Short Actions Guidelines for Accuracy

Discussion in 'Sako Short Actions' started by ricksengines, Sep 27, 2020.

  1. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Over the years of my involvement with this forum, I have observed many similar comments concerning accuracy and on many occasions I have provided comments concerning the things that I believe are critical to determining the accuracy of a particular rifle.

    Many times members tend to write off a particular rifle because they believe that the barrel is shout out or they just can't seem to get their rifle to shoot with the degree of accuracy that they believe it should be capable of producing.

    As such, I have decided to try to create this thread to provide a place where I can try to provide all of the tips that I can about accuracy in the hope that my comments will help our members before they decide to give up on their Sako and opt to rebarrel in the hope of improving accuracy.


    This said I firmly believe that a shot out barrel is generally the result of neglect, shooting overbore or hot loads, incorrect reloading processes, improper cleaning which over time can result in a ruined barrel or many other things that can contribute this condition.

    So lets take it slow and please give me a chance to build this thread as I did the thread of the H&R Ultra Wildcats simply because it is going to take me a while to post all of the comments I have to make and I just can't do that in one sitting.

    So kindly hold your fire and give me a chance to build an outline so my readers will know where this is all going.

    rick
     
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  2. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    I'm planning on doing this in installments. That said it is going to take me some time to complete this thread. No time like the present to get started.

    I'm going to save cleaning the barrel discussion until last. Suffice to say a dirty barrel will adversely affect accuracy. Now I realize that everyone has a different strategy for cleaning the crud out of the barrel. That said there are tools out there that can help the shooter determine just how dirty the thing really is. A bore scope for one helps a lot. It can also help to determine how badly the throat has been eroded. All of this said I would take a bit of time to determine just how bad things are in there and develop a strategy for cleaning the crud out of there before going any further.

    rick
     
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  3. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Let's Talk Ammo!

    If you don't know it by now next to a clean barrel, ammo plays a large part in the accuracy that any given rifle is capable of producing. Given the huge number of variables associated with ammo selection in a lot of cases shooters experience accuracy issues and they can mistakenly blame the problem on the barrel when the problem is actually directly attributed to the ammo and not really much of anything else.

    Many shooters use commercially produced ammo. Most of the time they use this stuff because they feel intimidated by the prospect of rolling their own. By taking that route, the shooter limits the variety of bullet/load combinations available to them. Additionally, commercial ammo is produced to function in many makes of rifles chambered for that specific round. This means that there aren't really any controls on bullet design, weight, seating depth, primer, load and other factors that in combination can screw up accuracy on a good day. In addition, factor fodder seems to be loaded a bit hot for my taste. Hot loads can also contribute to accuracy problems. Now before you start screaming let me explain a bit more.

    Every rifle has something unique about it such that the same rifle manufactured by the same company in the same caliber and configuration can and will almost always perform differently with the same ammo, manufactured by the same company, same load, same bullet weight, primer, you name it. How can is be? As for the rifle, the tooling used to machine the thing will leave marks in the metal especially in the rifling. As for the ammo there are going to be small differences in bullet weight that will definitely affect accuracy. Now don't get me wrong, for general purpose shooting, commercial ammo generally performs fine. But shooters shouldn't expect to get tight groups without a few fliers. If they do get really accurate groups I would chalk it up tp to luck and nothing more.

    Additionally, commercial ammo bullet seating doesn't take into consideration just how far from the lands the nose of the bullet is. When fired the bullet actually makes a jump between where is as related to it's seating in the cartridge and the lands. This jump can affect accuracy and over time result in premature throat erosion.

    Furthermore, rifles perform differently with solid base bullets as compared to boat tail bullets. Hollow point designs compared to solid nose. Overall bullet length as related to the ogive of the thing. All play a role in accuracy.

    Bottom line is this, handloading will always result in producing a bullet load combination tailored to a specific rifle that will produce superior, consistent and predictable accuracy.

    rick
     
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  4. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Although I shoot virtually nothing but handloaded ammunition, I've been handloading for more than a half-century. Inexperienced or occasional shooters may not have the ability nor the time to tailor a handload to each particular rifle. Fully adequate and quite accurate results can be had with factory loaded ammunition. A shooter may have to try a few different brands and weights, but can usually find one which is amply adequate, particularly for hunting larger game.

    Formal target shooting where absolute precision is called for and shooting colony varmints where the volume of shots argues against factory loads are the types of shooting where handloading may be essential. Deer and big game hunting is not.
     
