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Regular Bolt Actions Often Need Some "Tweaking" to Satisfy Us

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Picher, May 15, 2019 at 9:28 AM.

  1. Picher

    Picher Member

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    Many bolt action rifles I've owned and lots of my friends' rifles have had some problems that either caused them to NOT shoot good groups, or they had deficiencies that caused them to not hold zero from various field positions, sling use, humidity conditions, and temperature variations. Wood stocks with forend pressure points often cause zeros to wander with temperature/humidity, rest holds, or front rest density.

    When a rifle is to be used for hunting various critters, especially smaller ones at longer ranges, it's important to make sure that barrels contact barrel channels uniformly, or as I prefer..."not at all" for most rifles. "Not at all", may not shoot the tightest groups with a particular rifle, but at least the should hit the same POI, regardless of how it's held, rested, or under various weather conditions...especially temperature. Regardless of free-floating, I usually remove my sling when on a sitting stand, especially with a rifle rest.

    The only problem with having a free-floating barrel is that they're often more sensitive to ammo changes, so it's important to find a load or factory ammo that is POI-consistent in the rifle, yet still be flexible enough to handle the toughness/tenderness range of quarry that may be encountered.

    Don't assume that, because a rifle has a bedding block, it is as good as it can get. Yes, you can grind to fit better, but I still prefer to use a good quality epoxy bedding to cradle it within the bedding block to make a perfect fit, while perhaps providing a bit more vibration dampening. It's not hard to do a skim-coat bedding job on those rifles, provided a good release compound is used. (I prefer paste, neutral-colored shoe polish). It releases very well and is easy to clean up.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 7:13 AM
  2. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    And then there is the trigger. Most rifles can benefit from a trigger adjustment or replacement. Triggers have come a long way but manufacturers still have to fight the bloodsucking lawsuits. When I get a rifle, be it it new or old, the first thing that I do is adjust the trigger. I might have to do a triggerjob by shortening the sear, changing springs, or even replace it with an after-market. Once it suits me it goes to the range and gets checked with a few different loads. That will dictate if it needs some bedding work.

    I have a friend who is a very good rifle shot. He bought a used Rem. 700 ADL that would shoot sub-MOA, but he thought that all rifles should be free-floated. The gun never did shoot as good after he worked on it.

    I had a Ruger 77 270 that had a 3 1/4 lb trigger that was my goto gun for about 20 years. I retired it and moved to a Savage 10 with a 2 1/2 lb trigger. When a good buck busted a overgrown field dogging a doe, I put a round about a foot over his back. It was a cold day and I had some thick gloves on. If I had the old Ruger with the heavier trigger I might have hit him. But we will never know. Don't set the trigger too light on a hunting rifle. It can lead to grief.
     
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  3. Picher

    Picher Member

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  4. Picher

    Picher Member

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    Regarding the free-float vs ultimate accuracy, it depends on what the rifle is to be used for. If it's a hunting rifle, it should group reasonably well, but anything around 1 MOA is adequate, provided that point of impact doesn't wander, regardless of weather/humidity, or whether you're using a sling for support or resting the forend, or holding offhand.

    Trigger weight also should depend on how the rifle will be used, hunting rifles especially when gloves may be worn should have at least a 3 to 3 1/2 pound pull and in colder climes, a bit more. In the field, it's more important to know about when a rifle will fire than it is to have a light pull and have it go off way before it's supposed to. It's also important to let a trigger get 'worn-in' a bit before making fine adjustments on weight and pre-travel.
     
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  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Gun enthusiasts are like car enthusiasts. Both will constantly tinker with their passions in an attempt to reach perfection. At least to them.
     
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  6. lightman

    lightman Member

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    I free float and bed just about all of my rifles. I'll also touch up the crown and readjust the trigger. Sometimes I replace the trigger and If I do I'll replace the firing pin and firing pin spring too!

    Trigger weight; yes it depends on the intended use. If I'm calling Varmints from a blind I like 2.5-3 pounds. If I'm on a cold Deer stand I pretty much consider 3# to be the minimum. My Benchrest rifle is about 1.5oz.
     
  7. troy fairweather

    troy fairweather Member

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    i don't think i have ever owned a rifle and not done something with it like you say picher. it's mostly me being picky.
     
  8. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    1 moa would suck for a varmint rifle...even a walking version. Triggers? I find 2# to be on the heavy side for deer. But i worked fine pitch stuff for a living....did not operate a jackhammer for twenty years
     
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  9. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    I've left some guns stock if they were usable
    Have had to improve too many at a loss.....my time and or money. My 760 is OK as is....but might get a diff sear spring. My 700 has had stock work..trigger adj...Gre-Tan fp and shroud. My Steyr if it shoots well will be left alone. Trigger is OK from the box. My cz455 needs trigger help. 1022 from 1970 needs a diff bbl.....and maybe stock work.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 2:27 PM
  10. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Have owned dozens of rifles. A few needed trigger and or stock work. A few were left as is. It sure would be nice if rifles were made such that they worked great without further mods. Of course getting a rifle to your specs out of the box usually means ordering a custom lol.
     
