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Posted: 6/16/2010 5:27:36 PM EDT
Hello all, I have a savage .223 Remington that REALLY doesnt like to shoot 55gr bullets w/o keyholing. As best as I can measure, the actual twist rate is about 8.25. So far I have tried dogtown 55gr, these keyhole at about 3200fps with tac, Hornady V-max keyhole starting at about 3000 with H335. Nosler 55gr Ballistic Tips, no keyholing up to about 3300 but the groups are anywhere from 2-6" at 100 yds. I am getting about the same velocities as the reloading manuals per charge weight so I am thinking its a twist rate issue.

What does shoot well is 69gr Nosler BTHP with 24.0 gr of TAC at 2950 fps, of course I wanted this rifle for a prarie dog/coyote gun so HPBTs are not the best bullet for the job, and the heaviest ballistic tip offered is 60gr.

I'm kind of stuck here, I would like to shoot lighter bullets since theyre cheaper and they come in game taking flavors.

I have tried loading down to minimum loads and havnt dropped below 2900fps, and accuracy still sucks, what else might a guy do besides go to either heavier match bullets and risk some unclean kills, or go below loading manual specs and see if a lower velocity helps?
Link Posted: 6/16/2010 5:45:37 PM EDT
Are they sideways, or just slightly off center.

Keyholing is due to bullets destabilizing upon exiting the muzzle. 55s shouldn't be a problem...heck, 50s shouldn't be a problem unless you're using velocity/rpms to rip them apart.

I have a 1:7" Bushy 20" upper don't have this problem and I've shot down to 52s, IIRC.


Chris

Link Posted: 6/16/2010 6:18:13 PM EDT
I have not got good accuracy out of anything but the 69 gr.SMK with varget or tac in mine.I did have some luck with some 75 grain bullets.What is weird is you are getting key holes.I was getting about 1.5 inch groups with a varity of 55 grain bullets and tried the 60 gr. V-Max and wound up with a 2 inch group with those.I did notice in the manuel that they state they use the 69 gr. SMK for their tests;Is this the only bullet that will shoot in these guns?It sure seems like it cause a I got a bunch of colt AR15s that will out shoot my savage with all bullet weghts.Sorry I could not help you more.
Link Posted: 6/16/2010 6:46:39 PM EDT
If it were my gun I would look at the crown. Pics please.

If the crown shows a burr, or deformity touch it up.

You can also try bedding the rear of the barrel with a removable shim. The flex of bullet travel may be slapping the almost free floated brl against stock near the travel of bullet exit. This is interrupting all but the heaviest of bullets just before they leave the barrel. Try a double folded business card. Unseat the action from the stock, and shim it in at the base of the barrel. put it back together and shoot it with the light load. If ....IF.... you get good results you will need to look at increasing the gap in the free float of the stock.

It was a problem of mine on a 110.
Link Posted: 6/16/2010 7:35:45 PM EDT
Hi guys, yeah this is baffling so far, the 69gr is the only thing so far that shoots.

Arrggghhh, camera battery is dead, I'll get a pic of the crown and bedding tomorrow. The powder residue looks fairly even but could be better, this is the heavy varmit barrel so it has a flat recessed crown.

When I got this new it was shooting solid 2" groups, I thought the barrel was maybee rubbing on the stock on one side, I bedded what little bit of stock there is touching the action, added some pilars, and made sure the barrel had about a tenth of an inch of freefloat all around. After that I had gotten down to 1.1" groups here and there but nothing consistent.

Whats really weird is against better judgement I got a Pentax gameseeker 4-12x, I see vertical stringing on some groups, and horz. stringing on others. I thought maybee it was a flakey scope, I have bedded the weaver mounts to the receiver that nearly cut some groups in half, I just lapped the scope rings before mounting the gameseeker too. Just for grins today I loaded up some more Nosler 69gr, and shot a 0.85, 10 shot group if I disregard the first 2 flyers after switching loads. So I'm thinking its indeed in the load, still could be bedding issues I suppose but that wouldnt cause the keyholes....

I had read elswhere that the dogtowns cant take more than about 3200 fps in a 9 twist barrel, I had definately seen them keyhole at 3250, and leave spirals on target at 25yds, backing them down in velocity to 2825fps helped get me 1.1" from them, maybee this barrel is a fast twister with sharp lands which cut the jacket or something?

