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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We all see them from time to time, and up until a couple of days ago I was fighting with one.

Brown Air gun Sleeve Trigger Wood


This was my third FN SPR that I purchased because I like the platform so much for what they used to cost. They actually came with a one MOA guarantee for three shots at 100 yards. Depending on when the random flier appeared, it would have easily met that guarantee at the factory testing too. The guns were tested with 168gr Federal GMM

I finally got into load development with the rifle this spring. Prior to that I just slapped an arbitrarily developed handload utilizing the 165gr NBT, and it was good for about 1.5 MOA. Not good, but good enough.

I have a thousand or so 168gr Nosler Custom Competition bullets in the shop with no home, so I started with those and some of the excess IMR-4064 I have on hand...basically duplicating the factory 168gr Federal stuff. Right off the bat at the bottom of the charge weight range I threw several "4+1" groups, with the four good shots coming in at a half inch or less...but that 5th one was waaaayyyy out there, like 3" @ 100 yards. That node was from 41.2 all the way to 42.0gr...very wide. If it kept all five shots in there this barrel would be a hammer. Instead it is going to be a tomato stake.

By the time I was just up to 42.4gr (about 3gr below max still), the rifle was shotgun, patterning groups in excess of 3". I tried another handload with the 168gr AMAX and it shot a group at least 5" across with the lightest charge weight...no difference in velocity from the other bullet, but wow what a difference in accuracy. That isn't indicitve of a good barrel. Good barrels shoot almost everything the same when the velocities are near or identical.

Trouble shooting: 1) The scope used has been on other rifles before and is serviceable (it isn't in this photo). 2) every screw on the rifle and scope were checked. 3) I tried factory 175gr Federal Gold Medal Match and threw another 4+1 group. 4) I shot five of the 168 Nosler handloads in one of my other FN SPR rifles and it did this at 170 yards:
Sky Daytime Cloud Tree Azure


5) I tried the 168 Hornady AMAX in that second rifle and it made a similarly tight group. 6) Bag and bipod were the exact same, so shooter error can be reduced to almost zero since I'm not throwing crazy fliers with the second gun.

I did bed this rifle, but I'm not suspect of the bedding job as that can't be explained by the 4+1 stuff everywhere, followed by a violent shift when trying a different handload at the same velocity.

That leaves me to suspect the barrel. The crown looks good. I don't see anything crazy (now I want a borescope badly), and there is no damage to be found on the crown. Free tip: run a q-tip around the crown of the barrel (where the bullet exits), and any imperfections will grab at the fibers and pull them up...stuff you can't see with the naked eye. A ding on your barrel's crown can play havoc with accuracy.

So I'm guessing barrel anomaly. Fortunately I am laying here on the sofa for the next few days/weeks as I had my left shoulder done yesterday. Gave me time to find and order a Brux Barrel in .264 diameter. Going to turn this FN into another 6.5x47.

I've spoken to a few buddies about this today and one said it was a relief to know that I had crappy rifles too.馃槃

Hope you all have a good weekend.
 

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Hope that shoulder heals up quickly.
Yes, your correct, we all have experienced a gun that just won鈥檛 shoot, then the moment you figure out why, it鈥檚 like a happy dance in your mind.
Put a rifle back together once after cleaning with the tack driver turning into a shotgun as you described.
Fairly new to shooting at the time and didn鈥檛 realize I鈥檇 put the wrong screw into the stock with it contacting the barrel. Bought scopes, changed loads, etc until seeing a screw on the bench.
What鈥檚 this?
It was the short screw that should鈥檝e went in the forearm that fell out of the trigger guard.
Swapped screws and the shotgun turned back into a tack driver.
I鈥檝e also shared my journey with the .243 WSSM upper that I ordered in one twist and received in another.
 

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Hope you heal up well and quickly.
I had an issue with a pistol shooting every which way but on target. Turned out it was broken scope rings aka shooter stupidity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah, usually optics and screws are the most common culprits and easiest to find. Sometimes in cases like the random fliers, the scopes may be moving in the rings (especially if you lapped as that compound almost never gets completely off). I now usually put a tiny amount of blue loctite on the ring bottom to prevent that, and my scope had been on other rifles without issue. You may have to swap scopes and fire a few rounds, but it is relatively straight forward regarding a troubleshooting step.

