Accuracy question

MinnesotaHunter

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Sep 15, 2010
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3,386
Location
Gem Lake, Minnesota
BLUF: not a bad group and I would say it is real conclusively horiz v. vert. 3 Shot groups can be hard to analyze, 5 is better if you are hoping to diagnose shooting issues.

So....going out on a limb here (please don't take this as gospel). Often times horizontal stringing is cause by trigger pull and/or natural point of aim issues. If you are well supported and you aren't pulling the trigger cleanly back you can create inconsistency left and right. If you are torquing your rifle in order to finely adjust your crosshairs where you want them on the target, when the trigger breaks, your rifle will have the tendency to jump back to its natural point of aim. Sometime your brain can apply said torque without you consciously thinking about it. Try closing your eyes when on the target and see if your crosshairs have shifted once you open your eyes back up. Dry firing can also help ID if you are having these issues.

Also, the two bullets you chose to try are very similar and may not be different enough to find a clear winner. Difference rounds shoot better/worse based off of the oscillation pattern of the barrel, and those might be close enough that the speed and pressure are the same. Maybe try a 150grn E-tip, 180grn AB, or 168 grn TTSX, and see how they do. You might find that the one you have tried are the best it will do, or one of the others might shoot sub-moa. You don't know until you try.

I would continue to practice, and go hunt with it. If you want a winter project bed it, try some different loads, and maybe add an after market trigger.
 

tzone

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Aug 6, 2018
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MN for now
I’m in the process of sighting in my new Howa .308 and have a few questions for you guys. I just finished the barrel break in process that is recommended by Howa and that Randy has posted on YouTube. Now I’m working on sighting it in and finding out what ammo it likes. I’m starting off with Nosler trophy grade partition 165 gr. and Nosler trophy grade accubond 165 gr. As I finished the day I got a 3 shot group with the accubond at 200 yds. just under 2 3/4”. This was my best group and i probably sent 40 rounds through it by the end of the day with the finishing up the break in and sighting in with the new ammo. I’m trying different ammo to see what the gun shoots best. Is a 2 3/4” an acceptable group for this gun or should I be able to get this gun to shoot tighter groups at that distance? I’m not new to shooting but hunting in my home state I’ve always practiced at 50 to 100yds., so 200 and beyond is pretty new to me. I know I have a ways to go. Does a gun shoot more accurately after say it has had 50 or 100 rounds put through it or does it matter? Also what about shooting with a dirty barrel ? Is there a certain number of rounds you want to send through a barrel before you feel it is shooting at its best? Thanks in advance for any help or advice.

Go take a few shots at 300 and you'll think 200 seems close and 100 will be a chip shot.

But that group at 200 yards is pretty good. Break-in really isn't necessary but it makes some feel good...so nothing wrong with it.

My suggestion to tighten up the groups at 200 would be to keep shooting at 200. You can play around with some different ammo and see what happens too. Practice with some non-premium ammo. You'll be surprised. Try a box of Federal Fusion 150 or 165gr. If it won't shoot those well, consider selling the gun. :)
 

sbhooper

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Jul 7, 2012
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3,349
Location
North Platte, Nebraska
I do like the idea of practicing with cheaper ammo for sure. I’ll try the accubond and partitions one more time to make sure which one the gun shoots best. I feel like I need a little bigger sample size before I settle on one. Any other suggestions on factory ammo to try for elk with my set up? I also plan on heading to a different range that has targets out to 750yds. That’s getting way out over my skis, but I will work on 300 and 400 yds. I know this all novice stuff, I’m just trying to get better.
Anything past 300, is not novice. Very few people actually have any business shooting that far. Federal Fusion ammo has always had a good rep, also. Try some Hornady American Whitetail ammo. It has Interlock bullets and usually accurate. It will kill any elk and is cheap enough to practice with. .308 velocities do not demand premium bullets.
 

cahunter805

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Joined
May 27, 2014
Messages
730
Definitely not a bad start. I’d agree with the info above about natural point of aim and your trigger control/ recoil management. What were you shooting off? A bench with bipod/rear bag? Prone from the ground?
Give the barrel a cleaning and test a few different factory loads at 200 next trip.
 

