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Capt. Wild Willy McDonald

Rifles/Calibers for Long Range Rifle Side Matches

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Using the Montana precision swaging 255 gas check. It's soft, 20 to 1 lubed with spg. Is it the best? I don't know. It'll reliably shoot between 3, and 3.5 inch groups at 200 yards though. We tried it at 300, on a 14 inch plate, and it played with it. Using triple 7, 2fg. I called mts, and have about 10 boxes of the 255 gr bullets now. Your 3030 is a good side match gun, a lot of folks run them. Its windy out here most of the time, so I prefer the 3855. Especially beyond 200 yards.

Thanks. I'll definatley be looking into it.

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I'm not understanding how a 30-30 can't reach out to 300 yards. My 44-40 with a full load of 3f GOEX bangs 300 yards if the wind isn't bad.

Ike

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I'm not understanding how a 30-30 can't reach out to 300 yards. My 44-40 with a full load of 3f GOEX bangs 300 yards if the wind isn't bad.

Ike

As a kid, the only rifle I owned was an old Winchester 30-30. I took more than one deer beyond 300 yards with that rifle. Granted I wasn't shoot all lead bullets, but still I think a 30-30 can get out there a ways.

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I'm not understanding how a 30-30 can't reach out to 300 yards. My 44-40 with a full load of 3f GOEX bangs 300 yards if the wind isn't bad.

Ike

 

 

Of course it will. That's like saying the military has to go back to 30-06 because the .223/5.56 won't reach out there. The 30-30 with the right sights and a 150 gr gas checked bullet will shoot flatter, long than the 38-55 bigger slower bullets.

The 30-30 is one of the popular caliber for the NRA Leveraction Rifle caliber Silhouette game.

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As a kid, the only rifle I owned was an old Winchester 30-30. I took more than one deer beyond 300 yards with that rifle. Granted I wasn't shoot all lead bullets, but still I think a 30-30 can get out there a ways.

 

For me, it very well could be a combination of all lead bullets and perhaps a loading that is not stong enough. I freely admit that perhaps with some experimentation perhaps I could come up with a load that will reach out and touch.

Can't say why others are having trouble.

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8 inches more drift with my 3030 against the 3855 at 300 in a 10mph at 90 degree crosswind.

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700 and 1000 yards? Man I want to go to that match. When is it? Maybe I'll have to take a little trip out East

We haven't gotten any dates on the calendar, but we are planning on at least three long range matches for this year. Keep an eye on our websites calendar for the dates: http://www.northernnevadacas.com/

If you like we can add you to our monthly mailing list for information as it comes available as well.

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I read the shooters handbook, this thread and searched the interweb. Am I correct that a Marlin 336 30-30 is legal for long range rifle side matches assuming you use correct ammo, no receiver sights and it's not ported? More specifically the rifle I want to use is a Marlin 336XLR 30-30. Si or no?

 

Thanks

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If it has lead ammo and standard lever action type sights and or tang sight. I shoot a 336 Marlin 30-30 from time to time in the long range event.

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Is the 405 Winchester legal for long range side matches? It's rimmed, and period (1904). Just curious. I've noticed that Buffalo Arms lists High Walls in 405.

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Is the 405 Winchester legal for long range side matches? It's rimmed, and period (1904). Just curious. I've noticed that Buffalo Arms lists High Walls in 405.

It should be legal for long range side matches.

 

That said why would you choose one?

 

Cast lead bullets are going to be difficult to buy as the bullet is a rather unique 0.4115 diameter. Same goes for procuring a mould to cast your own.

 

There is not a lot of load data.

 

Only thing it really has going for it is that is a seldom seen cartridge at CAS matches.

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Thanks Dave! Had been looking for a Miroku Traditional Hunter High Wall in 38-55. Saw one for sale in 405. Would still prefer a 38-55. Already load for it. Have heard the Miroku High Walls have different internal parts than originals. Have also been looking at some of the Pedersoli Rolling Blocks in 38-55. I have a Chief Crazy Horse Model 94 38-55 with a replacement barrel that is .375 diameter. I believe the Miroku High Walls are likewise .375. Some of the Italian 38-55 apparently run significantly bigger -- I've heard up to .380, but it's hard to get a definitive answer from the importers.

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Yes the .30-30 can reach out to 300 + yards, But hits on steel are hard to see and hear...

I have a cast bullet load for the .38-55 using a .381 bullet of 249 grains that clocks in at 1,904 out of my 1894

Winchester (made in 1895) that I use on elk... This is a non gas-check bullet and does not lead the bore ...

I sometimes use the same bullet and gun for cowboy lever long-range but slow the bullet down to 1,500 Fps.

 

I much prefer my Highwall in .40-65 as it rings the steel louder than either the .30-30 or the better yet .38-55 and kicks a lot less than the .45-70 ...

