Written by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
March is a special time of year for me. One reason, it is my birth month. Another is it is traditionally when our Missouri weather begins to moderate. Here at Sierra we get our birthdays off. Since mine came on a Tuesday this year I took the time to carefully check the weather for the weekend and Monday as well as Tuesday. The weekend forecast was great, Monday okay but cold and rainy for Tuesday. Okay 3 out of 4 is pretty good so I took Monday off also.
I got this new IBS Heavy Gun much to my wife’s chagrin. There was only one problem, it didn’t come with a scope. Well now, that does present a problem at my house because I certainly didn’t find any support for the purchase of a scope. Especially one that cost as much as a new double door refrigerator. It is said that necessity is the mother of invention but so is the threat of sleeping outside with the dog.
I unwillingly reviewed my scope inventory. The Dasher we built last year is carrying the new Burris XTR 34mm 8-40X first focal plane scope that is very large for this dainty little gun. But I had a spare 8-32 Signature Burris that came off my departed 300 Win Mag that I could use.
In a wonderful “Ah Ha” moment I determined that if I removed the 34mm XTR from the Dasher and replaced it with the older Signature the dog and I could sleep inside at least for now. So the decision was made, put the big scope on the big gun and the smaller lighter Signature on the IBS Light Gun class Dasher.
So one evening while suffering through a nasty sinus issue I traded scopes and waited to feel better and the weather to be favorable. Which brings us to a couple of weeks ago, late March. After two of rounds of Z-paks and 3 weeks of hacking and coughing the scope swap was made one evening. I spent Friday evening deciding what powder and how much to use under the big Sierra 210 MatchKings (#9240). Saturday morning I loaded all my match stuff and headed to the range. Since this was my first “formal outing” of the year and my first with the Heavy Gun I was taking the preparation seriously. It was cool as I loaded the truck but the bright sun felt good, it was going to be a good day.
So I get to the range and get set up. Front and rear rest set up is paramount. A whole new system to me and completely different from my light gun setup. As I was getting positioned behind the gun I noticed that I had attached the front scope mount to the integral rail in the wrong position. That meant my carefully torqued bolts and ring screws had to be redone by hand this time. That done and the scope positioned correctly, leveled and snugged down I was almost ready to shoot. Almost is the key word here. As I was bore sighting the barrel looked pretty gnarly. Better clean this beast before firing.
The first patch showed the presence of carbon and copper. Ten minutes later the barrel was spotless and it was time to fire the first shot. I slide one of the big 30s in the gun and closed the bolt. I adjusted the parallax, turned the power down to 25X so I could see any errant bullet impact at the 250 yard impact and touched the trigger. The jolt of the recoil came immediately but very subdued. Wow, this thing doesn’t kick at all I thought but the let off surprised me and I really didn’t see the bullet impact. But I saw debris flying so I guessed I had hit a bit low. I spun the elevation dial until it was even with the bottom of the target stand and put another round in the tray. As I closed the bolt I concentrated on the trigger. Noise level not bad, recoil quite comfortable and “hot dog” there is a hole in the paper. I adjusted the dot down and over to cover the hole and readjusted my set up back to the single bull. Another big 30 on to the tray, bolt closed and touch the trigger. Boom and a hole appeared about 1 o’clock on the 1 inch square. Excellent but where exactly was my hold! Now comes the dilemma, do I adjust the dot to the center of the bull or shoot as is for group? I decided to shoot “as is”even though I wasn’t totally zeroed and I still didn’t remember my hold position. I couldn’t wait, I x’d up the next shot and let ‘er fly. Darn that’s close to the first shot. Okay I remembered my hold this time and let 3 more shots go. I could see the two holes but where were the other three?