Rifle Accurizing.

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by jim2, Mar 14, 2009.

  1. jim2

    jim2 Monkey+++

    <HR class=hr width="100%" SIZE=1> <!-- google_ad_section_start -->If I may, I’d like to write a short instruction sheet for accurizing rifles that can be used by the uninitiated and/or poor. These will be cheap effective ways to increase accuracy of rifles with a minimum of cost and sometimes effort. These methods will generally, improve hit capability of a standard rifle, and while not the end all info sheet, it will be a starting point that will hopefully give a basic understanding of what makes a rifle shoot well, or at least better than it did out of the box. Further, these methods will not require a great deal of skill or money. At the end of the instructions, others should feel free to post their ideas and methods so as to improve knowledge and help out other shooters. For the purposes of this info sheet, I will assume that one has bought or inherited a used bolt-action rifle. The new synthetic stocked stainless steel rifles are not within the scope of this small effort, and should be discussed at a later date.

    For starters, this rifle will usually be a wood stocked blue steel rifle that has been previously fired, and maybe not maintained all that well. It may or may not shoot well as it is. If for instance, one has a center-fire rifle of any of the popular calibers: .30-06, .308 Win., .270 Win., .243, .223 Rem. Etc., is scope mounted, and it won’t keep to at least a 2” group at 100 yards when fired from a rest, then it is probably a candidate for accurizing.


    This is a method that will allow one to stabilize their stock without the cost and trouble of glass bedding while realizing from some of the same benefits. Skinning retards or eliminates the accumulation of moisture in the wood stock and keeps it from warping when moderate amounts of humidity are present.

    First, remove the action from the stock, and check for wear indicators such as worn spots on the blued surface of the barreled action or the stock itself. These will indicate contact points where the stock touches the barreled action. If these places truly are “spots” and not large areas, then the corresponding spot on the stock has to be removed by sanding. Channeling the barrel is the preferred method, but in keeping with the basic outlines of this paper, I will assume you neither have one nor access to a barrel channeler. An alternative to this is to wrap very coarse sand paper around a dowel of some sort, then stroke it back and forth in the barrel channel ( just in front of the magazine well) until an even surface has been achieved. Then, use finer grit to finish the job. Do the same if needed to the action/magazine well portion of the stock. Once that is finished, then the owner has a choice of what type of finish is to be used on the interior of the stock. A round edged wood chisel can also be used by dragging it in a scraping motion instead of driving it with a hammer, using it backward so to speak. Then, the stock must be sealed in some manner so as to reduce, or slow warping due to humidity.

    Several times, I have used Johnson’s paste wax on the inside of the stock. I’d apply a liberal amount (don’t get sloppy) and rub in well and allow to dry. Doing this several times created a very moisture resistant inner surface on the stock, and kept humidity and a small amount of precipitation from causing warping.

    The second finish to use is either a brushed on or sprayed on coat of varnish, polycoat, epoxy or the like. The latter is best of all though the owner must be very careful how much is applied. This works like a thin coat of glass bedding and will be a very effective moisture barrier for the stock. Let the stock dry for longer than the minimum required length prior to reassembly.

    Prior to skinning is a good time to use another small trick to affect the barrel harmonics and increase accuracy. At one time it was advised to loosen the stock so a piece of a business card could be inserted between the stock and barrel just about one inch back from the end of the forearm. A thin brass shim is much better, and if painted in when the skinning process is being done will not be so easily lost when disassembly of the rifle is required. Make sure that the shim does not protrude from the stock anywhere, and then tighten down your action into the stock. Make a witness mark on the action screw and on the stock or reinforcing ring so you may return to the same tension when needed. The shim may also be used on the barrel just foreword of the action so that the rest of the barrel is free floating. Sometimes fore end pressure is needed, and sometimes free-floating. Depends on your rifle.

    Another trick is to use nylon or neoprene washers as an interface between the action and stock. They must be small enough to fit easily into their narrow confines. Remember the use of witness marks, and you will return to the same screw tension levels without the cost of a torque wrench.

    The owner may also take plastic soda straws and insert them in the stock screw holes and pour a good epoxy around them and let that cure for a good free floating support. Care must be taken to ensure that the action will fit after this process, or you will be doing a fair amount of material removal with a small wood chisel to correct the problem.

    This will get you started, requires a minimum of tools, and generally improves accuracy.

    One last thing to do if you don’t reload is to find what factory ammo performs best in your rifle. Simply buy a box of each, and then shoot them for group size from a rest at 100 yards. Remember to clean the barrel between brands of ammo. Whatever gives the smallest groups will probably be the best load to use in your rifle. If there is not much difference in performance between a standard load and a premium load, go with the high-end ammo for the best results on game animals, unless it will come down to how much practice you can afford. Otherwise, use what shoots best in your rifle. Confidence in your ability to hit with your load/rifle combination will outweigh most other factors. Almost all modern factory loads are more than good enough for the job at hand and better than what most folks can reload. Use the proper bullet weight and caliber for the game hunted.

    Hope this helps. Anyone with other simple tips like these is invited to comment.

  2. RouteClearance

    RouteClearance Monkey+++

    I am currently doing this to a Remington .22 that I picked up at a swap meet for a Benjaman.
  3. nugafonos

    nugafonos Monkey++

    Starting with a used gun with unknown accuracy:

    Step 1 - make sure gun is clean paying particular attention to the action, chamber, and barrel. Clean barrel thoroughly to remove copper and other dirt/fouling. Check barrel crown (if bad, it needs recrowning).

    Step 2 - check all screws for correct tightness paying particular to sights and/or mounts. If scoped, make sure it's correctly mounted and mount rings are properly aligned. Many times, poor accuracy is due to the scope (or other sights) and not necessarily the gun. Put a scope on you know holds its zero if you suspect the scope.

    Step 3 - check fit of stock as outlined by jim2.

    Step 4 - test shoot from a solid rest using sand bags or other proper rest. Shoot under calm conditions (low or no wind) AND USE A PROPER BACKSTOP! As mentioned, try different ammo to find the best for the gun (this includes reloads but only if you know how to reload).
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