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NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

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Rapidrob
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NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#1 Post by Rapidrob » Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:15 pm

I've been holding our 800 yard match now for over 10 years. This past decade has shown some surprising results with the rifles being used.
One may think that the "known to be great shooting rifles" would always win,but this is not the case. While the quality and condition of the rifles plays a great factor in how well it will shoot a bullet at 800 yards, the maker or country who used the rifles does not really seem to matter much. While the Swiss and Swede rifles do well,so do the Turk Mausers and Mosin Nagant rifles.
Several of my club's members have also shot rifle caliber carbines and AK's and have done very well indeed. Even AR15's with a 1:12 twist and firing 55 grain bullets do well if the wind is less than 10 mph.
The key exterior ballistic factor is that the bullet,no matter what caliber or weight must remain super-sonic at 800 yards. Watching the bullet fall below super-sonic past 600 yards shows some strange behavior.( this being said about modern calibers,not muzzle loaders/black powder cartridge)
The most common is that the bullet is still spinning so fast as it travels down range the air at the slower forward speeds causes the bullet to start to spiral,as in a cork-screw motion. The .223 lighter bullets really show this. ( vapor trail and sun glinting off of the bullet body) In winter months the cold denser air causes the bullet to slow down much faster/closer to the shooter, while you may still get accurate hits in the summer months.
We have not found a center-fire rifle caliber that does not shoot well at long range. Recently a club member has been shooting an 8MM Siamese rifle with the heavy bullet. The bullet takes a while to get there and has a very steep trajectory, but is very accurate and hits hard. We have no idea if the bullet is still super-sonic of not as it travels up and out of sight as it goes down range. I may have to place a camera or sound recorder to hear just what it is doing close to the target.
Another factor that had interesting results is that the bullets fired and striking the AR550 man torso target hit and release an extraordinary amount of energy. So much so that the electronic triggering device holder I made and welded to the back of the target will have its welds crack. And yet,if you were to use a cold chisel and hammer or air-chisel you really have to work to remove these welds.
At one point I tried a wireless transmitter on the back of the target to send a signal to the firing line that a hit was made. The first hit on target a couple of feet away from the transmitter mounting point sent the transmitter flying into pieces and threw the parts yards behind the target!
The device I built now to trigger the flash is embedded in epoxy,then red oak wood,then covered in a layer of foam and allowed to move 5 mm when the bullet strikes. It now has rounded edges from its holder as it slams around as the bullet strikes and transfers its emery in to the steel plate. We had a special weld done to the holder,so far so good.
We also found that no bolt,no matter what grade it may be,can be welded by its head to the steel plate and not have the threaded bolt body shatter and fail after about 50 hits.
Holes had to be high pressure wet-cut through the plate and grade 10 carriage bolts used to hold a hanging chain at the back of the target. A direct hit from any .30 sized bullet at the center of the carriage bolt will blow the bolt out of the back of the target. A .223 hit will badly gouge the bolt head.
The steel penetraters from M855 .223 and 7N6 5.45x39 bullets leave a dimple on the surface of the plate deeper than that of 7.62x54R or 8x57 mm steel core bullets. The steel cores are laying in front of the target and are mushroomed out and show the angle of impact very well.
Some bullets strike and throw out a deadly cloud ring of shrapnel. The 8x56R with its Nazi 208 grain bullet is the king of shrapnel throwing. So much so that my cable going to the flash, 15 yards to the right of the target has been cut in half more than once. Murphy was an Optimist.
Under the target at the ground there is always a trough cut into the surface a couple inches wide and several yards long. Anything left in this shrapnel area is damaged. Spray paint cans left by accident in this area were torn to shreds.
The man torso target is hung on a steel well casing pipe frame. This pipe casing is fairly thick. The bullets sail through this pipe as if it was not there.
Misses fired into the dirt berm are buried a couple of feet into the earth. Recovered bullets show most of the rifling marks have been sanded off due to the high spin rate and all are deformed badly as they pass into the ground.
Misses can be clearly seen with the naked eye even at 800 yards. The dust cloud thrown up is larger than one would think. ( dry earth)
As I stated in the beginning, all rifles of a good quality shoot very well at long distance. Once the bullet is past 200 yards and stable in flight, how well the rifle shoots depends mostly on the condition of the rifles bore and muzzle crown. You'd think the ammo would have a major factor and to a good point it does. However, 99% of my club members shoot surplus ammo. And darned if they do not score in the 70-80% hits category! Even the Yugo Click-bang hard primer 8x57mm does well if the shooter stays on target.
Of the rifles in my collection that I have shot at 800 yards and farther,there are only two makers/calibers that give poor results. I can only assume that it is not the cause of the caliber or design of the rifles, it is because they have been shot,and shot a lot in their lives. While the rifles look like they are almost new, and the bores are shiny,they do show rounded rifling. The throats show erosion which is a long range accuracy killer.
