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Hi All,
I am new to your forum and this is only my second posting.
Recently I was the lucky winner of an American Rifle in .308 cal, and I have some questions that hopefully some of you can help with.
I won this rifle through a raffle, put on by the Military Order Of The Purple Heart, Department Of Arizona.
It is the basic Ruger American in .308, black synthetic stock, Non-threaded barrel, and came with a Vortex Crossfire II 3-9X40 Scope (already mounted).
I am thrilled to have won this rifle, and I look forward to getting it ready for some upcoming Deer and Elk hunting.

upon receiving the rifle a few weeks ago, I cleaned the barrel, checked the scope rings for tightness (albeit only by hand), i checked for any looseness of the Pic rail by holding the forearm and the scope and seeing if there was any looseness/movement, and I was satisfied that the gun was tight and ready to take to the range for sight in.

The ammo I purchased is Remington Core-Lokt 180 gr., as this seemed to be about the most common and popular ammo by folks using this rifle for hunting.

At the range, I am shooting from a solid concrete bench and rested on sandbags, so no issues with a wobbly bench or anything like that.
I was hoping to get the rifle grouping well at 100-200 yds, but there seems to be something preventing that.
After firing about 10-15 shots (trying to adjust the scope turrets and just "get on paper"), I realized the supplied scope rings were working loose at the base clamp.
I re tightened the rings and tried again, but soon found that they would not stay tight past 3 or 4 shots fired. Yes, I am confident I was getting them Very tight, (maybe even too tight (?).
With 3 or 4 more attempts to re tighten the rings, and about 30 more shots total fired, I gave up.
No need to keep wasting ammo when I cant get the rings to stay tight.

The supplied rings are pretty basic, with only a "thumb screw/nut" for clamping to the Pic rail, but they DO have a slot to allow using a coin (or screwdriver).
Admittedly,... I was using a coin at the range on them, but I dang near bent the coin getting them as tight as I possibly could.
The top strap of the rings. have only a single screw on each side.

Are these rings standard issue with this rifle ?
Are they really strong enough and capable of handling the recoil of a bolt action .308 ?

I did go to Ruger's websight, and verified that this rifle/scope do come as a combo package directly from Ruger, so the rings are supplied from Ruger, (and not supplied from the retailer) where I picked up the rifle.

OK,... so leaving the range a bit disappointed, I got home and pon removal of the original scope and rings, I did notice some slight damage to the slot of the Pic rail, that the rear ring was mounted in.
There was a bit of a "Burr" where the ring had slammed when it was coming loose.

So I ordered a different set of rings from Amazon,( that I felt would be a bit more stout), with hex knobs to tighten the clamps, and 4 screws per top straps.
I also mounted a different, BRAND NEW Scope, that I just purchased, to hopefully eliminate any possibility,... of a perhaps (?) defective scope. (I did move the new rear ring one slot forward, to avoid riding on the burr of the damaged rear slot).

Back to the range I go,... with more of the same Remington 180gr ammo.
I have the scope basically at "mechanical zero" , with the turrets at the middle of their adjustability range.
First shot at 100yds is about 2+ FEET off of the target. I couldn't even tell just how far off it actually was.
I crank in a BUNCH of right windage and fire again. Still miss the whole 2'X3' target. I crank in a BUNCH MORE (about a full turn of the turret) right windage, and still it is off to the left of the whole target.
At this point I'm pretty frustrated.
I cant actually tell where its hitting in the dirt, due to the (very mild) left to right breeze is causing the dust cloud (from impact of the dirt berm behind), to drift across the target before I can regain my line of sight after the recoil of the shot.
I call the Range Master over, to spot for me and assist in at least getting this thing on paper, and he happily obliges.
I send the next shot down range and he says "Wow!, you're about 1 to 2 feet to the left of the target stand"!
We crank in ANOTHER Full turn of right windage and fire again (at the CENTER of the 2'X3' target).
Still a bit left of the entire target stand.
Add in more windage adjustment over 2 or 3 more shots,... and we eventually get it to at least hit the target.
I thanked him for his time and he returned to his duties.

OK so NOW I'm at least on paper, so I should be able to get it zeroed in, Right ? (NOPE !)
I make a few more shots and turret adjustments, trying to bring it towards the bullseye, but to no avail. I am now firing 3 or 4 shots between each adjustment of the turrets.
This thing is just not grouping at all.
I'm chasing about a 8" shifting POI,... and I'm aiming at exactally the same spot for each shot.
The Range Master comes back over, and he too is not sure why we cant get this thing zeroed and or grouping.
The rings are still tight.
The pic rail is not moving either....
... we've fired about 40 more shots, this is getting expensive, and my shoulder is getting sore. I'm done for the day.

