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Old December 19, 2019, 15:08   #1
Whydah
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I'm flummoxed!

Shooting a Savage mod. 10 Tactical Carbine in .308win that reviews said liked 165gr. bullets. Fusion 165gr. shot like crap at 100yds. Best grouping near .25" using Hornady 'Whitetail' 150gr and Federal 150gr.

Shot today at 200yds. What shot best at 100yds shot worst at 200yds! Now how can that be? Groups opened up to 6/7". What shot best was Federal Fusion 150gr. with a best group of 1.75". I was shooting off of sand bags at 12X on the scope.

Seems like everything I take this rifle out I get different results. Probably should have just kept my Remington 700 Varmint rifle!
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Old December 19, 2019, 15:34   #2
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Just something to consider, but I shoot enough to notice that my human performance is dynamic from day to day. If I thought every gun I shot poorly with on any given day was the true culprit of my failures then I'd have no firearms left at all!

Maybe that's just me, but we tend to not give the nut behind the bolt the critical scrutiny it deserves. Just a thought, and I hope you get it figured out.
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Old December 19, 2019, 19:30   #3
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First, remember that group size is NOT a linear method. Should be a lot closer than 25x though!

When chasing similar issues with my target 22 rigs while setting up for golf balls (100-200y) and 1/5 scale silhouette I would keep targets set up at various distances, if things fell apart at longer I'd go back to closer to confirm under the current conditions.

Things to consider -

Did you change lot numbers on ammo? More of a rimfire problem but possible with any ammo if you are only shooting factory stuff.

All screws, etc. tightened appropriately? Using a good rest, but not a hard one? If you are using a bipod it is properly supported on nice soft stuff to avoid bounce?

Is your parallax set properly for the distance you are shooting at? If using an adjustable objective scope or one with a focus wheel, don't get too stuck on the number the spot is pointing to - actually look through the scope and check for apparent shift on the target. This could account for the massive change in group size if your scope is set with a 100 yard parallax.

Are you using enough scope to be sure of your aiming point each and every shot? Might not matter much when hunting but when shooting for groups, if your aiming point isn't always the exact same then you are simply adding to group size. Been a while since I've shot something as low power as 12x but with thick "hunting scope" crosshairs this could also contribute to a drastic change in group size.
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Old December 19, 2019, 21:13   #4
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Long ago a time I bought a Savage 7mm Mag from the pawn shop. Less than $200 OTD with a Leupold 3X9 already mounted. I tried five different kinds of factory ammo and nothing shot worth a damn. A group of us were shooting every week in those days and I would bring the 7mm every now and then and try it. Never got groups I liked so made up my mind to dump the sucker. I took it one last time before trading it off and dang if it did not shoot little bitty groups. Too late sucker, off you go. So that week I pulled the Leupold off and put the Savage on consignment. Put that scope on a Remington 25-06 that is the most consistently accurate rifle I own. Tiny groups with all ammo tried. Which was not many as the first three I tried all shot great so I quit buying ammo and just went and killed deer.
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Old December 20, 2019, 07:11   #5
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I usually shoot using sand bags sitting at a picnic table. The setup is nice and stable. Yesterday, in order to get more than 100 yds, I had to move into a mowed field beside the house. I shot off the back of a UTV using a piece of plywood as a flat base topped with the sand bags. I had to make a few adjustments to get the stability I wanted. Maybe not as stable as that picnic table, but solid enough to at least achieved 3/4" groups (measured between furthest apart bullet holes) at that distance. I shot Federal Super Shock 150gr., Hornady 'Whitetail' 150gr, Fed. Fusion 165gr, and Fed. Fusion 150gr. I even went back and shot previously tried ammo just to be sure it wasn't just me. Results stayed the same for each brand. The Hornady and Fed. SP 150gr gave the best results at 100yds (.25" and .5"). I had thought I had cracked the accuracy code, but no such performance yesterday.
Yes, we have off days. It usually takes me a couple rounds to settle down. Since scopes were mentioned, I'm using a Leupold 5X to 12X with a graduated yardage adjustment knob set for a minimum of 200yds, but no focus adjustment.
One other thing. I did add a flash suppressor after removing the thread protector, but honestly can't remember if I added it after the 100yd shoot or not. Would that have made a difference, any of you think?
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Old December 20, 2019, 08:28   #6
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I did add a flash suppressor after removing the thread protector, but honestly can't remember if I added it after the 100yd shoot or not. Would that have made a difference, any of you think?
Oh lordy yes that could affect things drastically. If it is out of true, etc. that can cause serious issues, but you really changed the barrel harmonics by dangling some extra metal off the end. How sensitive could this be? The old Browning BOSS system (as well as some other barrel tuner rigs for rimfire target rifles) could affect group sizes by simply moving the muzzle device in or out a few millimeters.
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Old December 20, 2019, 08:48   #7
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I thought flummox was what you put on the pipe when you solder a joint.
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Old December 20, 2019, 10:14   #8
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I thought flummox was what you put on the pipe when you solder a joint.


