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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2014-07-25
2100-2200
90F
15 mph SW

Equipment: 5.56 upper with eotech, ir laser, bump helmet, pinnacle and L3 pvs-14s. Federal Lake City 62gr grn tip.

Activity: Moving everything over to 5.56 rifle as a roll pen fell out of the .22LR and it will not go back in tightly. This disabled the bolt carrier latch on the upper and thus disables the upper. I called PA. They are sending me a new bolt carrier group to improve the performance of the system with a timney trigger, which they got and have been testing. They will also send me some roll pins. Besides making a perfect gun, your only other option, is to try to help your customers address issues, and these guys seem to be doing it.



Note in the pic, the bipod is shown to keep the rifle upright. The eotech 3x magnifier is not shown. The PVS-14 3x magnifier, shown, is not used in immediately subsequent exercises. The attachments shown would not all be used together, but needed to be fitting to make room for all plausible attachments for current goals.

So Eotech, laser, 14 base, now on 5.56 upper. Starting over!

First zeroing on left target at twilight with eotech and no magnifier at 25yds, standing un supported. No night vision for these shots. Target was very dark and hard to see. But I could barely see it so I went ahead.

Group01, Shot01 (G01.01) Low right, cranked 4 up and 4 left on the eotech
G01.02 Shift up and left but not enough. Cranked 2 left and 1 up.
G01.03 Hit left. G01 Score 16

G02 Then put 14 on the rifle with nv reticle and no magnification. Group 2 is low. Hum. Does this mean I need to adjust when adding the PVS-14? I guess I've always used the magnifier on the 14 before and I didn't have to adjust. G02 score 16



All remaining groups used PVS-14s, no magifier, 25yds standing unsupported.

G03 - decent group but low, cranked up 4 clicks Score 18
G04 - decent group still low, cranked up 6 clicks Score 21
G05 - took too much time aiming, group still low, cranked up 8 clicks. I was begining to wonder what was happening to my clicks. Score 17
G06 - Ok, this group was on target. Score 27
G07 - First group using laser and PVS-14 on rifle, NV reticle turned off. Reasonable regarding average elevation and windage, but bloom on the laser obscures target. Have to move laser onto target and guess when there. Score 24
G08 - Too many holes in the center of the target, to tried to aim exactly between the two targets. score NA
G09 - Tried to aim high right. Score NA

What did I learn from this? Well, my reaction is why did it take so many clicks to get zeroed? I need to try to find out how the eotech clicks work. With regular scopes, things are very predictable. I'm not there yet with the eotech.
I may need to try a less flat, less reflective target surface with the ir laser. These flat, reflective surfaces generate too much bloom. Maybe I'll use some old rug pieces.

As to those two tight groups G03, G04, I was surprised, especially as they were back to back. I was firing quickly and just focusing on the reticle and trying to see the reticle with black around it (the black circle) and when I did I fired. It seems the faster I aim/fire, the tighter the group. This is a whole different way of thinking from what I've been trying to do a longer ranges ... aim constantly and squeeze slowly. This is aim quick/fire. I hope I don't forget all I've learned about long range shooting !!! Although, maybe that is nothing ! :)

==
2014-07-26
1330-1430
90F
10 mph SW

Equipment: 5.56 upper with eotech, 3x magnifier, 62gr.

Activity: Checking zero at 100yds, all shots standing unsupported.

Group 01 - Fired 3 rd group at 25yds. This is the left target. No magnifier. Score 29/30



Group 02 - Fired 3 rd group at 100yds with 3x magnifier. Was high and left. Score 17/30
Group 03 - Decided to try same over without the magnifier, this 3 rd group was high and left, same as with magnifier. That was what I wanted to see. So I cranked down 3 and right 3. I haven't been able to find anyone who will tell me what a click on an eotech is, so I'm just guessing. Score 7/30
Group 04 - This group was a little less high and more centered. No magnifier. Score 18/30
Group 05 - In cases like this FM 3-22.9 says to use "bold adjustments" so I went down 8 clicks. Got some wobble this time, but was low and a little left. No magnifier. Score 17/30.
Group 06 - Up 3 clicks and right 2 clicks. No magnifier. Score 25/30.
Group 07 - Added magnifier, more wobble. Score 18/30.

Avg Score at 100yds: 17
Avg Score at 100yds with magnifier: 17.5
Avg Score at 100yds without magnifier: 16.75

So, what did I learn from this?

101 - From 25 to 100yds, the 5.56 round is climbing. I'd say I already knew that, but I reconfirmed it today :).
102 - The magnifier does not seem to affect to POI. There are two ways it might (A) If it was adjusted wrong (B) If it caused me to "aim harder" and thus spread out my shots. The magnifier does help me see the target better, but dispite that, does not seem to actually help me hit better. I've trying to build up confidence to reduce use of magnifier, so this is helping.

Next time (night) I will try thermal and ir laser again at 100yds.
 

