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A Brief Guide to Feckless* Rifles

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March 30, 2009

A Brief Guide to Feckless* Rifles

By David E. Petzal

*Not a typo.

The previous post elicited so many interesting opinions that I was able to get a second post out of it. Herewith:

1. The message on the Badger muzzle brake and on the Claymore mine is “Front toward enemy,” not what I had. Once more my memory has done me dirt.

2. In theory, you could take the .30/06 in question hunting and never miss a shot with it—provided you kept your shots to 200 yards or less. Beyond that, stray shots really start to wander. I myself would not hunt with such a rifle because I have other guns that don’t throw shots. Why ask for trouble? It will find you without any help.

3. A number of you suggested a ruptured scope, or parallax, or loose rings or bases. In my experience, if a scope is defective, or the bases or rings are loose, you won’t get any kind of groups at all, or you’ll get 4-inch groups. As for parallax, the scope was an American model Zeiss 4.5X-14X with dial-a-dog parallax on the turret, so that was not the problem.

4. It’s pretty hard to throw a shot from a bench rest if you’re set up correctly. The last time I did it was November 2, 1981. I do throw shots from unsupported positions, and am man enough to admit it.

5. About 15 years ago, I got hold of a very nice Mauser-action .338 that would not shoot. I spent most of a summer trying to get it to group, and in the process spent $400 for a new barrel and $2,783.22 on 250-grain Nosler Partitions plus many pounds of different powders and primers. In the end, the god damn thing still would not shoot, and I swore never again. If I can’t get a gun cooking in a couple of weeks and with a minimum of expense, away it goes.

6. The story about Kenny Jarrett cutting receivers in half is true. He told me years ago that about twice every twelve months they would get a rifle that would not shoot no matter what--new barrel, new stock, load after load, new scope. He was never able to pin down exactly what the trouble was, but he didn’t want to screw around with a hopeless project any longer.

Comments (36)

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from 2Poppa wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Away it goes ...

Once a rifle is rendered feckless, they usually, and unfortunately, are sold to unsuspecting buyers.
It's a costly misfortune, but one well earned, I meant learned!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I once owned a feckless .243 Win. and due to
economic circumstances tried every poor boy accurizing trick in the book. My final trick was a series of trades that ended up with a Remington 700 .30-'06, but for some reason it soured me on the .243 Win. to this day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from ishawooa wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

On the other hand over the years I have acquired rifles that I just put on a scope, squared the crosshairs, tightened the screws, picked through some old reloads and the damned thing shoots perfectly small and consistant groups. I own one old Browning '06 that I have had for nearly 40 years which I actually use as a platform to test various scopes that might eventually end up on another rifle. I can count on the old Browning to deliver thus eliminating several unknown factors while attempting to build trust in the new fangled scope. Years ago I used to win money at turkey shoots using this field grade standard barrel '06 shooting against heavy barreled varmint rifles. When the big barrel boys saw what I intended to use they were always willing to ante up the pot. After a while word got around so that honey hole went away.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

My Weatherby Mark V Lightweight shot nice groups with Remington Express 180 grain factory loads from the start. When I started monkeying around with handloads and different loads, I found that it had a particular disdain for 165 and 180 grain Partition's and Scirocco's, much to my chagrin. It will shoot Ballistic Tip's and Hornady Interlock's just fine, however. When I put a few 165 grain Federal Barnes TSX's into darn near the same hole, I knew that I had found it's nirvana! A few clicks of adjustment and called it good. I still load some Hornady's or Speer's for pre-season practice, but the Federal 165 TSX is what goes on the hunt.

I have been guilty of recycling rifles that did not meet my expectations. Most would shoot at least one load OK, but maybe not the load I wanted for that rifle, so away they went. Never had anyone call me back complaining either, so they must have been good enough ......

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I ran across a Feckless .300 WSM once. It displayed true love for only one thing, 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips. It would drive tacks with most any load topped with them. Try anything else, home grown or store bought and it spat them wildly. When Nosler released the 180 grain Accubond they were loaded and tried on whim. One particular loading produced 1 inch groups, vary it and instant seed spreader! CRM you are correct, it just might sour you on a cartridge...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Does anyone else find it amazing that a number of war inventory rifles shoot respectful groups( 3-4 inch groups out of a 120+ year old rifle I think are respectful). I know modern manufacture and handloading should bring that to much tighter groups, but I guess it all comes down to a bullet, a little powder, and a brass shell to make go "bang" that has been the heart of accurate shooting.Face it, most of can't buy a rifle to replace the BARREL, thatcan cost twice as much as the gun in the first place! So I'm back to the question;"What is accurate enough for a 300,400, or 500 dollar rifle?"
ps-If anyone here would want to contemplate cutting a rile in half;PLEASE keep me in mind before you do and I will buy it from you for fair scrap price!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dickgun wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Hi RTR,
To briefly answer your posed question, I have hunted a bit in far away places which included high mountains and big country vistas. To me, in order to be considered for the kind of hunt I may do, a rifle that will not meet or exceed 1-MOA at 100 yds is totally unacceptable. Now, I am not saying, to anyone listening, that-that should be their standard for their type of hunting. Only that, if I spend a fair amount of money and a whole hell of a lot more physical effort to keep prepared to hunt the 'high places' I will not compromise the weapon I carry if the opportunity arises for a shot exceeding 300 yds.
Obviously, we all know that the equipment to meet or exceed that standard is out there and available at less than 'save the auto industry' cost. Without messing and fooling very much. I am not a messer or fooler. A gun shoots or it does not and, if not, I move on. Again, not to denegrate those of you who love to see if a project (any project) can be improved. The world is full of examples of people who think the same thing about wimmin!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Shaky wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

