Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bigger is better, Right?


Last week, I got an invitation to go shooting with a few Marines. At a quarry near Manhattan, I got my first opportunity to fire a rifle in 50 BMG.

Now, as a trooper in the Army, I fired the age old work horse, the M2HB on many occasions, but those were mounted, this would be a shoulder fired weapon. Having fired a few other shoulder cannons, I was expecting a shoulder smasher. (well, something as strong as a 7mm mag anyway.) The weapon as presented weighed a hefty 50.5 pounds, having been stripped of roughly twenty pounds of night and poor weather gear right down to just the scope and bipod.

Other weapons at the range included an M1903A3 that had been sporterized. A Savage 112 converted to .308, A bushmaster M17 in 5.56, and an Olympic AR15 in 6.8SPC.

The target of the day were a collection of limestone boulders that we set against the quarry slag pile. As the host of the event, I got first chance on the fifty. Never one to pass on such a chance, I of course took the first shot. One rock down. yes it was a luck shot. We discovered soon enough that the scope was far from on, over eleven inches off to be exact.

The second shot went to my future daughter in law, a petite five foot ninty pound package of TNT. dynamite, eat your heart out. As she got into position we were joking that this would be a shot worth of a roadrunner cartoon. The projectile would stay in place while Morgan and the rifle launched backward leavingthe bullet to fall onto the ground. No such image. While she missed, she did not flinch. This was her first shot ever on a gun bigger then a 22 long rifle.

The third shot was fired by a Marine sniper, a man with many kills to his credit, and one seen on several episodes on the History channel and military channel. When that one was a clear miss, we knew something was wrong, thats when the rifles owner got in and checked zero. after several shots, we were dead on.

After creating several buckets of gravel, it was time to move on to other fun stuff. The 30-06 was next on the list. This work horse of WW1 proved to be the shoulder crusher of the bunch. Sporterizing had removed several pounds from the piece, but it stil retained its steel butt plate. That thing will wear on a shoulder in a fire fight.

The 308 proved comperable to the fifty. A heavy rifle designed for sniping praire dogs, the 112 is no featherweight, and with a 24 inch bull barrel, a 32X scope and bipod, it is geared up for the long range contest. It grouped under an inch in the hands of our Marines.

As daylight waned, the Marines got their first chance on the 6.8SPC. Developed during the fighting in Afghanistan, the 6.8 is a heavier cartridge then the age old standard 5.56. The 115 grain slug gives stability out beyond what the M-4 in 5.56 is capable of. When the military switched to the M-4, they shortened the barrel. this brought a drop in velocity and thus a drop in energy and range.

At the conclusion of our afternoons event, everyone agreed that the 50 was a truly great long range weapon. The 6.8 got high marks for performance as well.
Rifles in the picture include the M-17 at center with a barska scope, and the Savage 112 at Right with 4x32x40 Tasco scope. Sorry, no pics of the 50.

1 comment:

gottagetdrunkfirst said...

I've heard a lot of good things about the 6.8 round yet have not had the opportunity to try one out. I do love the .308 NATO round though...

Sounds like fun either way.