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Old February 4, 2013, 09:07 AM   #1
eldermike
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New SPS stainless

I received a Remington SPS stainless in 223 as a gift from my wife. I have been working on load development and making decisions on what to do with this rifle. I almost ordered a stock and trigger for it but have held off based on some other issues. I don’t believe these issues have anything to do with the stock and trigger.

Issue 1) Hard to single load, feeds great from magazine (perfect) but the back of the barrel is square and to make it single load you have to fidget with the round to get it started in the chamber. That’s a deal breaker with me.

Issue 2) On a clean bore it shoots low left (about 2 inches X 1 inch) but slowly walks its way to center as it fouls the bore. Once on it stays until you clean it. I was a bench rest shooter for years and I know how to clean a bore. I JB’d the bore several times and I am waiting for it to break in but no change so far in this pattern of shooting. I expect some change from a clean bore to a fouled one but 2 inches seems a bit much to me.

I am shooting 52 grain hollow point match bullets with neck sized only brass. Tried a few powders but settled on H335. Have tried loading depths from touching the lands to deeper than I like, the pattern of fouling stays the same. Once fouled it shoots less than 1” in long stings up to 10 shots. Accuracy is not the issue.

All shooting so far at 100 yards from a proper bench rest with rear bag. I did notice right way that I needed to keep the front end of the rest as far back as possible to get the best groups. Also use a side bag to help with the heavy trigger pull but that is manageable at this point in the project. I know the stock and trigger are limiting the potential of this little rifle but until it single feeds without fussing, without standing up and fussing with the round I will not be spending any money on it. The back of the barrel is dead square and the little 223 is running right into the face of the chamber. It feeds from the magazine so smooth I can see how that little detail might get missed.

So what to do?
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Old February 4, 2013, 09:21 AM   #2
precision_shooter
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What to do...

1) Decide if it's worth your time, money, and frustration to have a smith "fix" the single feed issue.
2) Bed the action and free float the barrel. To get consistant accuracy, this has to be done. As you mentioned, it shoots best with the front rest as far back as possible. This is due to the pressure it puts on the barrel as it's not free floated.
3) If you're willing to deal with the first 2 things, then you need to decide if you want to spend more money on a new stock and trigger.

If the above is not in the cards, then I say sell it and use the money to buy something else.
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Old February 4, 2013, 10:12 AM   #3
eldermike
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Presicion_shooter, thanks for responding. I don't really need another rifle and all rifles become projects with me Since its a Christmas present I will not be selling it.

I guess I just need to find a smith that will work on the single feed issue and get that out of the way first.
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Old February 4, 2013, 06:05 PM   #4
Colorado Redneck
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Elder-Mike
I have not had a varmint rifle that wasn't a project. Generally I develop a love-hate relationship and if the kinks eventually get worked out it turns to genuine love.

I have a 3 year old SPS Varmint in .204 Ruger. History goes like this:

1. Factory trigger was terrible. Tried to adjust, stripped out an allen wrench screw on the darn thing. Hate this darn gun! Bought a Timney and installed myself. Problem #1 solved.

2. Rounds won't feed. Won't feed from magazine, but since I shoot one round at a time when in a prairie dog town, no big deal. But I have to gently hand feed each round, as the tip of a round will hang up on that square barrel end. I learned to live with it---and occasionally say something really crude when fiddling with the damn thing in the middle of a shoot. problem #2---live with it.

3. Gun would shoot a few rounds (3-4) good from a shiney clean barrel. Then a few rounds kind of scatter about, in more of a "pattern." After maybe 15 rounds things start to fall right where I want'em. After posting about that here in TFL I surmised that this gun does not need to be shiney clean. The most it gets is a patch with Hoppes, a couple of passes with the fiber brush, a couple of dry patches, a kiss and a promise. It shoots fantastic after the first fouling shot. Problem #3--easy fix, counterintuitive, but easy.