D.E.P.;I didn't comment on the first blog,because I agree with you 100%, and you were getting too much advice as it
was. Like you said recently, I'm an old man and I don't
care. I would send that rifle back to wherever it came from, and tell them what I thought of their quality control, and that would be that for that particular piece. If it shot 1.5 or under consistently, I could live
with that, but I don't hunt in the Oort cloud and a flyer
per group I will not tolerate. I have too many rifles in various calibers that shoot better. And if I didn't I still wouldn't keep screwing around with it and send it back.
Everyone to his own taste, but in my experience, you can waste a lot of time on a junker and still not have anything but a junker, and I know I don't have a lot of time left to waste.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Another whole post -- and no comment about the one bullet in the oort cloud??|!?!?! Go figure...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I wished I’d had a dollar of some poor chap swearing his gun wouldn’t shoot. After shooting 5 rounds equal to or less than “MOA” all of a sudden, the shooter whas shooting less than MOA!

Sometimes it’s all in the head!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from BarkeyVA wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

In the early 1990's my Dad bought a used Mauser action varmit rifle with a heavy "bull" barrel that had been rechambered for 22-250. The stock had been glass-bedded the entire length of the forearm. He tried a lot of combinations of bullet types, weights, powders, etc. but could not get 5 shots to group smaller than 1.5 inches at 100 yards.

As a last resort he chipped out the glass bedding so the barrel "floated" and immediately began shooting 5/8" groups. He consistantly killed groundhogs at 300+ yards with it after it was "fixed."

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

While I have only had a couple rifles that would stack bullets in one hole at a 100 yds (both 700 Rems.) I have only had 1 (Glenfield by Marlin 30/30) that was all over the paper. Guess I've been lucky. Bought that Marlin (my first deer rifle) many years ago at a gunshop in Columbus, GA. The owner said it was sighted in and ready to hunt with the open sights. I took a shot at a doe at 150 yd. aiming at the shoulder and hit her between the eyes. At the range it was all over the target with any ammo I tried.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Paul Wilke wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure that all of my wild shoots can be traced to just one component, that loose nut just behind the butt plate.
I'd like to think otherwise but my mother taught me to be truthful.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from KJ wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

When you consider all the elements that have to work together nearly perfectly in order to achieve a sub-MOA group, accuracy becomes a real marvel. We probably fret it too much, just like we fret lots of other things that ultimately have little consequence. I have a Winchester Featherweight .30-06 that shoots 1.5" groups, but no better. It's a joy to shoot, so I like to look at it and handle it, even though I have other rifles that are more accurate. I suppose it's a trade-off, but I can sleep with it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from nunyabinis wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I have a two decades old Remington 700 ADL in 30-06 that cost me $359 brand spanking new. The scope I have mounted on it cost twice what the rifle did. If I shoot more than three rounds back to back it will start spraying bullets number four and higher all over kingdom come. Guess what... that ain't the way it gets used in REAL WORLD hunting.

I can take this gun and shoot it once per year and it'll put a bullet through damn-near the same hole this year, next year and the year after that. It's been doing that for two decades. At the start of deer season I take her out, dust her off, fire one shot to make sure she's still "zeroed", then hunt with her. She's brought a deer to heel EVERY time I've squeezed the trigger. In two decades of hunting I've had to shoot more than once at a deer exactly one time. I was standing shooting off-hand from about 100 yards and I could see that the first bullet went way high so I lowered the point of aim to allow for my short comings shooting off-hand and WHAMO.... dead deer.

That, my friends, is "good enough".

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattB wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I have had only two rifles which could not be tamed. The first was a Winchester model 94 made in the early 70's. It would throw shots all over a 4' by 4' target at 75 yards. The second was one of the first Mini-14 Ranch rifles. It would shoot dead on for the first shot and then throw shots all over the target. Both were traded off for other guns. Life is too short to shoot a frustrating rifle.

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from Scott Kittinger wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Generally speaking rifles will outshoot their owners, however it is highly improbable that it would happen 100% of the time. Douglas Adams wrote: "See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that." I see that you have thought and tested and come up wanting with the rifle. Pitch it or cut it up and sell it for scrap as your preference dictates.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

FECKLESS !

Thanks, Dave. I learned a new word as in: We now have a feckless administration compounding the existing problems in America.

