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Thread: groups not shooting the same question.

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    Default groups not shooting the same question.

    I have had two rifle now that I loaded up a series of different grain powder changes n .4 of a grain increments. When I shot the first series I would get a good group with one of the powder charges. Then I would take the rifle home clean it and make 12 rounds of the best shooting powder charge. I wouldn't change, the primer O.A.L, and I usually don't crimp rifle rounds. I would take these out and shoot 3 4 round groups and the groups would suck. I figured the first group was a fouling group and it would get better with the other groups, but that has not been the case. Anyone else has this happen? Any ideas what could cause this?
    Also I shoot from a bench and use a rifle rest and butt stock bag in the back. I put the rifle on the same place on the rest and butt stock bag. Basically I'm just pulling the trigger.

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    What caliber? NOT crimping the bullet could be an issue, although i would have expected that to show up during development. How much does the group change?

    I'm no reloading expert but I developed a load for a .223 that i've shot just under .4" and later couldn't get less than 1". I chalked it up to my shooting that day, the wind and who knows what else. I'm curious to see what kind of other suggestions you get.

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    Just spitballin' ideas here, temperature difference? Either outside or barrel?

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    Seeing as how its happened in more than one rifle, I'd have to start looking at my reloading set up. Powder measuring consistency, to much variation in bullet pull, inconsistent batch of primers, primer seating depth, contamination in your brass (though unlikely), maybe the OAL to the Ogive is varying too much even though the COAL is the same. Is it happening with the same kind of bullets?

    I'm just throwing ideas out there. Is this with a specific powder? Maybe you need new glasses Actually, I have a mirage issue with one of my rifles that causes the scope to get a little squirrely and has caused me to blow groups if I dont give it time to cool off all the way. That is one of the negatives with Ultralight fluted barrels..

    Hope you get it figured out, let us know if you do...now you got me wondering if all those "super loads" I came up with are really that good or just lucky!!!

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    there are too many variables stated here to make a determination BUT I watched an interesting interview of a seasoned Army sniper/trainer recently and what he stated, clearly, rocked my belief system in rifle cleaning - ROUTINELY they will send 300-400 rounds down a barrel, sometimes more, without cleaning copper fouling, and will often not do it until they loose the rifle's 1/2" accuracy only to find that the barrel is shot out and needs to be replaced - Don't confuse "cleaning copper fouling" with cleaning CARBON fouling, but that process uses different solutions and techniques -

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    Quote Originally Posted by back country View Post
    ...I watched an interesting interview of a seasoned Army sniper/trainer recently and what he stated, clearly, rocked my belief system in rifle cleaning - ROUTINELY they will send 300-400 rounds down a barrel, sometimes more, without cleaning copper fouling, and will often not do it until they loose the rifle's 1/2" accuracy only to find that the barrel is shot out and needs to be replaced - Don't confuse "cleaning copper fouling" with cleaning CARBON fouling, but that process uses different solutions and techniques -
    I don't clean any of my bores anymore unless accuracy starts to fall off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    I don't clean any of my bores anymore unless accuracy starts to fall off.
    I carried my AR without cleaning or oiling it all winter for fear of it freezing if I did oil it. Never changed accuracy or function even on some very cold (to me) -10 degree days. I've also stopped cleaning my guns so often.

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    Others beat me to it. I'm willing to bet the cleaning of the rifle is why you are seeing a change in accuracy. After break in of the barrel I rarely clean mine unless accuracy really starts to suffer which or me is around 3 MOA for hunting rifles and 1.5 Moa for my "target" rifles.

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    Others beat me to it. I'm willing to bet the cleaning of the rifle is why you are seeing a change in accuracy. After break in of the barrel I rarely clean mine unless accuracy really starts to suffer which or me is around 3 MOA for hunting rifles and 1.5 Moa for my "target" rifles.

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    ONE good group is not a good indicator of an accurate load.

    Shoot more groups.

    Take maybe 12 rounds of each tst load so you can shoot 4, 4 round grps. With each load.

    SOTN
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    I have often noticed tighter groups after more rounds are shot vs cleaning between loads. After the initial break-in cleaning routine I seldom clean mine while at the range. If I only shoot a dozen or so rounds I often don't clean it at home - perhaps a dry swab a few strokes and if the patch comes out fairly clean thats good for me.... If I am working up loads I usually try to clean gun very thorough when I change components, then when I find a load I like I try it out on different days until I am very comfortable with it....
    I am not sure if the cleaning is more the accuracy culprit or more likely the final swab with an oil coating before you put it away that effects the next sessions first few rounds....?
    When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    ONE good group is not a good indicator of an accurate load.

    Shoot more groups.

    Take maybe 12 rounds of each tst load so you can shoot 4, 4 round grps. With each load.

    SOTN
    I'm sure youre right about this Smitty, but with the price of bullets these days, that approach sure makes for an expensive proposition. Especially when you are trying to work up a good hunting load. Now that I got a chrono, the guessing game should be reduced some...

