I am having troubles getting my STW to shoot. It is a Win classic model 70. The rifle has had trigger work, has been bedded and floated. I have tried several loads with it. As far as bullets go, I've tried 140g BT's, 162g SST's, and now working on the 180g VLD. I have been working mostly with H-1000, with a little IMR-7828 thrown in. Problems are this. The rifle has bad problems with 2 shots being good, with the 3rd being a flyer. Dont know if its me or the rifle yet, but im beginning to think its the rifle, since its time and time again. Lately, I've been testing at 200 yards trying to get 1 inch groups. Its been giving me routinely 3-6" groups. The rifle shot the same before it was bedded and floated. I thought that would help. Let me say something about the groups. They are evenly spaced horizontally. Is that suppose to indicate something? My only other Winchester model 70 is a 25-06 and it will shoot .5" with 4 different bullet combos. I really need to find a decent load for this STW as my antelope hunt is near. Anybody have any suggestions or input? I was looking through the Nosler book and it seems the 150g shoots better at the top loads. Looking through the 120, 140, 160 and 175's, most of the loads shoot better at the lowest charge. I dont like that. I prefer to find the fastest powder which will give the best accuracy. So I think I will buy a box of 150's and try about 4 different powders. RL19 and RL22, H-4831, IMR-7828 all shoot good at the top load, I have all those above powders so if the rifle does not shoot the 150g, it probly wont shoot anything and I'm stuck with an in accurate rifle. I hate those. Anyways, I'm done rambling on, I just wanted to see if anyone has any info on loading this caliber or any pet loads they would like to share.
P.S. One thing I've noticed with my rifle with H-1000 is that at the books recomended max charge weight, I'm getting about 150-200fps slower then the book says. I have no pressure signs so I am working up to my own max in my own rifle. Usually I am up to 4-5 grains over the max according to the nosler book to get there attained velocity. IMR-7828 is doing the same thing. Could I have a slow barrel, or getting slow lots of powder or what?
This is not uncommon with a factory rifle in this size of a chambering. There are several factors that may be at play. First, did you have the rifle recrowned when you had the other work done. THis is always a good idea, I charge $12 to do this and most other smiths do nto charge much either so its just a good idea to do it for piece of mind.
These big cases really can have a problem with barrel heat and many factory barrels have slight stresses in them and when they heat up you see these in fliers.
Pattern your fliers, when do they occur, is it the first shot generally, is it the last shot generally or is it random.
If its the first or last I would say you have a stress in the barrel that may be corrected by cryo treating. If its random, its more then likely poor machining in the rifle which I am sure is a big part of it.
Remember that as the size and intensity of the cartridge increases so does the difficulty in building a truely fine shooting rifle. Not that a 25-06 does not need to be machined well to shoot well but the rifle system is not stressed nearly as much by a 25-06 as it is a 7mm STW. This amount of strain on the system magnifies the flaws in the system. Thats why its so much more difficult to built a big gun that shoots extremely well compared to a small round.
Your observation on the Nosler data is right on the money. They are developing these loads in custom chambered, match grade barrels. If you were using the same chamber and barrel specs, you would see results much closer to the printed data but you are using a factory chamber and barrel which are MUCH looser in specs and thus will not produce the same performance for a given load.
As long as you are capable of watching your pressure it is perfectly safe to find the top load for your rifle.
Velocity is a function of pressure and time mainly. There are other factors of course but these are the main two. If your shooting over a chrony, you can generally load up to the listed velocity and have very similiar pressure even though it takes more powder to do so because of the loose specs in the rifle.
Always shoot over a chrony and keep an eye on all pressure signs.
Your rifle may tighten up groups with higher pressure loads but generally horizontal stringing is a bedding issue. Make sure the barrel is totally floated, especially when the barrel heats up.
Also, pattern your fliers and get a feel for when they occur. This will help determine what the problem is. I had a 300 RUM that did the same thing, in fact 80% od the factory RUMs out there do this. Willput two rounds in nice groups and then fly the third simply because of barrel heat and stresses coming out in the factory bedding.
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
The crown was not done. All the guy did was glass bed it, and totally free float the barrel, with a little shaving on the lugs also to chamber the cartridge or extract it easier. He also crispened up the trigger to around 2.25#. He did this all for $65. He guarunteed it would shoot better but I have not seen an INCREASE or DECREASE in accuracy or flyers. I told him the rifles history and about the flyers and showed him targets and data, he was quite surprised of all this coming from a 19 year old, but all he said was "I guaruntee it will shoot clusters." I called him to let him know its doing the same thing and he said to bring it over and he'll look at it more. Not sure what else he might do?
The flyers might be from the barrel heat like you say. I also kinda think that. I am testing in 95 degree weather. I shoot 1 shell every 3-4 minutes. The barrel still gets really hot after the 2nd shot! The 3rd shot is usually the big flyer. Sometimes on the 3rd shot I will wait 5-6 minutes but still the flyer is there, sometimes not as far but still not near the group. I'm talking 2 inches at 100 yards, and 4-5 inches at 200 yards. I also thought it might have been the scope on the rifle before I took it to the gunsmith. Its a 3-9x50 vx2, fine duplex, but I think 9x is to small for load development at 200 yards. So I took a 6-18x40 Target off my Swift for now, to see if 18x would make a difference with anything like precision placement, but it hasn't made a difference.
I have found that the rifle does like to be loaded near the top. That is where I'm getting 2 shots either touching at 100 yards or 1/2" apart at 200 yards, with a big flyer. At the lower charges, its a big group, but there all evenly spaced 1-2 inches apart. I dont get it.