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  5. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    The quality of factory fodder today is much better than it was in the past. Some of the premium factory ammo today will match or exceed what I can handload for in several of my rifles. I agree with stonecreek that unless you are striving for benchrest accuracy or after the economic benefits for high volume shooting, handloading your own is getting harder to justify. On several of my big game rifles that only get a few boxes, at most, fired through them in a year I don't bother wasting my time reloading for them anymore. When factory rounds shoot sub-MOA, why bother? The older I get the more valuable my time!
     
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  6. CVCOBRA1

    CVCOBRA1 Well-Known Member

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    And to add to that, most of the new match grade ammo can exceed a lot of the hand loaded ammo from my press. The bullets used in that match ammo might not meet the demands of a hunting situation on game but yet I see many shooters still use them. Many swear by the eldM on thin skinned game for one at normal velocities.
     
  7. douglastwo

    douglastwo Well-Known Member

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  8. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    I'm not going to disagree with any of the comments made. All I will ad is that it depends on how far one intends to shoot.

    rick
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
  9. Sean Hodges

    Sean Hodges Well-Known Member

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    Great topic. Several great points and comments, so far. I’ve sort of gone to premium ammunition on big game cartridges as well. I do however get a lot of satisfaction out of hand-loading. I especially enjoy building loads for older more obscure calibers. For instance, I still love to hand-load for my .257 Bob. I know some brands are making decent stuff, but it seemed like forever the only factory cartridges available were plain soft points. The cartridge is no where near it’s potential with such a plain jane round. I’m sure others have pet cartridges they still like to cook up.
     
  10. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    I load for my wildcats, 19 Calhoon, 20 Vartarg, 20 Practical, 6x45mm & my 222 & 223 Rem PD guns. My 45-70 High-Walls get only hard cast lead bullets, so I load for them, too! The only big game rifle I load for is my L57 Coltsman that I rebarreled to 6.5 Creedmoor. The reason is there is no factory Creedmoor ammo with the Lapua 155 grain Mega-Bullet, which is my preferred 6.5mm hunting bullet. I can match 6.5x55 Swede 155 grain Lapua factory ballistics in my Creed with 1/2 MOA groups. Now, that's worth handloading for!! That bullet is AMAZING!!
     
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  11. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    I find that hunting game with my own handloads adds a dimension to the sport and is rather gratifying. But the last person I want to hunt with is the once-a-year handloader who has cobbled together his second box of reloads and has attempted to concoct a "performance" load for his .399 Whomper-Stomp Magnum (WSM). He should stick to factory ammunition.
     
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  12. RangerAV

    RangerAV Active Member

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    I enjoy handloading for it's own benefit, but I also have too many competing hobbies... so I don't do much handloading for my hunting rifles. Mostly only for my competition guns, and that's more often about less expensive quantity versus micro-accuracy. I agree: factory ammo improvements have been great. And then "minute of whitetail" isn't all that challenging a goal.

    That said, for hunting rifles, there are some gaps factory ammo doesn't fill very well. My .348 Winchester is an example; factory ammo just isn't routinely available, and even when it was, bullet selection was very limited (as was bullet technology of the times). Another example might be a combo that factories don't make; in this case I'm thinking of something like a 130-grain Barnes TSX in the .300 Savage. (That's very theoretical; I haven't actually tried that, haven't really plotted out whether it's a useful idea or not). Or maybe for a recalcitrant barrel, which for some reason doesn't submit to factory fodder.

    But then an off-the-shelf .25-'06 Rem, .260 Rem, .338 Win or whatever... not so difficult to feed solely with factory ammo.

    Especially for somebody like me: 3 shots (to check sights) with a given rifle, once every few years or so... maybe (or maybe not) one more shot that year at a likely critter... not worth buying the dies, let alone investing the time in it.

    -Chris
     
  13. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    I am really loving the comments that this thread is garnering from our members. It is gratifying to see all of the interest that it is generating. Please keep in mind that my original intent is to help out our members that are experiencing accuracy problems with their Sako rifles and as a result may believe that the barrel is worn out and needs replacing. So keep reading and commenting as I am not finished yet. There are many more topics that I intend to add to this thread that I hope will be helpful.

    rick
     
  14. Johan Lindh

    Johan Lindh Well-Known Member

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    First of all, let's define precision. Or rather, what precision do you expect from your gun? Or need?

    A one inch Group at a hundred yards is more than enough for many hunting situations. Heck, Minute of Elk is enough if that's what your huntig.

    Expecting a one-hole-five-shot-group is counter productive regarding expected accuracy. And depending on gun and cartridge not even something that you are comfortabely are able to produce ten times out of ten.