Don't give up. The SPS has become my favorite prairie dogger.
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Old February 4, 2013, 08:23 PM   #5
eldermike
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Colorado, I think its going to be a very good little rifle and I also think I'll solve the single loading issue with a new follower.
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Old February 5, 2013, 03:00 AM   #6
Ben Towe
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Despite what you may hear otherwise, there is such a thing as over-cleaning and being too clean. These aren't blackpowder guns and nothing in modern cartridges is corrosive, and intensive cleaning can be detrimental to barrel life and accuracy. Take Colorado's advice on cleaning.
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Old February 5, 2013, 08:43 AM   #7
eldermike
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Ben,

For some years I shot bench rest rifle. In that game you shoot 5 rounds and then go through a process of cleaning thats almost hard to explain. Every bit of copper is removed, all strokes with brushes and patches are counted..different solvents for each phase of the process. Bores are still "shot out" they are not damaged by the cleaning process if done correctly.

But I agree that sporters are not bench rest guns and cleaning after a few shots is not pratical for field use. So, it's best to see how a rifle shoots with a dirty bore.

And I expect some movement in POI from the transition from a clean bore to a dirty one.
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Old February 5, 2013, 09:03 AM   #8
geetarman
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I have a newer 700P that you can single round feed by just laying a round on the follower and running the bolt closed.

I have an older 700BDL that absolutely will NOT feed a single round unless it is pushed down into the magazine. If you do that, the rifle works fine.

The 700P is a .308 and the 700BDL is a 22-250.

I do not know if cartridge shape or size is what causes this difference, but it is there and has been there since day one.
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Old February 5, 2013, 11:44 AM   #9
eldermike
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Geetarman,

I think the magazine follower is tilting forward and down when the bolt drags across it on closing. So I am thinking there might be a follower design that has changed. Last night I was dropping cases on the follower and watching the movement when the bolt starts to move forward. The front of the bolt hits the back of the follower and moves it first forwad and then it tilts down in the front as the bolt closes over it. The action is perfect to jam the bullet tip into the rear of the barrel face.

There may not be a solution other than to snap the round under the feed rail and let it come out of the magazine as designed.
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Old February 5, 2013, 12:37 PM   #10
eldermike
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E Arthur Brown company makes a single shot conversion follower for my rifle. It's not expensive so I might order one today. Anyone ever use one of these?
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Old February 6, 2013, 07:17 PM   #11
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eldermike,

I have a Stephens 200 in 223 that i had problems single feeding a round. it annoyed me at first, but after 2 or 3 range trips, I figured out exactly how to manuever the round and I can get it in there almost always first try without issue. It's basically second nature now. It's definitely a personal preference thing, but it might save you a little cash if you give it a little more time and try to get used to it. I was also thinking about the conversion you mentioned as your other option, but I have no experience with it.

In regards to the fouling, if its consistent that's the most important thing. Again, a personel preference thing, but I would recommend finding a good cleaning routine that won't be soo thorough that it causes the POI to change. After all, if it's dirty enough just a few shots later (maybe more??) that it's back to the normal POI, I'm not sure you gain anything by ever getting it that clean. As a benchrest shooter you may disagree, but IMO the purpose of cleaning is to maintain accuracy. If cleaning/specific cleaning hurts accuracy, I wouldn't be doing it.
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Old February 8, 2013, 07:05 PM   #12
eldermike
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I am over the single loading issue I can live with it. So I ordered an HS Precision stock today. So it begins.
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Old February 14, 2013, 09:57 AM   #13
eldermike
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Recieved the new stock (sorry about the poor cell phone quality picture).

Had to do a bit of work on the inside of the stock to get the reciever to sit on the alloy block. Just some light sanding to remove some overhand of the finish. When I first put the action into the stock it was way off center of the barrel channel but that was mostly fixed by cleaning it up. It's still not perfect but close enough and fully floating. I will shoot it before I decide on skim bedding. Right now I doubt it needs it just based on the way the screws torque down.

Got a 2 1/2 lb timney trigger due in tomorrow.
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Old February 16, 2013, 04:22 PM   #14
eldermike
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Got the new trigger installed without any problems other than removing some material from one side of the trigger guard to allow the wider trigger to move freely. Cant wait to shoot it once the weather clears.
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