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Savage accuracy problem

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by the naked prophet, Jul 24, 2006.

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  1. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    I got a new Savage 111 (.30-06) with the synthetic stock and detachable magazine, and mounted a nice 3-9x Bushnell scope on it. I sighted it in at 100 yards, and can't seem to get groups any better than 5 inches at 100 yards. I'm shooting with the forearm on my hand which is on a cushioned rest, with the stock resting on the shooting bench against my shoulder. The gun has been broken in according to the directions on the Savage website (clean, one shot, clean 5x then 5 shots clean, etc...). The gun was very steady, the trigger has been adjusted according to the instructions to be quite light (maybe around 2 lbs?). It isn't as crisp as it could be, but I've fired worse. I was using factory Remington 180 grain ammunition.

    What is wrong? I doubt it's me, since using my Romanian AK I can get 3 inch groups at 100 yards shooting with just the magazine as a monopod (Yugoslavian M67 ammunition). It does have a very smooth TAPCO trigger installed, which feels better than the Savage trigger. Using my wife's 14 inch Bushmaster (with the 2.5 inch compensator pinned and welded on the end - not SBR) I can do better than that with radway green ammo.

    I had heard that the Savage rifles were quite accurate. I was expecting 1 MOA from this rifle. Was that too much to expect? I know I'm not an expert rifle shooter, but still.
     
  2. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Check all screws in your mounts and bases. One loose base screw can ruin your day.

    Check your zero at 25 and 50... are you still spitting a pattern?

    Then it might be time for a call to Savage.
     
  3. stolivar

    stolivar Member

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    First off

    get the but of the gun off of the bench. have it on a shooting pad. The recoil from the gun while on the bench well throw off your shots. Second put the gun on the pad off of your hand also. You could be gripping the forarm tight. the savages don't have very thick forearms. third let somebody else shoot it. fourth it could be the scope or rings.


    steve
     
  4. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    I'll check all those things. I did already check all the screws on the scope - twice. All tight.

    I'll check the zero at 25 and 50, adjust the way I'm holding the gun, and have someone else shoot it. Thanks.
     
  5. nipprdog

    nipprdog Member

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    I agree with stolivar that the biggest problem is you're not holding the rifle correctly.

    which remington ammo? top of the line or express core-loks?

    you can't expect 1MOA with hunting ammo. it usually takes match grade.

    also, which model bushnell? trophy, banner, 3200, 4200?
     
  6. USSR

    USSR Member

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    naked,

    First thing you do is replace that "nice 3-9x Bushnell scope" with a "known good scope". Eliminate the obvious problem before delving into some less likely causes.

    Don
     
  7. 270Win

    270Win Member

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    I don't know, I have an excellent Bushnell Trophy 3-9x ... it's stood up to countless rounds from the .270. I wouldn't cast blame at the feet of the scope just yet, although it could end up there.

    The shooting position should be as solid and repeatable as possible. Is your cheek in the same position every shot? Eye relief constant? I agree with getting the butt off the bench. Checking accuracy at 25/50 yards is a good suggestion.
     
  8. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    And most importantly, try some different ammo, yours may not like 150 gr. bullets. I just got a 300 Win sighted in a while back, it was a new in box 1962 manufactured Dumoulin built on a comercial FN Mauser, should have been great.

    First 5 rounds of 150 grain ammo had about a 5-6" pattern, I was feeling pretty bad, started thinking of all the possible problems.

    The second group with 165 grain ammo came down to about 2 1/4", a little better but still worried.

    The third group with 180 grain ammo came in at .95", it's MILLER TIME !!!

    There is no rhyme or reason to it, most barrels just seem to have a preference for a specific bullet weight, and some, like this Dumoulin, can be quite dramatic. I have a Ruger 77 RSI that will shoot any factory 150 gr. load into 1 1/4", anything heavier and the groups get ugly.
     
  9. DnPRK

    DnPRK Member

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    I second using a known good scope.

    Also, the injection molded plastic stock has a notoriously flexible forend. It will touch the barrel and cause it to shoot to a different point every time you pull the trigger. I've got 4 Savages (all great shooters) and the first thing I do is throw away the cheap injection molded stock. If you must shoot with the lousy stock, don't touch the forend. Put the rest under the forward action screw.

    Check the action screws too. The front should be tight. But don't crank down so hard that you deform the cheap plastic stock. The rear screw should be snug.
     
