Those of you who have been following TTAG for a while may remember my “1,00o yard rifle for $500” project, and for those who don’t here’s the previous post. I’ve been trying to squeeze every last ounce of long range accuracy out of a budget bolt action setup, and I finally put the thing to the test this weekend. And while the results were pretty good for a budget gun, they weren’t quite what I was hoping for…
The Weatherby Vanguard I’ve been working with has proven deadly accurate at close range, scoring four headshots on various forms of delicious wildlife at Tyler’s ranch. But the point of the exercise was to see if I could put together a true long range rifle for less than the price of a Glock. And to do it right, I needed a range. Specifically a big range.
Best of the West Shooting Range just west of Austin has some of the nicest facilities I’ve seen. Skeet and trap fields, private shooting bays, COVERED firing lines and a 1,000 yard range with steel targets every 250 yards. The only catch is that in order to be allowed to use the long range you first need to qualify — three rounds in a row on a steel plate at each distance. While the Weatherby may not have been quite up to the task, the McMillian definitely was.
Having passed with flying colors, I brought the Weatherby out and tried to replicate my earlier success. The 250 yard targets were ringing with ease, but 500 was a lot tougher than I expected. I scored a few hits, but since my calculations weren’t matching up with reality for the bullet’s trajectory, it was very difficult. Of course, it might have something to do with the fact that I calculated for 70 degrees and low humidity and then tried to use that in the 108 degree heat and humidity of south Texas….
After a few hits at 500, I moved on to 750 and promptly had no bloody idea where I was hitting. I dialed the elevation correctly, but through the scope I couldn’t get any feedback as to where I was. There was no way to walk the shots in. I was lost, and finally gave up.
I still believe I can push a .308 round out of this gun and have it connect with the gong at the end of the range, but it looks like I might need a little more leeway in the budget department for a better scope. Something with slightly higher magnification might be in order, something with range markings on the reticle (for when the scope bottoms out as it inevitably will).
So the result: for $500 you get about 500 yards worth of range out of it. Let’s see what $750 gets….