WMH

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from Mark-1 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I’ve “improved” my rifles’ performance after checking the obvious screws. If there were problems it was usually in the bedding. However, it was pointed out to me I may have been asking too much for the cartridge and particular rifles. E.g.:

--Getting a 22 Hornet rifle to shoot within 1-inch is pretty good, and it’s not reasonable to ask for better grouping.

--Lever actions and most semi’s won’t group as well as a bolt action. Most semi’s chambers are cut large [not the best for proper headspacing] in order for them to function and two-piece stocks are not conducive to accuracy. Few lever actions lock up like bolt actions.

Otherwise, I agree with DP there are too many great rifles out there to fiddle with a bad performer.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I own rifles that shoot better than I do. They're all sub-MOA in the hands of a real good shot. In my hands they're MOA more or less.

MattB I had a Model 94 winchester also made in the 70s that was just the same. At 75 yards the bullets would fly wildly all over the target. Good riddance. I'll never buy a winchester now. I can't afford the reliable ollectibles and the others aren't worth having.

My next and probably final rifle will be something in a .30-06. At this point not sure if I want to save up for something really sweet looking or just go with a Savage 114 (which is good looking).

Does anyone know whether Savage will do upgrades on their basic product line?

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I don't own any "feckless" rifles, interesting term, but i am very willing to give Dave $150.oo for the previously mentioned hunk of junk that shoots better than 2 MOA. Feckless or not

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Mike Diehl

If the Savage 114 suits your taste in the looks department, why not? I owned 2 Savage 110's and both were MOA shooters from the box. Neither had the Accu-trigger since they were earlier rifles. I had a similar experience with a M-94 Winchester .30-30. Never again.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I also had a 1975 manuf '94, that held a 4" MOA at about 80 yards, not tack driving, but it brought home the venison at woods hunting distance. I traded it off for Rem auto rifle in 30/06, which was traded for a Colt 45ACP...anyway, I also have an 1980 manuf Savage 110, that still shoots with attitude! I changed the factory stock out for a laminate drop in one,and that thing shoots even better!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

What about the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 Obama signed into law yesterday? I have yet to figure it out and am working too much because making money right now is a wonderful thing so why not fill the wretched refuse in on what it is... are these areas now non-hunting areas? Sorry to not contribute to the discussion at hand but if anyone knows can they fill me in?

I know not to question your shooting abilities or knowledge of weapons so I pretty much attribute all faults to the rifle when it is in your hands. Anyone who can shoot a .177" group with a factory rifle and ammo is a hell of a lot better man than I will ever be. That being said in my neck of the woods you could fill your tag and your neighbors with a 30-06 that shot 3" at 100 yards...

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from steve182 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
I tried the Answers section, and Message boards but my peers have largely failed me so i'm asking you. I am looking at a CVA Apex, to use as both a muzzleloader and centerfire for deer, and maybe varmints. What is your opinion on this rifle, versus the alternatives, it's value, etc. Also is there, has there been, a recall on CVA products and has the issue, if there was one, been resolved? Thankyou in advance for your insight.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

@Steve 182 -

Get yourself a Savage 10ML-II. No need to worry about recall there.

On a related note I saw a NiB Austin & Halleck going for $500. Never saw a prettier piece of wood on a $500 rifle. I almost decided to separate from the cash just to HAVE the thing and hold it. But my 10ML-II really fills every muzzleloader need.

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from steve182 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Mike, thankyou, as a Savage owner and fan i would like to buy that gun,(still might) but was looking for one of the Interchangable types. Whether or not that is a bright idea is debatable. I could buy two guns instead. We'll see

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Interesting comments on the '94 Winchester. I
once loaned my '94 to a friend who swore he could not get it to hit the side of a barn at
50 yards. I looked at the box of 150 gr. ammo
he was giving back with the rifle, and went and got a box of 170 gr. Remington factory loads. Knocked off three Copenhagen cans with three shots at 100 yds., shooting off hand, back in the days when I could see and shoot better. Sometimes you just have to ask what a particular rifle likes to shoot.
Regarding the Savage, my Mod. 10 in .223 Rem.
is the most accurate rifle I have ever used out of the box. No issues at all, just found a 55 gr. load that it likes and it will shoot
cloverleafs at 200 yds. if I do my part. Ain't the prettiest thing on the rack, but like the old man said, "purty is as purty does." For the price and performance, I would reccomend a Savage to anyone for a working rifle.

