Groundhog Rifles and Loads

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  • Last Post 19 July 2018
Scearcy posted this 29 April 2018

I am going to shoot two rifles in the Groundhog match this year. One is a Henry single shot shown in another thread in the forum. The second is a Ruger American 300 Blackout that I acquired a few years ago.  This rifle has a tight throat and refuses to accept any bullet with a nose larger than .300 or so. After rumaging through my odd lots of left over bullets I found two I can chamber.  These are  both from Accurate molds. They are the 31-200G and the 31-200NR.

Last year I ran out of prep time and I just loaded Bullseye in my Groundhog loads and of course it worked fine.  This year I want to try something new so I am going to shoot Trail Boss in both rifles. This tiny case accepts 5 gr as the maximum load w/o being compressed.  My starting load will be 4 gr.  That is all I know right now.

Here is a picture.

Many of the Groundhog match entrants are shooting very interesting rifles. I hope some of you will do a post with pictures.

Jim

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onondaga posted this 30 April 2018

Looks like an interesting quest! I am surprised you aren't trying the Lee 300AAC bullet. I use it in 7.62x39 with Titegroup. The Lee bullet offers unique design advantage with the boat tail that shoots well either bare or gas checked. That gives an additional option for accuracy trials. I shoot them bare in my load.

Gary

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Bohica793 posted this 30 April 2018

I use that 31-200R in my Mosin 91/30 to good effect.  Really nice bullet.

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Scearcy posted this 30 April 2018

Hi Gary

Right now I am trying to get by without buying a new mold. The targets are due June 1 so time is a little short.

I do intend to get a mold for a lighter bullet for long term use but it may not happen this month. The design of the magazine on this rifle pretty much requires a spitzer if I want to feed from the magazine. I have a NOE spitzer mold I have never used. It may be next up before I buy more molds.

Jim

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Scearcy posted this 30 April 2018

Gary

Can I change my mind. Are you referring to the 312 -155 2R? That actually looks exactly right for this rifle!

Jim

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onondaga posted this 30 April 2018

Gary

Can I change my mind. Are you referring to the 312 -155 2R? That actually looks exactly right for this rifle!

Jim

 

NO!

I am referring to the Lee TL309-230-5R. It is the only bullet mold Lee makes with a boat tail base that also fits a gas check and is specifically designed for the 300 Blackout.

https://www.midwayusa.com/product/938614/lee-2-cavity-bullet-mold-tl309-230-5r-30-caliber-309-diameter-230-grain-300-aac-blackout-tumble-lube-5-ogive-radius

I'm a little very surprised if you have never heard of this mold from Lee. The bullet is designed to be shot bare boat tailed for low velocity and gas checked at higher velocity. This is a real boat tail bullet design and the first ever that also fits a gas check. A true innovation worth trying in your rifle. Mine actually cast quite large in #2 alloy at .311".

Although specifically designed for the 300 Blackout it can shoot well in any 30 cal rifle. I have even tried it in 30-06 in my 1903A3 backwards as a flat nose Bear hunting bullet. It shoots well backwards! It is a long tapered 5R ogive spire boat tail design. They cast at 221 gr in #2 for me.

You got it the other way around, your Ruger American 300 Blackout has a 1:7 twist and it is made for this weight subsonic Lee TL309-230-5R bullet.

The very first time I tried this bullet was un-sized/tumble lubed with TiteGroup 5 gr from my Remington Spartan 7.62X39 single shot with a 24" chrome lined bore and it shot under 1" @ 50 yards the first 5 shots and didn't get worse.

 

Gary

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Scearcy posted this 30 April 2018

Gary

I have a 300 BLK 230 gr mould and I also have a Lyman 210 gr spitzer I tried.  They don't serve my purpose as I am not trying to build a subsonic load which will cycle the action on an AR. I have a couple of 7.65x39 moulds also but the noses on both of those bullets are too large to chamber with an reasonable OAL. I like 130 gr to 160 gr bullets for the Blackouts small case. It just happens that the two bullets I use in my other two 300 Blackouts are too large for the tight Ruger bore. Hence I was making due with a couple of bore riders which measure in the .299 to .300 range. They happen to be 200 gr bullets but that fact is pure coincidence.

