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Location: Idaho
Joined: 01/16/2006
Posts: 18
What Makes an Accurate Rifle?

OK, so I'm in the market for a .223. I plan to use it for coyote/varmint hunting as well as for target practice, and just messing around. I'd like it to be the rifle that I put in the truck no matter where I am going.....

I am a fan of the Remington 700, and I have looked at a few options so far. I am debating between the new Remington SPS, and the Light Varmint model. What I want to know is: What am I getting as far as accuracy and performance out of the LV, that I don't get in the SPS which is about $400 cheaper. I know one is about 3/4lb. lighter, and has a stainless fluted barell. But when I'm at the range, or shooting at a coyote, what characteristics am I going to notice? Is there any difference in the materials or construction in the action, trigger, barrel, or stock that will make a big difference?

I'm on a diaper and baby food budget, but also believe in getting quality equipment when it comes to hunting. I'm just not sure what I need vs. what I might want.

Thanks

expatriate's picture
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Location: Arizona
Joined: 10/26/2002
Posts: 3207
What Makes an Accurate Rifle?

I don't know how much difference you'd see in accuracy between the two for the most part. A lot of that depends on how good of a shooter you are. A $300 tennis raquet alone won't turn you into John MacEnroe, and high-end tweaks to accuracy will only give you significant benefits if you can hold steady enough to shoot to that level. A rifle capable of putting a group within 3/4" won't gain you much if you're only capable of getting them within two inches.

The fluted barrel will dissipate heat quicker and may affect accuracy if heat kicks in -- i.e. you're shooting for extended periods at a rate where you're heating up the barrel faster than it can cool off. A better-bedded stock may help lock things together better and give some improvment as well. There may be an issue of stainless vs blued -- I've heard some argue that stainless is tougher to machine and therefore stainless barrels may be slightly less accurate than blued. I don't know of objective studies that have really put that to the test, though. Stainless gives you more protection for corrosion, which may come into play if you're going to leave it in the truck for long periods where it'll be subjected to temperature and humidity shifts.

Aside from all that, what you'll notice at the range is recoil. The heavier rifle will kick less than the lighter one. The limbsaver recoil pad on the LV is better, but I don't know how much it'd offset the weight difference. At any rate, I don't know how much you need to worry about it in a .223. I haven't shot a .223 in a bolt action, but I know it's awfully easy to shoot in an M-16.

All that said, as a father of six I've changed a whole lot of diapers and bought a lot of baby food. The questions at hand are how much you can shrink your group size for $400 and if there is anything else you'd rather spend that money on. Aside from that, it's a matter of corrosion protection.

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 06/07/2002
Posts: 506
What Makes an Accurate Rifle?

Subject: what makes an accurate rifle?
There's a ton of things that can have an impact. But here is another angle. Often neglected is the ammunition used in a particular rifle. If you have some money left after deciding what rifle to get, you should try this-
Buy a couple of boxes of different ammunition, brand, grain wt., type of bullet, etc. for what ever you may use for hunting. One box may do, but if getting a couple try to get the same lot number. See what ammo gives you the best groups, and then adjust your sights for that. Be sure to allow for barrel cooling in between groups because your hunting shot will come out of a cool barrel.
You may be surprized at the difference in point of impact of the other ammo after you have zero-ed in your selected bullet. For example, bullet "X" group may impact an average of a half inch higher than bullet "Y", or some other variation. A small difference at a hundred yards can become huge at a distant 'yote.
I hope I wasn't too confusing, but I have found that the same ammunition performs differently depending on the rifle. Hope this helped a little?

Don Fischer's picture
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Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3183
What Makes an Accurate Rifle?

Don't believe that cost may be a factor in accuracy for production rifle's. The most accurate rifle I ever owned was a 222 Rem in a Model 788 Remington. Matter of fact, I've owned several of them and they all shot well. For me, one of the best things to look for is a wood stock. Not that those plastic one's won't shoot but I know how to work with a wood one and I like how wood feel's.

Find a rifle in the caliber you want and a rifle you can afford and like holding. Hate to say this but I don't shoot rifles I feel are ugly near as well as rifle's I like to hold. Those Wincherster shadow's probally shoot well but I wouldn't use one as a fence post, ugliest rifle I've ever seen. That comming from a guy that love's the model's 600 and 788 Remington's!

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