Thus spoke Townsend Whelen, and I find it's difficult to dissagree.
Today was first range day for the new/old Mark X Mauser mentioned yesterday. This old 30-06 hunting rifle rekindled a lot of memories long thought lost, and it's performance on the bench upheld those memories quite well.
Along for the ride, an assortment of fodder to include:
- 150 grain handloads that were in my 'shoot-em-up' pile.
- LS53 AP
- My own AP loads in commercial brass
- Greek HXP 73
- Three lonely rounds of Lake City 174 grain Match.
The 150 grain handloads.... were meh. Lackluster 3" groups that made this a 200 yard deer rifle. Fun to shoot, but just not accurate enough to really be exciting at all.
The LS53 AP ammo.... Five rounds of this expensive vintage stuff was enough to show what I expected.... an 8" pattern rather than a group. At one point, I thought I saw a tumbled bullet on target, but it turned out to be just a larger than usual tear in the paper.
The handloaded AP.... groups shrank to under 6 inches, and this was expected as well knowing what was found when these bullets were sectioned last year. The bullets have deteriorated internally, and accuracy is near impossible.
The Greek HXP..... gave consistent 3" groups with the occasional flier out to 4-5". Seeing that makes me wonder at some of those fliers I have seen with this ammo from my Garand. Before today, I thought they were all mine... but now I am not so sure.
Lining up with those three leftover rounds of Lake City Match..... and HOLY COW!!! This thing can SHOOT! Those bullets landed within a circle I could put my thumb over, almost. The target above shows the result.
I dearly love seeing a group like from a rifle, because it tells me the beast can growl with the best of them if fed right. This rifle apparently likes heavier bullets, and responds to the quality of ammunition it's fed.
Now, it's up to me. I need to match-prep a batch of cases, and begin load workup on a 168 to 172 grain bullet. I'd rather go no heavier than that, as I want any 30-06 in the house to be fully compatible with Liberty, my M-1 Garand.
In addition, I believe I have a Timney trigger that will fit this action, and I also suspect the bedding can be given some attention as well. All in all..... that one group of three shots is all it takes to make this rifle special. I KNOW it can shoot. Now begins the work to make it happen every single time.