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Thread: How many shots before your rifle gets sloppy?

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    Member gutpile's Avatar
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    Default How many shots before your rifle gets sloppy?

    I've been playing with a Ruger 77RL ultralight in 30-06...bought it new, trying my 2nd scope, cleaning-up the stock bed, expermenting with action screw torques. What I find is the first 3 shots at 100 yds are sub 1", but after those 3 it gets kinda ugly...like 3"-4" all over the place. It isn't the shooter, it's the gun. I realize it's the first shot that counts, but wondering what the rest of you have encountered at the range. Is it due to the thin barrel and there's no fix, or am I overlooking something?

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    Member Smokey's Avatar
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    Good Day gutpile!
    My first thoughts are if your getting 3 under 1 in there is no problem with the set up - neither gun or scope. So what does that leave ?
    A. Barrel is heating up - give it more time to cool

    B. Shooter is getting a bit flinchy and that can sometimes be very hard to identify by the shooter...

    C. Something is changing on your rest set up as you progress?


    I am leaning toward barrel heating....
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Member gutpile's Avatar
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    It's a fine day Smokey!

    I'm with you...I think the fix is to only take 3 cartridges to the range. I'll stop going to the range when I get the three where I want them and then ship the gun to AK. I'm in Mayberry at an indoor 100 yard range with plenty of sandbags...pretty confident in the shooter. After years of 338 & 300 wby shoulder abuse the 30-06 is pretty mild...I don't jump. Brand new Leupold too.

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    I'm well acquainted with that rifle, loading for three of them in 06 over the years and a couple in 257 Roberts. You pretty well describe what happens off the shelf with 06, but it's more like 5 shots with the 257. The "fix" that worked for me is to free-float that whippy little barrel, then glass bed the rear 3" or so of barrel, the recoil lug and the tang along with opening the inlet for the forward action bolt to assure it never touches the stock.

    The results likely will tighten your 3-shot groups with a minute or so between shots, but it will definitely start opening up after those first three shots unless you really slow down the shooting. But the results are more like doubling the group size rather than the additional shots compared to the 3-4" you experienced.

    One other change worth dinking around with is powder burn rate for the 06. All three of the 06's showed preferences (as indicated by results with longer shot strings) using moderate burning rates like 4064/4320/4895 rather than slower powders like 4350/4831 etc. The switch to a little faster powders doesn't really cost you much velocity in that short barrel, but along with the stock mods can really tighten things up.

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    And along with what BrownBear said, Make sure the sides of the action screws don't touch the stock.
    On one of my 338win mag MKII's the action screw was taking the recoil, it bent the screw slightly.
    Doug
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Thanks for the info BB. There's a 1/2" wide saddle in the wood next to the plastic tip...that's the only area touching the barrel back to the diagonal screw area. I can't run a dollar bill between the barrel and that saddle, but the rest of the forearm is free. I did run a 5/16" drill bit thru the wood at the diagonal screw...it doesn't touch anymore but maybe I should open it up a bit more. Interesting comments on the powder...I don't reload but would appricate your thoughts on a good factory load. I've been shooting the Federal Premium 165 grain NP's.

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    For my rifles the tendency is from barrel heating, so I alwyas bring 5 or 6 rifles to the range and rotate them in turn to allow for sufficient cooling between firings. This is also a good way to spend several hours at the range making noise . FWIW, I glass bedded and free floated all of my rifles and shoot handloads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gutpile View Post
    Thanks for the info BB. There's a 1/2" wide saddle in the wood next to the plastic tip...that's the only area touching the barrel back to the diagonal screw area. I can't run a dollar bill between the barrel and that saddle, but the rest of the forearm is free. I did run a 5/16" drill bit thru the wood at the diagonal screw...it doesn't touch anymore but maybe I should open it up a bit more. Interesting comments on the powder...I don't reload but would appricate your thoughts on a good factory load. I've been shooting the Federal Premium 165 grain NP's.
    That "bridge" or saddle up at the muzzle has been the issue for me. In most of those guns it would start to string the shots up as the barrel heated. Without it I get nice, round groups even as they expand a little. I bed the barrel up to the point the contour starts in front of the chamber just for stability, so it can help take some of the load being carried by the action bolts. I've never seen anything written to say if that's an actual issue or not, but the old time gunsmith I worked for back in 1960's felt that way and I've never tied anything different.

    Specific factory loads shoot well in some rifles and not in others, just like handloads. That's why I always get a kick out of guys asking for or recommending "pet" handloads. It may be a pet in their rifle, but no guarantee about the very next rifle in line. Best to do in picking a factory load would be to try several. I will say that for whatever reason, all three of those 06's shot 180 grain handloads more accurately than 165's. But as I said, the next rifle in line.....

