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Old April 8, 2013, 09:59 PM   #1
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what to do when your equipment no longer matches your skills?

Let me make this very clear from the start...this is not an ego trip. In fact, the exact opposite would be true. If you choose to do the legwork, you can review my posts and find what brand of rifle I prefer. I have had this brand and style since my first deer rifle at age 13. As time progressed and money became more readily available, I upgraded scopes. Then triggers. Then started fine tuning ammo. All in the hopes of that fabled consistent sub-moa rifle. I have many of this same configuration in different calibers now but one thing remains the same. They are not precision rifles and never will be. They are very durable and more than accurate enough for coyote duty but its hard to admit I am out shooting my equipment because I have a long history with these rifles.
What led me to this conclusion was the experiences I've had over the last couple of years shooting other rifles. Both happened to be remingtons. One was a 700 bdl 25-06 an older gentleman asked me to sight in for him for deer season. At 100 yards, I shot not one, not two, but three three shot groups that were all one ragged hole. The only change was p.o.i. as I adjusted the scope for him. I had the chance to buy that rifle and stupidly passed on it because I couldn't stand the magna port on the barrel. The next was a remington r15 223 that another neighbor offered to sell me. He had his sights on a different rifle and needed the money out of this one. I bought it, somewhat begrudgingly, before all the hoopla began around ar15's and got by today's standards what is an unimaginable bargain. Not expecting much I just drew a simple target on a cardboard box, lasered off a hundred yards, and backed up into a cedar tree. I figured it to be a coyote calling rifle so it may as well be shot the way it was to be shot. I put the legs down on the bipod, fed it some factory 55 grain fmj's and proceeded to shoot a three shot group that can be fully covered by a penny. I have the photo to prove it as well.
I have never shot groups like either of those two rifles did with my own preferred brand. So what would you do? Would you divest some of the rifles you currently had and put that money into a different, more reputedly accurate brand? Or would you rebarrel one of your favorites to achieve that level of accuracy? Time is on my side here as there is no rush to do anything. I simply want a rifle that doesn't leave me scratching my head trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong because I feel reasonably confident in saying the issue is not operator error any longer.

Thanks for any input you may offer.
So many little time....
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Old April 8, 2013, 10:02 PM   #2
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Do what your heart tells you. If your rifles no longer do for you what you wish, for whatever reason, then perhaps it is time to find one (or more) which will.
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Old April 8, 2013, 10:41 PM   #3
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I don't know why you don't list your preferred brand and style of rifle, I know that I could go and stalk your previous post but that is a lot of effort to get more information that you could easily state in the thread.

I get sub MOA precision out of a Marlin 917v .17 HMR that I bought used for $250.

If you have the scopes and triggers you want on the rifles you already have but want more accuracy consider getting your rifle re-barreled. Maybe pillar bed and/or glass bed the stock. Ensure barreled is free-floated.

Look into Mcgowan barrels, they have pretty good prices and I have heard from people that use their barrels that they expect sub-moa accuracy from the barrels they produce.

I will probably use one of their barrels when I build the precision bolt action I want to have. As a left handed shooter, my options are very narrow if I want a left handed bolt action, to get what I want I am going to build it around a LH Remington 700 or custom clone. Timney trigger, mcgowan barrel, mcmillan stock.
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Old April 8, 2013, 10:42 PM   #4
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All I can do is tell you a story of my own. I have a Rem .270 BDL that has great sentimental value to me. But after years of use (& rough use) it just didn't shoot like it use to. Plenty good enough, but not super-duper anymore.

I had it re-barreled with a SS Hart, kept the original stock, but carefully pillar & glass bedded it. It really shoots now; like AWESOME WOW!

And you know, it still has its sentimental value & maybe even a little more because I'm so proud of it.

