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inaccurate Rifle?
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms
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Dawgdad
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:05 am    Post subject: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

Reading through 204 shooters problems with his .243, I was wondering what our panel of experts would consider the most likely places to look when a rifle won't shoot straight.

Assuming you have not run over the barrel with your truck( Did I do that? Confused ) What is your hot list of things to check?

I'll start with mine -


Clean the dang thing! I have a shooting buddy who is horrible about putting his tools away dirty or with just a bore snake pulled through it and then he wonders why his groups are opening up!

Check sight/scope for loose mounting screws or any slop that exists. a few thousandths here can be inches or even feet out there.

Check and retighten all stock screws. Since your cheek weld to the stock is your 'frame of reference' to the gun. Make sure it is not sliding around relative to that. This can lead to bedding questions but I'll not go there here.

Look at the muzzle crown - dings and nicks here are a big problem. It is not a big job to re-dress one if needed either.

Try a proven load. If you have a brand new gun this can be a problem.

Most of has have a level of accuracy we expect out of our guns based on what we have done in the past. my .AR, 243 and -06 are sub MOA shooters while my M1 and SKS are lucky to hold 2-3 MOA. Do not expect a silk purse from a Sows ear.



I will be interested in hearing thought from the rest of you.

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skb2706
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

1. human error, poor shooting skills, improper cleaning techniques

2. scope/mounts/sight problems

3. inherent gun problems, chamber alignment, crown

4. ammo that just plain doesn't work in that gun
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hunterjoe21
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 7:45 pm    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

1. Improper cleaning
2. Loose scope/mounts
3. Improper stock screw tension/Improper stock-barrel contact
4. Poor trigger
5. Improper ammo

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justen
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 09, 2007 11:55 pm    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

Twist Rate might be too slow and not stabilising the Projectile.
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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:28 am    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

Too much coffee - shaky hands
poor trigger job
bad ammo
wrong season etc

Funny, sometimes I heard that in 22LR guns, dirty barrel gives better accuracy. I may be wrong and hear only what I want to hear Razz

Gelan

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 4:23 am    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

The first thing you should look at is yourself....are you doing your bit. Is there something wrong with you (not well, other things on your mind etc)Have you changed the way you shoot? Have you changed your rest or method of using the rest? Are you just having a bad day? Have someone you trust as a coach to watch you shoot and offer advice. Let someone else shoot a group with your ammo and different (known to the shooter) ammo. Is Mother Nature "playing" with you (wind/dust/heat haze etc)

1. Rifle - Have you lost confidence in your rifle (happened to me in the past)? Does the rifle shoot well normally? Is this load the first time it has shot a "pattern" rather than a group (ammo!)? Are the stock screws correct tensioned and in the right order (it makes a difference with a Weatherby)? Is your barrel worn out? Is everything nice and tight? Headspace correct? Is the barrel crown in good condition?
2. Sights - have you knocked them? Everything tight? Crappy mounts? (been there, done that...the mounts were "windage adjustable"..wouldn't hold position)
3. Ammunition - Load (is it correct)? Is it the first time with the load/bullet combination (fine tuning needed) Does your rifle "like" the load/bullet combination? Condition of cases, are they worn out/cracked/stretched/ loose primer pocket etc.
4. Incorrect or inadequate cleaning of the firearm...get some advice/assistance from someone you trust.
5. Shoot a group at a closer range to see how it shoots then.
6. Go home, forget about it, rest, have a beer or 3...anything to take your mind off the problem. Don't get "wrapped around the axles" over something that may not be a big problem. Revisit your load and rifle (with a clear head) at a later date...before going back to the range. Don't go back to the range to test until you are totally satisfied with your rifle and load.

Don't expect tiny groups or results beyond your capabilities...work on each and every factor, not just one or two, until it all comes together or reaches a standard that satisfies you.

Cheers, Vince

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Joe Boleo
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:04 am    Post subject: I agree with all of the above Reply with quote

I would only add that shooting for groups should be done from a solid rest. I have seen folks try to sight in deer rifles from the standing position at 100 yards.

Another thing that has usually helped my rifles is to free float the barrel channel and bed the action. If all the above fails, either rebarrel or trade off the rifle. Take care...
Joe
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Jack
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

All good suggestions.
I will add one more: a 1,000$ rifle isn't likely to shoot well for long, if ever, with a 39.95 bargain basement scope on it. Put quality glass on it.
I would say that there are a lot of 1/2 inch rifles on the internet. When I go to the range and watch other people's targets, I see a lot of 2-3-4 inch groups.
If you're evaluating a rifle that won't shoot, check all the things listed- and then be honest with yourself. Do you typically shoot 1/2 inch groups? If you don't (and many excellent hunters do not), find someone who does and have them shoot the rifle for group.
I've picked up more than one rifle cheap because it "won't shoot" and turned it into a shooter with some of the tips listed above.
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FALPhil
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

I buy a lot of milsurps. Most have been well used if not abused. When I go about looking at why it won't shoot, there are several things I look for and not necessarily in this order:

Bad muzzle crown - I often find myself re-crowning rifles that don't shoot well. A bad muzzle crown allows the gas ejecta behind the bullet to impart unequal forces on the heel of the bullet as it leaves the bore. Sometimes even a small scratch on the crown can have a dramatic effect.