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from Gunslinger wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

:If the gun is not accurate it does not matter the cost. I've owned many firearms over my 73 yrs and found that the Dollar cost has no bearing in the accuracy. I've had 300.00 rifles that would print in same hole at l00 yds, and had 2K dollar guns that would not shoot better than 4-6" at l00 yds. Many things contribute to a great gun, Quality of material made of, Ammo, and your ability to shoot and that comes with pratice. I own a Custom Made Mauser( and I chicken to give the cost) that cost me derly and it will not print better than 3" at 100 yds,so it stays in the safe. I now have many Rems that will print l" groups at l00 yds and 1-2" at 200 yds.I own 2 pet Rems 700, one a 06 the other a 25-06,both topped with Nikon scopes and Leupolds DDT Mounts. Either will shoot about 2" below cross hairs at 350 yds with Scricco's l80 gr in the 06 and Winchester Ballistic ll7 grs in the 25-06.The 25-06 is a rem Custom Shop gun 35 yrs old. Those are the guns I take to the Rockies.I did buy a new Mrlin XL7 in 270 for a 4 wheele gun for limbs on the trails and terribe weather. I'm real finky about my guns and keep them as NIB condition.So a 300.00 gun will do the job if all compotents line up. Shoot-um-straight and ofter. AS for Shotguns, my choice is a 1100 and a old Sportsman 48 (with 2 bbls) use for Deer hunting in E-Va where rifles not allowed. And my pet handgun is a Uberti 44-40 for hunting and a Kel-tec 380 for CC. My B/P gun is a CVA Hunterbolt, 0 at 200 yds and will pattern 3-4" at that range. To me Ammo and pratice is the key to good hunting if equipted with good glass and a dependable, accurate rifle. I do believe 99% of misses is the person at the butt end.

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

In 1979, I purchased a Remington "Mohawk" 600 in .222 Remington, the last of the production run for this model. I'd owned two Model 600s before it (in .308 and .243) and both grouped and performed better than I had a right to expect, but this .222 was a disappointment. Let's face it, if you can't get decent groups out of a .222, you can't blame the cartridge. The stock looked like it was whittled from a plank instead of a blank, so I purchased another "95% completed" stock and did the outside shaping myself, but another fellow inletted the barreled action. The trigger was creepy, so that was replaced with a crisp Canjar unit. There were an assortment of cosmetic upgrades (aluminum trigger guard, bolt shroud, etc.) none of which I expected would improve its accuracy. I put a Burris 6X Compact scope on the receiver in Conetrol rings and bases. The result was a better looking little rifle. The trigger made a noticeable difference, but something still wasn't quite right. A gunsmith looked at it and eventually handed it back. There was an issue with the inletting of the action, what the 'smith described as a "hump" or bump, which he eliminated. I've had that little rifle for 30 years, spent more on it than I can justify in writing and can't say it was the best choice I've ever made from the rack but I continue to enjoy it, and it now groups very decently (but not impressively) at 100 yds. I accept that for the pest control role it performs, because this one is usually fired from the standing position in the tall grass and weeds at less than 100 yards, and it does connect consistently. My son enjoys this .222 as one of his favorites, and we've discussed the next (last) step for this rifle, a 22-inch medium-heavy contour fluted barrel, again chambered for the .222 Rem., and I expect it'll get another generation's use before my son is done with it. I must tell you, I've spent more that four times the initial purchase price to bring this rifle to a point when I'm pleased with it, and I absolutely would not go through all that expense again.

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from Pops wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I all of the comments there has been no mention as to the rate of twist in the barrell. If the rate of twist is not right for the weight of the bullet, it will not stablize therefore scattering bullets everywhere.

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from chuckles wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

@steve182
I own a CVA Optima Elite in .50 cal. muzzleloader with a .243 centerfire rifle barrel. It is a great combo and a lot of gun/s for the price. If benchrest accuracy is your goal you may be disappointed as it shoots around MOA in both configurations. I shoot 270gr Powerbelt Platinums over 100gr of Pyrodex and Federal 85gr Barnes TSX in the .243. It shoots Hornady 58gr VMax sub-MOA on days when I go easy on the coffee. My biggest complaint is the creepy, heavy trigger. I do not know the exact pull but it is considerably stiffer than my Browning A-Bolt @ 3 lbs. CVA will adjust the trigger to 3.5 lbs for $20.00 plus the shipping if you want. I have yet to send mine in so I cannot speak to the difference it might make.
Also, unless you are in a hurry you probably do not have to pay full price. I picked mine up for $400.00 at Gander Mtn. on clearance (754.00 orig.) There are several there right now for the same deal if you are anywhere near Lakeville, MN. Good shooting!
As for the rifle mentioned in the column, the inconsistency mentioned would be the deal breaker for me. I can deal with a devil I know but uncertainty definitely can affect your mental state in the field or on the range.

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from RR wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I guess if you've got a bevy of one-hole shooters in the gun case then that poor, feckless '06 is certainly a waste of time. But some would gladly work within the limitations of the rifle and be happy as hell that they could hunt at all. It's all a matter of perspective.

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from K.C. Hanson wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I've seen some godawful rifles, but I can't say I've ever seen a spitter. That being said, if Dave says it spits, it spits.