Just FYI...
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Old April 8, 2013, 11:09 PM   #5
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I didn't list the brand, model, etc because it would detract from the topic of the question. Brand loyalty is so deeply in play here that I am trying to avoid it and either correct an issue or move away from it fully. To list the brand may adversely affect the responses I receive because some would immediately be dismissive of the brand itself and potentially turn this into a brand x vs brand y thread. I am purposely trying to avoid the savchesterington conversation. I have proven to myself that, at least at short distances, I can shoot well. It is with relief but also disappointment that I have come to acknowledge my favorite rifles don't.
The rebarrel post from above is helpful. I am familiar with hart but only vaguely familiar with McGowan although all that I have heard has been good. Buying a high dollar barrel and then paying to have it set seems to open up many other option from a cost perspective. I just want to make sure I choose the best option for me.
So many little time....
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Old April 8, 2013, 11:35 PM   #6
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First, I do not know if I would ever sell anything. I guess my collection isn't really large enough yet. So I doubt I would sell them, but there are people out there who trade up all the time.

I did go back and look and I know the brand you are talking about, and I agree that there would be a stigma attached, but from what I have read that particular brand just does not produce out of the box like a good rem700, Savage, or the AR chassis. My father just purchased a rifle from that maker, and while I think the intent of the rifle is to not be a tack driver, for what it cost I hope it can do MOA from a bench.

That being said, you could pick one rifle and put a new heavy contour barrel from one of the big barrel makers, get the action trued, get a new stock if possible or have the stock that came with it bedded and see where that leaves you. If it turns into a shooter, you get to stay happy even if it really is more of a custom rifle and less of that brand. If it still won't shoot sell it to someone else and start acquiring tack drivers from other brands.
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Old April 9, 2013, 01:51 AM   #7
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Your rifle is as capable as you want it to be.

The question is, just HOW accurate do you want it?

There are, of course, a number of factors that come into play. Some are easily correctable and others will require what I term "major surgery".

1. Stock to receiver and action fit

Is your rifle properly mated to its stock? You'll want to check for pressure points along the barrel. Take a look at the pressure needed to tighten the screws as well. Pillar bedding is a viable option, as well as properly glass bedding the stock.

2. Barrel condition and crown

How does that bore and leade look? Give the rifle a good, proper cleaning and re-try to shoot for group.

3. Ammunition

Really, this should be the first one. It's entirely possible that your rifle simply doesn't like the ammunition you shoot in it. If you hand load, try a bit more research. If you haven't tuned a load for your rifle yet, consider that as well.

4. The full treatment

It can run a bit expensive--but if you have a good rifle that you like, you can try "the full meal deal". This would involve sending your barreled action to a good barrel maker, with a couple of dummy cartridges. Specify that you want the rifle chambered and throated with the seated bullet located .002-.004 off the lands. You can also pick a barrel maker who will true the action, and install the barrel for you.

Of course, this is all up to you--however, either blueprinting the rifle and changing the barrel will cost you about the same as a good new rifle.

It's your choice. Good luck!
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Old April 9, 2013, 02:42 AM   #8
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Re: what to do when your equipment no longer matches your skills?

In my eyes, if I had numerous of the same branch of firearms, and could sell half of them off to fund a new branch to expand my tree, I'd do it.

Don't think I'd feel a void that couldn't be filled by the others.
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Old April 9, 2013, 02:56 AM   #9
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If it were me and after doing the work you already have on your rifles . I would not put any more real money in to the rifles . Other then bedding the action and making sure the barrel is free floated they are as good as they're guna get . When you start talking about re barreling and what not . Thats real money and for just a bit more you can get a whole new rifle

just stick with the Rugers and get an American . If you like the 223 , as it appears . The American does not come in that cal . I have one in 308 and I'm really thinking about getting the smaller 18" barreled American in 243 or 7mm-08 . The American is a sub MOA rifle right out of the box . Thats not bad for a sub $400 rifle .
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Old April 9, 2013, 06:34 AM   #10
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I find it extremely dis heartening to the point where I stopped shooting for groups with a few of my rifles that shot worse than 1moa.

I have consistently shot with one of my rifles groups of 1moa-0.5moa, but then with my Remington 597, could never get under 1" at 100yards with all the ammo I tried. So I gave up shooting groups from rest and went for more offhand and reactive targets. Which turns out I like much more.

