Tumbling .22-250 rounds


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TwoEyedJack
April 28, 2012, 11:26 PM
I tried a new load in my Savage 12FV yesterday. This load uses a 55 gr. Sierra SP, 40 gr. H380 (1 gr. below max), Win brass, Rem 9.5 primers, and COL of 2.535.

Here are two 5-shot groups at 100 yards.
http://img856.imageshack.us/img856/9100/55grsierrasptumbling.jpg

Two bullets out of each group went through the target sideways. I have never seen anything like this before. Usually tumbling bullets disperse, but these seem to group pretty well. Any ideas as to what is happening?

I shot some nearly identical loads with the only difference being that I used Hornady bullets, same weight, and they shot about 3/4" and no tumbling.

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MistWolf
April 28, 2012, 11:31 PM
Back off the velocity & see what happens. It could be the bullets are being pushed fast enough that the bullet jackets are not getting a good bite on the rifling. They could be skidding.

It could also be that the bullets are simply too long to be stabilized by the rifling twist.

Dad did tell me his 22-250 was one of the most inherently calibers he's ever tried. Your good groups with the sideways bullets bears this out. The first group is tight enough that three bullets are touching!

T Bran
April 28, 2012, 11:36 PM
What are the little holes in the second pic?
It sort of looks like the jackets are getting blown off and fragmenting.
T

TwoEyedJack
April 28, 2012, 11:39 PM
What are the little holes in the second pic?
It sort of looks like the jackets are getting blown off and fragmenting.
T
I had the target stapled to a wooden backing that was pretty shredded. That is what caused the little holes you see.

Moose1995
April 28, 2012, 11:50 PM
I've seen pics of bullets hitting sideways, but never grouping so tightly at 100 yds. Crazy! How long have you had this rifle? How many other loads have you tried without these problems? I used to re-load 22-250 for a ruger varmint rifle. I ran more different loads then I can remember through it and never once had one keyhole. Its fav was Nosler ballistic tips w/ accurate 2230 powder. I say double check your scale. I've heard of bullets not stabilizing because they are going too slow as well. They just don't have the rpm to stabilize.

T Bran
April 28, 2012, 11:57 PM
Got ya I use some pretty rough back boards as well. Is there a legnth difference in the Hornandys and the Sierras while I dont own a 22-250 my 1 in 12 twist .223 is quite pickey about bullet legnth. I have found that there is a big difference in weight vs legnth from manufacturer to manufacturer.
On a side note that is the durndest thing I have seen lately as groups go.
Hope this helps.
T

RedHeadHunter
April 28, 2012, 11:58 PM
I have seen something close to this on one of my 700 yard targets. After further investigation, that range caused my bullets to arch into the branches of near by trees. Although I got some key holes, I have never seen such clean profiles.

Did you notice any difference in sound or recoil?

You might try weighing some or your bullets. I am just grasping but maybe you got a batch with incomplete cores with nose heavy bullets.

I am at a loss to explain how you managed to get such a good group with some of the bullets flying sideways.:confused:

Is this a public or private range? Can you try to recover the bullets for inspection?

TwoEyedJack
April 29, 2012, 12:03 AM
I've seen pics of bullets hitting sideways, but never grouping so tightly at 100 yds. Crazy! How long have you had this rifle? How many other loads have you tried without these problems? I used to re-load 22-250 for a ruger varmint rifle. I ran more different loads then I can remember through it and never once had one keyhole. Its fav was Nosler ballistic tips w/ accurate 2230 powder. I say double check your scale. I've heard of bullets not stabilizing because they are going too slow as well. They just don't have the rpm to stabilize.

I have had this rifle for quite a while, it was the first accutrigger ordered in through my LGS. I have shot a few thousand rounds, mainly 40 gr. NBTs at 4000 fps using 4064. I have been experimenting to find an accurate load with a ball powder to be more compatible with loading on the dillon. This is a pretty slow load for a 55 gr. bullet. I did not chrono it, but I am guessing just under 3700 fps. I calibrated my electric powder scale right before setting the measure, so I am sure I was getting 40 gr. of powder.

TwoEyedJack
April 29, 2012, 12:10 AM
I have seen something close to this on one of my 700 yard targets. After further investigation, that range caused my bullets to arch into the branches of near by trees. Although I got some key holes, I have never seen such clean profiles.

Did you notice any difference in sound or recoil?

You might try weighing some or your bullets. I am just grasping but maybe you got a batch with incomplete cores with nose heavy bullets.

