Ruger Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have had my .30-06 Ruger M77 since I was about 17. I had the trigger lightened about 14 years ago, put a new scope on it 11 years ago, and last week a gunsmith finished floating the barrel for me.

Unfortunately I am still not getting satisfactory groups. I am now shooting from a lead sled on a solid folding bench/table. I have tried several types of premium factory ammo with 165 and 180 grain bullets, and get similar results from all. Handloading is not an option for me at this time.

The first shot out of a cold clean barrel is often 2.5 to 3" distant from the following shots. A typical group at 100 yards is 2.5 inches, but wider groups are common. If I shoot another group without letting the barrel cool completely, it is often tighter than the cold group.

Any ideas or suggestions you could post would be appreciated.

Thanks.
Paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
390 Posts
The first shot from a cold clean barrel is often a flyer relative to the follow on shots. Doesn't really have anything to do with the 'cold', but it does have to do with the clean.

Some call it a cold bore shot, but it's more accurately referred to as a clean bore shot. Many rifles shoot better after the bore is fouled some. Some it takes 1 shot, some it takes 2 ro 3.

Assuming you are doing your part, (no flinch buck or jerk and you're making a good trigger pull) I would start with the basics:

Is the action tight and bedded correctly in the stock?
Scope base tight and true?
Scope rings tight?

You mention scope, trigger job, and barrel being free floated, but how the action lays in the stock has tons to do with the way the weapon shoots as well. It's needs to be bedded tightly in the stock so that it is in the same place shot after shot.

Is the 2/5" groups you mention with or without the flyer? Are your groups strung vertically, horizontilly, or are they just large groups? More details may help diagnose possible issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the quick response. I think I have cured my flinch and have a clean trigger pull now. I just checked all the bolts for the first time in a while - action bolts were tight, scope ring bolts tight, I got about 1/10 of a turn on two scope base bolts.

All my group measurements include the flyer. I am primarily a hunter, and it's the first shot that counts most.

Here is a composite of the groups shot in the past 3 sessions. The green dots were what the gunsmith got with a warmed-up barrel.

All these groups were Federal Premium Sierra GameKing 165 except the orange 6-shot group, which was Nosler Partition 180s. The red group had one bad trigger pull so I shot a 4th one. The purple group was the last one this morning with a clean but warm barrel.



You mentioned horiz or vert stringing - one day last year, I shot 2 groups: one of Nosler Partitions and the other of Barnes TSX. One strung vertical, the other horizontal. Unfortunately I can't find those targets to remember which was which.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Probably not the case, but have you tried some different ammo?
Yes. Over the years I have tried everything from bargain factory stuff (when I was a teenager) to Federal Premium with Nosler, Sierra and Barnes bullets. I have shot Federal, Winchester and Remington loads, and probably a few others that I don't recall now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
Hmmm... You might have a bad barrel, made back before Ruger started producing their own barrels in the early to mid '90's or so. I had a 1983 vintage #1 with a bad one on it. Went back to the factory twice. It shot patterns rather than groups. The last time I sent it back, it was accompanied by a few targets, ammo info and an offer to supply them with some of those lots of ammo. It came back six weeks later with a new barrel and shooting .5 to 1" groups with multiple brands, bullet weights and loads.

When was this rifle built? Did you purchase it new? When?

Also, I believe I'd swap scopes, at least temporarily, so that you can eliminate that variable from the equation. I chased a similar problem with my M77RL in .250 Savage a couple years ago. Turns out it was the Leupold Vari-X III 2.5-8 scope that was the problem. Sent the scope back to Leupold and they informed me that a screw had been left out of the erector assembly at the factory. They repaired it and sent it back promptly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
390 Posts
Hard to say. Have you checked your scope for parallax?

Parallax is described as the reticle and the scope not being on the same focal plane.

Parallax can be detected by fixing the rifle with scope on a very steady rest with the vertical or horizontal crosshair fixed and focused on a vertical or horizontal object. ( a fence post, top of wall, etc) This should be done at the same range in which you're trying to zero or shoot your rifle.

Then, with the scope focused on that object and without moving the rifle, look through your scope ensuring full scope picture (no scope shadow) move your head left/right or up/down very slightly back and forth and try to observe the cross hairs moving across the target. If the crosshairs appear to move on the target, you have parallax present and it has to be adjusted out of the scope or you'll always chase the bull.

Some scopes are not adjustable, and some are adjustable. Scope brand and model will dictate. Some are fixed for use at certain ranges and outside that range parallax is present.

The other thing that I mentioned is "full scope picture". When you look through that scope if your eye isn't in the part of the exit pupil that gives you full scope picture, the scope shadow can effect your shots as well.

If you look through the scope and you have a black ring around the inside of the ocular lens (the lens close to your eye) scope shadow is present. When you are behind the gun in your typical shooting position in your typical shooting clothes, the scope has to be adjusted fore and aft in the rings and on the mount to give you full scope picture. There shouldn't be any black ring inside the scope that you look through.