The Ruger shoots an 115 gr semi wadcutter beautifully at 50 yards but I don't have the mold. I just have a couple hundred with gas checks that I purchased at a gun show. GCs are not allowed for the Groundhog shoot.

Jim

 

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onondaga posted this 30 April 2018

Jim, your 1:7 twist in the American is made for heavy bullets like the Lee AAC. That is great if you get light bore riders to shoot but they have far less accuracy potential than the Lee AAC in your twist. If you have to size them at all, only size them to show ink test slide on chambering  on at least the first exposed driving band and that will give them a stable start, If you can also engage the ogive .010" in the ball seat that will add the most stability for the bullet start and accuracy. The bullet does well bare and just tumble lubed subsonic through about 1500 fps. Any faster, use the gas check option. The dual option design shoots well either at low or high velocity by using Lee bullet as a plain boat tail spire  or as a gas checked spire. It is NOT a bore rider, simply seat it to engage the ogive to the ball seat if you can feed it that way and sized so the driving bands contact the chamber for best stable start and highest accuracy potential.

Incidentally, I don't cast these with #2 alloy because I need the strength for the load, I use #2 for durability in this application. I'd recommend #2 because you have a bolt action with magazine feed and the durability is important in that application too. I carry them in my pocket squirrel hunting with a single shot and softer bullets get too beat up..

Gary

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longhunter posted this 01 May 2018

ok I will try this again.

Pic problems.

This is one of my Ground hog rifles this year. 

Its a Winchester Low wall in 25-20 Single Shot.(a dead cartage)  The scope is a Ranger 4X external adjustment mounts.

Below the rifle is a 22lr. for comparison. A 25-20 SS loaded round. The cast bullets are the Ideal bullet from the Ideal Tool Company mold and tool behind the rifle. A RCBS 25-85-CW . And a NOE #260-63-WFN-BX1.  1 GC 1 PB.

The load so far is 6.5 grs of IMR 4227.  More to follow, I hope I can get it to shoot well enough.  It's been fun so far.

The rifle came from New England area and I'm sure it shot ground hogs.  It came with the sling and a tin of lubed bullets. 

The targets will tell. 

Good luck to all shooters.

Jon

Jon Welda CW5 USA Ret. 608 797 0056

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John Alexander posted this 01 May 2018

Gary,

Please help me out.  I don't understand your use of the term durability.

I thought that meant resistence to wearing out.  What do you mean by "durability"?

Thanks.

John

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onondaga posted this 01 May 2018

Gary,

Please help me out.  I don't understand your use of the term durability.

I thought that meant resistence to wearing out.  What do you mean by "durability"?

Thanks.

John

Sure John, It is sometimes a practical matter for me. When I carry cast bullet ammo in my pocket hunting, the alloy strength is important to resist denting and scratching in the pocket. I shoot low velocity ammo in several rifles squirrel hunting. Although 2% antimony range scrap alloy is fine for the load level of these squirrel loads, that 2% alloy gets damaged very easily in my pocket so I cast my squirrel bullets in #2 alloy that is substantially better for pocket carry. That is all I mean by durability in this application. I tried the 2% alloy and they get too banged up from pocket carry, the #2 alloy ones don't. It is routine squirrel hunting for me to put 8 rounds in my stock mounted shell holder and to put 10 rounds in my pocket too. Aside from the squirrels I eat, I occasionally murder chipmunks to express violence and shoot up some ammo.

Gary

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Scearcy posted this 01 May 2018

I just completed the first trip to the range with the little Ruger. The load was 4 gr of Trail Boss behind an Accurate 31-200 NR. My lube was straight  Lee Alox. The bullet is unsized.

