gun not holding a tight group - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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gun not holding a tight group

My wife hunts with a 7-08 it a browning a bolt, she has used it for many years with good success. This year before we went on a elk hunt I was running some different shells through it and I couldn't get it to hold a tight group. I gave it to a buddy to shoot and he got the same results. At a 100 yards it will put some bullets 3 inches high and 3 inches right. The next shot will be low to the left. All the testing was off a bench in a lead sled.

Im not a gun guy, I just like to hunt, any suggestions on what to try? The scope is tight and looks normal. all the mounts seem tight. thanks
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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 02:41 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

goatman, sounds like your scope may have paralax in it. to check this you need to put the rifle on a solid rest, then without touching the rifle, look through the scope. slowly move your head up and down and left and right and see if the crosshairs seem to move. if they do your scope is done. replace the scope with a new one. hope this helps.
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 03:14 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

[quote=Pa. Slim]goatman, sounds like your scope may have paralax in it. to check this you need to put the rifle on a solid rest, then without touching the rifle, look through the scope. slowly move your head up and down and left and right and see if the crosshairs seem to move. if they do your scope is done. replace the scope with a new one. hope this helps. [/quote....Slim is correct, more than likely it is an optics problem it happened to me and another scope solved my accuracy problems.....


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 03:28 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

If not a paralax issue. Is the barrel pitted, a excessive build up of copper in the barrel or perhaps something is loose? Are you shooting new or reloads? Have you grouped that same load before?

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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 03:34 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

I'd guess scope isn't as tight as it seems. Had one do this years ago. Tightened rings n it held again. Hope it's Thats simple for you.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 05:12 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

Bought a brand new browning lightning lever action in a 7 mm mag years ago. Could not get it to groups at all. Tried different scope, mounts, ammunition, and shooters. I sold it because we could not figure it out. Hopefully you get it worked out, I know how frustrating it can be.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 05:29 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

First step, check the ACTION screws, to make sure they are still tight. If so, swap the scope with a known good scope, see if it does the same thing.

Second step, CLEAN the barrel. If you just run a couple brushes and patches with Hoppes #9 through it, you probably have a buildup of carbon/copper that needs addressed, (whether the scope is bad or not). You need to run carbon/copper specific solvents through it. Use your Hoppes to get the powder fouling out then run some of the foaming bore cleaner through it and let it sit. If patches come out blue/black after soaking, squirt more in and repeat until they come out clean.

Third,try different ammo. Lot to lot variations in components, even in factory ammo, can cause poor grouping. For example, Rem corelokts from 1980 may have shot well, but your gun just might not like the new loadings. Your gun may shoot Winchester well now? You need to let your gun tell you what it likes.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 05:55 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

I have to disagree with everyone on this forum, because it is impossible for me or you or anyone to diagnose a problem over the internet.
Logic tells me that the scope is broke.
Unfortunately the author told us the caliber and the make of the rifle, but he left out the make and model of the scope and the make and model of the scope mounts.
I have rifles that have been abused before I bought them and yet after a simple cleaning, they shot better than anything you can buy in the store today.
If the rifle was good, a little abuse doesn't affect the quality of the accuracy.
Barrel pitting is almost non existent - the last of the corrosive primers being used up in the last 10 years or so in the old '06 makes newer ammo more digestible.

The first test I give any scope is the shake test. I take it off the rifle, I shake it and if it rattles, it goes back to the manufacturer or straight into the garbage.
The second test is to fill the sink with warm water and immerse the scope for 15 minutes with the elevation and windage caps removed.
If I see any bubbles, the scope goes back to the manufacturer or straight into the garbage.

Next is the scope mount, I use Pink service removable small screw Loctite. If the screws are loose or if there is a problem, you can use a wooden dowel rod to check alignment of the mounts. I never use the scope to release the mount with a dovetail type mount.
If the rifle is still doing weird things, I try another scope, just to see if it was the rifle or the scope.

The barrel of the rifle should be free floated, which means that there should be no pressure points in the stock that pushes against the barrel. Dis-assembly of the rifle will show how it is made, again we don't know if it has a black synthetic stock or a wood stock, or if it was designed to be free floated.

Next I would look at the ammo - make sure that I did not mix 150 gr with 180 gr - just an example, not the actual weight this man might be using in his / her rifle.

Next would be to check the headspace, a good machinist might have a tool that not only performs the go / no go but also actually measures the head space against a known size.

I would look at how the bolt locks up in the action, the action itself, and the lands and grooves in the barrel.

There is only so many things you can look at.

You can check the diameter of the bore - the gunsmith pours lead into the barrel and then pounds it out.

The gunsmith can check to see if the barrel is swelled, a sign that there was an obstruction in the barrel and was fired while there was an obstruction in the barrel.

I would also check it with it's open sights as opposed to using the scope and I would shoulder fire it and not use the lead sled.

You can't get accuracy when you don't personally shoulder and fire the rifle.
I don't stock any faith into using the lead sled because as others has expressed on this forum, you aren't putting the stock of the rifle against your shoulder and you are not looking through the scope the same way as you would if you shoulder fired the rifle.

I don't know where you live, but I would find a good gun shop and have it checked out by a competent gunsmith.
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

Thanks all for the advice, the scope is a leupold gold ring
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 12-05-2014, 06:51 PM
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Re: gun not holding a tight group

If it shot good before it should shoot good again,so it ain't broken.If the barrel was worn it wouldn't group that bad.Clean it properly(copper remover),tighten all the scope screws including the bases and rings.You need to take the scope off.After you tighten the scope bases take a break,an hour should do.Then go back and tighten them again.Same goes for the scope.Tighten the action screws to specs.Some guns need a certain screw TORQUED first.Then another screw TORQUED.I know caps but your hand and wrist feel won't cut it bud.Also since you need to torque the action screws remove the stock to see if any debris is in there from hunting.Twigs etc.Test the gun after with 5 shots of one brand then after that you can try another after you clean it properly.May just be me but I think those steps will get it back for her.

Bob Seger,till it shines.
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