Last but not least, just because the action is tight in the stock, doesn't mean it's solid. We torqued our M40s to between 55-60 in. lbs. to ensure they didn't move. This was on top of very tight bedding that prevented the action from moving in the stock. That's not to say that a rifle without proper bedding cannot shoot, but these are just things to consider.

Check your scope for parallax, full scope picture and ensure you're doing your part. It doesn't take much in the way of improper trigger pull to send a flyer. Your groups are inconsistent which lead me to believe it's not a bedding problem but rather another mechanical issue or possibly shooter error. Do you shoot better with other rifles?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
23,286 Posts
My M77 in 270 Win did not give me good accuracy with factory ammo. There was just too much powder. With handloads I was able to get 3/4" from bags. There are some managed recoil factory loads from Federal. Try a box of them in 150 gr and see what they do. Again is assumes good shooting fundamentals. Never fired off the lead sled but I'm guessing it gives good stability.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hard to say. Have you checked your scope for parallax? ...
gvthnks, Thank you for the detailed information. My scope has an adjustable objective for parallax. It is set to 100 yards for these tests. Scope shadow bugs me so I always get in position to avoid it. The scope is mounted so that when I'm not on the bench it has the proper eye relief to see the entire reticle with no shadow.

I don't have a torque wrench, so can't guess how tight the action bolts are. I haven't disassembled the rifle after getting it back from the float work to see what the bedding is like. I got the impression that he mainly wanted it to be clear of the stock (it failed the dollar bill test). He was going to put some bedding material under the action lug too.

I have never considered myself to be a good shot with a rifle, so shooter error is always a possibility. However, yesterday, after seeing my first 2 .30-06 targets and getting the feeling I'd be better off burning my tags, locking my rifle in the safe and buying half a steer, I brought out the M77 .243 I have shot twice in the past 15 years. I shot a 2" 5-shot pattern at 100 yards as fast as I could cycle the bolt, squint through the 20-year-old blurry Tasco to see the target center, and winch down the lawyer-proof trigger.

The .243 is the only other centerfire I own. I haven't shot friends' guns much at all, so I can't really judge my ability well beyond these two rifles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
...There are some managed recoil factory loads from Federal. Try a box of them in 150 gr and see what they do. ...
Thanks. I had seen those advertised a while back, but never considered they may have different accuracy. I'll try those.

Stability is great on my lead sled. It helps a lot for stability, and that makes focusing on a clean trigger pull easier.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
23,286 Posts
The federals keep the bullet weight up and reduce the powder. The remingtons keep the powder up and reduce the bullet weight. The former makes more sense to me. If you get a load you are comfortable with before you hunt then don't clean the bore after the last practice/sight in session. That should take care of the first shot flier problem. If you have to clean it during the season due to weather or dirt then I would fire a fouling shot before heading back out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
390 Posts
In an effort to save time and a little cash, I think I'd borrow a rifle that is a known shooter and have a go at it. That will prove of disprove your end of the bargain and help you with how to proceed. Or put a known shooter on your gun to see what he can do.

Without solid bedding, don't attempt to torque the action into the stock. It may crack. Just ensure it's good and tight so it doesn't move. Additionally, even though you have an adjustable scope, I'd check for parallax anyway. Can't hurt.

Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for the replies and ideas. I made arrangements with a friend to meet up at the range tomorrow. I'll have him shoot mine, and I'll try his rifle. Will report back on the results.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
747 Posts
Well PaulInIdaho,

I'm also in Ideeeeeho, but likely not close to you.

If I was, I'd suggest we get away from the factory ammo and work up some loads for your rifle.

Might take awhile, but unless the barrel is really bad, there is likely a powder/bullet combination that would much improve your current results.

If you should start reloading, be sure to get a batch of brass, all from one lot# and one brand.

Mixed brass is a few strikes against you before you even get started.

Keep us posted on the results.

Keep em coming!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have been out to the range twice since my last post. Things are looking a bit better.

The first time out, I managed to get into the 100-yard lane at the developed range. They have wood rests filled with sand and gravel. Not quite a concrete bench, but better than what I usually use.

My groups were a bit better, and I adjusted my scope 3 times to get things back on center since the barrel float changed POI substantially. The first group was low and left, as usual.

I had my friend try shooting it but that didn't tell me much. His rifle has a stiff trigger. He wasn't used to a light trigger or a lead sled and threw the shot way off. Then, the gun jammed. In all the years I have owned it, it has never jammed. We looked at it and discovered the polymer tip of a Nosler Accubond bullet had somehow broken off and lodged in the receiver. Never heard of that happening either.

I went through 3 types of ammo that session, ending with Federal Powershok (the cheap stuff) that resulted in a 1" 3-shot group dead center. My scope adjustments should have put it 2" high at 100, but the day was getting too hot for the barrel to cool so I ended it there.

I went back again yesterday. This time the developed range was occupied so I went into the open country. Having learned not to trust my shooting table, I just put the lead sled on the ground and shot prone.

The first group was Federal Powershok 180gr with a thoroughly clean and cold barrel. It resulted in a 2.125" vertical string 1.5 inches left.

