OK, getting ready for elk season so I went to the range to sight in my .338 Mag Model 70 and .280 Rem 700 Mtn Rifle. New Leopold VX-III 2.5-8X on the Rem. Really nice scope. I like what they've changed on the reticle adjustment screws. The knobs are handy. I alternated between the two guns to allow the barrel to cool off between shots. I will post as if I was only shooting one at a time to avoid confusion. The Rem .280 is first. Anyway, first few shots at 50 yds were 6" to the left. I made some rough adjustments with the reticles because my rear ring horiz adjustment screws were REALLY tight and I couldn't loosen them w/ my Swiss army knife screwdriver....my bad. A few shots later and I'm punching bullseye's at 50 yds. I move to the 100 yd target, make some fine tuning to get it hitting about 1-3/4 - 2" high at 100. About 15 shots total. I'm pretty happy with the trigger pull adjustments I made a couple weeks ago. Trigger is nice and breaks like glass. Easy to shoot well. Next up is the Model 70. It's a Synthetic Stainless Classic w/BOSS. It has the conventional recoil muzzle weight because I found I really didn't like the muzzle break. Too much blast. This gun was sighted in last year with Winchester CT ammo with the coated 250g Nosler Partitions. Right from the start I shot a sub-2", three shot group and was pretty happy. High and to the left about 3". A little tweak and I should be all set. I adjust the scope to get over the bull. I shoot another three shot group and the group starts to grow. I eat up the better part of a box of ammo trying to get on target. I'm pretty happy where I end up and them look at the box. I have three cartridges left.......not really enough to take hunting. Although I've never shot more than three times at an elk before they're dead with this gun....or any gun. Still, I'm not comfortable knowing I only have three rounds that are "range tested". So I grab the other box, Federal's, also with the 250g Partition bullet. Pretty similar, right? WRONG. First three shots hit a good 3-4 inches higher at 100 yds. It's like starting over. These didn't group worth a dang. It didn't help that my shoulder was now getting a little sore. I shot the better part of that box and still wasn't happy with the results. Sooooo, I need to buy another box of Federal's and try to get them on target. My question is....what's my problem.....other than sheer stupidity for not buying more boxes of Winchester .338 CT's when they were still manufactured. They are no longer made. Has anyone had problems with the CT coating fouling the barrel? Maybe I just shot too much without cleaning? Maybe my gun doesn't like Federal's? A couple of the shots I didn't count as I flinched. I really have to bear down when I shoot this gun. It's easy to flinch unless I concentrate and follow through. If I don't have a good sight picture when the gun goes off, I often don't consider where it hits when it comes to scope changes. I know I need to drop some more trigger pull weight. I thought the two guns were close to one another after I made my trigger adjustments but they sure didn't feel the same at the range. Any suggestions from the marksmen in the group would be welcome.....exceptions would be "take up golf" or "that gun's no good, sell it to me for $100".
20 replies [Last post]
Mon, 2006-10-16 14:38
Mon, 2006-10-16 15:02#1
Most rifles don't group all ammo into the same point of aim. But I suspect that the biggest problem was in fact the flinch. Bear down as you might, you still know what's comming. A thing I found when I was shooting magnums was that I had to shoot a lot to be able to handle them. My first 338 brused me badly with the first three shots. Down the road I got to where I could fire off about two boxes befor I really got to hurting to badly.
Magnums certainly have their place but they also create some problems, mostly flinching causing poor shooting. We learn to flinch with them by shooting them off some type of a rest. Thats because although it's good for the rifle, its usually a bad position to absorb recoil.
If you have time, I would take that rifle out several more times and see what its doing, three shots a day! Or better yet, get some 150gr or 160gr loads for your 280 Rem and use it. That is a fine cartridge.
Mon, 2006-10-16 15:23#2
Use the 280.
Mon, 2006-10-16 16:07#3
Here is what I'd do:
Take someone with you to the range and give them the ammo and a spent round.
Let them load either a spent or live round, you dont know which.
When you click on that spent shell, whether it be the first, fifth or eighth shot, you can easily tell if your flinching
Try it with both firearms, may be interesting.