3855WIN

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Joined
Jul 17, 2014
Messages
899
Location
Mississippi
That’s fairly good shooting for a moderate price range rifle. I would shoot for groups at 100 yards.
Get the best rifle shot you know to go shooting with you and see how it groups for them.
Kudos to you on being serious about getting your rifle set up.
 

std7mag

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Aug 23, 2016
Messages
728
Location
central pa
Nwi,
As was mentioned, it is probably your grip on the rifle.
Biggest improvement i made was learning to loosen my grip on my trigger hand.
Shoulder and forestock grip hold the rifle, trigger hand just for pulling the trigger.
 

recurveman

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
49
Location
Gilbert, Arizona
I like to keep things simple at times. Your gun is doing just fine for shooting deer at 2-300 yards. Go whack one!!!!! Your barrel will change a bunch from 0-75 shots. I don't worry much about anything prior to that. Copper in the barrel isn't the worst thing. I had a gun that was strait copper for the last 6-9" of the barrel and it shot well under MOA. I finally cleaned it OK but there was still some copper to be seen in the barrel. No big deal.

If you want to be more accurate you will need a couple of things. You need to be able to dry fire the rifle and not have the crosshairs move. If they move then you need to make adjustments to that they don't move after the gun goes click. After you have that down then you might want to consider shooting a few different types of ammo. I took my buddies gun out the other weekend and it was shooting 1.5-2" groups with a variety of ammo. Then we tried a different box and it was shooting 3/4 MOA. Didn't change nothing but the ammo. It can happen that fast. If you gun shoots close to MOA typically you have a gun that will kill out to 400 yards with a little practice and learning. Past 400 yards starts a whole new game of learning........wind, change of elevation, shooting at angles, ect. Under 400 you are normally pretty good.

Don't get to caught up in the details. Go shoot your gun and take it hunting. Pull the trigger and kill something. Now this is coming from a guy that hand loads every round I shoot and put all my rounds across a chronograph and expect to have single digit velocity changes of a 20 round string. Just go enjoy your gun.
 

SnowyMountaineer

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Joined
Dec 11, 2009
Messages
1,340
Location
WY
BLUF: not a bad group and I would say it is real conclusively horiz v. vert. 3 Shot groups can be hard to analyze, 5 is better if you are hoping to diagnose shooting issues.

So....going out on a limb here (please don't take this as gospel). Often times horizontal stringing is cause by trigger pull and/or natural point of aim issues. If you are well supported and you aren't pulling the trigger cleanly back you can create inconsistency left and right. If you are torquing your rifle in order to finely adjust your crosshairs where you want them on the target, when the trigger breaks, your rifle will have the tendency to jump back to its natural point of aim. Sometime your brain can apply said torque without you consciously thinking about it. Try closing your eyes when on the target and see if your crosshairs have shifted once you open your eyes back up. Dry firing can also help ID if you are having these issues.

Also, the two bullets you chose to try are very similar and may not be different enough to find a clear winner. Difference rounds shoot better/worse based off of the oscillation pattern of the barrel, and those might be close enough that the speed and pressure are the same. Maybe try a 150grn E-tip, 180grn AB, or 168 grn TTSX, and see how they do. You might find that the one you have tried are the best it will do, or one of the others might shoot sub-moa. You don't know until you try.

I would continue to practice, and go hunt with it. If you want a winter project bed it, try some different loads, and maybe add an after market trigger.
I agree that some 5 shot groups would be wise.
 
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recurveman

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2018
Messages
49
Location
Gilbert, Arizona
As far as cleaning my gun for hunting purposes. Typically I will clean my gun really good before the hunt and go over every square inch (including checking the screws on the scope mount). Then I will go sight it in for the hunt and take it hunting. After the hunt I clean off the chunks and put it back in the safe until next time.
 
Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
85
If your home state limits your shooting distance, a tactic that I use at home is placing my rifle on my lead sled or pack and balancing a quarter at the end of the barrel and practice breathing and squeezing the trigger without the quarter falling off. This translates to a significant increase in my accuracy when firing live rounds.
 

RockinU

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Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
257
Location
Texas
Thanks for all the advice guys. I definitely have some stuff to work on. Is it ok to repeatedly dry fire my rifle?
Yes, you can dry fire your rifle, I do it over and over, I even do it between rounds at the range. Build yourself a process, follow it every time, make it the same whether your shooting or dry firing. If you have a friend you shoot with, close your eyes and have them close the bolt, they decided if there is a round in the chamber or not, you won't know. Will keep you honest.

A repeatable process will build consistency, and consistency is the key to accuracy.
 

TM0218

New member
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
Messages
23
The weak point in most systems is the shooter (especially since you’re a newer shooter). Also, most factory barrels aren’t made with the same quality as a higher end aftermarket barrel. It can take a couple hundred rounds to truly “break-in” the barrel and smooth it out. Spend time shooting and make sure to focus on the fundamentals, not the group size. With good fundamentals, group size will shrink. I hope this helps.
 
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