  10. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    does it have bbl sights? if not, i would still shoot it at 50 , using bags both front and rear. if you can get better groups, then it is either your scope is bad, you current hold is no good, or both.
    there is no way a savage is not moa capable, unless it is bad from the factory.
     
  11. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    The scope is a Bushnell Legend. I believe I paid $150 for it - if a $150 scope can't do better than 5 inches at 100 yards...

    The rifle does not have any iron sights.

    I did check the action screws, they are tight without deforming the stock. I was also conscious not to let the stock touch the barrel. I let the barrel cool for a few minutes between each shot.

    What would be a good suggestion for a lightweight stock that would be better than the injection molded stock (and wouldn't break the bank - I just bought a gun safe and need a reloading setup)? I've not owned a bolt action rifle before except for the swiss Schmidt-Rubin 1889-11 that I borrowed from my dad for a few years, and I did pretty well with that rifle (<1 MOA).

    The ammo was the Remington Core-Lokt 180 grain ammo. Just because I haven't gotten my reloading setup yet (deciding between a Dillon and a rock chucker). I knew they wouldn't be super-accurage, but I figured better than 5 inches.

    How, exactly should I be holding the rifle? The best groups I have ever had were with the Schmidt-Rubin from a sitting position when I was in high school (still had good eyes).
     
  12. USSR

    USSR Member

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    naked,

    You don't get it. It doesn't matter what the scope is called or how much you paid for it, it's the most failure-prone part of a LR rifle. Most of my scopes cost over $700, but if I had a rifle that shot 5 MOA, the first thing I would do is put another scope on the rifle and eliminate that possibility.

    Don
     
  13. thereisnospoon

    thereisnospoon Member

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    BINGO!

    Problem solved...I have NEVER had any good results with this crappy ammo.

    I love Savages, but they are picky about the ammo they like. Try something DESCENT in the 180 grain range and you'll see dramatic improvement. All my savage rifles love Hornady bullets

    Ammo is the cheapest thing to check, then scope MOUNT, then rings then scope then stock.

    Good Luck
     
  14. Red Tornado

    Red Tornado Member

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    I've got to agree with the ammo camp. It's cheapest thing to try, and can give spectacularly different results. I'd try the cheapest 30-06 you can find, and it 'should' still be better than that. It won't take any time and you'll know whether or not you should start looking at the scope. Let us know the problem when you get it down around MOA, and I'm sure you will eventually.
    Good luck,
    RT
     
  15. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Sorry to disagree with you "ammo" guys, but in a rifle capable of 1 MOA or less, d@mn near any store bought ammo should go into 2-3MOA at 100 yards. 5MOA at 100 yards is something more than ammo.

    Don
     
  16. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Factory ammo (other than Wolf) isn't likely the cause of your problem.

    I've shot wheelbarrels full of Remington factory ammo out of two Savage rifles with a Tasco 3x9 scope and got .75 and .5 inch groups at 100 yards.

    Your rifle and Winchester/Federal/Remington ammo should easily get to 1 inch 3 shot groups if you are up to the task.

    Take a dollar bill and wrap it around the barrel and see if the stock is indeed touching the barrel... all Savage rifles are supposed to be free floated from the factory but over-tightening (of the admittedly too-soft stock) can change this.
     
  17. Red Tornado

    Red Tornado Member

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    Good point, and I agree that any American made ammo should do better. I've had horrible results with Wolf and cough cough Norinco, but Remington should definitely be better.

    However, ammo is still the quickest and easiest to try. I'd never try a new rifle with just one type of ammo anyway.
    RT
     
  18. DnPRK

    DnPRK Member

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    Only one of my 4 Savages has shot poor groups on 2 occasions. It is a .223 FP that I bought used. The first bad group was due to a scope failure (Bushnell or Tasco, I can't remember). Swapped scopes and it was back to 0.75" groups.

    The second time was because the barrel jam nut cracked causing the barrel to wobble in the receiver. Replaced the nut an it was back to 0.75" groups.
     
  19. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    No, I don't get it, I don't wanna get it, and don't get any on me! :neener:

    With an accurate rifle, using open sights, I can hit clay birds most of the time at 250 yards, shooting from a rest. If I need to spend more than I have ever spent on a rifle (even my $1000+ rifles I paid less for - I have paid more for pistols) in order to shoot that rifle... that's just ridiculous. I don't have a place yet to shoot over 250 yards, and I don't need a scope to do that. I don't have a rifle that could make use of a $700 scope. And I think it's silly to recommend that the first thing I do is the single most expensive thing I could try short of buying another rifle (assuming I don't buy a $700 scope). If nothing else works, I'll try another scope before sending the rifle back to Savage.


