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Old February 11, 2013, 10:53 AM   #22
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Join Date: May 27, 2007
Posts: 5,075
Off the top of my head there are three modern rifles I purchased that were mid range priced, and yet still needed bedding to shoot best.

A 308 Ruger M77 Tactical, a Rem 700 in 6.5 Swede, a Rem 700 in 30-06.

I needed to bed pre 64's for best accuracy so it is not limited just to modern.

Anyway once properly bedded the Ruger and Rem in 6.5 Swede shot extremely well showing that barrel quality was excellent. The Rem 700 was a bargin basement version and I wonder if it was one of those Rem 700's where the barrel was glued to the receiver at the factory. Bedding did not help much, it at all.

My SAKO Finnebear in 30-06 is a wonderfully accurate rifle and I have done nothing but shoot the thing.

Back in the 80's I was able to buy like new Enfields for $60.00, Finnish Nagants for $80, M1917's for $200.00, Mausers, $100 to $250, M96's for $150.00. M1903’s and M1903A3’s were never cheap but I was able to build up and find complete versions. It was a great time all due to that great President Ronald Reagan.

I toyed with all of them, most of the military surplus rifles once I got my hands on them, I tweaked and bedded them, put at least 20 hours of work into them. I installed new mainsprings, honed the two stage triggers so final release had zero creep, put new front sight blades so the rifle would zero, then sold them for a song……

Anyway, bedding and tweaking really improves the accuracy of military surplus rifles. Turned a number of 8 MOA M98’s into 4 MOA. The Finns shot well, bedding made the groups circular, but you are still talking about 3 to 4 MOA rifles. Enfields were 4 MOA things with Greek Ball. (A Lithgow was 8 MOA before bedding, 4 after) The best Springfields were above 2 MOA with match ammunition. I must have put 40 hours of work into each M1903’s getting the sights perfect, bedding perfect. M1917 Enfields were three to 4 MOA on a good day.

If you put a lot of work in an average Military surplus rifle you will get something that shoots around three to four MOA. Swedes, Swiss rifles, M1903’s will shoot inside that, but military rifles were not designed to be target rifles. The design requirements for military rifles are typically 3 to 4 MOA based on studies of hit probability so the barrels are not target quality. There are other requirements, such as grenade launching, that commercial rifles don’t have to do. Military rifles are a highly developed, highly reliable packages that will function in miserable weather world wide. But you do trade off weight and target accuracy for all the other requirements.

But, people over value accuracy. Shooters today shoot off benches, with rests and sandbags, and think they can shoot that well unsupported out in the field. They can’t. Not unless they are bringing their benches, rests, and sandbags with them. Take away that stuff and these sub MOA guys will miss a six foot target at 200 yards. Out in the field a reliable, rugged, 3-4 MOA rifle will do everything you really need to do.
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
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