So I get what you are saying, and if you want a rifle that will print small groups and hit small objects at a decent range then yes buy something that will do that. Otherwise if its mainly a hunting rifle and shoot groups every now and then I wouldn't bother.
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Old April 9, 2013, 07:36 AM   #11
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Well, I have not found one brand to group better than another. Ruger, Savage, Winchester (New Haven), and Remington - some rifles do better, some loads do better. If a hunting rifle, one that you can carry all day in the mountains, shoots better than 1 1/2" at 100, it's fine. Real field conditions of wind, temperature, shot angle, etc. will probably overcome anything better, even if the marksman is perfect. But I understand your frustration. My Remington 700 VS 22-250 shoots good groups with anything, but it shoots one hole groups with a specific load. One other thing. I don't understand this completely, but some rounds are not "settled" at 100. Try shooting some groups at 200 or more.
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Old April 9, 2013, 09:47 AM   #12
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There is something else to consider here too. I have several rifles that I enjoy that are accurate & really neat. BUT to make them shoot their best I have to really concentrate & work at it. I have to hold them just right, rest the forend carefully, etc. I also have other rifles that it seems like for me just really "click". They fit me just right, they balance just right, I have the right confidence, who knows - not sure!! They always shoot well for me. In the good old days, when skill was still part of the game, it would be the gun you'd take to the local turkey shoot to show off & bring home dinner!!!!

It's a personal thing but definitely identify it & let it play in on your choices.


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Old April 9, 2013, 09:56 AM   #13
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My vote, and thanks for asking for it, would be to take one of your rifles and have some work done on it. I would have the action blue printed, a new barrel installed (don't get hung up on any certain brand either, do some research and pick the one you feel is offering the best quality for the money), and either a new stock or stick with the original but have it at least pillar bedded.
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Old April 9, 2013, 10:46 AM   #14
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Expand the challenge, not the rifle.

Take your AR that shoots 3 shots that can be covered with a penny and put it to work.

Shooting itty betty groups is one thing, what can it do in real life.

That that AR and shoot a High Power match, see what it does at 200-300 and 600 yards.

If you can still keep the shots inside a penny, say 1/2 MOA at 2-3 & 600 yards you'll be a national champion.

Again expand the challenge.

I have several rifles that can shoot small groups from the bench, but they can't do it at 200 standing on my hind legs, nor can they do it at 600 or 1000 with the wind pushing the bullet every which way.

Work on the soft ware, not the hardware.

Might add, a 2 MOA rifle is capable of cleaning the NRA 1000 yard target, its the shooter (software) that is the weak link in the chain.
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Old April 9, 2013, 10:55 AM   #15
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what to do when your equipment no longer matches your skills?
Well, I was going to say "upgrade", but the OP has a few indicators that point to a reliance on gadgets and technology, so I would say expand your skills and quit relying on technology and gadgetry. Lose the bipod and learn to use a sling and your body to support the rifle. Learn to shoot offhand. Learn to estimate range. Learn to shoot from field positions, Basically (and I don't mean this in a deprecating way), learn to shoot. And no, knowing how to shoot is not just sitting at a bench or using a bipod and pulling a trigger. Kind of along the same lines as what kraigwy is saying, but under real-world conditions.
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Old April 9, 2013, 11:00 AM   #16
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Regardless of which way I go, it will be stainless and synthetic. Also it will be a sporter contour barrel at least 22" but maybe 24" chambered for 22-250. I have a rifle with me around the farm every single day of the year. Coyotes are the main target. It will have to be quick handling and light so a heavy 26 inch barrel won't do. I have a couple like that and they are too long and clumsy to be effective for its intended purpose.
I called my gunsmith to discuss options with him but he was with a customer so I'll call him back shortly. I want to know what it would cost to work over the current rifle so I have a numeric comparison to base any future decisions on.
So many little time....
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Old April 9, 2013, 11:50 AM   #17
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For me it is the otherway round...The gun shoots better than I can aim!!! All seriousness aside, when I find a firearm that shoots asunder I will find a replacement first, then experiment or trade off the offending arm. Only accurate guns are fun.
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Old April 9, 2013, 12:22 PM   #18
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just get a Ruger American in .270.
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Old April 9, 2013, 02:45 PM   #19
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What do you want to do with your rifles?

If you want to win bench rest competitions then you are going to need to upgrade.

If you are hunting, a two MOA rifle is inside the hold of 99% of the shooters out there.

If you are rock busting, who cares?

