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GUNS Magazine September 2012 Digital Edition - Page 52

Accurizing Factory riF les John Barsness actory 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. 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. Tighten F 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 This new Model 70 Winchester .270 WSM shot well with no modifications. The scope is a well-used Leupold VX-III 3.5-10X, and the ammo a Federal 150-grain load already proven accurate in other rifles. 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 All the stock screws should be really tight except on bolt-actions where one screw only serves to hold one end of the triggerguard. It should be just tight enough to stay put. Tightening sometimes reveals slightly over-long screws. A long tang screw can prevent a bolt from opening, while a long front screw can push against a bolt’s locking lug, since in many actions the screw-hole goes into the lug recess. Also check the buttstock screws or through-bolt on rifles with 2-piece stocks, since a loose buttstock makes shots string up and down. Tightening a through-bolt requires removal of the buttplate or recoil pad. The test ammo is also important. Fortunately, a lot of today’s bullets are really accurate, even hunting bullets. Sometimes I test-fire new rifles with target bullets, but Berger Hunting VLDs, Hornady Interlocks or SSTs, Nosler Ballistic Tips, and Sierra GameKings and ProHunters also shoot great, and are available in a number of factory loads. If shooting handloads, some powder 52 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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