Rifle weight and accuracy

winmagman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
Messages
1,379
Location
Southern Wisconsin
I know that most shooters feel that heavier rifles are easier to shoot accurately , but I find myself wondering if it matters where the weight comes from.

For example is a 10 lb rifle with a 20 oz scope on top easier to shoot accurately than a 8.5 lb rifle with a 38 oz Actar on top. Total weight differs only by 6 oz so which would you think is easier to shoot accurately?

For the sake of this discussion lets assume we're talking about a hunting rig that will be taking a cold bore shot and perhaps one maybe two follow up shots if needed.

Thinking about a lighter weight rig with two scope options for different dedicated uses.

Chris
 

HARPERC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
6,855
Location
Spokane, WA
In your example if the rifle is chambered in a cartridge with sufficient recoil, any weight that reduces the movement of the rifle in recoil likely helps.

I have a .338 RUM, that I went from a 20 ounce scope to an ATACR, and I'm more consistent with it, but best groups remain relatively unchanged. Some of that maybe be in the fact that I see better/farther with the ATACR.
 

WildRose

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
12,066
Location
N. Texas and S. Africa
All else being equal heavier is steadier and steadier is more accurate.

Now that being said where the weight is will make a difference as well. If you have two 16lbs rifles, one with a six pound barreled action and the other with a 12lbs barreled action the latter is probably going to tend to be more accurate because of the heavier barrel.

It just takes more force to move an object of greater mass than one of lesser mass an equal distance and the heavier barrel will resist pivoting and up/downward motion more than a lighter barrel and it will be less "whippy" as well under the force of recoil.

That's not to say there are not some extremely accurate rifles under 10lbs but the heavier rigs are just more forgiving of our eccentric unintentional movements.
 

toddc

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2005
Messages
1,309
Location
sw ks
I would say there definitely would be a difference. A high center of gravity is never going to be good for handling whether in a race car or a race gun. I would keep the weight as near the centerline of recoil as well ie don't stick lead in the bottom of the stock.
 

dragman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2011
Messages
1,447
Location
Vandergrift PA
simple answer weather it's right or wrong from me is:
Heavier = more accuracy potential
Yes where it's weighted makes a difference (need balance) can't be all barrel and light in the back end and a 20lbs back end with a pencil barrel wouldn't be right ether.

I have had a gun that shot like a house on fire! complete good on load development and then changed scopes and had the harmonics change enough that I had to go back and change my loads. that is how critical some of the small stuff can be.
 

tbrice23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
3,078
Location
Indiana
Originally posted by Dragman

I have had a gun that shot like a house on fire! complete good on load development and then changed scopes and had the harmonics change enough that I had to go back and change my loads. that is how critical some of the small stuff can be.[/QUOTE]

I hate to hijack this conversation but...

Yep, i have 7.5 lb savage 16 that i had an awesome load for. Then i re barreled it to a different caliber and replaced its light scoppe with a VX6 with 34mm tube which was much heavier.
After hunting season i
re-installed the origional barrel to the exact same headspace , exact same load as before and my awesome load shot horrible. The only thing that changed was the scope and maybe the temperature was 30° colder.
I blamed the change on imr4350 being temp sensitive in a 300wsm case but never experienced any problems with any IMR powder before.
Now im thinking that the heavier scope had more to do with this phenomenon than the powder and temperature.
Comments???
 

dragman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2011
Messages
1,447
Location
Vandergrift PA
Yep if your load was reasonably in the middle of the node my money would be on the scope changing the harmonics more than the temp.
 

tbrice23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Messages
3,078
Location
Indiana
One good outcome, it only took re-visiting my H4350 load and increasing .5 gr to be back in business.
But i have to confess that the previous configuration and load before the changes were more accurate. A load like that is going to be hard to beat.
 

winmagman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2003
Messages
1,379
Location
Southern Wisconsin
Thanks for the input guys. I've been thinking on this for a while now and I think I'll just stick with one scope on the "compromise weight" rifle.

Chris
 
Top