The match was broken into two divisions – Hunter Class, shooting slightly fewer rounds and at closer distances, and the open class, who had a higher round count and stretched the legs of the 22 round out to 200 meters.
Data Confirmation Issues
Though I had originally planned on shooting the Open Class, I was aware that I needed to confirm my drop data for the 22 – having never really formally done so.
So, off to the range it was with the trusty LabRadar – and, as I quickly found out – a subsonic 22, was not going to be enough to set off the acoustic trigger on the LabRadar. Even less likely to happen with the other, suppressed subsonic shooting 22 I had planned to true. So, a lesson learnt – the air rifle microphone is not just for Air Rifles!
Things not to do before a competition.
Because I am a bit of a masochist – I thought I would swap out my trigger days before the comp, and, as a last-minute decision, also decided to change ammo and re-zero the rifle. While the trigger worked out fine, the ammo swap, though worth pursuing, may not have been the best call.
While out at the range, I decided to run a box of the Eley Contact Ammo through the rifle – just out of interest. The result was the two smallest groups of the day – can you pick them on the target that looks like it was hit with a shotgun?
Deciding it was a no brainer, I confirmed the new zero and was away!
Since I wasn’t able to get the chronograph to pick up the shots, and because we didn’t have appropriate targets up at distances to physically confirm drop data, I took to the Applied Ballistics Suite to build up something that resembled a data sheet.
Finding a BC was the first challenge – understandably, it’s only recently that people have really started to try and push the 22 projectile out at competitions – sure, people have been shooting away at distance previously – but wanting a first round hit means not walking a shot in (especially when you only have one shot) – so I managed to find a couple of approximate BC’s for the projectiles we were using, worked with the factory load data and created a couple of drop sheets for the rifles we were shooting.
Certainly – I plan on getting back out to confirm these drops with a chrono and some paper targets as soon as I can, but, the theoretical data certainly worked well for us on the weekend.
The Day of Shooting
After a rather snug, but pleasant drive down with the lads, we got to the Tokoroa Shooting Sports Complex and rocked up for the briefing, pre-shoot.
The Hunter Class Shoot consisted of twelve stages, ranging from 10 meters out to 100. A wide variety of challenges and positions were incorporated – running between shoots, building barricades, that swinging target – all there to provide a challenge and force you to think about your shooting, your positions and your drop data.
Having several targets that were shorter than the zero distance of the rifle, having pre-calculated some appropriate dialling proved critical in first-round hits.
Like all of the Gillice Practical shoots – it was well planned, well-executed and well enjoyed. It’s good to meet some of the folks I talk to online – talk ‘shop’ and generally have a great time out.
Congratulations to the winners of both the Open and Hunter classes. It was a close match with only a point separating first and second places, and the rest of the field was not far behind.
Simon manages to strike an awesome balance between challenge and fun – there are lots of hits, and a few misses to keep you on your toes – through the loophole shot – shooting through a slit in a barricade out between the shooter and the target managed to best the majority of the squad. I made a hit – but it passed through the wood barricade on the way, so wasn’t counted.
However, now we know the trick! And are keen for a reshoot to see if it works!
The good, the bad, the double feeds and stovepipes.
Well. It’s going to be easy to blame the ammo. Isn’t it?
I had more, actually, I had the first feeding issues ever with the 10/22. Stovepipes (empty cartridges not fully ejecting and getting caught by the bolt), Double Feeds (empty cartridges not being ejected at all and end up blocking the freshly fed round) and one triple feed – which I just don’t understand at all.
It was noted that another 10/22 shooter – though this one a mostly Kidd build who was also using Eley Contact was having similar issues. A good clean of the extractor would generally sort it out, for a time.
Inspection of the firearm back at the workbench showed a lot of lubricant residue in and around the extractor hook. Likely the cause of the issue.
Now, I know and understand that on a 10/22, the extractor isn’t pulling the spent cartridges out. It’s a gas gun, and the rounds basically push themselves out of the chamber – however, it is the extractor that holds the spent round against the face of the bolt, which in turn, at the ‘back’ of the cycle, pushes the round out to the side and out the open breech.
From what I can ascertain, the hook, being fouled with some dirt and lube, wasn’t holding onto the rim enough to ensure reliable extraction. However, as this has only happened since switching ammo – I have to also consider differences in the actual ammo. My initial guess? A thicker rim could mean less ‘hook’ and more issues. I will have to measure a couple and compare to the CCI Standard I normally shoot.
In addition, you can get aftermarket extractors, with a more aggressive hook on them. If I look at mine up close – it almost seems to be missing an edge – not uncommon with the mass-produced, punch extractors that come from the factory.
Regardless, as the day progressed, it got worse – until I was nearly having an issue at each stage. Not ideal when every shot counted.
(above photos by Simon Gillice)
Get along to one!
Gillice Practical Rifle Events never fail to put on a great day of shooting. I strongly suggest you get yourselves along to one soon.