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Old July 21, 2014, 01:29 PM   #1
jadeharris
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Intermediate shooter seeking assistance

I have been shooting now for many years but have just recently gotten into precision/high volume shooting. My set-up is a tikka t3, 30-06, topped with a vortex viper hs lr 4-16x44. I've been hand loading 165 grain hornandy sst bullets with federal brass, 50 grains of superformance powder and also 165 grain sst's with 48 grains of varget powder, federal brass. The problem is at 100 yards i shoot sub moa groups out a lead sled, literally stacking the bullets on each other, but when i shoot at 200 yards there is absolutely no consistency and bullet holes all over the place, no cross wind. I'm not the most knowledgable but it seems to me that any problems arising with the shooter (me) would come up at 100 yards, the scope is secured properly, and it seems that if the bullets were wacky they would shoot mediocre at 100 yards. I also tried several types of factory ammo and they all did the same thing. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
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Old July 21, 2014, 03:18 PM   #2
Bart B.
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How big is "bullets all over the place?"

Normally, 200 yard groups are about 10% bigger than those at 100.
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Old July 21, 2014, 04:19 PM   #3
jadeharris
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I figured with 1 inch groups at 100 yards i should have two inch groups at 200 and so on so forth all the way out to around 600 yards (where i would like to get comfortable). Right now my bullets are literally all over the place so on an eleven inch circle target i may have one in the bulls-eye another one high right, another low left, with no grouping what so ever. Thanks
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Old July 21, 2014, 04:21 PM   #4
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Also, forgot to mention bullet seating is set to factory specs on superformance loads, 3.210. And the target loads i seated a little further out at 3.290.
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Old July 21, 2014, 08:45 PM   #5
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Try lighter bullets at higher velocities. Heavier rifle bullets of a given caliber require a higher rate of spin to stabilize because they are longer than lighter bullets. It's OK to load for lower recoil or using heavier bullets to better buck the wind, but you have to get the projectiles spinning fast enough. I've seen rounds that shot OK at 100 yards keyhole at 200.
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Old July 21, 2014, 10:38 PM   #6
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Thank you for the reply, i will try that. Also, could the two piece leupold scope rings be giving me a hard time since they have never been "lapped?"
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Old July 22, 2014, 12:30 AM   #7
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Well this one is going to be interesting.

I don't see how you can group so well at 100 yards and the same gun and ammo can group so poorly at 200 yards.

That's why I'll be interested in what some of the experts here have to say about the problem.

Are you changing the setting of the scope when you switch up to 200 yards?

An off-the-wall thought was maybe changing the elevation setting on the scope is doing it...at the 200 yard elevation setting the scope is 'loose' and inaccurate and when you go back to 100 yards it's back to being tight. I personally haven't heard of a scope breaking that way (I'd say the scope is broken if it is doing that) but shrug...this one is beyond me.
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Old July 22, 2014, 12:58 AM   #8
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My 2 cents,something to think about:

You mention a lead sled

Try setting up your rifle so that it is on target at 200 yds without you touching the rifle.

Now look through the scope,not touching the rifle,and move your eyeball to one side till the scope field darkens on one edge,move the other way,and up and down.

As you move around,does it seem the reticle moves on the target,or does it hold still?

Now,does your scope have an adjustable objective or side parallax adjustment?

And/or,did you follow the instructions with the scope to use the ocular adjustment to focus the reticle to your eye?

It might be that your barrel is flinging the bullets just fine.

An optical condition called "parallax" may be causing your reticle to see a different spot on the target if your cheek weld is not consistant.

Once that bullet is flying,and proved it is on a true course by shooting 1 MOA at 100 yds,there is no outside force to open your groups.One exception might be an inappropriate twist for the bullet length,but that is not your problem with a 165 gr bullet in a 30-06.

A really crazy mirage situation could cause some problems,but that much seems unlikely.

Only other thing to check I can think of,going from 100 yds to 200,did something change as far as ...oh,maybe the barrel making contact with the rest,or???

I would guess a 4.5 to 14x "lr" scope would have a parallax adjustment.Try reviewing the instructions about using it,I bet you have the tool to fix your problem built right in the scope.

Last edited by HiBC; July 22, 2014 at 01:04 AM.
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Old July 22, 2014, 07:28 AM   #9
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Quality optics(mentioned above),will be cheaper than ammo/chasing problems in the long run.So,get on top of that.

Your rests,and proper recoil management(bench manners)will go a long way in saving ammo.There are some really nice rests around under 200$.Might look for a used one in/around benchrest circles.I built ours with all the bells/whistles.It's an absolute joy to use....the precision brings a smile everytime it's used.

A chrono will save some ammo/seat time........generally nice to have but I "could" live without one.

Windflags and the notion of becoming a "student of the wind",is probably the cheapest,highest value thing out there.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:05 AM   #10
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between 100 and 200 yards the only thing i touch on the scope is the parallax adjustment for the change in distance, other than that i keep the same exact setting on the scope's windage and elevation.
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Old July 22, 2014, 09:09 AM   #11
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Also, HiBC i adjusted the ocular adjustment properly to my eye by twisting the eyepiece out, not sure if there's another trick to it.