    I've never been an barrel "over-cleaner" myself..not because I knew any better, just because I am generally a procrastinator...good to hear that I'm a slacker with a good reason

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    here's "another" example, backing up what Smitty suggests - When I was working up loads for that Kimber Montana 325 WSM I decided to give the 180 Etips a try, I didn't particularly like the numbers on the bullet but I was sort of struggling to find some accuracy - I loaded 3 of 'em in new unfired, untrued, unprepped W/W brass, W760 powder (if I recall correctly) and shot a 3 shot into one smooth edged hole, I thought VUALLA !!! I done it !! never even came close to repeating it, and I tried ALOT - sometimes the stars just align for a few minutes and I personally don't want to stake a good shot or a bad one on an "assumption - the 12 shot test is a great way to get started .... then move the target to 200 yds and do it again

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkwarthog View Post
    I'm sure youre right about this Smitty, but with the price of bullets these days, that approach sure makes for an expensive proposition. Especially when you are trying to work up a good hunting load. Now that I got a chrono, the guessing game should be reduced some...

    I've never been an barrel "over-cleaner" myself..not because I knew any better, just because I am generally a procrastinator...good to hear that I'm a slacker with a good reason
    I can ID with wanting to economize, but too often, basing conclusions of accuracy on just 1 group will disappoint you. It could be a Fluke, and loading more of the same would be a waste of resourses.

    Bottom line is you gotta do what works and pay for what it takes.

    If I understood the OP correctly, I just think it's too early to go lookin for issues like temp., loading technics, and cleaning.

    SOTN
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    I would respectfully add that when working up a load for a HUNTING rifle sitting at the bench and waiting for the barrel to cool or giving it any arbitrary time might also render useless data, again, for a HUNTING RIFLE LOAD - My philosophy is to load whatever your rifle holds and shoot the group as quickly as you can still maintaining good form and technique because "if" you find the need to empty the gun while hunting that is the way it'll be done in a worst case scenario, no sense finding that as your barrel warms up it throws those 3/4" groups out to 2" (or worse) I came by this habit as a result of hard nocks experience BTW - As an added side note, loading one at a time might seem the easy thing to do at the time but what if recoil shoves the bullets deeper in your cases when the magazine is full ? Do it like you will when you are HUNTING and you'll minimize "surprises"

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    OP, what caliber are you loading for and what bullet are you using? I have found that while Barnes bullets function on the animal well, they are a pain in the back side to work up a good load for. Some bullets just work better in some rifles. As has already been stated, I want several shootings to 'prove' that a load is going to work.
    Also I do not clean our rifles as often as some thing they should be cleaned. While I am working up a load, I do not clean the bore, just wipe down the outside. Once I have a good working load, the bose stays dirty until after hunting season is over.

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    Since Barnes developed the TSX line the "some guns like 'em and some guns don't" complaint has largely gone away - I moly coat my bullets so I've never had a fouling problem with them but when the triple shocks came out my accurate handload record jumped to the positive drastically - Granted, they don't have the B.C.'s of Accubonds and others but for 90% + of us that is a non-issue anyway - I tried some GMX's a while back and they were way too long for what I was doing, ETips seem to be a bit finicky (from my limited view) but when they shoot good they shoot REALLY good - Aside from the "coincidental" standpoint there is little to explain why "stuff happens", it just does .... also, when testing HUNTING loads you really must practice good and consistent shooting technique (if you already do that please don't be mad for my mentioning it) Good accuracy from one day to the next, one hunting trip to the next, ever changing weather conditions is out of our control enough without taking every available opportunity to perfect what we are in control of, or at least try to be

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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    I carried my AR without cleaning or oiling it all winter for fear of it freezing if I did oil it. Never changed accuracy or function even on some very cold (to me) -10 degree days. I've also stopped cleaning my guns so often.
    I finally shot some .375 and .223 loads I have been wanting to test all summer, I got a 1" group out of the .223 and two .75" groups out of the .375, neither gun has been cleaned in months...

  19. #19

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    Without more info about the conditions on the days you shot the groups or the reloading techniques used it is impossible to offer a definite solution. Outside air temp affects some powders more than others and can change point of impact. Wind conditions affect group size etc. I can offer my opinion on gun cleaniing. I look at it differently than some have stated here. I like a clean gun and a bore free of most copper fowling. I tailor my handloads to give me the best accuracy with the first group I shoot. To me this is the group that really matters when hunting. Rarely have I had to shoot more than three or four rounds at an animal while hun ting and I want all of those to hit where I am aiming. If accuracy suffers some after that so be it. By waiting for accuracy to suffer before cleaning a rifles bore the cleaning job just got harder than I want it to be.

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    This is something I've always believed.
    I have an old Ruger 77 SS .300wm that weighs about ten pounds but it is accurate.
    If I copper clean that gun I lose its excellent 1/2 moa. If I let it go without cleaning the bore, I regain excellent moa.

    I've literally walked up to the range table, shot two shots out of the copper fouled bore near the bull at 100 yards and went out and killed a sheep--repeated that scenario for 5-6 years.
    That bore hasn't been copper cleaned in 7-8 years and it won't be anytime soon.

    And NEVER copper clean a barrel and go hunting thereafter. The chance for a "flyer" and wounded game and a blown 10 mile sheep hunt is very high.
    Always 'pre-shoot' after copper cleaning.
    Just my two cents.
    Proud to be an American!

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