Savage Bear Hunter 300 WM Factory Load

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by RFtinkerer, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. RFtinkerer

    RFtinkerer Well-Known Member

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    I know there are several threads on factory loads, but they don't seem to apply to my Savage Bear Hunter 300 WM (a 116 with 23" SS barrel, muzzle brake).

    I've tried:
    Hunting Shack 185 grn Bergers = No good -- and the powder stinks
    Black Hills 190 grn match = No good (This was a big surprise given the recommendations)
    Hornady Superformance 180 grn = No good
    Prvi Partisan 180 grn = Good (Surprising since it was cheap, but the bullet is not good for deer)
    Hornady 180 grn SST = Good (Yay)
    Hornady 165 grn SST = Okay

    By "No good" I mean 3-4 inch groups at 100!, "Good" about 1-1.5 inches. Now, I'm a high power noob since I've been only shooting a 22 cal for a year+ and this rifle for 2 months, so there is definitely some pilot error here, but I was quite surprised about how ammo picky this rifle is. I was hoping to shoot better groups than my dinky 22, but it doesn't seem to be panning out. I have greatly limited funds for my shooting habits, the kids keep asking for "food" and "clothing" (stupid stuff like that) so I feel I've wasted quite a bit of money finding a factory load. I don't want to reload, and I don't really want to waste more money locating a good load. But--is there any benefit to trying other manufacturers, like Federal, Fiocchi, Winchester, Barnes, etc?

    Are there better factory loads SPECIFICALLY on the Savage 116 models? Hopefully someone with a Bear Hunter model can chime in? Or should I just deal with having one good deer load? Should I sell my rifles and go back to basket weaving, or whatever it is non-shooters do?
     
  2. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    RFtinkerer,

    WOW! I don't think I've ever had any trouble like you have even on my very worst rifle.

    Shooting for .22 cal for only a year then transition to .300 WM in the last 2 months is quite the jump.

    If you want us to troubleshoot your problem, we might need some more info. Before we blame it on the factory loads, let's make sure of the other factors first (no offense or pun intended) ...

    1) Shooter: Are you anticipating the recoil and flinching? Flinching is bad juju. How is your trigger control? Have someone else with more experience than you, in particular, .300 WM or larger, to shoot your rifle.

    2) Equipment: What kind of scope, mount, rings. Make sure they are tight, preferably torqued to spec.

    3) Shooting aids: Eye and ear protection, rest, bipod, bench, etc ...

    4) Shooting position: Sitting (bench), prone supported, etc ...

    5) Shooting frequency: Are you shooting when the barrel is too hot? I normally shot 3-shot sets about 1-2 minutes apart depending on temperature, and 15-30 minutes cool down before the next group.

    Got you started! I'm sure others will chime in. The more info you can provide, the better we can help you troubleshoot your problem.

    Be patient! We have lots of good folks here that are always willing and able to help out.

    Good luck!

    Ed
     
  3. RFtinkerer

    RFtinkerer Well-Known Member

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    Ed,

    Thanks for your reply!

    1) I've tried to eliminate flinching through dry firing practice, 22 practice. Also, the muzzle brake helps and I don't THINK it's an issue. The fact some ammo groups while others don't is an indicator flinching is not the *main* culprit (though it could be a contributor).
    2) My scope is a Vortex 6-24x50 PST, rings are Vortex, probably overtorqued. Vortex has a decent rep.
    3) Ear muffs, off a bipod, shot on a bench and prone on the ground.
    4) Bench, prone bipod supported, rear bag.
    5) Probably far too fast. I shoot about 30 seconds apart, and wait nowhere near as long as you between groups. Could this be a contributor?

    Patience is a problem with me. I'm used to blasting away with a 22, maybe I am not properly patient with this beast. It IS quite a jump, and I did have some learning curve shooting this. I subscribed to the Hide's online training and learned some, though probably not as good as an individual teacher. I have no shooting friends...I could benefit with someone who is a known good shooter with a known good rifle/load combo to see if we can trade rifles and find who or what is the issue.

    Anyone in KC want to go shooting at Parma Woods some weekend? :D
     
  4. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    You might want to consider posting your invite on the regional forum and see if you have any takers. Good luck!

