July 19, 2016 I arrived at the Sig Academy and met up with son Jason. Below is the Pro Shop. A beautiful summer day shooting with son Jason is all I could ask for!
An inside look.
We headed to our classroom where Chris Cavellaro our Instructor known as “Cav” gave us an intro as what to expect from the day which started at 8:30 AM and lasted technically till 5 PM but we shot till 6 PM.
Cav went around the room with 5 students in attendance to see where they were from and their expectations of the course.
Five is a very manageable size for the type of shooting we are doing. I was performing Test and Evaluation of the Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision Rifle as well as the Test and Evaluation of Leupold’s newly introduced Scope VX-3i 6.5-20x50mm Custom Dial System. You must select a cartridge for using the Custom Dial System and have a CDS dial made. I chose not to test the CDS feature.
Below is all my gear for the Class “Reach for 1000”.
Our set-up to check zero at 100 yards. Sig gave us shooting blankets to use. Below is top is Jason’s Rifle and my Savage Model 12 Long Range Precision rifle and Leupold VX-3i Scope with a shade attached.
Below is my 100 yard group shooting Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grain (Extremely Low Drag) ELD-X bullets with the first shot called a cold shot 1 1/2 inches high.
The rest of the shots grouped a bit less than 1 inch as the barrel begins to warm up. Initially, I was not really comfortable and relaxed because I set my bi-pod lower to see if it made a difference, it didn’t feel comfortable. I reset the bi-pod higher and got my large rear sand bag and was comfortable again. the tight group of three to the left happens when this bull barrel warms a bit. Cold shots are important to understand when you need to make that Precision shot the first time.
Cav shared a shooting technique to look through your scope then close your eyes, relax your head and open them to see if the crosshair moves. If it does, you want to move your body left or right till that crosshair remains on center. Emphasis on relaxed muscles. Secondly, Cav emphasized the focus on the crosshair more than the target. In fact the target may even blur but the crosshair is your focal point in the aiming process. No mention about breathing during the shot sequence was done. I am happy with my breathing sequence.
Emphasis on trigger pull as a steady force rearward till the trigger sear breaks and the rifle fires. All said and done the shooter should not be tense at all and the trigger finger does all the work. My Precision trigger is set at 2 pounds for target shooting, See photo below.
Below is the 200 yard shooting area center. Targets were again paper.
Below we are set up at 300 yards and about to shoot steel targets with white circles so we can see/hear the impact.
Below are my 300 yard shots, Top three inch circle has all five hits in the white while the bottom circle grouping was very tight indeed with all 5 shots three dead center and 2 at 6 o’clock in the white. Whoa! Nice! I said to Cal; “I have read that many precision bullets seem to stabilize at longer ranges.” “Yes they can”, Cal added.
Below is Jason’s 300 yard group.
The three hundred range also is the 750 yard range to the right in the photo below. Look above the scope turret. It looks tiny doesn’t it. Sooo far away that even the targets are difficult to see without a scope which was set to 14x. I should have dialed to 20x but still shot quite fine hitting a 10 inch white square after a few minor adjustments. Cav had a Kestrel wind meter with barometric pressure. Wind was coming from our backs most of the day making wind drift a small concern.
It was here that I discovered that I ran out of elevation adjustment but it was not due to the scope. The 20 MOA picatinny rail was on backwards. Cav had field tools so we unmounted the scope turned the rail 180 degrees, remounted the scope and in 15 minutes and I was back in business for 1000 yards. Hmm, the Leupold 20 MOA rail had no markings on it for direction.
Below shooters finishing the 750 yard targets
Below is 1000 yard targets with a large 4 foot steel plate with a 10 inch white square in the middle. The same target we shot at 750 yards but repainted. One at a time we made adjustments to hit the 10 inch white square. To the left and right are steel human silhouette tagets which we engaged once we could put rounds in the 10 inch square. But now for the balloon shoot at 1000 yards. There were strings of 8 and 6 inch multi-colored balloons to shoot. I was able to take out three of these balloons at 1000 yards.
Below, Jason and I are taking aim at a 8 inch balloon at 1000 yards. We added 1 minute in windage for bullet spin drift (book says 1.2) I took out three balloons to Jason’s one. Not bad for an old fart, eh with at test Savage Model 12 LRP and a Test Leupold VX-3i 6.5-20x50mm scope and store bought ammo. Not bad at all…and I teased him in good humor too.
In a few days Sig will email a course evaluation. I was elated with the skill and laid back nature of our Instructor Cav. He had a very consistent demeanor all day. At the end of the course we had a debrief and there I gave my grade for Cal who I gave an A+ grade.
I could have used a two gallon thermos of cold water. My Camel bak Hydration back pack worked great but the water got warm faster than I wanted. Could have added more Ice to it. Need lots of cold water when I do this again.
There is a follow-up to this course which goes into detail on Wind doping and Mirage and Calculators for MOA or Mil adjustments.
We all received a Certificate of Completion of the “Reach for 1000 training”.
Ratings for the Model 12 LRP Rifle are easy I give the Rifle an A grade. It never let me down.
The Leupold VX-3i 6.5-20 x50mm was just fantastic and I could see and pop 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards using 20x. The balloons were clear and sharp with great color.
The 20 MOA rail was terrific once we had it pointed in the right direction and the 143 grain Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X bullets were excellent and Match Grade.
I had a great time learned a lot and recommend the rifle, scope and the training to all my friends.