Unfortunately it’s not me, it’s the equipment.
I was fine tuning my rifles to get ready for my elk hunk this Friday, Oct. 16 at the Ben Avery Range. I was something of an interest to some of the other shooters. 8 other shooters stopped to watch me and ask questions about my rifle. Apparently they were watching my target through their spotting scopes, curious that I was shooting a muzzleloader at 200 yards. Many thought I was just messing around but were stunned that a smokepole (muzzleloader) could shoot accurately and consistently at that range. Granted this is not a traditional muzzloader. My muzzleloader is a Thompson Center Encore Endeavor, which is modern in-line, but still a muzzleloader.
I was shooting 126 grains of FF Pyrodex Triple 7 with Barnes TMZ 250 grain bullets. These are solid copper 45 caliber bullets in 50 caliber sabots. Check out my last target. It’ll get better because the gun is brand new, not yet seasoned. By spring I should be able to cut the size of this group in half.
Again, Unfortunately it’s not me, it’s the equipment: I was shooting from a bench.
But you want to see something really amazing? I checked the zero on the same target with my new Thompson Center Icon in 30 TC caliber 165 grain. You can’t see the group because it is under my ring finger in the above photo. Last five rounds from the second box – that would be shot numbers 36,37,38,39 and 40. My Sako, Ruger or Browning can’t come anywhere near this with factory or custom ammo. My Sako AII in 308 with a custom trigger and target crown can get close, but only with custom handloads and a lot of patience waitng for the barrel to cool. The Icon is right out of the box and the rounds off the shelf at Cabela’s and shot bang, bang, bang with the barrel heated up after 27 rounds.
As I said, I wish I could brag. But shooting from a solid benchrest makes it a lot easier. Remember, this is Hornady factory ammo, not custom reloads. The powder for these rounds is not yet available to the public for handloads. The 30 TC round is a little smaller than a 308 Winchester but 75 to 100 feet per second faster than a 30-06. Also remember this is a lightweight sporting rifle, not a heavy barrel target rifle. Can’t wait to reload this round someday.
Something else that is unfortunate is that the Icon is not selling well. Thompson Center is not one of the big names like Remington or Ruger. But this little company developed the Icon with a short, compact action, adjustable trigger, 3 lug bolt (most bolt actions are 2 lug), recessed target style crown, button rifled with 5R rifling and receiver integrated picatinny rail. AND the rifle comes factory bedded wiht an aluminum integrated bedding block. All this for around a $1,000.00 retail. Shooters used to spend in excess of $3,000 to get these same features without the 5R rifling.
If I find the elk herds this weekend, it’ll be all the steak I can eat the rest of the year.
Can I brag a little?
I know, I know, only IF I find the elk.