  11. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    My 700 adl adl synth has a cheap stock. But it is decent after some minor work. Had j lock firing pin which sucked....so more money to make right. Cheap plastic trigger guard switched to steel. Nice rifle now. IMHO it should have left the factory this way. But then it would cost more. I got it used like new....did the mods......have 425 in it minus scope and rings. Not great but decent. Spend more for less these days.
     
  12. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Amazing how so many folks buy stuff, leave it bone stock....usually of less expensive model.....feed it cheap ammo and get spectacular results. Theyre all over the web too. But not a dang one of these superstars shows up at any shoots/matches. Sure a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while....but not as often as portrayed here ( the web) and elsewhere. I worked gun retail and heard so much crap. I remember stuff really well too. Hard to keep a straight face when the super gun shooters came back in during deer season all depressed about a miss and or equip failure.
     
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  13. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    I can shoot a 3-4# trigger ok. Doesnt mean l want to LOL.
    My 700 was OK until i changed FP assembly. Had to add weight back as it was too light! After a few shots it seems a bit heaver than it needs to be. Dual purpose rifle....varmint/deer.....ill leave it
     
  14. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Must admit....my first old Ruger #1 got no mods....bought used w trigger good enough. My #1 RSI was 2nd owner and it was bone stock. All i did was set forend screw to 15 in lbs and wax inside of forend. Deer rig. It shot well so i left it alone. Would have been nicer w better trigger but was entirely usable as it was. My savage bolt 243 was NOT. LOL. Horrible.....proly 8#
     
  15. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I’ve become a trigger snob. I put the Timney trigger fix in my Remington shotguns and pump rifle. I nearly always put spring kits in my revolvers. I’m working on a solution to my Browning BPS as it is going to be a primarily slug shooting gun. Ithaca 37s already have good triggers from the factory. LaRue trigger in my LR308.
     
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  16. Picher

    Picher Member

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    I agree that MOA isn't adequate for most varmint hunters, because most varmint shooters shoot long distances at small critters, but the average hunter/rifle/factory ammo combination can't hit a beer can at 50 yards with every shot offhand, or from field positions. The rifle they're using was probably sighted-in by someone else, at least 5 years ago and some are still using factory iron sights. However, they get their deer, bear, or coyote about every time they shoot...and best of all...they're HAPPY with their rifle! We varmint/target folks are way too fussy about our guns, but may not be as good hunters.

    When I was a teen, I did quite a bit of plinking, but not much target shooting, and hardly any group shooting. I had a Stevens semi-auto that I put many thousands of rounds through and it had a cheap 3/4" scope on it. I killed a lot of varmints, squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, etc. and it killed about everything I pulled the trigger on.

    One day, I went to the range and bench-rested it. I couldn't believe how badly it grouped!!! I'm talking almost 3" at 50 yards!!! I traded it the next day for a better rifle that shot really well, but didn't get any any more critters than I did with the Stevens! The big difference was CONFIDENCE!
     
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  17. redneck2

    redneck2 Member

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    Other than adjusting triggers on Remingtons, I don’t know that I’ve changed anything on my rifles. Well, unless you consider working up hand loads

    Then again, I have CZ’s with single set triggers, or my Varminter AR that came with a great trigger and a match grade barrel. All shoot sub MOA.

    Maybe if you buy higher end stuff up front, you don’t have to mess with it. I’ve never shot super serious competition where .1 at 100 makes a difference
     
  18. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    re: tuning factory rifles; I find most need “something” to make them meet my expectations. Most recently a T/C Compass. Needed considerable lightning of the trigger. Went from 1.5moa to under 1moa.

    re: groups. I’ve seen many discount two flyers from a 5-shot group calling them “pulled”, and calling a three shot cluster, a sub MOA group, and declare rifle/ammo 1/2 MOA.o_O
     
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  19. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Imho If you pull one and call it a flier its still part of THAT group. To call a group lesser in size ....you simply have to shoot another group of that size. AND a once in a while good group is nonsense. Could be a bunch of bad shots where offsets just allowed for it to be a decent group. To call a rifle a half incher....it must repeatably shoot half inch. Nobody i know does it another way. Maybe i just hang w better folks lol
     
  20. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Notice i didnt say " better group ". Lol
     
  21. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    It does suck when you stack four in a row on each other and the fifth opens it up. Experienced quite a bit if that testing ammo in a couple .22 rifles recently. Wasnt me. Was the ammo and or gun. Annoying. Frustrating. But is what it is
     
  22. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    None of my guns stay "stock" for more than a day or so usually. At the very least I mess with triggers and bedding.

    BUT I generally think you get a very useable rifle over the counter these days. Most triggers break between 3-5lbs, most rifles are free floated, and a good number are even skim bedded at the recoil lug.
    The plastic fantastics maynot be bedded but many if not most.offer pillars or some for of reinforcement.
     
  23. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Saw a Bergara B14 today used. Looked nice enough.....but 6.5 quagmire. Supposedly a good rig out of the box
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 9:02 PM
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  24. Hookeye

    Hookeye Member

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    Indeed....todays rifles seem to be shooters. AFAIC folks need to try em pretty much " as is" and see what they have. Might not need anything or minimal to meet their requirements. I know folks that think everything has to be super machined custom or it aint diddly. Some of them not very good shots too
     
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  25. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    My favorite 700s!
     
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