Loose action/stock fit - In the milsurp world, this is pretty common. Less so in the commercial world. Proper tightening can make a world of difference.

Ammo - some ammo just doesn't do well in some guns. I reload, so I try different combinations till I get results.

Rough/dirty bore - I have had some pretty ugly bores shoot rather well after cleaning. Sometimes. Not much you can do if the bore is the reason for inaccuracy other than rebarrelling.

Throat erosion - If there is a good deal of throat (leade) erosion, the bullet has to jump a long ways before it engages the rifling. Often it can engage where the axis of the bullet is not parallel to the bore.

Improper headspace - usually when this is the problem, the chamber is too long. A big chamber is not conducive to accuracy (sometimes, it even causes failures to fire). In cases like this, the barrel must be set back and a new chamber cut.

Heavy trigger - a poor trigger is hard to have accuracy with.

Loose sights - Already mentioned.

Anomalies in the bore - If I fix everything else, and the rifle is still inaccurate, I slug the bore. I have had two rifles, one a milsurp, and one with a big name commercial after market barrel have wide spots in the barrel. The only fix is to change out the barrel.

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Dimitri
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:44 am    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

Gelan,

I have heard for 22LR's that applies as well, if its a myth its a myth both sides of the world have heard of. Smile

Dimitri

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:57 am    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

I check the easy things first.
shooter - unless its me
screws loose - action and sight or mounting
crown
scope
barrel
then load

A new rifle is something you can't blame on the load until you find one that works in it. eliminating the other things using factory ammo and then you have some rounds to work a load up with. There are almost always know accurate loads. If you can't get close with one of those then you have to look deeper - like chambering or worn action. Depending on the kind of rifle there are a number of problems that hide from you. When all else fails I have a good rifle smith that I trust. If there is something wrong with a rifle he can find it - when he has the time. Apparently there are a number of others who know he is good at what he does. I guess that is what building winning match rifles does to you.

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ElyBoy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

All of the above and also, the highest quality mounts for the scope.
My Dad always told me that a guy can get away with a moderate priced scope as long as he spares no expense on the scope mount. This advise has done me good all of my life.

I would add Butch's Bore Shine to clean the barrel.
It works better than anything for lead and copper fouling.

Eric

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

I think that Dawgdad hit the most likely culprit right on the head with his first suggestion...clean it! Of course there are many mechanical problems that can hinder performance, but cleaning always seems to lead the pack when problems arise. I have managed to buy an awful lot of "problem" rifles cheaply that only needed a real good cleaning. My latest one was a Ruger #1 in 22/250 that the seller admitted only shot 4-inch groups! Figuring that for the asking price ($200) I could afford to re-barrel it if necessary, I bought it and he was correct...4" was a very good group for it until I spent nearly a week cleaning the bore daily, followed by a good workout with JB Bore Paste. Magically it turned into a sub-MOA rifle as long as I did my part.

As to the 22 LR question; yes, the majority of them do shoot better dirty (within reason) partly due to having self-lubed bullets that tend to "condition" the bore. This is also a trend that is common to nearly any rifle though. Very seldom does the first shot or two from a cold, clean barrel print in the same group as those fired from a fouled barrel.

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 6:47 am    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

I only hunt with a clean, cold barrel so only the first shot counts for me....
When I work up loads I shoot one shot, clean the gun and let it cool. Then I sit down and do it all over again. It takes a long time to shoot a five shot group but I get consistant results and I can depend on it when I am hunting.

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SwampFox
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Re: inaccurate Rifle? Reply with quote

I have folks bring rifles to me on a frequent basis for "this gun won't shoot" problems. 99% of the time the bore is fouled so bad that accuracy is impossible. The first thing I do is clean the bore to de-copper or de-lead the barrel. I never use an abrasive compound or stainless steer brush to clean a bore. I only use abrasives to lap the bore and only if the bore is machined rough and the gun is being preped for cast bullet match shooting or 22RL match shooting. I wish I had a nickel for every 22 rifle I have seen that was never cleaned. Do yourself a favor, clean your 22 rifles and handguns, please....

In small bore match shooting with, the 22 LR, there has been extensive reserch done to prove or disprove the clean bore theory. The outcome of the testing was that a clean bore is more accurate than a fouled bore. However every champion has a ritual before, during and after competition. Most champion shooters do not start a match with a clean bore and most do not clean their bore after each match. The small bore match gun that is shot "dirty" is normally cleaned after 500 to 1,000 rounds. Big bore guns are a different matter.

The mechanics of shooting are a learned discipline that once learned can only be honed to a fine edge. Once the edge is reached, the process becomes 99% mental. Anything that makes the shooter comfortable or gives confidence is then of primary concern. It becomes the same socks, same shirt, same meal, to start the match day. So a dirty bore can be and many times is, part of the ritual. The bystander mistakes the dirty bore for an accuracy advantage.
Ed

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