Tips for accurate bolt action shooting from a rifle with bipod/sling?


July 10, 2010, 10:10 PM
I for some reason cannot reach a desired grouping at 100 yards with my 308 bolt action rifle. I am pretty good with my semi auto ARs and 308 variants to about 600 yards. But I can't seem to do better than about 4-5 inch groups with my bolt action at 100 yards.

I grew up with a semi auto 22 and then had the M16 when I joined the service and loved it so I got myself a few ARs. That is all the rifles I have shot and owned till January this year.

You guys have any tips to shooting a bolt action rifle? It is a heavy barreled gun so I have a bipod for it, but I also have a good sling if you guys have any pointers please send 'em this way.

Planning on trying it out again Wednesday on my next range trip.

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July 10, 2010, 11:08 PM
what rifle, ammo , and twist rate

July 11, 2010, 01:12 AM
dry fire dry fire dry fire (with snap cap). at least that shrunk my groups a lot.

exactly what kind of rifle are we looking at?

July 11, 2010, 09:45 AM
Use a small sand bag under the shoulder portion of the stock.

July 11, 2010, 11:49 AM
I am not looking for an equipment fix, more of an operator error fix. what rifle, ammo , and twist rate Howa 1500 22 inch bull barrel in 308 1:10 twist, floated barrel. Scope is a cheap Center Point 4-16x but it holds zero and is clear enough for my young eyes. Ammo tried ranges from 147-168 grains. Probably will be shooting the 147 grain bullets again this week.
Typical 147 grain results:
Typical 168 grain results:

July 11, 2010, 12:08 PM
Unless the scope is known to allow the smaller groups you desire on another rifle with equal recoil it, could well be a wandering zero issue.

Clarity is the least important parameter of a scope for me -- I'm shooting at what I'm looking at, not photographing it!

What is the scope's parallax set for? Its much easier to vary your eye position on a bolt gun than most semi-autos and this will cause a wandering zero if your eye position is not the same every time relative to the reticle if the parallax is not null at the range you are shooting.

Also make sure the rear diopter is set right for your eye, as if its wrong it messes up the parallax setting by moving the image focal plane relative to the reticle. Zero parallax is when the image focal plane and reticle plane are the same and it can only be true at one target distance unless the scope has an adjustment for it. Serious small group shooters use scopes with adjustable parallax setting to eliminate the issue.

One more note, does the bipod allow rotational movement? if not, its pretty easy to torque the stock with it which can change the POA/POI despite the free float as can pulling on the sling. Lose the sling and bipod and try off sand bags next time.

July 11, 2010, 12:31 PM
Thanks Wally sounds good.

July 11, 2010, 12:46 PM
Make sure your base, rings, and scope are all tight. Get a good sandbag for your forend. Maybe start at 50yds and really take your time with every single shot.

Also it appears you reload. If you're using SMK's 168 seat that bullet out as far as you can so that you can still properly cycle. That would be around 2.81 most likely.

July 11, 2010, 01:08 PM
Those groups are blow out past what your shooting abilities would seem to be. Use NPA, load your bipod and make sure you shoot when at the bottom of your breathing cycle. Work on getting in contact with yout rifle and the ground in prone.

Check the eyepiece and see if it moves around left to right and up/down. I had another brand that the eyepiece was the fault. In my case I would get 2 holes almost touching then a flyer about 8 MOA off.

FWIW A rear bag will help get you over this hump and prove the rifle capable.
Check for any loose action screws, loose scope mounting and muzzle crown. Look at the bore, bolt face, chamber and whatever else you can inspect. Make sure you are not flexing the stock or that the barrel channel/forend is too flexible.

July 11, 2010, 01:15 PM
Based on what Wally said, try to shoot 5 rounds w/o removing your cheek from the stock. This will help keep the same visual perspective in case parallax is an issue.

July 11, 2010, 11:06 PM
Try letting your friend or someone who is an experienced shooter shoot it to see if they can get better groups, just to reconfirm operator error not the gun or scope. Ditto with Wally on using sand bags as front rest and sand bag for the rear just to elimnate every variable or equipment error.

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