Tag Archives: Optic

A BOY AND HIS RIFLE PART III (THE REMINGTON MODEL 514)

Remington  introduced the  Model 514 in April 1948 as  cheaper alternative to the Model 510  other 500 series rimfires and a competitor of the excellent Winchester Model 67.

“The model 514 is a worthy companion to the model 510, but being slightly shorter and lighter-it is especially suitable for the small boy who is just starting to shoot.”

The 514 is one of what seems like a million different models and makes of .22 rimfire rifles made from the dating back to the dinosaurs.   It is one of the 5xx series models of guns put out by Remington in days when boys could walk  out in the woods and shoot at anything much he felt like shooting at and no one thought much about it.  On the contrary, they may have asked him to come over on a summer evening and shoot that ground hog that has been eating up the tomatoes in the backyard.    Try that now a days.

The rifles of this same basic formula were  clearly markets  to kids but  I have always wondered   just how many were bought for boys and how many were bought by grown men, late teens and seasoned citizens for the pleasure that comes with shooting a rimfire sporter.

There is just something about these vintage bolt action 22s.   Something that  can’t be replicated with a 10/22 or any  modern made rimfire rifle.    I don’t know what it is and it’s hard to even explain.    I have  rarely ever shot a modern rimfire rifle that would be the equivalent of the old rifles  that is any where near as accuracte or made as well.    In fact that may be a mistake.  Those old guns, though made for cheap boys rifles back then, would be sold as a higher priced special  prestige grade model if brought out today.

The 514 is a simple single shot bolt action rifle capable of being taken down for transport or storage with the single  bolt in the bottom of the stock.   Having no magazine like other models, it has a solid receiver.   The three lug safety on the rear is rotated to active and disengage the safety with one lug with a red marking to indicate safe or fire.   Models did not come from the factory drilled and tapped for scope mounting bases. Unfortunately a bubba gunsmith got ahold of this rifle long before I did.   Whoever it is didn’t realize the requirement for mounting bases on the 514  was for two holes side by side and not in line down the bore axis. The bright spark  apparently was going to put two holes on the front and rear of the receiver and got half into it before realizing there ain’t enough room on the rear portion he so poorly chose for the  rear  position. I don’t think you need me to point out where the two rear holes should have been drilled..   No problem though as I never had intention of using one of these with an optic.

No, when it comes to these old .22s, I stick to the iron sights.  Some models of the 514 came with a nice little rear peep sight for more precise target work.   This one has the more common open sights. The style seen on countless  hunting rifles. Not the easiest to use for people use to peep sights but capable of fine shooting.

Accuracy  is as good and honestly probably better than most moden rimfire rifles.   The two groups were fired at 25 yards using  ammo that is nothing special. Just bulk Federal  solid lead.

These guns are getting more expensive to buy every year.   Twenty years ago it was not hard to find any old rimfire bolt action rifle and  not pay  much over 100 yankee green backs for it.   Those days are gone sad to say.  Not surprising. Everything made longer ago that 5 years seems to be rising in price.    If you  want a plinker 22 rifle to carry in the woods or teach your kid I  would chase down one of these before I ever thought about buying a new made rimfire.

 

 

A Look At Various 77gr Factory 5.56MM Match Loads

The title isn’t exact as I shot 73gr-77gr match  loads.    I have for a long time wanted to do comparison side by side testing of the MK 262 class  loadings.  The match loads  using bullets  around the 77gr weight are popular and they should be.  The 75-80gr bullets in 556MM seated to magazine length  is  excellent  in AR15 rifles and carbines.  The 77 gr Sierra with 24.0 grains of Varget or RE-15 or Vit is a decades old and proven recipe for successful long range shooting with a service rifle.   The  military MK262 load is a tweaked version of same load and it has done some amazing things in the recent two wars.     It is just a great load.   To say I think highly of it myself would be  an understatement.  I prefer my handloaded version but I still use factory versions for more general purposes.

So the last few weeks a I have been accumulating factory loads to test for accuracy side by side all from  the same rifle at a range that can tell us something  but not so far away I am fighting wind  so much that the groups  lose all ability to tell us anything.

The factory loads talked about today are above.  As more come out and I get my hands on more of them, I will continue with this series.   I did not use the  new Federal Gold Medal  Match ammo with the 73 grain Bergers because I ran out and I used them all up in a previous long range testing.    For the sake of completeness I will do them in the next  part.

For the gun, I used my MK12 MOD 1 with my Nigtforce  22X  optic.   I did this because the barrel is a match  barrel with a true 1/7 twist, it is  sort of the rifle that  helped define the MK262 and its existence during the GWOT in the minds of many people  and the  military MK 262 round as we know it was fine tuned to be used in the MK12. Lastly it has a 18 inch barrel,  It is between the 20 inch of a full rifle and 16 inch of the carbine.  I didn’t have enough of each type of ammo to test out of rifles and carbines so splitting the difference may be a happy compromise.