I shot 3 - 5 shot groups. The largest was 1.2" and the average was 1.13". I should be satisfied but all three groups showed evidence of vertical stringing and in all three cases the lowest hit in the group showed some evidence of instability. I doubt that this load would do very well at 100 yards. 

I am going to try the same load with the powder charge increased to 4.5 gr and 5 gr.

Gotta keep in mind the Groundhog has a 3" 10 ring.

Jim

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onondaga posted this 01 May 2018

Jim, have you ink tested your bullet fit? That is step one, I hope you didn't skip it. Just having the fit verified in ink before you even shoot should put your groups under 1" @ 50 yards with that charge and bullet if it verifies..

 

Gary

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GP Idaho posted this 01 May 2018

Jim:  Like Gary has said the Lee TL309-230-5R works well in the Blackout.  What's new for me and so far shows promise is the new NOE 311-214-FN-CA5 with it's long .450+ nose there is a lot of stability built in. I nose size the taper out of the nose so that it is a strait .300 or .301 depending on the rifle it's to be fired from. PM me if you'd like to try a few. Gp

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fa38 posted this 11 May 2018

 I shot my target the other day in about a 15 to 20 MPH wind from the left.  I don't think it bothered the bullet very much but it did push me around even shooting siting.

Cody Ballard, RKS gain twist barrel 10.0", Doc Brewer 106 grain spritzer, Win 540 powder 5.9 grains, Win SR primer, Anschutz front sight and MVA Soule rear.  Shot sitting with my elbows on my knees, no sling.

The not so good looking part of my rifle.

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Scearcy posted this 11 May 2018

fa38

That is a beautiful rifle!

Jim

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 11 May 2018

fa38 ...

hey how am i supposed to practice my speed reading when you post eye candy such as that ballard ....   it cost me 5 minutes just drooling over that piece of art ..... thank you .

ken

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fa38 posted this 11 May 2018

Well actually that is not the good looking one and/but the newer good looking one  is not what I used for the groundhog shoot.

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greg posted this 14 May 2018

Hi Jim,

Thought I'd post a picture of my Rem 7 in 300 Blackout with 1:10" twist barrel.  Never shot plain base bullets (except B.P.) and hadn't realized what a challenge they could be.  Load I used for 300 BLK was 5.0 gr Unique and RCBS 150 FNPB.  I'd estimate velocity to be about 1500 fps and it seemed to shot pretty well.  Six grains of Unique seemed to lead barrel pretty good so I cut charge to five grains.  My intention was to shoot 3 different rifles but spent way too much time trying to get a Ruger 77/357 to shoot anything that resembled a group.  Actually, never did get that rifle to shoot plain based bullets and have since just run out of time.  Target for 300 Blk is in the mail.  Thanks for a good and sometimes frustrating time !!

GregRemington mdl 7   

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Scearcy posted this 14 May 2018

Greg

I assume you had to rebarrel that rifle to get a 1x10 twist? Ours is an organization made up of predominantly "Traditional" gentlemen. Almost always I agree but in the case of the 300 Blackout, I continue to be surprised by the limited number of shooters trying this cartridge. I believe that the very fast twists of the factory rifles and the whole fascination with subsonic velocities are the primary impediments to shooters realizing the value of this cartridge for cast bullets.

I will be shooting the 1x7" Ruger American as one of my two rifles but my primary 300 BLK is a rebarreled Remington 700 with a 1x10" barrel. It shoots well. Thanks for sharing.

Jim

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 17 May 2018

ok, ok, .... got together my remmy 722 and B&L Balfor in those " interesting "  adjustable B&L mounts ... ( thanks, Ed Harris ! ) ...... oh, 300 Savage ... in a bolt action, as good as a 308 W. .....

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Scearcy posted this 22 May 2018

I did shoot my groundhog target with the 300 Blackout yesterday. I just wanted to note that with an increased charge of 4.5 gr of Trail Boss all of the vertical stringing and instability disappeared. Trail Boss also worked well in the Henry 308. 

