Saturday, September 23, 2006

Take me back... shootin

Recipe for an excellent day: Perfect early autumn weather and the opportunity to do some shooting.

I started out on the paper targets at ranges out to 50 yards to confirm my zero and then I started plinking, methodically disintegrating dirt clods and bits of busted clays into smaller and smaller bits. Once my lane became target depleted, I posted more paper targets and practiced shooting from the prone, sitting and standing positions.

Satisfied with the results but not ready to call it a day I took out the steel reactive targets. The challenge, hit four paddles and then the reset and repeat without missing as fast as possible. Suprisingly the Mountie kept pace with the autoloaders for aimed shots and not suprisingly outperformed the autoloaders accuracy wise. Good clean fun and it took me back a few decades. A day later and I'm still grinning. Life is good!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Beyond the Scope

I have resisted scoping any of my Marlin leverguns but was always curious how much better they would shoot if scoped so yesterday I mounted a Leupold 1-4x shotgun/muzzleloader scope on my Mountie and tested three brands of ammo.

At 25 yards:
Federal 550 bulk ammo: groups all could be covered with a quarter and some with a nickle.
Aguila SE subsonic: all groups nickle and two with a dime
RWS Target: All groups nickle or smaller, one was 3 in a hole with two not quite touching.

I wasn't able to shoot at the longer ranges due to hunter sight in.

Before I left I took the scope off and put the ol' factory sights back on and shot a few groups. While the scoped groups were superior, the open sight groups were close to as good. I would say within a 1/4" and probably closer to 1/8" on most. The difference was most evident in the RWS ammo and least so with the Federal.

I also scoped my Guide Gun to experiement at longer ranges. While I didn't shoot my best ever groups with it at 100 yards it was slightly more consistent. I think with practice I could get five in <1" with a scope. I believe that in low light conditions the scope would be superior but I prefer the handiness of an unscoped rifle in the field. Luckily, my eyes are still good enough for the factory open sights and I will continue to hunt with them in this configuration as long as I am able.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A walk in the woods

We are getting more and more crowded. The more of us there are, the more room we take up. Some of that room is/was in places where solitude could be found. Sadly those places are disappearing.

When the opportunity to enjoy a little elbow room away from the masses I try to take advantage of it. Exploration and discovery invigorate the spirit. Life feels less complicated and more in tune. Those are treasured moments.

To become a rifleman one needs these spaces to develop. Shooting targets at the range is enjoyable and a great place to get the repetitions required to be safe with your rifle, however, these tools were designed to be used in unconfined spaces. Learning to safely carry and operate your firearm in the arena it was meant to be employed is the next step and cannot be accurately duplicated within the pages of a book, indoors or a restricted environment.

Beneath a big sky with distant horizons or within a cathedral of ancient trees a rifleman can discover his limitations and adapt to the different textures of the environment. A rifleman defines himself by the choices he makes in the field. A rifleman is responsible for the safe and ethical use of his rifle in the field and must accept the consquences of his actions. Acknowledging this is key to preserving our shooting heritage.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Variety is the spice of life. I have been blessed with some variety in the form of a Marlin 1895. You can read about my exploration of the big bore Marlin at;

The big bore experience has enriched my shooting enjoyment. The contrast between a 45-70 and 22 lr is vast though I find them complimentary. The Mountie greatly sharpens my technique by allowing inexpensive repetition. Each shot with the 1895 requires focus and this mitigates mindless wasting of rimfire ammo.

I am blessed.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Five in a dime.

This 5 shot group was produced with the open sighted Marlin 39A Mountie sitting 25 yards from the target with Federal (wally world) 550 bulk pack ammo.

I wouldn't call this group typical but it is representive of its potential. The shooter, your's truely, will more often than not send a flier or two outside of the main group. Still, this ammo shoots consistently and impressively out of most of my rimfires.

At 100 yards the groups expand to ~3" with the open sights resting the forarm on a sandbag. Sub 2" three and four shot groups and common. The groups center around 4" low using the 25 yard zero. Two indents up on the rear sight ramp puts them point of aim.

The Federal 550 Bulk ammo outperforms the CCI Mini Mag ammo in velocity and accuracy at less than half the price. It is the best value in rimfire ammuntion that I am aware of.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Rimfire Chronograph data

Marlin 39A- 24" Barrel
Marlin 39A Mountie- 20" Barrel
Marlin 39TDS- 16" Barrel

The Ammo

Fedral 550 Bulk Pack ammo
, 36 grains HP bullet, copper "plated"
39A : Average velocity 1263 fps (Highest was 1283, lowest was 1237)
Mountie Average 1254 fps (hi 1297, low 1230)
39TDS Average 1251 fps (high 1292, low 1216)

Notes: claimed velocity on box says 1280. This ammo shoots well in a wide variety of my rimfires, including autoloaders. The accuracy is very good in all of my Marlins.

Aguilla SE Subsonic
38grains lead hollow point
39A average 984 (high 1000, low 937.2)
Mountie average 994 (high 1023, low 984)
TDS average 1007 fps (high 1024, low 993)

Notes: This ammo has proven to be accurate in a wide variety of my rimfires. Only Match ammo has surpassed it in guns that shoot it well. It does NOT cycle any of my autoloaders. On most days this ammo will produce the best groups. Today it was true in my 39A and Mountie. Interestingly the 16" Barreled 39TDS produced the highest Velocity with this ammo.

CCI CB Longs 29g RN lead
39A (it was hard to tell these even when off in this gun) 677 avg (681 high, 668 Low)
Mountie 675 avg (720 high, 636 low)
TDS 668 average (674 high, 652 low)

Notes: Only the TDS (1/2" @ 25 yards) and my Single Six shoot this what I would consider "well". The Mountie shoots it OK (~1" at 25 yards). Most of my rimfires do NOT shoot this well. It is very quiet in long barrels.

CCI Mini Mag
40g copper coated, solids
39A 1255 avg (1272 high, 1230 low)
Mountie 1225 avg (1243 High, 1191 low)
TDS 1221 avg (1244 high, 1202 low)

Notes: Of my three 39's the Mountie shoots this the best. It is a little less accurate than the Fedral Bulk at more than twice the cost so I rarely use it.

CCI Blazer
, RN lead 40g (more than 20 years old, probably closer to thirty...)
39A 1230 avg (1242 high, 1214 low)
Mountie 1203 avg (1216 high, 1178 low)
TDS did not shot.
Notes: Shoots a little dirty. Mountie shoots these very well.

Other random notes:

-The Chrony Alpha Master model was easy to use and I had it set up in minutes with NO previous experience.
-The Mountie is my least finnicky rimfire. It'll shoot almost anything well and usually pretty close to the same spot at 25 yards. Beyond that stuff seperates vertically.
-The TDS is the most finnicky of my 39's, but it will shoot the CB longs the best.
-Temperature was ~65* during the time I was shooting.
-Most were 10 shot strings though some were longer.
-Chronograph was 12 feet in front of the barrel

Learning the Ropes

From the top:
  • Marlin 39A 1970's vintage
  • Marlin 39A Mountie 1960's vintage
  • Marlin 39TDS vintage unknown (mfr 1988-1995)
They say variety is the spice of life. I would agree.

If I could only have one, I'd take the Mountie but I sure would miss the other two.

Friday, May 12, 2006

My Favorite Marlin

The goal: Post field tests and data about my favorite Marlin, the Golden 39A Mountie.