(The following is a comment I left on one of Kim DuToit's forums.)
I took the stripped Kar98 up to Lee Kay yesterday, along with a stack of other iron, and shot for zero at 100 yards.
Kim DuToit groups the 8mm in the family of “manly calibers”, and rightfully so. I brought all my gear (bags, notebook, spotting scope, eyepatch) except for a the stout longsleeve denim shirt I usually wear in lieu of a shooting jacket. First round downrage I tore a patch of skin off my right elbow on the concrete table and got a love tap from the stock under my right eye; tshirt + slick steel buttplate is a crappy combination. Most military rifles I have fired are designed to be shot while wearing bulky combat clothing, and thus have a relatively short length of pull - the Lee Enfield carbines are the worst fitting rifles I’ve come across for this - and the Kar stock length is not a lot better.
I spread a blanket on the back of the table and got down to business. Nine further rounds, and still nothing on paper. The three gents on the tables around me (all shooting milsurps, too, btw) let me know I was high, off the paper, and that it was common for Euro bolties to be TWO FEET above aiming point at one hundred yards. Seems that Euroes aimed at beltlines, and two feet high was considered an effective method for getting hits out to three hundred yards from zero. There are resources that offer replacement front sight blades to correct point of aim to point of impact, and I will look them up by the by…
Feh. We think it’s better to hit where we aim, they just think of hitting. No wonder the Germans were shocked when the Marines showed up in the trenches in 1917.
I placed a four inch round flourescent orange sticker on the frame two feet below the centers of my bullseye targets (NRA 100 yd smallbore) and got back to it. Four inches is tough for fortyfive year old eyes to see, but they got the job done well enough. Windage was very close to center - an inch right if anything, and I put the next twenty rounds in a rectangle about five inches wide and a foot tall, on the lower half of the targets. I think the front sight height correction could be made for a foot and a half, vice two feet. I don’t like the trigger much, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. My barrel band tried to travel, too, but I think that may be a function of the wood being slick and bare for refinishing. I’ll probably build up the wood with putty underneath the band until it’s a stout, hammer tap fit to get it on.
I shot my Swede and K31 afterward with decent result - both shoot close to point of aim at hundred meter sight settings. My elbow was hamburger by the end of the strings, even with the blanket, and I woke up with a vestigal black eye this morning. I was too beat up to even think of the Garand and shooting the Bushmaster would have meant another rifle to clean for no good purpose - that one is a tack driver and already zeroed.
My next purchases are going to be an adjustable front rest, some industrial non-skid adhesive strips for my steel buttplate stocks, and a shooting jacket with padded elbows and shoulders.
I shot a dimegroup with another shooter’s new, scoped Ruger boltie in 7mm WSM, at a hundred. It didn’t seem to me to be as punishing as the traditional magnum (but I’ve never been a fan of recoil, anyway), but it was enough to finish me for the day.