I recently picked up a 7mm 08 barrel for my CVA Apex. The barrel is made by Bergara, and is supposed to be a quality barrel. I loaded up some rounds, and like a kid on the way out of the candy store about to take his first bite, set up to do some shooting. I took a shot at 50 to get on, adjusted the scope, and went out to 100. I was dead on left and right, but shot a vertical group of about 5". This continued as I worked my way up in powder charges. Even with varied charges, the gun is within an inch left and right, but I get about 5" vertical groups. The bullet is a 120 grain Barnes TTSX, new Norma Brass, and 42-44 grains of Varget.
I was shooting off a bipod mounted to the sling stud on the stock, with the back end on a bag--essentially the same way I shoot in the field. There was some contact between the fore end and the barrel just in front of the front stock screw, which I removed. This did not seem to change results. I took one group off a lead sled for comparison, and that group was about 1.5" vertical, and within 1/2" left to right. I had another shooter take a group off the lead sled with the same load, which again resulted in a group that was about 5" vertical, and less than an inch left to right. I have taken about 25 rounds through the gun, and if I superimpose the targets from all the loads, I get an ellipse that is probably 8" high and only 1" wide at most.
The gun is a single shot break action, and there is contact between the back of the barrel and the frame, which is OK. I assumed there should be, but some people say there should be a gap, and that you can take a few thousands off the back of the barrel, the lock-up will stay the same, and it will be OK as the round headspaces off the shoulder. I spoke with a tech at Bergara, and he said there should be contact between the barrel and the frame, so that should be OK. He said to check the contact with the stock, which I removed, and to make sure I was not resting on a hard surface, which I was not. I also tried a led sled which I mentioned earlier.
What seems to be the issue here? The fact that the groups are very tight left to right leads me to believe I have a solvable problem with a barrel that may eventually shoot very well, but in the meantime, I am out of ideas. Any thoughts would be appreciated.