I shot the groups off very stable sandbags out at 400 yards.   I thought about going further but the heat, mirage and wind  would have  made it questionable how much may have been me or weather conditions if  one brand of ammo shot worse than the other.   For now this will continue to be the range used for testing the match loads.  If I come up with enough ammo for all brands tested after part two I may do it all over again at 600 or 800 yards if a day with good conditions comes up. All that together is a tall order though.   Shooting purely for smallest group size on the few days of truly good condition is hard work. It takes time, a lot of time and patience and I have really started to feel my glasses need to be replaced  with a newer pair after a trip to the eye doc.  I have noticed a lot more eye strain and trouble over the last  year when I do these all day long  sessions shooting for smallest group.

First up is a 20 shot string using the red box Black Hills 77 grain match load.  This is what I keep the MK12 zeroed with for crows. After a few adjustments I shot the remainder into the center. A great load and is  more or less the real legit MK262 load.

The group below is the “white box” Black Hills 77grain match load. The same load but “factory seconds”.  There is not difference in accuracy.

Below group was fired using the 77gr load from SSA. I know a lot of people like this load and it uses the Nosler 77gr bullet that I think is just as accurate as the Sierra bullet but this time it did not do very well.

The Federal Gold Medal match 77gr Sierra  HPBT load is a long time performer and  a favorite  of mine.   It didn’t let me down.

The Norma match load shot great too. For the price it better!   This was the first time I ever fired the Norma match. It is just too pricey for me.

The PMC  is probably the cheapest factory load I tested. It shot pretty decent  though considering the price.  I think if I wanted to stock pile a large amount for use in carbines or  use not really for long range precision but more for the bullets weight, this would be what I would  buy.

Next is the Hornady Match  ELD 73 gr bullet load.  This is their new ballistic tip designed to not deform when shot from heat or all the other things that can deform the tip.  Jury is still out on that one for me. I don’t know about real long range performance with the ELD bullet yet but at 400 it seems to be a bit better than their HPBT AKA “open tip match”.

 

The last is the Hornady  HPBTWC T2 round.   This 75gr bullet load is loaded for  556MM so it is  higher pressure than the 223 TAP load or match load.   It is a bit less accurate as well. Not a good “match” round if you want accuracy but it is a good round for killing stuff.

So what did we learn?  That the  7X  bullet weight match factory loads all shoot pretty good.   Some are  lower velocity than others  and you can’t  zero your gun with one and expect it to  work with all other loads obviously.   I was glad to learn that all of these are pretty good loads when it comes to accuracy at ranges most users will shoot at.    My opinion of factory ammo has went up a bit too.  I look forward to testing some of the other 7X gr  bullet loads on the market.   I also learned my handloads are still better as I already knew and that I will continue my confidence in the black hills load and Federal  match loads if I want a factory load to  use along with my hand loads.

Optic Of The Week Unertl 20x Target RifleScope

The Unertl rifle scopes are  something most shooters know about today thanks to the web and videogames.  Few of them  know much about them otherwise. They know  Hathcock used one  on his sniper rifle during his first tour in Vietnam.  They know it’s “old”  and they know it looks ancient and complex.   And if you ever looked into buying one you know they are expensive and no longer  made.    So this week we will take a closer look.

John Unertl Sr. worked in the optical field while in the service with the German army in WW1. In 1928 he and his family  immigrated to the US.  He was hired by the J.W Fecker telescope manufacturing company  in Pitssburgh, PA where he later became the superintendent.      In 1936, Unertl left Fecker to start his own company. During WW2 Unertl provided the USMC with the 8x  rifle scopes most casual observers are familiar with then post war  continued on with new models.    In 1960 John Sr. passed away and his son John Jr. took over further expanding the line and company.   Commercial production for rifle optics ended in 1985. I doubt many shooters would realize the external adjustment Unertl scopes were made as  late as 1985.   Maybe even later as various people bought the left over parts from the shop and turned out a few more, Then various people bought the rights to the company name and things get really muddy and fuzzy there and I won’t go into it.

Now lets finally get to taking a look.  The Unertls  set on target blocks common in the past.   Basically target blocks are various sized and drilled metal blocks with a dovetail that the mounts on the scope slide over and secure to.   The mounts have  a bolt that tightens onto the block  and the dove tail keeps it from coming out of place.   Picture below shows a target block. The target blocks worked on iron sights and optics mounts.

Above is the rear mount with elevation and wind and below is front mount.  Both are aluminum and came in  a variety of styles I won’t go into here but will in comments if asked.

Also in the above picture you will note the spring.

