How I found my rifles accuracy!
First let me say I feel pretty stupid. Before I got into long range shooting, I bought a Ruger Hawkeye all weather in a 308 winchester. I loved this rifle right from the start (I am a control round feed guy). However, I just could not get the darn thing to shoot. I didn't expect a tack driver right out of the box, but I was hoping to get at least a consistent 2 moa rifle. I've been shooting close to 40 years and handloading for 25 plus, so I have some idea on how to get a rifle shooting, but to no avail.
I usually shoot 4 shot groups, and what would happen was I'd get 2 or 3 shots close but always had flyers that would open the group to 3-3.5" at a 100 yards. The first thing I did was free float my barrel myself (no differenc). Next I took my rifle into the gunsmith and got the trigger done (no help, but made the rifle more enjoyable to shoot). Next I figured I had a bedding issue, so back to the smith (again no difference). I started to question everything, my reloading equipment,supplies, and technique, my shooting technique, my scope, my scope bases, etc. etc. I tried different powder bullet combos, bullet in the lands, just touching, out to 20 thou. I shot of a bench with a rest, just off bags, prone off a rest, and with my Harris bipod. Same results, a couple in tight and the rest all over the place.
So today I just got back from shooting this rifle again, trying to work up a load that would work and guess what, not on group over an inch. What did I finally figure out after all this. MY BARREL HEATS UP FAST!!! I was shooting to fast. This rifle will only group the first 2 shots, sometimes the 3rd will stay in there but not always. What I do now is shoot one shot then let the rifle cool for 5 min. or so, then fire the next. I do this till I get through all four shots, then I let the rifle cool for 10 min or more (usually switch over to the 10/22) before shooting my next group. Best thing is I was ladder testing my load, and not one load went over moa.
What did I learn. Well, you want to get good equipment right off. I tried all sorts of shooting techniques, trying to figure out if I was the problem, I questioned myself, all my equipment, and spent money I may not have had to. You don't need a heavy barrel to get great accuracy, but you may need one to maintain that accuracy for multiple shots. I got spoiled shooting my 223 varmint rifle (heavy barrel savage). I got in the habit of shooting faster with this rifle and just did not think that the Ruger wouldn't perform the same. All this changing things doest not promote consistency, so my skill in shooting and reloading probably suffered some. I know I sure was frustrated!!! Also I now wonder if a lot of the talk I hear about Rugers (or any rifle for that matter) not being accurate, are just something so simple. I am glad I stuck with this rifle till I figured it out.
Why am I sharing the egg on my face. I hope I can save even one person from the frustration I have gone through on this one. If your rifle won't shoot, try slowing down first.