Change Of Plan: Boomershoot ULD Rifle

Well, the best laid plans etc. etc.

Everyone should now be aware that this year’s Boomershoot rifle was obtained, I decided on the Savage Apex Predator in .308 Win:

So it arrived, and I collected it from my local Merchant Of Death.  Which is where things started to go sideways.

Guys, look:  if you’ve handled and fired enough rifles — in the many hundreds — you get to where you can get a “feel” for a rifle as you take it out of the box.  And when I took this Savage out of the box, it didn’t feel right.  I know that my preference for wooden stocks is well known, but then again I’ve handled (and owned) scores of plastic-stocked rifles as well;  and this one felt flimsy.  It felt more flimsy than my Marlin SSQ .22 rifle, to be frank.  The barrel also looked a little on the thin side — 20″ is marginal in term of length, and it was fluted.  Had the rifle been chambered in .223 Rem or even .243 Win, I’d probably not have worried too much;  but in .308 Win?  I had a bad feeling about it.

Anyway, I took it to the range, and after giving it a light oiling, I set to ranging it in.

And met with utter failure.  Let’s start with the easy stuff, first.

The rifle would not shoot consistently.  I would get two rounds into a single hole or a keyhole-touching “Mastercard” hole, and then the third would go off into the wild blue yonder, 2″ or even 4″ away.  This pattern repeated itself over the next twenty or so rounds, whereupon I quit because the barrel was super-hot (and I was not shooting quickly);  but worse, I quit because my right hand was getting a fat bruise from working the bolt handle.

The fired cartridges were binding in the chamber.  I mean, really binding.  People joke about needing a mallet to pull a Mosin-Nagant’s bolt back, right?  I would have killed for a mallet.  In fact, at about round #25 I gave up.  The only reason I persisted as long as I did was because I originally thought it was just “new rifle” syndrome or something, but it actually got worse as I went along.

Broken.  So I took it back to the gun store, and asked what to do next:  would they send it back to Bud’s Gun Shop?  No.  I would have to do this all by myself.  (Had I bought the gun at the Merchant Of Death, it would have been different;  but as they were just the conduit, so to speak, they weren’t interested, and probably justifiably so.)

So I contacted Bud’s Gun Shop to see how I could get it back to them, and get a refund — I wasn’t interested in getting a replacement — only to hear from Bud’s that because the rifle is still under manufacturer’s warranty, I’d have to send it back to Savage.  (I won’t go any further into detail about this, as it’s ongoing.  My problem is that I didn’t pay Savage for the gun;  I paid Bud’s, and this may get nasty.)

Anyway, there I was, stuck with a non-working gun, and moreover, a gun that I wasn’t comfortable with in the first place.  And, of course, time is ticking away because I have to leave for Boomershoot on April 27th — three weeks’ time.

Clearly, this called for a change of plan, so here it is:

It’s the CZ 557 Varmint, with a 26″ heavy barrel and a proper bench-type stock.  When I was complaining to the guys at the MoD, I happened to see this on the rack — not too difficult, they only had a few rifles on the rack anyway — and I was expecting to find it in some other caliber;  but no, there it was in .308 Win.  So into the car it went.

It came without a scope, but I’d already got a Vortex 6-24x50mm (to replace the inadequate “package” 4-12x44mm scope which came with the Savage), so I popped that on the CZ.   Except, of course, all my boresighting gear is buried somewhere under the our furniture stacked in my garage, waiting for the flooded apartment’s rehab to be finished.

But what the hell:  I sorta-lined the thing up with the barrel (Warne CZ High rings), and took it to the range yesterday morning.  I put up a large blank paper target with a 1″ orange target dot in the middle, sent it out to 50 yards, and touched off three rounds:

To say I felt relieved would be a huge understatement.  Also, the CZ’s trigger is not a “set” trigger like I’m used to with the brand, but a single-stage number which got smoother and smoother the more I fired it.  Here’s the final target, consisting of three 3-round strings, with scope adjustments between each.  (The overshooting between the point of aim — the orange dot below the diamond — and the point of strike is because I’ll be shooting 8″ boomers at 500-600 yards distance.)

As for the third string:  the flyer was the second shot, and it was operator error, because I paused to take a breath or two after the first shot, and when I exhaled and got into position, Stupid Kim’s finger was on the trigger while I was moving the rifle into position.  So:  unintended discharge (I know, I know) — but the third shot was right back to where it should be.

It’s an absolute beauty, and therein lies our problem.

While the Savage was a budget rifle (around $700 landed at the MoD), the CZ ended up costing just over $950;  and I used the Boomershoot travel fund to pay for it.  In other words, I need y’all to buy a dozen or more tickets to cover the difference.  (Only the difference:  I’ll get the money back for the Savage, never fear — it might just take a while, and the time is ticking away.)

