I own a newer Remington 700 in .338 Win Mag. To be frank, its accuracy sucks. I love the cartridge, and would consider having the rifle accurized (if someone could guarantee me sub MOA groups.) Any thoughts? The rifle is equipped with an HS-Precision stock and a nice Leupold scope. I would like to keep it around, but 3" groups don't cut it for me.
There is nothing wrong with the cartridge. It is capable of fine hunting accuracy. I once shot a .980" five shot group at 500 yds. with an accurized hunting rifle in that caliber.
3" groups means your rifle either has one major problem or, more likely, a number of smaller problems. Dave is right, you need to check all the basics, screws tight, barrel not binding, scope mounts, etc. If this does not solve the problem, then take it, or send it, to someone with experience in "accurizing". You should know going in that there are definitely the occasional "dogs" that just won't ever shoot well.
The action is torqued properly into the stock. The accuracy problem was present both with the factory synthetic stock and the HS stock. The barrel appears to be aligned perfectly in the stock with no barrel-to-stock contact.
I have used at least 12 different varieties of factory ammo, ranging from 200 grain ballistic tips up to 250 grain partitions. The 250 grain loads have been the least accurate on average, the 225 grain loads have been more accurate, but still unacceptable, and the 200 grain load yielded 1.5" groups. Problem is, I don't want to use 200 grain ballistic tips for hunting.
If I were to take the gun in to have it accurized, what should I look to have done? The trigger has already been adjusted to 3 lbs, the stock should be good enough (right?), what should I have the gunsmith look at doing first?
The first thing I would do, would be to bed the rifle to the stock (contrary to popular belief H-S Precision stocks can benefit from bedding) and have the barrel recrowned, if that didn't work I would have the lugs lapped and the action trued, and if that didn't work I would have the chamber recut. Then if all this fails put a new barrel on it.
Some companies will guarrantee to cut the group size in half (Hill Country Rifles) with an accurizing job, but your rifle may not need to have everything done to get the performance you want.
I know 338 Win Mags will shoot. I have a Magnum Research Mountain Eagle, which is a Sako action (reshaped to accept Remington bases and rings), a Krieger Barrel (action trued by Krieger also) in an H-S Precision stock. It will consistantly shoot .75 MOA, with 250 grain bullets (it has turned in some outstanding groups well below .5). So the round has a propensity for accuracy and would be a very good Elk round. Normally, they are not very finicky either.
My two cents anyway, hope this helps.
Learn from others mistakes, you won't live long enough to make them all yourself
Something else that may be causing your problem is a few years back, Remington sold quite a few rifles where the chamber was not square with the bore. I don't know how you could check for that with out taking it to a gun smith.
My experence with a Remington was a Sendero in 25-06. It didn't want to shoot groups smaller than 2". I "repaired" that one by replacing it with a Savage BVSS in the same caliber that shoots .75".
The 338 Win. Mag can be quite accurate. I have a Savage 111FL in that cal. I use a load of 77.5g Reloader 22 behind a 225g Nosler Partition and my groups average .68 MOA. I bedded the recoil lug area and had a Mag-na-brake installed by mag-na-port. Those were the only modifications that I made to the original rifle. My chronograph shows the loads to average 2992 fps with a SD of 18 fps. That's right a 3,000 fps 225g 338 cartridge. Works great.