Groundhogs Won Today

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  • Last Post 16 May 2018
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tlkeizer posted this 02 May 2018

Greetings,

Well, today I started shooting groundhogs; Puxatawny won the first two rounds but at least it was before the snow started (it is snowing as I type this).

I shot 2 of 4 targets, one with the Savage 99 in .308, and one with the 1873 trapdoor.  Dissertations follow for your reading enjoyment.

First, the Savage.  I was given a dozen cast bullets a couple years ago, and figured this shoot would be a good use for them.  They weighed 176+/- grains each, with a red lube.  I know, not a lot of hard core date, but the giver is no longer around.  Anyway, I loaded them up with CCI 200 primers, Hornaday cases, 12 grains green dot, and seated them with the top lube ring just barely exposed due to length.  Since I had 12, I used the first two to sight in where the bullets struck, then used the last 10 for score, shooting in an unsupported sitting position with the scope turned down to between 3 and 4 power.  I could not see the holes in the paper using the scope, so went down to the target after the first two rounds for record, good shots.  I then went back to the line, shot the rest, and found out the strikes of the bullets wandered up.  Barrel warmed up, so did the bullet impacts, also going a bit to the conservative side.  Argh, but at least they all went "bang".  No more cast bullets for .30 cal so done with that.

Now, on to the first of two Trapdoor 45-70's.  I decided to load up some light smokeless powder loads, and they seemed to shoot well a few weeks ago.  Using what I had loaded (416 grain flat base bullets, plain base, 32 grains 4198, CCI 200 primers, SPG pan lube, .458 unsized cold water hardened), I checked the zero with three rounds off the bench, so far so good.  Then I posted the silly groundhog at 50 yards, sat down at the firing line, and proceeded to shoot 10 rounds.  I had a really nice group, unfortunately the recoil difference between off the sand bags and unsupported sitting had the bullets for record striking about 3 inches below where I expected.  But, once again, at least everything went bang when it was supposed to.

Thought for the next targets is do the sighters the same way as I will shoot for record.  Sometimes we forget the basics.  Now, on to a couple more things.

I brought out the chronograph for after the groundhogs if there was time, and shot a couple sets for data.  I shot a set using the smokeless powder, and a set using Black Powder which I will be using next groundhog for record.  The smokeless loads, not using a filler, averaged 10-150fps faster than the BP, but extreme spread was 230 fps or so, with a SD of 90.  In a word, abysmal.  The black powder, on the other hand, had an extreme spread of 9fps, with a SD of 3 or 4.  I like that.  Elevation wise the first and second shot of the smokeless loads were within an inch of each other.  The first 2 shots of the BP were almost 3 inches apart, which has always been the case for me and I expect it.  Velocities, if I remember correct as I am too lazy to go out in the snow and get the Chronograph right now,  were a bit over 1300 fps for smokeless, just over 1200 for the BP.

Not looking for nitpicking, just thought some may like to read what I have done so far before the snow started back up today.

TK

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 02 May 2018

enjoyed reading your post ....  hey these groundhogs are a lot trickier than they might at first appear ..... and good stuff on the 45-70 ... i hope to put a few big holes in a woodchuck pretty soon now myself ..... you reminded me to try some warm-up shots first, and maybe try some filler to get my girly boy loads to ignite ...

ken

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Drewseabee posted this 02 May 2018

You guys shooting the trapdoors great job on the smokeless data if you are looking for a good 100 200 yard round iv put up some pretty good groups with the 405 gov hollow base bullet with 11.0 grains of unique and u can shoot it all day don’t exceed 13.0 grains but my gun settled in at 11.3 grains I started with 9 grains going up to 12 in .5 grain increments and found it to settle in at 11 to 12 so I decided to run it up in .3 grain increments just to see and it made a huge difference from 11 to 11.5 at 11.3 my group tightened up about a quarter of a inch and that’s were iv stayed hope this data gives u guys some nice groups o and on a second note don’t use fillers with unique

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tlkeizer posted this 02 May 2018

Greetings,

Drewseabee, thank you for the unique load data and especially the comment of don't use filler.  I might try that after the groundhogs are sent to burrow as I have a quarter can of unique twas given me, do you find powder position an accuracy factor?.  If I remember I will post the results after trying it.  I have previously stayed with BP by choice, but recently started using smokeless.

TK

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Drewseabee posted this 02 May 2018

Anytime glad to help I have found no evidence that powder position in that load matters iv purposely tapped powdered charge to primer end and bullet end and have not noticed any change in grouping I will post a group I shot last year at a practice session match I could cover with a quarter 10 round group now I do tap to bridge powder on the primer end jus from habit but I have not noticed that it helps any I. This load

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Scearcy posted this 03 May 2018

TK

Thanks for sharing! I am smiling. You brightened my morning.

Jim

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tlkeizer posted this 11 May 2018

Greetings,

Well, I went out to the camper and got the chronograph to furnish better data. 

The loads with smokeless powder had a high of 1474 fps, low of 1243 fps, average velocity of 1359 fps,Extreme Spread of 231 fps, and Standard Deviation  of 90 fps.

The black powder loads had high of 1239 fps, low of 1225 fps, average velocity of 1233 fps, Extreme Spread of 14 fps, and Standard Deviation of 5 fps.  With consistency like this it is no wonder so many outstanding records have been set using BP.

Thought some might like to see what the chrony actually had which is slightly, though ever so slightly, different than memory.

TK

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Maven posted this 15 May 2018

Here's some groundhog irony for you.  I went to our club range to shoot the Groundhog Match targets earlier today and did OK.  I.e., two rifles -> two "dead" groundhogs.  However, driving home from the range, a live groundhog suddenly ran across the road and into the path of my automobile.  There was no way I could avoid him and heard the impact, but he somehow was not killed outright as he continued running off to the right side of the road.  Score:  Prius "0", groundhog "1" (maybe).

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 16 May 2018

maven

... put the road hog in a bag and send him to me ... i will get him scored and add him to the results ...

ken

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Maven posted this 16 May 2018

Sorry ken, but if he survived, he's in deep cover by now.  Funny thing, along that particular stretch of road, it's rare to see any wildlife excepting birds and squirrels.  Ergo, the groundhog was a bit of a surprise, and the only one I've seen there in +40 years.

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