When I got back home, I contacted (emailed) Ruger Customer service, and I have explained what is going on. I asked them if they might have any suggestions that I may be over looking ?
In true typical form of the STELLAR Reputation we all enjoy from Ruger Customer Service, they quickly replied with an offer to replace my pic rail and rings free of charge... and if that does not correct the issue, they will gladly send a return shipping label for them to check out the rifle.
This is great of Ruger, and is a perfect example of the Unmatched Customer Service anywhere.
But I'll be honest here. I think that there is probably a lot of folks out there who take advantage of that, and I'm just not that kind of person. I have worked in Customer Service before, and I know first hand how there are plenty of clowns out there who think its perfectly acceptable to abuse a fine company like Ruger.
Again, I'm just NOT that kind of guy.
I want to figure out what is wrong myself , IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, and correct it myself. I truly do appreciate companies like Ruger and their Outstanding reputation for Customer Service, and I simply will NOT be "that Guy" who abuses it.
If that fails, and I can't figure out what is causing the problem, THEN and only then, I will send it back for Ruger to evaluate the cause of the problem.

So there it is, that's what is going on with it, and hopefully someone here might have a suggestion ?
as it stands right now, I will obviously need to remove the scope and rings, and recheck to see if possibly the pic rail is loose. (but when I grab it right now and try to move it, it does feel pretty Darn Solid !)

if I DO end up removing the Pic rail, I am considering maybe roughing up the contact surfaces between rail and receiver to maybe gain a bit more of a solid contact (?), what are your thoughts on this ?
OR,
Should I just start considering replacing the rail and rings with something like the DNZ Game Reaper mount or the Tally rings, and eliminate the Ruger Picatinny Rail altogether ?

I look forward to your replies.
Cheers,
Ron
 

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Congrats on the 308, a most versatile caliber. Only thing I can suggest is remove scope, rings, pic rail ..clean up contact points real good and re-install with a tiny bit of (( BLUE )) loktite. Boresight and try some 150 & 165 gr ammo (both kill elk dead), some guns are finicky on bullet weight. My 700 Remy 30-06 prefers 165 grain bullet , drops everything it's pointed at
 

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I agree with oldbrass that some guns just don’t like some brands or weight of ammo. 180 grain is quite heavy and if I’m not mistaken the .308 was designed around the 165. One other thing you definitely need to check are the bedding screws holding the action to the stock. If these screws are not tightened to proper torque, the barreled action is probably moving around with every shot.

Welcome to the forum from NC
 

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That seems like a lot of cranking on the scope just to get on paper. I'd back the starting yardage way down....can you start at 25 yards? Bore sighting will definitely save some ammo money....but of course cost in a bore sight.

I'd also torque all the mounting points with vibra-tite. Once you've done all that, if she still don't shoot well, send it back.

I don't spend too awful much time fighting Ruger firearm issues because, in my experience, their first time through quality is poor at best. YMMV, of course.
 

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First I doubt this has anything to do with the ammo.....In my experience a rifle that doesn’t like a certain type of ammo just won’t group, not miss the target by feet.

Two things come to mind, do you know if the complete package came from Ruger or was it pieced together? The reason I ask is it could have Weaver rings which do not mate with a 1913 Pic rail, (a Weaver rail and a 1913 rail do not share the same dimensions). To the naked eye they look “right” and they will fit a 1913 rail but it’s a sloppy fit. The next would be the rail itself not being drilled correctly for proper alignment, in other words it’s canted and again to the naked eye it may appear to be straight. I’m thinking new rings and rail will put you back on paper. But without “hands on” I’m just guessing.
 

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It's possible there are a couple issues going on. The rifle shooting way to the left may be separate than the poor groups. When I mounted a scout scope on a Ruger GSR I could get decent groups but could never get closer than a foot off to the side, there just wasn't enough windage in the scope. I returned the scope, but never could determine if it was scope or rail causing the issue, I went with a traditional scope. A canted rail would still allow for good precision but very poor accuracy (shots close together but not centered); an accuracy issue such as a loose rail or rings will be extremely imprecise but may still be accurate (shotgun pattern centered on the bullseye).

One suggestion for zeroing scopes, if you've got a good way to fix the rifle in place, remove the bolt and look down the barrel. Center your view on some reference point 50 or so yards away. Zero the scope on this point. You should now be much closer starting out (I typically can get with 6-8" at 50 yards, sometimes better).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First I doubt this has anything to do with the ammo.....In my experience a rifle that doesn’t like a certain type of ammo just won’t group, not miss the target by feet.