Thanks
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Old July 22, 2014, 11:27 AM   #12
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I doubt it has anything to do with whether or not your rings are lapped. Your rings don't know how far you're shooting. If it's a scope issue it could be something internal getting loose at certain focus or parallax settings. Are focus and parallax separate controls on the scope or are they combined into one knob?
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Old July 22, 2014, 01:23 PM   #13
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they are separate adjustments.
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Old July 22, 2014, 02:01 PM   #14
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Scope focus for a given range is always and only one adjustment. It's done with the objective lens groups moving front to back inside the scope. Either the front objective bell is turned or a knob on the side is turned. They both move the objective lenses back and forth front to back focusing the target image on the reticule so parallax will not exist between target image and reticule when the target's at a different range that what the lenses are set for.

When the aiming eye's on the scope eyepiece optical axis, there will never be any parallax when the scope's focused at any range. If the scope's not focused at target range, then parallax is adjusted by moving the eye that's off that optical axis back on to it.

What's called "parallax adjustment" is a term used by people who don't understand why it only focuses the scope on the target so the target image is sharp and clear in the reticule plane. The reticule plane's where the eyepiece is focused so it appears sharp and clear to the human eye.

The whole system's identical to how a single lens reflex camera works. Its lens groups move back and forth to focus the subject image on the ground glass which is in the same focus plane as the camera's eyepiece; some of which are adjustable for human eye differences, just like a rifle scope.
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Old July 22, 2014, 05:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
I've been hand loading 165 grain hornandy sst bullets with federal brass, 50 grains of superformance powder
That would be 5 grains less than the recommended minimum charge according to the Hodgdon's website. You may be experiencing pressure variations due to this.
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Old July 22, 2014, 05:40 PM   #16
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There are so many variables here, it is impossible to know where to start.

BUT, your load for the bullet mentioned is way too low. Your load is UNDER 2400 feet per second. While the SST bullet is one of the fine ones that Hornady makes each rifle barrel will need a certain speed for the twist rate to stabilize the weight (length) of bullet to accurately go the full distance.

I find a speed of 2900 feet per second to be perfect for my rifles and barrels and their twist rates. Using Superformance will NEVER get you to that speed with that bullet. You will need to use 57.0 grains of IMR 4350 based on Hornady's load data.

While shooting 100 yards might be fine for what you are using, Trying to shoot twice the distance it appears that the bullet is not being stabilized and hitting all over the place.

So let's start by bringing up the speed at least to 2,700 feet per second and use 61.6 grains of Superformance in 5 or 6 cartridges to see if the results improve.

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Old July 22, 2014, 08:01 PM   #17
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First thing I'd try is to buy some factory ammo and shoot it at 100 and 200 yards again.

If the factory ammo groups roughly twice the size at 200, instead of your current 10 times as much, you know that your reloaded ammo is at fault.
If the factory ammo has the same problem you know it's something to do with the gun.

Could you possibly be using the wrong speed/bullet weight for the twist of the barrel?
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Old July 22, 2014, 11:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
The whole system's identical to how a single lens reflex camera works. Its lens groups move back and forth to focus the subject image on the ground glass which is in the same focus plane as the camera's eyepiece; some of which are adjustable for human eye differences, just like a rifle scope.
Thanks for explaining parallax correction in scopes. I never knew what to make of the scope specs mentioning parallax since it has nothing to do with my understanding of parallax error which comes from decades of experience as a professional photographer. In that context, parallax error is what you call the difference between the frame seen by the film, and the frame seen through the viewfinder. This assumes that we're not talking about a view camera or a single lens reflex since those camera types don't have any parallax error as you are looking through the same lens that exposes the film (OK, CCD).

What you call parallax correction in an SLR was just something that near-sighted photographers added to a viewfinder so they could see the frame edge-to-edge which was not possible while wearing glasses with early SLRs. It also help keep your glasses from getting all scratched up.

I have seen marketing propaganda for a scope that claimed "automatic" parallax correction "at any distance" but that doesn't make it true.

The last scope I bought claimed to have parallax correction but the manual made absolutely no reference (in 12 languages!) to how that was done. Now I know it's the "fast focus eyepiece" that makes that happen: It supposedly allows you to get the reticule in focus fast enough to prevent your eye/brain from compensating and eventually screwing things up.
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Old July 23, 2014, 08:07 AM   #19
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The OP's problem isn't parallax. I'd go with that earlier suggestion of trying factory ammo at 100 and 200. If that works Ok, then the problem is the reloads. If the factory ammo won't shoot at 200 either, then it's a scope or a gun issue, so I'd then swap out the scope and try again.
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Old July 23, 2014, 10:42 AM   #20
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My Hornady book shows 53gr as a start load . The fact your 3gr under minimum would suggest our velocity is to slow to spin the bullet fast enough .

How do you size your brass ? ( neck only or full length ) with that charge and FL sizing I'd think you may get primers backing out do to the case not fully expanding .

