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Old January 18, 2013, 02:16 PM   #1
NHSHOOTER
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To float or not to float

I have a ruger m77 hawkeye in 7-08, I reload and I am getting ok groups, about 1" I think I need a new trigger and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to float the barrel, I can fire 3 shot groups and even with a warm barrel they stay consistent. I was also thinking of a boyds lightweight laminate which I think are a free floated stock? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated...
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Old January 18, 2013, 03:20 PM   #2
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I free-float most of my rifles and though it's never hurt accuracy on Remington 700s, I'd rather lose a fraction of an inch in grouping ability for the promise of more consistent point of impact over time, with the same ammo.

That said, in the past, Rugers have tended to shoot much better when they have properly-constructed pressure pads, but I haven't bedded the newer models.

It's fairly easy to replace a pressure pad, so I'd go ahead and remove it. If it doesn't work for you, one can be installed with epoxy and about 5 lbs of uplift pressure.
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Old January 18, 2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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NH,
this is going to be a 'just try it and see" type deal since all rifles shoot differently. I was just about in the same situation as you, I had a Ruger .270 Winchester with the boat paddle type factory stock and it shot wonderful out of the box with factory rounds. I was using Federal 130 gr ballistic tips. The factory stock got uncomfortable to shoot after a few rounds, so I got a wild hair and ordered me a Boyd's Pepper Grey laminate stock and my once great group of rounds on paper went out the door. Needless to say I was really concerned. The Boyd's stock is advertised as basically a drop-in fit, and that was an understatement . There was a lot of gap/space where the rifle's action and mounting lugs were cut for the Boyd.
So what I did is took a leap of faith and bedded the new stock's action with JB Weld to close up some of the clearances . This helped the grouping some but it wasnt back to where it was with the factory stock. The barrel cavity on the Boyd was freefloated, the factory Ruger stock had a small pressure point right at the middle end of the receiver.
So after shooting the rifle with the Boyd's a couple different sessions at the range ( after I bedded it with JB ) , I then was able to tighten up my groups a little more by adding a pressure point out at the end of the stock with a small bed of JB Weld. I have since learned how to reload for my .270( but Im still learning all I can and reading up on it ,LOL ) .
Also, my stock trigger has been worked on to break at 2.75 lbs and that really helped my shooting compared to the heavy stock factory trigger pull.
Good luck with whatever decision you make .
John

ps,.. I'll try and go back and do a search here to show what I did to the Boyd stock and post the link.
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Old January 18, 2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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Here is my link from early last year...
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...highlight=boyd
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Old January 18, 2013, 04:54 PM   #5
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Float the barrel and bed the action.
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Old January 18, 2013, 04:59 PM   #6
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Thanks for the link John, your groups look like mine, always seems to be 1 flyer, not always the last shot either. My brother says to install a new timney trigger, says that the rifle is ok, its the shooter, he could be right. I shoot 3 shot groups, 2 in the same hole and 1 flyer. Just trying to get some insight..
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Old January 18, 2013, 06:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
I have a ruger m77 hawkeye in 7-08, I reload and I am getting ok groups, about 1" I think I need a new trigger and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to float the barrel, I can fire 3 shot groups and even with a warm barrel they stay consistent. I was also thinking of a boyds lightweight laminate which I think are a free floated stock? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated...
I put my Mk II (with the "paddle stock") in a Boyds stock and it's not free floated. In fact you have to do some minor work. I took it to a gunsmith and had him glass and pillar bed it and free float the barrel. It was always a "shooter" (sub-MOA) but now it puts them in one hole if I'm shooting good and usually always a cloverleaf group. I have witnesses!
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Old January 18, 2013, 06:39 PM   #8
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Hey wardbirdlover, what caliber is your MKII?? Do you handload? Trigger work?
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Old January 18, 2013, 09:35 PM   #9
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I have had good luck bedding my barrels.
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Old January 18, 2013, 10:17 PM   #10
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I have one Ruger Mk II in the original stock and a Hawkeye in an aftermarket Hogue stock with the aluminum bedding channel and floated barrel. The Hawkeye shoots better, but the 'untinkeredwith' Ruger shoots real well too. The Ruger in the original stock shoots good enough that I just can't convince myself to mess with it.

One thing that made a noticeable difference was the Timney trigger I put in the Hawkeye. I do love that trigger and I am shooting better since I installed it. That's the first thing I'd do to the OP's rifle. The Ruger Mk II also has a Timney, but it was installed by the previous owner.
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Old January 19, 2013, 06:45 AM   #11
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You could try playing with the action screw torque a little and see if that helps. The front screw is said to play the bigger role in affecting accuracy. Shoot a group or two at 30 in/lbs and go up to 55 in/lbs in increments of 5 each time. When torquing the action srews always get them both snug, torque the rear screw first, then the front. In some rifles you wont notice much difference, some you do. But there should be a "sweet spot" somewhere in that 30-55 range. Much tighter than that and it could be hard on your trigger guard/floor plate. This may or may not work for you but its easy and quick and only costs you a few rounds of ammo
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Old January 19, 2013, 01:31 PM   #12
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If I had a Ruger hunting rifle that shot 1" groups, and did it consistently I wouldn't touch the bedding. Maybe have someone tweak the trigger a bit. Smoothing out the trigger and tweaking your handloads will likely get you under 1".

If you start messing with the bedding or replacing stocks you could end up spending more than the rifle is worth for a tiny increase in accuracy that cannot be utilized on a hunting rifle anyway.

