Need help with Rifle that's Stopped Shooting.


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BBW
March 7, 2008, 10:09 PM
Hey guys,

I've been playing around with my 243 for a few months. Thought I would stop in here to see if anyone has any suggestions.

This is a Remington BDL, about seven years old. The thing has always shot great. With a 100gr Sierra in front of 40.7gr of IMR 4350 it would consistently do 3/4" or better at 100yards. But something has gone wrong. It now shoots that same load into about 3" groups average, and sometimes groups as bad as 5-6". I've gone through and made sure that there's no copper or other fouling in the bore (though it does feel like there's a rough spot in the barrel about 1/3rd of the way back from the muzzle -not sure what that's about).

I don't have a round count, but I would think it's probably got between 1500-2000 rounds through it. I'm not sure what the life of a 243 barrel is. I do know that my favored load mentioned above isn't particularly hot.

I'm wondering if I may have overheated the barrel last summer? I took a marksmanship course where we shot a ton of ammo. I know that on a couple of different days the barrel got seriously hot. And it seems like after that is when it stopped shooting well. Is it possible that I damaged the barrel by overheating it?

Any thoughts on what else might be up with this thing? I've never had a trusty rifle go south on me like this before.

Thanks,

Ben

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kingjoey
March 7, 2008, 10:11 PM
When you clean the gun do you clean it from the breach end or the muzzle end? I suspect your muzzle crown is buggered

BBW
March 7, 2008, 10:15 PM
Breach. I use a Sinclair bore guide for the 700. Never have cleaned it from the muzzle I'm afraid.

Thanks though.

Ben

SlamFire1
March 7, 2008, 10:22 PM
Well, 1500-2000 rounds is about the accuracy barrel life of a .243. That is a very high intensity round and the throat gets eaten up.

However you need to do a good cleaning before you rebarrel.

First of all, get some JB Bore paste and use that. At some point you have to use an abrasive cleaner to get rid of the impacted stuff in the throat. Chemical cleaning will not remove the compacted carbon and whatnot.

I do not recommend any other abrasive than JB. JB has a slick, slightly muddy feel, is not very aggressive, but it is aggressive enough. Something that is more aggressive will wear out your barrel in short order.

So JB your barrel and then use Sweets or Butch's to remove whatever copper fouling remains.

Then shoot the thing.

If that does not work, its either the barrel, the bedding or loose scope mounts. And with the round count you have, its probably the barrel.

BBW
March 7, 2008, 10:40 PM
Thanks Slamfire.

I'm thinking I may be at the rebarrel stage. I hadn't realized that the 243 wears barrels out that quickly. But I did some poking around and the consensus on many forums seems to be that at or around 1500 rounds accuracy takes a turn for the worse.

And there's a side of me that would kind of like to turn this into a 308 anyway. I have a custom tactical in 308 that I'm just in love with. There's something about an accurate round that doesn't beat the snot out of you that's just nice.

Ben

CZ223
March 7, 2008, 11:10 PM
It could be but it sounds kind of odd. Barrels wear out gradually, not all of a sudden. I don't believe that 1500 rds is enough to have worn out your barrel, at least not the point that 3-6 inch groups are the norm. I suspect that it is something mechanical. If you have taken the action out of the stock or, even if you haven't check the action screws. Check the scope mounts and the scope. Also do check the crown and make sure the barrel is clean.

BBW
March 7, 2008, 11:17 PM
Thanks CZ,

I did give it one hell of a good cleaning. I'll check the crown. But the gun hasn't been out of the stock in years and the scope mounts seem tight.

It may have been gradual in a compressed sort of way. When I did the course we shot about 300 or so rounds. Then after I got home I went to the range and probably put another good 200 rounds through it. And now I've put another 100-200 through it trying to figure out why it won't shoot. So I put 400-500 rounds through it in quick sucession and then another 200 through it over the five or so months since then. That's a total of about 700 rounds.

