Disappointing accuracy from new Sakot 85 Finnlight in .308 Win.

Discussion in 'Sako 75, 85 and A7' started by almargheim, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. misako50

    misako50 Sako-addicted

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    First Rate Al! This should be a "sticky"-Misako

     

  2. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    Thanks Misako,
    I had meant to include a little more information about Beretta Customer Service in my last post, but I left out a few details. Here they are:
    The customer service phone number I called was: (800) 237 3882.
    The web page that gives the customer service phone number and the warning against shipping directly to Beretta is:
    http://www.berettasupport.com/service/pg_servicecenters.htm

    I assume most of you know that it is legal to
    ship a firearm to a licensed gunsmith or firearms manufacturer and for
    them to ship the firearm directly back to you.
    Rifles can be shipped via UPS, Fed Ex or the Postal Service.
    I shipped the gun via UPS Ground in the original Sako box. To meet UPS's requirement that the box not indicate that the contents are a firearm, I wrapped the box in heavy wrapping paper and covered the entire box in packing tape. Cost to ship was $22 from South Dakota, which included the mandatory Adult Signature Required option. Thank goodness UPS doesn't require rifles to be shipped Next Day Air like they do handguns. Instructions for shipping firearms via UPS are available here.

    Hope this helps,
    Al
     
  3. 5280sakonut

    5280sakonut Well-Known Member

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    Al: thanks for the update. Seems like they are treating you fairly thus far. Let us know what happens next. This is interesting as it is unlikely it happens very often but the customer service experience says a lot about a company.
     
  4. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    Al here, with an update on my 308 Sako 85 Finnlight.
    I received my Sako 85 back from Beretta a few days ago. A detailed report follows, but for those who like to cut to the chase, the work order from Beretta says they cleaned the rifle and the ballistics report from their Oehler system indicates they shot a 0.97" five-shot group with Winchester Supreme 168 grain Ballistic Silvertip ammo.
    I took the rifle to the range over the weekend with a box of the same Winchester Supreme ammo Beretta used and shot a 2.5" five shot group. The first three rounds went into 1 3/8", the fourth shot opened the group up to 2.5" and the fifth shot shot grouped with the first three shots. If you threw out the fourth shot the group size would have been 2 1/8" The first, second, third and fifth shots were almost a horizontal line.
    For any who might be interested, here's a timeline of my experience with Beretta customer support.
    Sept 23 - I sent Sako 85 to Beretta's factory service center via UPS.
    Sept 30 - Beretta Customer Support sent me a letter confirming they had received the rifle. The letter mentioned that Sako rifles have a one year warranty unless you send them the warranty registration card, in which case the warranty is two years. The letter also said to allow three to four weeks for repair and delivery.
    Oct 22 - Called Customer Support to ask for progress report. Was told they were almost finished, but the person who could give more info (Neela) was out that day.
    Oct 26 - Called Cust. Support and spoke to Neela. She said the rifle was shipped back to me on Oct 25. She said a detailed report of the work done was included with the rifle.
    Oct 29 - UPS delivered the rifle. The rifle was double-boxed. The outside container was a plain brown box inside of which was the original Sako box that I shipped the rifle to Beretta in.
    Included with the rifle were a copy of the work order listing some of what Beretta did, an accuracy report from Beretta's Oehler Ballistics system, a one page printout on rifle maintenance, and a two page printout on "The Cleaning of a Rifle Barrel."
    The work order said (and I quote):
    Precheck & Safety check.
    Inspected & gaged the rifle, found no mechanical problems.
    Scrubbed out the bore using Sweet's solvent in order to remove any/all fouling and patched clean.
    Mounted our shop scope a 36X Weaver target scope W/ Sako optilock ring/mount and boresighted using a Laserlyte kit.
    Targeted the rifle firing 5 shots from a rested position in a leadsled at a little over 100yrds and
    produced a group that measured 0.97 of an inch. RFAD. Meets specs. 10/14/10.
    The accuracy report was from one of Oehler's ballistic's instrumentation systems and contained a great deal of environmental and ballistic info that I won't repeat here. The most salient items in the report were:
    1) a computer reproduction of the group shot on the test target captured via acoustic sensors
    2) the overall group size: 0.97 inch.
    3) the test ammo was Winchester Supreme .308 168 grain Ballistic SilverTip
    The Winchester Supreme ammo was different than what Beretta customer service had told me they would use. They had said they would use Remington Premium 168 grain ammo. At $38 a box, I'm glad I resisted the impulse to buy some Remington Premium ammo while I waited for Beretta to return the rifle.
    Here's an account of my session at the range this weekend.
    I took the rifle to the range after remounting my Bushnell Elite 4200 2.5-10x40mm with Leupold mounts. Temperatures were in the mid-40's with no wind to speak of. I verified the scope and rifle were on paper by shooting three rounds of some practice reloads.
    I shot a slow five-shot group with the same ammo Beretta used: Winchester Supreme 168 gr Ballistic Silvertips. I waited several minutes between each shot.
    The first three shots went into 1 3/8", the fourth shot opened the group up to a dismal to 2.5". The fourth shot felt good when it went off. I would not have called it as a flier.
    The fifth shot landed very close to the first three bullet holes. Those four shots together made a 2 1/8" group.
    Now that Beretta has confirmed that the 85 is capable of shooting a 1" group, I'm resolved to doing the same. I can think of only two possible reasons why my group sizes are so large:
    1) My bench technique is defective
    2) The scope mounts are defective. (The mounts are the only variable I haven't changed.)
    Can anyone think of any other reasons why I haven't been able to shoot 1" groups when Beretta can?
    It's getting late in the season to do any more accuracy work with the rifle. But, next summer I'll be back at the range with different scope mounts and a commitment to shoot some small groups.
    One other bit of information I have to share. I had adjusted the 85's trigger pull to 2.5 pounds before shipping the rifle to Beretta. This weekend, after the first shot I realized the trigger pull felt pretty heavy. By the time I finished I was certain Beretta must have set the trigger pull higher as part of their work.
    When I got the rifle home I measured the trigger pull and confirmed that it had been set to 60 oz.
    I wish Beretta had mentioned that they had changed the trigger pull on their work order, and I have to say I am puzzled why it was set to 60 oz when the Sako 85 manual says the default trigger pressure is set at the factory to 15 Newtons (3 lbs). I have readjusted the trigger back down to 46 oz.
    - Al
     
