I learned something from that... reloading

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by straightshooter, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    Well I just learned something new today, go figure! Here's the story. I sold my Savage 308 10fp. Then I went out and bought a new out of the box Savage 223 12fv. The 308 was a real tack-driver, but I decided I could shoot more if I went with the 223. I know I will make more hits by practicing than just buying a big boomer. When I do buy a rifle in a caliber for long range elk hunting, I will know that I have the skill to take full advantage of the extra ballistics. Anyway, my grandfather told me, "Never sell an accurate rifle." I disregarded this advice again. First day out to the desert with my new rifle and a 50 round box of Hornady 55grn bullets (at this point I was still waiting on some reloading supplies), and guess what, 2 to 3 inch groups :rolleyes:. Should have listened to you grandpa. So I start planning my accurizing strategy, because come on, this is a Savage heavy barrel varmint rifle, it should shoot everything under MOA. No heavy barrel 223 load should have an inaccurate harmonic cycle, I mean how much could that heavy barrel vibrate anyway right. So what should I do first, float the stock some more, bed the action, replace the stock? I decide a bedding job first.

    The reloading supplies show up this past week, so I say what the heck, I'll do some load development, just to see what the rifle will do, but at this point I'm not expecting much, maybe 1 1/2" groups at best (haven't had the chance to bed the rifle yet). I just threw some loads together, not doing all the accuracy improving steps I usually do, more or less just step the charge. I still had 20 rounds of the Hornady bullets, so I shot 3 groups to check my scope for perpendicularity, and no improvement, the good news, the scope was on straight. At this time I pull out the handloads. I shot a group of 4 shots and couldn't spot them at all through my 10 power scope. So I walk the 100 yards to my target and I am looking at a 5/8" group right in the middle of the black bull :). I shot off the rest of my pressure loads and settle for a 4 shot 1/4" group 4 tenths of a grain below max load. The best group I have ever shot in my life :).

    Lessons learned,

    1. Try as many loads as it takes to see what the rifle can really do. Give it a chance before you drop money into it.

    2. A large barrel rifle does not guarantee accuracy.

    3. Reloading is the only way to unlock the rifles full potential, plus it saves money and gives you more options.

    And, at this point I am a believer in the accuracy of Savage rifles!!!!
     
  2. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    It is always nice when a bad situation works out well. It doesn't always happen.

    Handloading is not quite the cureall you now believe. There are rifles which have their own personality and will simply only shoot a few bullets well. The search for those bullets and powder combination can be very frustrating.

    One of the things that seems to have occurred in your grandfather's lifetime and mine is that the quality of mass production machine tolerances have improved and factory guns are on average more accurate than they used to be. This also applies to the ammo components. This is the basis for his advice to not sell an accurate rifle.
     

  3. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    Glad to hear it worked out for you. Kinda makes the investment in all the reloading stuff worth it.
     
  4. amaziah

    amaziah Member

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    Feb 3, 2010
    Lesson 1 Always listen to Grandpa!!!!!!!!!

    Most rifles really don't shoot 1" groups.

    Group sizes are to shooting as fish length is to fishing!
     
  5. old_heli_logger

    old_heli_logger Well-Known Member

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    Dec 18, 2006
    I learned from reloading not to length trim until after you've fireformed your brass :D

    Oh well, I guess it's better to be a little short than too long...did I say that?
     
  6. midwesthunter

    midwesthunter Well-Known Member

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    Well if your rifle is like my model 10 predator it does not like factory loaded 50 or 55 grainers. it loves 40 grain vmax's from hornay though.