What kind of short/mid-range groups do the best custom rifles shoot, "out of the box"?? What kind of accuracy do you consider acceptable during break in and preliminary load testing??
The custom built rifles I've played around with, until recently, weren't my own. They belonged to others who had already done the load development. I have however owned a few factory rifles, that with minor improvements and alot of load development eventually shot 1/4 to 1/2 minute groups at 300 and 400 yds, and quite regularly.
I was told by my great uncle about 20 years ago that a high quality precision rifle will shoot just about any good bullet decently.? I've also heard that fine custom barrels don't take alot of load development, and they are not nearly as picky as factory rifles when it comes to finding a load that will shoot 1/2 minute or better at short/medium range.?
The problem I've encountered, on 2 of 4 new customs, is that they seem very picky about the loads they will shoot acceptably. I've tried different scopes and that didn't make a huge difference. I am talking minimun of 1 minute to maximum of 3 minutes with some loads. So, I've either got a boatload of expensive "junk" scopes, or a couple of problem childs.
For me, "acceptable" performance is 1 minute at 200 yds during preliminary testing only, and then we fine tune from there to get the sub 1/2 minute performance. Seems that a fine custom should shoot just about any decent ammo (including todays premium factory loads) into 1 minute at 200/300 yds without any fiddling around. Am I incorrect in that assumption??
What do you competition shooters require/expect out of a new rifle before you send it back to the smith? What do you gunsmiths require before sending a rifle out?
Most well made/crafted custom rifles will shoot well under 1/2 MOA at 100 yards with almost
any ammo. The reason some are pickey is that they are designed arround one type or weight
of bullet. And as we aLL know every rifle is different and likes one bullet weight and type best.
It is not unusual for them to shoot under a 1/4 MOA and better with careful loading of the
I have had rifles shoot under 1/10th of a inch during break in and end up staying there.
The reason I use 100 yards is to test the rifle and establish the lowest Standard Deviation
so that I can move to longer distances to find out which bullet performs best at extended
The quality and consistency of a bullet realy starts to show up at the longer distance (And
the ability of the shooter).
I have found that the quality of the barrel has the most effect on accuracy and consistency
because you can assemble two identical rifles ,one with a standard grade barrel and one
with the finest made and the difference will be very noticeable even if all the other accurizing
tricks have been used and are the same.
Saving a few bucks on a barrel is a large gamble and not worth it in my opinion.
Perhaps coincidence, but both "problem childs" have lilja barrels. Both have custom actions (one Nesika, one Borden). Both have muzzle brakes. Cadillac parts on both, from the scope rings down to the jewel triggers. For $6000 counting the scopes, seems to me that they should shoot 1/2 minute with just about any load.
Seems like they should be capable of much better accuracy than that with those components, if they were put together reasonably properly. Have you tried several different bullets in your load development?
Yea, I've tried a few different bullets, and tried a few different seating depths with those bullets also. I haven't played with powder charges, just simply because I worked up till I got the velocity I wanted (about equal to or slightly less than book max velocities) with low ES's, then went to shooting paper for group size. The chronograph says I should get excellent long range accuracy with sigle digit or teen ES's, but the paper at 200 doesn't agree. There's no way I can expect 3" or less at 600 when my best groups at 200 have only been 2".
I am shooting off a bench in calm conditions, next I plan on having a couple other guys shoot the same loads that gave 2" at 200, to see if they see the same results. I am ultimately looking for 1" at 300 yds on a calm day. I've shot those kind of groups in the past, but it seems like an un-obtainable goal with a couple of these guns.? Certainly don't feel like I got what I paid for at this point in the journey, especially since a couple other rifles are shooting sub 1/2 minute at 400 with random picked fireforming loads.
Have you talked with the Smith about the problem as you have upper end components with the build?
Yea, I sure have. But, I haven't talked with him since I tried a different scope and the same exact load he suggested, and I still wasn't impressed. I kinda figured I'd get some opinions from here, and have a couple other guys shoot it (also with the load suggested) and go from there.