Wherein I Suck at Shooting (Can I blame the ammo?)

Well, much like the Analog Kid, I too seem to have had a nasty-ass day at the office — two, in fact. Unlike the Kid, I ameliorated them somewhat by hauling myself off to the range at lunchtime each day.

The Wednesday lunch break shoot was my first time actually shooting my T/C Encore, Sweetheart,


with the Virgin Valley Custom Guns .223 Remington barrel that I purchased (yikes) almost a year ago.


Lots of other folks have shot Sweetheart with this barrel, as it’s great for introducing new shooters to a centerfire rifle: it’s simple (single shot), low recoil (.223), and it’s easy to swap out the Encore’s stocks for small- or large-framed shooters. The 6.5-20x Barska cheapo scope works great — no problems, and enough magnification to see .223 caliber holes with no difficulties. This combo should be one of my favorites — and it is now — but somewhere along the line, I just never had been in the driver’s seat myself.

All the better, says I, for me to test-drive her for Azreel’s / Mr. Completely’s e-postal match! So off I went Wednesday to sight her in, and by the end of the hour I was grinning from ear to ear. Twice I had two shots in one ragged hole, and there were an awful lot of reeeally small three-shot groups in various spots as I walked my POI across the paper. Here’s the best part: up ’til now, I’ve always had shooters feed this barrel with Black Hills blue-box reloads.

But I was doing this with Winchester White Box (!!!!) winchester white box.jpgSurprised.jpg

And yes, that I was doing this with Winchester White Box (!!!!) was a big part of that shit-eating grin on my face.

What kept me from settling in to start punching MOA-size five-shot groups in the e-postal target was that the eye relief on the scope had changed. Or, more precisely, as a result of my recent self-inflicted eye infection, I started wearing glasses again for the first time in 25 years, but somehow didn’t think that would affect my cheek-weld. Well, duh! But I wasted a good ten minutes of my forty on the line trying to figure out why I kept having trouble with the scope. At 20x, it makes a little teeny difference, but enough to matter.  Soy Idiota.

So back I went today, confident that I was a couple of clicks away from a nice solid zero, and then I’d whip through those five postal match targets with no defects. Not! I didn’t even get to the e-postal target.

Nothing significant had changed from yesterday, and I’d figured out the eye relief problem, so by all rights I should have been dropping them into nice tight groups, instead of pulling every second or third shot a few inches left or right. Aaargh! Just another illustration of why it’s the operator in this discipline, not the tool.

And no, I can’t blame the ammo. It and the rifle both outperformed my expectations. We’ll try again tomorrow with the rest of my white-box wonder cartridges and see if I can make up my part in the equation.

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