fore-arm on lever guns.....found something very bizarre:
As I was thinking about running the savage 99 again, I shot a group of 200 grain accubond hand loads. my group size shrunk by more than half! The handloads are from the very same batch I loaded last year. I couldn't figure out what the heck is going on, if it was the weather, or what not? I was shooting from the same exact rest, and everything was the same. I thought maybe the new re-bored barrel was starting to break in....ect.
BUT.....there is one change. I bedded the entire front fore-arm in a bed of rtv silicone after a boating accident ripped the threads off the forearm screw. It was a field-repair. That fore-arm is so tightly adhered to the barrel, that with the lack of a fore-arm screw, I don't possess the strength to remove the forearm.
could this have been what cut groups from 1.75 inches, to about .5 groups?
I wonder if that RTV and forarm are acting as a vibration damper, somewhat like those barel de-resonators that limb saver is selling?
I bet the forend shifted forward slightly during your bedding.
It's pretty standard for accurizing a 99 to relieve the wood a little right where it touches the front of the action. I once had a 99R in 250 (let it go like the fool I was!) that would only do around 1.5" with it's best load and 87's. At the direction of a smith friend I did the relieving and got much the same results you did with your emergency bed job.