Mon, 2006-10-16 16:41#4
That already happened yesterday. When I shoot the Mod 70 I shoot a single shot, loaded in the magazine. Then I feed from the magazine to the chamber. This pre-64 action likes it better. It takes more effort to close the bolt if you chamber the round by hand so I don't do it. On one of the shots I didn't have the bolt all the way back so it didn't pick up the round. I steadied on the target and squeeezed....click. No flinch. I waited 30 seconds before opening the bolt and ...voila....no shell in the chamber. One in the magazine. But no flinch. I can usually tell when the gun goes off if I rushed or flinched. I agree that shooting from a bench is a lot more punishing than most hunting positions. The .280's a nice gun, especially to carry. I bought the .338 for elk and it does quite a number on them. The recoil doesn't bother me until I've run a few rounds through it. I will go back and try it again, with a little more shoulder padding. And more ammo. And a lighter trigger pull. If the triggers's too stiff I tend to rush the shot . I had to back off and regroup numerous times because I just ran out of breath. This time the .280 stays at home.
Mon, 2006-10-16 16:46#5
I knew that different brands of ammo would group differently. I just didn't think I would see that much difference shooting the same bullet, 250g Nosler Partition, at about the same velocity. 3-4" seemed like a lot at 100 yds. Would you consider that common?
Mon, 2006-10-16 21:47#6
The Federal and the Winchester CT ammo are loaded differently. Did you check the ballistic labled for each brand. Maybe the velocity of one is faster than the other. In any case I don't believe that they are the same Nosler partition. Winchester has a special bullet made in collaberation with Nosler. It is not the same bullet available to Federal.
Believe it or not brand X with bullet Z will not give you exactly the same performance as brand Y with bullet Z.
Find the one that shoots best in your rifle that you plan to use and stick with it. With factory ammo it's never a real good idea to constantly swap out various brands or loads of ammo when hunting year to year. One of the many reasons some of us hunters reload our own rifle rounds is that we can tailor a specific load that our specific rifle will shoot best with.
Trust me, the .280 Remington is plenty of gun for Elk.
Mon, 2006-10-16 22:37#7
Little tip. When I shoot a hard recoiler now, which is seldom, I put a snad bag made out of denium between my shoulder and the butt. I also noticed that you are using the 250gr bullet. Ya might try a 225gr, really a good bit less recoil and plenty of bullet for elk. You might aslo find a 210gr partition load in factory, another good choice.
As for the difference in group size, another thing that might affect it is the difference in the cases. I don't use federal cases so might be wrong. I'd guessthat your rifle just doesn't like that ammo for some reason. Most rifles, even of the same make, model and caliber prefer different ammo at times. It's the difference in components. ie you not only have different cases, you have different primers and probally different powders.
Wed, 2006-10-18 09:55#8
I have a model 70 classic sporter in .338 win.mag.and it shoots really good but i live in the country and i have my own site in range and practice lots.It takes some getting used to the recoil and doing the basics and shooting lots is the only way for you and the .338 to get good together.
Wed, 2006-10-18 10:05#9
Don and Western,
Thanks for the replies. That was the kind of info I was fishing for. My gun liked the Winchester CT round and I believe the only reason it was so far off this year is because I removed the barreled action to adjust the trigger pull. I have shot Federal 250g Partitions, Winchester CT 250g Partitions (although I thought it was the same bullet, just coated), Hornady Heavy Magnum w/ 225g Trophy Bonded Bear Claws and Winchester 230g Fail Safe's. If I take the .280 I'll have to explain to my wife why I'm taking my "deer" rifle elk hunting and why I needed to buy the "elk" rifle in the first place. My wife just doesn't "understand", know what I mean? Usually when I go to sight in I bring a hand towel and fold it over several times and put it under my shirt. I have a Pachmeyer Decelerator recoil pad. I also have a wearable recoil pad for my shoulder that, frankly, doesn't do much. I forgot to bring the towel Sunday. It would have been handy to have the towel there. At least I could have "thrown it in". I have a set of dies for my .338 and, God knows, I've got plenty of brass now. I always have been leary about hunting big game with handloads, although I've never had one go pffft. They always go bang. Sounds like I need to work up a good load and use it. The premium ammo market seems to be ever shifting. After the bruise goes away, it's back to the range.
Fri, 2006-10-20 06:19#10
Bruise is gone. I plan to go back to the range this weekend. I WILL bring a towel. I went to a Kittery Trading Post (BIG outdoor store) last night and picked up a box of Federal's with the 225g Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. Very little selection on ammo....Super-X, Ballistic Silvertips, Federal PSP's, and the Federal TBBC's. You'd think with moose season here, there would be more of a selection of premium bullets, but I guess not. I will give it another go and take it slow. Tonight I will adjust the trigger a little and try to get it a little more reasonable. A little less than two weeks until the trip.