As for when to call it feckless, I don't look past the first box of ammo. If it won't do 2" on paper inside the first box, I sell it. Like the man said, I have too many that do.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I've been pretty lucky I guess never had one I was not happy with so far.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

looneyducer-
You might want to look a little further than one box of ammo. I have an old, ugly '06 that
will spit anything it is loaded with except certain 165 gr. loads. It has accounted for about 30 deer and elk, and I don't know how many coyotes and hogs.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from K.C. Hanson wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

crm3006,
I understand what you are saying, but about 30 years ago I lucked into one of those rare barrels that shoots anything and everything you feed it. In fact, I've run a duke's mixture of factory whatevers out and it grouped them all inside of 2". Since then, anything I run into that is fickle about ammo tends to sit in the gunrack anyway, so as soon as there is money to be made I let them go. It's not like I give them away or saw their receivers in half.
By the way, a buddy of mine just bought an ugly new 06,as opposed to your old one, and it seems to be pretty specific about its diet as well. The other side of this equation, however, is that my rifle won't even come close to his with the right bullets. Not even close. On minute his is a shotgun, the next it's tacks. Crazy.

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from crm3006 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Interesting comments on the '94 Winchester. I
once loaned my '94 to a friend who swore he could not get it to hit the side of a barn at
50 yards. I looked at the box of 150 gr. ammo
he was giving back with the rifle, and went and got a box of 170 gr. Remington factory loads. Knocked off three Copenhagen cans with three shots at 100 yds., shooting off hand, back in the days when I could see and shoot better. Sometimes you just have to ask what a particular rifle likes to shoot.
Regarding the Savage, my Mod. 10 in .223 Rem.
is the most accurate rifle I have ever used out of the box. No issues at all, just found a 55 gr. load that it likes and it will shoot
cloverleafs at 200 yds. if I do my part. Ain't the prettiest thing on the rack, but like the old man said, "purty is as purty does." For the price and performance, I would reccomend a Savage to anyone for a working rifle.

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from ishawooa wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

On the other hand over the years I have acquired rifles that I just put on a scope, squared the crosshairs, tightened the screws, picked through some old reloads and the damned thing shoots perfectly small and consistant groups. I own one old Browning '06 that I have had for nearly 40 years which I actually use as a platform to test various scopes that might eventually end up on another rifle. I can count on the old Browning to deliver thus eliminating several unknown factors while attempting to build trust in the new fangled scope. Years ago I used to win money at turkey shoots using this field grade standard barrel '06 shooting against heavy barreled varmint rifles. When the big barrel boys saw what I intended to use they were always willing to ante up the pot. After a while word got around so that honey hole went away.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

My Weatherby Mark V Lightweight shot nice groups with Remington Express 180 grain factory loads from the start. When I started monkeying around with handloads and different loads, I found that it had a particular disdain for 165 and 180 grain Partition's and Scirocco's, much to my chagrin. It will shoot Ballistic Tip's and Hornady Interlock's just fine, however. When I put a few 165 grain Federal Barnes TSX's into darn near the same hole, I knew that I had found it's nirvana! A few clicks of adjustment and called it good. I still load some Hornady's or Speer's for pre-season practice, but the Federal 165 TSX is what goes on the hunt.

I have been guilty of recycling rifles that did not meet my expectations. Most would shoot at least one load OK, but maybe not the load I wanted for that rifle, so away they went. Never had anyone call me back complaining either, so they must have been good enough ......

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

FECKLESS !

Thanks, Dave. I learned a new word as in: We now have a feckless administration compounding the existing problems in America.

WMH

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I ran across a Feckless .300 WSM once. It displayed true love for only one thing, 150 grain Nosler Ballistic Tips. It would drive tacks with most any load topped with them. Try anything else, home grown or store bought and it spat them wildly. When Nosler released the 180 grain Accubond they were loaded and tried on whim. One particular loading produced 1 inch groups, vary it and instant seed spreader! CRM you are correct, it just might sour you on a cartridge...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Does anyone else find it amazing that a number of war inventory rifles shoot respectful groups( 3-4 inch groups out of a 120+ year old rifle I think are respectful). I know modern manufacture and handloading should bring that to much tighter groups, but I guess it all comes down to a bullet, a little powder, and a brass shell to make go "bang" that has been the heart of accurate shooting.Face it, most of can't buy a rifle to replace the BARREL, thatcan cost twice as much as the gun in the first place! So I'm back to the question;"What is accurate enough for a 300,400, or 500 dollar rifle?"
ps-If anyone here would want to contemplate cutting a rile in half;PLEASE keep me in mind before you do and I will buy it from you for fair scrap price!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from dickgun wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Hi RTR,
To briefly answer your posed question, I have hunted a bit in far away places which included high mountains and big country vistas. To me, in order to be considered for the kind of hunt I may do, a rifle that will not meet or exceed 1-MOA at 100 yds is totally unacceptable. Now, I am not saying, to anyone listening, that-that should be their standard for their type of hunting. Only that, if I spend a fair amount of money and a whole hell of a lot more physical effort to keep prepared to hunt the 'high places' I will not compromise the weapon I carry if the opportunity arises for a shot exceeding 300 yds.
Obviously, we all know that the equipment to meet or exceed that standard is out there and available at less than 'save the auto industry' cost. Without messing and fooling very much. I am not a messer or fooler. A gun shoots or it does not and, if not, I move on. Again, not to denegrate those of you who love to see if a project (any project) can be improved. The world is full of examples of people who think the same thing about wimmin!!

