Savage 111 LRH 7mm Rem Mag - Not Holding Group

ExtremeSkeeter

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Jul 18, 2015
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Location
Boise area, Idaho
Hi guys - Those of you who have this rifle I'm really hoping to get your suggestions, recommendations, help to shorten my learning curve here.

About me - been hunting in Idaho, Alaska and the western states my whole life. I've always comfortably shot prone, standing, or sitting up to 400 yards with great success. I've drawn a premier Utah elk tag this fall and talking to many of the locals I need to be comfortable shooting out to 800 yards for the area. Been looking for an 'excuse' to buy a new entry-level long range rifle...and this was the perfect occasion. Even though the wife doesn't agree! :D

Disclosure: I'm a self admitted novice-to-intermediate to the long range game. I've trolled a bunch here on the site, read a ton, and asked a lot of questions of people much smarter than I.

The rifle and setup - earlier this year I bought the Savage 111 LRH in a 7mm Rem Mag. I've hunted this caliber forever and love the options it provides. I put a Vortex HS-LR 6x24 on it with Weaver 20 MOA base.

I've broken in the barrel per Savage's suggestions and then put about 30 rounds through the gun in various conditions. I don't have time or the gear to hand load so I've been shooting Federal Fusion 175 grain.

Here's where I need the help/suggestions.

I went back out to the range this morning hoping to complete dialing in the scope. No wind, 68 degrees, shooting 100 yards prone with sandbags...the works. Everything seemed perfect for shooting conditions. Shots 1 and 2 punched the same hole a little right. Slight adjustment. Shots 3 and 4 right on top of each other. Tiny adjustment up. I'm really pleased at this point. Shots nice and tight and the gun responding to the adjustments. From here, the frustration starts to set in and progressively gets worse with each shot...just like the grouping. By the end - shots 19 and 20 (approximately 1:45 minutes from starting and approximately 12 - 14 degrees warmer) are 1 1/2 and 2" high and 1/2" right. The rifle, scope, and ammo were all continuously in the shade.

My shooting process - the gun rests on a Harris bi-pod in the front and sandbags in the back. I set the gun on target, close my eyes for a couple seconds, and then open to see if the reticle is still perfectly on target. I feel that all my shots were true (with a couple of exceptions where i jumped...which I marked in my book).

I feel like i should have much better grouping after a couple of solid outings.

Questions:

1. Has anyone seen similar patterns with grouping from cold fire to the barrel warming up?

2. Would this be a result of shooting factory ammo?

Any other suggestions or recommendations how I can get better results would be GREATLY appreciated!!

Many thanks guys.
 

Barrelnut

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Dec 16, 2013
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Don't have this rifle, but have some Savages and shoot a Browning 7mm.

Did you start with a clean barrel? Some factory barrels can take quite a few shots to settle down after a cleaning and 20 rounds is not an unheard of number

I have shot the Fusion ammo in a Savage 25-06 I have. I am amazed at the accuracy the 25-06 gets from it. Makes me wonder why I still hand load for the 25-06.
Where all of the 20 rounds from the same box of ammo? If you shot from more than one lot number of ammo, that might cause something.

Really sounds like the barrel heating up though. A 7mag heats up a barrel quickly and you were averaging one shot every 5.5 minutes on a hot day. Any I bet a lot of those shots came in the last 15 - 20 minutes. That's the way some of my range sessions go.

I would not clean the rifle. Just leave it as is from the last range session, go back to the range and shoot it and see how it groups. Wait 15 minutes between shots. It would give you a very idea on where to go next with it.
 

EricL

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Apr 27, 2015
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Del Norte Co
Well my savage isn't the same model or caliber so don't know if this will be of any help or not but try cleaning it good. When mine was new it wouldn't shoot worth a hoot dirty then as time went on it would go longer and longer before I had to clean... just a thought.
 

ExtremeSkeeter

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Jul 18, 2015
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Boise area, Idaho
I've been cleaning the gun each time i've come back from the range. Maybe i'll try and let it run for another 20 - 40 rounds and see how it performs.

Barrelnut - you're right...the last 10 rounds went much quicker than the first. Good suggestion. I think i'll get out earlier (cooler) next time and make sure i give the barrel some time to cool more. Each time I've been I have shot from the same box of ammo.
 

86alaskan

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I like to establish the baseline and then not clean until the baseline deteriorates. when my accuracy suffers it's time to clean. Also, for all my hunting rifles I prefer to shoot groups consisting of a full mag with one in the chamber. This way I know how the gun will shoot if it is necessary to dump the mag in short order. It may not seem important, but I practiced that way and had to run 4 rds through my 338 in about 15sec when I shot my brown bear. It's nice to know how the gun shoots when you actually need it to. Maybe try 1 and a quick 2nd, that'll most likely be a normal shooting scenario.
 