Having a 1/2 MOA rifle is nice to own and show off, but when fired from field positions when hunting will be no more accurate than a 1 MOA rifle. On a target rifle where you are chasing every tiny bit of accuracy it would be different.
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Old January 19, 2013, 02:49 PM   #13
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If the OP doesn't like the factory trigger pull weight, all it takes is a lighter trigger spring to ease the pull weight. Very easy to install. The first time I saw it done was on my Hawkeye, and it was so easy and quick that I do think the gunsmith was embarrassed to charge me.
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Old January 19, 2013, 04:13 PM   #14
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JMR40, you make a excellent point, well taken, next step will be a timney trigger, not big bucks but I think from what I have read, worth every penny..I shot a 3/4 in group with 115 gr hollow points today, felt real good..
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Old January 19, 2013, 10:09 PM   #15
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Unless a rifle barrel totally free floated, any pressure on its fore end through its contact point(s) to the barrel will change the whipping dynamics of the barrel. That happens 'cause there's different amounts of pressure and its direction caused by sling tension and angle, force on the fore end from the shooter's cheek pressing down on the stock while the fore end rests atop something (bench, fence, tree limb, rock, etc.). That force and its directions will not be repeatable going from one shooting position to another.

'Course, if one doesn't shoot well enough to see the difference, then such is life. Top level competition rifle shooters don't want any part of the rifle touching their barrels except the receiver's face and tenon threads. However. . . .

One exception is when the receiver's fit to the stock is so poor and sloppy that some amount of pressure between the fore end tip upwards onto the barrel will help. But it's only going to be repeatable when you've zeroed the rifle from a benchrest position with its fore end resting atop something. In the field without a bench and something for it to rest on, it's zero will change.
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Old January 19, 2013, 10:24 PM   #16
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The trigger is no problem if you've worked on one before. I replaced the spring and stoned and polished the trigger and sear face. Floating a Ruger is no trouble, but bedding is a little tricky as the recoil bed sits on a 45ยบ angle. You have to relieve material on both sides evenly, as well as the rear action screw seat to keep things out of a bind. As one poster said, it's sometimes easier to use a Hogue or similar stock with a factory bedding block. My .270 shot sub-MOA all day with just trigger and floating work.

-7-

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Old January 19, 2013, 10:28 PM   #17
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I just had **** poor luck with floating sporter barrels. With full receiver, and barrel bedding, they shot sub MOA, and kept their POI consistently.
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Old January 19, 2013, 10:35 PM   #18
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Bart I 100% agree with what you say in theory. Having said that, I have encountered two thin barreled rifles over the years that the only way I could make them shoot was to free float and then bed the barrel. The worst example was a 700 mountain rifle that was a three minute rifle only counting cold barrel shots. Bedded action, did not help. Messed around with it and messed around with it and the stupid thing shot like a shotgun. I finally decided to bed the barrel with no release agent. My reasoning was that the rifle was worthless and if I re-barreled it I would use a custom stock due to changing contours so if it did not work I would torch and saw the stock off. To make a long story short, the rifle turned into a MOA rifle. If I ever have to get it out of the stock it will be a sad day, but for now it shoots real good for what it is. I also had similar results solving a similar problem with a thin barreled Savage, but I used release agent on it.
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Old January 20, 2013, 04:29 AM   #19
Bart B.
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coyota1, about your poor luck with floating sporter barrels, with full receiver, and barrel bedding, do they shoot sub MOA and keep their POI consistently from all shooting positions with and without a sling?

reynolds357, same question for you.......
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Old January 20, 2013, 09:52 AM   #20
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coyota1, about your poor luck with floating sporter barrels, with full receiver, and barrel bedding, do they shoot sub MOA and keep their POI consistently from all shooting positions with and without a sling?
They shoot fine in any position, with or without a sling. I'm not a good enough shot to shoot off hand MOA groups at 100 yards.
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Old January 20, 2013, 01:17 PM   #21
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"Float the barrel and bed the action."


Correction. BED THE ACTION and then....and ONLY then, float the barrel. Free-floating a barrel will ALWAYS reduce accuracy, unless the action is rock-solid. Bedding the action is far more important, anyway.

Many people make the mistake of assuming that heat-induced accuracy problems are always due to barrel contact. Often, they are actually due to poor action fit (and cumulative action movement in the stock - a little from each shot).

Even then, there are no guarantees. Many rifles with light sporter barrels do not improve with free floating, but work better with pressure pads in the forend.

It's better to test both ways - but ALWAYS bed the action FIRST.
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Old January 20, 2013, 01:25 PM   #22
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Yes^^ I also have noticed issues that were barrel related. When it heats up and strings, then settles down back to the first POI when the barrel cools down. This would indicate barrel issues, and not poor action bedding.
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Old January 20, 2013, 02:23 PM   #23
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Stock advice...

Before tinkering with the bedding on your rifle, shoot a lot of different loads. You might just find one that gives you what you want, all by itself.
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Old January 20, 2013, 02:29 PM   #24
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Hey wardbirdlover, what caliber is your MKII?? Do you handload? Trigger work?
NHSHOOTER
.300 Win Mag. Here are some other threads about it.... and John is my good buddy! We did our Rugers (Boyds) at the same time. This rifle shoots the cheapest factory loads into (sometimes) one hole! I sold all my handloading stuff after I got this 20 years ago. And I did put a lighter trigger spring in it.


http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=484742

http://www.erniethegunsmith.com/catalog/i22.html

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Old January 20, 2013, 03:31 PM   #25
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To float or not to float... depends on what you plan on doing with your rifle. If it's for deer hunting, as are most 7mm-08, then I'd leave well enough alone... unless the deer you hunt are extremely far off or extremely tiny.
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