After about 30 minutes of cooling, I shot my last 2 Federal Barnes TSX 180s and placed them both just on either side of 2 inches high, just like I wanted. The first was dead center horizontally, the second was just .5 inches left.

After another 30 minutes of cooling, I switched to Barnes factory loads with 150gr TTSX, the first time I had tried these. #1 and #3 were touching, at 3" high, dead center. #2 was .5" high, also touching the centerline.

Then, I cleaned the rifle completely with Barnes solvent following instructions on the bottle, and let it sit with the action open in the breeze for a while.

My last group was 5 shots of Federal Powershok 180s covering 2.5" vertical distance, all left of center (though one was only .25" left of center).

As a control test while my -06 was cooling, I shot my old .243 M77 with cheap factory loads, stiff trigger, and very dirty barrel. It put 3 3-shot groups into 1.5", except one flyer round that was 2" right.

Lessons learned: 1. Folding tables aren't great for benchrest shooting. 2. My rifle throws groups left with a clean barrel.

I will leave the rifle fouled and start next session with my hunting bullets, the Federal Barnes TSX 180, and see if they land centered.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well PaulInIdaho,

I'm also in Ideeeeeho, but likely not close to you.

If I was, I'd suggest we get away from the factory ammo and work up some loads for your rifle....
CDOC,

Thanks. I am thinking more about reloading. I don't have much time, but I'd guess that February-March would have opportunity to load up for the entire year. I have been saving all my brass since I was 17, so I have plenty to work with. I have gone through a few brands over the years, so could probably kill a few hours sorting it while halfway watching a movie or something.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
747 Posts
PaulInIdaho,

My bench has 2" pipe legs, but the legs which screw into pipe couplings makes the bench portable.

Top is doubled up 3/4" plywood. very stable yet if needed can fit a small space with the legs off.

I feel, from the sets of legs I have made for people since this set, that 1 1/2" is plenty heavy for the legs.

One thing, you mentioned cleaning your barrel and then shooting another group.

Some rifles do not put the first shot of so into the expected POI from a clean barel.

I have made it a practice for years to foul my barrel before hunting season, then the tightly tape the muzzle with electrical tape and leave that way until the season ends, I get a shot in the field or if it rains/snows hard and long enough to where I want to check the barrel for dampness.

The tape on the muzzle will not adversely affect the POI on the first shot, and because it will be long gone before the bullet reaches the muzzle there is no negative pressure problems.

Have done this for years, keeps moisture, mud, twigs etc. from getting in and wrecking a good barrel.

Carry a small part of the tape in my pack and if a shot is taken which does not end the season for me, I retape the barrel before I continue to hunt.

Glad things seem a bit better. Sounds like the barrel is OK, and you just need to find the factory load it favors.

And yes, it is normal for the POI to drop a good amount after floating, but a shift to the left or right may indicate you had not only upward pressure on the barrel before floating, but some side pressure.

If you have not already, be sure to well seal the wood in the barrel channel BEFORE heading out for Fall hunting.

Keep em coming!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Paul, coming in late but there are several things you might want to consider doing that could improve your accuracy that have not been mentioned in some pretty good replys.
If you can order a back copy of the March 2011 Rifle magazine get it, there is an excellent article by John Brasness on Accuracy Problems; several issues he brings out are:
1. Pull the firing pin out of the Bolt assy and clean thoroughly, crud or foreign matter in there possibly left from manufacturing can cause variances in lock time / ignition which can destroy groups.
2. Check the magazine box to make sure that the action and trigger guard do not bottom out on the magazine as opposed to the stock. There should be a bit of slop there.
3. Check to make sure that the front to rear inlet in the stock for the magazine is not a press fit, need a little slop.

Take the front guard screw and with the action out of the stock screw it in and count the number of turns untill the screw bottoms out. Then re installing the action in the stock count the number of turns until the screw draws up tight. If it is the same number of turns as the out of stock number the action may not be drawing down tight in the stock causing accuracy problems. Shims under the action and or the trigger guard can increase this dimension and be a quick fix to this problem. This condition can also be corrected if the action is glass beded which I would recommend.

When installing the action in the stock tighten up the front action screw fairley tight and look at how the rear of the action sits in the stock, is it flush or is it sticking up off the stock so that it bends the action when the rear stock screw is tightened up, this can have a negative impact on accuracy. If this is the case glass bedding the action can also correct this condition.

When doing the final installation of the action in the stock snug the front guard screw a bit and then the rear screw the same amount. Go back to the front and apply a bit more pressure then back to the rear. I usually do this in three stages so go back to the front screw and tighten it firmley, but it is not necessary to try and squeeze the sap out of the stock and then do the rear mounting screw to the same basic amount.

I would then check the crown or have an experienced smith check the crown to make sure it has not been buggered up, bad crowns can definately impact accruacy.

Finally when I take a rifle that has been cleaned out to shoot I run a patch soaked in mineral spirits throught the barrel several times and then run several dry patches through the barrel. I have found that this elimination of oil in the barrel significantly reduces the first shot flyer situation in several very accurate rifles that I own, may not work on all, but it is an easy thing to do.

Good luck and keep us posted.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top