Improving accuracy of sporter type rifles?


November 6, 2006, 02:53 PM
Aside from rebarreling, new stocks, accurizing and all the fancy things that I can't afford, does anyone have any tips on how to improve the accuracy of sporter rifles? I read that a new trigger and glass bedding could help to greatly improve the accuracy, does this hold any truth? Or do sporter-weight barrels respond better to freefloating?

Any input is much welcomed, thanks a bunch-
Mr Pillow

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November 6, 2006, 03:03 PM
Handloading, or finding a factory load that the rifle likes, can shrink groups considerably.

Most factory bolt action rifles have triggers that can be adjusted (to varying degrees depending on the model) to a lighter pull weight by a competent gunsmith for very little money (under 50 bucks). According to the late legendary rifle builder Gale McMillan, about 98 percent of bolt action rifles shoot better with the barrel free floated. You can glass bed the action, and free float the barrel, which will improve accuracy for very little money (under 25 bucks if you do the bedding yourself).

Just my .02,

November 6, 2006, 03:16 PM
I am handloading with accuracy in mind, and it hasn't seemed to help much. It's produced some smaller groups, but most hover a little over 1". I'll look into bedding the action and floating the barrel.

The rifle is a Ruger M77 MkII, and I dont believe the trigger is adjustable. Currently pulling at 9lbs, I'd rather just get a good, light target trigger.

November 6, 2006, 03:31 PM
Timney sear and spring kit, $38:

Complete Timney Trigger (2-4 lb.), $85:

Rifle Basix adjustable trigger (14 oz. to 2 lb.), $90:

Not having a 9 lb. trigger on anything but a Double Action handgun, Priceless.:evil:

November 6, 2006, 04:35 PM
Freefloat the barrel, 3lb trigger, bed the action.

Practice practice and practice some more.


November 6, 2006, 04:36 PM
Mr. Pillow,

9# trigger pull? :what: Yeah, I would look at doing that first, as that will make it much easier to shoot accuratly.

Bedding and floating can be a good idea. Bedding won't hurt, and it will probably help. Floating might help or might hurt. Could go either way.

I had an issue where I had a very accurate rifle (vanguard in .30-06), but it wasn't consistant. Meaning, I could get plenty of <1" groups shooting off of a sandbag, but, if I shot of a bipod, my groups would open to 1.5"-2.5" and the POI was 3-5" high as well. And the rifle would change POI depending on the day. One day I would have it sighted in dead on, next day the POI was an inch or two high, and an inch or two to the right. Drove me nuts.

So I replaced the flimsy stock with a Boyd's Laminate (cost about $80), bedded the action, and floated the barrel.

The end result?

My rifle still shoots between 7/8th"-1.1", but the POI is consistant, and the groups are just as accurate when shooting off a bipod as when I am on bags with no shift in POI. Also, my cold bore shot is dead on with the rest of my group.

The floating didn't really help my accuracy any, in fact I lost a little bit I, but now I can shoot off a bipod without any noticable change, or I can sling up tightly without affecting my accuracy.

Really though, 1" groups out of a sporting rifle are absolutely phenomenal, especially if that rifle does it consistantly, and with little to no POI change from day to day.


November 6, 2006, 06:46 PM
I'd be mostly worried about POI/POA consistency and trigger pull. A 9-lb trigger HAS to be redone, no question. As for getting groups around 1" on average, I'd take it if it is always to the same spot, hot or cold, slung or benched or off of a bipod.

I had a 700 Mountain Rifle that was getting spastic about POI and zero changes. It was about to go under for a bedding and float job until I decided to trade for an Encore. Amazingly, my synthetic stocked Encore muzzleloader doesn't have a problem with POI/POA shifting.

November 6, 2006, 07:15 PM
Hi Mr P...

9 lbs. isn't a trigger, Mr. P., it's a trailer hitch. :eek: That is your starting point without a doubt. Life will only get better from there! :)

"hovering a little over an inch" is plenty good medicine from any sporting rifle and, if you are like me and everyone else I've ever met, as soon as you move off the bench the accuracy problem becomes you and not the rifle anyway.

Those who have already told you that floating the barrel may NOT be a good thing were telling the absolute Truth - saving that tactic for last is likey a pretty fair idea.

Good luck!

November 6, 2006, 07:45 PM
As others have said, that 9lb trigger has got to go! A few other ideas...

Are you shooting 3 or 5 shot groups? My experience has been that groups with a sporter weight tend to open up after 3 shots unless you give plenty of time for the barrel to cool between shots.

Look at your rifling twist rate and the weight of bullet you are using. Are you sure that you can stabilize it properly (you didn't mention cartridge, bullet weight, twist, etc...)?

Is this a hunting rifle? If so, depending on the range you will be using it and caliber, 1 MOA may not be all that unacceptable.

Al Thompson
November 6, 2006, 08:15 PM
1 moa not that unacceptable? :eek: :neener: What are you hunting? Rats at three hundred yards? :)

Tweak that trigger ASAP! Heck, with a good trigger you may shave those groups bunches.

FWIW, for deer or other big game, I'm fine with 1.5 MOA as I don't do 300 yard shots unless it's from a stand.

November 6, 2006, 08:23 PM
I'll start with the trigger, hopefully get that replaced sometime next week. If that doesn't help, I'll look into other issues.

Rifle is a .204 Ruger, 1-12" twist, using Berger 40grn/Sierra 39grn bullets. Should be stablizing fine.

November 6, 2006, 09:36 PM
In some cases the trigger can improve accuracy up to 30%. However, I have never seen a Ruger 77 that glass bedding and floating the barrel didn't help. It's about duplicating harmonics and floating is usually the answer. Before anyone hits me in the back of the head, I said "I had never seen one" there are exceptions I am sure. But for sure, your trigger at the present "SUCKS". 3lbs. is plenty.

November 6, 2006, 11:17 PM
check all these for looseness, damage, dings, fouling, etc. crown, chamber, bore, scope mounts, scope, free float, which is usually better for sporter weights, trigger smoothness. I cant stress enough the use of a good smooth, light, trigger. if you wanna check if bedding will help, get a business card, and fire some rounds regular. then fold up the bus. card, put it under the front of the bbl, between the stock, fire some more. then take it out again, do another fold, fire again. etc. see if that upward pressure is doing.

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