    So, if I may, som critique:
    What is clean? "Bench rest cleaning between every shot"-clean is one thing. "Shooting until you get preassure signs from "normal" loads" is another. The first is not practical and the second neglect.

    A bore scope is not a good tool for the average shooter. Firstly, if you don't know what you are looking for, you might see things you never should have seen since they are of no importance as to how the rifle shoots. Tool marks an corrosion might have bearing on what is produced on target, but having seen them will most often not produce smaller groups.
    Throat errosion is anothere thing thas not necessarily affects accuracy uinless of course the lands are so worn that the barrel is shot out. But by then nothing you do, except replacing the barrell, will have a positive effect.

    Yes, but there are som many things someone who buys their ammo does not need to concern themselves with. If you buy your ammo, test shoot it. If it doesn't work, buy something else. Buying ammo will allways force you to sacrifice some expected accuracy. If you then can't find something that shoots OK (remember MOE), it might still not be the rifle/ammo combination.

    To conclude: Cleaning the rifle is the first step to know what it's capable of. You will feel if the throat or bore is starting to wear or if there is excessive fouling.

    And: Your rifle might be capable of one MOA, but are you?
     
  15. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Hi everyone,

    I keeping with the spirit of this thread, I would like to maintain my focus on rifles that are having accuracy problems.

    rick
     
  16. paulsonconstruction

    paulsonconstruction Sako-addicted

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    Any rifle can have "accuracy problems". What problems specifically??? Focus on what??? What remedies do you propose for "rifles with accuracy problems"? The subject & the answers are infinitely complex. It will be interesting to watch this unfold, but coming to any "resolution" could be elusive, as you will get as many suggestions as we have members. I do wish you luck in your quest.
     
  17. Johan Lindh

    Johan Lindh Well-Known Member

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    A rifle that always produces 5" 5 shot groups around the aiming point at 100 yds is very accurate.

    I had a rifle once that allways delivered 3" groups. Regardless of ammo or heat build up. Pi*s poor precision, damn good accuracy.

    I don't mind editing or even deleting my posts if they have been disruptive. But accuracy have very little to do with bullet construction, powder charge or seating depth.

    Precision has...

    Bad accuracy could be related to: Bedding, optics, heat build up or bad rests.

    Pick one and we'll discuss it.
     
  18. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Cleaning the crud out of the bore

    As I said earlier my intention is to address accuracy problems as that relate to concerns expressed by some of our members where the frustration point has grown over time to the extent that the owner sees no alternative but to replace the barrel and move forward.

    I wasn't going to address the issue of cleaning the bore until last but I've decided to do it now and just get it out of the way.

    There is a pleather of bore cleaning solvents on the market. Just do an internet search and stand back. You will be overwhelmed by the number of products that are available in the marketplace. Some perform better than others. Some smell good, others not so much. For my money, if it smells good, it's worthless.

    So, let me get down to brass tacks on the subject.

    For my money you just can't beat the Montana brand of bore and copper cleaners. I will caution the membership. Do not attempt to use them in a closed room. My recommendation is to use them outdoors where you won't be overcome by the fumes. Be sure to use a one piece cleaning rod with a variety of brushes and jags that allow for complete and effective scrubbing and cleaning of the bore. Keep cleaning until the cleaning patches come out clean. To get to this state it may take several cleaning sessions lasting 15 minutes or more. Be sure to give the bore a chance to rest about 15 minutes between each session. I almost always run a wet patch through the bore between the first three or four sessions to make sure that all of the deep down fouling has been loosened or dissolved.

    When you finish the hard work of getting the crud out of the barrel be sure to run several dry patches through it to remove any lingering cleaner. Then run oil soaked patches through the bore to give it a good oiling. The oil will need to be removed before shooting the rifle. I recommend a good oil cutter like No. 9.

    One final note on the subject of cleaning the bore, never use a bore snake. They are worthless and can actually damage the muzzle and chamber throat.

    rick
     
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  19. Furdown

    Furdown Active Member

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    Rick, good thread, I mostly agree except your thoughts on a bore snake being worthless. like to carry a bore snake on hunting trips to quickly clean out any debris that may have got into the bore while hiking through brush/trees where it is not really practical to carry a one piece cleaning rod. Unless you can prove otherwise I don’t believe they can damage the throat or muzzle
     
  20. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    I can only offer up what I read about them not being worth spit. I suppose carrying one on a hunt is ok. Personally I never found a need to clean stuff out of my barrel when in the field.

    rick
     

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