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 Well, that was disappointing...

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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Well, that was disappointing...   Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:26 pm

Yesterday and today I attended the Appleseed Project, a shooting/history school organized by the Revolutionary War Veterans' Association (RWVA), at the RWVA home range in Ramseur, NC. In two days, they attempt to teach the basics of rifle marksmanship, the WWII vintage Army way -- three positions (Offhand, Sitting, and Prone), sling braced, and iron sights encouraged. Most shooters use .22 LR rifles (Ruger 10/22 was strongly represented) -- naturally, I took my 91/30 (not least because it's the only rifle I own).

I didn't do well. I did improve my shooting; my last target was significantly better than my first, and near the end of Day 2 I was finally starting to get the rifle to steady down in my holds, but with a combination of fatigue, a bolt that started to get sticky as I neared 400 rounds fired with only a cursory anti-corrosion bore cleaning the first night, and the sheer time factor of a bolt-action with five round capacity in timed, ten-round strings (meaning I had to reload, from a stripper, even during the strings where others could use a ten-round or larger magazine, and never completed one of the short-time, reload-required strings over the two days) kept me from ever scoring as much as half the required 210 on an Army Qualifying Test.

I did learn some useful things -- first, the sling really does steady the rifle significantly, even if (as I was) one is limited to a "hasty" sling setup (the Mosin's sling can't be used with an arm-loop because it doesn't have a loop opposite the adjusting end). Second, every single standard position is uncomfortable, especially if you're overweight and out of shape (and being past fifty doesn't help at all), but third, they do get easier with practice (though I completely abandoned attempting the "transitions" -- starting standing, then dropping to sitting or prone before loading, but after time starts -- early on Day 2).

With approximately four hundred rounds of Russian surplus light ball fired, roughly 150 on Day 1 and close to 250 on Day 2, plus innumerable transitions between standing, sitting, and prone positions and a bunch of trips down to the target boards and back, I now have two skinned elbows, a very sore left shoulder (from twisting my arm under the rifle), sore muscles in thighs, back and upper arms, and a fairly minor bruise from the rifle butt (with butt pad installed). I also got several comments from folks who were apparently surprised that I made it through the entire event with this rifle -- to which I had to truthfully reply that if I had a .22, I'd have been using it on Day 2.

The good news is, under the Rifleman Opportunity Card (open to those who register for an Appleseed event and buy RWVA membership before November 12 of this year -- combined cost $90 as long as the host range doesn't charge a separate fee), I can attend future events for free until my membership expires in July 2013 -- I should be able to buy a .22 in January or February, and given a .22 (several pounds lighter and without having to break position after every shot to work the bolt) with decent sights, I think I can probably shoot a Rifleman score next time out.

For whatever it's worth, there were 47 shooters at this event, and by closing time on Sunday, 12 had shot a qualifying Rifleman score; that's very slightly better than typical (normally they run 20-23%).
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SilverTip
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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:30 am

Hey, cheer up buddy! You got to shoot a shit load of rounds from your Mosin! Thats a win! Your better today than you were yesterday.

Sounds like you could have used a couple practice days with your Mosin before this event, but I know in your situation that was not practical. So you did the best with that you have. And that was way more than plenty.

You shot more mosin rounds in 2 days than I shot in the past 2yrs. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

What ammo were you shooting? Copper washed, or Laquered?
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Randy

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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:09 pm

That's a lot of shootin with a Mosin! Shocked I bought a 440 spam can when I got my rifle and haven't gone through half of it yet. Embarassed I usually only shoot about 20 at a time.
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:44 pm

SilverTip wrote:
Hey, cheer up buddy! You got to shoot a shit load of rounds from your Mosin! Thats a win! Your better today than you were yesterday.

Sounds like you could have used a couple practice days with your Mosin before this event, but I know in your situation that was not practical. So you did the best with that you have. And that was way more than plenty.

You shot more mosin rounds in 2 days than I shot in the past 2yrs. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

What ammo were you shooting? Copper washed, or Laquered?

I've had my rifle out a couple times previously, adjusting the sight (which made an interesting challenge out of replacing the front sight two days before the event -- as it turned out, I needed no adjustment, at least with the group size I was throwing), tuned up the interrupter, fired a total of about 75 rounds before the 20th. Aside from one clip of Silver Bear (zinc plated steel), all the rounds I've fired have been copper washed surplus -- about 70 Bulgarian 1972, and this weekend's 380-400 Russian 1973, silver tip light ball in both cases.

