With 3 weeks until the National Matches, perhaps imprudently, I've decided that I'm not going to use HXP for the Camp Perry again this year. I was able to find enough CCI BR2 primers despite the lingering bottleneck from "the great panic of 2013."
Before you read on you have to agree to work up your loads properly and not just create the load.
After trying several loads I had very good results with Hornady 168 grain BTHPs over 46 grains of IMR 4895 and a CCI BR2 primer in a 77 HXP case. I also used a Hornady OAL gauge to stretch the COAL out a bit which may not have had much effect but it made me feel better.
I was very happy with the performance of the new Winchester Garand I've made several posts about recently. I will take it to a local match this weekend to work it out a bit but I didn't have any functional issues and it performed very well. Assuming this continues I think I'll take it to Perry for the JCG match.
The Sunday after my first High Power match I took my 1917 to a vintage rifle match. I was having some trouble with it last season that I had rectified with a Flex Hone but I hadn't taken it to a match yet to give it a full work out.
I was worried about rapid fire but it turned out the time I had spent practicing paid off. I finished in plenty of time even before some of the Garands. I've gotten the hang of keeping the rifle on my shoulder as I work the bolt which makes rapid a lot more consistent. Next time I'll take a bit more time on each shot.
I struggled a bit in off hand per normal but all and all it was a good match. I beat my personal best for this rifle which is great, with a little luck and practice I should be in better shape by Camp Perry.
It was a beautiful weekend for shooting and with my wife away I did a cut corner job of mowing the lawn and spent most of it at the range. I brought out the 1917, M1 and my new(ish) A2.
I spent some time working on the elevation for both my 1917 and Garand for both the conversion to 6 o'clock hold and to figure out why I was so low at the York match. I got that all worked out then spent some time working on my prone position, which I am now feeling much more confident in.
I practiced prone with my A2 and raised the elevation a bit so I could use 6:00 hold with this rifle too. I am very happy with it's performance so far. I tried my hand at shooting sitting which I have literally never tried before. After trying to imitate the "crossed ankles position" I settled into some sloppy variation of it that seems to work OK for me. This has given me the courage up to sign up for the next NRA highpower match and bring my A2 in a few weeks!
Kimberton has a nice new slab for shooting prone.
Think I have enough stuff?
Don't tell Bloomberg about my assault clips.
I was able to successfully fix the ejection problems my M1917 was having with a flex hone, I posted about it here
While my initial "less than a minute" wasn't enough, I honed it again for longer maybe 3 minutes in and out slowly (that's what she said?) After I was done the shoulders were "white" so there was probably a lot of build up from years of shooting blanks.
HXP ejected like butter, some of my reloads still needed some extra force but that could be related to me poorly sizing the brass, mentioned back in may
I may touch it up just a bit more but I am excited that I finally found a solution!
I forgot to take a picture of my 1917 so instead here is one of my Winchester Grenadier while being test fired for the first time. (worked pretty well, 4 MOE, for an ME=3 rifle)
My Model 1917 and I are still having trouble getting along, as I mentioned in several other posts. At Perry I ended up with some saved rounds in rapid prone due to ejection problems which did not make me happy.
While cleaning it i discovered that the chamber looks a little rough, probably a bit of rust. After unsuccessfully trying to clean it up with a chamber bush I ordered a 800 grain 30-06 "flex-hone" and the corresponding oil from midway.
I stripped the stock off and clamped the barrel between two wooden blocks in my big vice oiled the flex-hone lightly per instructions and ran it in and out for a very short time... Less than a minute.
I won't know how effective it was for a few weeks, the chamber is nice and shiny now and it still passes headspace so I have managed to break anything.
If you decide to try this be careful not to over polish and take the stock off so you don't break it in the vice. I'm sure there are better ways to clamp it down, but I just used a couple boards and my big vice tightening it just enough to hold it firm at a "straight" part of the barrel.
UPDATE: this worked!!! While my initial "less than a minute" wasn't enough I honed it again for longer maybe 3 minutes in and out. After I was done the shoulders were "white" so there was probably a lot of build up from years of shooting blanks.
HXP ejected like butter some of my reloads still needed some extra force but that could be related to me poorly sizing the brass. I may touch it up just a bit more but I am excited that I finally found a solution!
As mentioned in the last post my Model 1917 and I haven't been getting along very well. To try and repair our relationship, I got up early and went out to the range with the 1917, a big box of HXP, and some SR-1s to do a little couples counseling.
80 rounds later I think we have a better understanding. I stuck to prone and did several timed rapid strings which have been a problem for me.
It looks like a big part of my problem was simply having the elevation set too low. A couple clicks up to the 300 yard mark did the trick. I do seem to have a windage issue as you can see many of the shots are trending to the left. For now I am going to hold off with just a bit of black to the left of the front sight.
I also feel better about working the bolt. I have been having trouble with the rear sight folding back and coming dangerously close to having the battle sight crushed by the bolt. I'm trying to get in the habit of watching my "workspace" and the rear sight while I work the bolt. Its hard to "feel"
When this is about to happen due to the force needed to close the cock on closing action .
Sore shoulder aside It was a good day at the range hopefully it will translate to better performance in the next match.
The wife and I took a quick trip to the range with the Model 1917 and her AR.
I've been having trouble with the reloads not easily ejecting from my 1917. My working theory is that the problem is in the trim length. I trimmed this batch down .005 to 2.480 which helped but it's not quite ready for rapid prone. I'm going to take them down to 2.475 and see how that works. [update: trimming was not the issue see the next post here]
I took a few offhand shots to practice my stance. I kept them all in the 9-7 rings which was pretty good for me.
I would like to get a better skeletal stance particularly in regards to my support arm. I tried a more "hip forward" stance but my big fat love handles get in my way.
All and all a nice trip.
I was lucky enough to get in on the last batch of bolt guns from the CMP in early October 2011. After much heartache she showed up a couple of months later.
I didn't make the 200 some service grade and got "downgraded" to a field grade. Those couple of days between the card charge and delivery were very stressful. However it was well worth it.
I received a great looking Eddystone with a July 1918 receiver and a Remington November 1918 barrel and a WWI Eddystone stock.
Per the tag the muzzle erosion was 0+ the "bullet test" confirmed this.
The Model of 1917 (it's proper name BTW) has a neat story behind it. The British were tooling up to replace the SMLE with the "Pattern 14" or P14 (which is where the erroneous "P17" nickname came from).
The brits didn't have the production capability to build these at the rate needed to beat back the Hun so they contracted out to Winchester, Remington and Eddystone.
When 1917 rolled around and the US started to ramp up for war production Springfield couldn't produce 1903s fast enough and the Brit's production of SMLEs had caught up. So the P14 was converted to 30-06 and the Model of 1917 was born. The Model of 1917 went on to out number the 1903 by 3 to 1 by the end of the war.
In my option the biggest advantage the 1917 has over the 1903 is the rear sight. As opposed to the 1903 ladder sight mounted in front of the action. And the 1917 has a peep sight behind the action. Of course the 1903 has windage and the 1917 doesn't.
My 1917's rear sight.
If you have the chance to pick up a Model of 1917 do it. They are great shooters with a fascinating history.
If you're looking for more information on this rifle C. S. Farris' book is a great resource on this rifle.