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Thread: problem with stringing shots side to side

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    Default problem with stringing shots side to side

    I had a strange thing happen Monday at the local firing range and need some ideas.

    I took an old Ruger 77 tang safety in 243. It has always shot good groups but has been in the safe for quite a long time until I decided to wake it up. To test the rifle because it has been put up so long I tried it first at 25 yards and had two shots touching. As usual the rifle shot at the three inches high at 100 yards that I have it set for. But the shots would string from right to left and never two in the same place back to back. It moved at almost every shot without any scope adjustment. Later scope adjustment did not help either.

    My first thought was a loose scope but all of the screws are tight according to the inch pounds and I cannot notice any scope movement by hand. The scope is old and was bought when the gun was new in 1977. It is an old Redfield 3x9 Accu-Trac Widefield with Bullet Drop Compensator. It was also called the tombstone sighting system or something like that. Factory Ruger rings are being used. Maybe the scope has just gone south. Or the rifle.

    The barrel seemed to heat up very quickly compared to the 30-06 and the 375 H&H I was also shooting. I was not rushing my shots but giving the rifles a few minutes to cool between rounds. Neither of them had the problem that the 243 did. The 243 is not free floated or bedded and the other two are so that could possibly be the problem. However the rifle has never done this in the past. I was firing Remington 100 gr Core-Lokt factory loaded ammo.

    I am out of ideas and hoped someone might have had this same situation come up. Any suggestions or ideas are very welcome.
    NRA Life Member since 1974

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    Member mekaniks's Avatar
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    Not to ask a dumb question, but, the wind wasnt blowing right to left that day was it? Just a little wind can have quite an effect on a small caliber bullet that may not be as noticable with the larger calibers such as you 06' and 375. With that said, I think before I went condeming the scope or barrel I would recommend pulling the stock off and make sure its good and clean between the barrel, action and stock. Just making sure there isnt a piece of dirt or something that got in there when sitting for all those years and is putting pressure on the barrel as heats up. Then I would give the inside of the barrel a good scubbing with some gun solvent and copper remover. If that dosent have any effect on how its shooting then start looking at the other possibilities....

    Good luck and let us know what you come up with.

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    Well, you might check the bedding in the barrel channel, and make sure it's not bearing more on one side, than the other.

    Also, on a Ruger, check that the forward stock screw isn't touching the hole it goes through in the stock. You can enlarge the hole with a rat tail file.

    Smitty of the North
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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Well, you might check the bedding in the barrel channel, and make sure it's not bearing more on one side, than the other.

    Also, on a Ruger, check that the forward stock screw isn't touching the hole it goes through in the stock. You can enlarge the hole with a rat tail file.

    Smitty of the North
    I think Smitty is giving you good info and that's where I'd start. Just asking, but are you certain that the front & rear action screws are tight and that the middle screw is barely snug--I've seen a screwdriver remedy many a stringing rifle? IF the screws check okay then I'd be suspect of its bedding, either the barrel or action. A long reprieve in a gun safe can allow wood stocks to shift a bit where it matters most.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by boliep View Post
    I had a strange thing happen Monday at the local firing range and need some ideas.

    I took an old Ruger 77 tang safety in 243. It has always shot good groups but has been in the safe for quite a long time until I decided to wake it up. To test the rifle because it has been put up so long I tried it first at 25 yards and had two shots touching. As usual the rifle shot at the three inches high at 100 yards that I have it set for. But the shots would string from right to left and never two in the same place back to back. It moved at almost every shot without any scope adjustment. Later scope adjustment did not help either.

    My first thought was a loose scope but all of the screws are tight according to the inch pounds and I cannot notice any scope movement by hand. The scope is old and was bought when the gun was new in 1977. It is an old Redfield 3x9 Accu-Trac Widefield with Bullet Drop Compensator. It was also called the tombstone sighting system or something like that. Factory Ruger rings are being used. Maybe the scope has just gone south. Or the rifle.

    The barrel seemed to heat up very quickly compared to the 30-06 and the 375 H&H I was also shooting. I was not rushing my shots but giving the rifles a few minutes to cool between rounds. Neither of them had the problem that the 243 did. The 243 is not free floated or bedded and the other two are so that could possibly be the problem. However the rifle has never done this in the past. I was firing Remington 100 gr Core-Lokt factory loaded ammo.

    I am out of ideas and hoped someone might have had this same situation come up. Any suggestions or ideas are very welcome.
    horizontal shot stringing generally means TRIGGER. if your trigger breaks hard this is most likely the problem. a simple test with a trigger guage will determine how much correction is needed.
    happy trails.
    jh

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Well, you might check the bedding in the barrel channel, and make sure it's not bearing more on one side, than the other.

    Also, on a Ruger, check that the forward stock screw isn't touching the hole it goes through in the stock. You can enlarge the hole with a rat tail file.

    Smitty of the North
    Smitty nailed my top two guesses, but in reverse order. There's usually a pattern to the stringing with barrel bedding issue, but it's my second guess because you say there's no pattern. The randomness points its finger at the forward through-bolt.

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    Thanks for the responses. I appreciate each of them. I certainly do not know it all and do not remind admitting it. In fact it seems a lot of times that I know very little. This is the usual great help that always comes from this site.

    After checking the forward stock screw for a problem, I will probably bed the action and free float the barrel. If the suggestions here do not work, another scope will go on. Certainly the old Redfield is ancient enough to cause problems. If those solutions do not work, maybe it is time for a new 243. I always hate to have to buy another rifle.

    To answer some of the questions:

    Mekaniks, it was a calm day plus this particular range is 10 shooting lanes wide and has trees on both sides to help block wind. The action and stock had been recently removed so it was clean. The barrel looks bright and shiny but a good cleaning never hurts anything.

    Smitty has a great idea. I had not thought about the forward stock screw as a problem. Maybe I did not reassemble the stock and action carefully enough. Certainly an easy thing to check and, best of all, inexpensive to repair. The bedding was already on my mind.

    1Cor, the screws were tight. I checked the screws on the rifle and on the scope while at the range. As I mentioned above, I had recently removed the stock from the action. When I put those two back together again on any of my rifles, I always torque the screws.

    Pinehaven, the trigger is a factory Ruger that came with the rifle and was adjusted many years ago. It felt the same as always. This particular trigger has a bit of creep, then is almost like a set trigger once you feel it firm up after the little bit of creep. It was just as I remembered it. I do have a tang safety Timney in the drawer if that is the problem.
    NRA Life Member since 1974

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