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Rifles FAQ : please read before posting new topics


The following are answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions in the Rifles section of the forums. If you�re a new member, chances are you can find the answer to your questions here. If not, the search button will yield a wealth of information. As always, please excuse the humor, as it makes my writing and hopefully your reading this FAQ more enjoyable. So, without further delay, here we go:

Q: What is the best starter rifle for a shooter on a budget?

A: The two rifles that are most frequently recommended for new shooters on a budget are the Savage 10FP and the Remington 700P or 700P LTR. These are solid rifles with good accuracy at a reasonable price. They can later be customized if desired, and parts and gunsmiths for these actions are easily located.

Q: What caliber should I choose for my first precision rifle?

A: For a starter rifle, the new shooter would do well to purchase either a .308 Winchester or a .223 Remington, both of which are available in the models listed above. Ammo is plentiful and varied, barrel life is long and the cartridges are well understood with books full of accurate loads. Want to know what your rifle can do? Hand it to a known good shooter and have him/her shoot factory match ammo through it.

Q: What barrel length is best?

A: �Best� will depend on your unique requirements and preferences. For our purposes, we will assume the rifle is being used with a scope, negating the need for a long sight radius for iron sights. Tests have shown that short, heavy barrels are stiffer and can produce superior accuracy. The velocity loss with a .308 is not too significant until you go below 20 inches or so. Short barrels also keep the rifle at a manageable length for suppressor use. Longer barrels will give higher velocity than shorter barrels, have less muzzle blast, the extra weight will help dampen recoil and with a properly constructed rifle, the difference in accuracy is slight, especially under field conditions. So, like so many other things in shooting, barrel length is mostly a matter a personal preference, although anything longer than 26 inches might get a little cumbersome.

Q: Which is better, a semi-auto or a bolt action?

A: Again, this is relative as to what you intend to do with it. Both have advantages and disadvantages. As a general rule, a bolt action will be slightly more accurate than a semi-auto, there are fewer things to go wrong, and it won�t fling brass all over the place. A semi auto can engage multiple targets faster, reload faster, hold more ammunition and will recoil less.

Q: I have a question about scopes�

A: Please see the Optics FAQ in the optics section of the forums.

Q: What about barrel break-in?

A: This is a highly controversial subject. Several respected barrel and rifle makers say that barrel break-in (intense cleaning during the first so many rounds of a new barrel�s life) is completely unnecessary, while others say that it is a must for top accuracy. The majority opinion on this website is this: it might not be necessary, but it doesn�t really hurt, so why not. Believe whatever you wish, and don�t lose any sleep over it.

Q: What is barrel twist? How do I decide what twist to get?

A: Barrel twist is the number of inches it takes for the rifling to make one complete turn, commonly expressed as a ratio, such as 1:10. This means one turn in ten inches. The rate of twist determines which bullets your rifle will stabilize. Lower numbers indicate faster twists and the ability to stabilize longer bullets. It is bullet length, not weight that is the determining factor. A good rule of thumb is to select the rate of twist capable of stabilizing the longest bullet you think you might want to shoot. A fast twist might cause a slight reduction in accuracy with short bullets, but a slow twist will have long bullets tumbling and keyholing, often missing the target completely. For a list of suggested twist rates, go here: http://www.riflebarrels.com/faq_lilja_r ... st%20rates

Q: I am bothered by the recoil of my (insert caliber here). What can I do?

A: A heavier rifle will kick less, thanks to physics. Recoil pads have no negatives, and all rifles should be equipped with one. Muzzle brakes will reduce recoil at the cost of greatly increasing perceived noise, kicking up dust, and making everyone at the range hate you. Gas-operated semiautomatic rifles lower the perceived recoil. Finally, you may want to consider a lighter-kicking caliber.

Q: How can I make my rifle more accurate?

A: Factory rifles can be made more accurate in many ways. Things to check for include: adjusting the trigger, bedding the rifle, free-floating the barrel, having the receiver �trued�, installing a match grade barrel, and perhaps the simplest method: using match ammunition. Most of this work should be performed by a qualified gunsmith, as improper fooling about with your perfectly serviceable rifle could create an unsafe situation. Beware, customization will void most factory warrantees, so get a good smith who stands behind their work.

Q: My rifle is suddenly not shooting as accurately as it used to. Help!

A: First, check all your screws. Make sure they are tight. Second, check your scope. Cheap scopes can �die� without obvious indication. Third, check for damage to the barrel crown. Fourth, clean it! There may be excessive copper fouling in your barrel that is contributing to your loss of accuracy. Fifth, check your logbook. You do have a logbook, right? If your new 17 caliber wildcat you designed by necking down a .50 BMG case isn�t shooting as well as it did 2000 rounds ago, chances are you�ve shot out your barrel, and need a new one. In all seriousness, replacing the barrel should be your very last option, as it is probably some other problem. Beware: many barrels are ruined by overzealous or careless cleaning before they reach the end of their useful life.

Q: I have a _________ caliber rifle. What is the barrel life? How can I extend it?

A: Barrel life necessarily varies. The .308, and even moreso the .223 will give you many thousands of rounds of barrel life. Super hot cartridges like the 6-284 and most other magnums will give less, sometimes as few as 1000 rounds. The main enemy of barrel life is heat. To extend your barrel life, let the rifle cool between shots or groups. How cool is cool enough? If you can�t hold onto the barrel (not just touch it) without discomfort, it�s too hot.

Q: What is Ballistic Coefficient? Why does it matter?

A: Ballistic Coefficient, or B.C. is a measurement of how aerodynamic a bullet is. Bullets with high B.C.s will retain velocity better and be less affected by wind. Obviously, this makes them attractive for long range shooting.

