Forum member Mike ("TheSilverFox") from Alberta, Canada took his Clay Spencer-built .308 out for a little fun in the outdoors recently. We love to see this kind of dedication. Shooting is always a rewarding endeavor, even when it's not sunny and warm. Here is Mike's report: Photo Essay

I went shooting today in blustery, cold weather. Winds were gusting like crazy -- just look at the snow getting blown around. For the day's shoot, I set up in the back of the truck. went and placed a target randomly on the facing hill. I ranged it with my scope at approx 790 to 830 yards. (I use the scope, not a separate rangefinder.) Given the conditions, I almost couldn't see my hits. It's a good thing you can hear them with steel targets.

The wind was blowing so hard I had to move my windage from 0.5 mils right to a little over 2 mils, depending on the gusts. You can see a tree branch in front of the target which was about 500 yards away. I must have hit that tree five times--kept breaking bark off.

How did it go? Well, I got about a one hit out of three. You can see my misses in the snow up top. Like I said it wasn't easy today. I was dealing with 8 o'clock winds from 5 mph (0.7 mils) to 15 mph (2.1 mils) at 800 yards, with gusts in between. I would get one hit, the wind condition might then change at the target, and I'd miss right.

About Ranging: Here are some basic numbers. If a 12" target appears 0.5 mils through the scope, the distance is 666 yards. If it is 0.4 mils, the target is at 833 yards. This shows that the smaller the target, the tougher it is to range and to hit. Even if you have fairly good data, throw in erratic winds and things can turn ugly. You must be confident in your rifle's accuracy, your reloading and your ranging. As I said earlier, if you can't see your hit you're screwed.

Shooting at long and unknown ranges is the ultimate challenge for me. Your rifle and body position have to be pretty much perfect. If it's not you can't range reliably because you are shaking. And you can't see your hits because your rifle is moving, especially on a terrible surface like a frozen truck bed. Moreover, under these kind of conditions, your parallax is all distorted, your neck hurts. It blows my mind when guys can get a cold bore hit first shot, it takes mad skills, especially when it must be done quickly. In my opinion, the only solution is practice, practice, practice...compete, compete, compete... and share your knowledge.

This project first came about when going to the local retail gun shop just didn't do it for me anymore. I knew there was more out there, for the true rifle nut. So I started my education towards the high end rifle market by reading everything I could find on precision rifles and reloading for accuracy. I must say, the day I found 6mmbr, I was hooked, the wealth of information and knowledgeable, helpful people on this site is amazing. I wanted world-class accuracy from a rifle I could shoot anywhere. I wanted a rugged rifle I could tote around in the truck on spring gopher hunts, compete in sniper challenges, bring camping on weekends in the mountains, practice long range shooting in bad weather or shoot bug holes at the local range. With all this shooting planned out, barrel life was also important.

Now, I had a tough decision, do I want a .308 or a 6mmbr? Well the answer was simple -- I got Clay Spencer to build two barrels (one for each caliber), and smith the rifle. Clay Spencer's long-range rifle accomplishments speak for themselves. After some great advice, we came up with the following components. Kelbly Grizzly II repeater, RBRP with a Remington type safety. It’s a great benchrest action and it can still take field work without binding up. McMillan A-5 Stock black molded with adjustable cheek piece and length of pull. Why? Because I prefer prone shooting but also like the fact that it has a wide slopped forend for occasional bench work.

I also needed to come up with a solid reloading regimen. I had been reloading for seven years but I knew I still had lots to learn. Once again the 6mmbr site really helped me out. The Precision Reloading for Accuracy DVD from Richard Franklin was also a great help. Now I can proudly say that my average 5-shot group at 300 yards on a calm day is 1.3 inches and 1.9 inches on a windy day.

I am from Lethbridge, SW Alberta, Canada. On a yearly average, Lethbridge has 116 days with wind speed 25 mph or higher. Southern Alberta in an Outdoorsman’s paradise. Here’s a picture I took at an Elk Hunt, last year.

Cheers guys, Happy Holidays,


Equipment Specs
Clay Spencer 26" barrel
.308 Win Special Match chamber
Kelbly Grizzly II Action with Jewell trigger
McMillan A-5 stock with adjustable cheekpiece
Clay Spencer, gunsmith

About the Optics
Schmidt & Bender 5-25x56mm with P4
The S&B is legendary for its clarity (to which I can attest), but I mostly like the S&B because it is easy to use. The P4 in mils lets me range the targets within an acceptable limit. Mil reticle lines, mil height, and doping adjustments only make sense. The exit pupil is pretty big on max power, parallax adjustment is great. The P4 is not a benchrest reticle though. It should have enough mil adjustments for any VLD bullet of any caliber until its velocity becomes less than supersonic.

Kestrel 4500 weather station
Exbal Ballistics on Palm Pilot

Load Data
Lapua .308 brass
Sierra 175 MatchKing
Alliant Reloader 15, 44.4 grains
Vel Aver: 2810 fps