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Accurizing Factory Rifles

Accurizing Factory Rifles
Group Not Quite Up To Snuff? You Can Likely Fit It Yourself.

Factory rifles come off assembly lines, and mass manufacturing doesn’t allow the tight tolerances possible in a custom-made rifle. Optimists hope to buy exceptional factory rifles, with tolerances as small as a custom rifle’s, but even those exceptions often need some help. We call this help “accurizing,” a rather odd word that means removing minor flaws of mass manufacturing.

If we don’t shoot our new rifle before accurizing, we might waste time by attempting to improve an already accurate rifle. A common mistake is testing-shooting with a new scope. I’ve encountered dozens of defective scopes over the decades, and most were bad from the factory, or went bad within 50 rounds.

Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

That’s not just my experience, either. A year ago a reader e-mailed, asking for advice on a new .30-06. It wouldn’t group very well, no matter what handloads he tried. I immediately asked if the scope was also new, and he said he’d already changed out the new scope he’d bought with the rifle. A month later he e-mailed again, saying both the first and second scopes he’d tried were brand-new. After thinking about my response he mounted a proven scope from another rifle. His new .30-06 started shooting really well!

So we start by mounting a proven scope. Contrary to popular belief, correct scope mounting isn’t all that easy. By far the most common mistake is over-tightening ring screws. When we crank on ring screws like they’re lug nuts, the rings can easily crush the tube enough to interfere with the scope’s innards. The usual symptom is an occasional flier in any direction. Most ring manufacturers suggest no more than 20 inch-pounds of torque. If you don’t have a torque driver, holding the screwdriver’s handle with only your thumb and first two fingers is close enough. This doesn’t feel like much, but holds a scope firmly even on a big-bore African rifle.
By John Barseness

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Guns September 2012

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  1. BRAD GRIFFITH says:

    I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT, ALTHOUGH THE AUTHOR COVERED MOST RELEVENT INFORMATION ABOUT ACCURACY ISSUES, ANOTHER IMPORTANT ISSUE NOT ADDRESSED IS AMMUNITION. IF YOU DON’T HANDLOAD, YOU MAY NEVER FIND THE TRUE POTENTIAL OF YOUR RIFLE.
    MOST OF MY RIFLES WILL SHOOT EVERYTHING WELL & CUSTOM HANDLOADS VERY WELL, BUT I HAVE A KIMBER CLASSIC 223 WITH A VERY LIGHT BARREL, THAT IS EXTREMELY FUSSY ABOUT AMMO, SHOOTING 5 SHOTS INTO 3 & 4 INCH GROUPS, ALTHOUGH IT WILL SHOOT SOME COMMERCIAL AMMO UNDER AN INCH & .4 INCH GROUPS WITH HANDLOADS. IT SEEMS TO BE VERY FUSSY ABOUT BULLET SEATING & IT DEPENDS ON THE BULLET, AS TO HOW MUCH “JUMP” IT WANTS, I.E. IT LIKES .004 JUMP FOR A HORNADY 40 GR. V-MAX & .020 JUMP FOR A SIERRA 69 GR. HPBT.
    SO, BOTTOM LINE, THERE ARE MANY VARIABLES THAT CAUSE ACCURACY ISSUES & UNLESS YOU ARE MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE THAN THE AVERAGE GUY THAT WALKS INTO A GUN SHOW OR STORE & BUYS A GUN, YOU PROBABLY WILL NOT FIND THE CAUSE OF MANY OF THE ACCURACY ISSUES & IT’S ALSO POSSIBLE THAT THE GUN WILL SHOOT BETTER THAN YOUR ABILITY, AS MOST OVER THE COUNTER GUNS THAT I’VE SEEN IN THE LAST 20 YEARS ARE CAPABLE OF SHOOTING BETTER GROUPS RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX THAN THEIR OWNER IS.
    PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT, OR AT LEAST IMPROVES YOUR ABILITY.

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