They are my 1891 Carcano rifles and SMLE rifles. Lets not forget that after the wars these rifles were frittered out to their colonies and Allies and used in their little wars and training. Who knows for sure how many times they have been shot? I'd love to shoot a brand new Carcano or SMLE rifle with my loads to see what they can really do at long range.
That being said the 7.62x51 NATO made Indian SMLE type rifles are just scary accurate at 800 yards using M-80 Ball or M-118 Long Range ammo.
To say one rifle design is much,much better than another one other type for long range shooting just does not hold water. Easy to use sights are key to be sure. If the sights are clear and do not cover the target as viewed through the sights too much,you will shoot accurately at the target. However, a shooter who has fired many shots out of a rifle with large sights can be a very good long range shooter.
"beware the man with only one gun" is a true statement from the old.
If you were to ask me which rifles I would use today to defend my country from the bad guys at a long distance it would have to be:
Bolt/S Shot guns:
Swiss M1911 ( or '96 / '11)- This rifle and cartridge has never let me down. It is just so darned easy to shoot.
Swede 1896 Long rifle and its cartridge. It perhaps has one of the best set of open sights ever put on an old style, non-American military rifle.
Springfield 1903 and 1903/A3 What can I saw you do not already know?
Enfield M1917 rifle ,for a non-windage adjustable rifle, I cannot say that the Springfield rifles are more accurate than this Enfield. I have done side-by-side test and both types are just as accurate as the other is.
Mauser rifles. Persian 8mm ,Arginine 7.65, Steyr made 7mm, Turks 8mm, IMF converter to 7.62x51mm rifles and Indian Enfield rifles in 7,62x51mm.
Britt Martini rifle converted in 1903 to .303 Britt . Just stupid accurate with 175 grain or heavier bullets.
Mosin -Nagant 1891 and 91/30 rifles. Both do very well in the hands of a trained shooter. With bullet fitting the bore hand loads,they will give any of these listed rifle a run for their money.
SMLE & No IV Mark I types.- I have not shot a brand new,broken in rifle of either type at 800 yards. My "well used" rifles do well though. It would be nice to try a new one.
1895 Mannlicher 8x56R straight pull rifle. This rifle shoots that heavy bullet with great accuracy. I hope you get to try it some day.
Jap 6.5 Type 38- a real sleeper at long range. IF, and I mean IF you do not have a late version, large chambered rifle they shoot very well indeed.
Jap 7.7 Type 99- This rifle shocked all my clubs members. With my hand loads using a surplus 7.62x54R Heavy Ball bullet or a .303 Britt Match bullet ( .312), this rifle is a joy to shoot long range. I can clearly see the Japanese sniper using these rifles in combat against their enemies at long range. I'm not a big fan of chrome lined barrels but these rifles proved me wrong.
There are many more,but these are what I have found in my collection that work well enough to use in a match.
Semi-Autos:
M1A / M-14- What can I say about this rifle. It is still used to this day in 1,000 yard matches and wins.
M-1 Rifle- With the proper loads, and a op-rod that has not been damaged by some bone-head,these rifles are as accurate as the M1A/M14 at long distance.
Swede AG42B- This rifle is just a pleasure to shoot long distance. Even a child can handle the recoil and shoot it well. I think for a non-American rifle, it has the best combat sights of any military semi-auto rifle made. They are so easy to adjust and they are plain to see.
Metric FAL rifles. WOW, while you have to bury the front sight all the way down to shoot 800 yards,the metric FALS are crazy accurate. I feel the STG-58 it on the top of the list. I am not impressed with the Inch FALS. That darned Breeching Washer just causes more problems than it solves. The Britt barrels leave a lot to be desired as well.
Romanian PSL- With a good 150 grain bullet these rifles ( overgrown AK47) really shoot well at distance. I feel it is a better rifle than the Dragunov rifle.
Dragunov Rifle- In its day it did very well indeed. But at 800 yards it would throw a shot out of the group every time. We never could get it to stop doing this. Magazine pressure?,barrel heat? No idea why.
AR15 / M16 20" barrel rifle ( and the Navy Mods). - With a 62 grain or heavier bullet in winds less than 15 mph it is a tack driver. With all the Mall-Ninja goodies you can attach to these rifles you can make it shoot sub-MOA at 800 yards. By club rules the rifle must be an "issued to the troops" firearm or it cannot be used. The U.S. Navy Mod 10/12 rifles are allowed and can stack bullets on top of one another at 800 yards.
SKS- I know it is a carbine, but it shoots well at 800 yards with good ammo.
AK47- One of my club members shoots this darned thing well at 800 yards getting 605 hits from the prone. And he has hit it several times off-hand! He loves the AK47 type rifles. All calibers do well for him.
And there are several more but I do not shoot them as much.
I'm not listing the optic equipped rifles as the guys prefer the open sights instead. I tried to keep the list with the more common rifles. Are their others that shoot very well? Oh heck yes. But they are not common or are so expensive to purchase most will never do so. I also left out rifles that when cold shoot well, when the barrel is warm they do not.
I'm sure you have a favorite rifle that you shoot,and shoot well.
With today's anti-gunners and land being scarfed up left and right,shooting ranges over 200 yards/meters are just not as common as years ago. That is sad. As shooting long distance is just so much fun.
I'm holding a 800 yard match in two days. I'll be shooting the Swede long rifle.
I'd love to read your long rage shooting with surplus firearms.
Your always welcome to come shoot with us. We'd love to have you.
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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#2 Post by Cattus Borealis » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:27 pm

