Hello all. I have posted some recent queries on a few forums about bench and prone technique. I have tried these various suggestions but am still getting fliers. I am having some problems getting consistent groups from my 300 Win Mag big game rifle. It weighs 9.5# with scope. I have been shooting for more than 30 years and reloading for 20 years. I am generally a very good shot and successful hunter. I have taken deer at various ranges including 300, 330, 360 and 508 yards (all one shot kills) from field positions (no bench or sandbags). I have hunted varmints from preschool and have taken rockchucks out to 640 yards.
I am having some problems lately though with a recently rebarreled rifle. It had been a Winchester Model 70 in 300 Win Mag with their BOSS attachment. I finally came up with a load that shot well. It used a 200 grain Nosler Partition at 3000 fps and it was in an 8# rifle with scope (the BOSS muzzle brake
reduced recoil though). I had restocked it with a kevlar stock. That load would consistently give me 0.9" 3 shot groups at 100 yards. Now my rifle is not braked and it is recoiling more. I am quite confident that I am not flinching but I do think that the recoil is causing some problems. I am quite baffled as to what I need to do to get consistently small groups. I have shot many small groups with this gun (sub 0.75 MOA with many in the 0.5 MOA range) but often get fliers that I cannot account for. I think it has to do with the recoil and how I am handling it. I mostly think it has to do with my equipment setup but I am not sure what needs to change.
The rifle has a Rimrock synthetic stock and is glass bedded and the barrel is freefloated. Everything is tight. The scope is a tried and true Leupold. I think the main problem has to do with my front rest. I have tried positioning the rifle on the front rest where the barrel attaches to the action and further forward out towards the front sling stud. This positioning does not seem to make any difference. I have tried using my non-shooting hand to pinch the rear bag to fine tune the sight alignment and I have tried holding the stock between the front and rear rests with my non-shooting hand. Still getting fliers. The bench I use is an Armor Portable Shooting Bench. It has a wood top with metal legs. I have used it for years and it is very stable. My front rest is a Hart pedestal rest with a sandbag top. I use a bunny ear rear sandbag. I think the sandbag on the front rest it too hard and may be causing the fliers. I plan to try to remove the bag and replace it with a softer bag. My handloads are high quality.
I do not think the problem is the ammunition or the gun. I think it is me (how I roll with the recoil) or the equipment (how the rifle may bounce differently shot to shot). I have tried so many different things to get consistent groups that I am starting to pull my hair out. I feel that I could profit by some professional instruction. If I could show up with my equipment and rifle maybe that professional could immediately recognize what the problem is or he could witness me shooting and see what may be going on. Also I feel that I could use some fine tuning on my prone technique. Last time I shot a long range prone group with this rifle I put 9 shots into 7.4" at 500 yards but 6 of those were in 3.4". While I recognize that that is very good shooting for most people I also recognize that the rifle and load are clearly capable of 3.4" groups at that range and I do not like seeing those other 3 shots opening the group up to 7.4". That same load from the bench put 12 shots into 5.2" at 400 yards with 10 of those in 2.75". Again I hate seeing those fliers. I am an accomplished hunter and game shot. I just have these nagging fliers with this gun. My other guns are shooting very well and consistently but they are much lower in recoil.
I think that if I could get together with someone who is shooting a similar rifle (9.5# or less 300 Win Mag or more powerful cartridge with sporter stock) from the bench and getting consistent groups (whether they be 0.3" or 0.5" or 0.75" so long as they are consistent) then in an hour or so I would probably have it figured out. Do you have any thoughts as to what I may be doing wrong? I apologize for this very long-winded story. Rufous.