Originally Posted by USMCSSGT
Looking to develop a load range load for hunting.
Tikka T3, 300WSM
using RE17 and berger 168 & 185 VLD hunting.
last night shot 3 shot groups with 61, 62, 63, 64, 64.5, 65, & 65.5 grns powder. 5 minutes between shots (barrel felt slightly warm).
Started last night using my bipod & rear bag. First time shooting with either. Best group so far was just under 1". Unsure if it may be affected by my novice status on the pod & bag. Thinking I should borrow my buddies leadsled for development, and use the bipod for my practice after I find my load.
What size bipod are you guys using? I have the 6-9 swivel Harris, and I sure feel contorted trying to get on the scope while prone.
After re-reading your post, it seems that you lack confidence in your setup due to several variables. Hence, you need to eliminate those variables.
Use the sled to see what the rifle's capable of. Once you've developed confidence in your skill and the rifle, then go back to the bipod for practice and/or load development.
I use the 6-9 swivel Harris also and it works fine for me I can consistently get 1/2 MOA from a good rifle/load and sometimes better. A good rear bag and proper fitting stock make a difference as does having the scope positioned for shooting prone comfortably.
A lot of factory rifles are not well stress relieved and require cooling between shots. But, even a hunting rifle should be good for a 3 shot group. If you determine that cooling is required for your rifle and you plan to do much long range shooting, you may want to invest in a custom barrel. You can get in a lot more practice when you're able to squeeze off a 15-20 shot string without having your POI shift all over the place.