|Beauty and Function, Much Like Me|
|Initial Shooting freehand at 50 yards|
I decided not to shoot off the bench. This to me is a freehand rifle for use in the field. It might likely be fired in a kneeling or seated position, off my knees, but certainly not a bench. Plus I wanted to learn how to shoot the rifle and call shots. I tried 3 loads: the 232 grain Norma Oyrx, the 286 Norma Oryx and the 286 Hornady Interlock. All are billed as a premium hunting bullets.
|50 Yards Freehand Ist 8 Rounds|
I did not even attempt to dry fire the rifle first. First were the Norma 232s. The right barrel struck immediately above where I was holding at 12 o'clock. Recoil was not inconsiderable, but not horrifying either, but still I pulled the second shot down to the right. The triggers, both, were great, surprisingly so. The 286 Norma I place a bit low, as marked on the target. The 286 Hornadys went into the ten ring and immediately above at about 11 o'clock Their recoil was noticeably less. As this was the load for which I asked for the gun to be sighted in, this was gratifying. I tried then two very quick shots with the 232, both respectable, but too fast considering my newbie condition.
That was it for the day. I was learning. I was pleased that the 286 Hornadys did well. I called the left barrel Hornady 286 that went a bit left, but still in the black, and was getting used to the trigger, which was smooth and would suddenly break the shot. Also I learned that one should not engage in what some call "stock crawling," i.e., moving the head forward on the cheek piece. It shot best for me and most comfortably when I held my head erect like shooting a shotgun. Plus this minimized or eliminated recoil effects on my cheekbone.
A note. The slide-cocker safety device works well and naturally.
The next day, I fired 6 more shots from a cold barrel. Utilizing what I learned the first day, the 286 Hornadys did very well. And I tried the moon sight with the 232 Normas and found to my surprise that I fired the first of the two rounds into the X ring and the second into the 9 at 3 o'click, two quick but unhurried shots. The moon sight may be the way to go for me, but I won't really know until I extend my ranges out to 100, 150 and even 200 yards. I will next obtain a box or two of Nosler factory custom loaded Partitions in 286 grain. This would be my personal perfect bullet if it handles well in the double.
I have little doubt that I can handload either the Partition or the Hornady bullet more or less to perfection. Unfortunately, non factory ammunition is Verboten, says the Krieghoff manual, at the risk of loosing the one-year warranty. I understand why. Perfectly. In fact, to tell the truth, I would prefer factory loads if they do what I want for hunting purposes. But I would like also to replicate this optimal load for practice so that I can shoot enough to become thoroughly comfortable with the rifle. It feels good already, but I want the confidence of knowing exactly how to make it work my will at the ranges that the cartridge will accommodate, maybe 200 yards or a bit more depending, of course, on the shooter's abilities. This is not a 400 yard rifle in any case. And it is also a pricy rifle to shoot. Perhaps it's like the old admonition that was applied to luxury boats: if you have to ask how much fuel it burns, then you can't afford it. Too late now for me. I Bought the boat. But at least 9.3 X 74 ammunition is very modestly priced in comparison to the bog bore double cartridges such as the 470s, which may go for six or eight dollars or more per round.
|Second target, six rounds, freehand, called pull on right|
Before the rifle arrived I had already obtained new Redding 9.3 X 74R reloading dies, a fair quantity of unfired Hornady brass and bullets, as well as a good supply of Nosler partitions. I use the same bullets in my FN Mauser 9.3 X 62 anyway. A phenomenon that I have observed with different loads in high power rifles is how recoil and muzzle blast changes with powder without necessarily any change in velocity/impact. This is a complicated business, some use terms like "impulse" to describe it, but if I can get the same velocity with a softer effect, I will. This might be the only free lunch around. I know the laws of physics say there just ain't no free lunch to be had, nohow. But I know, too, that many gun writers use terms like "perceived recoil" to get themselves out of this logical paradox. I will do the same. For example, the Hornady 286 is noticeably softer in perceived recoil (subjectively experienced) than the Norma 286 Oryx, even though published muzzle velocities are virtually identical. My handloading would take this into account in choice of powders. Usually it is the slower burning choices, the lower pressures, less bark, that lead to this perceptual result. In any case I will not begin this search until after the warranty expires.
Some shooters employ claw mounts for scoping their doubles. I will not because I think the beauty of a double is in its compact appearance and elegance, kind of like Audrey Hepburn. The rifle has the appropriate base for this type of mount should I ever wish to deviate from the high road.
Incidentally, I have called this column, if that is what it is, an "American Gun Review." But the Krieghoff is German, you may say. Well, I am an American, and now, so is my Kriegkoff: it is becoming naturalized.
I have continued my freehand shooting, extending my range out to 70 and 100 yards with good results. The heavy slugs thunk in a very satisfying way on the one inch thick steel disc at 100 yards. I have noticed three things: (1) If I focus on the front sight and control the trigger, the gun strikes where I aim. (2) It doesn't seem to be as fussy as I had expected regarding different bullet weights and configurations, e.g., the 232s v the 286s, or the flatter pointed Oryx v the more pointed Hornady design, and (3) My best shooting is done with my head held up, naturally, and not "crawling" the stock. I am gaining confidence and knowledge of the rifle. I likes it! Need a sling for field carry.
I have more ammunition on the way, Nosler 286s and am trying to find some Sellior and Bellot, too, to continue my lessons/experiments. Prvi Partisan has announced 9.3X74R ammunition in their line, but I haven't yet found any. I would like to try this too, as I have had very good results with their 9.3 X 62 fodder. Ranges will increase as well. One step at a time. Elk watch out.