338 EDGE/puzzling range result


Well-Known Member
Jun 4, 2003
Hermiston, Oregon
I recently worked up a load with the 215g SGK from my custom built 338 EDGE. Did this about a week ago. 102.8g of H1000, rem case, cci 250, 3.720" 3450fps, 3 shots at 100 yards .45" 101.8g shot .8" Now these groups were worked up with fireformed brass and a dirty barrel that hadn't been cleaned in probly 75 rounds, as you can see, still shooting great. I'm at the point where I only clean my guns when they show accuracy loss.

Well anyways, I went home and loaded up 8 shells of that 102.8g of H1000 load and with virgin brass this time around. I also cleaned my barrel. The HART barrel cleaned up very well, within a few patches with some Hoppes BR copper solvent and it was clean.

Went out the next day and figured of course the 1st shot would be out of the group with the squeaky clean barrel. Figured the next 2 would cut each other, indeed they did not!! The 3 shot group now including the 1st fouler was 2.3" the shots are numbered, #2 and #3 were about 1.5" apart. Thought it was me, had a late night didn't get much sleep. Shot my 22-250 a few loads trying to find the sweet spot with seating depth. Got back to the 338 EDGE and figured it had 3 rounds down it, it should be pretty much settled in. Aimed at the middle square and fired 2 shot group #4 and #5. Once again, not good! 1.5" for 2 shots, didn't even need to shoot the 3rd. I had 3 more shells left and decided to try my luck at the 625 yard gong at the range I was shooting at. Dialed up 9 MOA and let the 3 fly. The group was a horrible at around a foot.

Both days the conditions were very good, bout 5 mph wind coming right to left, and shot off a leadsled.

So this got me thinking the only 2 variables that I changed was #1, I used new virgin brass, and #2 I cleaned my barrel.

I dont think its the barrel being clean. It shoudln't take more then 1-2 shots to settle down after being cleaned. Never noticed it with the 300g SMK's, but never ran into this problem either.

Am I right to think the virgin brass is the culprit??

I dont recall seeing that big a difference in group size from new brass vs. fire formed brass in every other rifle I have loaded for.

Your guys thoughts would be appreciated.

First outing, fireformed brass, dirty barrel, = good groups


Secong outing, new brass, clean barrel, = horrible groups

I wouldn't take that many shots without cleaning it. I've never shot over 20 shots with a rifle without cleaning my barrel. But I know others that have, so that probably isn't your problem.

I would try some old brass with a clean barrel and see what happens.

Also, if I am reading this right; I noticed each group got progressively larger, maybe there is another problem, maybe something is coming lose?
Gamedog- Yep, same can...

I wouldn't think the FF cases would have much to do with it because I"m not blowing them out to an AI or anything. So I really dont see how theres 1.5" difference in group size IF that was the case.

The clean/dirty barrel debate will go on forever. I use to clean my guns every 30-40 rounds, but that never did make them shoot any better and I realized I was cleaning my barrels waaaay more then I should be for nothing really. I have just taken the advice from some that your barrel will let you know when its time to be cleaned, usually when you start to notice the accuracy dropping off. 75 rounds really isn't a whole lot w/out being cleaned. Like I said, it came out clean in about 5 patches, and that wasn't even using a really abrasive copper cleaner, I used a mild one hoppes bench rest.

I am going to load up a few more with some FF brass once again. Hopefully that will be the culprit, but I never did notice that with my 300g SMK"s. They shot 1/2 MOA with virgin brass and still 1/2 MOA with FF brass. Dont really understand it.

If my rifle likes a dirty barrel, I'm hoping it gets its accuracy back relatively quick because I dont wanna shoot 20-30 rounds downrange just to get my accuracy back, thats ridiculous IMO.

I'm just not going to clean my barrel again untill it tells me it needs to be either...

Oh, BTW, everything is locked down, rock solid, action screws, scope base/screws. Dont think thats the problem.
I haven't ever used hopps bench rest befor so I can't say that it don't work. However I can say that my dad thought his rifle was cleaned properly that was until I took it out shooting this summer and used my montana extreme copper killer and it looked like he never cleaned his barrel at all. You may want to pick some up and reclean your barrel . 75 rounds is enough of rounds to test your cleaner. Just a thought.

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