I sectioned some dogtowns, noslers, and hornady and the dogtowns had the thinest jackets of all.
Link Posted: 6/17/2010 3:02:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/17/2010 3:20:06 AM EDT by ScEd1]
The Savage 112FV heavy 26" barrel I have is one of the most accurate rifles I have. This is nothing more than what works for me in this rifle. The 55gr Nosler Bal-Tips and Sierra 55gr Gameking HP really like 25gr of Benchmark. One ragged hole at 100yd and clock at around 3300fps. 200yd groups can be held to 1/2" on a good day. If you just want to shoot a load that will amaze people with the accuracy get a box of Lapau Scenar 69gr bullets. Loaded with 25.4gr of W-748 (Believe it or not) will shoot un-believably out to 500+ in this rifle. All cases are Lapau Trimmed to 1.750, OAL is 2.280 and 7-1/2 Remington Primers. Did I mis-read your post or do you believe HP bullets are not good to hunt with?
Link Posted: 6/17/2010 5:09:51 AM EDT
I have excellent results, usually under .5 MOA, with my Savage 1:9 using 60 gr. V-Max's over 24 grs. of IMR 4064 with Wolf 223 primers and OAL of 2.300. It does not shoot the 55's nearly as well with 4064, but does about 1 MOA with Benchmark at 25 grs. on the 55's. The Sierra 52 BTHP shoots a little better than the 55 V-Max's in this rifle. Hope this helps!
Link Posted: 6/17/2010 6:19:09 AM EDT
I also have a Savage with a 1:9 twist that shoots fine with 55 grain bullets.
Link Posted: 6/17/2010 9:15:28 AM EDT
Check the following:

Is your neck very tight/causing shaving of the bullet jackets? This will kill varmint bullets sometimes.Try another sizing die or better chamfering of the case mouth to avoid that jacket killing problem.

Is your bore/muzzle rough?

I had a chrome bored Colt 1x7" that absolutely destroyed any varmint bullet pushed over 2800fps,and even gave these results with cheap 55gr Winchester FMJs. 52/53gr SMKs wouldn't blow up though,as they had thicker jackets. Ditto for 60gr Vmaxes. I never tried the 55gr Vmax,so I can't compare to your results with those.
I would give the 52gr SMKs a try,as well as Sierra's 60gr HP and the 60gr Hornady Vmax. Those are all sturdier bullets.

Link Posted: 6/17/2010 5:47:23 PM EDT
I've shot 40gr, 55gr and 75gr bullets from my Savage 12FV. Perfect holes, and groups from all of them.
Link Posted: 7/29/2010 6:09:24 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/29/2010 6:22:06 PM EDT by rocketboy69]
Sorry bout the delay guys, heres a few pics of the crown, and of the not so perfect holes...







I bought this rifle new, about 100 rounds down the tube now, just for grins I cleaned the crap out of it with a nylon brush, lead remover, sweets 7.62, and outers foamy bore cleaner.

I thought I could feel a rough spot about 6" ahead of the chamber, and thought I could see something in the rifling, this eventually came out with the above cleaning.

I went back to the range to re break in the barrel, 1 shot, clean with sweets 7.62 for 10 rounds, the shoot 5 and clean, then a group of 5, with some Hornady 55gr V-max, this time with 23.0 IMR 4895, chrono'd at 2750fps to make sure I'm not overspeeding...

STILL F'n KEYHOLES! AAAARRRRRRGGGHHHHHHH!

After the last 5 I can feel a rough spot about 6" ahead from the chamber, then smooth for the next 1/3 of the barrel, the tight about for the last 1/3

BTW, I also tried Hornady 53match, no keyholes but pie plate accuracy, the 60gr Hornady v-max, and 60gr HP shoot about 1.5" with TAC I also Increased my stock clearance to 1/8" all around and ensured the tang is indeed floated too.

I also rechecked my neck tension .002", and have a hefty chamfer, no shaved necks, smooth seating.

Anybody sent a rifle back to savage? I should take off my scope mounts etc if I do huh?

Does anybody know how to hand lap a barrel with a lead lap?

Link Posted: 7/29/2010 6:50:48 PM EDT
From the perfect keyhole shown, I doubt this, but last week or week before somebody else looked like they were keyholing - because they were bouncing the bullets off the dirt. You sure it's sighted in and the mounts are tight?
Link Posted: 7/29/2010 7:06:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/29/2010 7:07:51 PM EDT by AeroE]
Link Posted: 7/30/2010 5:59:29 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AeroE:
Copper fouling is visible in the photos, so I'm assuming those are taken before cleaning.

