Aftermarket barrels? Tuning a Browning?
I was hoping to get some insight from you guys who shoot long range targets on barrel options, I have a new Browning A-Bolt II 7mm-08 that I cannot get to group for the life of me, only rifle I own that I cannot keep under an inch at 100yds despite my best handloading efforts, best I can do is a temperamental 1.25-1.5" load and factory fodder sprays like a shotgun pattern. I figure is must be a defective barrel or chamber since the action seems tight and it is factory glass bedded. I was doing a little looking and it seems there are several reputable companies that I can choose from, one stands out as a real potential value and the others are higher priced but well known names, E R Shaw makes custom barrels for a very reasonable price, they run under $200 if you don't need any fancy cosmetic stuff and the few user reviews I have read on Midway seem positive. Krieger, Lilja, and Shilen all run around $130 more but are the bigger names. I have owned a bunch of rifles but have never bought an aftermarket barrel before are the big names worth the price, and am I wasting money trying to tune a Browning? This is the first one of their rifles I have owned.
My objectives are not too demanding, I am wanting a rifle under 10lbs that can hold 1/2MOA with quality hunting bullets and precise handloads, I can do it in a 6lbs Tikka I would think a heavier barrel on a Browning could do at leased as good. I might also re-chamber to 284 Win or another short action standard bolt face cartridge that can wield heavier bullet a little better.
How many rounds have you fired through the rifle? It may just take a few hundred rounds to get it shooting decent.
Does the barrel copper foul much?
Have you checked to be sure the barrel is free floated from the recoil lug to the end of the stock. If it isn't,that can cause many accuracy problems.
You can also fire lap the barrel,and that could help it a great deal. I've fire lapped several barrels,and they turned from piss poor barrels to excellent shooters.
Since you handload,you might want to try a set of Tubb's Final finish bullets through the rifle. If your bore is rough,this will help smooth the bore up,and in rifle's that I've used these in,it turned them all into great shooters without having to change barrels.
No signs of excess fouling or roughness in the bore, about 200 rounds through it trying to work up an accurate load. Barrel is free floated the whole way down I check that before I buy any rifle, fit between the action and stock has no play in it, I checked all the obvious stuff. I have not however fire lapped the barrel since there was no visible sign of roughness or fouling. The barrel has never been overheated, no more then three round strings before a cool down since it is a light contour barrel. I treat her like all my babys, but she just won't act right for me. No trouble getting the Savages to group .75" or better right out of the box (despite their remarkably rough bores before break in) Tikka and Winchester 70 always have punched 1/2" or better when I feed them what they like, no trouble working up loads for any of them Nosler pet loads work like magic for me 90% of the time.
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