I am at a loss to explain how you managed to get such a good group with some of the bullets flying sideways.:confused:

Is this a public or private range? Can you try to recover the bullets for inspection?
I agree this is highly unusual. Maybe the bullets are destabilizing right at 100 yards? This is a public range, but I did not think to try to recover. The shots all felt the same. The lead sticking out of the front of the jackets all look the same, so I doubt they are missing lead. I will weigh the remaining bullets and see if there are any light ones. Luckily I only loaded 10.

RedHeadHunter
April 29, 2012, 12:25 AM
Even a tiny air pocket anywhere within the jacket would cause the bullet to destabilize when spinning at high RPM.

I would however suspect that this is highly unlikely given the bonding and swaging process. Sierra is also very good at quality control. I find very little weight spread. Like I said, I am at a loss, but at least we can try to rule out one variable.

mshootnit
April 29, 2012, 12:32 AM
maybe the barrel is worn to where it just isn't imparting the proper spin anymore. Looks like you could really knock the hell out of something at 100 though!

TwoEyedJack
April 29, 2012, 12:37 AM
maybe the barrel is worn to where it just isn't imparting the proper spin anymore. Looks like you could really knock the hell out of something at 100 though!
Could be, though I doubt it. With the 40 grainers, I was popping whistle pigs at distances up to 200 yards in the wind today. I think barrels usually wear from the throat, and no doubt mine is a bit worn, but that should not affect the rifling past the throat.

TwoEyedJack
April 29, 2012, 12:50 AM
Even a tiny air pocket anywhere within the jacket would cause the bullet to destabilize when spinning at high RPM.

I would however suspect that this is highly unlikely given the bonding and swaging process. Sierra is also very good at quality control. I find very little weight spread. Like I said, I am at a loss, but at least we can try to rule out one variable.
I just weighed about 50 bullets from the same box. They were all between 55.0 and 55.2 grains. Could a void representing .2 gr. cause destabilization?

joed
April 29, 2012, 07:12 AM
I have had this rifle for quite a while, it was the first accutrigger ordered in through my LGS. I have shot a few thousand rounds, mainly 40 gr. NBTs at 4000 fps using 4064.

Few thousand? What most likely is going on is the rifling in front of the throat is gone. I went through the same thing about 5 years ago with a .25-06.

That rifle now sports a Krieger barrel and shoots unbelievable groups. Look for a replacement barrel.

ole farmerbuck
April 29, 2012, 07:45 AM
I'd like to have that barrel for my p-dogs!

gunnerh
April 29, 2012, 10:43 AM
You should check the muzzle and the final 2 inches of the barrel for gas cutting or checking. I had the same throuble in a Winchester Model 70 22-250.
Recrowning the barrel cured it.

ole farmerbuck
April 29, 2012, 10:50 AM
I'd try seating them deeper. Try the ole 2.350 or even deeper.

rcmodel
April 29, 2012, 12:15 PM
Have you ever cleaned the copper jacket fouling out of the barrel with copper solvent?

It can very well be the rifling grooves are filled with copper fouling.

rc

Jim Watson
April 29, 2012, 02:48 PM
"I have shot a few thousand rounds, mainly 40 gr. NBTs at 4000 fps using 4064."
I think your barrel is worn to the point that it is getting picky about what bullet it will handle.

"... Hornady bullets, same weight, and they shot about 3/4" and no tumbling."
"With the 40 grainers, I was popping whistle pigs at distances up to 200 yards"
But it will still handle some, just not the Sierras.

"I have been experimenting to find an accurate load with a ball powder"
My .22-250 does ok with H414/W760 but in general, I get better accuracy with extruded powder than Ball.

I would give it a good cleaning per rcmodel, load a few Sierras with 4064 and give it one more chance. If it kept keyholing them, I would save my time, money, and remaining barrel life and shoot the Hornadys and 40s as long as it lasted.

AABEN
April 29, 2012, 04:39 PM
Sound like it is shoot out or need to be recrowned. I would chech the crown first.

TwoEyedJack
April 29, 2012, 07:03 PM
Have you ever cleaned the copper jacket fouling out of the barrel with copper solvent?

It can very well be the rifling grooves are filled with copper fouling.

rc
I keep the barrel pretty clean of copper with Sweets 7.62. It has been several shooting sessions since I did that, so this could be an issue. I'll clean it out and see if this changes anything.

