Shooting the 77/22 as an understudy

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Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
6,671
The past 3-4 years I've been using the 77/22 as a tune up tool prior to hunting season. I'm beginning a bit late this year so pushing harder to catch up. After a few more days I'll back up a bit more but will need to do a zero check and see if the old ammo is a limiting factor.
At this point, I'm shooting from 65 yards, sitting with a 2 legged BogPod support. No messing around, I walk 100 yards to the firing point, drop to a sit, place the BogPod, and start shooting as fast as I can run the bolt and align the crosshairs as I switch randomly among the five 2" swingers spread across 4' horizontally and various heights. Twenty five rounds in 90 seconds with 3 misses this evening. I was cold and tired from an afternoon of working outside and hands were stiff and cold. Catching a piece of my glove between bolt knob and scope eyepiece cost me a little time but did not result in a misfeed.
I hope I can manage to keep up this level (and maybe improve a bit) for the next couple of weeks in which case I'll be pretty well prepared for deer season.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
20,798
You are doing something MANY people do not do,,, field practice a lot before hunting. It shows a dedication to hunting AND a desire to "get it right." KUDOS!
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
6,671
Thanks Contender. This is pretty much opposite to the 2 others going with me.
My Cousin who's an auctioneer somehow thought it was a dandy idea to schedule an estate sale this coming weekend. Turns out the property is a total mess and he's struggling to get things sorted out. Younger Son and I help him with his on-site auctions so we're drafted/expected to be there. Not sure what his plan is but last year he showed up here 4-5 days before time to head out with a 270 he hadn't shot for years and one box each of 3 different brand/type of ammo expecting to both zero and accuracy test in a 2 hour window of opportunity.
The new guy in our party says he's found some suitable ammo and "probably needs to see where it hits". At least he's got the right idea as long as he carries through. Apparently he has a Burris Eliminator on a .308 that he feels is like a magic wand--maybe so/maybe no. I've not seen him shoot yet.
 

contender

Ruger Guru
Joined
Sep 18, 2002
Messages
20,798
Sadly, I see that attitude all too often.

I get calls now from buddies asking; "Where can I find a box of hunting ammo?" When I reply; "What does your gun prefer?" I get all kinds of answers that tell me they never shoot much at all.
Heck, just about 2 weeks ago,, a guy called, saying one of his workers bought a Rem 280 & was looking for ammo. Said the guy didn't know ANYTHING about the performance of that gun. I gave him the name of three places that have a fair amount of ammo considering the current climate. He said the guy bought (1) box, Norma premium ammo, and "Probably won't shoot it more than a few times before he goes hunting."
Sheesh!
In 2018 my planned elk hunt, that got cancelled at the last moment,, I'd been shooting almost daily for months with my (2) handguns. I scheduled a hunt for 2019,, and did the same thing all over again. I started in May of each year,, and went to Colorado in 2019,, but never got a chance at an elk. But I calculated how many rounds I had cast, powder coated, loaded & shot in those (2) years,, JUST for that hunt. A few over 6300 rounds.
Daily practice, field positions, and serious prep are what I feel is necessary to be a good hunter. I figure it like this. I'm spending time, MONEY & effort to travel to hunt. I want to be ready in case I do get a chance to shoot something.
And here at home,, I shoot often,, and I hunt hard. Our muzzleloading season starts this Saturday. I got my smokepole out over a month ago for the first time this season,, and so far,, since then,, I've shot a bit over 200 rounds in it. Not every day,, but enough to know what it will do and what I can do with it. Luckily,, in my area,, most of my shots will possibly be under 75 yds. I'm getting boring accuracy with my T/C Pro Hunter.
Bear season is also open locally. I'm without my helper a lot because of it. Yesterday,, I was headed to a small easy job,, and he was hunting fresh sign to turn the dogs loose. We kept in touch,, and I had my stuff with me,,so that if they got on a hot trail,, once I was available,, I was going to head up the mountain.

And your idea of shooting the 77/22 as an efficient method of practice is a good one. My 77-17 & my 77/22 are both good ones,, that if I were to want to use a rifle,, it mates up nicely with my M77 in .270.
In my handguns,, which is what I try & use the most,, I keep a couple of big bores with me,, as well as a Single-Six. I do shoot the SS a lot as well. The caveat of that,, is my preferred SA hunting gun is either my El Dorado in 45 Colt,, or my Ruger Bisley 480. Not quite the same feel as the SS. The El Dorado is what I really want to nail a bear or an elk with.

But the bottom line is all too many folks do NOT practice enough to be good in the field. I get excuses like; "No time,,,, Not enough ammo,,,, Ammo costs too much,,,, I'm fine, I can hit a pie plate at 100 yds,,,, It shot fine last year, My daddy said to never waste ammo,,,, Practice ain't like real hunting,,,, My gun shoots anything just fine,,,, etc, etc, etc."

When I teach hunter safety,, I stress the point that an animal deserves a clean humane kill. And that practicing a lot will help insure that.
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
6,671
I've been told that practicing with a 22 will result in short stroking a centerfire but that's not happened to me. I used to have a very bad habit of catching my empty center fire brass so I didn't lose any--may as well have been shooting a single shot. That took a long time to get past.
I have seen hunters who had to stop and think about running the bolt which resulted in a missed opportunity for a follow up shot. Since I carry/shoot an AR year round, I certainly have cause to simply keep trying to pull the trigger again rather than work the bolt. This is why I don't practice with a 10-22. Get that rhythm and process of operating the bolt going. I most likely won't shoot anything except a bolt action until I return from NM.
I'm also shooting a shot or two from the 6.5Cr 2 or 3 times per week. This morning I shot twice and quit. That makes 9 hits in a row--not too shabby for a geezer and field conditions. The guy who's building up the road drove down and asked "WTH kind of gun are you shooting?". He was outside working on a 'tiny house' for his Son when I shot. He said from 300 yards away it sounds like a 'whoosh' and a muffled POP(supersonic bullet signature) followed by the SMACK of the bullet impacting the steel plate. No real muzzle signature at all.
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
6,671
I'm at 75 yards and may have reached the capabilities of rifle/ammo combination. I had two misses that looked and felt like good holds. I did have 2 other misses that I called 'iffy" holds and own those.
There's not much wiggle room on 2" swingers at that distance so I'm back to my old target shooting cadence: 3 medium breaths in and out, hold the 4th and squeeze while keeping the crosshairs mostly in the middle. The 3 medium breaths get plenty of oxygen in my lungs to sustain holding the 4th longer than taking one big breath and letting some out. Works better in a hunting situation where the game may move or shift position.

Additional shooting seems to confirm consistent 2-3 misses per 25 shots due to flyers. Not complaining mind you since to the best of my knowledge, the ammo is more than 30 years old and was not high end to begin with. Rifle is getting pretty dirty and not sure if this is another factor. Four or five more sessions and I'll be hunting anyway.
 

Mobuck

Hawkeye
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Messages
6,671
I had 24 hits from 25 shots last night in the late evening dusk after a long day of work. The single miss was 'called' low/right so I'm OK with that. Pretty close to being as 'tuned' as I can be--good thing cause deer season opens tomorrow. Going to have lots of wind so think I'll switch from the 25/06 to the 6.5C since it's more 'wind blind'.
The old 77/22 is definitely in need of cleaning--had 3 fail to extract last night. The old Winchester Wildcat ammo is a bit gooey from the migrating bullet lube.
 
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