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Savage Experts - Your assistance please

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Unread 02-17-2014, 04:39 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 27
Savage Experts - Your assistance please

I have a Savage 223 that has me pulling my hair out.

The specs: savage action, ptg bolt and bolt head, precision nut and recoil lug, B and C medalist stock (bedded), Brux barrel 12 twist Rem varmint contour, warne bases, leupold mark 4 rings, SWFA 16x scope.

The problem: I can't get this thing to shoot consistently. I'm never had so many 4 in sub quarter MOA and 1 flier groups in my life. Of course sometimes it likes to mix it up by giving you a perfect 1/4 inch 5 shot followed by a 1 inch 3 in one hole with fliers on either side that open it up to an inch. There is no consistency to the fliers either. Sometimes its the first shot, sometimes the last. Sometimes they got right, or left, or up or down. You get the idea.

What I have done-
Floated tang and relieved stock so no trigger parts are touching.
Shot with barrel fully floated
Shot with a pad in front of the nut.
Different (known to be good) Shooter
Different scope, rings, bases
Different Barrel (started with a Mcgowen prefit)
Different Bolt head and bolt (factory)
Various Factory loads
All variations of reloads. Different brass (fed and rem, sized, trimmed, flash hole deburred, primer pockets uniforms. Different bullets (Hornady, Sierra, Berger, 52 and 53 match, 50 grain v-max, 55 ballistic tips, 55 grain BTHP, 64 grain gold dots) Different powders (varget, H332, BLC-2, 748. Different primers. Everything seating depth I can think of from jamming the lands to jumping forever and a day.
Shot off bags, shot off rests,

I've loaded for it on my press - rcbs, lee hand primer, harrel powder measure, redding dies, My buddy took a shot at loading for it. Similar loading setup but he also went to the added steps of weight sorting cases and neck turning.

Scope rings are not hitting the lug, scope base screws are not hitting the bolt or the barrel threads.

Everything we do, it shoots the same. I'm thinking I might try to redoing the bedding. I am also thinking about loosing in up head space a touch. I head spaced it tight (factory ammo will usually have a rub mark on the rear of the case from the ejector when the bolt is closed.) I can't see how this can be negatively affecting accuracy but I am running out of ideas here.

Any opinions or advice would be greatly appreciated
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Unread 02-17-2014, 04:48 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fort Morgan, Colorado
Posts: 407
Re: Savage Experts - Your assistance please

Why such a slow twist tube for the 223? I wonder if you are not getting enough speed with that slow twist to fully staiblze these weights of bullets. You should try some 40-45 grain and see if you are still getting the fliers. The slower the rate of twist the faster the bullet needs to run through the barrel to spin them fast enough to stabilize.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 05:15 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Maple Valley, Washington
Posts: 969
Re: Savage Experts - Your assistance please

M Jager

I bought a Hornady concentricity checker/fixerand found most of my ammo was not good enough though I too had weight sortedcases, neck turned etc. etc. I used thetool to bring it all within 0.002 and the flyers stopped.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 06:12 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 27
Re: Savage Experts - Your assistance please

1 in 12 should stabilize up to 60 especially out of my 27.5 tube. 64 grain gold dots are shooting the same as everything else so I would think 50s and 52s should be plenty stable. I was expecting the 64s to keyhole but they are cutting nice clean holes. I'll try to find some 40s and try them but I can't see that being the problem.

Engineering -
I don't know if my buddy run his loads over his hornady gauge or not. I assume he did but I don't know. I will throw my next batch of loads on my sinclair gauge and see what they read. Might be awhile as I am virtually out of powder and we all know how scarce supplies are right now.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 06:44 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 41
Re: Savage Experts - Your assistance please

What method did you use to work up your loads? With OCW / ladder method you should find two wide nodes which offer least sensitivity to loading variation. For 223 & 308 I confirmed these correlate well with C Long OBT as calculated with Quick Load for my Savages.
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Unread 02-17-2014, 08:44 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Near Napoleon,MI
Posts: 1,192
Re: Savage Experts - Your assistance please

Firing pin / primer seat depth issue ? Bad ignition will ruin your day. How did you verify headspace and how much lattitude does a loaded case have in the chamber compared to a fired case ? If your cases are changing length in the chamber, then either the headspace is high or the shells are being sized too short in the reloading process. Stack up a few things (firing pin protrusion, primers not seated fully etc etc) and soon one has issues.

You aren't possibly using mil spec 223 primers which are really hard ?
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Unread 02-17-2014, 10:24 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 27
Re: Savage Experts - Your assistance please

we tried a couple different things. First we tried a bullet test, all shoot essentially the same. Then I shot groups while bumping up powder charges in .5 grain steps, then took what seamed like the best charge weights and started playing with seating depth. Again everything was pretty consistent across the board. I threw all charges on my Harrell then weighted them, throwing anything that wasn't spot on for weight back in the can so my powder is both spot on for weight and volume. I didn't ask my friend what his methods were. He has a lot more accurate rifles than I do and knows more about loading than I do so I believe his techniques are sound. I don't use quick load so C Long OBT is somewhat Greek to me.

I think we can rule out primer seating. But my friend and I unify our pockets. I think that its very unlikely that we are getting inconsistent primer depth in these cases but none of our other rifles. My friend shoots benchrest and is pretty anal about these things.

Firing pin protrusion - I don't know and don't know off hand how to check. Fired primers look normal but that's not very scientific.

Headspace is set tight. Sized/new cases chamber with slight bolt resistance. I am slightly under a go gauge and am definitely not long. I am going to smoke some cases and take some measurements tomorrow. Everything I read seams to indicate that you can't be too tight but I am wondering if that is not the case.

I have used CCI 400 and 450 primers depending on powder. Friend mostly likely used BR4s or Feds, I didn't ask
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