TwoEyedJack
April 29, 2012, 07:12 PM
It could be that the barrel is shot out, although I would be surprised that it has happened so quickly. I use to have a Winchester M70 Sporter Varmint in the same caliber and it loved 55 grain bullets at 3850 fps using W760. I could buy bulk Winchester bullets with the cannelure and they would group less than half an inch. Then the throat wore out and when I priced new barrels it was cheaper to buy a new rifle. I bought the Savage knowing that it would be much cheaper to rebarrel than the Winchester.

The way I knew the Winchester needed a new barrel was that groups started opening up. I did not know that failure to stabilize was also a failure mechanism. Is this common?

Float Pilot
April 29, 2012, 09:13 PM
Measure the bullet over-all length of the Sierra bullets vs the Hornady bullets. The rifling twist required depends on the bullet length and not the weight.

My 22-250 hates 55 grain boat tails, but loves the 52 grain Speer HP-BTs and the 52 grain A-Max bullets. It is all a matter of over-all projectile length.
My rifle's new favorite load is 52 grain Speer BT-HP match, 35.5 grains of H-4895, Nosler brass, CCI-BR-2 primer, COL of 2.327, no crimp,
It gives me 3,680 fps from a 22 inch sporter barrel and a 0.34 inch group at 100 yards.
The 52 grain A-MAx bullets with the same powder charge and loaded to a COL of 2.396 were right at 3,700 fps and were about the same size group. But I sometimes get weird flyers from the A-max bullets.

When I tried 55 grain Sierras I got a 4.0 inch group with tumbling as well.

joed
April 29, 2012, 09:26 PM
It could be that the barrel is shot out, although I would be surprised that it has happened so quickly. I use to have a Winchester M70 Sporter Varmint in the same caliber and it loved 55 grain bullets at 3850 fps using W760. I could buy bulk Winchester bullets with the cannelure and they would group less than half an inch. Then the throat wore out and when I priced new barrels it was cheaper to buy a new rifle. I bought the Savage knowing that it would be much cheaper to rebarrel than the Winchester.

The way I knew the Winchester needed a new barrel was that groups started opening up. I did not know that failure to stabilize was also a failure mechanism. Is this common?

This is common on a shot out barrel. I've had 3 rifles chambered in .22-250 and have found they only last to about 1500 rounds.

Look around when you need a barrel. When I shot my barrel out I was going to part with the gun because I was given prices of $600 from a good number of places. Krieger I believe wanted $650. Before selling it I tried lots of places that specialize in building rifles and found that it was affordable. Think I paid just under $400 although this was 5 years ago. But that's a $200 difference, I had one of the better builders in the area do the work and install a Krieger barrel.

I do not regret this either. The rifle now shoots under 1/2", and is the easiest cleaning gun I own.

Freedom_fighter_in_IL
April 29, 2012, 09:37 PM
As a few others have stated, your throat is most likely blown out. More than likely, the "longer" bullet is the one that is NOT going unstable. Because it is longer, you aren't experiencing "bullet jump" as badly. If the bullet has a long distance to go before it hooks up with good lands, it will sometimes connect a bit off center. While it is rare to get such tight groups with an unstable bullet, it's not completely unheard of. At 100 yards, at those speeds, it really doesn't have time to go "nuts". .22/250 is a barrel burning round. It has a SERIOUSLY huge flame cone and will burn out the throat of a factory barrel pretty quickly when using upper end loadings.

You could try maxing out the bullet seating to get it as close to the lands as you can. According to how long your barrel is, you could very well get it cut down some and rechambered for a brand new throat. But with it being a Savage, I would say just get a nice shiny new barrel for it and have a blast (pun intended :D )

tactikel
April 29, 2012, 10:19 PM
My .22-250 Mauser has a 14" twist barrel and keyholes many 55 gr bullets especially plastic tipped ones. Try 40 or 45 gr HP or SP and see If you're groups tighten. 45 gr Sierra SPs will group sub MOA in the same gun.

Copperhill TN
April 29, 2012, 10:42 PM
After briefly looking at your target, I'd be my left "hang me down" that you need a new barrel.

TwoEyedJack
April 29, 2012, 10:54 PM
You could try maxing out the bullet seating to get it as close to the lands as you can. According to how long your barrel is, you could very well get it cut down some and rechambered for a brand new throat. But with it being a Savage, I would say just get a nice shiny new barrel for it and have a blast (pun intended :D )

I used a Stony Point OAL gauge and this reload is about 3 thousandths off the lands, hence the long OAL. I don't think the jump is a big deal in this particular rifle because the 40 grainers that are grouping well have a much longer jump. In fact, the reason I have been trying heavier bullets is to minimize the jump in search of the elusive quarter inch groups. That plus find a ball powder that shoots as well as 4064.

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