My 300 RUM like you say, pretty much does the same thing. I took that rifle to the smith and had the same things done to it. Bedded and free floated, little crisper and lighter on the trigger. I still get 3rd shot flyers, but there not anywhere near as bad or erratic as the Winchester STW. He says its a Winchester problem. The guy is a Remington 700 fanatic so. I dont think its a Winchester problem but it is still a factory barrel. I think I need to put a premium barrel on just 1 of my rifles and I think it would be a real eye opener. From the looks of everyone elses, theres not many flyers with a tuned load. Thats what I'm looking for, but I think I might be asking to much from a factory rifle. I am going to really think about rebarreling, the only problem is which one?
I will continue the quest untill I think I've spent to much money on load data.
I would say barrel heat is your problem. Well, indirectly because it is probably bring a barrel stress to head when the barrel heats up.
The problem with gaurantees on factory rifle accurizing is that if you do enough of them you WILL get bit in the rear with a bad barrel. You may consider cryo treating the barrel or barreled action and see what happens.
If you want a custom barrel, here is a list of barrel makers that will offer you performance as good as you can get, in no particular order here either:
These are my top pics Pac Nor Super Match barrels are also proven good performers.
By the time you exhaust the load variable you will have spent enough money to rebarrel the rifle, keep that in the back of your mind. Your 300 RUM is shooting better for a reason, you are a quality marksmen, the rifle or barrel is letting you down not you. There is a point where you will simply be wasting your money but that will have to be found by you.
I will say, if you have a custom barrel from any of the makers above fitted properly to an accurized receiver, you will never go factory again on a rifle designed for long range precision shooting. That is a promise!
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
Just some random thoughts: Make sure all the screws are tight. You mentioned you tried a second scope - you might want to check the scope base and ring screws again. How about putting some forend pressure on the barrel since free floating it didn't help. Nothing fancy. I've used scotch tape to temporarily build up the forend and apply pressure to a barrel when testing.
What is the OAL of your loaded rounds? The reason I ask is that I had a brand new Browning A Bolt 300 Win Mag that shot 5 to 6 inch groups with factory ammo and 4 inches with my best handloads. I tried all the usual tricks I could think of to get it to shoot better. No help. I was loading my bullets to fit the magazine. I decided to try loading them to just touch the rifling since this usually improves accuracy. Well, I couldn't reach the rifling with 165 grain bullets! I went all the way up to 220 grain bullets and still couldn't reach the rifling. "What the heck" I says. This rifle had about 2 inches of freebore before the rifling. I think I found the problem. Somebody at the factory screwed the barrel up? I called Browning to see if they would repair the rifle under warrantee - sorry they said - there is no accuracy guarantee. If the rifle goes bang when you pull the trigger there's nothing wrong with the rifle.
Warning! If you adjust the overall length of your rounds, you need to reduce your powder back to the suggested starting load.
So, if nothing works, you just may have a bad barrel. There is one last thing you could try short of rebarreling the rifle, and that would be David Tubbs Final Finish. This is where you would load and fire a series of abbrasive coated bullets. From what I understand, it may just cut your group size in half. The downside of this treatment is it probably shortens barrel life, but if you're to the point of replacing the barrel anyway, what could it hurt?
Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
1) Remove the action screws and see if the action will wiggle in the stock. If so, the bedding is done incorrectly. The action and stock should be a glove fit when done properly.
2) Add the action screws and with your hand on top of the action, tighten and loosen the screws. Does the action spring up and down? If so, bedding is done incorrectly.
3) When you tighten the action screws, does it just go and go and go before getting tight? If so, pillar bed and rebed the action, the stock is crushing and loosening during recoil.
4) retigten every screw in the sighting system. My 7RM just shakes the stuff apart. Never had this issue before.
5) Just seat the longest bullet you have in the neck and chamber (case empty of course). Does the bullet get pushed back by the throat/rifling? If the bullet does not fully engrave in the rifling before leaving the case neck, this barrel will never shoot. Set back or get a new barrel.
6) How much runout is in your loaded ammo? Get a bushing or collet neck die and size your brass properly. make sure the bullets are seated straight. How much runout in the fired case? If over 4 thou, you have a bum chamber. Most chambers, even factory ones, show almost no runout on the fired brass.
7) Use the SLOWEST powder you can. H1000 and 7828 are just too fast for the heavies in this large of a case. You get very poor load density and very high pressure peaks. I would suggest Re25, Retumbo, H50BMG, H870 and WCC872. You want that case to be as full as possible.
8) Fed 215M primers work very well in this size of case. Match primers do make a difference.
9) Load and shoot two rds only as you work up your loads. The barrel is going to be very hot and will walk. Bring the barrel down to room temp (not 95F). I wrap my barrels with ice cold wet clothes. My 7RM share the same issue with overheating. I can get 3 shots off then it will string to the upper right by a large amount. Very consistent so I know that it is due to heat. Look for any repeatable pattern.
10) Shoot off a solid bench and use proper front and rear rests. Not saying that you don't but I have seen so many make shift rests over the years, I just laugh. Pretty hard to drive them into a hole when the rifle can wobble around a couple of inches on the bench.
11) Since you have shot your other rifles well, I will assume that you know how to shoot consistently. How is the recoil? Are you getting beat up with this boomer? I have brakes on all my larger rifles. I hate recoil and will not put up with it.
If the rifle checks out mechanically, there is little reason to believe it can't be made to shoot consistently. That is the main goal. Then accurately which usually happens with load tuning.
Do you clean your barrels? Do you clean them often? Some barrels shoot when really clean, others when really fouled. You will need to experiment with that too.
Good luck with your journey. Sometimes the rifle just will not shoot. Time for a new barrel.