10 Sep

5.11, Range Time, Exercise, and House Maintenance; Monkey Edition

Steven K. Ledin,

It's been a busy two weeks. After starting to break in a couple of guns in my basement (see "Barrel Break in Procedures…") I planned to take four .30 caliber guns to the range. While taking the stock off my new Weatherby Vanguard Sub-MOA in .300 Winchester Magnum, the factory bedding broke off around the front recoil lug. Crap. It seems as if some of the bedding material that flowed into the action screw hole wasn't attached very well to the surface of the pillar bedding, and it just gave up its grip.




I had some brown Brownell's Glasbed in the Gunroom. After drilling small holes in the bedding area and heating it with a pencil torch for better purchase, I rebedded the front recoil lug, tightened it to the recommended 55 inch pounds of torque with my Wheeler FAT wrench, and set it to rest in a Tipton gun vise on a chair next to my furnace. After 10 hours I broke the barreled action free and was able to take a look. Perfect. Better than factory. The color doesn't match the stock, but you can't see it, and I couldn't care less. After cleaning the barreled action of release agent, reinstalling, and waiting the required additional 2.5 days drying time the gun was ready to shoot. I think of it as the "devil gun" because the last three digits in the serial number are 666. My warranty no longer applies, but I leave to hunt in just a few weeks. To be fair, the techs at Weatherby are excellent and they wanted to help, but I couldn't afford the down time.




I brought my Steyr SSG in .308 with a Zeiss Conquest 6.5-20×50 with the Rapid Z 1000 reticle. Shooting Federal Gold Medal Match I shot a measured .225" 3 shot group at 100 yards, one of my best groups ever. The gun shoots ridiculously good, and almost all groups were under a half inch, but this was one of my best. The target is in my office for posterity. The gun has set triggers, so if you pull the rear trigger first, the front trigger becomes as light as I want it. Have you ever trained a puppy to sit by gently pushing down on his butt? The front trigger on this gun when set feels as if you are pushing down on a mosquito's butt, it's so light. It takes some getting used to. Using the front trigger even when it's not set will make you squirm with delight with the crispness. One of my favorite guns of all time.




Then I brought out my go-to gun, my Howa 1500 in 30-06 with a superb Nikon Monarch 2.5-10×42. I still have plenty of ammo from my last safari, and just to keep it from feeling lonely, I let it shoot its 1 to 1.5" groups confidently. This gun has been used very, very hard in the last ten years or so. It's a good and trusted friend.




I shot the new Vanguard anyway even before I rebedded it. I didn't expect much out of it, so I wasn't disappointed. Groups of around two inches with the muzzlebrake and broken bedding and only one kind of ammo. I don't care. I just needed to get familiarized and throw some more lead downrange to continue seasoning the barrel. Next trip out this Tuesday I'll see how she shoots with four different loads and good bedding. The gun is currently wearing one of the new Burris Six-X 2-12×40 scopes with the Ballistic Plex reticle. It is settled in two piece Burris XTB bases in lapped XTR rings in low. I lap all my important rings with a Wheeler lapping kit.




I also brought my last year's Christmas gift from My Shirley, a Russian Mosin-Nagant model 44 carbine in 7.62×54. It shoots like a surplus gun should. Fun. Recoil is not objectionable. These guns are currently available everywhere for around a hundred bucks.




Cleaned the darn things again after shooting. By the way, the new non-hazardous, biodegradable cleaning chemicals still burn your eyes and sliced thumb flesh. It's great fun experimenting to see which liquids burn cuts the most. But fingers are a pretty useful tool when cleaning guns, and you just go on with it.




It's not only fun at the range, though. I have fun other ways, as well.




My Shirley came in for a lunch visit last week. I proposed to her on my knees with a bouquet of black-eyed Susans and a Hershey's Kiss on the flying bridge at OpticsPlanet, and what do you know…she said YES! Coming out to my car after lunch I found a lucky penny. Maybe that's why I got lucky that night. We actually got married in 1992, but I keep asking her in case I'm dreaming.




I took a video of some insane monkey climbing the inside of an abandoned water tower with just a headlamp for light. This same knucklehead even got to the top and spray painted a love note to some girl named "My Shirley". For posterity, I guess.




I'm in pretty good shape for my two elk hunts this October. Lost some weight. I even ran a bit after some range time with some sandbags in my pack. I did okay.




My stupid living room table jumped up and smashed my toe, and the bright purple will go well with the new clothes I'll be wearing to Modesto, California, when I go to visit 5.11 tomorrow. I'll be there for a few days to press the flesh and strengthen relationships with this excellent tactical clothing manufacturer.




Other things in the last couple weeks…. My cooking never stops, and the herb and vegetable gardens have been fruitful this year. I eulogized my friend Don and participated in his Masonic funeral. It was very touching. I later inventoried his dozens of firearms for his lovely wife and honorable son, and I'll be able to put values on them next week when I get a chance. Cleaned and fixed my gutters this week while My Shirley was helping relatives this weekend at the Southern tip of the state, like the thoughtful and considerate and beautiful person she is. Also repaired and resealed my driveway, cleaned up my mess from my gameroom shooting range, went to a friend's party via a wild motorcycle ride, and all in all had every minute taken up like the flailing tarnished pinball I am. I will continue next week when I get back. Man, what a wild ride this life is. God bless.

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