Most inaccurate rifle I've shot in a long time, and it's a head-scratcher.

Trey Veston

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Idaho/Washington border
I've been shooting my late father's rifles and doing videos of it for my YouTube channel. I've been chomping at the bit to shoot this latest one, waiting for perfect weather conditions to really see what it can do.

It's a Savage Model 12 F-Class in 6.5x284 Norma. My father purchased it in the early 2000's to compete in matches and once told me that it was the most accurate rifle he's ever shot. Coming from a former USMC sniper, who was trained with Carlos Hathcock, and was on the USMC rifle and pistol teams, and I believe was a National Match Champion, that is quite an endorsement.

The rifle in question...

20240317_151205.jpg

It was a perfect day at the ranch; 69 degrees, maybe 5 mph wind gusts, sunny, and low humidity. I got the rifle set up and was able to touch the trigger with a perfect sight picture and completely confident in every shot. I used the custom ammo my father developed for competition.

I shot two groups and could not believe the results...

20240317_154802.jpg 20240317_154807.jpg

Well over inch groups at 100 yards!? What the heck?

I checked the scope mount and everything is tight. I removed the bolt, cleaned the bore and inspected it; looks perfect.

20240317_171124.jpg

I have no idea what it was shooting so poorly.

How can I get this group from a Model 70 in .30-06 AI...

IMG_20201015_155330993.jpg

And then get such awful results with a rifle with so much potential?

I did a video of it if interested...

 
My two shot groups are often better than my 5 shot groups too.

There are so many things that can cause groups to open up, its hard to know where to begin.

I suppose would start by taking a known (with you shooting) "good" rifle with you along with the one you are evaluating. If one still shoots great and the other still shoots poorly, under the exact same conditions, then I'd start the process of elimination, to find the problem.
 
My two shot groups are often better than my 5 shot groups too.
That's not a 2-shot group. It's a 3-shot group, with two rounds going through one hole. 3-shot groups are standard for hunting rifles with lighter profile barrels. 5-shot groups are standard for target rifles with heavier barrels.
 
My advice for what it's worth.
1. check action screws
2. check the free float on barrel
3. ditch those scope rings and bases
4. check the load data with a few loading manuals
 
Okay, I looked at all of the suggestions and went over the rifle and found a couple of issues. The action screws were tight, but the trigger guard screws were loose. One of the rear scope mount screws on the base was finger tight, The forward scope ring screws were finger tight. Removed the scope and retightened everything. I did notice some slight movement of the scope before I did that and it is now extremely solid.

I'm hoping that's it. Also, when looking at the box I was taking the rounds out of, I thought it was his final ammo recipe box due to the scope adjustments. But I also noticed different color marks across the primers on rounds. I think that the box had at least three different loads in it that I was using, and that also contributed to issues. His other 2 boxes of ammo are both marked as the same recipe of 51 grains of IMR 4198 and 140gr Sierra Match Kings. So, I will head back to the range with the tightened up rifle and use the different ammo and see what happens.
 
Okay, I looked at all of the suggestions and went over the rifle and found a couple of issues. The action screws were tight, but the trigger guard screws were loose. One of the rear scope mount screws on the base was finger tight, The forward scope ring screws were finger tight. Removed the scope and retightened everything. I did notice some slight movement of the scope before I did that and it is now extremely solid.

I'm hoping that's it. Also, when looking at the box I was taking the rounds out of, I thought it was his final ammo recipe box due to the scope adjustments. But I also noticed different color marks across the primers on rounds. I think that the box had at least three different loads in it that I was using, and that also contributed to issues. His other 2 boxes of ammo are both marked as the same recipe of 51 grains of IMR 4198 and 140gr Sierra Match Kings. So, I will head back to the range with the tightened up rifle and use the different ammo and see what happens.
I think you made a mistake on that powder and charge. Might want to re-check your data before someone tries it and blows up a rifle….
ManufacturerPowderC.O.L.Grs.Vel. (ft/s)PressureGrs.Vel. (ft/s)Pressure
IMRIMR 7828 SSC



2.910"45.02,46250.52,718Out Of Stock
IMRIMR 4831



2.910"43.02,53647.82,762Buy Now
IMRIMR 4350



2.910"42.02,53946.82,753Buy Now
IMRIMR 4451







2.910"41.22,49546.0
 
I think you made a mistake on that powder and charge. Might want to re-check your data before someone tries it and blows up a rifle….
ManufacturerPowderC.O.L.Grs.Vel. (ft/s)PressureGrs.Vel. (ft/s)Pressure
IMRIMR 7828 SSC


