Three weeks before my planned departure to Africa I mounted my new Vortex scope. Obviously, I had to zero it, which I did on my first free Saturday. Unfortunately the ejecting brass couldn’t clear the windage knob thus I found myself in a slight pickle. I bought a higher DNZ mount, and it cleared well, but I still needed to zero.
So two weeks before departure, I went back to the range, this time at 200 yards. What a train wreck. The combination of one target change per 2 hours, the inability to spot 7mm holes at 200 yards with my 20X spotting scope, and knobs that turn the opposite way as those of the Hensoldt on my AI implied a LOT of rounds going downrange unnecessarily.
More worrisome was the fact that the dispersion of the bullets at 200 yards was much wider than the granularity of adjustments I could make to the scope. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was shooting a Harris bipod off a bench, the mechanical accuracy of the ammo/gun combination, the fact that by the end of a string, the sporter barrel on the Tikka was very hot, or that the barrel had not been cleaned in a very very long time.
After getting a rough zero, I packed it up, and decided to clean the barrel and try again the following weekend.
In hindsight, that was a good move.
On Saturday, I went to Calverton Shooting Range, a public range on the eastern end of Long Island.
The rifle line had a large shooting bay with 50, 100, and 200 yard targets.
Having experienced great difficulty spotting hits at 200, I set up my target at 100 yards. Also, instead of shooting from a bench, I laid out my 2003-vintage Champion’s Choice shooting mat, installed my Harris S-BR bipod, and fired a 3 shot group from prone. The group was about 3″ high and 1″ left. 8 clicks down and 3 clicks right and I fired another group that was dead on.
Each group was 2″. Not great, but not that bad all things considered.
Next group, I switched to the Safari Arms 175 gr Swift A-Frame load. The shots impacted exactly 1″ low, into about a 0.5″.
Considering my technique was identical, I think I’ve proven that the Tikka T3/ Remington Managed Recoil combo is only about a 2 MOA combo. With handloads however, the Tikka is a half-inch gun. Which is incredible for a factory sporter.
Having determined that the rifle, scope, and ammo were dialed in. I installed my friend’s Tab Gear Sling, grabbed my shooting sticks and tried shooting from field positions. I put up a Safari Press Kudu target for an added challenge. While my results were nothing to brag about, I think they were certainly “good enough” for most real-world hunting situations.
With all that complete, I packed up and headed home. We leave for South Africa on Saturday. With luck I will see Eland, Kudu, Gemsbok, and Springbok. Should get a few nice shots.