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.