Rob,

Great article; I learn something new every time you post.

I was wondering what your impression of the Gew 1888 rifle was at long range?

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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#3 Post by ammolab » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:43 pm

Looks like great weather for the 800 yard match tomorrow.

I'll be there with the 1908 Mauser 7x57.

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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#4 Post by Rapidrob » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:34 pm

I only own a couple that have been converted to .323 ( S bore) and used by the Turks a lot. The rifles bore are very worn and only shoot minute-of-man at 200 meters.
If the rifles were in better condition I think they would be great shooters with 189 grain SPBT bullets.
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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#5 Post by Rapidrob » Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:35 pm

ammolab won the match today with 15/20 hits open sights and 15/20 hits using a scoped .sniper rifle! Well done Sir!
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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#6 Post by ammolab » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:44 pm

Rapidrob wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:35 pm
ammolab won the match today with 15/20 hits open sights and 15/20 hits using a scoped .sniper rifle! Well done Sir!
Thanks Rob. It was a fine morning for long range shooting. Can't beat NM blue sky days!!

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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#7 Post by steamer » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:48 pm

Congrats ammolab on taking first place - what rifle were you using?

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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#8 Post by ammolab » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:41 pm

steamer wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:48 pm
Congrats ammolab on taking first place - what rifle were you using?
Iron sights: Brazilian 1908 Mauser cal 7x57 mm 1970 FN 140gr FMJBT surplus

Scope rifle: UK L42A1 Lee Enfield cal 7.62 NATO hand load USGI M118 173gr FMJBT bullet over 41.1gr IMR 4064 in LC match case Fed
210M primer

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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#9 Post by les1234 » Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:32 pm

RapidRob, you mentioned no luck with your Carcano rifles, have you tried any M-41 Carcano? It should be possible to find a good one of these, since a lot of them were made very late in the war, and didn't see nearly as much use as the older '91s.

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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#10 Post by Cattus Borealis » Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:23 pm

Rapidrob wrote:
Sat Oct 27, 2018 5:34 pm
I only own a couple that have been converted to .323 ( S bore) and used by the Turks a lot. The rifles bore are very worn and only shoot minute-of-man at 200 meters.
If the rifles were in better condition I think they would be great shooters with 189 grain SPBT bullets.
Thanks for the info Rob!

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Re: NM MILSURPS 800 yard match thoughts

#11 Post by Rapidrob » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:47 am

I've tried several of my Carcano rifles. I do own a '41 type and have tried several loads both .264 and .268 bullets. Slow loads and pretty fast loads. for some reason once the bullets past 500 meters, it just does not want to be as accurate at 800 yards. ( we have a split range,yards and meters). I do not think the bullet is dropping to below super sonic but something is causing the group to really open up. Stock pressure?, barrel heat?, bullet jump into the rifling? I have never figured out why the rounds just will not behave as they should.
I've shot 7.35 short rifles that were deadly accurate. My 8x57mm carbines are crazy accurate at 300+ meters, the 6.5's just kick my butt for some reason.They do well at 2-300 meters.And then just throw fliers.
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