    Dr Rob, I did that dollar bill trick in the store :)

    I will try the other suggestions, including the ammo and shooting rest changes, and see if that helps.
     
  20. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    t_n_p,

    I've always found this order of variables most helpful in sorting out rifle problems:

    1) Operator error. 95-97% of the "problems" I have ever seen or heard originate behind the buttplate. So far, sounds like this is not your issue, so on the the next steps. Your described bench-technique is not perfect, but it should be better than 4-5" at 100.

    2) Ammo. Cheapest place to start. Some rifles just plain don't like some ammo/bullet/powder combinations. Case in point: My AR-15 match rifle won't shoot better than about 4 MOA with your standard 55gr FMJ .223 ammo. The ammo might be capable of better, but the rifle sure as snot is! Or my muzzleloader, though a slightly different beast, doesn't like anything without a sabot.
    Easiest thing I can think of is to switch to a 150-168gr round for your '06 and try that. I've had very good luck getting .30-caliber rifles to shoot well just by switching to this bullet weight range. Cheap enough to try; only costs a box of ammo.

    3) Scope mounts. I'll get flamed, but I feel that as long as the mount holds the scope securely and does not torque the body in any strange way, it will be doing its job fine.

    4) Scope. I've seen scopes fail on rifles that should not have killed them. Many manufacturers will look at suspect scopes if you describe the problem to them.

    The last items are stock and barrel (on most rifles). Some factory synthetic stocks, especially the Remington and Savage ones I've held, will flex and warp badly with even the slightest pressure applied to them. Lastly, some barrels simply will not shoot straight. I've seen this before too, actually with top-name match barrels on prone rifles. It happens.

    Good luck and be methodical. It can be worked out.
     
  21. Red Tornado

    Red Tornado Member

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    Prophet,
    I checked the Savage sight, and the test ammo for your rifle used 168gr. Sierra Match Kings. I tested my .223 with their test ammo, and it was amazing. I think if you use a cartridge with that bullet, you'll either shoot MOA or definitely eliminate the ammo consideration.

    Here's the link to the pdf on their site. http://www.savagearms.com/images/pdf/manuals/BoltAction_Cent_AccuTrigger.pdf

    RT
     
  22. BulletFan

    BulletFan Member

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    ummmmm...

    Not true, recoil only occurs once the bullet has exited the barrel. you could yank the gun clear into the straight up position once you felt the recoil and not affect the shot placement.
    However, getting the stock off of the bench is good advice. If you get used to shooting off the bench, your shooting may never improve.
     
  23. the naked prophet

    the naked prophet Member

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    When I start loading (as early as this afternoon, depending on if the store has any powder and bullets in with my Rock Chucker :D ) I'll definitely try the 168 grain Sierra Match King.

    BulletFan, the recoil starts the instant the bullet starts moving. Holding the stock in a tighter or looser grip could affect the travel of the bullet. If you're using a very very heavy bullet, the gun could recoil more by the time the bullet exits the barrel, leading to a higher impact point than with a lighter bullet. The way you hold the stock affects how much rise happens before the bullet leaves the barrel - I tried to be consistent.

    wanderinwalker, that's the order in which I'm trying to eliminate problems.
     
  24. flatdog

    flatdog Member

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    BulletFan,

    Hear that?? It's the sound of all that incoming your about to get:evil:

    And now for something completely different.

    Prophet,There is a lot of information on this site:http://www.savageshooters.net/

    Don't know if the specific answer you seek is there. But you will probably find it useful.

    Good luck with your problem and please keep us informed as to your progress.

    flatdog
     
  25. Big_R

    Big_R Member

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    Every Savage I own shoots very well, even with the cheap scopes I have on them and the various loads I've made for them. Based on the information above, I agree the problem is probably with the scope or the stock. You could try shooting groups with the scope set at a lower magnification. See what your groups look like. If they tighen up to what you would expect, I'd bet you have a problem with scope parralax or eye relief. The best way to eliminate the scope is to try a known one.

    If a known scope checks out, I'd bet the problem is with the stock. Just because the barrel is free floated, doesn't mean the action is bedded correctly. You could try loosening and tightening the screws in different orders (front first, then rear; rear first, then front, etc.). If one of these works, I'd look into action bedding. It's a do it yourself proposition.

    Ryan
     
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