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Thread: Frustrating day at the range.

  1. #1

    Default Frustrating day at the range.

    I went to the range today to check zero on a couple of rifles and to sight in a couple more.

    I started of with my CZ 452 Silhouette. It took five rounds to find zero at 50 meters. Then the next five went into a little dime sized cluster. Then I checked zero on a Ruger American 223 and a Remington 783 in 243. Both were right where they belonged at 1.5 high at 100 meters. The 8 inch gong @ 200 was no challenge for either. Next up was a brand new Ruger 77 Hawkeye in 7mm-08 sporting a Leupold VXII 2x7. Since I bored sighted the combo before heading out I expected it to be close. The first round at 50 meters landed at the bottom of the 1 inch dot. So I went to the 100 meter mark and let one fly that landed 1.5 high. The next round went 1.5 higher than the previous round without waiting I fired the third round. It landed inline but 8 inches high. My hold felt solid for all three rounds. My first thought was this scope isn't holding zero. I fired three rounds in quick succession at 50 meters and they were inside of 3/4 of an inch which Translates to a 1.5 inch group at 100yards or 3"s at 200. I let the gun cool for while(cool to the touch) and then shot 3 rounds at the gong and tje last 2 shots never touched it. I stood the gun at the side of the bench and headed 4 miles to town for a bite to eat. While in town I grabbed my Ruger American in 7mm-08 scoped with a straight Leupold 4x and a can of orange spray paint for the gong. Back at the range I took three rounds of the same fodder that I was feeding the Hawkeye and stuffed them into the American and fired at the gong. It clanged on all three shots. My spotting scope indicated 3 shiny spots in the new orange paint making a nice triangle in the middle of the gong. I grabbed the Hawkeye and said out loud you've had an hour to cool down the first one better land true....and it did. It landed right in the middle of the three new shiny spots on the gong. The next round minus any cool down time missed the gong entirely. I removed the VXII and replaced it with the scope that had been on the American when it shot the nice little triangle shaped group on the gong. I zeroed it in at 50 and once again three rounds went way under an inch. I let the gun cool while I fired 50 rounds each through my FNS-40 and S&W model 65/ 357. I then repainted the gong again. The Hawkeye was cold to the touch so I gave the gong another go. The first round smacked the 8 inch gong just below the middle. The next 2 missed the gong altogether. So I found something to do for a half hour while the barrel heat dissipated 100%. The next round hammered the gong just below the last rounf by about an inch. Another half hour of cool down and I let the third round go....it split the difference of the previous 2 rounds. A 1 inch group @ 200 if the gun was allowed to let all heat dissipate from the barrel yet would not land 2 rounds in fast succession inside of 8 inches.

    It's the rifle plain and simple. The action screws are good and snug. The bases are locktited on solid. The barrels muzzle does not appear to be recessed at all and is flat across the end. The lands and grooves come all the way out to the flat end. The barrel fits tight in the channel and sliding a dollar bill between the stock and barrel is not possible anywhere along the entire length of the stock.

    My first step will be to glass the front lug and float the barrel. If that doesn't fix the problem then I will recrown it myself.

    This "IS" a light weight hunting rifle and I don't need or expect target rifle accuracy but I do expect it to hit an 8 inch kill zone every single time at 200 meters.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    My first step will be to glass the front lug and float the barrel.
    I'm betting that floating the barrel will take care of it with no bedding at all. Ruger puts a little "bridge" right up at the tip of the forend for some up pressure on the barrel, and in my experience it's usually too much if the action is bedded even slightly too deep.

    Something else to always check on Rugers: See if the angled forward action bolt is touching the side of the hole through the stock. If the action is bedded too deep, that can also touch and really raise cob with groups. Another habit of mine, I'm not patient enough to wait a couple hundred rounds to see if a wear pattern develops on the side of that hole in the stock. I reach in with a rattail file and open it up a little.

    After all that, be sure to seal the stock against moisture. Bedding is optional for me at that point.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    The barrel fits tight in the channel and sliding a dollar bill between the stock and barrel is not possible anywhere along the entire length of the stock. My first step will be to glass the front lug and float the barrel. If that doesn't fix the problem then I will recrown it myself.
    I think you are on the right track there EKC. I personally prefer bedding the action and free-floating the barrel on pretty much all of my bolt action rifles, which is exactly what I did with my light-weight 7mm-08...which shoots great. I'm betting that your intended game plan will help tighten those groups on quick, successive shots. I'm assuming that it's a #2 or maybe #3 contour barrel?

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    Good information there Brownbear...I was typing my response to EKC, and didn't see what you had already said. Looks like we were on the same page sir.

  5. #5

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    Yes it's the ultra light with the buggy whip 20 inch barrel. I should have stated from the beginning that it is the stainless/synthetic model. The front angled tang screw was very tight from the factory. I have a strong screw driver grip but that one wasn't going to budge any tighter. Ya reckon it's too tight? Can't say that I have seen where the front tang screw caused issues when too tight.....unless the plastic stock is warped a bit or something and the tightened tang is really binding it up. I'll take it apart tonight for a look see.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by elmerkeithclone View Post
    ...buggy whip 20 inch barrel....
    I bet you're on course. I have no experience with the American, but lots with Ultralights with their wood stocks and similar barrels. Simply free floating the barrel turned my 257 Roberts from a "pattern" shooter to a grouper. Right out of the box factory loads had trouble making 3"-4". Free floating dropped it to around 1.5", and favorite handloads would reliably break an inch with a few minutes cooling between shots.

    Never tried this stunt with the angled action bolt on a Ruger, but have done so successfully a few times with Remington and Winchester:

    The gunsmith I worked for back in the late 60's and early 70's had a "trick" for testing the effects of free floating for customers BEFORE going to the expense of stock clearing and action bedding. He's put a layer of brass shim stock under the tang and bearing points around each action bolts (cut to shape and punch holes to allow passage of the action bolts). Takes about 10 minutes after a doing it a few times and allows you to clear the barrel from the channel for a quick shooting test.

    One thing to add about whippy Ruger barrels. A bud's Ultralight in 30-06 didn't respond well to free floating. It WANTED to shoot, but excessive cooling was needed for that after I'd cleared the barrel channel and bedded the recoil lug and rear 3" of barrel. I followed the old smith's stunt and slipped enough shim stock under the barrel at the forend tip to close the gap, but not add upward pressure. Shazam! It would clank off 3 fast shots into a tight group, though it started to open up on 5 shotters. Knowing that, I went back and added a 2" strip of glass bedding at the forend tip.

    I think I know where Ruger is coming from in adding that little bridge to the front of their stocks, even if they're doing it on all their barrels rather than just the whips. But with any upward pressure on the barrel due to bedding issues at the back end, accuracy can suffer. Easy fix, but with some study and thought before giving up on free floating.
    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
    Merle Haggard

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