Q: Do I need to glass bed my HS Precision stock?

A: No. HS Precision stocks have an integral aluminum bedding block. No additional bedding is required.

Q: Is custom rifle maker _____ better than custom rifle maker _____?

A: The top-name smiths all produce excellent custom Tactical rifles. Do yourself a favor and do NOT create a thread with this as the topic.

Q: What is fluting? What are the benefits?

A: Barrel flutes are grooves cut into a barrel. The jury is still out on the benefits of barrel fluting. For now, the main effect that fluting a barrel gives that everyone agrees on is a reduction in weight.

Q: What is the difference between a short action and a long action?

A: Action length is related to cartridge length. Longer cartridges require longer actions to house them. For example, the .223 and .308 will fit in a short action, but the 30-06 and .300 Winchester Magnum are physically longer, and thus require a long action. Some monstrous cartridges require even longer action lengths. There is debate over how action lengths affect accuracy, but the difference should be minimal. Short actions weigh less and make the rifle�s overall length slightly shorter.

Q: What are barrel contours?

A: Barrel contours are numbers that indicate the thickness of a barrel. Most barrels start at a certain diameter at the chamber, then slowly taper down to a smaller diameter at the muzzle. The numbers vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but higher numbers equal heavier (thicker) barrels. A barrel that is a straight cylinder is sometimes called uncontoured.

As a parting shot for now, and partially related to barrel weight, anyone who can name the speaker of this quote gets a cookie from Muzz. �Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable�if it doesn�t work, you can always hit him with it.� :wink:

This FAQ will be updated as time permits. If you would like to see anything added, please let me know. If you didn�t find what you are looking for here, try using the search button, or failing that just ask. The friendly members here at the site will be happy to help you.

Stay safe and shoot true.

Bead Drawer
Moderator
July 21, 2006



Disclaimer: The author, this website and its owner and agents assume no liability for the use or misuse of this information. This FAQ shall not be construed as a product endorsement for any company, nor libel upon any company. The views expressed herein are not necessarily the views of anyone. This document is the intellectual property of the author and may not be reproduced without the author's express written permission.

Version history: 1.2
Last Updated: 7/26/06
 

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“Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable…if it doesn’t work, you can always hit him with it.” - "Boris the Blade a.k.a., boris the bullet dodger" (Rade Serbedzija) snatch
 

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Re: Rifles FAQ – please read before posting new topics

Bead Drawer said:
Q: Do I need to glass bed my HS Precision stock?

A: No. HS Precision stocks have an integral aluminum bedding block. No additional bedding is required.
Not necesarily true statement. Some HS stocks do fine without being bedded but some need it as you're putting together two mass produced items, receiver and stock, and hopeing they match up correctly. My HS stocked rifle shot two distinct groups due to shift during firing even with the receiver bolts tightened to 65 in/lbs. After a good skim bedding it shot one nice group. I'm not the only person that I know of that have had this problem also.

So I would say that saying most HS stocks don't require bedding but if you encounter problems they will do well with a skim bed.

Other than that a pretty good write up that will help out some new shooters an keep the qustions that have been asked many times over and over down.
 

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Bead Drawer,

Good Job. I think you have addressed and hit the FAQ topics well.

mjones
 

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Once again bead, nice writeup.


dom
 

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finish

Just joined a couple of weeks ago and love this site. I have read the review on the new sps varmint here, but I have a question. First, I was thinking of buying a 700p, but then after reading this review I think that the best thing to do would be to buy the sps varmint, then purchase what stock I wanted since the sps varmint stock is not that great. Love the HS on the 700p, but I was thinking about a different HS stock in stead of the one that comes on the 700p. I mean if the only difference is the stock between the 700P vs. sps varmint, then it seems that is the way to go. Also what is the difference in the finishes between the two rifles. Is it really worth the extra money to go with the 700p if I am going to sell the stock? Or should I buy the sps v, and then get the HS stock seperate { adjustable HS Stock is what I would really want} Hope this wasn't to confusing
 

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First of all, welcome on the forums. Nice to see you've read the rifles FAQ. I like to suggest that you start a new topic for your question. This will prevent the FAQ from becomming a several pages long thread and you might get replies sooner on this more detailed question in a seperate thread rather than the FAQ.

Hope you'll enjoy your time on SC.
 

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Q: My rifle is suddenly not shooting as accurately as it used to. Help!
A:
screws.
Cheap scopes
barrel crown
clean it
shot out your barrel
I have trouble shot many rifles for inaccuracy, and half of them had scope mounts that were loose on the receiver.

The ring to scope tightness can easily be checked.
The ring to mount tightness can easily be checked.
The mount to receiver tightness requires taking the scope and rings off the rifle.

A characteristic symptom is different groups on the same target. Two hole together over here followed by two holes together way over here is typical.

A fix is to tighten the screws.
They might get loose again.
Cleaning the oil from the screws and screw holes and then applying Loctite 242 to the threads and glass bedding between the mount and the receiver is better.
Fixturing dual Weaver mounts to be co planar and co linear requires some effort when glass bedding. A scope with rings can be used as the fixture, with the mount to receiver screws loose. This will also preclude the lapping of rings, and make musical chairs of scopes with rings moving from rifle to rifle with no bind and being on the paper.
 

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Opening The Bolt

What about commenting on the number of degrees different actions open at?

If I remember correctly Weatherby rifles open up within 60 degrees or so. Is

this a valid addition to the FAQ thread???
 

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this literally answered almost every question I would have asked
 

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I think the standard caliber to consider for a starter in addition to the .308win is the 6.5Creedmore. I think the .223 and .22LR are good learners. I use those smaller shooters while waiting for the LD barrels to cool.
 
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