Even though there was no interest in this post, I thought I would post the findings in case someone would become interested.
The Winchester rifle got worse the more rounds we put through it. We began thinking it might be a bad scope, so of course we put a known good scope on with the same results, and the scope in question performed well on the donor rifle, which, BTW is a Browning A-Bolt .223 WSSM.
After trying many loads, we concentrated on 55 gr. factory ammo which would shoot .5" groups or better all day long out of the Browning, as would most of the reloaded ammo tried.
My brother nor I have ever had a rifle that would not shoot at least consistent groups if not small. This rifle would sometimes put two rounds .250" apart then the next one would be 6" high or maybe low. Then other times it would shoot a 3 shot 1.5-2.0" group. Then the next shot might not be on the paper.
We were doubting the bullets, the powder, the cases, even made us set back and eyeball our whole process, from loading to shooting. Very frustrating indeed. If we had not had the Browning A-Bolt of the same caliber that shoots very well, we would still be searching for the cause.
We finally determined it must be a bad barrel on the winchester. We are going to contact Winchester, with hopes of some sort of resolution to this ordeal.
It is a shame as the Winchester Model 70 is such a nice looking rifle.
Has anyone had any experience with Winchester service?
I traded a friend a 7 mag black shadow that was basically new except for the 140g BT load I worked up for it for his WInchester classis sporter in 7 STW. I figured I would work up a quick load using the 140g BT then save the action for something big. I could not however get that thing to shoot any better then 1 inch with berger 180s. Everything else would do exactly the same as you posted abvoe, give 2 shots about touching or .5" apart, then just totally fling the 3rd to unkown places. Rifle had a nice 2.5# trigger, glass bedded, free floated barrel. I ended up selling the rifle to someone who knowingly knew it shot like that. He wanted it for the action. Winchester doesn't make the best factory barrel, but for what its worth, my classis sporter in 25-06 has shota couple groups under .2"!! Go figure.
When I reload for a factory rifle I always FL resize my cases. Many times a factory rifle with a sloppy chamber will shoot great groups with FL sized cases, but shoot like s**t when you try neck sized reloads(I've witnessed it first hand several times). I think this happens because the unconcentric factory chamber causes inconsistant fireforming which in turn causes inconsistant pressures and ugly groups. It usually causes a rifle to shoot just like your rifle is shooting--that flyer is probably caused by a pressure spike resulting from a slightly tighter/larger case body. I hardly ever shoot necksize cases in any rifle, factory or custom--the only time i ever really use my neck die anymore is to make the case mouths concentric on new brass.
Youll figure it out eventually and in the mean time at least it shoots something well.
--Good Luck, Drew Stuart
I interested in some info for reloading 223 wssm I've got a browning stainless lam. Med hvy barrel it shoots win 55s tight but finding rnds. Getting tough have friend that reloads gun has a 1-10 twist. I heard of recipes with reloaded 17 powder want to try v- max 53 grn. Bullet is recommended for 1-12 or faster