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from Paul Wilke wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I'm pretty sure that all of my wild shoots can be traced to just one component, that loose nut just behind the butt plate.
I'd like to think otherwise but my mother taught me to be truthful.

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from MattB wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I have had only two rifles which could not be tamed. The first was a Winchester model 94 made in the early 70's. It would throw shots all over a 4' by 4' target at 75 yards. The second was one of the first Mini-14 Ranch rifles. It would shoot dead on for the first shot and then throw shots all over the target. Both were traded off for other guns. Life is too short to shoot a frustrating rifle.

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from Mark-1 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I’ve “improved” my rifles’ performance after checking the obvious screws. If there were problems it was usually in the bedding. However, it was pointed out to me I may have been asking too much for the cartridge and particular rifles. E.g.:

--Getting a 22 Hornet rifle to shoot within 1-inch is pretty good, and it’s not reasonable to ask for better grouping.

--Lever actions and most semi’s won’t group as well as a bolt action. Most semi’s chambers are cut large [not the best for proper headspacing] in order for them to function and two-piece stocks are not conducive to accuracy. Few lever actions lock up like bolt actions.

Otherwise, I agree with DP there are too many great rifles out there to fiddle with a bad performer.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I own rifles that shoot better than I do. They're all sub-MOA in the hands of a real good shot. In my hands they're MOA more or less.

MattB I had a Model 94 winchester also made in the 70s that was just the same. At 75 yards the bullets would fly wildly all over the target. Good riddance. I'll never buy a winchester now. I can't afford the reliable ollectibles and the others aren't worth having.

My next and probably final rifle will be something in a .30-06. At this point not sure if I want to save up for something really sweet looking or just go with a Savage 114 (which is good looking).

Does anyone know whether Savage will do upgrades on their basic product line?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Mike Diehl

If the Savage 114 suits your taste in the looks department, why not? I owned 2 Savage 110's and both were MOA shooters from the box. Neither had the Accu-trigger since they were earlier rifles. I had a similar experience with a M-94 Winchester .30-30. Never again.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I also had a 1975 manuf '94, that held a 4" MOA at about 80 yards, not tack driving, but it brought home the venison at woods hunting distance. I traded it off for Rem auto rifle in 30/06, which was traded for a Colt 45ACP...anyway, I also have an 1980 manuf Savage 110, that still shoots with attitude! I changed the factory stock out for a laminate drop in one,and that thing shoots even better!!

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from Mike Diehl wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

@Steve 182 -

Get yourself a Savage 10ML-II. No need to worry about recall there.

On a related note I saw a NiB Austin & Halleck going for $500. Never saw a prettier piece of wood on a $500 rifle. I almost decided to separate from the cash just to HAVE the thing and hold it. But my 10ML-II really fills every muzzleloader need.

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from Pops wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I all of the comments there has been no mention as to the rate of twist in the barrell. If the rate of twist is not right for the weight of the bullet, it will not stablize therefore scattering bullets everywhere.

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from chuckles wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

@steve182
I own a CVA Optima Elite in .50 cal. muzzleloader with a .243 centerfire rifle barrel. It is a great combo and a lot of gun/s for the price. If benchrest accuracy is your goal you may be disappointed as it shoots around MOA in both configurations. I shoot 270gr Powerbelt Platinums over 100gr of Pyrodex and Federal 85gr Barnes TSX in the .243. It shoots Hornady 58gr VMax sub-MOA on days when I go easy on the coffee. My biggest complaint is the creepy, heavy trigger. I do not know the exact pull but it is considerably stiffer than my Browning A-Bolt @ 3 lbs. CVA will adjust the trigger to 3.5 lbs for $20.00 plus the shipping if you want. I have yet to send mine in so I cannot speak to the difference it might make.
Also, unless you are in a hurry you probably do not have to pay full price. I picked mine up for $400.00 at Gander Mtn. on clearance (754.00 orig.) There are several there right now for the same deal if you are anywhere near Lakeville, MN. Good shooting!
As for the rifle mentioned in the column, the inconsistency mentioned would be the deal breaker for me. I can deal with a devil I know but uncertainty definitely can affect your mental state in the field or on the range.

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from RR wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I guess if you've got a bevy of one-hole shooters in the gun case then that poor, feckless '06 is certainly a waste of time. But some would gladly work within the limitations of the rifle and be happy as hell that they could hunt at all. It's all a matter of perspective.

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from 2Poppa wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Away it goes ...

Once a rifle is rendered feckless, they usually, and unfortunately, are sold to unsuspecting buyers.
It's a costly misfortune, but one well earned, I meant learned!

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from crm3006 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I once owned a feckless .243 Win. and due to
economic circumstances tried every poor boy accurizing trick in the book. My final trick was a series of trades that ended up with a Remington 700 .30-'06, but for some reason it soured me on the .243 Win. to this day.