I once ordered a McMillan stock that had the forward bottom metal inlet about 1/32" too deep. it allowed my forward action screw to ride up just far enough into the action to catch the bolt lug and prevent me from closing the action. went to Home depot and bought enough shims to remedy that rather than wait five more months for a replacement stock.

Had my first large frame AR build give me fits. Turned out that not only did I buy a 'premium' nitrided gas tube that was completely obstructed (no need to upgrade from standard stainless), but the gas port drilled into the barrel was way undersized. Once I got a new gas tube on and drilled the barrel port open the rifle has been flawless. Still had it completely apart three times over several days though. Man, what a headache.
 

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I've been really fortunate that most rifles I've ever owned either shot everything well, or it only took me a bit of fiddling with factory loads to find the one it liked. That said, I have one rifle in my safe that has NEVER shot worth a crap and will likely never shoot MOA, but I'll keep it bc my wife bought it for me. It's a CVA Optima Elite made back in 2010. This was CVA's first run of centerfire rifles with the Bergara barrels. It's in 7mm-08. I've tried almost every factory load available for this gun and the best performance I've ever achieved was 1.5" @ 100y with Federal Fusion 140gr. Most days of the week only 2-4" with anything else. I've adjusted the stock screw, bedded the scope mount, tried several different scopes. I even "floated" the barrel by removing material so the only place it is touching is the stock bolt that attaches the forearm to the barrel. Never seen any improvement in accuracy. A couple months ago I found some Norma 150gr SP loads in 7mm-08 and I decided to pick up a couple boxes to try. I haven't shot them yet. I've tried everything from 120gr-140gr BT, HP, SP and nothing can get me 1MOA. I'm hoping this large 150gr pill may do the trick.

In all seriousness, 1.5-2" groups in single shot deer rifle really isn't a deal breaker, especially if you take into consideration it was like a $150 rifle brand new. I just don't own any other rifles that don't shoot MOA or better, that aggravates the crap out of me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I've been really fortunate that most rifles I've ever owned either shot everything well, or it only took me a bit of fiddling with factory loads to find the one it liked. That said, I have one rifle in my safe that has NEVER shot worth a crap and will likely never shoot MOA, but I'll keep it bc my wife bought it for me. It's a CVA Optima Elite made back in 2010. This was CVA's first run of centerfire rifles with the Bergara barrels. It's in 7mm-08. I've tried almost every factory load available for this gun and the best performance I've ever achieved was 1.5" @ 100y with Federal Fusion 140gr. Most days of the week only 2-4" with anything else. I've adjusted the stock screw, bedded the scope mount, tried several different scopes. I even "floated" the barrel by removing material so the only place it is touching is the stock bolt that attaches the forearm to the barrel. Never seen any improvement in accuracy. A couple months ago I found some Norma 150gr SP loads in 7mm-08 and I decided to pick up a couple boxes to try. I haven't shot them yet. I've tried everything from 120gr-140gr BT, HP, SP and nothing can get me 1MOA. I'm hoping this large 150gr pill may do the trick.

In all seriousness, 1.5-2" groups in single shot deer rifle really isn't a deal breaker, especially if you take into consideration it was like a $150 rifle brand new. I just don't own any other rifles that don't shoot MOA or better, that aggravates the crap out of me.
Only accurate rifles are interesting is what has been quoted for years. Since I have two girls here, I'm going to enjoy building them the pair of 6.5x47s... Of course, those rifles will be heavily broken in by the time they get big enough to shoot them 馃槃.

I've always found enjoyment of the challenge of wringing out the most accuracy as I can without spending a mint doing so. Usually just a bedding job, trigger lightening, and careful handload can get a rifle well under MOA.

I hope those Norma loads work out for you. Their stuff is usually of pretty high quality.
 
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