August and September a great time to head to the shooting range
August always brings cool nights and the realization that I have probably not spent enough time at the shooting range. Archery means more reps on my targets, but firearms require a trip to the range, and this week I did just that.
Kraig Kolka is regional factory rep for Sturm Ruger, Inc. I’ve known Kraig for a number of years, we even worked for the same company in a past life, so when he asked me to join him for some range time along with a handful of new Ruger goodies, I quickly agreed. We met at the Duane Corbin Shooting Range between Mosinee and Wausau, here in central Wisconsin.
Also known as Shooting Range County Park, and part of Marathon County’s Nine Mile Recreation Area, Duane Corbin Shooting Range is open to the public May to November and features a trap range, pistol lanes, and covered bench rest shooting from 25 to 300 yards. Targets, clays, ear plugs and other amenities can be even purchased on site. What’s more; the facility is dug-out and bermed, so that shooters can safely check their targets without interrupting other shooters. This is the nicest public range I have ever visited, and day’s shooting will set you back just three bucks!
When I arrived, Kraig was zeroing in a Ruger American Rifle. Chambered in .223 I found the gun to be light in weight and recoil, and easy to handle. It featured a surprisingly nice trigger and delivered tight groups with factory ammo.
Next on deck was the Ruger 77/17. The first gun this kid ever shot was a .22, and I’ve had a soft spot for rimfires ever since. The Ruger 77/17 is chambered in the newest rimfired offering, the .17 WSM. Developed in 2012, the .17 Winchester Super Magnum uses a modified concrete nailer cartridge to propel a .177 caliber bullet at around 3000 fps! Sporting a matte stainless barrel and a walnut stock, this little rig was a looker. A shooter, too. The nailer cartridge requires a heavy strike from the firing pin, the result is a “heavy” trigger. I did not find it to be a distraction and still managed varmint worthy 100-yard groups.
This brought us to the main event – the Ruger Precision Rifle. In the way of a disclaimer; I am a hunter, I don’t have a lot of interest in the military type stuff. To me, and I’ll borrow a quote from Townsend Whelan, “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” All that said, this rifle is pretty interesting!
Ruger designed the Precision Rifle from the ground up, a completely new action and platform. It’s considered a “tube gun,” the bore is perfectly in-line with the bolt and the butt stock. Collapse the fully adjustable stock, and the bolt can be easily removed to allow clear passage for a cleaning rod. All cams and rails and matte black throughout, it’s the purest expression of form follows function I have ever seen in a production gun.
Chambered in .308 and topped with a Steiner 5-25 scope, it did not take us long to dial this rifle in. We printed impressive groups, with factory ammo, from bench and bi-pod. The gun seemed to beg for more than the 100 yards we gave it.
I said it before; I am a hunter. With optics, this rig tipped the scales at more than 11 pounds. It is unlikely that the Ruger Precision Rifle will appear in the whitetail woods any time soon, but it certainly was fun to shoot. It will be interesting to see this gun reach its full potential in more competent hands.
Any shooting is good practice, and time at the range is time well spent. August and September are particularly good range months, nice temperatures and light crowds. Get out to the range!
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