The crown will show uniform streaks of carbon fouling if it's any good. The streaks will be identical shape and length where the gas squirts out of the grooves when the bullet departs. The top photo shows either fouling, machine tool marks, or something else on the lands.

If the powder residue has been wiped off the crown and there are any wierd reflections, I would say that crown blows.

Send the rifle back.



this. way too much copper fouling, and the barrel looks very crude.
Link Posted: 7/30/2010 4:30:37 PM EDT
Is that a Savage barrel or an aftermarket someone has installed?

The first thing I noticed about your crown is that you are passing gas completely around the bullet. The bore is oversized or you have mucho rounds down that tube. What happens to muzzles after a lot of rounds is they open up a little and are no longer perfectly round. They have been described as "fish mouthed" by at least one famous gunsmith.

I'm concerned about two things. The first is whether the barrel and barrel nut is actually tight to the receiver and is so how does the fired brass measure in regards to headspace? Savage sells bare actions and there are so many "Savage barrels" on the market someone may have screwed this together. You can take that meaning any way you like.

The rounded edge on the barrel looks like an Adams & Bennett style crown, if so, it will never shoot worth a damn. Savage uses the button rifling method to manufacture their barrels. It leaves one of the smoothest interior finished of any major manufacturer. It is easy to see machining marks on your lands. From that alone I think it's not the original. Check the barrel for Savage roll marks and any other identifying words or lettering.

Savage will not fix someone elses barrel. They will fix it for a fee. You may want to consider one of several Savage dedicated riflesmiths instead. Your cheapest and quikest fix would be to have the barrel shoetend 1" to 1.5" and recrowned. It will probably cost less than $100 w/shipping. If it won't shoot after that it's time for a new barrel.

Link Posted: 7/30/2010 5:02:46 PM EDT
Link Posted: 7/31/2010 7:42:42 AM EDT
Bought new last year, twist is supposed to be 9", remeasured 3 times and is indeed 9", now has less than 200 rounds down the tube, heres a pic of the factory stamp on the barrel, everything is tight.

Good point borderpatrol about the gas pattern on the crown looking sorta "fuzzed", I would expect to see "fingers" in the pattern coming from each riffling making for more of a "star" pattern.



After cleaning, again looks like the bore is smoothing up.

Link Posted: 7/31/2010 7:48:02 AM EDT
Call Savage.
Link Posted: 7/31/2010 12:13:04 PM EDT
Do you clean from the muzzle end? The rifling is missing or damaged right at the barrel's end in your latest picture. Savage should help you out or a simple recrown should fix it. You will probably be quite happy with the results.

ADCO is quick and cheap if your warranty is expired, I'm not familiar with Savage's time frame for repairs.
Link Posted: 7/31/2010 12:19:25 PM EDT
I have seen more than a couple Savage's with slightly big bores.

But from the pic, it looks like the muzzle end of the bore is washed out. Something wonky is going on with it.
Link Posted: 7/31/2010 1:33:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/31/2010 1:36:23 PM EDT by Molon]
rocketboy69, by no means is my following statement to be taken personally.

That rifling at the muzzle looks like $hit!

Link Posted: 9/2/2010 5:29:40 PM EDT
UPDATE:, well, after arguing with USPS that it was indeed legal for me to return my legally purchased rifle to the same people that made it and then then used some sort of shipper to get it to a retailer, I sent it in the original box, with the targets pictured here, and 10 55gr Dogtown bullets in the original box without being cleaned after the keyhole shots, 3 weeks later I have my rifle back, looks like they left everything as is and they gave it a new crown, cleaned the exterior and bolt and oiled and seemingly slicked it up a bit, still quite a bit of copper in the bore , and checked headspace, and apparently shot a 5 shot group with Federal GMM? Loaded with 77MK's and it shot .8 at 100 yards. with a cloverleaf, bummer that they dont make a heavy .223 varmit bullet for the same price as the 55gr loads... BTW, I read either here or on the hide that Sierras seemed to lessen copper fouling vs hornady? That might be worth looking at I suppose.

Maybee this barrel just doesnt like those thin skinned dogtowns, ... I have a selection of sectioned bullet pics to post as well. I was sort of hoping for a new barrel, I was sort of expecting to get a call asking permission to put a new barrel on since the warranty was just about up, and the action had been bedded, but the turn around time was phenomenal and the price was perfect as well. I'll just have to load some more dogtowns and see if it wasnt the crown all along...