  5. sakointerest

    sakointerest Member

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    I can understand why Beretta didn't want to spend more money on ammo, but a single group is only an indicator of a rifle's accuracy. Shooting multiple groups is much more telling. I have a Sako 75 in .260 Remington that is inconsistent. Sometimes it will shoot impressive groups but other times it won't. You would never be able to tell this without firing more than one or two groups. In my rifle's case it appears that the front of the action is not bedded evenly. I am going to glass bed it and try again.

    Hope your rifle lives up to your expectations.
     
  6. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    There's a lot of truth to your comment about judging a rifle's accuracy from a single group. I take Beretta's report only as an indication that my Finnlight is capable of the kind of groups that Sako guarantees. Before I sent the rifle to Beretta I had no confidence in it. Now I have a little confidence in it.
    I'll be trying a variety of 165-168 grain reloads next summer to try to duplicate Beretta's results. Hopefully those efforts will establish whether the rifle is a consistent performer or not.
    Thanks,
    Al
     
  7. 5280sakonut

    5280sakonut Well-Known Member

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    Al: When you start loading, I've had the best luck with Barnes TSX, Accubonds and A-Frames in my .30 caliber Sakos (no .308 Win however in my current battery). Also, a COAL at or near the Max usually works best and at moderate velocities. Hope this helps.
     
  8. misako50

    misako50 Sako-addicted

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    Al- If someone out of the blue told me that you had to send a rifle to Beretta to get an accuracy check, I would have told them it was untrue. With all of your experience at a benchrest I would think that you would be best at determining whether or not a rifle is accurate or not. I have had like same experiences with rifles that would not perform on a consistent level. My favorite is my "Ruger" story. I used the "premium" rounds in it to achieve accuracy the first time I shot it . One year later, the groups opened up to 2 and 3 inches. Cause- stock had warped. All the years I shot one rifle- Sako Deluxe .308 win (old-never bedded). I never had accuracy problems with anything that I put down the tube. Then, out of nowhere it started shooting poorly. Cause- dirty reloading dies. All those years and I never bothered to clean them. I try to maintain a level of consistency with my reloading components such as weight of bullets and brass. I have no other means of keeping things to close tolerances except for an electronic scale and my personal visualizations. I also don't want to spend money on "premium" loads when back just a few years we didn't have too many options, and accuracy was no problem with "store bought" loads. I can't begin to tell you what to do with this rifle. With all your skills and patience, I'm sure you will give it a fair test and come up with a solution.-Respectfully, Mike
     
  9. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    5280sakonut,
    It seems our loading strategies are very similar. Like you, I'm a firm believer in moderate loads. If I need higher velocities than I can get from moderate loads in one cartridge I switch to a different cartridge.
    I'll be using a Stoney Point O.A.L. gauge to find a near max COAL, a Forster Ultra Micrometer Seater die, and new Lapua brass.
    I've never tried Barnes TSX or A-Frames, but I picked up a box of Accubonds at Cabelas the other week to start my load development with. I'm also going to try some plain (read less expensive) Ballistic Tips.
    I'm haven't decided which powder to try first, but I have some Varget that seems like a good candidate.
     