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At 25 yards and you are not using a silencer and subsonic ammo, no need to be so techy.
12 gauge semi auto and tritium night sights and a good light.
Make it a Mossberg 930 SPX for me at that range after dark.

Are you going hunting for Varmints?
I'm thinking home defense at night with the shotgun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Purpose of this practice is several fold. Immediate purpose is Hog/Coyote hunting in Texas this fall. Expect distances to be between 25 and 200yds.
Other purposes are equipment familiarity and improvement of results from standing unsupported position.

==

Home Defense shotguns already secured.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
2014-07-27
2200-2330
80F
10 mph W

Equipment: 5.56 upper with eotech, ir laser, thermal, bump helmet, pinnacle and L3 pvs-14s. Federal Lake City 62gr grn tip.



Activity: Fired 10 rounds with thermal at left target and 3 rounds with ir laser at right target at 100yds standing unsupported. Goal is to get within a 9 inch circle from 100yds standing unsupported. The 7 ring is 8 inches, the 6 ring is 10 inches, so 6.5 is the goal. Thermal rounds were 6 out of 10 within this goal, all ir laser rounds were within this goal. The average for the thermal was 5.7 points per round. We need to be 6.6 points per round or better.



No magnifiers were used. The thermal was in front of the EoTech. The ir laser was seen from the L-3 14 on the left eye, with the pinnacle tube removed from the helmet.

I aimed both thermal and ir laser by moving in from the side, thermal from the left, ir laser from the right.

As no further adjustments seem to be needed, it is about aim/fire technique. I think more groups, with smaller numbers of rounds might help the aim/fire technique more than less groups of larger numbers of rounds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
2014-07-28
2230-2330
80F
5 mph W

Environment: MW highly visible. Found Cassiopeia clearly for the first time in months and from there found Andromeda, this was with PVS-14 on head. I do not see Orion. I guess it is below the NW horizon.
Best cow munching grass is knee to waist high, lots of stalks chest high, a few nose high and bumb me in the face when walking through the pasture. I saw one stalk last night over my head. We should cut the prairie hay in another 3 weeks give or take.

Activity: Fired 3 rd group with thermal at left target (hand warmer underneath bull of target. And fired 3 rd group with ir laser and l-3 pvs-14 on head. Aim/fire technique was move reticle/laser on to target from below and when on target squeeze trigger quickly.

Results similar for both sides. Goal is to hit 9 inch circle ... which includes the inner half of the 6 ring on these targets. Both thermal and laser had 2 "hit" out of 3.



G01 - Thermal. Score 15/30. Avg per round 5.
G02 - IR Laser. Score 19/30. Avg per round 6.3

From an average per round perspective we need 6.6 or above. Right now, for past several days, my average is

I stopped early as neighbor from 1.5 miles away mentioned he could hear it when I shoot the "big guns". He wasn't complaining, but then, I don't want any complaints. That particular neighor goes out at night, most don't. My wife half a mile from my shooting spot, but in the house cannot hear. Those outside can probably hear for 3 miles away, depending on direction. Sound travels pretty well most nights. I should be using .22LR for what I'm doing now, but .22LR down waiting for parts, so using 5.56 instead. I'll try to do three 3 round groups at each target next time.

The problem is I'm not sure I could tell the difference between the low shots and the "on target" shots. In other words, I don't think I could "call" these shots. I will try to do that explicitly next time.

For past 2 days, thermal average is 5.54 per round, ir laser average is 6.67 per round. Overall average is 5.89 per round. This is 5.89/6.6 = 89.3% of the goal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
2014-07-30
2200-2330
70F
3 mph W

Environment: Somehow PVS-14s are seeing better tonight, there is some cloud cover, but I could see Cass and Andromeda clearly. I could also see (just barely) both black target circles, with NV. On several previous nights I have not. I had just seen the outline of the target board.

Equipment: 5.56, 62gr, eotech with day reticle behind thermal (white hot). IR laser with L-3 PVS-14 on left eye. Right pinnacle PVS-14 swung out, except when driving the buggy. Hand warmer behind left target center. Using NRA 100yd s/b. Firing standing unsupported, but pulled "ace from sleeve", this being use of sling for first time recently. It "felt" like it reduced "wobble".

Activity:

Group01: Fired 3 rd group at left target with thermal. Had good target visibilty, so I "wondered" each shot in from a bit to the right.
Group02: Fired 3 rd group at right target with ir laser. I came at the target center (area, bloom still obscuring target once laser reaches) from low right.

Checked targets:
Group01 with thermal group is ok. Score is 23/30.
Group02 with IR Laser is 5 inches low and 1.5 inches right. Score is 6/30 (new low !)

No change to thermal, decided to aim at top of target (see red cross on pic) with ir laser.

Group03: Fired 3 rds at left target with thermal. Called second round low and third round high. As before moved reticle from right.