Thanks for the help all.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 6:24:19 PM EDT
Federal Gold Medal Match. You would think they would have tried some lighter bullets though...sheeesh.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 6:29:21 PM EDT
If your gun likes longer bullets try some barnes varmint greanades. The 50gr VG is very long for its weight and might shoot good in your rifle.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 7:30:23 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2010 7:38:29 PM EDT by CCW]
Are you the guy that was ricocheting them off the ground and into the target because his scope was set too high initially? He was getting lots of keyholes using that technique.
Link Posted: 9/2/2010 7:57:17 PM EDT
nah man nah, I was shooting round ball and they stil come out round on target....
Link Posted: 9/5/2010 7:46:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 7:48:37 PM EDT by rocketboy69]
UPDATE: update 2, shoots a tighter pattern of keyholes with 55gr dogtowns now, also my bullet jump distance to the lands is .100" longer now, guessing they firelapped it if anything in addition to the new crown, still copper fouls fiercely. I'm on my third application of outers and its still got copper from 20 rounds. Same barrel telling from some unique scratches, arrrrghhhhhh!

Might just have to watch for a stainless new take off barrel or something for now.

Thanks for the tip to checkout the barnes 55, this is the Pb free bullet?


Link Posted: 9/5/2010 8:28:22 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2010 8:30:23 PM EDT by ckelley]
Try some of these...It couldn't hurt anything at this point?
Tubb's Final Finish

Don't sweat the 69 and 77 grain Sierra Match Kings...they will smoke a coyote quick. I can't imagine what they'd do to a p-dog! Barnes has a 55 grain MPG that shoots very well in my 1-8" twist barrel.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:23:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ScEd1:
The Savage 112FV heavy 26" barrel I have is one of the most accurate rifles I have. This is nothing more than what works for me in this rifle. The 55gr Nosler Bal-Tips and Sierra 55gr Gameking HP really like 25gr of Benchmark. One ragged hole at 100yd and clock at around 3300fps. 200yd groups can be held to 1/2" on a good day. If you just want to shoot a load that will amaze people with the accuracy get a box of Lapau Scenar 69gr bullets. Loaded with 25.4gr of W-748 (Believe it or not) will shoot un-believably out to 500+ in this rifle. All cases are Lapau Trimmed to 1.750, OAL is 2.280 and 7-1/2 Remington Primers. Did I mis-read your post or do you believe HP bullets are not good to hunt with?


+1 on this info, I have a Model 12FVSS and it will do half inch groups all day long with 55 grain Vmax's if I do my part. I would be checking for a burr on the crown or some other variable, although the twist rate seems a little fast for a barrel that is stamped "1 in 9".

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:26:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By borderpatrol:
Is that a Savage barrel or an aftermarket someone has installed?

The first thing I noticed about your crown is that you are passing gas completely around the bullet. The bore is oversized or you have mucho rounds down that tube. What happens to muzzles after a lot of rounds is they open up a little and are no longer perfectly round. They have been described as "fish mouthed" by at least one famous gunsmith.

I'm concerned about two things. The first is whether the barrel and barrel nut is actually tight to the receiver and is so how does the fired brass measure in regards to headspace? Savage sells bare actions and there are so many "Savage barrels" on the market someone may have screwed this together. You can take that meaning any way you like.

The rounded edge on the barrel looks like an Adams & Bennett style crown, if so, it will never shoot worth a damn. Savage uses the button rifling method to manufacture their barrels. It leaves one of the smoothest interior finished of any major manufacturer. It is easy to see machining marks on your lands. From that alone I think it's not the original. Check the barrel for Savage roll marks and any other identifying words or lettering.

Savage will not fix someone elses barrel. They will fix it for a fee. You may want to consider one of several Savage dedicated riflesmiths instead. Your cheapest and quikest fix would be to have the barrel shoetend 1" to 1.5" and recrowned. It will probably cost less than $100 w/shipping. If it won't shoot after that it's time for a new barrel.



When I shine a strong light into my Savage barrel, it will always show the machine marks in question....

Mikey
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:27:36 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 2:30:51 PM EDT
Can you get it to keyhole with anybody's factory loads?
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:07:35 PM EDT
Try the 60 varminter from Sierra. Try with 25.0- 25.5 H4895
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:21:28 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Bear59801:
Can you get it to keyhole with anybody's factory loads?


+1, My question exactly!
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