Jim

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 22 May 2018

probably a little late now for the groundhog shoot but i gotta get some trail boss and try it in my 45-70 popgun loads  ... the big bore and straight case kinda doesn't help good burning .... 

i am having fun scoring some of the bigger holes in some of the groundhog targets returned to me ... maybe some time we should have a " buffalo " shoot .....  whatcha think ??

ken

 

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R. Dupraz posted this 22 May 2018

A poor man's 30-30. Savage 219 built especially for me some time in 1938 or there after with a custom 22 1/2 lb trigger pull

Either an RCBS 30-165-S or 30-180-FN. GC. Loaded as PB w/o the GC and IMR 4227. Shoots good too. Hit that Hog dang near every time.

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4060may posted this 22 May 2018

Greener Martini I built in 1982, 30-40 Krag, 311041 plain base

Barrel is 1903 GI, 1-10 made in 1944, action Greener police gun, originally in a special shotgun chambering, SARCO had these 3/100 as parts guns IIRC, brand new 125.00

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Scearcy posted this 22 May 2018

OK then! These are some nice groundhog rifles. I tried to order a Savage 219 from Sears I believe. I was about 14. Those were the days but unfortunately the rifles were out of stock and never available again.

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SouthDakota4440 posted this 23 May 2018

Hey Ken,

Not a bad idea.....perhaps a minimum caliber to be specified, i.e. .35 and up / or .40 and up?  Distance at 100 yds...maybe a bit less? I admit though, I don't recall seeing a full blown buffalo printed on a target sheet.  Neat idea though.

 

 

mm

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R. Dupraz posted this 23 May 2018

A 45x2.4 Sharps at fifty yds.? Yipes!

 

R. 

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Scearcy posted this 23 May 2018

I see NRA targets (42"x60") for Bear, Deer, or Antelope. There is also a 35"x45" coyote target. 

A 100 yard "match" is something we talked about a little last year as well. 

Experience indicates that limiting rifles very much reduces the number of entries in a hurry. However scoped bolt gun would be a big advantage at 100 yards.

Would we limit shooting positions or possibly expand them a little?

Ken, I know you have been thinking about this?

I have a 9.3x74 single shot which would sure work nice at 100 yards!

Jim

 

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R. Dupraz posted this 23 May 2018

My interpretation is that the spirit of this match is using the common walkabout hunting rifle that most every one has in one form or another. The more unusual the better. Not factory or full blown target guns of any kind. Similar to the "intent" of the CBA Hunters class. Now I do have a couple of those too that will nearly put them castings in one hole at 100 but won't use them because to me they are inappropriate for what this match is all about. 

I enjoyed trying to hit that ground hog at 50 off of cross sticks with my old Savage 19 using PB bullets. Some thing new. And moving out to 100 with a different target would be fun. But if this match degenerates into anything other than the original intention, I more than likely won't be back.

The present shooting positions seem fine to me as they are

Scope or irons

As close to a production hunter type rifle as possible.

 

R.  

 

 

 

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Scearcy posted this 23 May 2018

I should be clear that I am not advocating anything here. We are only gauging interest and receiving any input people have.

If you go to the National Targets website, you can find the bear, mule deer, whitetail deer and antelope. The bear looks the easiest and the antelope the hardest. 

 

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Redleged posted this 23 May 2018

probably a little late now for the groundhog shoot but i gotta get some trail boss and try it in my 45-70 popgun loads  ... the big bore and straight case kinda doesn't help good burning .... 

i am having fun scoring some of the bigger holes in some of the groundhog targets returned to me ... maybe some time we should have a " buffalo " shoot .....  whatcha think ??

ken

 

Ken,

I think it would be a great idea as a different shoot/match. Consider using the rules (stolen shamelessly from the Greenville Gun Club.) Targets to be decided later as "dinger" targets are usually best fired in a live match setting.

