I seems to me that great grouping rifles are always great, from the start, no matter what you feed em. Question is, can a mediocre grouping rifle be made to shoot great, or is "good " about the best one can hope for...excluding rebuilding the rifle? And assuming that the scope is correctly mounted.
"can a mediocre grouping rifle be made to shoot great, or is "good " about the best one can hope for...excluding rebuilding the rifle?"
This is a can of worms.
I beleive you can usually find a specific load (if you handload) to shoot pretty good. The problem here is I like my rifles to be able to shoot a variety of loads well. Bad things happen with these guns "picky" guns when lot#'s change in components, etc. If you cant find that certain load, then there are options, short of "rebuilding". First, trigger. Got to have a good trigger to facilitate the shooter doing his part. Bedding, you can pick up accraglass kit anywhere and do it yourself. Float the barrel - another can of worms. Some guns dont like their barrels floated, some do. Re-crown, relatively inexpensive. Take an inch or two off the barrel, then re-crown. There are a lot of different paths to take. When I get a new gun I try a few proven loads for that particular caliber. If I am not seeing potential, I start tweeking the rifle. I have spent too much $, and range time working up to that perfect load for a picky rifle, only to have a component in that secret load be discontinued, or something.
It is great thing to have a rifle, that is a tak driver not matter what you feed it. I agree, the ones that are shooters are always shooters.
What you say is true, and if one's lucky, really lucky, you'll own maybe a couple or so of the truely great shooters. I've got an 8mm338mag that it makes hardly any difference what bullet weight, style, powder charges or brand of coffee. Having no loading references with this wildcat, I was on my own, and from the get go, the largest group it has ever shot is 1inch and went down to 3/8 at 100yds and I felt that was good enough to hunt with this dog. Yea, with these finicky guns, it seems like something is always messing with them, from poltergiests to powder, from getting out of the case on the wrong side to emotional tidal changes.