went out yesterday to launch a new set of loads for my Marlin XS7 .308 and found a couple good promising loads.
I'm not done yet and found no pressure signs and plan to work up a little more. I'll post the pics of my 3 best targets below but now...the meat of this story
As i'm moving from one powder load into the next, i took note of a woman accompanying a younger boy who loaded up and shot a semi auto 22. they had some pretty high end hearing protection and she did not look uncomfortable at all, i just remember thinking how cool it was that a mom was bringing her son to the range. Then i heard the fourth shot in a string...something in me said "go talk to them" and I did.
I cautioned against breaking range rules on the public range as the penalties and fines are stiff. they questioned me about the "new" sign advising there are new rules about needing a valid hunting license or range use license and I told them this has been in effect for a couple months. Since he was ten years old, he needed neither, but he did need to be accompanied by an adult that complied with the rules. Introduced myself, exchanged names, and took a couple minutes to go over safety items. I also gave the young man a target and my staple gun during a range "clear" to ensure he was shooting at paper targets and not rocks and spent shot shell casings
Told them if anyone asks, they are with me, and I watched him shoot a bit.
They were very thankful and after spending a few more minutes with them, decided to offer the kid a chance to shoot the .308 - he had a strong interest in everything military/police and his dream is to go into FBI. The minute I told him that the .308 is the primary sniper rifle for military's all over the world, his eyes got to be the size of dinner plates...I was now the licensed adult accompanying this young man, and he was a total sponge. I gave them a brief hard time about the rules again and then brought him over to my rifle. I fired two of the last 3 rounds in what has turned out to be a possible 'honey' load for my rifle, and saved the last for him.
He took note of the recoil against my large frame and was a little nervous about it - I told him he doesn't have to shoot it if he don't want to, but if he feels comfortable with it, he's more than welcome to send the last round down range...
I showed him how to hold it on the bipod with a squeeze bag, let him dry fire it a couple times. I told him if he flinches the trigger i would not let him shoot...his form was very good and we concentrated on breathing right for a minute and I asked him one last time "you wanna shoot it?" he gave a nervous "yeah...yes i do."
Popped the round into the magazine well for him, let him chamber it and he nestled into the stock, got a good sight picture, and pulled his head back from the scope a little with his finger along the side of the stock...good man. I told him not to be scared of the scope - "there's not a man at this range who hasn't taken a scope to the head once in his life and if he tells you he hasn't, he's lying...just make the picture fill the scope, and pull the stock into your shoulder firmly. When you are ready, take a couple deep breaths, place finger on the trigger, exhale slow, stop, squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze...." BOOM. he immediately settled back into the stock and said "I HIT IT!" and looked over to me. I thought his face was gonna split in half from his smile. He's hooked. I looked over to his mom who was right behind us and said "you are screwed. He likes big guns now
it was a great experience for him. I took a pic of the target and then let him keep it. My shots are a half to 3/4" high, for a dead hold at 200 yards. In his mind, at this stage, he thinks i missed the bullseye...but his shot is dead center. And i'm certain he's telling all his buds he shot a "sniper rifle" yesterday and hit the bullseye on the first shot.
I wish this was with my kid...but it was great anyway...Nicks' not quite big enough to take the 308 - once in a while it still stings me too and I don't want to wear him out yet. He's getting his first cricket in september for his birthday.
I swapped contact info with them, got her in touch with my wife to do a home party for our jewlery business (ALWAYS working the biz for my wife LOL) and told her any time she needs someone to take the little guy shooting, I can get my oldest and him together and would love to help coach him on the firing line.
that load is 165gr SGK BTSP, winnie brass, cci primers and 43.5gr RL15.
42 gr RL15 produced a 2 hole 1/4" group at 50 - i have no pic of this target yet, it's in my backpack at home.
I took pics of the Varget loads - 42.5 and 43 were the most promising so far, but neither is tight enough for me.
Wife was a little miffed that i was off "messing around with someone else's kid at the range" while my own kids were at the pool...she didn't understand that I didn't go there to shoot with the rugrat...he just happened to be there and I saw an opportunity to coach an impressionable sponge in a positive way...dind't matter though, i'm still in the doghouse today...hopefully some of you guys understand though LOL