2.910"45.02,46250.52,718Out Of Stock
IMRIMR 4831


2.910"43.02,53647.82,762Buy Now
IMRIMR 4350


2.910"42.02,53946.82,753Buy Now
IMRIMR 4451






2.910"41.22,49546.0
I'm confused. Why would you state that I made a mistake on the loads? I didn't load them. They were created by my father, who knew more about reloading and precision shooting than 99% of shooters.
 
of IMR 4198
4831 on the box lid....id guess that mix up is what @2ndtimer was talking about

I used 4831 when i started with my 6.5-284, ended up using 7828 and Retumbo. Think i got to around 53gr of 4831 and couldnt get the speed i wanted so switched.

My rifle was a t99 with a 3.2" mag, i ran it harder than book by a bit
 
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Okay, I looked at all of the suggestions and went over the rifle and found a couple of issues. The action screws were tight, but the trigger guard screws were loose. One of the rear scope mount screws on the base was finger tight, The forward scope ring screws were finger tight. Removed the scope and retightened everything. I did notice some slight movement of the scope before I did that and it is now extremely solid.

I'm hoping that's it. Also, when looking at the box I was taking the rounds out of, I thought it was his final ammo recipe box due to the scope adjustments. But I also noticed different color marks across the primers on rounds. I think that the box had at least three different loads in it that I was using, and that also contributed to issues. His other 2 boxes of ammo are both marked as the same recipe of 51 grains of IMR 4198 and 140gr Sierra Match Kings. So, I will head back to the range with the tightened up rifle and use the different ammo and see what happens.
Lose ring and base screws will 100% cause massive accuracy issues.

Also is that front scope ring an extension ring? If not you’ve got major issues going on there.

Did you or your dad mount the scope?

It’s been mentioned but yeah your shooting rest set up isn’t great.
 
Observed loose screws are probably at fault but...

My father purchased it in the early 2000's to compete in matches and once told me that it was the most accurate rifle he's ever shot.

How many matches did Dad shoot it in? Maybe it is just worn out.
When I was shooting F class in the 00s I was told the AMU was replacing 6.5x284 barrels at 850 rounds. Civilians paying for their own stuff were getting 1200. I heard of 1400 by setting back the barrel to get a fresh throat.

There is no need to shoot a 6.5 off a bipod, it is F Open which allows front rests.

recipe of 51 grains of IMR 4198 and 140gr Sierra Match Kings

Which is why I don't use Internet Recipes.
 
Do all the stuff mentioned by other posters - check that your screws are tight, maybe replace rings, etc.

HOWEVER, barely over MOA groups is not super inaccurate. You can probably get more out of it if you bed the action or do other things but I'd consider it well within acceptability.
 
I'm confused. Why would you state that I made a mistake on the loads? I didn't load them. They were created by my father, who knew more about reloading and precision shooting than 99% of shooters.
I wasn’t questioning your father’s loading skills, rather your typing skills or the accursed auto correct. You typed (or autocorrect typed) IMR-4198, where the photo of the box said 4831 SC. I don’t think anyone uses IMR-4198 in a 6.5-284 Norma.
 
I'm reading tea leaves here, so is likely the OP. I can't tell from the information on that reload label what the load is. Is it 51 of H 4831 SC, 51.5 of RL22, something else in the fine print, or something else entirely? I also see both F210 and F210M and possibly varied COLs in the fine print.

Unless the OP knows something I'm not seeing, I'm GUESSING, all caps for a reason, that this is an experimental or practice box, possibly with multiple factors of variance. Might be multiple loads. Might be good, might eat your face. Certainly not a box I would expect to be match tuned accurate based on the information I can interpret.
 
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I've never seen a Redfield Type extension Ring look like that front ring before. But I also don't see the lug underneath the ring if it's out of the base.
You never answered the question; you tightened up the bases and rings, was the front ring not turned in to it's base or is that some sort of extended ring/base set up? I can't see how it would turn into the base where they usually do, it's flat to the top of the base, and I don't see the lug sticking out underneath the rings, which it would if there were an extension forward off the base for the ring to turn in to. It's too pixelated to tell on my phone, but that almost looks like another rear ring up front. I'd start looking there for the problem before checking the loads.
 
Jeez guys....

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