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Saturday, March 08, 2008

More Early Shooting with the Savage 99

I fired a few more shots this AM to get an idea of what I might expect in accuracy/velocity from this .308 with its 20" barrel. Shooting was done early with the temp hovering at 16 degrees and a 10 mph west wind in my face. Yes, it was cold enough to be distracting and all the other standard excuses apply- iron sights, old watery eyes, old glasses, too much coffee, etc.

I have been buying up a few boxes of Winchester 150 grain Power Points. Bejing-Mart has an ample supply at the moment and they are priced within a few cents of WW .30-30 ammo using a similar bullet. This provides some 'get acquainted' ammo and WW's rifle brass has worked fine for me in other calibers; Power Point factory loads have been sure killers on game.

Winchester rates this particular .308 load at 2820 fps, no doubt from a 24" test barrel. From the 99's little 20" tube, my Chrony BetaMaster says '2708 fps' average for three shots, six feet from the muzzle. I am not in the least disappointed. I have a light, handy .308 that still produces within about 100 fps of Winchester's figures, for their 150 grain factory load. I believe I can live with that. It also tells me that I can stick with the 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips I have been loading in .30-06, and still expect good results on deer within any practical hunting range for the .308 cartridge. I scoot this same bullet to 2944 fps from Peg's .30-06 and it is a grenade on chest shots, inside 250 yards. 'Toning it down' to 2700+ from the lil' Savage won't hurt the performance on game at all.

The three chronographed shots, plus a couple of others, were also directed at an 8" picnic plate 210 yards downrange. The 99's creepy trigger caused me some aggravation and a couple of the shots were called flyers. The good news is that I called the flyers correctly, and that the three 'good' shots were kind enough to herd themselves into 2 3/4" inches. This is plenty good under the conditions and consistent with my best, repeatable 200-yard shooting using iron sights, under the best of conditions. The logical conclusion is that my Savage 99 has all the accuracy potential I can use. I'm kind of anxious to get a good piece of glass on it, to see what it's capable of.

But I wouldn't think of glassing any rifle until the irons are entirely sorted out. I shot a little high today, which is of no consequence since the rifle is awaiting a new rear 'ladder' sight.














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I'm generally pretty practical about my guns, but I made a little exception in this case. Some of the best fun I had as a kid was with old military Rolling Blocks, Springfields & SMLE's, hammering stuff way out there using the ladder sights. So, I've decided to add a little something to make this a 'fun gun' as well as a practical one. Once that is on and centered I'll match up a front bead that will get it 'on' at 200 yards. Then over time, I'll shoot at various ranges it out to 800 yards and mark correlating index points on the elevation slide. Shots beyond 350 yards will be relegated to 'fun' shooting.

So far, so good. I'm getting respectable ballistics and accuracy from a classic rifle design, which requires almost nothing in additional reloading components or equipment to 'keep it fed.' It's about to get a classic sight added to it. I think the 'cool factor' may be headed right off the chart.

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