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from Shaky wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

D.E.P.;I didn't comment on the first blog,because I agree with you 100%, and you were getting too much advice as it
was. Like you said recently, I'm an old man and I don't
care. I would send that rifle back to wherever it came from, and tell them what I thought of their quality control, and that would be that for that particular piece. If it shot 1.5 or under consistently, I could live
with that, but I don't hunt in the Oort cloud and a flyer
per group I will not tolerate. I have too many rifles in various calibers that shoot better. And if I didn't I still wouldn't keep screwing around with it and send it back.
Everyone to his own taste, but in my experience, you can waste a lot of time on a junker and still not have anything but a junker, and I know I don't have a lot of time left to waste.

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from Carney wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Another whole post -- and no comment about the one bullet in the oort cloud??|!?!?! Go figure...

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from BarkeyVA wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

In the early 1990's my Dad bought a used Mauser action varmit rifle with a heavy "bull" barrel that had been rechambered for 22-250. The stock had been glass-bedded the entire length of the forearm. He tried a lot of combinations of bullet types, weights, powders, etc. but could not get 5 shots to group smaller than 1.5 inches at 100 yards.

As a last resort he chipped out the glass bedding so the barrel "floated" and immediately began shooting 5/8" groups. He consistantly killed groundhogs at 300+ yards with it after it was "fixed."

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from Del in KS wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

While I have only had a couple rifles that would stack bullets in one hole at a 100 yds (both 700 Rems.) I have only had 1 (Glenfield by Marlin 30/30) that was all over the paper. Guess I've been lucky. Bought that Marlin (my first deer rifle) many years ago at a gunshop in Columbus, GA. The owner said it was sighted in and ready to hunt with the open sights. I took a shot at a doe at 150 yd. aiming at the shoulder and hit her between the eyes. At the range it was all over the target with any ammo I tried.

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from KJ wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

When you consider all the elements that have to work together nearly perfectly in order to achieve a sub-MOA group, accuracy becomes a real marvel. We probably fret it too much, just like we fret lots of other things that ultimately have little consequence. I have a Winchester Featherweight .30-06 that shoots 1.5" groups, but no better. It's a joy to shoot, so I like to look at it and handle it, even though I have other rifles that are more accurate. I suppose it's a trade-off, but I can sleep with it.

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from nunyabinis wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I have a two decades old Remington 700 ADL in 30-06 that cost me $359 brand spanking new. The scope I have mounted on it cost twice what the rifle did. If I shoot more than three rounds back to back it will start spraying bullets number four and higher all over kingdom come. Guess what... that ain't the way it gets used in REAL WORLD hunting.

I can take this gun and shoot it once per year and it'll put a bullet through damn-near the same hole this year, next year and the year after that. It's been doing that for two decades. At the start of deer season I take her out, dust her off, fire one shot to make sure she's still "zeroed", then hunt with her. She's brought a deer to heel EVERY time I've squeezed the trigger. In two decades of hunting I've had to shoot more than once at a deer exactly one time. I was standing shooting off-hand from about 100 yards and I could see that the first bullet went way high so I lowered the point of aim to allow for my short comings shooting off-hand and WHAMO.... dead deer.

That, my friends, is "good enough".

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from Scott Kittinger wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Generally speaking rifles will outshoot their owners, however it is highly improbable that it would happen 100% of the time. Douglas Adams wrote: "See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that." I see that you have thought and tested and come up wanting with the rifle. Pitch it or cut it up and sell it for scrap as your preference dictates.

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from steve182 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I don't own any "feckless" rifles, interesting term, but i am very willing to give Dave $150.oo for the previously mentioned hunk of junk that shoots better than 2 MOA. Feckless or not

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from Tim Platt wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

What about the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 Obama signed into law yesterday? I have yet to figure it out and am working too much because making money right now is a wonderful thing so why not fill the wretched refuse in on what it is... are these areas now non-hunting areas? Sorry to not contribute to the discussion at hand but if anyone knows can they fill me in?

I know not to question your shooting abilities or knowledge of weapons so I pretty much attribute all faults to the rifle when it is in your hands. Anyone who can shoot a .177" group with a factory rifle and ammo is a hell of a lot better man than I will ever be. That being said in my neck of the woods you could fill your tag and your neighbors with a 30-06 that shot 3" at 100 yards...

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from steve182 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Mr. Petzal,
I tried the Answers section, and Message boards but my peers have largely failed me so i'm asking you. I am looking at a CVA Apex, to use as both a muzzleloader and centerfire for deer, and maybe varmints. What is your opinion on this rifle, versus the alternatives, it's value, etc. Also is there, has there been, a recall on CVA products and has the issue, if there was one, been resolved? Thankyou in advance for your insight.