Group04: Fired 3 rd group at right target with ir laser, holding 6 inches high. This time moved laser to target from directly below so I could see high side of target, aim point, until trigger pulled.



Checked targets:
Group03 has one aberant round. Was this high called round? Score 21.
Group04 1 inch high, half inch left. Score 24/30.

Average scores tonight:

thermal 6 rounds, 7.33 per round (need to be over 6.6)

ir laser 6 rounds, 5 per round (not moving closer to 6.6 goal)

overall thermal avg, 19 rounds, 6.1
overall ir laser avg, 12 rounds 5.9

overall average at 100yds, 31 rounds, 6.0

So about 10% below goal.

Learnings: Looking back at previous pics, ir laser has been low, just didn't notice until tonight. Need to crank ir laser up a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
2014-08-01
2200-2300
70F
8 mph E

Environment: What I call a "quarter moon" at about 30 deg on the SW sky. I'm shooting along the East edge of a tree line, so not much moon showing through on my side. But it lights up the pasture, which rises to my East. My targets and I are in the shadows. Clouds moderate covering, Big Dipper, Cass, Andromeda not visible, though many stars were. I am in low ground so no wind interferce.

Equipment: Usual, 5.56, eotech, thermal, ir laser, dual 14s, sling. First time with Federal Lake City 55gr. Haven't noticed any difference with the 62gr, but they are cheaper. And people with steel targets don't get as upset. The 45acp is carried and has CT grip ir laser.



Activity: 5 rds at each target - thermal left, ir laser right. I walked back and forth after 2nd, 4th and last rounds for the ir laser. The best ir laser round was the 5th one, the highest one in the center and I was holding a little high (top of the black). With the thermal I was approaching from the left, with the ir laser from the right. In both cases, the variation was in the windage dimension. I tightened the sling before the session. I tried to zero the ir laser before the session, but it still seems a little low, but not as much as before. I need to aim at something other than the target to zero it. It doesn't matter where I aim. I am trying to line it up with the eotech reticle, in nv mode with the pinnacle 14 weapons mounted. I don't shoot it like that these days, but that is how I zero it. I did point the laser at various spots around the pasture and the narrowest beam is against some trees about 500 yds away, so next time I'll point the reticle and laser over there while zeroing. Then I'll have a small solid point to line up with the reticle.
So, the thermal zero was 38/50 avg 7.6 and the laser zero was 36/50 avg 7.2 so got lucky and passed for tonight. Trying to beat avg of 6.6 standing unsupported at 100yds.



Next I will shoot, move, shoot, move, shoot from three (somewhat) unknown range spots between about 150yds and 50yds to try to understand the extent of any holds needed. I'll walk a bounded random distance 30-50yds in a bounded random direction +/- 45 degrees off line to target. Goals are, to help develop muscle memory for the holds and to keep practicing with thermal and laser at night. To shoot three times, I'll need three targets. Two shots per target. Will need to repeat for thermal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
2014-08-03
1100-1230
70F
8 mph East

Environment: Wind increasing from the East, sprinkle turning to rain towards the end of the exercise.

Equipment: 5.56 with Eotech, sling, 55gr.

Activity: 8 rounds at left target, 8 rounds at right target, in 2 round groups at 4 different distances for each target, shoot/move, shoot/move. On the left target, I was moving up and down the buggy trail on the East edge of a wood line, so these ranges are fairly well known. On the right target, I was moving in the open pasture, so distances more of a guess.

Left:
G01 - 50yds
G02 - 100yds
G03 - 130yds
G04 - 75yds

Right:
G05 - 40yds
G06 - 75yds
G07 - 125yds
G08 - 80yds


Score was 49/80 on the left target and 56/80 on the right target. This is 6.125 on the left and 7 on the right on average, with the overall average being 6.5625, just below the goal of 6.6. In all cases, I was doing "aim/fire" by moving the reticle from below onto the target and firing. A fluid motion, no "dwelling" on the target.



I didn't worry about the wind moving the bullet, but it was moving me, increasing wobble a little, so I stood feet side by side. Some folks put feet, front to rear, some 45 degree off builet path and some side by side facing target. I reserve right to switch between each of these options depending on circumstances :).

Next, we will repeat this same exercise at night, with the thermal on the left and PVS-14 + ir laser on the right.

==
2014-08-03
2130-2230
70F
10 SSE

Environment: Wind almost due behind bullet path, but felt in the low ground. Moon was half moon, by the way I call it. Targets are in tree line on opposite side of woods from moon, so still in shadow.

Equipment: 5.56 with Eotech, sling, 55gr, 3x day mag behind eotech behind thermal. ir-laser with pvs-14 on left eye.

Actity: 6 rounds at left target, 6 rounds at right target, in 2 round groups at three different ranges, about 50yds, 80yds and 120yds. Fire/move, f/m, f. Scores were 44/60 on left, thermal side and 37/60, ir-laser on right side. This is 7.33 avg per bullet with thermal and 6.166 with ir-laser.
Overall average was 6.75.



