Results: Load Development & Accurizing (part 1)
I have been a member for over a year now and have always been a poster of "how to" posts asking for others opinions... I figured I would change that up with posting some personal things that I have done to my rig, what I would like to do and results from what I have done so far. I want to give you all the full story so this may be long but hopefully an enjoyable read as I have learned a lot about this rifle and rifles in general through these processed.
Rifle Build: I was a college student at the time and wanted a gun to handle anything in North America specifically targeting a lightweight western high country rifle for which I have a lot of interest hunting some day. I had a lot saved up and bought a Weatherby Mk V ULW chambered in 300 wby mag from Sportsman's Warehouse. After a lot of research, I put on Talley's lightweight one piece rings supporting a Zeiss 4.5-14x44mm with the side parallax. I also sent the rifle out to a well known gunsmith to have a stainless steal accubrake with the matte finish installed (after nearly breaking my nose shooting the bare rifle...great decision). I know there are a lot of mixed opinions on muzzlebreaks but boy was I impressed with the accubrake. Recoil is not an issue at all out of a lightweight in a heavy magnum caliber.
I broke the barrel in with 5 shots with cleaning in between then 5 3 shot groups cleaning in between then 5 sets of 5 shot groups cleaning in between. All using a one piece cleaning rod with a jag, patch, brush and Sweets 7.62 copper fouling solvent.
My dad is a long time precision reloader and researched some slow burning powders that have historically done well in the 300 wby. We decided on IMR-7828 and H4831. I decided on shooting the 180 gr bullet for its increased BC, downrange kinetic energy and downrange velocity for the longer shots that I would potentially be taking (300-450 yards). I bought 180 gr Hornady Interbonds and Nosler Accubonds.
At this point, I should mention that I am now a precision shooter addict. The 1.25" groups I was getting was not good enough for me. I wanted the rifle to shoot .5" consistently at 100 yards. So, after some initial load development we found that 80.0 grains of H4831 shot around 1" at 100 yards. (I would have liked more testing but hunting season was upon us).
I took my biggest western whitetail that fall at 225 yards with this rifle. Scoring around 155".
After the season, I started looking on here with some ideas that I could do to my factory rifle to increase accuracy. I learned that glass & pillar bedding will always help, buying a new stock, pressure points at the end of the barrel vs. free floating with lightweight barrels, trigger work, reticle leveling, shooting dirty vs. clean...and the list goes on and on.
So, after a ton of reading and not a lot of cash due to starting my own business, I wanted to proven quick fixes that may be able to help. I came up with the following plan of attack.
1. Focus my eye piece and leave it.
2. Learn about parrallax and how it affects shooting.
3. Seeing if Bipods shoot differently than a range bag.
4. Seeing if shooting dirty vs. clean matters
5. The barrel of my rifle touched the side of the stock all the way from the receiver to the forend so I figured shaving down the sides of the stock should help with any un-needed barrel pressure on the barrel.
6. Level the pressure points on the forend of the stock. On this stock, there are two pressure points actually supporting the barrel and they were different heights.
7. Load development
8. Glass/pillar bedding the rifle to further help accuracy.
I have done 1-6 and here is what I did specifically, what worked, what didnt and my results!!
1. I focused my reticle on an object over 1,000 yards away using the rear ocular and LEFT IT ALONE
2. I read extensively about parrallax and how it can affect your point of impact at various distances if used incorrectly (BELIEVE ME, THIS IS TRUE and parrallax distances labeled on your scope are NOT correct!!) I learned that when you use the parrallax, you should always go to infinity and then down to where your reticle and target images are on the same plane. Meaning you can slowly move your head/eye in a circular motion and the reticle remains on the target and does not move. This is where it should be.
3. Plain and simple, my rifle shoots very differenly when I have bipods on compared to off the range bag. We're talking 4 inch point of impact difference at 300 yards... In hindsight, I believe that the bipods shoot so differently in that they tend to bounce all over the place on the follow through after the shot especially off a hard wood and concrete bench compared to the range bag where the recoils i more controlled.
4. My rifle either shoots very well when it is dirtier or it ahs finally settled in with over 225 rounds through it. (I used to clean religiously after 5 shots through it) and read up that I may be cleaning too much.
5. After noticing that my stock touches my barrel on the side walls from the received to the forend, I decided to trim this down so that only the pressure point touches. So, I used some sand paper to sand down the edges so there was about 1/64" of space all around the barrel. One tip that I will suggest: Don't use a dremel, it eats right through the soft stock. I put a big ding that I was fortunately able to touch up with sand paper. The high rpm with the dremel is way more than needed for intricate work. Another tip, use your girlfriends, wifes or daughters best stick of lipstick on the barrel and re-attach the stock to see where the stock touches. Wipes right off and good way to see where any contact is.
Here are some pictures (kind of hard to see the spacing between the barrel and stock before and after)
…..Continued in part 2.