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from steve182 wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

Mike, thankyou, as a Savage owner and fan i would like to buy that gun,(still might) but was looking for one of the Interchangable types. Whether or not that is a bright idea is debatable. I could buy two guns instead. We'll see

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from Gunslinger wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

:If the gun is not accurate it does not matter the cost. I've owned many firearms over my 73 yrs and found that the Dollar cost has no bearing in the accuracy. I've had 300.00 rifles that would print in same hole at l00 yds, and had 2K dollar guns that would not shoot better than 4-6" at l00 yds. Many things contribute to a great gun, Quality of material made of, Ammo, and your ability to shoot and that comes with pratice. I own a Custom Made Mauser( and I chicken to give the cost) that cost me derly and it will not print better than 3" at 100 yds,so it stays in the safe. I now have many Rems that will print l" groups at l00 yds and 1-2" at 200 yds.I own 2 pet Rems 700, one a 06 the other a 25-06,both topped with Nikon scopes and Leupolds DDT Mounts. Either will shoot about 2" below cross hairs at 350 yds with Scricco's l80 gr in the 06 and Winchester Ballistic ll7 grs in the 25-06.The 25-06 is a rem Custom Shop gun 35 yrs old. Those are the guns I take to the Rockies.I did buy a new Mrlin XL7 in 270 for a 4 wheele gun for limbs on the trails and terribe weather. I'm real finky about my guns and keep them as NIB condition.So a 300.00 gun will do the job if all compotents line up. Shoot-um-straight and ofter. AS for Shotguns, my choice is a 1100 and a old Sportsman 48 (with 2 bbls) use for Deer hunting in E-Va where rifles not allowed. And my pet handgun is a Uberti 44-40 for hunting and a Kel-tec 380 for CC. My B/P gun is a CVA Hunterbolt, 0 at 200 yds and will pattern 3-4" at that range. To me Ammo and pratice is the key to good hunting if equipted with good glass and a dependable, accurate rifle. I do believe 99% of misses is the person at the butt end.

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from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

In 1979, I purchased a Remington "Mohawk" 600 in .222 Remington, the last of the production run for this model. I'd owned two Model 600s before it (in .308 and .243) and both grouped and performed better than I had a right to expect, but this .222 was a disappointment. Let's face it, if you can't get decent groups out of a .222, you can't blame the cartridge. The stock looked like it was whittled from a plank instead of a blank, so I purchased another "95% completed" stock and did the outside shaping myself, but another fellow inletted the barreled action. The trigger was creepy, so that was replaced with a crisp Canjar unit. There were an assortment of cosmetic upgrades (aluminum trigger guard, bolt shroud, etc.) none of which I expected would improve its accuracy. I put a Burris 6X Compact scope on the receiver in Conetrol rings and bases. The result was a better looking little rifle. The trigger made a noticeable difference, but something still wasn't quite right. A gunsmith looked at it and eventually handed it back. There was an issue with the inletting of the action, what the 'smith described as a "hump" or bump, which he eliminated. I've had that little rifle for 30 years, spent more on it than I can justify in writing and can't say it was the best choice I've ever made from the rack but I continue to enjoy it, and it now groups very decently (but not impressively) at 100 yds. I accept that for the pest control role it performs, because this one is usually fired from the standing position in the tall grass and weeds at less than 100 yards, and it does connect consistently. My son enjoys this .222 as one of his favorites, and we've discussed the next (last) step for this rifle, a 22-inch medium-heavy contour fluted barrel, again chambered for the .222 Rem., and I expect it'll get another generation's use before my son is done with it. I must tell you, I've spent more that four times the initial purchase price to bring this rifle to a point when I'm pleased with it, and I absolutely would not go through all that expense again.

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from K.C. Hanson wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I've seen some godawful rifles, but I can't say I've ever seen a spitter. That being said, if Dave says it spits, it spits.

As for when to call it feckless, I don't look past the first box of ammo. If it won't do 2" on paper inside the first box, I sell it. Like the man said, I have too many that do.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

looneyducer-
You might want to look a little further than one box of ammo. I have an old, ugly '06 that
will spit anything it is loaded with except certain 165 gr. loads. It has accounted for about 30 deer and elk, and I don't know how many coyotes and hogs.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I've been pretty lucky I guess never had one I was not happy with so far.

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from K.C. Hanson wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

crm3006,
I understand what you are saying, but about 30 years ago I lucked into one of those rare barrels that shoots anything and everything you feed it. In fact, I've run a duke's mixture of factory whatevers out and it grouped them all inside of 2". Since then, anything I run into that is fickle about ammo tends to sit in the gunrack anyway, so as soon as there is money to be made I let them go. It's not like I give them away or saw their receivers in half.
By the way, a buddy of mine just bought an ugly new 06,as opposed to your old one, and it seems to be pretty specific about its diet as well. The other side of this equation, however, is that my rifle won't even come close to his with the right bullets. Not even close. On minute his is a shotgun, the next it's tacks. Crazy.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 5 years 2 weeks ago

I wished I’d had a dollar of some poor chap swearing his gun wouldn’t shoot. After shooting 5 rounds equal to or less than “MOA” all of a sudden, the shooter whas shooting less than MOA!

Sometimes it’s all in the head!

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