The last several range trips have been working up hunting loads for my Savage 7mm Rem Mag. It is scoped.
The first patterns out of my new rifle from factory loads were 2.5 inches for 5 shots, 1.5 for 3 shot groups.
My hand loads were 1.5-2.0 inches for 5 shots, .75-1.5 inches for 3. I am putting the final touches of tweaking the scope just where I want it, when suddenly the patterns jump to 5 inches. Thinking it was my handloads, I shoot a 5 shot group of 10inches with the factory loads.
Paying very close attention to everything, I inspect the hand load cases, cleaned the barrel, inspect the factory ammo and the patterns didn't seem to be walking or doing things that were consistant with a scope problem nothing seems odd other than the patterns. So, thinking that maybe it was me and not the gun, I note what I was doing differently than before. In all the other range sessions I had used the provided rest, and this time I had brought my own. I noted that the patterns got much worse if I leaned on the stock to put it on target( NOT the BARREL, and the pressure was about 5 inches in front of the trigger guard). Not hard, but say 5-10lbs of pressure, the pattern doubled or trippled. So I took 5 factory Winchester Super Xs, put no pressure on the stock, held the rifle with just enough pressure to keep it snug in the rest and then pulled the trigger. The factory load pattern was 1.35 for 5, 1.00 for a three shot group with two shots eclipsed. So I did it again and got almost virtually the same results with factory loads.
What do you think? Is it bad form to lean on the stock at all when trying to shoot precision, or is it the stock? Never had this problem with any woodstocked firearm, nor my AR. But I don't use a rest except when messing with a scope so I can hold really still.
First, it is usually bad to lean on the stock, because it is near impossible to lean with exactly identical load on the gun for each shot. Having said that, I have two rifles that like some pressure applied at the pistol grip - an Anschutz .22, and AR-15's (I would go so far to say, based on observations by myself and others, that all AR's like pressure at the pistol grip.
I typed the following before re-reading your post, but it would n't to be double sure that you don't have a scope problem -
The very first thing you should check is to determine if the scope came loose in it's mounts, or if the mounts came loose from the rifle. If that is okay, put a different scope on the rifle and try it. Unless you were really heating the gun up by shooting your rounds in rapid succession, my money is on the scope or its mounts.
As far as bench technique, most rifles like to ride the rest near the forwardmost end of the forearm. You must be sure to place the gun on the rest at exactly the same location for each shot.
Check the stock to see if the barrel is floated by trying to pass a dollar bill between the stock and barrel. If the stock is touching, it likely will be more sensitive to loading the stock.
When I went through the sniper course in the Army I found that I shot much better with no pressure on the stock at all. I gently rest my thumb on top and my middle and ring fingers underneath. I also don't pull the stock into my shoulder at all. It's only supported by a sock full of sand or my non-firng hand. As mentioned above, it ensures the same "hold" every time as well as keeping heartbeat and breathing out of the equation. leaning into the stock may have caused the forearm to raise up into the barrel as well.
Were you using a .308 win, try that loose stock with a 7mil rem mag and you are going to have the same problem people have had with the 7.62x54r m44 carbine.
Hard to get good zero while flinching!
I would only be able to shoot my 7mil rem mag,or weatherby 300 mag while holding it very tight to my shoulder!
Thanks for the replies.
I went back to the range again today, to try and finish up. By NOT putting any pressure on the stock, just letting it sit in the rest (sand bags) I shot my personal best pattern ever, of .6 inches at 100 yds (outside to outside measure). I guess I will just have to be aware of this in the future until I get around to buying a little better stock.
I didn't shoot a .6 with factory loads, I shot it with 59gr of XMR 4350 with a Winchester 200 primer. 150gr Winchester PP, seated to 3.30. Which is about .002 off the lands for my rifle. I was pretty excited to shoot a 4 shot pattern this tight with my own handloads.
Recoil bothered me at first with this rifle, I think it was a combination of things. I shot prone, in a t-shirt with the factory recoil pad. Lets just say I still have a knot on my collar bone from the first time I shot the darn thing. The last two outings I have worn a light weight polar tech jacket due to weather and have not noticed the recoil at all.
During the pre hunting season, I am blessed with the variety of ingenius ways to help decrease recoil. Today I saw a whole family wearing orange life vests! Pops and all the boys. I do imagine that it does cure recoil sensitivity in all but the most resistant.