Vixen 222 poor accuracy

Discussion in 'Sako Short Actions' started by Cali, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. Cali

    Cali Well-Known Member

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    Just wanna say, I'm not new at this. Got a safe full of rifles and have only run into this problem maybe once before. Aging eyes and body doesn't make you better at anything. The same day I fired the Sako I also shot three rounds through my Kimber Superamerica 7mm08 with Leupold 2.5x8 scope at the same target. Group measured under .75". Owning several Kimbers and some Sakos not to mention Winchester, Remington and Anschutz nothing in that line up is superior in quality to Sako. There's a demon hiding in that little rifle somewhere.

     

  2. ricksengines

    ricksengines Sako-addicted

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    Even old dogs can learn new tricks.

    rick
     
  3. dodgyrog

    dodgyrog Well-Known Member

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    Forest Foam is excellent
     
  4. Coyote Down

    Coyote Down Well-Known Member

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    Cali-
    I'm glad to hear you have a safe full of guns. I use JB with no problems, but that's not the issue. A while back I got a new Lyman Bore Cam for $100 less than retail. This is an investment that will pay dividends for the for both you and your friends. It has got to be one of the very best purchases I've EVER made.;) If you take care of it you'll be making alot ot new friends. Do not use the swabs that come with it-Toss them out!:confused: It will show you things you don't want to see, but at least you'll know.o_O
    Just my 2 cents worth.:)
     
  5. Cali

    Cali Well-Known Member

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    Wanted one for a long time, maybe I should skip my next gun and get one.
     
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  6. deergoose

    deergoose Sako-addicted

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    Go buy a box of factory ammo and try it. I know that's blasphemy for you reloaders, but it will eliminate a variable. 50gr bullets.

    good luck!
    DeerGoose
     
  7. Cali

    Cali Well-Known Member

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    You read my mind deer goose, but I just reloaded some 40's and 55 grain bullets. I'll figure this out sooner or later.
     
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  8. pk1

    pk1 Well-Known Member

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    I have a couple of suggestions. First I would do what's already been suggested. It's not easy to shoot out a 222 barrel but I guess it has been done. I would get aggressive with the cleaning of the bore. The foaming cleaners like Wipe Away or Gunslick tackle copper fouling. Those products will not harm the bore. BTW, I have a friend who swears by JB paste and uses it in his 220 Swift to clean the barrel just in front of the chamber from time to time. Sometimes I get very aggressive on my high velocity rifles and use Sweets which is fast but will damage the bore if used wrong.

    After cleaning out the copper take the time to use a Tipton's bronze brush to remove carbon fouling. Yes, the bore cleaners don't do a great job of getting it out. Hoppe's still works good for this.

    Now that the bore is clean let's talk about bullets. Plastic tipped bullets have a tendency to be unbalanced and some take higher velocities to be stabilized. I would try a Berger or a Sierra 52 gr HPBT bullet with a different powder like IMR 4198 and see where that takes you.

    Lastly, and I know I'm going to get some feedback on this one, but Sako made some 222's that have some serious bullet jump problems. I've owned one of these rifles and so has a friend of mine. I rebarreled mine but my friend rechambered his and his shoots fine now. Of course he had to set the barrel back in order to do it.
     
  9. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Uhhhh . . . Sako Vixens from the 1960s were bedded with no clearance between the wood and the barrel.
     
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  10. Coyote Down

    Coyote Down Well-Known Member

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    Common sense tells me I should probably leave this alone. :oops: However----crono's are an affordable addition for most of us, and now so are the bore scopes. Not trying to beat a dead horse or anything. Just wanted to share a valuable experience.:D
     
  11. stefanbothma

    stefanbothma Member

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    And...did you ever resolve the problem?

    Sent from my HUAWEI VNS-L31 using Tapatalk
     
  12. Cali

    Cali Well-Known Member

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    Yes,
    A thorough and tedious cleaning regime with Kroil and JB's bore paste shrunk groups down to less than an inch. Berger 52 gr bullet powered by H322 grouped the best.
     
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  13. Cali

    Cali Well-Known Member

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    I did invest in a Lyman bore cam and wanted one for some time. When you say "show you things you don't want to see" Ya got that right. A nice tool and real asset to gun owners.
     
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  14. cwmech

    cwmech Active Member

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    I'll vouch for the Lyman bore cam; my "good deal" $650 w scope and Sako vintage high mts, L46 222 would not get better than 1 1/2" groups, scrubbed over and over, different loads tried to no avail. The centrally located "dark spot" was ever-present, but after all it was clean, a nice multi-groove barrel, and per record search, New Years 1961 finished and shipped end of January.
    The bore cam view showed ALL the dark spots; in reality, I've driven down potholed dirt roads smoother than what remained of the bore, the pits crossed multiple lands and grooves, so I tore it down and sent it on a journey to Brookings, Oregon to copy the factory sporter profile in a stainless, 4 groove, 12 twist, cerracoated black. It now does an honest .45 moa @ 200 yd with Fiocchi factory 50 gr. and .37 with some handloaded Sierra 50 sp.

    cw
     
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  15. Niels Klingenberg

    Niels Klingenberg Member

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    All - interesting thread!

