17 Aug

Barrel Break in Procedures for 1800 (Mili)Meters, Basement Edition

Steven K. Ledin,

Shot a four inch, twelve shot group at 1800 meters this weekend during my barrel break in procedure. Actually, I mean millimeters, or about 6 feet. I have a Detroit Bullet Trap Super 12×12 bullet trap rated for velocities of up to 3200 FPS. The 180 grain bullet from my 300 Winchester Magnum is moving along at about 3000 FPS, 200 FPS under the trap's redline. This behemoth trap is on my basement floor at the moment, with its 12×12 inch mouth yawing open for any bullets I want to throw at it. Some of the many problems associated with this scenario have to do with safety. Number one, even a giggling destructive monkey like me has a modicum of sense not to shoot a 300 Winchester Magnum into the one foot square opening of a metal box at a distance closer than I can spit. The trap works like a kind of a reverse centrifuge, where the bullet is slapped against an angled piece of armor plating and funnelled into a small gap about a half inch wide where the bullet spins in a scroll until it scrubs off all of its energy and the spent projectile drops into a collection tray. Even half of a 180 grain bullet coming back at me at half velocity is deadly. Dare I say, therein lies half the fun.



I have an Outer's Varminter rifle rest. I strapped my new Weatherby Vanguard SUB-MOA into it with the trigger guard aft of anything that can shear it off. I have seen many people bring in rifles over the years with their pistol grips sheared off because they had it placed in a rifle vice incorrectly thinking that the pistol grip or the trigger guard would prevent rearward movement. Wrong. Nothing will prevent rearward movement under violent recoil. You must have some give. The give in this case is my concrete wall. The recoil pad is against it and cushions the recoil. Another important factor with this procedure is that I do not want any unnatural recoil forces acting against the gun. The gun, as it is shot like this, feels like a person is shooting it. Besides the strap around the rest, I also put some barbell weights on it, and covered the rifle itself with cushioned, soft ankle weights. It's the most use I've gotten out of those damn things in years. Feel the burn. I wanted originally to screw on my muzzle brake so the gun would feel less recoil, but the violence of the blast made it more trouble than it was worth.

I have a series of hooks and pulleys guiding a string with a loop around the trigger, and I pull it from another room behind my brick chimney. Let me tell you about noise. Ever shoot a 300 in a concrete basement? Jeeeez. If I could've used triple hearing protection I would've.

Shoot one round, saturate the bore with Hoppes M-Pro 7 gun cleaner, wait a few minutes, then brush and dry patch. Then saturate the bore with M-Pro 7 copper cleaner, wait, then brush and dry patch. This is my normal procedure for my important guns, and it takes forever. Not having to go to a range over an hour away and spend time and gas money and range fees…priceless. That's why I'm doing this at home. The difference this time is with the chemicals I'm using. The M-Pro cleaners are biodegradable and non-hazardous. They work so well I can't stand it. I can't stand it because I feel guilty about not using my Hoppes #9 and Shooter's Choice copper solvent that I have used for decades. I'll tell you something I have learned from my experiments, though, this new stuff ROCKS. I highly recommend it. The Hoppes Elite is the same stuff. Buy some and give it a shot.

Only one minor difficulty reared its ugly head. I noticed a big freaking ugly 30 caliber hole through the back of the trap. On one round, instead of hitting an angled side of the trap, the darn bullet went through the half inch opening and hit the back of the trap perpendicularly. Crap. So I installed a hardened carriage bolt from the inside out after grinding enough of it off to fit through the slot. What are the chances that a 30 caliber bullet can get through a sub-half inch gap? Real good, apparently. I'll make sure that doesn't happen again. After I repaired the hole (sort of) I cleaned the trap and coated it with transmission fluid to increase lubricity and keep down the lead dust. After working in a gun shop and range since the 80s, my lead level is less than the national average. It has to do mostly with hygiene. Don't smoke or drink or eat or put your fingers in your nose or eyes, and always wash with cold water first to close your pores. Watch where you put your shoes and clothes with lead dust on them, especially if you have kids. I also stopped eating paint chips years ago.

I got through 8 rounds with the .300, and 4 rounds with a new Savage 10FP McMillan in .308.
Same cleaning equipment, same terminal accessories on my Tipton rod, so why not take advantage? I will continue this week.

On the normal side of this weekend, Saturday night I made Cuban pork chops with lime zest, grilled sweet potatoes, fresh corn pancakes, and rainbow Swiss chard sauteed in garlic. A nice treat was a dozen of the biggest jalepenos I could find, cleaned and stuffed with baby shrimp in the bottom, packed with cream cheese on top of that, and some pepperoni on top, baked for over an hour in a low oven until the meat was crispy. Garden cilantro for a garnish. Three different flavors in each of the three bites it took to eat one. Start from the shrimpy bottom to the creamy middle to the crispy top. Yum.

Sunday night was omelet time. I went out to the garden and grabbed some chives, green peppers, and cherry tomatoes, sauteed some fresh mushrooms with garlic (garlic is a secret weapon in omelets) and made two giant omelets. Leftovers are fabulous on toasted rye bread.

Chocolate walnut zuccini bread for dessert. Gotta keep up on the garden harvest we are so lucky to have. Some times you just have to sacrifice.

Then I snuck into an abandoned water tower and climbed to the top with my Pelican 2680 headlamp. I do this sometimes to scare myself and it never fails. Rad and I took off for a while through the woods and couldn't find our way back. Just call me Magellan.

Back to work this morning, Monday, after another fun filled weekend with My Shirley and Radical Lee von Dundee. Hope you had a good one, too!


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