Yesterday I got to take my freshly updated Ruger 10/22 project rifle out and shoot it in it’s first official ABRA match with the new barrel and stock. Prior to the match I had only been able to put about 200 rounds through the rifle on one sitting over Memorial Day weekend while trying out different types of ammunition. As such I really wasn’t sure what to expect or how I would do in this match, but what the heck – nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Conditions for the match weren’t exactly ideal. Northwest Ohio has been experiencing scattered showers and thunderstorms for the past several days, and yesterday was no exception. Fortunately the rain held off for the duration of the match, but the overcast conditions and random winds made things quite interesting. The temperature was in the mid 60’s with the wind coming out of the south-southeast at 5 to 8mph with gusts pushing it up to around 15mph.
Signing up for the match I drew bench #13 and I thought, “just my luck!” After setting up I loaded up two magazines to foul up my bore a little as I had run a couple of oiled patches through the bore after my last range session and to get acclimated with the trigger again.
My first target of the match was my worst, mostly due to the swirling winds that made the first round frustrating for everyone. Lots of vertical swing on this target, but I managed to keep all but three of my twenty record shots in the 8-ring or better for a target score of 167, but only one bull scored a ten. It was a bit of a disappointment as I was hoping to keep all of my targets at 170 or better, but for the conditions and a new rifle package I’ll take it.
Things got a little better with my second target that scored a more acceptable 173 total points. On this one I scored five 10’s, but I also had two 7’s and a 6 that kept it from being even better. The barrel did seem to be settling in and getting more consistent, but still way too many 8’s for my liking.
The third target of the day was my best with six 10’s and only one bull that was a 7 or less, but still to many 8’s which accounted for nearly half the bulls. Conditions for this third match were also much calmer which helped immensely. Total score on this target was 180 which is a new personal best.
Things went a little sideways on my fourth and final target for the day. The wind had kicked back up and I was having trouble with my rifle canting in the bags after each shot requiring me to level the crosshair. Only three 10’s on this one, with four 7’s and the rest evenly split between 8’s and 9’s for a target score of 172.
Overall we had 13 shooters participate in the match: six in factory class, six in unlimited class, and one junior shooter. I ended up in 5th in the unlimited class with a total score of 692 and an aggregate score of 173.000. The first place finisher in the unlimited class had a total score of 742 and a 185.500 agg. so I have a ways to go before I’m running with the top dogs. That said, the winner is running a full blown Kidd Innovations custom with a benchrest stock and 6oz two-stage trigger that cost three times what I have in my rifle so if I can work my way up to where my targets are a consistent 180 or better by the end of the year I would be more than happy.
I have a few things I want to tweak on the rifle before the next match that I hope will make a positive difference. I also need to test some additional types of ammunition to see if I can’t find something that this new barrel likes better than the Norma Tac-22 that so far has been the best performer. So stay tuned, we’re just getting started here!