well- it was warm in town.......


Sep 10, 2006
Well, call it cabin fever. But it was a beautiful day here in the great white north and last week it had been 40 degrees or better a couple days last week..... As I sat on the driveway on the east side of the house in the afternon sun I couldnt resist the idea. Any way the fellas had a bobcat out to the range a couple weeks ago and the had plowed paths to the benches and the backstop. Least thats what they said, anyway it had been nice last week. How bad could it be.....never mind the thermometer was in the single digits this morning.....and the windchill....aw what kind of a wimp am I!?!? I was born and raised in SD. There was a windchill in the house for most of the winter.....! :lol:
So I grab my 250 Savage and my .22 just cause, and jump in the car. Off to the range. This is great! Wife and daughter are off havin fun for the day, -knocked a couple things off the "honey do" list this a.m. and even did the dishes. Recreation of the finest kind and guilt free to boot!!
Its a 23 mile drive on a beautiful day....through 45 minutes of traffic, but at last Im on the freeway out of the big town in Minnesota! As I get close I can see the steam from the cooling tower at the powerplant near the range. Rats! a crosswind from the west....hey there wasnt any wind in town? But, that just adds to the challenge. Besides, Im on a mission.

Last week I was home to SD and did some reloading. There I sat 46 years old, down the basement next to my Dad, doing some reloading just like when I was 10. This time he actually let me do most of the work, getting primers jammed in the old herters press just like I used too, Dad still double checking my measurements, and asking him wether we should trim or not. this is more knowlege than i used to have and so Dad relents a little. He lubes I decap and resize. The dies are set so he lets me switch back and forth. I brought home a new scale becuase he was always complaing about his old Herters scale "sticking". In the end, mine is just as "sticky" as his or so he says but he uses the new one, though he would eventually send it home with me again, saying his worked fine. Watching him, really watching, I see what a precisionist he really was/is. Every charge is weighed, each process falls into a pattern that though he rarely uses anymore is obviously practiced. Lubing cases looks methodical, almost easy as he talks about Mom or my sisters upcoming wedding, Mom, politics, work, all good things that a son should hear his Dads opinion on once hes old enough to appreciate it. I avoid hunting, the days of empty public land and friend access are gone and its taken the joy out of it for Dad. And Im too far away to make it easy and his grand-daugghter isnt into it... Still its nice, warm, and reassuring. My daughter is upstairs playing the piano. I ask Dad if we should go up and he says no its Ok I can hear from here. Let grandma enjoy herself. Dad even consents to let the "kid" try a new powder. So we work up a load using 4064.......back to the present.....

I arrive at the range. Hey nobody else here....cool! a real relaxing time. I swing out of the car and the wind hits my face. Jeez its cold...this wont be good for groups. but I'm ready. Heavy jacket, face mask, extra jersy glove withthe trigger finger cut out. Load myself, rifles, ammo etc into the wheelchair and head for the gate. Yup there are paths plowed, but lots of ice too. I get through the first few obstacles where lots of boot traffic has made "lumpy ice", but loaded down as I am I have lots of weight and good traction. I get to the plowed part of the path and the ice is thin and crusted with snow or gone altogether.
I go out to the 100yard mark to put out my targets but the last 20 yds aint plowed, no path. But I can make it. About halfway to the target stand I here that voice in my head say somthing about irresponsible and reckless. No no...Im fine, and warming up....take a break dont sweat... dang casters on the wheelchair....but hey made it.... put up targets. Nice here in the half sheter of the berm. Just a little crosswind maybe five- ten mph. Ok back through the snow, easier this time and the pea rock is froze solid, actually easier to push across. That little voice again....naw,naw. If you get into trouble just call John he only lives a mile away, embarassing- yes but not reckless. Besides you gotta challenge yourself. That's why you are out here...still should have called him. That would have been fun too. Next time- hed really razz me if my groups stink.
Finally get to the bench. Didnt bring my sand bag along as there were ones visible on the bench. Well Duh- they are froze stuck to the bench and solid as a rock. Find a bench that has a couple frozen at the right height and at the right spot-sort of. Breezy but sunny....cold but nice. Get settled in, fold my gun case over a frozen sand bag and lay an extra glove under the grip. Alright, not much better than the hood of a truck, but I'm here. Fist three shots are my favorite load. 40 grains of 4350 under a 75 grain V-max. Dads recipie. The "kid" wanted one more grain in the last batch and the groups went south. Back to the sweet spot. Jeez did I yank that one. but by the fourth shot Ive settled in. I wonder if the barrel will get hot in this weather and affect my groups? Im waiting 2-3 minutes between shots. I dont own a spotting scope....gotta get one. Just for fun I bust a piece of a clay pigeon laying on the berm...at least it disappears. Man am I yanking! Shivering too...
Ok switch to the new load. Settle in, breathe, breathe, "this is the first loads I ever did all by myself ...what if I screwed up? But its a Mauser right it will hold up...?? Dad was there it should be good...c'mon breathe squeeze....creep in this ...BANG!!" Hey that wasnt bad. Check the case and primer they look fine. Two more shots...still yanking, but it dosent kick much. I like...this is fun :) jeez Im shivering...... :lol: Better get for home while I still can. Made it back for the targes below.
The groups aint much and the 4064 may need work, but the 75 grn v-max had two of the four shots touching....it was fun. Sorry for the long post. cant wait for SPRING, and reloading with Dad.... well you know. CL