Maybe it was on its way down and those 400-500 rounds pushed it over? This is my first 243 and I hadn't thought they shot out that quickly.

I'll take a look at the crown. But I'm always really careful with them, so I'd be surprised if that's it.

Ben

DiN_BLiX
March 7, 2008, 11:57 PM
If its a wood stock rifle a bedding job may be in order, or if its already bedded it may need to be freshened up. A light bore lapping and crown job couldnt hurt.

jpwilly
March 8, 2008, 12:04 AM
You probably just have a ton of fouling in the bbl Clean really well with Sweets 7.62 and some JB Bore Paste (be careful with anything abbrasive). repeat until nothing is comming out.

rangerruck
March 8, 2008, 02:20 AM
make sure the bbl is still free floated in the stock, AFTER YOU HEAT IT UP A BIT OUT ON THE RANGE!!! if it has sticking points , sand them out. Also , with it going that bad for groups, which is unusual, I would first do a recrown, this helps out grouping way more than you can imagine.

Chawbaccer
March 8, 2008, 09:27 AM
Sounds like you are hand loading for it. Have you tried working up another load?

xring44
March 8, 2008, 09:43 AM
Quote
I'm wondering if I may have overheated the barrel last summer? I took a marksmanship course where we shot a ton of ammo. I know that on a couple of different days the barrel got seriously hot. And it seems like after that is when it stopped shooting well. Is it possible that I damaged the barrel by overheating it?Quote

Bingo, the sharp shoulder and short neck of the .243 makes it "harder" on barrels than some other centerfires. I'd guess that a bore scope would show about 3" of barrel ahead of the chamber looking like a bad worn out asphalt road. Shooting that cartridge until the barrel gets that hot and continuing shooting will wreck a barrel in short order. Hard learned experience from the prarrie dog fields.

dagger dog
March 8, 2008, 11:55 AM
you didn't mention the type of sights. if it's scoped i would start there and make sure all the hardware is tight including the bases. then procede onto other things. is it a wood stock? could it be warped due to moisture? try losening or tightening the stock to action bolts.

burning out a barrel takes a lot more shooting than you think usually the fault is some where else. if your shooting handloads could some thing there have changed without you picking up on it? look for the eaiser stuff first before condeming the barrel. if you need to take it to the smith and let him look at it with a bore scope. sometimes a change in bullet seating depth can revive a "burnt out barrel.

John4me05
March 8, 2008, 12:09 PM
It is possible that much shooting could have made the barrel "change" slightly... Try working up a new group of test loads... If it got that hot maybe it change the density of the particles in the metal and changed the harmonics... Your on the upper half of the load data for 4350... Try a few with 38.5 and 39.5 grains... Just see what it does.. It aint nothing but time and a little powder... Could save a few hundred on a new barrel and refitting...

rcmodel
March 8, 2008, 03:59 PM
It could be but it sounds kind of odd. Barrels wear out gradually, not all of a sudden.I had a friend burn out a brand new 6mm BDL in one morning on a prairie dog shoot!

Way less then 500 rounds but he wouldn't stop shooting long enough for it to cool off even a little.

The rifling was fried for about 3" in front of the chamber!
Very visable just looking through it.

rcmodel

Jim Watson
March 8, 2008, 04:05 PM
They can go out pretty abruptly. A match shooting friend says he shot his normal (Master class) score one Saturday with his M1A and was all over the place on Sunday. Later trials showed the barrel was indeed shot out, and he was not much suprised because he knew the round count was high. But it showed up on target over the length of a two-day match.

SlamFire1
March 8, 2008, 06:25 PM
They can go out pretty abruptly.

Darn right!. There is a lot of head scratching, playing around with loads, and finally, the shooter accepts the fact the barrel is gone.