    I have a Vixen .222R which I inherited from my father - he bought it used in the early 80's, so it might be a 70's rifle. It has been very well kept, and not shot much. He used to control shoot it every spring with three rounds, and as I kid I remembered them touching eachother - it was most likely Sako's in the early days, but then Normas soft point 3.2 grams - and he later switched to Norma soft point 4 grams, which did spread a bit more, but perhaps 2-3 cm as I recall. He shot over a table top in the garden, 100 meters out over the field at a cardboard box. He never missed a Roebuck with it! Schmidt & Bender 4x36 scope on it!

    Mid 90's he tried using the SAKO powerhead copper bullet, because he wanted to be more certain of a through shot on a roedeer. Probably a bit feinscmeking, because his bucks always ran only a little, and where shot perfectly. As I recall, gorupings back then were about 5-8 cm with the powerhead, and that was unacceptable for him. He was so worried of wounding a roebuck. Shot had to be perfect!

    Now, I have started using it, and I have issues with all sorts of ammo - hence the relevance to thse "Vixen precision problems".
    I have shot a buck, as well as foxes and cats using the Norma 4 grams soft point - but whenever I tried the yearly zeroing test, it was far from great. Spreads up to 5-10 cm!
    The last couple of years my father lived, I tried to find a copper bullet which would stabilize in the 1:14 barrel, but extremely difficult! Some handloads with the Barnes TSX had a grouping of up to 100 centimers! Thats right - a full meter across!!!!! Obviously they where not stable in flight - although holes were round and not tilted!
    An expert friend loaded a TTSX 50 grain and it did 4-5 cm group - which could be acceptable for hunting, but not great.
    The factory Lapua Naturalis performs about the same.
    Only ever shot a cat with the Naturalis, and it fell on the spot. Not much terminal ballistics analysis to conduct however!

    After copper, rifle has several good cleans, using some Remington cleaner, as well as Robla Solo Mil - lots of green stuff out!

    But then back to lead:
    Changed scope on it, to a Swarovski 3-9x36, and used the opportunity to do a grouping test to find the best bullet, and examine the rifles precision.
    the results were quite puzzling and somewhat odd!

    Norma 3.2gram were grouping around 5-7 centimeters and 3-4 centimers high!
    Norma 3.6 gram Oryx where grouping 7-8 centimers and some 5 centimeters low!
    Norma 4 gram soft point grouping 5-7 centimeters, also a little high
    Norma 3.6 gram Jagdmatch grouping 5-7 centimeters
    All Normas doing fairly large groups, much more than the expected 2 centimeters, I recall my father shooting!

    Sako 3.56 gram Gamehead did hole in hole! within 1 centimeter! But 2 centimeters left!
    Sako 3.2 gram Speedhead did 5-8 centimeter groups, also quite too the left!

    RWS 3.24 (50grain) TMS did 2-3 centimeter groups, dead center (RWS says a full 1020 m/s!)

    Remington 3.2 grams SPS did a verical spread of 8-10 centimers, but a side spread less than a centimeter! Uneven load?

    Naturalis re-shooting, did a group of 2 within 2 centimers and one further right. But all shots to the right!

    What to make of this?? Not sure!

    (PS: bringing the RWS on next hunt and wil see hot it performs on a buck!)

    I'm generally unhappy and insecure about the rifles inherent precision.

    Is something wrong??

    Niels from Denmark
     
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  16. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Niels: First, almost any change in ammunition will change the center of impact. You must "zero" for the particular ammunition you intend to use. Shooting high, left, or anywhere else with one ammunition versus another is quite common and is no indication of the rifle's accuracy.

    However, grouping is an indicator. A Sako .222 should be able to group between 2 and 3 CM at 100 meters with ammunition it "likes". Of course, this requires a totally solid bench, resting the rifle properly on sandbags, and a skilled shooter who knows when he may have flinched or otherwise caused a shot to go awry due to human error. Shooting tight groups also requires that the barrel not be overheated by shooting strings of shots one after another.

    Several things to check, starting with the tension on your action screws. The front screw should be about as tight as practical using a good-fitting screw driver. The rear action screw should be firm and snug, but not overly tight. Action screws can work loose over time and wreck havoc with accuracy.

    As discussed thoroughly, barrel wear or damage due to pitting could be at play. I like the foaming bore cleaners like Wipe Out. Let it soak a few hours then run several tight-fitting patches through the bore, then do that again a couple of more times.

