7mmmag man, now that was the detail I was looking for. The rifle you were shooting. Right off we know that the chamber will be SAAMI spec (no surprise here). Will also have a short throat (at least the two I have tested did) which will ensure a chance at good groups. Barrel quality is usually excellent per factory standards.
Let's start off with the rifle. Did you properly bed that action, support the barrel nut and free float the rest? Is there any chance the barrel can hit the stock?
What type of trigger do you have? Older heavy creepy POS or Accutrigger or aftermarket? Changing to a light crisp trigger will do wonders for your groups.
What bullets are you using? Don't expect most hunting bullets to shoot. They simply aren't made that good. Only ones to consider are Hornady SST/Interbond, Nosler BT and accubond. Then there are the match bullets like AMax, Sierra, Bergers, Wildcats, etc. Garbage in garbage out.
You may not be able to stabilize the bullets heavier then 168gr. Savages come with 9 1/2 twist in their RM's. I am using 162gr SST/AMax.
I am using a set of Lee collet dies and seater. I don't FL size because I want that case AS BIG AS possible to fill that rather generous chamber and control headspace off the shoulder not the belt. When the case grows so that it will not chamber easily (6 to 8 reloads with sane pressures), the case gets tossed. Unless you can move that shoulder back ever so slightly, you will have case separation around that belt in a couple of firings. Why many go to a beltless case for match shooting. Just one less pain in the butt to worry about.
Right now I am working up a load using H870 and 162gr SST moly coated and Fed 215M primers. At 180yds, I hope to confirm sub 1" 3rd groups. Just have the light hunting barrel so anymore rds and this thing gets toasty. Besides, I should only need one right???
If I end up with say consistent 3/4" group, then this will be a rifle that can shoot accurately enough for hunting out to 850yds.
Check to make sure your actions screws, scope bases, rings all stay tight. Mine are backing out all the time. I am trying to be less agressive in my bolt tightening. Not happy. will return to gorilla torque [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
There should be no issue with bullet length and still fitting in the mag. Just take your time while shooting. That barrel will heat up very quickly and could walk. Also, recoil becomes bothersome so take plenty of rest, even if you don't feel tired.
I put a very nice muzzle brake
on mine and recoil is so light. Noise is harsh though.
Also, make sure you have a scope that can handle the recoil. If you are using a lesser product, wouldn't surprise me if parallax is an issue or its just moving zero. Same goes for rings.
Think consistent accuracy not the smallest group. You don't have a match rifle so don't expect that level of performance. There are so many things that could affect your accuracy that comp dies are the least of your problems. Just measure your ammo and if within 3 thou of runout, work on your load/shooting.
If you really want teeny tiny groups, install a match barrel.