barrel channel clearance/fliers?


Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2001
Walla Walla, WA
I just got a new video yesterday about long range shooting. I may have discovered the reason I sometimes get fliers. The guy doing the video stressed the importance of a free floated barrel. He is a custom gunsmith and he said that the barrel should have about 0.125” clearance below the barrel and about 0.075” on the sides. He said that you should not be able to rap on the stock and hear it hit the barrel. Well I checked my free floating job and noticed that I had about 0.060” below the barrel. I was using my business cards which are 0.030” thick. I rapped on the stock and could hear it hit the barrel. I got prone with my bipod and sling and tightened the sling. A buddy then tried to slip two cards under the barrel and could not, indicating that when prone with my bipod and sling I am changing the resting relationship of the barrel to the stock. Do you all think that I need more clearance and that at times the barrel could be touching the stock before or during the shot and cause a flier? Last time I was out shooting my 300 Win Mag I got 5 shots in 2.5” at 400 yards from prone with my bipod and sling but the 6th shot (actually the 3rd shot) was low giving 6 shots in 6”. Still pretty darn good shooting by most standards I realize but the gun and load are capable of about 0.65 MOA and I think that I am capable of better than 1.5 MOA. It nags at me to get these fliers, usually they are low. The stock is a Rimrock synthetic and it is more flexible than I would ideally like. What do you think? I know that some have said that a bipod on a hard surface could cause fliers. That brings up another question. I am clearly more stable on target with a bipod than without. But if the flier is caused by a bouncing bipod on a hard surface then would I possibly be better off not using the bipod. I would probably get bigger overall groups but maybe not the fliers. Say in the example above instead of 5 shots in 2.5” at 400 with one flier opening it up to 6”, I might get all 6 shots into 4” without the bipod? What do you think about these 2 issues? Rufous.

Gary Rihn

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2001

My friends laugh at my rifles. There is a *noticeable* gap around the barrel, and especially on the bottom side. I like to *know* that the stock isn't going to touch.

As for bipods, I'm not big on them, especially from a hard surface. I much prefer a rucksack to rest across (not on the frame). Give it a try. You may be surprised at how steady it is.


Well-Known Member
Feb 26, 2002
Wyoming, USA
I use bipods in the field for long range prone shooting, the targets are prairie dogs. Works well.

Bipods from a shooting bench, or other hard surface, seem to give me fits and my groups always open up.

While I agree that free floating barrels is the easist way to get good accuracy, I have a couple of rifles that are fully bedded and shoot extremely well. They were both done by a custom 'smith, Dale Storey of DGS. The stocks are by McMillan.




Holmes, I'm actually having a gun built by Dale Storey. How do you like his work?

Happy Hunting!

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