I was doing the "aim/shoot" fluid motion and fire thing faster the farther out I went. Also the 3x magnifier may have helped the thermal side. It certainly helped see the target better.

==
So how to improve consistency?
In the past month, since I've been focused on standing unsupported, I've noticed it has gotten easier, my non-firing arm (left) doesn't get muscle fatigue as quickly. It is either getting stronger, or more efficient at supporting the weapon (or both). I do some dry firing with .308, 7.62 and even .303B in the house and I use weights (dumb bells) a little also. Perhaps more of this type of activity is indicated. If the arm can more easily support the weapon, that should reduce "wobble".
Also, I believe the aim/fire fluid motion results in low hits. I noticed this at the class I took on 21 June. Even though I was zeroed with the EoTech, I had to aim high it order to hit where I wanted to hit. Perhaps that is due to the fluid motion thing? Perhaps more day firing at consistent distances can work out whether this is really true.

I'd like to get the .22LR upper back up, I think I could do more with it. I feel a bit constrained shooting the "loud" ammo after 10pm as my general rule is to do that rarely. There is some subsonic 5.56 but it is around $1 per round.

To determine the exact holds, I should use the 5.56, but that can mostly be done in the day. I see the same need to aim high, in the day or the night.

I'll also try to get the DVR going and take some 'movies'. It is often possible to see a "white dot" after firing with the thermal, when a hole is made in the target (but not on the heating pad itself).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
2014-08-04
2130-2330
70F

Environment: Half moon, stars visible.

Equipment: No weapons, observation devices only. PVS-14 on bump helmet, walking stick a thermal in hands. Other pvs-14 with 3x in pack. 3x for thermal in pack. Quart of water, Bushnell lrf in pack.

Activity: Walked to North pasture area where we have already cut the brome and alfalfa, then took out thermal. Stood still for several minutes in several places. Got about 40m of video overall, but it is mostly pretty boring. The rabbit sat there for many minutes, until I "stomped" my stick on the ground and it moved away.

Same with the rodent. It went about its business, until I stomped my stick, then it moved.


All in all, I saw four creature groups with the thermal and three of them got recorded. Of course the “one that got away” was the coyote :D. S/he was the third creature I saw. Some humans on the road a half mile away were making some noise, so this coyote was coming away from them running from one tree line to another across our alfalfa patch. It was in my view maybe 10s. I had been stationary. I had the thermal up to my right eye and the pvs-14 on my left. It was like a “pic in pic” image. The PVS-14 was the big circle and in the lower third of that circle was the thermal circle. Anyway, once I realized it was a coyote, I flicked on the DVR. But by the time it came up and started recording … er, the coyote got away :D.
Seriously, there was a coyote and seriously I had the DVR on “standby” and flicked it to “on” shouldn’t it come up right away?

Rabbit:




Rodent:




Grazers:



I put a 32GB SD in the DVR, so next time, when I get to the "creature observation area" I'll just turn it on a leave it on.

==
Tonight was primary focus on observation and secondarily on load carrying. I’ve taken just about everything I have on my list out to the field a few times, but not as much, all together, as I’d have to carry, if I was going on foot, even just for a few hours.


Anyway, I got hot and sweaty walking around out there for 2 hours tonight and I saw some creatures. Now I understand about that “recognition” thing people talk about. I saw quite a few “white shapes” (I was mostly on white hot) but not all of them ever moved, so probably not all white shapes were alive. But some did move and some had recognizable shapes and less recognizable movements. I now realizing that learning how the different creatures move is critical to recognition, but I don’t think that will come in 4 more trips. Maybe 400.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
2014-08-06
2130-2300
70F
10 mph SE

Environment: Rain, starting light, switching to moderate, then back to light towards the end of the session. All equipment performed fine with no issues. Nothing fogged up, not the 14 or the thermal!

Equipment: 14 on left eye (helmet), thermal handheld, on right eye when not moving. Walking stick in left hand.

Activity: Went to South pasture tonight. The prairie grass is not cut in this pasture, so average grass height is around waist high, though many stems are chest high and a few are over my head. I did not see any creatures other than cows in the neighbors pasture immediately to my South. They were right along the fence, so got some images of them.
I tried to "fuze" the i^2 and thermal images and was able to do so by moving the thermal over my right eye just right. I'm only taking pics through the thermal so I can't show the merged image. But it happened in several cases, like when I looked at the wind generator, I was able to fuze on this specific object.
I did a lot of panning of the wood lines on the edges of the pasture, but with the grass so high, I was unable to see any creatures. Next trip will be back to the North pasture, where the grass is cut.

Close Cow



I was trying to focus thermal on this cow. Need more practice, to even understand what "focused" looks like!


Pond



The first patch of white we see is a group of rocks on a hill side, then I pan left to a pond. The two white dots to the left of the pond are small pools of water on the "bridge" over the dam of the pond.


