Custom Built Rifles....out of the box accuracy??

Discussion in 'Long Range Competition' started by SBruce, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    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.

    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?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions/replies.
     
  2. ken snyder

    ken snyder Well-Known Member

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    Can't say your uncles opinion of 20 years ago is wrong because there weren't that many good bullets back then, so everyone tended to shoot the same ones. 1 m.o.a. for box ammo demonstrates possibility in a saami chamber. Break in period is generally an excuse, they either shoot right off the bat or probably never will shoot. I don't know what anyone elses idea of accuracy is because it tends to get measured in the strangest and irrelevant ways, that pertain to totally different criteria other than intended use.
     

  3. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Ken,

    Anyone else have a particular expectation from a custom rifle??
     
  4. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    My .375 H&H is the only custom I have that literally shoots everything. Factory 300 gr Silvertips regularly into 0.5 @ 100 yards. Chronographing loads one day it put 20 rounds from 235gr X bullets to 350gr Barnes originals into a 1" hole.
    Most of the others will shoot reliably to .5-.75 with ammo they like.
    There are so many configurations possible that expectations may need to be tempered a bit. The point made about bullets is a good one, I worked with a couple of different .358 Ackley Improved Magnums that bullets available severely limited potential. Especially the 1-12" twist.
    If my brass comes in as promised I can start finding a load for my .338 RUM, and I'm expecting to reach that .5-.75 mark with a little work.
    Again my experience is with sporter weight rifles chambered for magnum cartridges.
     
  5. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

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    Most of my experience is with small bore cartridges (25 down to 22 caliber). My main problem child is a 300 WSM, trying to get 180's to shoot good at 3000'/sec. That's why I'd like to have some other guys shoot it, maybe I am not shooting a magnum like it needs to be shot.?
     
  6. ken snyder

    ken snyder Well-Known Member

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    My wife is a little under 5 feet tall and her 300WSM went on a severe weight reduction program. The light weight barrel heats up faster than I thought it would, and has dramatic effects on p.o.i. Although it is an extremely capable hunting rifle when we go shooting she takes an extra rifle to allow cool down time in a manner that does not rob her of bench time. A perfect hunting rifle but Ill-suited for any other purpose. No reflection on quality of build or ammunition or even ability to shoot, a direct statement of intended usage and the build for its intent.
     
  7. Speck

    Speck Well-Known Member

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    For a custom rifle with quality hand loads I personally expect it to shoot 5 shot groups at 100 yards in the low .3's or better. I have 3 customs and all three shoot better than that when I do my part. I shoot berger bullets and hand load for all of them but have shot factory ammo that shot well in them. The best group I have ever shot in my life was a five shot group that measured .093 at 100 yards with my match 308 rifle and it was shot with Federal Gold Medal match ammo right off the shelf (168 Sierra Match King bullet). I've shot many groups in the .2's and some in the .1's but none in the zeros with my handloads and the first 5 shots I ever shot with FGMM ammo was the best I ever shot.......Go figure........lol
     
  8. Speck

    Speck Well-Known Member

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    gun)
     
  9. submoa

    submoa Well-Known Member

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    I don't know about real customs but I expect submoa out of a factory rifle my Stevens 223 shoots. 75 moa all day,and that's as close to a custom as I have. My savage 11LRH 6.5 creedmoor shoots .6s and that's ok but not good enough for me I won't be happy till it under .5 moa. Both are with hand loads
     
  10. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I think the shooting qualities of a custom depends largely on the specific builder. A also believe that there will be a difference between a Benchrest custom and a rifle intended for hunting or tactical shooting. I have buddies that shoot Benchrest customs that have chambers cut so close that they don't even resize brass and use the same batch of 100 brass for the life of the barrel. These rifles are .25 MOA and better. The best custom long range hunting rifles I have seen were guarenteed to shoot .5MOA but generally exceeded that spec. I have one that can shoot .25 or better pretty consistantly tested with 5 shots at 500 yards. When it doesn't it's me, not the rifle. It was designed and tested for a specific bullet style so I never tried it with others. The biggest difference with this rifle is that from the first shot to now, about 300 rounds later, it has held point of impact, clean, dirty, warm or cold. The builder did the barrel break in. Also, the rifle cleans up in much less time than my factory rigs. Of course the fit and finish is superb. Some buddies with custom rifles have seen similiar performance, others have not. This rifle was a gift so it is likely I won't get another custom. Most my rifles are "do it yourself" factory or just rebarreled. I have done fine with these, some capable of producing .25-.5MOA, but can see a difference in overall shooting qualities with my custom.
     
  11. bluedeer

    bluedeer Well-Known Member

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    This is off of main theme,but the Winchester "Heavy Varmit" I had would shoot under half inch(100 yds 5shots) my friends would do quarter inch. and as you know these are complete factory,both were chambered in .308.
     
  12. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

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    That is a very general question. You cannot isolate the rifle, and fail to consider quality of reloads, scope, shooter capability and many other factors. Its not all about the barrel, action, bullet, etc. There are too many factors to make a general statement. These days, many out of the box factory rifles will shoot very well and some customs just so-so. There are no guarantees in this game.