Two things come to mind, do you know if the complete package came from Ruger or was it pieced together? The reason I ask is it could have Weaver rings which do not mate with a 1913 Pic rail. To the naked eye they look “right” and they will fit but it’s a sloppy fit. The next would be the rail itself not being drilled correctly for proper alignment, in other words it’s canted and again to the naked eye it may appear to be straight. I’m thinking new rings and rail will put you back on paper. But without “hands on” I’m just guessing.
yes, it's a complete package from Ruger, to the best that I have determined.
Here's a link to their website showing the package
BUT,...
You will notice that the rifle SHOWN in the above link, has seperate base mounting plates,
(yet the description clearly states):
"Equipped with a factory-installed Vortex® Crossfire II® riflescope with the Dead-Hold BDC reticle mounted on one-piece Picatinny scope base".

My rifle DOES have the "One-Piece" mounting plate, (with the Ruger emblem on it) like this :

The odd thing is,
the above mounting plate says it is for "Long Action", ...
... and the .308 version is a "Short Action".

I did see a youtube video where the gentleman said his American Rifle was drilled for the rail with about 20 MOA off to the left. I do not know how he determined that or how he was able to measure that, but he did end up installing some adjustable rings that had sleeves he rotated inside of the rings to correct the leftward shooting issue.

I dont know if this is a common problem with these rifles (?) or if anyone may have addressed this before with Ruger (?)
I simply dont know.
I'm confident that it will get figured out sooner or later, and I'm CERTAINLY not bashing on Ruger for it.
I DO Like this rifle,... and I DO want to get it shooting straight.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
HMmmmm,
Anyone here have opinions or experience with any of these ?
Seems like the cheaper way to go, rather than burning ammo at nearly $20 per box ?

Bore sight at Bass Pro - $24

Bore sight on Amazon - $9.99 and free shipping

Lyman brand on Amazon - $19.57 and free shipping
 

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I am considering maybe roughing up the contact surfaces between rail and receiver to maybe gain a bit more of a solid contact (?)
"Roughing up" reduces contact area. The most contact is the cleanest smoothest surface you can get.
 

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RonSte, I re-read your original post.......two different sets of rings, two different scopes and the same results, right? So either the rail is drilling off center, (best case scenario) or the receiver is tapped off center. If you’re consistently throwing all the shots in the same place you can eliminate anything being lose with the action, (it would look more like a shotgun test pattern if that was the case).
 

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"Roughing up" reduces contact area. The most contact is the cleanest smoothest surface you can get.
Agreed, you don’t want to rough up anything. Clean any oil off the inner and outer thread, hit it with some Loctite and it won’t be going anywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all of the replies guys,
Agreed on the NOT roughing anything up. that makes sense, and I dont know what I was thinking, just a little frustrated I suppose.

I think I'll hold off on getting a bore sight for now.
Perhaps it would be best for me to accept the offer from Ruger Customer Service to replace the rail and rings.
Get everything cleaned up and remounted with blue juice, and then just do the old school method of first (as previously suggested by BigG) starting at 25 yds just to get it on paper, and then work it up from there.

Eventually, I think I want to have my zero set at 200yds.
This way it should be about 2.5" high at 100, and about 3"(?) low at 300 (if I've done my homework correctly).
 

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When I sight in a new rifle or change scopes or whatever I start at 25 yards and remove the bolt, look through the barrel
and center the bullseye in the barrel, and move the crosshairs until they are centered on the bullseye. First shot I am always very close to the bullseye. I then continue shooting and moving the crosshairs until I am zeroed at 25 yards - usually takes mebby three rounds. Then I move to a 100 yard target and first shot I am usually just under the bullseye so I shoot and adjust crosshairs until I am zeroed at 100 yards. Someone above said to do this. Get some removable loctite (blue) and one of the inch lb. torque wrenches designed for scope rail/base/ring installation and reinstall everything using it and the Loctite. Someone or several above said this too.

I bought a 6.5 Creedmore Ruger American Preditor about two months ago and it is an moa shooter out of the box. It didn't come with a scope I put a Nikon Buckmaster 4-12 on it.
 

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Eventually, I think I want to have my zero set at 200yds. This way it should be about 2.5" high at 100, and about 3"(?) low at 300 (if I've done my homework correctly).
There's nothing wrong with a 200yd zero, I sight all my rifles in at a minimum of 200yds. Your first number 2.5" high at 100yds is close, 2.6" is actual, at 300yds it's a different story, your actual drop is 11.8", or about a 4 minute correction. Remember, your chuckin' a heavy piece of lead that's leaving the barrel at around 2600fps.
 