Group of cows



Distance to the closest cows is about 100yds, to the farthest away about 300yds.


Apologies for the poor images ... I'll keeping practicing with the focus!
==
2014-08-09
1400-1530
90F
5 mph East

Environment: Hot, clear. Pasture grass runs from knee high to over my head in a few places. We will hay the main pasture in 2-3 weeks.

Equipment: 5.56 with eotech, sling and 55gr. Also had Bushy 1600 lrf.

Activity: Two interations of the following: Verify the distance, shoot, move, shoot, verify distance, move shoot, verify distance, check targets. Two rounds at each target, standing unsupported (with sling).


First Iteration

Group 01 - lased at 128, 2 rds on left target, I was afraid of missing to the left, so I hit too far to the right. The targets were in the tree line in the shadows, even though it was very sunny. It was hard to see the targets, but that is fine. Of group 01, if a "hit" is a round solidly on the creature, then we got one hit and one miss.

Group 02 - lased at 98, 2 rds on center target, one hit and one miss.

Group 03 - lased at 65 yds, 4 rds on right target. I felt like I was far to the left with one round, so I fired a follow up shot and I felt like I was far to the right with another round, so I fired another followup shot, so four shots all together. None, were solid hits on the creature, but one was close. In general I was low. I was moving on to the target from below, so I was shooting too quickly.



Second iteration

Group 04 - lased at 131, 2 rds on left target, one on the creature, one close but low. There is a piece of wood to the left of this target, I'm afriad of hitting, so I am consistenly hitting to the right.

Group 05 - 84 yds, 2 rds on center target, one on the creature, one close but low.

Group 06 - 61 yds, 2 rds on right target, one on the creature, one close but low.

Well 6/14 is 43% on these fairly small targets, that in real life I'd probably be shooting at under 50yds. But as a tougher challenge to simulate the coyotes and hogs that will be the real targets this fall, 43% isn't as bad as it sounds.
I'm still curious why I seem to be consistently more off as I get closer. Am I just huffin' and puffin' more?

Some aspects of running around the pasture and shooting standing unsupported between 50 and 150yds are the same whether day or night and some aspects are different. Today, I was just practicing those things that are the same. I'm standing, I'm holding the rifle with the sling. I'm aiming at hard to see targets and deciding when to pull the trigger, I'm deciding when I think I "flubbed" the shot and taking an extra shot. And I'm lasing the distances.

I would try to do all those things at night, though lasing the targets would not always be possible, but I want to get into the habit of doing it. We don't really need to do it when this close up, but right now I KNOW it is under 150yds and in real life at night, if we see some coyote or hogs in the distance, we might want to know whether it is 250 or 200 or 150. I want to practice being the the guy who can answer. Whether we advance on a group of hogs would depend on the situation, but if we did, it would be line abreast.

I really need to practice more with the laser, but that will have to be at night.

Observing creatures, with the thermal, changing batteries in all devices and aiming with the laser, those are the things I most need to practice at night.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
2014-08-09
2130-2300
80F
8 mph SE

Environment: Almost full moon, fairly clear 15% cloud cover (?). Stars visible. Enough of a breeze to take the edge of the heat, was wearing tee shirt.

Equipment: Thermal with 3x magnifier and dvr in right hand. PVS-14 on bump helmet on left eye.

Activity: Walked into North pasture area, specifically the alfalfa patch. I thought I was going to move through it, but I immediately saw one deer and then after panning, 2 more. I proceeded to close on the first, smallest, closest deer. I walked 10 steps and stopped for 2 minutes and repeated.



I moved to and then along the South tree line of the alfalfa patch. The PVS-14 saw an empty open field, the thermal saw three deer grazing along the eastern tree line of that same field.
When I got to about 100yds, the thermal died. I had no free spare batteries, thus failing my secondary mission (to change batteries in the field). Hopefully, I will learn the lesson and have some spares next time. I was able to switch the dvr into standby mode and bring the thermal back up. One of the dvr functions is that it can provide backup power to the thermal and that worked fine. The thermal remained up for the duration of the session, but that was the end of dvr recording. :(



I continued forward and got to about 60yds out and still the deer had not detected me. And that point, I decided there was no further purpose in proceeding forward. So I began to back away. I took 20 steps and then stopped. WHen I checkted the deer, their "ears where up" ... i.e. their radar was active ... they had detected me with my 20 steps sufficienty to turn on their radar. I took another 20 steps, no change. Then I took 30 steps. The small deer was now running to the woods. Soon the medium one followed, the larger, farthest away one remained in the pasture as I moved out of sight.

I need to bring spare 123 batteries to the field. I have spare AA and 9v, but no 123s. This needs to be corrected. If I want to remain stealthy with these deer, I need to stick with the 10 steps and stop for 2m routine. I was approaching from the SW, the wind was from the SE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
2014-08-10
2130-2230
80F
0 mph

Environment: Warm, no wind, full moon rising in the ESE. Some clouds overhead.