    Since you have a new scope on the rifle presumably the scope mounting is secure, but make sure of that.

    Good luck with improving the accuracy of your Sako.
     
  17. Niels Klingenberg

    Niels Klingenberg Member

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    Hi Stonecreek,

    Nono, it was the grouping that was of interest. The various positioning serves primarily to prove your point that it must be zeroed with the chosen ammunition - but also to indicate how different they can be just at a 100 meters!

    I'm a pretty good shot - not world class, but alright. I've been national champion on pistol and I do shooting instruction on a fairly high level. So, I'm aware of my limitations - and I can often feel if a shot doesn't go perfect and can discard it. No worries. I'm shooting from a bench, on a table - not securing the rifle, but holding it firm, but well supported, sure to have the sight perfect, round, same eye relief etc. It's on a range so wind should be almost as good as negated. good trigger pulls each time, etc. So, trying to provide good conditions to compare. All shots in the same one day session, but time to cool rifle down.

    Barrel is free from stock, space between. Have checked screws, but it isn't bedded or anything.

    If they all were awry, maybe I'd say something was really wrong. Barrel could be shot out or muzzle damaged, perhaps - haven't had it inspected, but would like to. Will try a really deep clean with some Hoppes and Robla Solo Mil again.

    How easy is it to inspect a barrel on the inside?

    Scope seems alright when shooting isn't erratic - and the Sako does group perfectly!?

    I have heard the 1:14 vixens can be choosy with ammo, but this is almost hysterical?

    Anyone with Vixes experience similar?
     
  18. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    If not hysterical, at least ill-informed. Twist is NOT the problem with conventional bullets of 55 grains or less.

    This might be the source of your problem. Sakos of this era originally came from the factory with up-pressure near the forward part of the fore end. When the "floating barrel" craze came along in the 1960's and 1970's (and has had a recent resurgence among shooter who were not around then) lots of people sanded their barrel channels out to "free float" their barrels. In my experience this is usually counterproductive with a sporter weight barrel. What you might do is put a shim between the fore end and barrel about 3 to 4 cm back from the tip of the fore end. Make the shim thick enough that it takes 2 to 4 kilos of pressure to raise the barrel off of the shim. For a trial, the shim can be made of cardboard or nearly anything. If using this shim gives you improved accuracy you can make a permanent bedding "spot" by using epoxy or stock bedding compound in the place of the temporary shim.
     
  19. Niels Klingenberg

    Niels Klingenberg Member

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    Hi Stonecreek!

    I agree - under 55 grain normal lead bullets shouldn't be an issue, even in 1:14, and it would be okay if one type of bullet wasn't perfect. I'm discounting copper bullets, because I've read so much about them not stabilizing in 1:14 because the bullet length etc.

    NOW - this could be a clue!! They didn't have free floating barrels?! Really? This is all new to me, and could be the clue to explain things! Could everyone else reading along please check their straight shooting vixens to see if they are free floating?
    I'm sure my father never knew this either.
    The rifle did have a mild fall some 15 years ago, knocked over by a dog, and it changed the zero - but in the proces he found it to be not free floating and thought it was a mistake! I'm sure nothing was sanded down or so, but just screws tightened etc.
    I'll certainly try your test recipe with something under the barrel!
    I don't want free floating, I want the rifle to shoot straight!
    Would the same be true for a 1960's L61R Finnbear in .30-06 you think??
     
  20. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    Yes. Sakos from that period were all bedded with some up-pressure (wood touching metal) in the fore arm. If you can slide a piece of paper between the wood and the barrel then it has been altered. The only difference in a .30-06 and a .222 is that Sako added a metal crossbolt to the .30-06 for the recoil lug to bear against, thus keeping the wood behind the recoil lug from compressing due to repeated recoil.

    Think of the dynamics like this: As bedded by the factory the metal sits in the wood with two hard contacts: The front action screw and about midway of the barrel. If the barrel channel is relieved to "free float" the barrel then the firm contact point in front is lost, so the metal now rests primarily on one contact point, the front action screw (and recoil lug). The rear action tang also contacts the wood, but the rear screw should not be overly tight (which can result in a crack at the tang). With the front wood pressure absent the barreled action has a tendency to "teeter" or rock rearward then forward when the shot is fired. A "floated" barrel only works well if the entire action is tightly bedded (preferably with pillars) to the stock.

    The Remington 700 is a crude piece of machinery compared to a Sako, but the 700's are known for excellent accuracy just as they come from the factory. If you'll look at the wooden stock of a Rem 700 you'll find a "lump" in the wood of the barrel channel near the fore end tip which serves to create the forward pressure point. This is part of how Remington has achieved good accuracy with inexpensive button-rifled sporter-weight barrels in a mass-produced rifle.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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