Sounds more like a breakfast food!

Thanks, parths.**I think I will remove that FS and try again.

Edit: OK, just removed the FS and re-installed the stock thread protector 'nut'. (That FS sure looked cool, though) I'll set up and try it tomorrow.

Last edited by Whydah; December 20, 2019 at 10:23.
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Old December 20, 2019, 10:51   #9
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Sounds more like a breakfast food!

Thanks, parths.**I think I will remove that FS and try again.

Edit: OK, just removed the FS and re-installed the stock thread protector 'nut'. (That FS sure looked cool, though) I'll set up and try it tomorrow.
If you really want the FS on there, you can do it. I'd check the inside of it for what will effectively be your new muzzle crown, and consider using a split washer or similar to adjust the actual positioning on the muzzle - a few mm in or out could make a big difference in barrel vibration/harmonics.

But yes, better to solve accuracy conundrum as-is then go changing things. Remember - only change one variable at a time!
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Old December 20, 2019, 13:30   #10
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......only change one variable at a time!

Quoted & bolded for truth & emphasis!

(Unless you are a masochist that loves unsolved mysteries)
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Old December 20, 2019, 23:31   #11
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Just changing the torque value by a few pounds either way can greatly affect barrel harmonics. My custom bolt rifle builder has about five versions of his proprietary muzzle brake. After a build is nearing completion he shoots the rifle with at least three of them and based on which shoots the best he then custom makes a brake for the rifle that has correct fit and astethics. He may remove and modify the brake two or three times then make another modiflying it in slightly different degrees, different lemgths, rows of holes, etc till barrel shoots as well as he thinks possible.

I took him a used Remington 700 in 7mm mag that was shooting 2.25 MOA at 100 and worse as distance increased. He disassembled, shaved rear of barrel, recut chamber, cryotreated, fit muzzle break, worked over the factory trigger, bedded the action in factory stock after Blueprinting it, installing his preferred base and rings then handed me back a 1/2 MOA rifle out past 500 yards.

Bought a Browning Boss in 22-250 which he ripped apart, shortened barrel a 1/4" from rear and recur chamber, cryofroze, made slight alterations to the ports in the factory Boss adjustable harmonics brake, removed their horrid rubber bedding and properly bed it, blueprinted action, worked trigger and at 100 yards unless iron the target to get it flat and have a caliper can't measure group size as it appears to be a one hole group with five rounds fired. Have to bring targets home, set up ironing board and iron them nice flat and crisp then lay on my light table use for viewing slides and use a micrometer to figure out actual group size as it shoots in the tenths of an inch.

When send him a Bartlein, Shilen, Kreiger, Pac Nor, Douglas, etc along with a good action to blueprint it's amazing what I get back. But one thing I do with almost every build from home built 10.5" AR 15, 16" Ruger 10/22, new or used factory or custom rifle of rack at LGS I first properly mount a minimum of 24x scope, often 36x in good rings that have been lapped and after a break in cycle I then shoot to see what rifles potential is. Mostly I use a Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50*bought on a clearance deal so cheap ended up with three.

Some new rifles have rough bore if not hand lapped and will copper foul in just a few rounds. Some have out of square chambers if off the rack factory or crooked throat. But I take a cleaning kit, bore scope and thermocouple so see what temperature the rifle likes to shoot at and what temperature is too hot and groups fall apart. Have taken many lightly used factory rifles to range and discovered why owner traded it. Some would copper foul in only five rounds requiring lapping and proper break in before proceeding. Some I had to use a throating reamer to fix an out of square throat.

Others had to use a crown lap to stone out a small burr and some have even had to use a facing cutter followed by a champhering cutter then lap to repair crown on the bench at the range. Will get some odd looks when you insert a pair of cutters in the muzzle of a rifle and steel shavings start to drop but have seen some muzzles were out of square once looked really closely. Do not do this to your new rifle as its a factory warranty job if needed and I have bought so many used rifles with intent to only use the action for a custom build I like to play with them.

