Frustrated with reloading/shooting


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brl0301
November 3, 2011, 10:14 PM
So Ive been reloading for about 6 months now and have been somewhat successful so far. I went to the range today and using my load of 42gr of VV n140 under a 168amax, I shot a .45" 3 shot group at 100 yards followed by a 3" group:fire:. Im shooting a 308 weatherby vanguard with a bushnell 3200 10x, and this has been pretty consistant for all my trips to the range. I will shoot a few good groups and the rest are around 2". Are the sub .5" groups just flukes or what? Its really starting to annoy me. My scope bases/rings are tight and the stock is torqued to spec. What is really confusing me is that when the groups open up it is in every possible direction and is completely random. Im letting the barrel cool the same ammount in between shots. Is the a load issue, a rifle issue, or do I just suck at shooting? I appreciate any insight anyone can provide

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bds
November 3, 2011, 10:24 PM
Perhaps barrel heating up is affecting your latter shot groups?

When range testing .308 loads for accuracy, I'll shoot a few reference rounds to warm up the barrel then I'll let it cool down. In the mean time, I'll plink with my AR so the .308 barrel can cool completely before I test another shot group.

Arkansas Paul
November 3, 2011, 10:28 PM
Have you shot any groups with that rifle with factory loads? If you get similar results, you know it's not your handloads anyway.

bds
November 3, 2011, 10:41 PM
Maybe here's another factor to consider?

Once your barrel chamber gets "hot", it may warm up the chambered cartridges, which in turn may perform different than "cold" cartridges depending on powder used.

Im letting the barrel cool the same amount in between shots.
How much are you letting the barrel cool? Can you touch the barrel with your hands? I usually use the back of my hand as a "rough" gauge to keep the temperature comparable for shot group consistency. Some shooters will use temperature tape/gauge on their barrels.

The purpose of my initial warm up shots are so the chamber temperature can be more consistently warm instead of going from cold to hot.

gamestalker
November 3, 2011, 11:00 PM
Try floating the barrel. I had the same problem with my 700 SPS 7mm RM and ended up adding a support bed at about a 45 degree angle to the barrel. And to maintain proper pillar angle at the action, I added a small lift bedding to the pillar so the action still layed into the stock nice and level and didn't bind due to the barrel support I added. Now it shoots consistent sub moa groups hot or cold.

brl0301
November 3, 2011, 11:07 PM
I havent shot any factory loads for groups but that was my next step. Ill will normally shoot a 3 string group in maybe 5 mintues and then let it cool until the metal is cool to the touch. As far as the chamber heating up the powder, I single load em so the round spends like than 30 seconds in the barrell. The weird thing is that the good groups seem to come randomly during my shooting. My only other thought it that I normally start shooting pretty early in the am and ut warms up quite a bit while I am there. Im thinking that because I am somewhat close to the max loading for the power/bullet combo, that the temp is enough to make it an subpar loading. Today I shot the small group right through the center of my poa and the next group was 2" high and 1.5" to the left???? So I guess my next steps are to see how some factory ammo groups, I also bought some varget, seems like alot of people are having good results with it, so Ill try some varget loads and see how they work for me.

brl0301
November 3, 2011, 11:11 PM
Try floating the barrel. I had the same problem with my 700 SPS 7mm RM and ended up adding a support bed at about a 45 degree angle to the barrel. And to maintain proper pillar angle at the action, I added a small lift bedding to the pillar so the action still layed into the stock nice and level and didn't bind due to the barrel support I added. Now it shoots consistent sub moa groups hot or cold. I opened up the foreend of the stock, so that only the factory pressure point at the end of the barrel is touching, hoping it would solve this problem. I think that bedding the action might be a little over my head, Ive worked with fiberglass before but never on a gun

jfrey
November 3, 2011, 11:43 PM
I had a very similiar experience with a .257 Roberts. I tried everything I could think of to fix it. I finally went to a gun shop and they ran a bore scope down the barrel and guess what they found. The barrel was all coppered up. I had cleaned it often but that doesn't take the copper out of it. Get a bottle of CR-10 and get that copper out of your barrel. You'll be surprized what it will do for the accuracy. I did have my barrel lapped but that doesn't cure the problem. I was shooting hot loads in the gun(Rem. 700 Mountain Rifle) and 8 to 10 rounds is all I can get through it before accuracy goes to pot again. With a really clean barrel I can put 5 or 6 shots in a sub 1" dot at 100 yards.

