OK, so I stepped in WAY over my head this weekend. A friend of mine was shooting a small local match (11 shooters total) and invited me to join. I knew everyone there would have guns set up for this, mostly 6mm Benchrest and 308 with way more optic than my 4-16.
I however, wanted to shoot it as a learning experience with my RRA Operator III AR. I was way out gunned and way out skilled. The match would be 30-40 rounds (3 shot groups) at distances from 100 to 500, mostly from the bench.
Saturday was sight in and Sunday was the match. Sight in was rough because it was really set up for those who had very good marks and just need to make .5 moa tweaks. I struggled to get good numbers but oh well.
Sunday went much better. I volunteered to be odd man out when it came to getting paired up in teams. No need for me drag anyone else down and we had an odd number of shooters anyway.
I shot well at 100 and 200, holding sub-moa groups. Trouble was that I couldn't see my own shots so I had a couple decent groups that didn't score very well. First target at 300 was a great example of that. The 3 shot group was 1.25" wide by about 3" tall and centered 3" below the bull. After getting to see that target, I made a correction and shot the second 300 target much better, 12, 12, 10 on the turkey (shoot was a combo of bullseye and animal).
Beyond 300 it got ugly. I will say that my groups were very vertical. For example, at 500 I had a 3" wide group that had a 14" vertical spread. Nowhere near the sub 1" 3-shot group the guy next to me had.
In the past, I have had troubles with poor trigger control. Not jerking the trigger, but lateral movement that causes left/right misses. I was really concentrating on getting straight behind the gun and getting a clean trigger pull. I think my relatively narrow groups proved that I made at least some improvements here.
The vertical component of my groups was a little frustrating. I'm sure some of it was ALL me, in how hard I was settled into the front bags (I don't have a bipod) how hard my cheek was on the stock, etc. However, I'm also guessing that some if may have had to with velocity inconsistency in the ammo. I'm just shooting cheap Fiocchi factory loads with 50gn V-max. They work well for hunting under 200 yds, but I know they aren't designed to perform outside of that.
I think this is going to lead up to a post in the Reloading section, as I am gearing up to start the endeavor. Maybe some 70gn VLD's over Varget or H322 will help, but that's for another thread.
However, for any of you long range shooters, I'm open to hearing any advice or tips that might help me in the future.
We each had our own target out to 300, but shot multiple shooters per target beyond that. I will try to post a couple target photos when I get a chance.