The  body of the scope  set suspended between the two mounts.  This allows the scope to travel freely during recoil as its adjustments are external. That is, they move the rear of the scope  up.down/ left/right.  The spring is set depending on recoil force of round used. and the tension of the spring will return the scope to its full forward  position. If not you have to do it by hand.   Not all Unertls came with this feature  as it was an optional add on.   You will have noticed the USMC 8x sniper scopes do not have these as the Marines feared sand would get between the spring and body and score the tube. At the front of the mount is a clamp that holds it all in place of course.   This can be adjusted if you want the eye piece of the scope to come back further or to move it away from you.   Unlike modern optics you can also notice the rib that runs on the  top and through the mount. This makes sure the scope and crosshairs stay straight up and not canted.

Below is the rear mount. Here you can see the external adjustments and how they move the rear of the tube. The micrometer turrets  are very precise and repeatable.   And very tough.

On this model the objective lens can be focused by a  pretty nifty system.  Not as fast to use as modern systems but very precise.

The other setting are made on the eye piece.   At one time a piece was sold to replace the rear of the scopes that would allow you to boost the magnification by a few Xs.

The glass on these optics are outstanding.   Even  with all the modern advances in modern optics, a full 2 inch ultra varmint model Unertl is  super clear and sharp.   The crosshairs on this model are the pretty standard fine crosshairs. I  really regret that I did not have the right camera set up to  show you just how clear and sharp a Unertl in good condition can be.  Unfortunately  trying to take apicture through a 20x target riflescope is not easy.

Lastly the scope come with a front and rear metal screw on protective caps.

Needless to say, these scopes are fine quality and  old craftsmanship. Everything about oozes quality and I am not kidding.   They were made to last.

The down sides now.   The price for any of these is going up by the second.   The internet has made more people aware of these and of course the price  goes up.   Also, unless you are close to a gunsmith, you are not going to be able to pop one on most factory guns made after  the mid 1980s. And that is if you are lucky.   Old Remingtons, Winchesters,  and target guns will most likely  have the correct hole spacing  in the places needed to mount one. The down side is, most of those companies making factory guns in the 70s and early 80s also were prone to have barrels not straight and receivers not drilled in line and all manner of problems. If you over come that,  you need to find the correct target blocks. They came in a variety of heights and thickness to account for barrel contour and hole spacing and  models. Charts are out there people have scanned and put online  and some small companies make blocks new.  I don’t mean to discourage  you, just do your research carefully.

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20/20/20/ 1,000

Back  in 2005 I believe it was, I  was at work reading an issue of Guns &Ammo  instead of working.  That month Jeff Cooper was giving his thoughts about the war in Iraq and  dumping on the AR15 and 5.56mm  as he was wont to do. This never did sit well with me. Fast forward to a few months later and Again I was reading Cooper’s column and in it he talked about the  “20/20/20 1K challenge he thought up.  That is, 20 rounds on a 20 inch target and 20 seconds at 1,000 yards.  He opined that  it most likely be done with a 762MM semi auto like the match M14.  That generated a chortle out of me  and got me thinking.    Could it be done?  I wanted to know.  Unlike Cooper I thought using an M14  for the attempt was a dead end as the recoil and movement of the gun  would make it  nigh impossible to keep on target firing that fast.  Not to mention the  gun is a nightmare in my opinion.

In 2006 I started my attempt at making this challenge.  I tried it many times and approached it a lot of different ways.  I never could quite hit the time limit or keep all rounds  on target.  I worked up to it in practice.  I did 500 yards in 20 seconds on a 20 inch target, and got that down pretty good, then I moved up to 700  and so on in increments.  I tried using  heavier and heavier and longer barrels on precision ARs for the extra weight.  I put lead in A2 buttstocks to add more weight and I even considered tying sandbags to the fore arm FF tube.    I stopped short there as it felt like was getting too far from accomplishing the challenge with something a rifleman could and would carry.

The closest I came was 20 rounds on the target but in 21.6 seconds.  Close. But may as well have been  an hour too long.   This went on and on few times a year since 2006.  Then yesterday I did it.

I had no intention or expectation that I was even going to try it again today.  After discussing it with Howard last night, I realized that is why I managed to pull it off.  I was relaxed, I was not putting pressure on myself,I was just having fun after doing some other testing.     My purpose for being at the range was to test the federal gold medal  556mm ammo using the Berger 73 grain VLD  at 500 yards and do the follow up  part 2 of my Colt Accurized Rifle review.   While shooting at a steel gong at 1,000 yards it was  noted how calm conditions were and how dry and hot it was with temps in the high 90s.       I zeroed in on the gong and placed the cardboard target to the left of the steel.    With the idea in mind to get everything right on the steel, note  my data , then shift to the Q target and start the attempts.

With a spotter ready to  shout any misses to me as I was firing, I loaded  thirty round mags with my handloads of the sierra tipped match king 77 grain  bullets and 24.0 grains of Varget.  My idea is I would of course miss a few but If I could shoot more than 20  rounds, I could have extra rounds for the misses and still get  20 on target.

