What makes an accurate rifle?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by edge, Aug 16, 2010.

  1. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2005
    I thought that I remember a thread discussing how much different aspects of load and rifle action tuning related to accuracy but I must be using the wrong search parameters.

    Now I see many long range super accurate rifles on this sight and I'm sure that their accuracy is not by chance.

    Let's say I bought a Remington or a Savage factory rifle and wanted above average accuracy for long range hunting. I could easily go out and buy a premium barrel by " insert name here", add a great trigger " your favorite trigger here".

    Now I have a factory action, a great barrel and a great trigger.

    How close am I?
    I can play with loads; I can turn case necks; I can sort bullet and trim meplats.

    If I have an unlimited budget, then I can do everything imaginable, but how about a guy on a budget?

    If there are 25 or 50 things on the accuracy list, there are probably between 2 and 10 that account for 90% of all the improvement that I will get.

    So does truing the action come before buying the premium barrel and saves about $500, or does the barrel come first and not true the action saving $ xx?

    Any thoughts as to the list, and the order that they should be done assuming there is not an unlimited budget....or all of the above if there is no limit?



    Admin, if this should be in the gunsmith section feel free to move it :)
  2. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2009
    IMO, the barrel should probably come first.

    There is an old saying among benchrest shooters......"a good barrel will usually shoot just about any decent bullet well." A poor barrel will be more picky about what bullet it will shoot well.

    If this is true, then getting a good barrel first would save alot of time and expense in loading/testing ammo for accuracy. Most Re-Barreling that I've heard of includes action truing..........two birds one stone. Some factory rifles/barrels are very accurate. I've owed a few, and eventually shot the barrels out of a couple.......Granted, a couple required bedding/freefloating jobs before they would shoot decent. One only needed a trigger job and scope.

    2nd most important thing, again IMO; is to get quality optics and mounting hardware.......a scope with 14X or higher, that has very crisp clear glass and rugged enough that your POI will never change under normal use.

    Perhaps some of the Custom Gunsmiths on this site can better answer the question, because these are just one man's opinion.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  3. brentc

    brentc Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Accuracy starts in the action. Even a good barrel won't perform well in poorly machined action. On the flip side, you can increase the performance of a bad barrel by doing some truing in the action, lapping lugs, etc.

    IMO accurizing needs to start in the action, stock and trigger. If it still doesn't shoot, address barrel issues.
  4. eddybo

    eddybo Well-Known Member

    Jan 5, 2007
    If it has a good barrel. good bedding, consistant ignition (non-dragging cocking piece) and a good load it will shoot. oooooh yea and you need a good driver.
  5. Limbic

    Limbic Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2008
    I would bed it first. 100-200 dolla

    Then get a good trigger. 200-300dolla

    True action and aftermarket barrel next. 500-1000dolla
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004
    I will attempt to list the things that are a must for accuracy in some sort of order for the best
    accuracy "Potential" .

    I start with the action because it is the foundation you build on. It must be true and square
    (based on the bolt center line).no matter what kind it is. And the bolt must fit and be square
    and have 100% recoil lug engagement.

    Next a great barrel is a must (Good quality,good material,correct twist and groove for intended
    use, optumum weight, length and contour. The chamber must be near perfect and the barrel
    must have a good thread fit and square shoulder for the action plus a good crown.

    Next comes the stock. A stock must be stable and strong with a solid fit between it and the
    reciever. pillar bedding will normally take care of this. It should also be floated enough to
    keep the stock from contacting the barrel during use.

    A good clean trigger pull is also a must.

    Add a good base and ring set plus a good quality scope or site and you have the right
    equiptment for accuracy once you add good ammo and a good shooter.

    These are not all the things you need and are not necessarily in order but they are the basic
    things needed for accuracy in my opinion.

    If I left out something maybe the other guys will chime in.

  7. justgoto

    justgoto Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    Starts with the loads.

    "above average accuracy" is a subjective term. From .5moa to 2moa is probably what "average" hunters shoot. Average for this site would be .05 to .4moa. I get .75moa at 100 yards with my US model of 1917 Eddystone with a shot-out barrel, that might be "average?"

    I am convinced that most barrels if not flawed in some way will shoot better than average. I get .3moa at 100 yards with my 30 year old lever action 30-30 using Hornady 150gr SSTs and a $50 scope. I get about the same using the sporterized 03 in the picture of my signature; using the peep sight; (and that rifle is bedded with varnish.) My new Howa I'll get somewhat smaller groups but I think my skill is .2-.3moa at 100 yards anyway. Heck, I've got 6 inch groups at 300 yards with my 357 8" barrel, using iron sights.

    The pistol had a trigger job, and the 03, just looks like a reasonably competent chop job, some cosmetic work on the bolt, and the Lyman sight.

    The only thing I've customized on my own is my loads, and my budget only includes average Joe type hand-loading.

    I bought the Howa to customize when I actually get a budget. Before I bought it I asked here if it could be easily re-barreled; I got an affirmative.

    It was free floated with a Hogue overmolded stock, an adjustable trigger, a $150 scope that came with it, had a fairly good reputation; and the best thing, it cost $450!
    When my budget comes in, I want a longer barrel for greater velocity, and a better scope, maybe in the $600 range. I'll expect my long range shots to improve.

    Having said that, "above average accuracy for long range hunting" starts with the marksman. I know my rifles shoot better than I do.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2010
  8. edge

    edge Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2005
    Thank you for the replies, all well thought out and certainly gives me a starting direction :)