Ed

 Rifles Permitted:

Any original or replica rifle that was in use prior to 1895 that originally fired a black powder cartridge. That can include lever actions or single shot.  We do accept the H&R Buffalo Classic as a valid rifle. The Ruger No. 1 rifle in the correct cartridge is also permitted.

Ammunition Permitted:

Any caliber cartridges that were originally loaded with black powder. They can be loaded with black or smokeless powder. Bullets must be lead onlyNO gas checks, plated or jacketed.

Sights:

Sights must be open, tang or receiver sights. Globe front sights with inserts are permitted. (I would add period correct external adjustment scopes.)

Shooting Positions (any of the following):

  • Prone with or w/o sticks
  • Sitting with or w/o sticks
  • Standing with or w/o sticks

Growing old is mandatory, growing up, however, is totally optional!

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 24 May 2018

let us think for a while about a big bore shoot ... bear, buffalo, ... ? ... ... and toss around some ideas .... maybe we should start it's own thread ... 

we don't want our unofficial shoots to interfere or compete with the historic official CBA postals ... and there is already a big bore shoot there, also a DEER shoot ...

at least part of the charm of the groundhog shoot is the variety of equipment ... are there enough " big bore " fun shooters to proceed ??   i would be glad to help keep the idea alive , there are three of us talking about it so far ... are there more ??  especially if we go 40  cal and up  .... does anybody shoot buffalo with a 35 cal ?? heh ...

later, on it's own thread .   ken

 

 

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Tom Acheson posted this 25 May 2018

Ken,

Fire up the new thread!

The CBA has a BPCR Postal shot @ 200-yards, off crossticks. The target is a reduced-size turkey silhouette, mimicking the sight picture you'd see looking at the NRA 385-meter turkey.I'd suggest that the use of bench type cross sticks are allowed IF you must share the line with bench shooters and for safety you cannot get out front to stab your normal sticks into the ground and shoot. The bench type sticks cannot be secured to the bench.

The Scheutzen approach to scoring marginal hits would work good, where the center of the bullet must be on the score area. Most hits like that on the steel targets seem to do good at knocking them over. How about a reduced size buffalo?

I'm biased...I have a .40 caliber!

Starter thoughts...

Tom

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4060may posted this 25 May 2018

There is a reduced Bear target we shoot OH at 50yds with patched round ball, would be a booger at 100dys Iron sights, it's like the groundhog target maybe a little smaller...the GH target was really big with a very hard to discern scoring area, this is for an old guy with bad eyesight.....I'm in  for whatever

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 25 May 2018

Hey Ken,

Not a bad idea.....perhaps a minimum caliber to be specified, i.e. .35 and up / or .40 and up?  Distance at 100 yds...maybe a bit less? I admit though, I don't recall seeing a full blown buffalo printed on a target sheet.  Neat idea though.

 GREAT!   (I've used my .458WM on prairie dogs before.)

 

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Old Coot posted this 26 May 2018

I think a Buffalo, or Elk, or Elephant shoot would be a heck of a lot of fun as long as we keep it simple, and can find a reduced size target for the critter.  I could put a full sized buffalo target up here in the National Forest, but members who are limited by the facilities at their home range might have a bit of trouble keeping their target in their lane.  Just design the match with the idea of getting the most participants, not narrowing the parameters (and therefore the participation) as tight as possible.

B.E.Brickey

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Bohica793 posted this 29 May 2018

Shot and mailed my targets today.  Decided to use my two lever guns for this one -- 45 Colt and 38-55.  Love this match.

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 29 May 2018

... one of the side benefits of this fun match is ( for me at least ) that it has given me an excuse to dig out a few guns that i haven't shot so much ... and even check out my loading equipment ( and buy a couple new gadgets ) that didn't get much use lately. 

i have shot several hundred rounds in preparation for a fun match that doesn't pay much for " winning " ... ( heh ) ... so

maybe it is the journey, not the destination ...

ken

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GWarden posted this 30 May 2018

It has been mentioned doing the ground hog shoot at 100yds? To make it simple, any cast bullet and center fire, any scope. This would give a fella a  chance to see how he would do with his " chuck" rifle at 100yds shooting from field positions. I would be willing to help with this match. Just wanted to toss it out for a consideration for next year. Have a good summer of shooting.