Just so we’re all clear on the topic, though:  this CZ 557 is an excellent rifle, and in the hands of a better shooter will be capable of doing one-hole groups all day.  This is not a budget rifle, as I’d originally planned:  it can hold its own against rifles that cost twice as much, and nobody will ever sneer when you take it out of its case.  So for those of you who held back on getting a ticket because of the “budget” rifle thing:  this is a whole ‘nother ball game, and if ever there was a rig which calls out “serious shooter”, this is it.

Please help me out.


Lessons learned:  if I do this again for next year’s Boomershoot, I’m going to buy the rifle in January, and most probably in 6.5mm Creed, which will give me a chance to get the whole rig settled in properly.

My only regret, now, is that I didn’t get the Zeiss / Meopta / Minox glass as I did last year — but the Vortex seems to be doing just fine.

Boomershoot Update

Managed (finally!) to secure one of these bad boys for the annual Boomershoot ULD drawing:

It’s the Savage 110 Apex Predator XP:  Accu-Trigger, .308 Win, 20″ heavy (threaded) barrel, camo stock.  I can’t wait to get it to the range and sight it in.

That’s not the scope it will come with, by the way;  I’m still a little undecided between a Vortex 5-25x50mm or a Meopta of similar magnification.  It all depends on how much more I can raise in the next couple weeks.

Which [segue alert]  reminds me:  $25 per entry, no limit on the number of entries, checks or PayPal.  Please be generous so that I can actually afford to go to the abovementioned event, not to mention afford the .308 ammo (!!!! holy balls !!!!).    I will send all unfired ammo, if any remains, to the lucky winner as well.

Also:  for those who have already entered, please send me yer email addy via kim – at – kimdutoitdotcom so I can notify you if you’ve won, and keep it anonymous.

Damn, That Was Quick

Seems like it was just a couple weeks ago that I was bemoaning the cancellation of Boomershoot 2020, and here we are, looking down the barrel (so to speak) of Boomershoot 2021.  My spot for last year has been carried forward to this year, so I will be going.  I booked my hotel yesterday.

Now to the business at hand:  guns ‘n funds.

First, the gun.  Last year I purchased this bad boy:

…and the lucky winner of its raffle got it in time for the hunting season, despite it being a near-virgin.  (No news on what if anything he bagged, but that’s okay.)

This year I’m approaching the whole thing in a different way.  We have a time squeeze (I’ll be leaving for Boomershoot on April 27), so if we’re going to do the raffle this year, we’re going to have to do it with some urgency and alacrity.

Here’s what I’m proposing.  Last year I vacillated between .300 Win Mag and .308 Win, ending up with the .300 Win.  The response from everyone was lackluster, so after all cost and expenses and such, I didn’t quite break even.  I put the disappointing response down to two reasons:  1.)  the .300 Win Mag chambering isn’t to everybody’s taste (and I understand that), and 2.)  economic (tickets cost $40 instead of $25).

So this year, we’re going to do it differently, and for some other reasons that I’ll talk about below.

Firstly, I’m going to get a rifle chambered in .308 Win.  While not everyone might like a .300 Win Mag rifle, everyone should own at least one in .308, right?  And let’s bring the price of entry down, too, and go cheap and dirty (one of my personal favorite approaches, anyway).

Here’s my thinking on the rifle:  something inexpensive, like this Savage 12 FV, which typically sells for less than $450:

…or this Remington 700 ADL Varmint, for  about $50 more:

…or this Savage 10T-SR for about $100 more than that:

…but whatever rifle I get, I will be putting some decent glass on it like the Burris Veracity or Vortex Viper, but whatever brand it turns out to be, it will likely be 5-25x50mm (30mm tube).

NOTE:  I should point out that in the current gun-buying frenzy that we find ourselves in, I will be forced to choose from places that have whichever of these items actually in stock (at time of writing, all the above are thus, but that’s no guarantee in a week’s time).

The lucky winner will be getting a rifle that is well sighted in, and a proven record of accuracy, in a popular caliber.

Now for the fun stuff:  the funding — and pay attention, because things are different this time.

Ticket cost is $25 BUT — unlike in times past — you may buy as many tickets as you wish.  Yes, this means that the 1% will have a better chance of winning than the Pore & Starvin (i.e. folks like me).    I can’t help that.  The reason I’m lifting the restriction on ticket sales is that I’m going to need some overflow moolah to be able to afford the trip, so what doesn’t get spent on the rig will go towards defraying the cost of attendance.

Also, this time you don’t have to send me a paper check, as I’ve finally figured out how to get the proper output from PayPal — but if you’d rather stick with paper like last year, that’s okay too.  Just make a note in the PayPal entry that it’s earmarked for Boomershoot NoR Lucky Guy. (Thankee to all who pointed out the PayPal problem.)  Anyone who’s not interested in the rifle but still wants to help out with the expenses, you are fine and wonderful and have my blessing.

Let’s get this show on the road.


Oh and by the way:  if anyone has an issue or any bad history with the specific rifles, let me know.