Have at least a half dozen rifles purchased for cheap as owner said he was trading because it didn't shoot. Some of these were respected local shooters and LGS took them at their word and paid them appropriate price for a rifle that needed rebarreled. After doing my best to diagnose issue, sometimes two and fix them on range suddenly a 3 MOA rifle after four groups was a 1 MOA rifle following throating, lapping the bore and stoning the muzzle. Take same rifle home and work over the trigger, rebed the action and it was sub MOA by a fuzz or three for cost of a few rounds and use of a few specialty tools. If planning on throwing a barrel away when buy a rifle it's the perfect candidate to teach yourself gunsmithing on especially diagnosing issues with the bore. I also take a chamber cast of all my rifles to use for handloading specific loads for it and to examine for chamber and throat imperfections.

For the past two to three years have kept a Vortex Viper PST 6-24x50*on top shelf of my rifle tool cabinet to benchmark all new buys and builds off of. Many are modified and same scope put on it after changes if has to be removed and keep tinkering till satisfied with a build, fixed a rifle found cheap with a minor issue or two or prove what I bought was an action for my rifle smith to use as heart of a custom build. When I am able to fix a donor rifle into a keeper get almost giddy.

You could be seeing an accuracy node caused by improperly lapped bolt but I seldom lap a bolt as that is my smith's job. I suggest you go buy at least three boxes of an affordable copper jacketed brass case ammunition plus a couple boxes of Federal Gold Medal 168 SMKs, get a good solid rest to shoot from, not something cobbled together differently each trip out, use a real front rifle rest and rear shooting bag (fill mine with #7 lead shot instead of sand) and after lapping rings properly drop a higher power scope in the rifle, higher the better as long as it's good quality. Now follow Howas break in procedure. I use Tubbs but requires specialty bore lapping rounds and if done wrong can ruin a bore. Howa's process works good with a factory tube and never seen it make one worse, always better.

You are going to clean your rifle a lot doing this so a Hoppes Universal Bore Guide (17 to 46 caliber with included adapters and costs a whopping $20) and a Dewey 30 to 308 Caliber Brass Muzzle Cleaning Guide at $7 using a one piece cleaning rod. This will keep you from hitting the throat with cleaning rod and from nicking or wearing one area of muzzle

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HOWA BREAK-IN PROCEDURE FOR GUN BARRELS USING JACKETED BULLETS

For the first ten shots we recommend using jacketed bullets with a nitro powder load (Most Factory Ammo). Clean the oil out of the barrel before each shot using a simple window cleaner (like Windex®) which will soak the oil out of the pores. After firing each cartridge, use a good copper cleaner (one with ammonia) to remove the copper fouling from the barrel. We do not recommend anything with an abrasive in it since you are trying to seal the barrel, not keep it agitated.

After cleaning with bore cleaner, clean again with window cleaner after each shot. Use window cleaner because many bore cleaners use a petroleum base which you want to remove before firing the next shot. This will keep the carbon from building up in the barrel (oil left in the pores, when burned, turns to carbon).

To keep the temperature cool in the barrel, wait at least 5 minutes between break-in shots. The barrel must remain cool during the break-in procedure. If the barrel is allowed to heat up during the break-in, it will destroy the steel’s ability to develop a home registration point, or memory. It will have a tendency to make the barrel “walk” when it heats up in the future. We have all seen barrels that, as they heat up, start to shoot high and then “walk” to the right. This was caused by improperly breaking in the barrel (generally by sitting at a bench rest and shooting 20 rounds in 5 minutes or so). If you take a little time in the beginning and do it right, you will be much more pleased with the barrel in the future.

Look into the end of the barrel after firing a shot, and you will see a light copper-colored wash in the barrel. Remove this before firing the next shot. Somewhere during the procedure, around shot 6 or 7, it will be obvious that the copper color is no longer appearing in the barrel. Continue the window cleaner and bore cleaner applications through shot 10.

Following the initial ten shots, you then may shoot 2 rounds, cleaning between each pair of shots, for the next 10 shots. This is simply insuring that the burnishing process has been completed. In theory, you are closing the pores of the barrel metal that have been opened and exposed through the cutting and hand lapping procedures.
My note, after following this procedure make sure and clean bore very well as ammonia residue left in bore will etch it and cause it to pit. Use a liberal amount of Hoppes #9 which of all things has ammonia but it's a different ammonia than found in household cleaners and can be left in bore forever. Notice their break in calls for twenty rounds fired five minutes apart. From here your finished with the Windex unless truck windows are nasty.