The gun is the Colt CR6724 HBAR Elite.   This is a 24 inch heavy match barrel with freefloat tube.  The gun also has a magpul PRS stock, and Atlas Bipod.  The optic is the Nightforce NXS 5.5x-22x with 56mm objective lens.  For the day’s testing I had took out the colt match trigger and had installed a SSA trigger  and it is a good thing I did.  To help even more I put a sand bag between the bipod and mag well.  This let me push the gun into something to get some weight behind it.

After  two  tries I was getting close  to pulling it off.    I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to pull it off.  So I decided to just see how close I could come.  On the last try I was down to only 25 rounds left after  5 rounds used for sighters because of a  small wind change.

After firing  them   all up it was time to drive down and take a look.   When we  counted them up I couldn’t believe it.    I kept  looking to make sure some holes were not just  holes made by rocks that flew up from near misses.   But I did it, I finally  hit the goal I have been after since 06 when I first seriously started to attempted it.

Below is me with recovered target trying to hide the stupid grin and dumbstruck  face.

After all these years I  finally did it. And its a good thing, at almost 42, I did not have many years left of eyesight that could still be corrected. My only regret is that my friend who is my usual partner in crime for these  pie in the sky attempts wasn’t there to share in the moment with me.   He has always been there to help me with the 1,000 yard iron sight  with AR15A2 hits and the K-31 at 1233 yards and our 1-mile shot.   It just wasn’t the same with him not there to share in the moment with us.

Howard asked me if now that I had done it, could I do it again.  No. I do not think I could pull it off again. I believe the only reason it worked this time as because I was relaxed and not taking it as serious as normal. I had  put no pressure on myself.  Another factor was once again the weather conditions allowed  success that time. The high temp, thin air and almost no wind and what little there was blew in from my 6 oclock.

It’s still strange to think that I have pulled this off after so many years.  It’s that same feeling you had as a kid the day after Christmas. Nothing to look forward to  for a long time almost.

25 rounds fired. 19.8 seconds.  20 inch by 18 inch target, 21 hits, 1,000 yards.  7-10-2018

Optic of the week: Matech BUIS

The Matech sights that come from Colt have the Picatinny marking.  I have not seen this marking on these sights from other sources.

Some time back, I’m not sure when, the U.S. Military adopted the Matech Back Up Iron Sight (BUIS) as the new rear sight for the M16A4 Modular Weapon System and the M4/M4A1 MWS. That could lead one to believe that this was the best, most durable, combat ready rear sight around. Boy would you be wrong if you thought that.

Outside the military, many people have different desires for what they want out of the BUIS. Some people want a sight that locks in place and is as solid as a bank vault, those people tend to like the Troy sights. Other people want cheap, so they go with the Magpul BUS. There are a few sights that are adjustable for range with a micrometer type adjustment such as the KAC 2-600m BUIS.  There are a wide variety of features available out there, and the Matech has a pretty unique combination of them.

The main draw to the Matech is that is had a lever on the side for changing the distance setting.  This lets you quickly set the sight for settings between 200 to 600 meters, but you can not make fine adjustment for range.

An annoyance of mine is when I can not find detailed information about a product.  I know this sight was designed for use with M855 on both the M16A4 and the M4/M4A1 Carbines but I have not been able to find out what the calibration on the adjustment is.  It might have been set for the 14.5 inch barrel, or a 16 inch barrel, or the 20 inch rifle.  It might be a blended adjustment meant to be close enough for the rifle and carbine.  We just don’t know.  But in any event, it should at least keep you on a Echo Target (40″x20″) out to 600 meters.

There is a line (with out a notch to lock it in position) between the 300 and 400m marks for zeroing a M16A4 at 25m.  When zeroing a M4 at 25m leave the sight on the 300m mark.

The sight locks down, but it does not lock in the up position.  This was chosen as to allow it to move should the rifle be dropped.  Sights that lock open can be more likely to break when locked up.  Unfortunately these sights tend to wear out and stop locking in the down position.  Countless discussion and youtube videos can be found about this.

For example:

Downsides to the Matech BUIS are:

  •  It is huge, much larger than most other BUIS.
  •  If you over tighten the clamping screw and bar it will break!  Snug it up and tighten 1/4 turn past that, no more than that.
  •  You are suppose to replace the screw that is used to hold it on if it is removed from the weapon.  Most of us won’t have multiple screws laying around.
  •  It wears out!  The rear aperture latch wears out and will not stay latched down.

Now I wouldn’t say it is a terrible sight, but I do not recommend buying one.  If you already have one I wouldn’t bother to replace it unless it breaks or wears out.  Just make sure you check the distance setting on it before you shoot.