    Ed
     
  5. mcmoffitt

    mcmoffitt Member

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    I just fired my 116 Bear Hunter in 300 Win Mag and had the same poor results. My rifle sounds identical except for the scope. I wanted to do this rifle correctly and put a US Optics SN-3 on top and had US Optics mount it to eliminate my error. Today I put 80 rounds of 180 gr Remington Express through it and the best group I could string was 2" at 100 Yds. Needless to say I am not very happy. I plan on calling Savage tomorrow. I am curious what you have found or what you have done.
     
  6. RFtinkerer

    RFtinkerer Well-Known Member

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    Good, it's not just me. :D Sorry that I'm a little happy someone else is having troubles with the rifle, but I am.

    I haven't done a whole lot with the rifle since my posting until recently; now I'm preparing for the deer hunt. I did try Winchester 180 grn Ballistic Silvertips and found satisfactory (for me) performance. Lo and behold, when I just called Savage that's the load they use and recommend for 300 WM. They don't go into the specific model. Let me know if you get any farther when you call--maybe they'll get the hint that people are having trouble.
     
  7. mcmoffitt

    mcmoffitt Member

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    I called Savage this morning and spoke to the custom shop reference to our issues. The Lady that I spoke to (Effie), stated that I should check several things; make sure the stock is secure and not loose, also check the numbers on the bolt. The four digits should match the last four on the serial#, the two are married at the factory. Effie was more than helpful and offered to send UPS out to pick up the rifle. I too am hunting this month and will be using the rifle. I figure 3" is good enough to get the job done. However, a rifle with a short medium contour barrel that is floated, with a bedded stock an excellent trigger and a floating bolt head should produce sub 1" groups at 100 yards. Savage only states 1.5 MOA at 100. With all of those extras, one would think that it would produce. What kind of results did the Winchester silver tips give you?. It seems very strange to me that the rifle could be that fickle. It should shoot well with all ammo and great to excellent with some. Not crappy with most and just OK with some. I look forward to hearing your results.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  8. RFtinkerer

    RFtinkerer Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I bought the rifle based on Savage's rep for inexpensive accuracy, and thought all the things that made the rifle would make it sub-MOA. I was envisioning making 5-600 yard kill shots with relative ease (dreaming.) Maybe if I handloaded I could tune a load to the rifle, get more accuracy, but I don't really have the time to commit to that. So I'll stick to 300 yards max; the areas I'm hunting this year are pretty short and my ability to rest the rifle will limit me anyway (no prone shots, I'll be shooting off sticks.)

    I bought a torque wrench to make sure I torqued the action screws properly, as I had removed the stock to adjust the trigger to the lightest setting. I assembled it per instruction--I don't think there's anything loose or a bad fit.

    I'd suggest trying the Winchester Ballistic Silvertips yourself; I only shot 9 so far to check if it grouped well. I didn't meticulously measure the groups, but I'd say they were close to 1". Right now it's a toss up whether I use the Hornady SSTs (NOT Superformance!) and the Winchester Silvertips. I found the SSTs at cheaperthandirt for a good price so I have more of that.

    Keep in mind I don't have a great bench rest nor do I plan on purchasing one, neither am I a great marksman. Your mileage may vary.
     
  9. mcmoffitt

    mcmoffitt Member

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    Thank you very much for your input. I will try the Winchesters and see how it goes. If the rifle goes into Savage, I might ask the custom shop for a dollar figure to bring it down to sub MOA. Or maybe there is an issue with the rifle, which of course they will fix. Thanks again for your input.
     
  10. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    How mechanically inclined are you? There are some minor tweaks you can do to the bolt to eliminate some error there. The bolts are easy to take apart.

    Tank
     
  11. RFtinkerer

    RFtinkerer Well-Known Member

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    mcmoffitt,

    Did you try the Winchesters yet? Any updates on the rifle or load accuracy?

    I shot a deer this weekend with the Hornady SST load in MO. It was only 110 yards, but the load did its job (bang-flop), so I was happy. The season in KS starts Nov 30th, I'll probably use the same thing.
     
  12. mcmoffitt

    mcmoffitt Member

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    Have not tried the winchesters as of yet. I went hunting and was not successful and no time to shoot, only hunt. I plan on trying all the ammo that you suggested including the Serbian stuff. I am also going to talk to liltank and try his remedy. I will keep you posted, thanks for your reply and good job on your hunt.

    Mike