I recently had a friend call me with the same thing. He wanted to pay big money to fix it. I told him about the CR-10 and it fixed his problem right away. He had to run it 4 times before he got it all out.

nra-for-life
November 3, 2011, 11:43 PM
Is the a load issue, a rifle issue, or do I just suck at shooting?


have you reloaded rounds for any other rifles?? if you have, and you have the same result, then something is going wrong at the loading bench.

have you tried any other loads? powders, primers, bullets etc? what are the results?

if its the loads, which i doubt it would be, something might be causing you to load inconsistant rounds....possibilities might include a bad scale, are you using a cheap electronic scale?

i have a friend with a lathe who is a machinist. he did a rebarrel for me and i had a similar experience, i would get great groups, then out of nowhere i would send a flyer or 2. turned out i had a burr in the barrel. i was able to use lapping compound to remove it. it seems counter intuitive because i would have thought that the burr would have messed up every shot but it didnt. give your rifle a real thorough inspection just to rule things out.

brl0301
November 4, 2011, 12:17 AM
I had a very similiar experience with a .257 Roberts. I tried everything I could think of to fix it. I finally went to a gun shop and they ran a bore scope down the barrel and guess what they found. The barrel was all coppered up. I had cleaned it often but that doesn't take the copper out of it. Get a bottle of CR-10 and get that copper out of your barrel. You'll be surprized what it will do for the accuracy. I did have my barrel lapped but that doesn't cure the problem. I was shooting hot loads in the gun(Rem. 700 Mountain Rifle) and 8 to 10 rounds is all I can get through it before accuracy goes to pot again. With a really clean barrel I can put 5 or 6 shots in a sub 1" dot at 100 yards.

I recently had a friend call me with the same thing. He wanted to pay big money to fix it. I told him about the CR-10 and it fixed his problem right away. He had to run it 4 times before he got it all out. I thought this was a possibility so I bought some copper solvent and soaked and scrubbed until all the copper at the muzzle was gone. Maybe Im not getting it all and thats causing the inconsistency, I just dont understand how it would shoot such a small group in the middle of two 2"+ groups.

have you reloaded rounds for any other rifles?? if you have, and you have the same result, then something is going wrong at the loading bench.

have you tried any other loads? powders, primers, bullets etc? what are the results?

if its the loads, which i doubt it would be, something might be causing you to load inconsistant rounds....possibilities might include a bad scale, are you using a cheap electronic scale?

i have a friend with a lathe who is a machinist. he did a rebarrel for me and i had a similar experience, i would get great groups, then out of nowhere i would send a flyer or 2. turned out i had a burr in the barrel. i was able to use lapping compound to remove it. it seems counter intuitive because i would have thought that the burr would have messed up every shot but it didnt. give your rifle a real thorough inspection just to rule things out. the 308 is the first rifle loads ive done. I loaded up some 168gr nosler CCs and they were pretty consistant around 1-1.5" but I chose to work on the amaxs when it gave me a couple .5" groups. Maybe thats where I went wrong. Im using a lee balance scale so I dont think that is the issue. I ran some rounds through a chrono a few weeks ago and the fps were very close for the few rounds I shot through it. How would I check for a burr in the barrell other than having it bore scoped?

brl0301
November 4, 2011, 12:26 AM
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28028881@N02/5928977303/

I had posted a question about this spot in the end of the barrel when I first got the gun and everyone thought it should be fine, I also called Weatherby and they said as long as it was shooting ok not to worry about it, but Im also wondering if this is the issue. It doesnt seem to extend into the crown, but i dont know precise a toothpick over the area really is in telling me if the area is higher or lower than the rest of the barrel around it...

osprey176
November 4, 2011, 01:13 AM
You didn't say if you checked your action screws,if they are not tight you may have inconsistent accuracy.Also,if you have any question about your crown,it won't cost much to re-crown that barrel.This is the first thing many shops do when a poor shooting rifle is brought in.

jerkface11
November 4, 2011, 01:28 AM
Your scope may be tight but is it holding zero?

James2
November 4, 2011, 01:32 AM
You didn't say if you checked your action screws,if they are not tight you may have inconsistent accuracy.