35 grians of 4064 under a 100 gr. NBT

40 grians of 4350 under a 75 grain V-max four shots (two in larger hole)
Shooting off the bench in cold weather is an experience, and you have captured it very well in this post. The description of loading is classic, and certain to generate memories in many of us. Thanks.
CL, you made my day. It's good to know the rest of the folks out here are just as obsessive and ridiculous about shooting, and will go to whatever extremes it takes. We don't get snow down here in Alabama much, but we have mud a lot, and I always take a pair of boots to the range with me! Your descriptions of loading and family make a cold day here a bit warmer (though you'd probably have loved 30deg and called it warm - we call it cold!). I've not loaded with my son in a while. I think when we finish the pinewood derby car we'll spend some time at the bench. Heck, now I feel even better about my lovely bride's apologetic suggestion that I should think about buying myself a new rifle after the taxes are done (taking a huge pay cut mid-year finally has one advantage - I should get a hefty refund this year!) since she wasn't able to get me one for Christmas or Valentines or my birthday. I think I may finally search for a gun that will suit my son, and then set him up to load and shoot it after spring arrives. Maybe this is his year for doing more than observe when we hunt. My dad didn't handload (so far, I'm the only one in my family who does other than my son) but we hunted together and spent a lot of time making those memories. Dad's been gone about 5yrs now, so thanks for reminding me of the good times. I hope the weather is sunny and calm for your next trip to the range, and I hope the groups tighten up on the 4064. Great story.

Always time well spent when you are with your Dad.

Cool stuff, good time, good memories and your dad gave you something that will last past his days on this earth. Thank you for the story and the pictures. Yes, as dubyam put it so well, " It's good to know the rest of the folks out here are just as obsessive and ridiculous about shooting, and will go to whatever extremes it takes." It was and is a good time when we go shoot or hunt.

Nice post. I could picture it all, just like being there with you. I have not been to the range yet this winter. Maybe in March the snow will melt enough to get into the ranges in my area.

Never been up in the UP myself but they tell me you fellas get TWO helpings of the white stuff!! Had 4 inches here last night. Hang in there, Springs gotta be coming...CL
This is the mildest winter I have experienced in nine years. It is -9 today (just good shooting weather) and actually got up to 0 yesterday. Whereas I have seen snow piled up from cleaning the streets to 12 and 14 feet (not an unusual occurrence) I can actually see the ground in a few places. However, it sounds as if all our snow is in the US this year. The down side is that the dugouts (ponds and tanks to you in the states) will be dry and there may be a shortage of moisture come spring. However, it does make shooting somewhat easier this winter.

Again, CL, thanks for the story.
Just an update. Last weekend the weather was perfect! 50 Degrees and a 5-10 Mph crossing head wind. Good enough. So I shot the group in the center of the photo 3 shots (@90 yards). The new recipie shoots good enough to keep when Im not shivering so much!

35 Grains of 4064 under a 100 gr NBT. Three shots. :grin:

The group on the left side was 40 grains of 4350. The recipie theat gave me so much trouble that I bought a new Leuy!! Oh well love the Luey. See my post about hating the variables....Good example of the right load and the difference it makes.
Fun too! CL