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Thanks Dave! Had been looking for a Miroku Traditional Hunter High Wall in 38-55. Saw one for sale in 405. Would still prefer a 38-55. Already load for it. Have heard the Miroku High Walls have different internal parts than originals. Have also been looking at some of the Pedersoli Rolling Blocks in 38-55. I have a Chief Crazy Horse Model 94 38-55 with a replacement barrel that is .375 diameter. I believe the Miroku High Walls are likewise .375. Some of the Italian 38-55 apparently run significantly bigger -- I've heard up to .380, but it's hard to get a definitive answer from the importers.

Found this about the 38-55. Very interesting reading.

 

Loading with Correct 38-55 Cases

 

I would tend to believe Mr. McPherson's explanation over most of the other stuff you read on the internet. It makes more sense to me than the story that the chambers are cut undersized and/or the bores are oversized.

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What SASS calls 'long-range' and what really IS long range, is not the same.

For SASS LR, a .38-55 or .40-65 would be ideal.

OLG

Well, I agree with most of that.

Since my C. Sharps 1875 in .40-65 is setup for long range (OLG, we know what that means), I really can't shoot anything under about 300 yards since once I get the tang site run down far enough, all I see is breech block. I have had success ringing gongs under 300 yards, but it's more of a 'point and pray' deal than aiming. I have successfully rang a gong at 950 yards with it. Quigley off hand targets are about as close as is fun to shoot with my particular setup.

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just remember for ringing steel you don't need 'hunting' load' power. I just competed in our 125 yard side match with my 38-55 Winchester,coasting along at 900 fps.

 

The Marbles tang sight I have has an extra tall post for just such purposes,and served me well. I really like that it has windage adjustement.

 

I shot a 245 grain bullet with Trail Boss, and if I did my part it rang it quite well. Your thutty-thutty with cast bullet and Unique will accomplish the same thing,and be very easy on the shoulder and pocketbook.

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Thanks for the link to the McPherson article, Dave. I have a copy of his June 2001 American Rifleman article (reloading the 38-55) in my Lyman Manual. Have been using the Bear Creek Supply moly coated bullets he describes in the article ever since.

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Cowboy long-range can mean 1,000 yards up here ....

 

Mostly it's 300 to 600 yards ...

 

And the .40-65 will handle it all ,,, with-out beating you up ...

Used to have two .45-70s now only one, have two .38-55s but I find myself using the .40-65 about 97% of the

time ...

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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The only rifle I have that may qualify (in lever) is a 20" Winchester 94 (US made) in 30-30. However, if the distances typically exceed 200 yards, I think I'd be at a disadvantage ballistically speaking.

 

I certainly don't think so. I have a 16" Trapper in .30-30 that with the factory barrel sights can consistently ring the pigs at 300 meters. That's using 150gr GCFN bullets running @ an ave. 2190fps out of my 26" barreled mdl 94, never chrono'd them from the 16". Read Paco Kelly's article on Accurizing the Leveraction Rifle. I did mine long before I read his article... but he describes the work much better than I could. It's really good to take an old mdl 94 in .30-30 and then shoot a ¾" group... kinda eye-opening! I can't do it off-hand, but even off the bench, that's impressive. I've got bolt guns that do better, even an AR that does better... but that's just plain "feel good" pleasure when you walk off the range with your target and a levergun, and the guy behind the counter asks... "so, how'd you do?" They ALWAYS look at the target, then the rifle... then you... a few will admit that they seldom see 5 shot groups like that with bolt guns.

 

And my shoulder doesn't feel like a punchin' bag at the end of a day!

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I’ve been shooting SASS long range matches for over 20 years. I’ve got sharps, rolling blocks, highwalls, low walls and a handi-rifle, in calibers ranging on the small end from 25-20 to 45-90 on the larger end. I’ve shot them from 50 yards to 1200 yards. I load them with black powder and smokeless.

 

I started out with the lyman/marbles type tang sights, but found out real fast that for the best repeatable accuracy, I needed a high quality Soule type tang sight with a level type globe front sight (have both MVA and Baldwin). If you plan to shoot farther then all the way to the back of the pistol pits, you’ll need a Soule sight (especially if the wind blows). With a Soule sight, you can record your sight sittings for whatever distance you shoot (I have a book with sittings from 50 yards out to 1200 yards for my 45-90). It’s a real advantage to show up at a new range and be able to dial in the sight for target distance and hit it with the first shot and then hit again and again, even when the wind shifts.

 

I know everyone will tell you how great the smaller calibers are, but just look at the equipment list of the top national Creedmoor shooters, and you find mostly 45 calibers and a few 40 caliber rifles listed. A dialed in 45-70 shoots great at 100 yards and all the way out to 1000 yards. And the 38-55 will do the job at the short distances (if the wind doesn’t blow), but it begins to show its limitations out past 400 or 500 yards. Ya, I know that 38-55 will shot farther, but the question is: will it consistently hit the target. The majority of successful mid and long range Creedmoor shooters do not shoot 38-55 for a reason.