Bob

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Millelacs posted this 30 May 2018

I shot mine on Memorial Day's almost 100 degree heat.  Target went out in Tuesday's daily mail.

It was good to get the old Model 94 out.  Now it's brother is crying that it wants to go out and play.

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delmarskid posted this 01 June 2018

Well I shot three guns on three targets too late to get them in on time. A Savage 99 in 303 Savage with aged Weaver 2.5 scope. A Ruger single Seven in 327 Federal. A Marlin 1889 in 32-20.

rlin 1889 in 32-20. I fed the kitty and had a ball!

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 01 June 2018

delmarskid ... if you shot the targets before 1 june, go ahead and send them in to me ... i am giving a few days for the postal gears to grind their way slowly to my attention before i do the final scoring.  

besides, lever gun targets are always fun and the 32-20 with cast needs more support ....  i spent a few quality years in my youth loading for a very nice win. 92 a friend had ..... 

ken campbell   box 156    lorimor iowa    50149

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tlkeizer posted this 08 June 2018

Greetings,

I will try to show the rifles I used.

 

Doesn't seem to be working, maybe later.

TK

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tlkeizer posted this 13 June 2018

Greetings,

I think I finally got the photos to work.  Shown are Savage 99 .308, Remington 700 ADL 25-06, Springfield Model 1873 Trapdoor 45-70, Springfield Model 1884 Trapdoor 45-70.  The Savage I bought in a pawn shop while going through the Benning Boys School in 1975, It will whoot 1 inch groups at 100 yards on occasion.  The 25-06 I bought at Ft. Bliss for my father for Christmas in 1971 before I went to Viet Nam.  The trapdoors my grandfather bought as a young man for the then high price of $5 each, cash.  He said it took him over a full summer to get enough cash to buy them.  The barrel of the 1873 has been re-ligned by Mr. Hoyt after I sent it in to him and it shoots great, the rifle stock re-finished and barrel re-blued before I inherited it.  The model 1884 is all original.

Thought someone may be interested in the picts.

TK

 

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tlkeizer posted this 13 June 2018

Greetings again,

Photos are kind of stubby, I guessed at the reducing of size.

TK

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 13 June 2018

tk: ... nice guns !! ... hey, usually after you attach the photo in a post, you can grab the lower right corner with your cursor and pull it toward upper left ... that makes it smaller here ... i will copy your last photo and make it smaller ... i hope ( g ) ...  sometimes the little corner hook is hard to snatch ...

this is 202 x 152

ken, who really hates computers ....

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 13 June 2018

... just had a great idea for another fun shoot ..... set our computers at 100 yards and take 20 shots ... hollowpoints preferred .... heh ...

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Bohica793 posted this 13 June 2018

... just had a great idea for another fun shoot ..... set our computers at 100 yards and take 20 shots ... hollowpoints preferred .... heh ...

Can we include a cell phone category also?

 

 

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Scearcy posted this 13 June 2018

TK Nice - it was worth the effort. Are you going to try those two Springfields at 100 yards? That will be a serious challenge I think.

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tlkeizer posted this 13 June 2018

Greetings,

Scearcy, you bet.  I would not dream of not shooting them, especially after they did better than the "modern" rifles in the earlier shoot.

TK

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Scearcy posted this 18 July 2018

Hey  Guys

Is anyone going to shoot an AR in the 100 yd Groundhog shoot? This is the ideal opportunity - any rifle, any sight!

Jim

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longhunter posted this 19 July 2018

Ummmmm,

Makes me think I should try.

Jon

Jon Welda CW5 USA Ret. 608 797 0056

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