The Varget load is just under max so that should give you the velocity you need to stabilize the bullet

Quote:
I also tried several types of factory ammo and they all did the same thing.
I'm sure you don't mean the same but similar . Not much factory ammo out there that will stack the bullets on top of one another . If that is in fact the case and your groups open up 10x bigger from 100 to 200 even with factory ammo there is something wrong with the rifle, scope or shooter .

I like the idea of double checking if the parallax adjustment does it in fact lock in the reticle at the correct yardage . I have a much cheaper vortex and my adjustment needs to be just a tad over the mark indicated . For me shooting at 200 my parallax needs to be set at 220 for the reticle to stop moving . After noticing this my groups did get better . They were nothing like you're having but on average I shot better .

Also If you shoot 1/2 moa at 100 that does not mean you will shoot 1/2 moa at 500 . On good days when I'm shooting well I can shoot 1/2 moa at 100 but at 300 I may get a couple 1/2 moa (1.5") groups but keeping them inside a 3" group is pretty good for me . That being said , if your shooting 1/2 moa at 100 you should have no problem Keeping them inside of 3" at 2 hundred .

What is your all over the place 200yd group size 2.5" , 5" 10" ??? I know I've been down range looking at my targets and a fellow shooter comes up and says nice shooting I think to my self those are all over the place but really the group is just over 1moa and it's just me that's not happy with the shots .
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Old July 23, 2014, 12:32 PM   #21
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DarthNul, focusing eyepieces on SLR's were put it so each user's eye could focus on the split-image rangefinder centered on their focusing screens as well as the details of the image the lens focused on its ground glass image plane. Same thing applies to my using a 10X loupe then focusing it on the 4x5 inch ground glass grain on my old Graflex Super Speed Graphic its lenses focuses sharp images on.

Rifle scope eyepieces are no different; they do the same thing relative to the scope's reticule.
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Old July 23, 2014, 02:10 PM   #22
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Hornady SST's are hunting bullets and your Tikka is a hunting rifle. Neither are made for target accuracy at any distance. Doesn't mean your rifle is no good, of course. It's just not a target rifle. It's rifling twist is 1 in 11 too. Ok, but not quite optimum for a .30-06.
The .30-06 hasn't been a serious target cartridge for 50ish years. And never with hunting bullets.
However, you will find that 168 grain match bullets with a proper load. As mentioned, you're under minimum with Superformance. The Varget load is ok.
Suggest you use Hornady 168 grain match bullets out to 600 and 175's past there. My 1903A4 is partial to IMR4064, but you're already getting good results with the Superformance. You just need to work up the load correctly.
"...My Hornady book shows..." Friggin' loading companies. Hodgdon shows 55 as the start load for a 165 and Superformance. And the Varget load is fine. 47.0 starter.
The scope has nothing to do with it. If it did, you wouldn't get inch groups at 100. Those aren't sub-MOA and there are very few rifle that will consistently shoot MOA groups at every distance, never mind a hunting rifle.
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Old July 23, 2014, 03:05 PM   #23
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The .30-06 hasn't been a serious target cartridge for 50ish years. I agree.

And never with hunting bullets? I disagree.

Sierra's 30 caliber 165, 180 and even 200 grain spitzer boattail soft point hunting ones oft times shot more accurate from .30-06 cases than arsenal M72 match ammo; winning matches and occasionally setting records. They were only surpassed in the accuracy games when Sierra started making FMJBT match bullets, but not by much. It was the better uniformity of the heel dimensions on soft point spitzers that did that and convinced Sierra to make their 168 hollow point match bullets that way for the US International Team's free rifles.

Western Cartridge Company's 197-gr. open point expanding hunting bulllet was another favorite in the .30-06 in its heyday. Again, typically more accurate than arsenal match bullets.

Both these company's hunting bullets were usually as accurate as Winchester and Western 180-gr. FMJBT match bullets loaded in their .30-06 and .300 H&H match ammo. And cost a lot less, too.

That Tikka's rifling twist is 1:11 so it's quite optimum for a .30-06. That twist was a favorite in .30-06 match rifles with 150 to 200 grain bullets; much better than a 1:10. Some used 1:12 twists with excellent results.
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Old July 23, 2014, 04:08 PM   #24
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Bart:
Please understand I'm not interested in a whizzing contest.I concede you know what you are talking about.My interest is in learning something,even if it means I'm wrong.

I understand that if the rifle/scope is set up correctly for the shooter,and if the shooter uses good technique,the eye will be positioned on axis with the scope,and parallax error is minimized or insignificant.

But lets assume irregular position contortions,less than ideal ring/comb height,and just plain lack of awareness or concentration lead to the eye positioned off axis

And lets assume that a parallax adjustable scope is set inappropriately..significantly off range.


Those two assumptions in place,am I to understand apparent reticle displacement will not significantly impact group size?

Once again,I'm open to learning something.
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Old July 23, 2014, 04:18 PM   #25
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HiBC,

Parallax error is usually much less than thought. Here's all of it explained with calculations and examples.

http://www.rimfirebenchrest.com/articles/parallax.html

So yes, you are right. Impact is not much at all.
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