Free floating Sporter weight barrels?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by stu837, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. stu837

    stu837 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    I've heard that free floating a sporter contoured barrel isn't necessarily a good thing. I recently pillar-bedded my savage (which has a sporter weight barrel) into a Boyd's laminate stock and free-floated the barrel. Sadly, I had my groups go from 3/4" at 100 yards to 1.5", no matter what load I tried (and i have tried several). After wedging business cards between the barrel and the stock (near the end of the forearm) to put pressure on the barrel, my groups improved again.

    Has anyone else had this experience after free floating their sporter weight barrels?

    And also, what barrel contours work best free-floated? I plan on rebarreling this rifle soon and want to free float the barrel so that I will have a more consistant POI when shooting from different positions/different rests. I was planning on getting something in the #5 range (0.7" - 0.75" diameter at the barrel's end). Do you fellas with some build experience think that having a free floated, medium contour barrel, pillar bedded into a laminate stock will get me the consistency that I'm looking for?



    All insight will be greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2011
  2. load

    load Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    366
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    always full length glass bed your rifle. I would bet your recoil lug isn't tight along with everything else. a good bedding job will include the first 3 1/2" of the barrel then free float from theregun)
     
  3. 7stwnut

    7stwnut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    I think I have the same problem with a Rem 700 CDL in 257 Wby. It shot much better groups with the wood stock that has a pressure pad at the end of the forearm. I had the action glass bedded into a B&C stock with aluminum chassis and had the barrel free floated, groups have opened up to twice the size as the factory wood stock 1 1/2" to 2" groups at 100 yds. The barrel is 26" fluted and of slim profile. I see a few rifles at the range with the simms vibration thingy on their barrels, but there is no way I am going to be seen with some big rubber glob on my rifle barrel. I will try the card trick and see if it works, if it helps I will glass bed a pressure pad back in and go from there. Good luck.
     
  4. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,595
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2008
    I have never had problems with free floating a barrel and the rifle shoot worse. Your problem may be that after you free float the barrel you have changed the harmonics of the barrel and it may not like the load that it once shot. You may need to work up the load again to find true accuracy.
     
  5. 7stwnut

    7stwnut Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    99
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Makes sense.... Back to the reloading bench.
     
  6. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,453
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    The problem with use of pressure points on the barrel is that the POI will shift from condition to condition(bipod to BR, and day to day)..
    This, regardless of grouping performance.
     
  7. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,326
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Many years ago, Remington produced wood sporter stocks with a pressure pad at the foreend tip. I tried sanding them down flush to float the barrel, and soon learned that it usually destroyed accuracy. Frequently a proper size shim would restore accuracy.

    I have found just the opposite with heavy barrels; usually (not always) floating will improve accuracy. You always take a chance when you change any barrel harmonics.
     
  8. stu837

    stu837 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Hey Gene,
    How heavy are we talking about here? What contour were the barrels that usually performed better when free floated?

    Thanks for all the input guys!
     
  9. Gene

    Gene Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,326
    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Stu, you cannot draw an explicit line and say "this length/width or more". A barrel is like a whip, and the less up and down movement on firing means better accuracy. So in general, shorter and heavier barrels flex less than longer, thinner barrels. Go to Krieger's web site and take a look at barrel profiles. I am shooting long range competition with their #17 HV barrels. I have them cut to 23" to reduce the flex. I would like to shoot 26" barrels for another 100 fps or so MV, but it is much more difficult to maximize the harmonics. I hope this answers your questions.