 

My advice for a 1st time long range single shot rifle, is to buy one of the Browning BPCR rifles, in either 45-70 or 40-65 (Starline has 40-65 brass or you can easily make it out of 45-70 brass) The rifle has got to be BPCR rifle and not the other Browning single shots. The BPCR comes with very serviceable Soule sights and a Badger barrel. And, the price range is the most bang for the buck. (And, no I don’t have one for sale). My son placed 5th in his age group and 11th overall (out 697 shooters) at the 2016 Quigley match shooting a factory stock Browning BPCR in 40-65 loaded with black powder.

 

For my lever gun, I have an early long tang Winchester Model 71 (a Win 1886 update) re-barreled to 40-50 Sharps BN (can be made from 45-70 brass). It has a heavy octagon barrel. It shoots black powder very well and is my best smokeless powder rifle (but not as good as black powder). The down side with black powder in a lever rifle is cleaning out the black powder. It can be done, but it is a lot more work than a single shot. With right clean protocol, 4 patches, and I am done cleaning my single shots. Typically, lever, rifle caliber guns are shot at short distances than single shots. But my lever gun does very well out to 600 yards.

 

In long range match shooting, rifle weight is your friend.

 

As for timed matches, if a club follows the rules, time should considered a secondary factory in long range and should only be used to break ties (a slow 10 hit shot string beats a fast 9 hit & one miss string every time). The rules say a match should put emphases accuracy, which to my way of thinking should allow for precisely aimed and un-rushed shot type match. The matches I run follow this guidance. In addition to the large gongs, we use small tie breaker target to ID which shooter(s) are the most accomplished rifle men and/or women.

 

And one other thing you’ll find, a lot of clubs split the long range matches into smokeless and black powder. The long range the rules do NOT have a smokeless only category. The rules specifically state “any propellant” and then the rules call out a protected class for black powder only. (Why a protected class for black powder is a mystery to me. I have found, time and time again, that once my I get a black powder load dialed in, it will shoot rings round my smokeless loads.) Ya, I know it’s up the match director to set up the match rules, but I thought that we should all be following the “spirit of the game” and the intent of the rules.

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Also look into plainsman events at your larger annuals. 30-30,38-55,& 45-70 are the most popular rounds for the large range events. Very few ranges have a really long range available most are under 600 yards with a few running them around 100 yards. They are various categories for these events usually a pistol caliber smokeless and bp for lever, maybe even single shot then you got rifle caliber single shot and lever in both smokeless and bp then you got the buffalo rifle which I beleive is min 45-70 in bp. Most are hits with time as a tie breaker.

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What was the thinking behind the hammer requirement for rifles? Hammerless shotguns are ok..

 

 

 

The only logical answer to this question is to make sure that the Savage 99 is dissallowed. That's the only if the era hammerless repeating lever gun that didn't have one.

 

It's the same logic for requiring a tubular magazine, to make sure the Winchester 95 can't be used.

 

You could also say that requiring it to be a lever gun make sure the US Krag and even the Mauser 98 don't get used.

 

I agree with that last one, for what it's worth.

I'm wondering about why no hammers on single-shots, e.g., my perfectly period Sharps-Borchardt?

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My wife has had success using my very old (first production run) Winchester '94 takedown 30-30 with original tang.. She won comin at 'cha 2014, using sticks, with 8 shots (4@300) and also won ladies long range rifle cal at EOT. Needless to say, I'm proud of Sammy Jo.

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here's how we do it

 

LONG RANGE RIFLE MATCHES

OLD TYME RIFLES OR MODERN REPLICAS

Big Bore Single Shot, Big Bore Lever Action, Pistol Caliber Rifle

Shot under SASS (Single Action Shooters Society) rules and regulations for operation and equipment.

Held every first (scored match) and fourth (practice day) Saturday of the month. At our six position range outside Parker, Kansas (see map) Safety meeting at 0845 matches start at 0900

Distances: 100,150,200,300,400and 500 yards. Position: all matches shot off cross-sticks seated on the ground or elevated on a seat (shooters choice).

Ammo: lead bullets only with or without gas checks. 30 caliber and above.

Powder: Blackpowder or substitutes or modern smokeless

Fee: $5.00 for all rifle events match day and $5.00 for a practice day.

Matches consist of three distances of 5 scored shots and 2 sighter shots, if wanted, at each distance for a total of 15 scored shots and a potential total of 21 if 6 sighters are used.

Targets: White painted steel plate with red bullseye and 2 way radio mounted behind to audibly register hits.

Spotters: one spotter for every two shooters.

1st, 2nd ,3rd place recognized

 

 

 

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All my long range rifles were purchased in 45-70. If I were to do it over I would pick something with less recoil that would allow more practice like 38-55 or even lighter. An issue with long range side matches is that there is no min and max ranges on the side match distance to targets or target sizes or guidance regarding shooting positions and use of supports like sticks. Each club does it's own thing. Further in some major matches the host club competitors tilt the scales in their favor. They sometimes do not allow range finders, so only the host members know the distances. They do strange things like lever action rifle caliber shot standing at 400 yard targets and only local members have shooting sticks for standing and will not loan them plus only those local shooters have sights on their lever action rifles that will go out to 400 yards. Lots of other examples. That is why I quit shooting long range other than at our club's monthly match sometimes.

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