Equipment: I got a new lower for the .22lr upper. The lower I use with my 5.56 upper is more custom and has a Timney trigger and there is suspiscion that the timney trigger and the .22lr upper don't play well together. The good news is that there were no feed issues with this more mil spec lower. Used the thermal on top with the internal reticle. This was the first time I'd tried the internal reticle. Still using am22 ammo until I use most of it up.

Activity: One of my buddies was with me. I fired a 5 rd group from 25 yds standing unsupported and got this on dvr. I had no idea if the thermal reticle was zeroed. Apparently it was as I hit the hand warmer 4 times out of 5 and was close the other. The big, light white square around the target is 4 inches by 4 inches.
My buddy then emptied a 25 rd mag just to test the system, there were no feed issues. The .22lr worked fine, except the bolt will not lock to the rear. I called Plinker Tactical / Arms today and they said the new lighter bolt was in the mail.





==
2014-08-14
2100-2200
70F
3 mph East

Activity: Added new laser-max ir laser to .22lr. I want to leave the other one on the 5.56 upper. Also put L&S 3.5-10x scope on .22lr to use to zero the ir laser. I tried to use the PVS-14 on helmet (left side) to see thru the L&S to zero the laser. This was not ideal. I got close, but I think it will be more efficient to put the ATN g3A device in front of the day scope, so I will try that for final zeroing of the laser.

Then I need to verify the thermal reticle and ir laser zeros in the field and then the .22lr will be setup for night practice.


==
2014-08-15
2100-2200
70F
10 mph SE

Environment: Intermittant rain. Getting darker earlier, that is good.

Equipment: .22LR, 3.5-10x L&S with PS-22 g3a tube, laser max-ir laser. Tripod. PVS-14 on helmet.

Activity: Trying to zero ir-laser at 25yds. Got close previous night, but adding clipon in front tonight to tighten up.



G01 (6 rounds) on tripod confirming zero of clipon. Score 49/6 (avg 8.16)

G02 (6 rounds) on tripod, using laser but also looking through scope so seeing reticle through clipon as well. The center of the reticle looking a little low and right when the laser was centered on the target. Score 43/6 (avg 7.16)

G03 (5 rounds) on tripod, laser only seen through pvs-14 on helmet, not using scope. Score 18/5 (avg 3.6)
Obviously we are low and right!

G04 (4 rounds, 1 jam) on tripod, laser only. Score 10/4 (avg 2.5) Low, but more centered.

G05 (4 rounds, 1 jam) on tripod, laser only. Score 29/4 (avg 7.25) less low, centered.

G06 (5 rounds) on tripod, laser only. Score 36/5 (avg 7.2) scattered around the center.

Summary: For me, when zeroing Laser Max IR-Laser, it is more efficient to use a scope and NV clipon, on the rifle. Trying to zero with just the laser results in 6 inches left, 6 inches right, 6 inches left back and forth behavior. Trying to use PVS-14 on helmet looking through the scope, didn't work as well either. So the technique used tonight seemed more efficient. Using the EoTech is fine, but right now, I don't want to move the EoTech off the 5.56 rifle. The EoTech and the ir-laser over there I want to keep there, at least until after hunting season.
The laser-max ir-laser is a good deal for $154 on Amazon, but there are trade-offs and one of them is trying to zero with the little allen wrench outside in the dark. I'm getting better at it, but it is not like zeroing a scope, with easy to turn knobs with positive clicks. Maybe that's the advantage of the $700 ir-lasers !!!
 

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You are making much progress. Thanks for the image uploads.
They are very interesting to study. If you are getting within 60 yards of deer that is pretty good.
Within 30 and you are almost as good as a coyote.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well I got the idea of the walk a few steps and stop and wait, from watching coyotes, but I have no hope to be "almost as good" as a coyote at stalking. They have advantages I could never overcome.

==
2014-08-16
2130-2230
80F
0 mph

Equipment: Confirming ir-laser zero in field, 25 yards, with 3.5-10x, PS-22 and tripod supporting.

Activity:

G01 - Fired 3 rds with scope/ps-22, score 23/3 (avg 7.66)

G02 - Fired 3 rds with ir-laser as seen through pvs-14 on helmet. Score 24/3 (avg 8)

G03 - Fired 6 rds with ir-laser as seen through pvs-14 on helmet. Score 44/6 (avg 7.33)

Summary: The bloom makes it difficult to see the target. I have no filter on the pvs-14 and no filter on the laser. Acquisition of those items is in the works. I do have a filter on the ir-laser on the 5.56 rifle.





2014-08-17
0930-1030
70F
0 mph

Equipment: Confirming Thermal zero in field, 25 yards with 3x magnifier and tripod supporting.