Yes, I have seen a couple of times when tightening the screws settled a rifle right down.

brl0301
November 4, 2011, 01:36 AM
I torque the action screws whenever I take the rifle apart so I dont think that is the issue. The crown is a possibilty. Being a new rifle would I be better of just sending it back to Weatherby and letting them deal with it? Id rather not but I have a feeling that if factory loads do the same thing, that may be the next best option for me. I also want to clamp it in a lead sled sometime soon just to make sure its not my lack of shooting skill thats causing all the headaches

brl0301
November 4, 2011, 01:38 AM
Your scope may be tight but is it holding zero?
How would I even go about testing this? Just mounting it on another gun and seeing if the problem goes along with the scope?

ants
November 4, 2011, 01:50 AM
Bryce, for factory loads get a box of 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match. It's $17 at the local gun shows. It's Federal brass (has slightly smaller capacity than most 308), Federal match primer, 43.5 grains of IMR4895 and a 168 grain Sierra Match King loaded to 2.800 inches cartridge overall length.

Before you shoot the factory ammo, shoot two strings of your reloads.
Then shoot the GMM and see what it does.

Save the Federal GMM brass. It's their standard brass, but weight matched.

Then imitate the GMM load (as listed above) in the same Federal brass.
Be sure to clean the brass, resize it, trim to length, deburr and chamfer.
Clean the primer pockets too.
Be sure to measure your powder carefully!
Just for the sake of holding variables constant, use Federal match primers.
Now shoot those clone GMM rounds and see how the rifle shoots.


Some thoughts:

Chances are best that the rifle is good.
Don't mess with the rifle any more.
Just clean the bore with copper cleaner.
I would suspect the scope,
the rifle rest you use to shoot,
the shooter,
and the reloading components.

By the way, 308 brass varies greatly.
After sizing and trimming, weigh your brass.
Group them by weight for consistency.

5 to 10 shot groups are better than 3 shot groups.

Vanguards are shipped with a target.
Did you save yours? What was the 3-shot group.

Are those your grandparents in the Flicker photos?
They're cute. Take care of them.

brl0301
November 4, 2011, 02:45 AM
Bryce, for factory loads get a box of 168 grain Federal Gold Medal Match. It's $17 at the local gun shows. It's Federal brass (has slightly smaller capacity than most 308), Federal match primer, 43.5 grains of IMR4895 and a 168 grain Sierra Match King loaded to 2.800 inches cartridge overall length.

Before you shoot the factory ammo, shoot two strings of your reloads.
Then shoot the GMM and see what it does.

Save the Federal GMM brass. It's their standard brass, but weight matched.

Then imitate the GMM load (as listed above) in the same Federal brass.
Be sure to clean the brass, resize it, trim to length, deburr and chamfer.
Clean the primer pockets too.
Be sure to measure your powder carefully!
Just for the sake of holding variables constant, use Federal match primers.
Now shoot those clone GMM rounds and see how the rifle shoots.


Some thoughts:

Chances are best that the rifle is good.
Don't mess with the rifle any more.
Just clean the bore with copper cleaner.
I would suspect the scope,
the rifle rest you use to shoot,
the shooter,
and the reloading components.

By the way, 308 brass varies greatly.
After sizing and trimming, weigh your brass.
Group them by weight for consistency.

5 to 10 shot groups are better than 3 shot groups.

Vanguards are shipped with a target.
Did you save yours? What was the 3-shot group.

Are those your grandparents in the Flicker photos?
They're cute. Take care of them.[/B]Thanks for the awesome feedback. It doesnt get much more precise than that. That sounds like a great route to take to weed out the idea of it being the ammo. Should I full length resize the brass or just neck size when I reload the FGMM? You mentioned rests too, Im currently using a bipod and a sock full of rice.:o Could this also be causing some issues for me? My Vanguard was actually one made after they stopped shipping them with targets so unfortunantly I dont have one.

Ya those are my grandparents on my dads side. I dont get to see em too often because they live in NJ and Im in CA but I took a trip out there this summer to spend some time with them. It would be nice if they lived a little closer but I try to make the best of it.

scythefwd
November 4, 2011, 05:40 AM
remove the bipod. It may be shifting around. Shoot from a rest, bags of rice are fine but sand is better.

Have someone else shoot the rifle. Multiple shots out of it. That will at least get rid of any doubt about the shooter.

Striker Fired
November 4, 2011, 11:19 AM
Never trust a 3 shot group,this is what happens.Most pro shooters will only test loads using 10 shot or more groups. I generally shoot between 7 to 10 depending on how many bullets I have to play with.Another is to try a group tilting the muzzle straight up before every shot,then do another group only tilt the muzzle straight down before every shot.This will tell you if the powder is igniting correct or not.

