Out of box accuracy?


July 13, 2009, 04:26 AM
Well I went to the range two days ago to shoot some clays and shoot some rounds out of my 700 sps and new Savage 93r17 BVSS (.17 HMR).

I mounted a Mueller APV on the Savage and figured I had the elevation close enough to get me on paper. I set up 4 10''x10'' VisiShot targets in a square fashion touching each other at 100 yards.

Getting to the point, I fired a few rounds out of the Savage on a hillside at about 125 yrds in order to see the dirt kick up. As I moved onto shooting the targets, nothing was showing up on the targets. So as I mess around with the elevation nothing was showing up on the targets. About 50 rounds later I am starting to get irritated. So at this point I start shooting and, "bullseye".... next shot lands less than an inch to the side and so on and so on. the overall group covered about 6'' of the target. It seems like at first, despite the elevation being off, the rifle just needed a certain amount of ammo through it to start grouping correctly. Next time I go I will shoot for groups and post pics.

So do brand new rifles need a magical amount of ammo to start grouping well? My 700 SPS .30-06 was on paper when I mounted the scope but shoots erratically sometimes (2 shots will be 1'' from each other and then there will be a flyer). I know ammo choice helps but I used a mix of Federal V-shok 180 grains, winchester 165 grains, American Eagle 150 grains and remington corelokt 168 grains. For the .17hmr I used Winchester Super X 17 grain.

Just seemed weird that the .17 HMR wasn't even hitting paper then out of nowhere its grouping decently. Is 100yrds too much to zero .17hmr? There was a slight breeze at the range but not gusty. BTW I did a mix of shooting from Sandbags to using my Harris bipod and sandbag at the butt. Next time I go I will take my dad's Led Sled to completely eliminate human error even though I am a decent enough shot.

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July 13, 2009, 06:26 AM
New Rifle:

*clean barrel

*get "on paper" @ 25 yds.

*use bench/rest @ 100 yds. and beyond

*allow barrel to cool between strings (especially this time of year)


July 13, 2009, 11:09 AM
Sounds like you need to read up on how to zero a rifle.

ONE basic method is this: secure the rifle on a bench using bags or rests or one of the storebought contraptions. You want the rifle not to move around. At a short range so you can see where the shot goes on a target or on a dirt bank, (target is best) FIRE ONE SHOT.

See where the hole is,.... without moving the rifle adjust the scope until the crosshairs are on the bullet hole you made with your one shot.

All done.

Your rifle is zeroed - one shot fired.

There may be a need to make fine adjustments to change ranges or to perfect the shot placement.
The same method can be used with iron sights although it is a little more difficult to do because you don't have the convenience of a scope's crosshair to observe on the target.

Your method of haphazard blasting at a bank while waiting for the rifle to zero is ridiculous in the telling.

July 13, 2009, 02:18 PM
I wasn't just firing away, I was adjusting after every shot. Perhaps I am just so used to my .30-06 that the wind was really affecting my shot at that distance. Next time I will use the stands at a different range because you can adjust them from 10 to 100 yards. I was letting my barrel cool after a few shots but the dang heat around here makes that near pointless.

Thanks guys. Oh, any other tips on how to cool down the barrel quickly?

July 13, 2009, 02:26 PM
If you're not on paper after your first couple of shots, then stop wasting ammo and move the target in close. Real close. I like to start at 25 yards with bolt actions and 10 yards with semi-autos. Get on paper up close and then do what krs described, but adjust it so you're hitting a little low. Now take it out to whatever range you intend on zeroing at and fine tune it.

You should be able to have it perfectly sighted in with only about 20 shots.

July 13, 2009, 02:35 PM
Another thing you can do at 100 is put a BIG bunch of freezer paper behind the target. I, too, start at 25. Bore sight it with the bolt out, then adjust until I have it shooting about a half inch low at 25. That'll usually put me 3" or so high at 100, at least it'll be on paper, adjust from there.

My Savage 7 mag shot 1.5 moa out of the box. A free floated Ramline stock and trigger adjustment and some handload tweaking got it to 1 moa. My Remington M7 in .308 shoots 3/4 moa with better handloads and I've done nothing to it other than adjust the trigger to a crisp 3 lbs.

July 13, 2009, 02:45 PM
Ideally, remove the bolt, and at 25yds look through the barrel and center the target in it. Then adjust the crosshairs to the center of the target while keeping the bore aligned. shoot for zero at 25, then move to 100. you may be as much as 6-8 inches high at that point, depending on caliber.

July 13, 2009, 03:40 PM
Okay thanks. I zeroed my .30-06 just fine but the .17 was giving me the problems. I know about looking down the bore and adjusting the scope. It was just difficult to do at the range I was at because they only had stands at 100 yards which was weird.

I know the Savage is capable of great accuracy it was just weird that it seemed to not be hitting the target after all my adjustments then out of nowhere I was getting decent groups.

July 13, 2009, 03:47 PM
Oh, any other tips on how to cool down the barrel quickly?

Try not to get the barrel hot in the first place, the hotter it is the longer it's going to take to cool.

When I want to cool barrel faster, I either use a small Stanley blower my wife got me as a father's day gift years ago or compressed Co2 gas run through the bore. You can also shoot several firearms in a round robin, giving them each time to cool down some.

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