…actually, range trip, happy new gun day, and ammo test (courtesy of Lucky Gunner)…
A while back – I’m embarrassed to say just how far back – Russ from Lucky Gunner contacted me to see if I’d be willing to do a test and evaluation blog post on some of their ammo. Over several emails we discussed what I shoot and what I’d be interested in testing…
We decided on .30-06 Sellier and Bellot. Two days later a small package arrived at my office. Everyone here knows the FedUps guys rarely bring me work related packages, so there was quickly a gathering of interested onlookers. No disappointment here – nicely packed and protected – with no shipping damage. When I opened one of boxes of Sellier & Bellot .30-06 Springfield HPBT Match ammo , the first comment was, “My Precious!” Beautiful stuff – it looked like premium handloads.
Ed chimed in with “What are you gonna shoot this with?” My original plan was to test them using my 1944 1903-A3 Remington – original iron sights only. After reading the ammo specs, I decided to go with something more modern with optics – 53-year-old eyes ain’t what they used to be. Ed agreed to loan me his Winchester Model 70 – “My favorite rifle, the one I killed two deer with one shot with!”, he said. His next trip to the office he brought it to me. The weather didn’t cooperate that weekend and the next was a trip home (I work out-of-town).
In the interim, I decided I wanted a modern .30-06 for my safe, too…it’s a sickness, I tell ya! I didn’t really want to spend big bucks, so I started reading up on “entry-level” guns. I ended up getting a Mossberg ATR from the local Wal Mart – $276.28 out the door. In the interest of staying “budget”, I mounted up a Simmons 4-12×40 scope I had lying around. Things I like about the ATR – the bolt and the overall feel of the gun – polymer stock and all. Very nicely done. Things I dislike – polymer molded-in swivel mounts and trigger guard – might have to go with a Boyd’s stock at a later date. That kinda goes against the budget concept, though.
Fast forward to range day – a couple of friends (Rick and Hope) from the apartment complex I stay at when away from home came along for the day. We arrived at Moss Knob mid afternoon – the higher elevation knocked about 12° F off of the temperature – it was a very pleasant 84° F with very little breeze. Moss Knob is in a mountaintop amphitheater/hollow which makes it an ideal range site. We set up our targets on a corrugated backer board to save on trips to the 100 yd stands.
After we got all set up, we started off with Ed’s Model 70 with some Winchester .30-06 180 grain I had on hand. We set up on bench bags and got to
work play. All three of us shot the Model 70 with pretty good results with the Winchester ammo – we didn’t fuss with Ed’s scope at all – just used “Kentucky windage and elevation” to zero in. We also shot some Korean .30-06 surplus I had in the ammo box with similar results. When we changed over to the S&B ammo it was surprising how much our groups tightened up. Very nice!
We repeated the same test sequence with the Mossberg ATR - it took a bit longer since the scope was newly mounted. The night before I had sighted in using a .30-06 Springfield 7.62x63mm Cartridge Laser Boresighter - great for getting you on paper, but not “dead on.” At this point we have shot about 20 rounds apiece – a recoil pad is starting to seem like a really good idea! (note the towel – improvised pad).
So…on to the targets – click on any of them to view larger…
In a nutshell? Lucky Gunner’s service is outstanding, Sellier & Bellot .30-06 Springfield HPBT Match ammo is amazingly accurate and I don’t believe you can go wrong with a Mossberg ATR. It’s accurate as well and inexpensive enough that I can afford to buy some more S&B ammo!
I have to include this last target for posterity:
FTC Disclaimer: I purchased the Mossberg ATR and the Simmons scope with my money. Lucky Gunner provided me with two 20 round boxes of ammo for testing and evaluation purposes. I thought it might be worth writing about…while I had fun, I received no wheelbarrows full of cash for writing this review.
(…and bite me).