G04-08 - Fired 11 rds with thermal with reticle. This was first time adjusting reticle. There is a menu item called "boresight" it turns out that moves the reticle. The "boresight" has positive and negative integers and comes set to 0 for windage and 0 for elevation. I cranked 5, 10, 15 and 20 on elevation and -5 then +5 on windage, through groups 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 before deciding I was zeroed.

G09 - Fired 5 rounds with thermal to confirm zero. Score 45/5 (avg 9)

Summary: Ok, now both ir-laser and thermal seem zeroed on the .22lr, finally. So now can resume regular program on firing standing unsupported in the pasture and varying the distance to the target. I first I will try distances between 25yds and 100yds. After a few iterations of that exercise, I will resume the night observation walks.

 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
2014-08-22
2100-2230
70F
10 mph S

Environment: No moon, lots of stars, 20% cloud cover. Andromeda visible. Wind moving the wind turbine well, but not felt as strongly on the ground. Some lightening to the SE and West. So good that it is getting dark sooner, now if it will just get a little cooler.

Equipment: Dual 14s on helmet, thermal and ir-laser on .22LR with sling. Also added Harris 6-9 bipod on front of rifle for extra weight up front.

Activity: Drove buggy around the main pasture, about 85 acres, the buggy trail was hard to see in places, but I was able to maintain 80-100% of daylight speed. Coyotes audible to the South and cows visible in South pasture. Set up targets and one hand warmer.

With the ir-laser:
G01 - 15yds, 2 rds. Score 19, avg 9.5
G02 - 25yds, 5 rds. Score 28, avg 5.6
G03 - 25yds, 5 rds. Score 33, avg 6.6
G04 - 37yds, 3 rds. Score 17, avg 5.6
G05 - 37yds, 2 rds. Score 15, avg 7.5



With the thermal:
G06 - 15yds, 2 rds. Score 19, avg 9.5
G07 - 25yds, 2 rds. Score 16, avg 8
G08 - 37yds, 1 rd. Score 9, avg 9

Summary: Apparently the standing unsupported, quick aim/fire technique requires sustained, regular practice as I think I am a bit rusty after almost 2 weeks of slacking off. Harvest time tends to mess with my shooting schedule and that will continue for another 2 weeks roughly.
With the laser at 37yds I was moving the laser onto the target from the left, instead of below. I still have lots of bloom this close up and it is tough to see the targets. I have to look at the other targets to try to judge where the laser is pointed.
I also need to tighten the sling, it was too loose and not helping much.
With the thermal I could see the rounds striking the target, but that doesn't help much as I'm trying to aim at the center of the hand warmer every time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
2014-08-23
2030-2130
80F
5 mph S

Environment: No moon, lots of stars, storm to the SE, dark low clouds and lightening over there.

Equipment: Dual 14s on helmet, thermal and ir-laser on .22LR with sling. Bipod on front of rifle for extra weight up front.

Activity: Set up targets and one hand warmer.

With the ir-laser:
G01 - 15yds, 2 rds. Score 13, avg 6.5
G02 - 25yds, 3 rds. Score 11, avg 3.6
G03 - 37yds, 2 rds. Score 10, avg 5.0
G04 - 25yds, 2 rds. Score 06, avg 3.0
G05 - 37yds, 2 rds. Score 05, avg 2.5
G06 - 50yds, 2 rds. Score 11, avg 5.5



With the thermal:
G07 - 15yds, 2 rds. Score 19, avg 9.5
G08 - 25yds, 2 rds. Score 17, avg 8.5
G09 - 37yds, 2 rds. Score 18, avg 9

Summary: Looks like I am having aiming problems with the ir-laser. Could be bloom, could be needing more practice with the aim/fire technique. Probably both. I will start firing faster, instead of wiggling around so much. I will push out to greater distances also as I'm not seeing a negative correlation between distance and results.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
2014-08-23
2200-2330
80F
5 mph S

Environment: No moon, lots of stars, cloud cover 5%. Wind about 8mph on the high ground but virtually nil on the low ground where I am shooting.

Equipment: Dual 14s on helmet, thermal and ir-laser on .22LR with sling. Bipod on front of rifle for extra weight up front.

Activity: Set up targets and one hand warmer. Shooting is standing unsupported. At 100yds I fired from known distance position, for the 75yds and 50yds I moved in the open pasture and tonight pre-measured with LRF.

Thermal at 100:

G01 - 100yds, 3 rds, score 17, avg 5.6
G02 - 100yds, 3 rds, score 16, avg 5.4

For g01.01 and g01.02 I could see the white holes in the target, so I was "adjusting" ... I couldn't see g01.03 so I assumed it "hit". After checking the target I decided to go with "high-right" as my hold. The elevation for g02 was good, but the windage was too far to the right. It looks like no windage hold is required for the thermal.



