shoulder or my wallet.

Now, an interesting thought is a lever gun in .38 special/.357 mag. A quick exercise of my Google-fu suggests that it might be fine for hunting at up to 75 yards. Given how overgrown the New England forests are, and how I'm a (ahem) enthusiastic but only adequate shot, this might do the trick. Plus it would be nice to have a single caliber for both your rifle and a sweet wheelgun.

Not that there's anything wrong with being an enthusiastic but adequate shooter. Especially one also named Ted.

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