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Thread: Taking a Tumble

  1. #1

    Default Taking a Tumble

    I was experimenting with some different loads in my Remington 700 .222 last week and I experience something that at first had me baffled. The new loads were not very accurate for this gun, just around an inch and it usually shoots under half an inch with most loads. I was most interested in just shooting up these rounds to fire form the cases. I wasn't in any particular hurry. I would shoot, run a nylon brush and dry patch through the bore, double check the last point of impact in the spotting scope, replace the bolt, and then load and shoot again. The barrel was barely warm to the touch. The last two shots were within half an inch of each other, but the Sight-N-See target looked smeared. At first I thought I had driven the Hornady SX too fast and they were coming apart. When I retrieved the target something didn't look just right. When I looked at target backer it was clearly the outline of a 50 gr Hornady SX going through sideways. I'm thinking I have a problem at the crown. These loads were about a grain hotter than I usually load. They showed no pressure signs, but I figure they were beyond the optimal loading for this gun. There had been less than 20 rounds through the gun since it was last thoroughly cleaned, including copper remover. Any ideas what caused this?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer55 View Post
    I was experimenting with some different loads in my Remington 700 .222 last week and I experience something that at first had me baffled. The new loads were not very accurate for this gun, just around an inch and it usually shoots under half an inch with most loads. I was most interested in just shooting up these rounds to fire form the cases. I wasn't in any particular hurry. I would shoot, run a nylon brush and dry patch through the bore, double check the last point of impact in the spotting scope, replace the bolt, and then load and shoot again. The barrel was barely warm to the touch. The last two shots were within half an inch of each other, but the Sight-N-See target looked smeared. At first I thought I had driven the Hornady SX too fast and they were coming apart. When I retrieved the target something didn't look just right. When I looked at target backer it was clearly the outline of a 50 gr Hornady SX going through sideways. I'm thinking I have a problem at the crown. These loads were about a grain hotter than I usually load. They showed no pressure signs, but I figure they were beyond the optimal loading for this gun. There had been less than 20 rounds through the gun since it was last thoroughly cleaned, including copper remover. Any ideas what caused this?
    stablization of bullet due to rotational torque to great or the opposite due to rotational torque not great enough. if what you are saying is what is happening this strikes me at first but I really don't have a clue. What is barrel twist, powder and charge, velocity fps? We sure need some thoughts on this one.
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  3. #3

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    Beartooth,

    I believe the twist rate is 1 in 14. The load was 26 gr of 748, Winchester cases, CCI primers. This is a max load, (between 3200 and 3300 fps)and I've always had excellent results with 25 grains of 748. One other thing I've come across since my first post is the possibility that the center of gravity was off on those bullets. I may have gotten a box that slipped through qc.

  4. #4
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    If this old 222 isn't shot out there's no reason it wouldn't stabilize one of a box of 50 grain bullets. Did only one bullet tumble? How and why would only one keyhole? Did you run a 20 caliber bullet in by mistake? A full key hole at 100 yards is a really bad barrel but if only one did it Just ignore it until you can make more tumble. I've never seen a crown bad enough to tumble a bullet. There has to be more to the story.
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  5. #5

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    If this performance wasn't repeated, it's entirely possible that you had a single "bad" bullet....air-pocket in the core....thin spot in the jacket.....anything that would contribute to a non-concentric weight distribution. It's been known to happen.
    A little more firing may be in order before you blame the load or rifle, I'd think. I think if you had a crown problem, your problem (or problems) would be more consistent.
    Also, what weight bullets were you using, and what is the twist on the rifle. Most rifles will come from the factory with a twist rate appropriate to stabalize most applicable bullet weights and styles. Manufactures have learned, as in the case with Remington and the 6mm Rem, that twist rate can make or break a cartridge. However, if the round you are using is too heavy, or rather, too long for the twist rate, it could cause such a problem. It isn't likely, however, if the bullet was of similar weight and style to rounds already proven in that rifle.
    If it wasn't just an anomaly with that bullet, I think it is more likely that all that cleaning did manage to ding the crown.
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  6. #6
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    All this Monday morning quarterbacking on a Sunday night?

    Well Murphy is right about the crown. That ain't it!

    I know the barrel can't be to clean to make that happen.

    I do know that when people tell me they got the bore clean, that's never been the case.

    The only time I've seen bullets keyhole is from a worn out bore.

    It could be you are on the ragged edge of bullet length v. velocity, in the 14 twist barrel.
    For that you need to plug your numbers into the Greenhill formula.

    I would sure like to bore scope that barrel.

    I would try to make it keyhole again, if not I would put it up to a giant shurg?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    All this Monday morning quarterbacking on a Sunday night?

    Well Murphy is right about the crown. That ain't it!

    I know the barrel can't be to clean to make that happen.

    I do know that when people tell me they got the bore clean, that's never been the case.

    The only time I've seen bullets keyhole is from a worn out bore.