I have gone hunting with an iron sighted Finnish M27 and shot a deer with it. That rifle is a 3 MOA affair, but the deer was just as dead as the deer I shot with my 1 1/4" MOA 30-06. My targets rifles are so heavy they are better described as crew served weapons, and I won't shoot them any better out of a deer stand than my Finnish M27.

For target shooting, at some point, you have to do an equipment upgrade, then you fiddle around with stocks, triggers, sights, to find the equipment that best fits your body and hold.
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Old April 9, 2013, 03:08 PM   #20
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I did not see kraigwy and scorch's posts before my last one. I have no problem deferring to those who know more than I do and with regards to the ultimate goal of this thread - better shooting - I signed up for a precision rifle course to be held locally in June. I don't have a lot of information about it other than it is a 2 day course with classroom time and range time. There will be wind and range estimation work and the course ranges from 300 yards to 1400 yards although it sounded as though we would be limited to 1000.
The group's website lists their qualifications and the two rifle instructors are U.S. Army snipers. I do not have a lot more information at this time. However, it is local, affordable, and a place to start. I hope to learn a lot and increase my skill set as was recommended. I didn't even know this was available locally until I saw a flyer in the local quick shop. It seemed that most everything of this type I had found before was out of state so I am looking forward to this opportunity.
So many little time....
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Old April 9, 2013, 05:35 PM   #21
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Powder man started the ammunition topic. I'll add to it. Hand loading opens a new door to accuracy that factory ammo will never be capable of. Neck sizing, bullet seating so on and so forth. IF you don't already might be the time to start. I'm really surprised no one has elaborated on this more.
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Old April 9, 2013, 08:06 PM   #22
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There will be wind and range estimation work and the course ranges from 300 yards to 1400 yards although it sounded as though we would be limited to 1000.
A thousand yards is too far to a 223 and a 308 is running out of gas at that distance.

If you are going to shoot off bipods and sandbags and you are going to shoot 1000 yards, you are going to need a rifle that shoots under a MOA or you will be real frustrated.
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Old April 9, 2013, 08:20 PM   #23
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The journey is as important as the detination for me

I can't shoot as well today as I could when I was only forty years old. But, I still enjoy shooting and spending "quality time" pursuing the sport. So, I have grown to appreciate the hunt more than the success. Same with shooting.

Working on the "perfect load" can take endless trips to the range and hours loading, reading, planning, etc. (and consume a fortune!!!! LOL Just trying out 20 different bullets from 45 to 60 grains sucked up about $400!!!!) And, eight or ten trips to the range. Then there were countless hours prepping 100 cases and loading them with a select group of variables... Four or five different powders (out of what 20-25 possibles?)

My point is....enjoy the journey from where you are to where you want to be... Look for improvements in yourself, your equipment and your loads....enjoy that aspect, the "looking" and enjoy the finding of each "perfect" improvement. Because, once you have a perfect shooter it will be "boring" with nothing left to accomplish.
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Old April 9, 2013, 08:23 PM   #24
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I never expect to out shoot my rifles.
If I were able to shoot half as well as any rifle I'd be ecstatic.
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Old April 9, 2013, 09:06 PM   #25
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Buzz, I can't tell if your post is tongue in cheek self deprecating humor or a thinly veiled slap upside my head so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on the deal. All I know is the holes in the paper are tighter with different rifles than with mine despite the fact its the same fool pressing the loud button.
The guys for the course recommended going straight to the 300 mag but 308 will do also for the breadth and depth of the course. In keeping with my lack of ego shown here, I have no problem admitting I do not enjoy the big crackenboomers. Maybe its because I don't shoot them enough to become acclimated. Maybe its because I burned thousands of rounds of 22 lr focusing on getting rid of a flinch I developed at a very young age when I was made to shoot a heavy loaded 12 gauge before I wanted to shoot it. Maybe its because I've only shot lighter weight 7 mags, 300's, etc which naturally are more punishing. I don't know. I know I gravitate towards the smaller pills with my 25-06 being the largest I shoot with any regularity. Do I expect to drop at deer at a grand? Of course not. Would I like to tap the steel at that distance? Sure!
I am looking forward to learning from some people that should be qualified to teach.
Also, for whomever mentioned reloading, I have been reloading for long enough to not blow myself up but not nearly long enough to dispense more than generalized advice.
So many little time....
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