With the ir-laser:

G03 - 75yds, 3 rds. Score 19, avg 6.33
G04 - 50yds, 3 rds. Score 21, avg 7

Summary: The grass is very high, plenty of stalk at eye level or above, tough to walk in the pasture, I have to raise my legs high to avoid tripping. We should cut the hay any day now. We've gotten some rain, all summer this summer, unlike last summer, but that keeps the grass growing. This is only my third summer out here, but this is the highest I've ever seen the grass.
I haven't mentioned it, but a rabbit lives near our house and I see it most nights as I am riding back and forth in the buggy. I saw it tonight on the out bound and the in bound trip. It moves fast and then stays still until I get close, then repeats. I'll try to prepare to get a thermal dvr of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
2014-08-24
2130-2230
80F
15 mph S

Environment: No moon, lots of stars, cloud cover 30%. Storm rolling in from SW, low clouds and lightening on three sides NW, SW, SE. I didn't have my foul weather gear, nor was equipment stowed for rain, so I decided to hurry tonight.

Equipment: Dual 14s on helmet, thermal and ir-laser on .22LR with sling. Bipod on front of rifle for extra weight up front. LRF.

Activity: Set up targets and one hand warmer. Shooting is standing unsupported. Fired 6 rounds with thermal at 50yds and 5 rds with ir-laser at 50yds. I had to return to the buggy between those two groups so had to remeasure the distance each time with LRF.

Thermal at 50yds:

G01 - 50yds, 6 rds, score 39, avg 6.5

ir-laser at 50yds:

G02 - 50yds, 5 rds, score 37, avg 7.4



Summary: First shot with thermal was low left, I could see the white dot and adjust. I was unable to see the other rounds POI. I guess even the hand warmer has a "bloom" and if I hit inside that bloom I don't see the white spot. IR-Laser aiming means was coming up towards the target from below. I try to leave just a hit of the black of the target circle showing at the top of the bloom when I fire. I wobbled between the 3rd and 4th round and had to reset and start over, hence it seems like two "sub-groups".
Sling seems to be adjusted correctly now.
LRF requires ranging against the trees and the berm and some guess work. If I'm not careful, the reflection will be off the grass and give a false short reading. I take mutliple readings until I can "decide" which is correct. The readings off the trees are usually 10-20yds farther than off the berm which is maybe 1 yds farther than the actual target berm.
The height of the grass also "splits up" the ir-laser and causes it to get "fuzzier".
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
2014-08-26
2100-2230
80F

Environment: Light rain. No moon or stars tonight, low clouds, pretty dark. Also pretty wet, wore wet suit bottom cover. Lots of spider webs, must have walked through a duzy, I was covered in "silk" for the second half of the session, couldn't get it off of my arms. Decided to enjoy it ;)

EquipmentL .22lr with 7 rounds of 40gr 1070 Eley Match. Sling, thermal, ir-laser, bipod for weight. Dual 14s on helmet and LRF.

Activity: Measured 68-71 yds with lrf, fired 3rds with ir-laser I could not see the black circles, so I had to aim where I thought thought they were.

G01 - 70yds - 3rds - score: 20 avg 6.66

Checked target, changed magazine, measured 78-80yds with lrf fired 3 rds with thermal aiming about 6 inches above suspected location of center of target. I could not see the hand warmer so again I had to aim off of where I thought it was.

G02 - 80yds - 3ds - score: 7 avg 2.33

Walked out to 25yds, could see the hand warmed fired last round, hit hand warmer.

G03 - 25yds - 1rd - score: 9 avg 9



==
Summary: Did not use 3x magnifier on end of thermal tonight. I've decided not to use the 3x magnifier in general. It reduces FOV, can't be used on 5.56 in current setup anyway, as it must fit in front of the eotech. Would require time to put it on and take it off and the take off time would be between observation and firing and this a period of time that needs to be minimized. I don't think having the 3x magnifier would've helped me see the hand warmer any better in this case anyway, but maybe I'm wrong.
I aimed too high with the thermal. I could not see the hand warmer so I tried to hold up 6 inches near the top of the target board, or a little under. The "group" was too high.
With the IR-laser, again I could not see the aiming point, the black circles so had to estimate. This group barely met the goal of > 6.5 avg score.
So tonight shows that for these targets and devices, there are conditions where I can't see the targets with either thermal or i^2 ... that's fine, no surprise there, though this is the first time I've encountered it with these particular devices. At ~75yds we still got 3 out of 6 shots on the black, so call it 50% hits. Below the goal, but perhaps ok given the conditions.
With the LRF, need to aim high to get over the grass. In the current "pin point" mode I'm using, the device returns the lowest reading from the group, that can be way short if you bounce off the grass, which is very easy. In unfamiliar terrain, it will take longer to get estimates of reasonable accuracy. The physical process of aiming the IR laser on the LRF using the PVS-14 on left eye while reading the distance off with the unaided right eye is getting more and more automatic. That process is no longer an issue. The issue is deciding exactly where to aim the ir laser on the LRF to obtain the most meaningful results.
 
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