We take our next box of copper jacket, brass case mid priced ammo and then if have a thermocouple or non contact laser thermometer and shoot five shot groups as quickly as possible without letting barrel get hotter than 150° and clean using Lucas Oil Extreme Duty Bore Solvent between each group. I like Lucas products. After last group clean well and then let barrel cool but not too cool, needs to be warm between each shot but not hot. Now your ready to break out your match ammo but before you shoot your first group shoot one of your 150 grain bullets into the berm or spot on corner of target as a fouling shot to burn the residue from bore cleaner out.

Now shoot a five round group trying to shoot each shot with barrel warm but not hot. Look down bore and if do not see any obvious copper fouling shoot another five round group of the 168 grain match and clean. Then use another of the 150 grain bullets and shoot into berm or corner of target to foul the bore and burn off residual bore cleaner. Now fire two more five shot groups, clean again then use a third of the 150s as a barrel warmer and to burn off residual bore cleaner. Now fire the next twenty rounds of the 168 grain match at various distances and believe you will find it is grouping well at any range you shoot if using a solid rest and doing your job.

I would then take the rest of the 150s you have had trouble with and see how they group now. Bet it's significantly better. Remember most rifles from cold bore to warm bore will string vertically with first round low, second higher and third up where rifle wants to shoot. Could talk for hours about vertical stringing with a clean cold bore to a fouled and warmed bore. Moly coated bullets were designed to reduce vertical stringing in match shooting when not allowed to fire bore fouling and warming shots. David Tubbs sells a product called Tubbs Final Finish or Tubb Precision Blended Boron Nitride Bullet Coating Kit. I coat all my match bullets and varmint bullets with the Tubb boron nitride.

At 1,000 yards it closes a ten shot group by up to six inches vertically as first cold bore round does not drop nearly as much and onc ed barrel is hot the bullets don't climb as high. Since started using it about the time I began using a professional ballistics app, range finders have improved and Bluetooth linked annenometers my first round cold bore kill ratio on coyote and ground hogs has gone up 60%.

Beg, borrow or steal at least a 20x scope, follow the Howa break in process then work your way through 40 rounds of 168 grain SMKs increasing number of rounds between cleanings and believe your rifle will settle down. New barrels have a tendency to have open pores in the steel unless hand lapped by a company on the part of Bartlain and those pores collect copper getting bigger and fouling the bore till you get them closed and sealed. An inexpensive AR 15 build does not need such a break in process but a big part of a precision turn bolts accuracy will be based on its break in. Then as it wears pores, especially in area around throat will begin to open up again and why people who shoot high dollar rifles based on how much over bore they are will lap the throat every "x" rounds as pores open and cause copper fouling.

My 308s can go 1,200 to 1,500 rounds before throat needs lapping. My 7mm Practicals need throats lapped every 600 to 800 rounds and are scrap metal by 2,000 rounds. Same with 22 Nosler. My 7mm RUM needs throat lapped every 500 rounds and at 1,500 rounds barrel is shot. My 22 CHeetahs require throat lapping every 500 rounds and last 1,500 to 2,000 rounds but are cry treated and never fired with untreated projectiles. I break in my Bartlain barrels per their recommendation as do Tubbs to his. Some I have a hybrid break in and an agrees I've break in on melon it barrels because they are so hard.

The great thing about a very structured break in is it teaches the shooter to be strictured, have a precise way of working at the bench and gets a fair number of rounds down range breaking shooter into the rifle so it becomes part of you. After break in I will often pull my Viper 6-20x PST off and replace with a 1x to 3x red dot but know it's actual potential and based on how well it shoots it helps me decide which optic to put on. Some rifles purchased a 36x scope to put on top and after break in only got a 20x to 24x. Some were purchased for a 4-16x and shot so well topped them with a 6-24x or even a couple with an 8-32x they shot so freaking well. Break in conditions your bore under controlled conditions, teaches you a lot about its capabilities as work through the process and by time it's properly broken in you know any tweaks such as trigger work, better scope, etc it may be asking for.
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Old December 21, 2019, 07:38   #12
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If nothing else I've gotten some good info here and learned a few things along the way.
Huey... I can't find the time or money to go into all the processes you mention. If I can have a dependable 'journeyman' rifle that will perform the way I need it to as long as I do my part from the house to the gate 220yds away and to the creek another 200yds to reliably hit a target the size of a cantaloupe I will be happy.