If the barrel is soft the throat can erode amazingly fast. Lee Land, a winner of the President's 100, told me of a barrel that eroded almost 1/10" per 88 round match. I think he paid $400.00 for a barrel that lasted maybe five matches.

bobsmith
March 10, 2008, 04:58 AM
The reason that the .243 is not used in igh Power taret shooting is that it is known for being hard on barrel throats. Rapid fire will wipe out a .243 throat quicker than a lot of other calbers.

LongRangeInternational
March 10, 2008, 08:43 AM
Take it easy on the abrasive cleaner. Try using a foaming cleaner and capping the barrel. You could also get the barrel nice and wet with Montana Copper Killer and push a patch of hydrogen peroxide - that will create a foaming action. It does sound like the barrel's shot out or the crown is bad.

IOSSO bore paste is a milder abrasive than JB if you have to go that route. I'd be hitting the chemical cleaners myself.

alsaqr
March 10, 2008, 08:56 AM
Any high intensity cartridge can wipe out a barrel that is not allowed to cool. Watched a guy wipe out his .300 Weatherby in two sessions at the bench. He put several targets on the frame and would fire 20 cartridges without leaving the bench-one right after the other. We tried to warn him but he did not listen.

If the throat of your gun is not ruined it can be brought back to good accuracy. Be very careful with any abrasive cleaner. I refuse to use the stuff because I've seen several barrels ruined by it.

The gun may have a lot of copper fouling that has to be removed the old fashioned way with a bronze brush and a good copper solvent. It took 6-8 sessions of cleaning to get one of my guns clean of copper fouling.

SlamFire1
March 10, 2008, 10:56 AM
If the throat of your gun is not ruined it can be brought back to good accuracy. Be very careful with any abrasive cleaner. I refuse to use the stuff because I've seen several barrels ruined by it.

The gun may have a lot of copper fouling that has to be removed the old fashioned way with a bronze brush and a good copper solvent. It took 6-8 sessions of cleaning to get one of my guns clean of copper fouling.

When you are using an abrasive bore cleaner you have to be careful because you are playing with fire!

I recommended it because of a conversation I had with Frank White of Compass lake Engineering. I was at his spot on Commerical Row asking him about bore cleaning. Frank sees more barrels in a month than I will see in a lifetime. Frank also has a bore scope. He has received match barrels that went south, accuracy wise, and examined them with the bore scope. He claims that even though the owner has used aggressive copper cleaners, that stuff will not remove impacted carbon and fouling in the throat. And he told me of a gentleman I know, and thus was able to verify, who had a barrel that just needed a cleaning with JB to get it back into shooting shape.

However, one should not JB more often than 300-500 rounds, in my opinion. The stuff is an abrasive. I wrap a saturated patch around a well worn bristle brush and push that through. I can feel the fouling in the throat being scrubbed out, and I stop when the "tightness" goes away.

On a barrel towards the end of its life, cleaning the fouling out of the throat will radically change POI till the barrel fouls itself back. I think when you notice this, just shoot the thing and accept that fact the barrel is within a couple hundred rounds of replacement.

I don't think the average 2 MOA hunting barrel needs this, or the average 3 MOA service barrel. Nothing besides prayer will improve the accuracy of those things, and putting an abrasive down those rat holes only wears them out faster.

LongRangeInternational
March 10, 2008, 11:46 PM
It seems to me that the abrasive would abrade over the copper at a rate even to the steel. I doubt the copper would be selectively abraded.

The Deer Hunter
March 11, 2008, 12:13 AM
I'm wondering if I may have overheated the barrel last summer? I took a marksmanship course where we shot a ton of ammo. I know that on a couple of different days the barrel got seriously hot. And it seems like after that is when it stopped shooting well. Is it possible that I damaged the barrel by overheating it?

Any thoughts on what else might be up with this thing? I've never had a trusty rifle go south on me like this before.


If its not mechanical...Maybe its a mental thing. It is possible that you keep thinking about that and every time you go to shoot you subconsciously shoot bad. Like this may seem a bit of a stretch but the placebo effect doesn't just happen with medicine.

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