  10. desertmarine

    desertmarine Member

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    almargheim, I can think of several reasons why you are not getting same or near results as Beretta. Beretta used a 36X target scope and you used a 2.5X10, that gives them a better ability to find and maintain same aiming point. Possibly what you use, benchrest, lead sled, bags or something else, could make a difference. Beretta stated they cleaned the barrel, but did not mention if the group was thru clean or "conditioned" bore. "Conditioned" to me is foulded barrel. Sometimes it takes a while for a bore to "condition" and accuracy to get better.

    I shoot 308, not in a Sako. My load now is Lapua brass, CCI BR LR primers, 175 gr JLK VLD bullets, cases trimmed to 3.007" 44 grs Varget with bullets seated to 2.300" measured at ogive. I measure at ogive with digital caliper with Sinclair comparator and caliper zeroed with comparator on. I cannot seat my bullets close to the lands, due to long throat. I have a Leupold 6.5X20 VXIII scope on the rifle. I use Hart benchrest and rear bag.

    I shoot a Sako AV in 270 and working up a 130 gr load for it. I had been using moly-coated bullets but switched back to naked bullets. It is taking time for rifle to settle down. I cleaned the barrel to try and get as much moly out as possible. Also recut a new muzzle crown. Groups are starting to get smaller. A lot of rifles will need some rounds thru it before accuracy becomes better.

    Since I don't know you, please don't take any of my comments in the wrong way, just suggestions.

    I would suggest to try Sierra 168 gr MK to find out how accurate your rifle is. They are not too expensive and very good. If you have a scope with greater magnification, try that one.
     
  11. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    Sorry for the delays in responding to everyone's postings. Work is intruding in my spare time.
    misako...Before this happened I would not have believed that I would have to send the rifle to Beretta, either. I wouldn't have sent it to them if my early tests hadn't given such dismal results. I'm glad I did send it in, though. Now I have more confidence in the rifle and feel like I should be able to duplicate their results.
    desertmarine...I appreciate your suggestions. I think your comments about the target scope and difference in shooting platform are spot-on. When I test loads next summer I'm going to boost the magnification of my scope to 30X using a BulzEyePro Optical Extender. If I can find a good deal on a LeadSled Plus like the $70 price that Cabelas had on Black Friday, I will probably pick one up and give it a try. I currently use a Caldwell "The Rock Deluxe" rest with a leather bunny bag at the rear.
    I measure OAL at the ogive using a Sinclair Comparator, too. I'm
    grateful for the decent precision reloading tools that are available
    today!
    I admit that I've never been very concerned about bore conditioning as a requirement for accuracy. All of my other accurate rifles were accurate out of the box before any bore conditioning was done. Right or wrong, I guess I've come to expect that.
     
  12. desertmarine

    desertmarine Member

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    Thanks everyone for the comments. One thing that I have seen with Lead Sleds is that some people tend to put too much weight on it to lessen recoil. From what I have read and makes sense to me, is that what happens is that your stock will take all the recoil with possible damage. Some wood stocks have been split because of it. I prefer the bench rest as I get to practice on my shooting position and technique with the rifle on my shoulder. That became very apparent on a deer hunt two weeks ago. I was able to mount the rifle to my shoulder, offhand shot, find the deer on the scope, aim, fire and hit my target. Very little conscious thought went into the shot.

    I also prefer 5-shot groups to 3-shot groups. Why, just got used to it and feel it gives me a better indicator of what the rifle can do. I generally shot a round, reload and fire, without hurry or waiting for barrel cool-down, again just what I got used to. I agree with the comment on one good group been an indicator of what the rifle/load can do and use that to refine load and verify.

    Have been loading and shooting for a long time, enjoy sharing what I know and learning from others. Shoot Sako and Remington rifles.
     
  13. iblack75

    iblack75 Member

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    I have just read all the suggestions about testing for accuracy with factory ammo and not once did I see anyone suggest Hornady factory loads. I recently tried some 308 Win 150gn and 165 gn Super performance ammo in one of my 308's and it shot very acceptable groups with only a vertical variation due to bullet weight. The groups were mostly sub MOA (I'm not the best shot) with no flyers.
    I wish they produced 338 Federal cartridges so I could get my Sako 85 Bavarian shooting as well as that.
    I find that Federal factory loads seem to be over charged and produce pitting on the bolt face around the firing pin so I don't like using them, also they produce 2 1/2" or larger groups. I know it is along time since you posted the original post but I felt a need to share my opinion, sorry,
    Ian
     
  14. adb

    adb Member

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    almargheim,

    So eveyone here will know. Beretta does not have a 100 yard indoor range in Accokeek. Beretta test fires there rifles with the 36X scope @ 50yrds. I have heard them tell customers whatever group it will shoot a 50yrds it will shoot at 100yrds. NOT TRUE If you want to try and get the weapon shoot send it to JB at Accuflite. He is direct with Sako/Finland. Beretta is incompitant to deal with any issues like this other than replacing the gun which they should have done. Sako guarantees 5 rnds under 1" @ 100 yrds with premium ammo
     
