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204 AR Upper Range Report


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#1 CA Desert Dog

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:55 AM

Last Friday I finally got a chance to get to the range and try out the 204 upper I built using a heavy Shilen barrel. When I got to the Burro Canyon range, it was pretty busy for 10AM on a Friday. I had to wait for a bench. But when I finally got a bench, the guy next to me was firing a 308 FAL with a muzzle brake. Needless to say, every shot he fired lifted stuff up off my bench. I was on the far end bench next to a wall and even with ear plugs, the noise and blast was deafening. That kinda sucked. Plus, he was a cowboy and not exactly shooting for accuracy. He was showing off for his buddies. I looked at his 50-yard target with my spotting scope and his hits were everywhere, including the target stand. I had made up six loads (5-rounds each) using Sierra Blitz kings (32 & 39 grain bullets) and various charges of XBR for powder. I also had two boxes of 204 Hornady (40-grain) factory ammo that I had around and took that with me to use for the barrel break-in process. I had mounted a new Hawke Varmint II scope on the upper the night before. After a quick eyeball bore sight at 50-yards I was on paper and a few tweaks of the windage and elevation knobs on my Hawke Varmint II scope put my rounds right into the bullseye. The barrel loved the Hornady ammo and I managed to easily punch out the small bullseye during the break-in process. Of all the loads I made up, the winning one was 26.0 grains of XBR, Wolf primers and the 39-grain Sierra Blitz Kings. It shot 4 out of five into one ragged hole and the fifth would have been there too except for the fact that the guy next to me with the 308 and muzzle brake decided he was going to do a rapid-fire display and I freeking jumped just as I was squeezing off one of my rounds.So, considering the muzzle blasts and noise I had to contend with, the 204 upper and the Hawke Varmint II scope performed beautifully. I’ll be loading up some ammo to use on an upcoming prairie dog hunt. If I can find time, I’ll post a photo of the target tonight.
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#2 Bennie

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:22 AM

Glad your rifle is shooting great. I hate trying to shoot for accuracy with someone like that at the range next to me. I jump too when that happens. It is embarrassing for me to admit that. You would think that you would get over it after years of shooting but I still jump sometimes. I put in ear plugs and wear muffs too, in that situation. But most of the time I will just leave, or wait. I may not even renew my membership this year at the range this year for these reasons. I have got to the point where I would just rather drive a long ways and shoot by myself.
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#3 Braz

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 11:24 AM

Renew at what range Bennie, the Lincoln Range? I lived in Oroville for awhile and use to go to that range up there. During the middle of the week it was pretty good. Weekends sucked.
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#4 Frank

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 12:00 PM

Glad you were able to get out with your new rifle, Red, & especially getting such excellent load results. Our group has also obtained great results with that powder(IMR 8208 XBR) in some of our 223's & 22-250's.I really HATE having meatheads like that at the range. Unfortunately there is no shortage of them either. Monday through Wed seems to be the least busy & best days for me to avoid those type of folks; at ANY the range, due to so many (nutty) people! When I had my 204, I too had the best results with Sierra's 39 gr bullets, so yours didn't surprise me. The 204 truely is a pleasure to shoot and hunt with, & without the howitzer blast & noise from larger calibers as you say. The 22-250 for one! lolLook forward to your hunt results... Have fun & be SAFE! Frank

#5 Haywood

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 12:01 PM

When I took the 6.8 out the other weekend I had the pleasure of shooting next to 10 of the whitest gangstas you've ever seen, the best thing was I had a set of ear muffs that are amplified till you shoot. The lack of knowledge being spouted like it was gospel was amazing to say the least, my Remmy 700 is apparently called a "sniper" lol, I would've taken "sniper rifle" but no just "sniper" and my AR 15 in the 6.8 shoots the same rounds as an AK47 (I really wish I knew this ahead of time it would have saved me a lot of money on rounds). The shooting techniques demonstrated by these knuckleheads was s#!tty at best, I dont think they hit anything till they broke out the shotgun at 25 yards lol. Needless to say I got my fill of cuz, mutha :good: and every other word you can think of and left. Glad you were able to find something that groups well, how's that Varmint II workin out?
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#6 ratassassin

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 01:21 PM

Glad you're getting good results with the .204, Red. Been thinking about picking up a .204 Ruger bolt action. Don't know what it is lately, but the knuckleheads are sure out in force. Yesterday at the range, some newbies were next to me shooting .308's. There were 5 .308's being fired and the guy next to me had a muzzle brake on his. Fortunately, there was a spare bench between him and me and I put my toolbox/rangebox on it between us to provide me some shelter from his @*&%!!! muzzle brake. Now, .308 isn't a particularly high recoil caliber. So I don't know why he needs a dang muzzle brake in the first place. But it sure made my experience miserable. After a few of his shots, I packed it up and left. Luckily, I'd gotten to break in my .270 Win before I was forced to leave. So it wasn't a complete waste.

#7 CA Desert Dog

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:20 PM

I have had a few bad experiences with gangsta types at Burro Canyon range. One group shot my target stand and were generally unsafe, in my opinion. I finally went to the range master and complained and he finally throttled them back a bit. I think he was a bit intimidated by them though. If I was the range master I would have asked them to leave. Anyhow...the muzzle brakes do make for bad range partners. Especially when they are firing right next to you. I think I got two good loads but I was flinching so darn much...it's hard to tell. The 26.0 load had 4 shots in one hole but it seemed like a light charge. The 26.8 load had three rounds in one hole (clover leaf) and two a half-inch away. I'm pretty sure that was my fault. I may just load up the 26.8 loads and jam those PDs. The Hawke Varmint SF 6-24 X 44 scope performed great. The retail price is under $180.00 and the scope is crisp and clear. I have the Mil-Dot reticle and I am very pleased with it. It worked out perfectly for my 204 AR. When the new Hawke Night-Eye scopes come in I'm going to replace the Burris on my Howa 204 bolt rifle. The Burris is a great scope but mine has a duplex reticle and I always have to estimate my hold on distant targets. I won't have that problem with the Hawke Mil-Dot or SR6 combined with the Hawke ballistic program. All I'll need to do is range and shoot.
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#8 rdsii64

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 09:02 AM

glad you got your rifle shooting strait. I tend to stay away from public access ranges. I have a spot down by the boarder that I shoot as far as my skill will let me and then some. I do my load development there and all my general shooting. I gave up on public ranges for the very reasons you speak. To many wanna be gangstas and generally unsafe shooters.
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#9 ratassassin

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Posted 20 March 2011 - 12:11 PM

Red, have you chronned any of your loads yet? Curious to know what muzzle velocities you're getting.




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