Waywatcher
November 4, 2011, 12:00 PM
I stopped trusting 3-shot groups; I shoot a minimum of 5 shot groups now to test for accuracy.

sage5907
November 4, 2011, 01:57 PM
I've been a hunter all my live but there are several things to look for when a rifle won't consistenly group. First, a consistent trigger is a necessity and a suspect trigger should be replaced. Secondly, the first bullet from a clean barrel usually won't group with the following shots so an effort to fire a group should be started with a fouled barrel. Thirdly, a shooter will not consistently hold a rifle the same way from day to day so the point of impact may be different but the rifle should still group. Fourth, letting a barrel cool between shots is not necessary on a bolt action rifle if the shots are at least 30 seconds apart. Fifth, I have always been a fan of IMR powder and if I were you I would try IMR 4064 with a good quality 150 grain boat tail bullet. Finally, life is short, if you are not satisfied with a rifle's performance, trade it off and get a better one! BW

Sport45
November 4, 2011, 02:00 PM
I agree with the others that say not to trust a 3-shot group. What you have is a 6-shot, three inch group. Go from there.

Rollis R. Karvellis
November 4, 2011, 02:15 PM
Lose the bipod for now. You can find a good rest for around $200.00, which is much cheaper than all the gunsmithing that you might try, but not need. Also 3 shot groups are fine if you are consistent with them. Here is a 99 shot group shot prone with a bipod.

sugarmaker
November 4, 2011, 02:53 PM
Possibly you are resting _any_part of the gun on a hard surface (like one of those hornady rests?)? It should be totally on bags. Is it free recoiling or do you have your shoulder behind it? Free recoiling is bad on sporter weight guns, need to get behind the butt in a consistant manner. Sight it with an empty chamber, pull the trigger, and give it a little nudge towards your shoulder with the firing hand. The POI should not shift much. if the gun 'slips" all at once, even 1/8 inch, and the POI moves excessively, that's something to work on. Make sure hand positions are consistant. Front rest on the stock, not the barrel. Watch bipods, they can jump around on hard surfaces. Sounds like technique variation to me. Most people can't shoot .5 MOA from a bench consistantly.

ants
November 5, 2011, 12:07 AM
Nothing wrong with neck sizing.

Even neck-sized brass needs to be full length sized after a few cycles (how many cycles depends upon your rifle's chamber and your load). After cleaning, neck sizing and trimming, run the empty brass into the chamber and close the bolt. Lift the bolt half way and close again, feeling for 'drag' from a case that finally stretched until it pushes on the bolt face. If you feel no drag and the bolt locks/unlocks easily, use it neck sized. If it starts to feel a little stiffer than usual, full length size. Then you can neck size a few more cycles.

You can also use a case gauge to monitor the case body (but the actual chamber is better, especially in a Weatherby).

My Vanguard has a crappy trigger. I see Timney makes a Vanguard trigger, but it's a little over a hundred dollars. I paid $350 for the rifle, it's hard for me to put another $110 into the trigger. For now, I'm living with the trigger it came with, but a better one would help it shoot better.

dwhite
November 5, 2011, 10:49 AM
Buddy of mine had a Vanguard years ago. Three shots and the groups started opening up due to the barrel whipping from heat. Let it cool down an hour and again it would drive tacks. Didn't matter if it was Weatherby factory ammo or reloads.

They're hunting rifles made with thin barrels to make them light and comfortable to carry. The trade off is that thin barrel gets real flexible when it gets hot. Three shots in close succession is all it takes.

All the Best,
D. White

jerkface11
November 5, 2011, 12:15 PM
On sporter weight rifles I set a 5 minute timer for between shots. After the first group like that the barrel will be at the same temp for each shot.

ants
November 5, 2011, 12:40 PM
Three shots and the groups started opening up due to the barrel whipping from heat.My Vanguard doesn't do that.
I guess I should send it back to the factory.
They forgot to put the defect in it.

:p

flashhole
November 5, 2011, 09:28 PM
Fold a business card 2 or 3 times and stuff it under the front of the forestock. You may be getting random stock/barrel contact. That can change POI between shots or groups. I had a Rem 700 synthetic stock with the same problem. Chased it around for quite awhile before I figured it out. Eventually changed out the stock with a Boyd's Laminate. All is good now.

918v
November 6, 2011, 12:01 AM
Try 44.4 grs of Varget with the Amax loaded to 2.810" OAL. Accuracy is like magic. Not all powders will get you there.

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