What would have helped a lot was knowing in advance that my rifle would start to stiffen up past 300 rounds or so; I'd have done a bolt and bolt channel clean and lube Saturday night instead of only a bore cleaning, and likely finished Sunday with a smooth working bolt, possibly even been able to operate without breaking cheek weld between shots within a magazine. I don't think that would have made the difference (the points I needed were on the simulated 400 yard targets, which I virtually couldn't hit at all), but I would have felt better getting more than five rounds (or 4 in the last set) in each of the short strings

Randy wrote:
That's a lot of shootin with a Mosin! Shocked I bought a 440 spam can when I got my rifle and haven't gone through half of it yet. Embarassed I usually only shoot about 20 at a time.

Well, I got a couple reminders why the Mosin (like all its contemporary designs) is built with a hand guard; after firing forty rounds in about ten or twelve minutes for the AQT, two or three times as rapidly as targets could be changed, the air over the barrel was wavering so badly I wasn't sure how much of the movement I was seeing was my unsteadiness and how much was heat waves. Singed my fingertips a couple times early on, before I got the habit built up to touch only the wood after firing a string. Fortunately, the main part of the receiver never got hot enough to make reloading from a stripper uncomfortable, though I can see where it would if one kept up that pace of fire (4-5 rounds a minute) without breaks for an hour or so.

At least I don't have to worry (much) about my handguard bursting into flames as has been recorded happening with AK-47 and derivatives...
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Randy

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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:38 am

Obviously I'm no expert but I believe your stiff bolt was possibly more a chamber problem? IIRC I read somewhere that even the copper washed had a clear coat on them. IDK maybe not. I just can't see a reason for the bolt getting stiff. Mine wouldn't extract when I first got it but a shotgun brush in a drill with Hoppes 9 fixed that right up. It took a while though.
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:11 am

Randy wrote:
Obviously I'm no expert but I believe your stiff bolt was possibly more a chamber problem? IIRC I read somewhere that even the copper washed had a clear coat on them. IDK maybe not. I just can't see a reason for the bolt getting stiff. Mine wouldn't extract when I first got it but a shotgun brush in a drill with Hoppes 9 fixed that right up. It took a while though.

I've got more than a hundred fired cases that I collected (intending to convert them to shotgun primers for low power loads); there's no coating on them that I can see or feel. Generally, zinc plating, copper wash, or lacquer/polymer coating all serve the same purpose, to prevent external corrosion of the steel case; there'd be no reason to apply more than one. I did mount a 20 ga. bore brush on a dowel, chuck that in my drill, and spin it in the chamber to clear away the cosmoline before I fired my rifle the first time; the fact that this didn't come on until I'd fired close to 300 shots without a chamber cleaning (and not the first time the barrel had been hot enough to make the air shimmer, either) tells me it's probably neither a coating on the rounds, nor residual cosmoline in the chamber, but just a case of powder residue build up. Even in combat, it would be rare to fire that many rounds without getting a chance to clean the weapon...

An additional supporting point -- I noticed at least one case that had split at the neck in the pile of empties at my station; I suspect the problem started after that case split, since it did come on fairly quickly (the bolt was running very smoothly, then next string I was having to slap it repeatedly). If this hadn't been in the hot and heavy final run down of the event, it might have occurred to me to pull the rifle off the line long enough to run a few patches, though I don't know how much good I could have done for the chamber with the original cleaning rod and jag (I hadn't taken the chamber brush with me).
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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:00 pm

Did you have any spent cases that came out black and dirty on the outside? Especially with that split neck case you can get a little gas blow back, which can dirty up the works a bit.

Really, its nice to know yours got stiff after that many rounds and no cleaning. Means you dont have a loosey goosey I suppose. lol
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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:41 pm

Was it sticking going in or coming out? Mine was on extraction. The bullet would chamber just fine. Just wouldn't come out. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Thu Oct 25, 2012 4:52 pm

SilverTip wrote:
Did you have any spent cases that came out black and dirty on the outside? Especially with that split neck case you can get a little gas blow back, which can dirty up the works a bit.

I didn't notice the split at the time (I was pretty busy trying to get shots aimed and fired and reload with time running), but I noticed the split case in the pile of empties late in the day, after I'd been slapping the bolt for a while. I expect that was the cause -- powder residue in the chamber acts like grit.

Randy wrote:
Was it sticking going in or coming out? Mine was on extraction. The bullet would chamber just fine. Just wouldn't come out. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

This was on extraction; rounds chambered fine, but after firing, I was having to slap the (stock, original, i.e. short and straight) bolt handle multiple times to open the bolt. Exactly what I'd expect if I had grit or something sticky in the chamber.
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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:09 pm

As the case expands against all that grit, it makes it tough to slide out. [You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Zeiss Ikon



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PostSubject: Re: Well, that was disappointing...   Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:15 am

Yep, exactly. I gave the chamber a good brushing when I cleaned the rifle, but haven't fired it again since (going out this weekend to adjust sights for my hunting loads).
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