nateisw

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Mar 9, 2012
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Georgia
I have a Savage 116 in 7mm Rem Mag, so not the same gun as you, but... I have noticed that during my range sessions my groups start to open up a bit. I attribute this to both the barrel warming up and myself flinching a bit the more I shoot (I know everyone else around here is recoil-immune, but being only a bitty 6'1" 225lb little girl, I don't like recoil at all). I have everything I need to start reloading, but I am going to shoot my remaining factory loads before starting to work up a load. My rifle actually didn't like Federal Fusions. For some reason, cheap Winchester silver box 150gr ammo always shoots about 1 moa and Winchester silver box 175gr shoots 1.25 moa for me from my gun (maybe give them a chance) I have tried multiple other factory loads from Remington, Federal, and a few others and gotten results anywhere from 1.75-2.75 moa. Your set up sounds solid, so maybe fire one group and call it a day, then fire another group the next day and see what happens. One thing I have noticed about my Savage 116 is the cold-bore shot is always dead-on. Don't know if it's due to the cold bore or me not flinching on my first shot of the day, but it's usually the first shot that counts the most on a hunt so I'm happy.
 

Thumper1991

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Dec 24, 2011
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Easterm Idaho
Just a thought check make sure your actions screws are correctly tighten. I would personally have the barrel lug bedded.also between shots as the barrel heats up check if your still free floating. After the barrel is cold does it return to original zero or progressively change. Also agree with previous I wouldn't clean barrel I'm at about 125 with out cleaning still at .5 moa same rifle.
 

Elkhunter1983

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Nov 1, 2011
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Ranchester, WY
Had one but sold it a while ago. Make sure to check if the fore end of the stock isn't touching the barrel. The torque of the action screws also makes a difference. There are some long range rifle companies that load ammo that should work well in your rifle over factory ammo. They even use temp stable powder and vld style bullets.
 

StrutNut

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Feb 5, 2015
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Blaine, MN
Also, aside from the great suggestions, I would really think of trying out at least a couple 2-3 different factory loads as well. I am buying the same gun in a few weeks, just in a 300 win mag. The only other thing I have seen others do is lightly sand the stock under the barrel as I have herd others having "touching" issues too. I also might bed the recoil lug as that was also recommended. I plan on putting a Burris XTR II on mine 4-20. If I dont like the scope I will switch out to a Nightforce SFP and put the Burris on the new Ruger that is coming out. I plan on getting that in a 6.5. Good luck on your elk hunt and remember its always that first cold bore shot that counts the most!
 

ExtremeSkeeter

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Boise area, Idaho
I went back out shooting this last Saturday. Shot in the shad on a concrete bench. Shot the first three shot group two inches high and 1.75 inches apart. Let the gun cool for 15 minutes and shot another three shot group low and left. No rhyme or reason. Very frustrating to say the least.

I drove strait from the range to the gunsmith. Told home to tear the base, rings, and scope off. Having him glass seat the barrel and lap the barrel as well.

I'm also going to see if I can find a custom ammo guy who can get me some different loads to try.

Starting over.....grrrr.
 

timberbuck

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Aug 6, 2013
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As mentioned let your barrel cool between shots. Check the torque on your action screws and make sure your stock is not touching your barrel.

The problem may be the load, your gun might just not like it. Yes it might put a couple in the same hole then others 1.5 to two inches away in the same group. This is what my most recent rifle(Rem 700 long range 7mm rem mag) does with loads it does not like. Yet with loads it does like it becomes a 1/2 moa rifle.

You need to find a factory load that it likes.
 

Clark

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Oct 19, 2006
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746
I have dozens of beater rifles and take tools when I go to the range.
I help work on other people's guns while there.

If a rifle will not group, there are dozens of possible causes. But if there are some holes over there, and then over there.... the chances are better than 50% there is a screw loose.
Barrel lose? no
front action screw loose? no
Rear action screw loose? no
scope adjustment loose? no
Scope ring cap screw loose? no
Scope to base screw loose? no
Scope base to receiver screw loose? YES

>50% of the time in my guns or in other people's guns, it is the scope base screws.
This could happen because the screw has bottomed out. But I have not seen that.
This could happen with one piece bases, but I have not seen that.
This happens with those short little two piece bases with two screws each.

To prevent this from happening while hunting, I clean the male and female threads. I put epoxy between the base and the receiver with the base screws loose. I then put the scope and rings on and bore sight with the reticle in the center of the scope tube. When the epoxy is hard, I pull the base screws and put loctite on them and then screw them in hard. This also precludes the need for ring lapping.

Clamping force from a screw is proportional to the thread pitch and torque, minus the friction. That friction reduction with oil makes 25% more force or grease and 50% more with wax. That extra axial force can snap off small fasteners, but the barrel could take 2k foot pounds of torque. That may make wax tempting for barrel threads, but if any gets into the scope base thread holes, it can be hard to clean. One would have to clean the base threads with Ammonia with the rifle upside down. So if you must wax barrel threads, put so little on that it will not squeeze up into the scope base threads.
 

jjmp

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Dec 4, 2007
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1,343
Location
central wisconsin
First I don't agree your bbl is broke in with 30 rounds fired ,doesn't matter who made it,2nd new bbls need proper cleaning, I own n like Savage rifles, good job taking it to your smith ,now find a good reloader,or better yet take some reloading lessons your self,it's your money spend it wisely, keep us posted here you'll help more then you knowlightbulb
 

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