  15. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    iblack75:
    Hodgdon has made the Superperformance & LeverEvolution powders that Hornady is loading their ammo with available in canister form for the handloader. The load data for 13 cartridges is on the Hodgdon web site . They are very specific about what calibers these powders are best suited for and not all calibers will get the velocity boost associated with these new powders. Fortunately, the 338 Federal is listed as one of the cartridges that can gain performance with the LeverEvolution powder. If you hand load you can roll your own for your 85 Bavarian.
     
  16. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    iblack75:
    I have nothing against Hornady ammo and have to admit that the Superformance ammo looks very interesting. I plan to test some in my .308's later this year.
    paulsonconstruction:
    thanks for mentioning that Hodgdon has made the Superformance powder available. I hope it lives up to its claims. If reloaders can duplicate the Hornady factory ammo performance I'm sure Hodgdon will sell a bunch!
    adb:
    Your posting is very disturbing. After seeing it, I reread the paperwork that Beretta returned with my rifle. The work order says that they shot the rifle at "a little over 100 yards." The Oehler ballistics report says "Muzl to Trgt: 308.00 feet." I'm not doubting your word, just relaying what the Beretta paperwork said.
    If I can't shoot 1" five-shot groups at 100 yards with my Finnlight this summer then I will be looking for someone who can make it shoot to spec and will definitely consider Accuflite. Hill Country Rifles is another company I would consider.
    Thanks,
    Al
     
  17. ktmullens

    ktmullens Member

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    Al, not to try to stir up a hornets nest on your thread here. Have you tried a different different scope? I personally won't put a bushnell on a .22 in my safe, much less a high dollar sporting rifle.
    See if any of your buddies have (at a minimum) of a Nikon buckmaster or better that they could loan you. I truly believe that bushnell makes crap.
    I don't have any of the newer Sakos, but I have a couple of old L579's in 308 that will both shoot well under an inch if I do my part.
    Also can you possibly post a pic of your groups? Sometimes a picture can reveal a little info on what a rifle is doing...sometimes it wont either...
     
  18. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    ktmullens: Hi. I've tried two scopes. Both were Bushnells. One a brand-new, top-end Bushnell Elite and the other a Trophy model that I have shot many sub-MOA groups with on a Ruger .223.
    I think it is unlikely that the scope is at fault since two scopes shoot the same. However, I am planning on trying a new Nitrex TR Two 2-10x42mm scope this summer after I use a Wheeler scope mounting kit to check the mount alignment and lap the rings.
    FWIW, among my scope collection I have several Leupold VXIII's, a Weaver Grand Slam, and several Bushnell Elites. I much prefer the Bushnell Elites. To me, they seem to be brighter and clearer, and the RainGuard coating gives them a clear advantage when hunting in bad weather. The last VXIII that I purchased came with two elevation dials (i.e, Leupold installed an elevation dial instead of a windage dial). That did not inspire confidence in Leupold's quality control.
    To add something positive to the conversation, here's an article by Field and Stream's David E. Petzal on the Bushnell Elite line.
    I'll try to post some pictures of my groups this weekend.
    Thanks for your input.
    Al
     
  19. dlshehan

    dlshehan Member

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    I have been there. I would change the mounting setup. I have seen problems with Leupold rings and bases. I would use factory rings and bases. Also let someone else shoot the gun that can shoot. Light rifles are not designed to shoot well from the bench. Finally there is a time to quit and move on too. There are lots of good guns, why fight with one that won't do what you want. Daryl.
     
  20. almargheim

    almargheim Active Member

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    Here are four pictures of some of the groups that I shot with my Finnlight .308 last year. The Winchester Supreme 168 gr Silvertips were shot after the rifle came back from Beretta. All of the other groups were shot before the rifle went to Beretta. As you can see, even the 3-shot groups are pretty bad. So, at this point I would be thrilled to shoot decent 3-shot groups with the Finnlight, much less decent 5-shot groups
    Just to demonstrate that I am capable of shooting sub-MOA 3-shot groups, I've included a picture of two groups that I shot with my Ruger M77 MKII .223. Over the years, I've shot numerous sub-MOA groups with this Ruger M77.
    The groups in this picture were shot last summer after I installed a Timney trigger and replaced a Bushnell Trophy 3x9 scope with a Bushnell Elite 4200 3x9. The groups were shot at the same rifle range and off the same shooting bench and rest as I was using with the Finnlight.
    The 0.34" group is my all-time best group with any rifle. Prior to installing the Timney trigger and the new scope, the best group with this rifle was 0.55"
    Al
     

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