It’s no secret that I am a fan of precision shooting. I run a gaming news site that focuses on (among other genres) sniper games. Local folks whom showed any sort of interest have no doubt listened to me wax on about my youth, trying to calculate DOPE (Data On Previous Engagements, used to figure out where to dial the scope in to) on my hand-pumped BB gun with a cheap 6x Walmart special scope, or pinging a 1/4″ metal rod at 25 yards with iron sites on a my first 22 rifle.
Well, I had taken a break.. A 27 year break, in fact.
As I grew up, I spent less time shooting firearms and more time investing in the stuff I now do for a living (plus music and gaming, which are part of my side-hustles). As well, as someone who many would describe as “left of Socialist” in many cases, I didn’t really prioritize guns in my life.
Eventually, I had a client through my day job that reminded me just how much I miss rifle shooting. That client’s project ended up with me spending 2 years doing research on modern precision shooting, budgeting, planning, and more, and I eventually settled on my goal:
Get a good 22LR rifle with a chassis to meet the requirements for an NRL22 base build (NRL22 base competition class is where the rifle and scope have to be under a certain amount of MSRP value).
Now, it’s not quite that simple; I also wanted to avoid having to do the aftermarket chassis build if at all possible just because that’s costly in other ways (for instance, I’d most likely have to pay someone else to do the install for me because of my broken body).
I settled on the Ruger Precision Rimfire; while not the “best” precision 22LR that meets the NRL22 base reqs (the CZ457 takes that crown), it’ll be good enough for me assuming I don’t get a lemon from the factory.
The scope is a whole ‘nother discussion for another post; just to get me out to the range faster I made use of a budget scope I got for free to review: A “Sniper” brand (ugh) 4-16x second focal plane optic (surprisingly not horrible, but the adjustments aren’t quite as precise as I’d like and the eye relief sucks).
Anyway, after fighting off COVID and nasty weather, I finally got the chance to take my build out to the range and see if I still remember how to shoot a rifle accurately.
As it turns out, I still do for the most part!
Here’s the details: I was shooting CCI Standard Velocity ammo against a 10 MPH wind coming from 3 o’clock out to 50 yards for these groups.
Amusingly enough, my scope was already vertically zero’d perfectly for 50 yards with this ammo and the RPR’s 30MOA rail. Wind was another story; I did some adjustments to where I expect the “real” zero to be, and just left it at that for the above groups.
Just to share: I used ShootersCalculator.com to help me prep my DOPE for the day, and also got my initial zero with a laser bore sight.
Now, after getting things dialed in and getting that 2 MOA group (goal is to hit sub-MOA), I decided to push things out a bit. I wasn’t planning to, but.. I was feeling frisky.
At 100 yards is a steel plate at the range; I estimated my drop & windage, and let my first round rip..
That felt good.
After a couple more shots, I decided to push it further:
It took 3 Kentucky windage shots (where you basically guess, take a shot, and adjust), but after that I was able to consistently hammer that plate using purely holdovers (where you use the markings on the scope to estimate where the bullet will land rather than adjusting the turrets).
That really put a smile on my face.
Here’s a few things I’ve learned after my first bolt gun experience in 27 years: