I inherited a 30 plus year old 700bdl with a 24” sporter barrel in 7mag from my father-in-law when he passed. He got it after he had pretty much stopped hunting and I have all the brass it has ever fired, less than 50 rounds. Old Bill always bragged to me how accurate it was, but you know how that is, I never heard anyone brag how accurate their rifle wasn’t
. Anyhow I’ve been playing around with it. I re-stocked it with a good thumbhole laminate and started working on some loads. I wasn't getting too serious as my intention was to re-barrel it with a good quality 28” pipe and accurize the action.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to shoot it to 1200 yards with a load a friend of mine has for his 7mag. I suspected a great deal of luck was involved but I managed to get several shots into a 10” group with his 168 Berger loads. Naturally I couldn’t leave well enough alone. Last week I found one load that shot exceptionally well so I loaded up 20 rounds and got to test it out yesterday. Letting the rifle cool between I got three different 3 shot groups that averaged .512” (.753, .842 and .794 outside to outside). I was working on loads for my recently acquired Sendero in 300 rum at the same time. I ain’t going to brag on any of those loads (got a lot of work left to do there). Next we ran a target out to 1200 yards. We used a 4x4 sheet of plywood with a 10” aiming spot. First two shots went clear over (I lent my chronograph out a while back and it hasn’t come home yet).
This is getting kinda long winded so I will cut to the chase. Final result once I got it dialed in was of 3 shots into slightly over 8” at 1200 with 22 1/2 minutes of elevation (300 rum was the same elevation. I thought that was pretty interesting except that group looked like someone was trying to pattern their shotgun. I know that doesn’t seem too impressive alongside of some of the groups I’ve seen on this forum but based on my shooting over the years I figure this is just about as good as I can expect.
My question is how big a fool would I be to even mess with this rifle? Seems to me anybody with a 3 digit IQ would leave it alone, put it into a lighter stock and keep it for a hunting rifle. On the other hand it will obviously be a good base for a custom build and I ain't really lacking for hunting rifles.
What do you guys think?