This rifle is interesting. I bought two boxes of Hornady ammo when I got the rifle. It shot (and still shoots) that Hornady stuff terribly. I finally concocted a round with Berger 35 gr. match bullets, Rem 7 1/2 primers, either Benchmark or Varget that shot pretty good groups off the bench (sub 1/2 inch.) I was using a Caldwell Creek shooting rest for testing and sighting in. So then to prairie dogs shooting. A few shots and all is well. then I can't hit a bull in the dareer. Take out the Savage 22-250 and bingo. Clean the .204 up, and a few shots are good, then same old deal. Back to the Savage and it is like cheating, it shoots so darn good.
Triggers are very similar in nature. Glass is different, but not a contributor in this issue (to me). Most of the prairie dog shooting this summer was on government land where vehicle travel is prohibited, so I carried a bipod and shot off that all the time.
Yesterday I went to the range to check the sighting on a 25-06 for deer season, and took a Solo Lead Sled. (The shooter is susceptible to the old flincharoo.) Took the .204 to check it out. First few shots were very predictably close. Then the groups started to open up. It was cool with a slight breeze, and I was shooting three guns and only putting 2-3 rounds through each, then shooting the others. The barrels only got slightly warm. So out came the gun vise, and the cleaning stuff. As usual, the .204 swabs came out black as coal. Finally got it cleaned up. Same thing. Good groups, then not so good.
All of this said, I suppose the barrel could be responsible, but I am so ignorant that the odds of me diagnosing whats going on are slim to none.
So what would you check on the barrel, Kraig? Would you takeit to a smith?