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    It varies from rifle to rifle. I have a Ruger 375 that is the same way, 3 shots sub MOA and after that its everywhere. I have two remingtom 700s in 30/06; one I can shoot 10 or more and it stays nice and tight, the other will shoot 5-6 and start walking. My Encore HB 30/06 will shoot 10-15 and stay tight. I have learned to stop and let the barrel cool and even clean some barrels based on their character.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gutpile View Post
    It's a fine day Smokey!

    I'm with you...I think the fix is to only take 3 cartridges to the range. I'll stop going to the range when I get the three where I want them and then ship the gun to AK. I'm in Mayberry at an indoor 100 yard range with plenty of sandbags...pretty confident in the shooter. After years of 338 & 300 wby shoulder abuse the 30-06 is pretty mild...I don't jump. Brand new Leupold too.
    BTW gutpile, I am very envious of the moose in your pic - FANTASTIC! Congrats!!!
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Could it be that you have a rough bore and it is fouling after three shots? Is it a booger to get clean after the three shots? That would be something I would look at also. There are products on the market that you can use to polish the bore that will reduce fouling and help with accuracy. I shoot two different 30-06's and they both start shooting bigger groups after about 2 5 shot groups with a cool down between sets. A good cleaning will get them back on target. One of them, a Marlin needs one fouling shot before trying to group. With a clean bore it will shoot 3" low and to the right everytime.

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    UL have pencil thin barrels so it is no surprise that after three shots it starts stringing them. So instead of the usual 5 shot group jsut do a 3 shot group.

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    a cryogenic treatment of the barrel / action will take care of the barrel issue and NECO grit impregnated fire lapping bullet kit will take care of the rough bore fouling problem

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    a cryogenic treatment of the barrel / action will take care of the barrel issue and NECO grit impregnated fire lapping bullet kit will take care of the rough bore fouling problem
    Thanks BC, I couldn't remember for the life of me the name of NECO. Works great. We had a .50 cal that would take hours to clean after not much shooting and that stuff fixed it up good.

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    Thanks for all the great ideas guys...lots to think about. I'll follow up with the outcome.

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    My experience with my ruger MkII .308 U/L is that it shoots dead on dirty or clean. I've fired 100 rds w/o cleaning and it'll still group it's preferred loads sub moa for 3 shots, and milsurp into 1 1/2" for 3 at 100. I did free float the barrel, added an o/t screw for the trigger and polished up the sear for a clean crisp trigger break. Other than that it's just an off the used rack rifle.
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    Three to four inches is pretty extreme so I'll try this.
    I'm not familiar enough with the Ruger synthetic stocked (I presume) rifles but will throw this out for thought. Synthetic stocked rifles that have an Aluminum bedding rail, where the aluminum is the structure of the stock and the bedding lug of the action rests in this aluminum rail. Action gets warm and the aluminum rail draws the heat from the steel action. It actually gets hotter than the steel because the thermal conductivity of aluminum is higher than steel. (Stay with me here) Then because the rail is under tension it twists or bends which torques the action some. I've seen this so extreme that the floating forend touches the barrel and some guns from the same model will do it some won't.

    If you have no rail...I dunno!
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  18. #18

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    Gutpile, a lot of very good experience and analysis here for you to consider, but IMHO you have a factory rifle and are shooting factory loads so you are rolling the dice twice. It might take you half a life time to figure this out.

    I've got a Sako 85 Finnlight in 300 WSM that is "guaranteed" to shoot a sub MOA 5 shot group, and the very best group I've shot with it is about 1.25 MOA and usually in the 2-4 MOA category. Very frustrating to say the least and I guarantee you it's the rifle and not the shooter...or the scope (Nightforce proved on other rifles).... or the screws.... etc... etc...

    It's probably a combination of things including a defective factory barrel, a worthless recoil lug system, and plastic stock.

    Here's the deal.... not all Sako's are pathetic shooters like mine and most of them shoot well for a while... but it's a factory rifle and now and then you get a lemon that you just cant fix without major surgery and this seems to happen more with the light/ultra light versions like Kimber Montana's, Sako's and Tikka's, etc...

    I've got a couple of heavy barrel (factory) Senderos with quality made stocks that shoot handloads and factory loads 1/4 to 3/4 MOA all day long out to 600 yds.

    With a factory rifle, you are rolling the dice period. You might get a good one and you might not, and chances are if you do get a good one, it's accuracy life isn't going to be all that long. If you shoot factory ammo, every lot is going to be different.

    If your Ruger has an angled action screw (I am very familiar with them), that could very well be a small or big part of the problem.

    I personally will never buy another rifle with such a configuration... in fact, I wouldn't take one for free, although I do own one which I've take the great majority of my game with.

    Just some things to think about... if you do get it sorted out, I would sure be interested in what you learned.

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