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I was under the impression the Picatinny rail would work for rings that the Weaver rail works on. I hope I don't have to buy a new rail. I would rather buy a bare rifle and add components rather than the package. I think the scopes, rings etc are better now, at least on some brands, but still not great.

I would try a lighter bullet too. Lighter bullets as a rule shoot better, although not always. The 100 grain in my 243 Savage are simply horrible. The 75 grain aren't what I would like but about half or less the group size of the 100s.

I am hoping the rifle shows up in another week or so. They said 10 days to 2 weeks but with everything going on it might take longer. Online outfits like MidwayUSA and Optics Planet are ridiculously slow. I just got some dies and bullets 3 days ago ordered on 30 Mar.
 

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I was under the impression the Picatinny rail would work for rings that the Weaver rail works on.
MrSnerdly55, Check out this link, it will explain the difference between a 1913 Pic rail and a Weaver rail. This will involve way less typing on my part. :)



















[/QUOTE]
 

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I use the previously mention method of removing the bolt and sighting on something down range, then adjusting the scope to the same point. Then starting at 25 yards, which makes it much easier to get on paper.

One thing I would eventually change is your type of bullet. The Cor-Lokt might (maybe) be ok for deer but if you're going after elk with something as small as a .308, you definitely should have something like a Nosler Partition (my favorite hunting bullet) or some other premium bullet. Expensive? Definitely! But worth every penny. You'll shoot far more of them at the range than you will in the field and over all, you'll be much better off. I've seen too many 'regular' cup & core bullets seperate jacket and core when used on large game, mainly deer, although in that case they usually still get the job done. Personally, I would not use them for either one.

The quality of your rings and mounts are second only to the quality of your rifle and scope. If you can't get the current rail/rings to work you may be forced to get the adjustable rings, but be careful you aren't putting stress on the scope tube or the problems will just become more complicated, leading to more frustration. If the pic rail is boogered up, move both rings to the next slot slot forward or backward if possible, so you aren't trying to work with a defective rail. Once they are messed up, there isn't much you can do with them! Using bad parts is a perfect situation for frustration. Personally speaking, once I have my scope mounted the way I want, I use a little of the red locktite, 471 Stud and Bearing Mount, since it's unlikely I will ever remove the scope again (one key here is "a little!" If you slather the stuff on a bolt, you might never get it out in one piece!). If you do need to take it apart sometime, perfectly fitting screwdriver tips are essential for removal! I have never once had a scope, base or ring come loose on me!
Good luck!
Cheers,
crkckr
 

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Check that the stock is not touching the barrel. I have a 308 and a 30/06 and both had this issue. If you put a fair amount of pressure on the gun (especially with a bi-pod) you can change POI. A dowel and some sandpaper solves the problem.

Try different ammo. My 308 does not like the 180 grain Core Lokt. 165 grain seems to work the best.

Check scope rail alignment by laying a long straight edge against the side of the mount and over the barrel. It should be very close to dead center over the center of the bore.

If you still have an issue use Burris Zee rings and inserts. You can get a lot of adjustment in both windage and elevation with these mounts. I optically zero my scope and then use the mounts/inserts to get it very close to zero. Then I use the turrets for the final fine tuning.

Google search "two shot zero". You'll need a good rest but it make sighting in a lot less expensive. And start short........50yds is where I begin.
 

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People have nailed this pretty good with just about every possibility EXCEPT one I've heard before with the inexpensive Vortex scopes - if the scope rings were over-tightened, the scope itself may have been damaged and therefor not adjusting properly and not holding a specific adjustment. Recommendation is 15 to 18 in/lbs.
From the Vortex website:
"Vortex Optics recommends not exceeding 18 in/lbs (inch/pounds) of torque on the ring screws"

That isn't a lot of torque and people can easily go too far if they don't use an inch pound torque wrench of some type. I like the Wheeler Fat Wrench, but there are plenty of other options out there.

Hopefully you just need to take everything off, clean the holes, use some blue loctite, and get back in business and the scope is fine, but if your problems continue after everything is snug and no longer coming loose on you, then the scope might have to pay a visit to Vortex for a look see.

Also, never use a "Lead Sled". They stop the rifle from recoiling the way it would against your shoulder and they can easily cause scopes to fail and scope slippage in the rings. You didn't say you were using one, but thought I'd toss that out there 'just in case'. The harder the recoil of the rifle, the more harmful the lead sled will be on it (which is sad, because the harder the recoil of the rifle, the more a person will want to use the lead sled!)

Good luck and keep us posted. I hope it proves to be a simple fix of replacing the base and rings with the new ones Ruger sends you.
 
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