    It could be you are on the ragged edge of bullet length v. velocity, in the 14 twist barrel.
    For that you need to plug your numbers into the Greenhill formula.

    I would sure like to bore scope that barrel.

    I would try to make it keyhole again, if not I would put it up to a giant shurg?
    The only time I have seen a crown cause a problem like that was when a friend of mine used to put his rifle in the front seat with him with the end of the barrel riding on the rubber matt of his truck floor. He did that for about 3yrs. as he drove around as a forman for some land. It got to shooting like what flyer has experienced and my friend thought it was his scope. Changed scopes three times finally took it to a gunsmith and the gunsmith said that he had worn one side of the end of the barrel down enough to effect the barrel harmonics so the gunsmith recrowned the barrel and it shot fine.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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  8. #8

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    Thanks for the info guys,

    Sorry for the confusion. The gun was shooting fine, just not as accurate as usual, which I attributed to the loads being beyond optimal pressures. I had just changed out the scope and had resighted at 25 yards. That took 3 shots. and it was the usual one shot, adjust the scope, shoot a third time to check the second shot, good to go at 100. The first shot at 100 yards was a little higher than I wanted so I adjusted the scope to hit down an inch and I thought I pulled the next shot right, but had the elevation was right. The next shot was .2 to the right of my aim point and right on vertically. The next shot was .55 from the previous shot. The next shot touched the third shot but key holed. The next and final shot touched the second shot but key holed. At first I thought the bullets were being driven too fast and were coming apart. I could see through the spotting scope that the grouping of the 5 shots taken after the sighter and scope adjustment was twice as big as I would have expected and I didn't think I pulled the last shot. That's when I walked out to the target to see what was happening.

    At that point I quit shooting this gun until I could figure it out. I cleaned the barrel when I got home. The bore looked pretty clean before I started and I didn't get any trace of copper fouling with Shooters Choice or CR 10 after I'd gotten out most of the powder fouling with Hoppes. It was about what I expected. (Murphy was right. This is an old .222, probably 40 + as I bought it used in 1970.) Figuring I had nothing to lose at this point, I went after any remaining fouling with 40 X and JB. The extra fouling it removed was on par with other barrels I've used these products on. Then I used Barrel Blast foaming cleaner and let the gun sit for 4 hours. The patches then came out completely clean at this point. I ran a couple of patches with Rem Oil down the barrel and now it appears that I have to determine if the barrel is shot out or if I've been doing a crummy job of cleaning. The range will be open Wed. and I guess I know what I'll be doing if it isn't raining. I'll post some pictures of the group and key holes if I can figure out why my camera won't download. Thanks again for the info.

  9. #9

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    can't wait to see the groups that you shoot wed. and your results.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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  10. #10
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, I have a 6mm barrel here that won the National benchrest championship years ago. When this barrel is clean it can and will still throw down one and zero groups five shots. The trouble is the barrel is, it's so worn that it takes half a day to get it that clean. So it is retired. As these old tubes get worn they become more and more trouble to get the carbon and copper out.

    I had a little 722 Remington that I rechambered to .223 Remington that was a triple duce. Stock barrel, Man that rifle made me money. Without a doubt the most accurate rifle off the shelf I've ever owned or seen. Trimmed the weight down, with scope to just at 5 lbs. Goodness I miss that rifle. A buddy of mine needed a rifle for his wife to hunt with him and I just knew it was going to get a better home and not get shot out by me.

    Oh well, that's what friends are for.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Al View Post
    For what it's worth, I have a 6mm barrel here that won the National benchrest championship years ago. When this barrel is clean it can and will still throw down one and zero groups five shots. The trouble is the barrel is, it's so worn that it takes half a day to get it that clean. So it is retired. As these old tubes get worn they become more and more trouble to get the carbon and copper out.

    I had a little 722 Remington that I rechambered to .223 Remington that was a triple duce. Stock barrel, Man that rifle made me money. Without a doubt the most accurate rifle off the shelf I've ever owned or seen. Trimmed the weight down, with scope to just at 5 lbs. Goodness I miss that rifle. A buddy of mine needed a rifle for his wife to hunt with him and I just knew it was going to get a better home and not get shot out by me.

    Oh well, that's what friends are for.
    Yep, been there, done that, but he was my friend.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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  12. #12

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    Let's see if I can get these pictures to post. The highest hole touching the vertical line is my first shot. I adjusted the point of impact down and felt that I had pulled the next shot right where the base of the 1 o'clock keyhole is. The next two shots straddle the vertical line. Shot 5 is the 5 o'clock key hole and shot six is the 1 o'clock keyhole. The fourth picture is a three shot group from my 22 250 Encore that I shot after pulling the target from the .222. It measures about .330 center to center. That's about as steady as I can hold at the end of a shooting session.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13

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    Here are the last two pictures.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    These groups are from this morning?