I removed the FH. Its a bit overcast here today but I plan on taking the rifle back out and give it another try. Once I do it I'll let everyone know what difference it made.
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Old December 21, 2019, 14:25   #13
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Wow! What a difference!

Yesterday, shooting Federal SP 150gr groups were 6"/7". Today, 1.75"
Federal Fusion 150r gave me the best groupings both days, 1.75" yesterday and 1.5" today
The Hornady 'Whitetail" 150gr. was a disappointment again at 4.75" today.
The Federal Fusion 165gr. basically sucked at 6"

Still, after removing the FH all groups were smaller. I can live with 1.75" and 1.5" for now. Today I was using the same rest setup. I think I can do better, just have to shoot more often.

Thanks for all the responses. Really helped.
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Old December 21, 2019, 23:44   #14
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Try finding a muzzle brake on sale as they tend to help with harmonics though punish guys on either side of you at the range. I always take a chamber cast ($3 in materials to do) so able to examine my chamber dimensions from an inside out perspective and check for burrs or open pores with bore scope. I use a lot of Tubbs fire lapping kits but not per instructions as get two rifles out of a single rifle kit and not but 1/4 of rifles will benefit from them and it takes experience to know which. With my 600 to 1,500 yard rifles proper break in is mandatory to get all the performance possible from an expensive custom barrel. Keep shooting it, it will get bether and try other brands and weight ammo as may find a factory load that your rifle runs into a single hole.

Did you use a crush washer with your flash hider? If so, try again without but use a specialty washer for rifles that is flat and torque to 30 ft/lbs. Barrel harmonics and break in is a complicated and highly debated subject. I have found there are different methods for different steel, finish, rifling, etc so sometime just shooting the rifle in is enough but if it copper fouls in five rounds or less it needs work.
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Old December 22, 2019, 08:31   #15
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Try finding a muzzle brake on sale as they tend to help with harmonics though punish guys on either side of you at the range. I always take a chamber cast ($3 in materials to do) so able to examine my chamber dimensions from an inside out perspective and check for burrs or open pores with bore scope. I use a lot of Tubbs fire lapping kits but not per instructions as get two rifles out of a single rifle kit and not but 1/4 of rifles will benefit from them and it takes experience to know which. With my 600 to 1,500 yard rifles proper break in is mandatory to get all the performance possible from an expensive custom barrel. Keep shooting it, it will get bether and try other brands and weight ammo as may find a factory load that your rifle runs into a single hole.

Did you use a crush washer with your flash hider? If so, try again without but use a specialty washer for rifles that is flat and torque to 30 ft/lbs. Barrel harmonics and break in is a complicated and highly debated subject. I have found there are different methods for different steel, finish, rifling, etc so sometime just shooting the rifle in is enough but if it copper fouls in five rounds or less it needs work.
Not a crush washer. More of a spacer came with the FH. Sure made a difference removing it!
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Old December 25, 2019, 18:45   #16
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You might want to look at the FH a little closer. I have a Savage 110 Tactical in 6.5CM. I added a Griffin Armament Minimalist muzzle brake on it. This thing weighs 1 ounce and is made from titanium. Need it so I can use my can. With that little one ounce weight on the end of the barrel, my zero changed about 2 inches high and left. Group sizes stayed the same. I wouldn't think that an ounce could change the performance of a heavy profile barrel that much. But the harmonics of the barrel were changed because of that weight change.

Just goes to show you that it doesn't take much to make great shooting rifle a lousy shooting rifle.
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Old January 06, 2020, 11:46   #17
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You might want to look at the FH a little closer. I have a Savage 110 Tactical in 6.5CM. I added a Griffin Armament Minimalist muzzle brake on it. This thing weighs 1 ounce and is made from titanium. Need it so I can use my can. With that little one ounce weight on the end of the barrel, my zero changed about 2 inches high and left. Group sizes stayed the same. I wouldn't think that an ounce could change the performance of a heavy profile barrel that much. But the harmonics of the barrel were changed because of that weight change.

Just goes to show you that it doesn't take much to make great shooting rifle a lousy shooting rifle.
Now that you have a suppressor adapter on it how much change in point of impact between no can mounted and can mounted?
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