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer55 View Post
    Here are the last two pictures.
    could be bad made bullets that are not concentric
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  16. #16

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    Big Al,

    Both groups were shot last Friday. After one of the weekend warriors shot my 30-06 that was sitting in the rack I've been avoiding Sat. and Sun. The range is closed Mon. & Tue so I'll try again Wed. with bullets from a fresh box, my proven load, and a literally squeaky clean barrel. I'll load up some Sierras and VMax for comparison. Thanks for the input. If I can't get it to shoot I'm thinking about what you said about rechambering to .223. I can get another Encore with a .222 barrel for less than the cost of a good rebarrel. Then again I've always dreamed of having an excuse to get a Lilja barrel, and now I may have one.

  17. #17
    New member George's Avatar
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    Default troublesome 222

    Well, pretty difficult to tell the problem. Worn out barrel?? could be. But,
    they usually just don't quit shooting between range sessions. No reason that barrel wouldn't staibilze a 50 gr. SX. Doubtful the bullets are "tumbling". Probably wouldn't be within 10" of POA or other bullet's POI if really tumbling. Likely just yawing around the axis of rotation causing the keyhole print. Might also use regular heavy stock target paper over a fresh piece of cardboard. That will give a much truer picture than "Shoot N C" type of target as to how much yaw there really is. 50 gr. bullet at 3200-3300 fps seems pretty hot to me for the 222. Nothing wrong with putting a new barrel on the rifle if shot out. I like the 222 but some like the 223. Lots of 223 surplus ammo that usually doesn't shoot worth a darn but its a cheap way to wear out another barrel Some like a little extra velocity with the 223 over the 222. anyhow... Good luck

  18. #18
    Member Big Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyer55 View Post
    Big Al,

    Both groups were shot last Friday. After one of the weekend warriors shot my 30-06 that was sitting in the rack I've been avoiding Sat. and Sun. The range is closed Mon. & Tue so I'll try again Wed. with bullets from a fresh box, my proven load, and a literally squeaky clean barrel. I'll load up some Sierras and VMax for comparison. Thanks for the input. If I can't get it to shoot I'm thinking about what you said about rechambering to .223. I can get another Encore with a .222 barrel for less than the cost of a good rebarrel. Then again I've always dreamed of having an excuse to get a Lilja barrel, and now I may have one.

    Well, if is as clean as you say and does not keyhole again. I would take it to someone with a bore scope and have them look for the wear starting at the throat. Rechambering will not help if your bore is gone of coarse.

    As far as a new barrel goes, I can find no fault with Dan Lilja's barrels, goodness knows I own enough of them. I would pull the stock and send it to Montana to Dillon that is, there is a barrel maker that will do the fitting too at a vary good price. I'm sending out several actions to a fellow by the name of Barney Lawton. In fact I think I will buy two of his actions.

    http://www.lawtonriflebarrels.com/ You might want to give him a look see and a call. I was surprised his web site is up and running.

    A little known secret is that a really good barrel properly fitted and stock will eat just about any load you throw at them and shoot vary well indeed.

    You might try to beat the rush to this barrel maker as his barrel are winning a lot of competitions in 1000 yard and others. Get a good barrel and you will be a vary happy camper!

  19. #19

    Red face

    Thanks to all who responded to my original post. I put an 11 degree target crown on the barrel, scrubbed the barrel with JB, soaked it with Hoppes and Kroil, cleaned it with Shooters Choice Copper Remover (no blue), and kept repeating the Hoppes & Kroil for a few days because it was the only thing that was removing any more "bad stuff." By the time I was done regular bore cleaners came out the same color they went in. Dry patches following a soaking with Hoppes and Kroil would still come through with just the slightest gray on the first pass and totally clean on a second pass with a clean patch. I loaded up my proven load to the max length they would fit in the magazine. I also loaded 5 VMax and seated them so they would be .020 off the lands.

    I shot as if this were a new barrel, shooting and cleaning every shot for the first 5 shots, and then every two shots for the next 10. There was no evidence of copper fouling when I ran patches soaked with CR 10 through the barrel. (I was shooting 4 rifles and I let it sit until I shot those, about 10 minutes) I used the shoot and clean shots to dial in the scope for the new loads. Then I shot a string of 5 with about a minute between shots. I could easily cover the group with a dime and they all flew straight. The "sighters" make such nice sharp holes in the target that they were hard to pick out with a spotting scope. (Maybe it's time to get my eye checked.)

    The five loads that I s t r e t c h e d out to be just off the lands opened up to about 3/4 inch. This rifle has always been picky about what it likes and just throws tantrum when it doesn't get Hornady 50 gr. SX bullets and Winchester 748. Other bullets, including the Sierra 52 gr. BTHP, won't shoot in this rifle. It looks as if I can make it through the varmint season without a rebarrel. However, the OAL gauge tells me that the throat on this rifle is badly eroded. At least I have some time to scrape up the money.

    Once again, thanks for the help.

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