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Achieving accuracy with a Remington 700

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by thewillweeks, Nov 26, 2016.

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  1. thewillweeks

    thewillweeks Member

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    I am currently the happy (enough) owner of a Walmart special Remington 700. With 168gr BTHP's it's shooting right around 1moa, and I'm sure if the shooter improved so would the accuracy. I'm starting to become interested in longer distance shooting, likely along the lines of 500 yards instead of the 100-150 that I do most of my shooting at. Definitely not in the excess of 750 yards.

    Would I be better suited to get a "nicer" 700 to start working on, upgrading, etc, such as a SPS or Varmint with the heavier barrel? Or will I be able to achieve such shooting with the Walmart special and it's hunting barrel?

    I know there's a lot more to distance than this but I'm specifically asking about this one thing, aside from a lighter barrel is the Walmart special inferior as a starting point?
     
  2. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    A 700, is a 700, is a 700. The difference is "fit and finish" barrel length, stock type etc.

    Just try your rifle as is at 500 if it's not how you like it, change the stock, barrel, and trigger. Who knows you may find it satisfactory.
     
  3. VThillman

    VThillman Member

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    What cartridge?
     
  4. bullzeye8

    bullzeye8 Member

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    The action and trigger will be the same on both so the only problem with the walmart special is light barrel and the blind magazine, i'm guessing it has, which can always be upgraded. A thicker barrel will be more accurate because its more stiff and also won't be as affected by heat. If you are contemplating spending $600-700 on another 700 that money could go toward a new aftermarket barrel that will be a much bigger improvement. You can get a Shilen pre-threaded short chambered barrel for $370 and it shouldn't cost much to get it installed. If you have the extra money have the gunsmith blueprint the action while they are at it.
     
  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    The rifle you have is capable of hitting 4-5" targets at 500 yards as is. Spend time and money buying ammo and shooting what you have.
     
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  6. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    Yes, you'll hit 1 MOA (5") targets with your rifle and that load. How often is something else.

    Keep in mind that groups sizes at 100 yards tend to open up about 10% or more in subtended angle for each additional 100 yards down range. That's caused by muzzle velocity spreads as well as subtle cross winds we cannot see nor detect. A tiny amount is caused by a 1% to 2% spread in bullet's BC; they ain't all exactly the same. That 10% can grow to 20% if your stuff is not all that uniform in their contribution to the rifle and ammo accuracy.

    If you check short range benchrest aggregate records (average of several 5- or 10-shot groups at their extreme spreads) at 100, 200, and 300 yards, those at 200 are about 33% bigger than those at 100 and at 300 their another 25% or so larger. All fired shots at 100 yards are about .300" extreme spread, .400" at 200 and at 300 yards a whopping half inch at .500". all the thousands of other aggregates are much bigger.

    Therefore, I doubt you'll shoot 5" (1 MOA) groups at 500 yards. 'Tis my opinion it'll be more like about 7.3" (about 1.5 MOA), at best.

    With proper handloads and shooting technique with that rifle, you may well be able to do it.

    LIght, skinny and whippy barrels will shoot equally accurate with heavy, fat and stiff ones. If their quality is good and the receiver face is squared up with its barrel tenon thread axis. Few commercial rifles have that done, if any. All good match rifles are made that way. Regardless of barrel weight and profile, they all shoot very tiny groups with shots fired every 5 to 60 seconds apart. Done it myself many times.
     
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  7. DRYHUMOR

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    An aftermarket trigger is worth the money. It can be used on any other 700 you may accumulate.

    You didn't state that the ammo was factory or reloaded. Learning to reload is worth the time and satisfaction. And, finding a load for your rifle can gain consistency.
     
  8. maxxhavoc

    maxxhavoc Member

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  9. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    Are you shooting 1 MOA with Walmart ammo? If so, that's a great rifle and factory ammo combination. I doubt that any upgrades will result in noticeable improvements in accuracy unless you start handloading or buying expensive premium factory ammo like Federal Gold Medal or Lapua.
     
  10. thewillweeks

    thewillweeks Member

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    That's what I wanted to know. Thanks @CarJunkieLS1 !

    @Bart B. That accuracy will be acceptable for the purpose. Thanks for explaining that to me.

    @VThillman It's a 308win but I'm shooting 7.62x51NATO through it right now, found a deal on a bunch of it. But I've got a stack of 308win with 168bthp in the closet too when I run out of this.

    @DRYHUMOR Excellent point, I am then committed to the 700 platform. I'm not sure I want to get stuck with the big green. But it seems like 700's resell really well so what the hay. I'm shooting factory ammo through it. Reloading would definitely be the route to go if I plan to do much of this, but I've already settled on 9mm and 223rem having to come first for reloading equipment.

    @maxxhavoc Prety happy with it, considering pairing a cheap rifle with a cheap Bushnell (about $200) scope. I don't want to get any scope bigger than 6x on the bottom end, the rifle wouldn't be useful hunting then and that's really the only practical reason I have it. I'm just moonlighting as a target shooter with my 6x18 scope right now haha.

    @IMtheNRA No, definitely not Walmart ammo. As noted above, I picked up a case of 7.62x51NATO 168bthp in a recent order, and the other stuff I've got is PPU match ammo. I don't buy Walmart ammo except for my shotguns, anything else we order by the case.

    If you can ever pull it off, organize an ammo buying group. We usually clear $1000 in ammo per order, so we earn gift cards and free stuff almost every time, plus we all save on shipping and get the best bulk prices.

    Kudos to @Derek Zeanah on the implementation of the new system with the tagging ability, I love actually being able to respond to the people who help me out. Makes it more social and more helpful.
     
  11. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Any 700 with the lugs lapped, the action blocked and bedded, and the trigger weight reduced to be more shootable is generally capable of shooting sub-moa with the right ammo.

    I'll confirm Bart B's sentiment about your groups opening up as range increases.

    As a rule of thumb, unless you're happy just burning powder and making noise, before a shooter makes the jump to 500 or 600yrds, they should be shooting 1 to 1.5" groups at 300yrds. Shooting bug-holes at 100yrds and shotgun patterns at 600yrds is a fallacy too many shooters pursue. As Bart mentioned, groups DO open up a bit as you get farther down range, but your job as the shooter should be to minimize that creep. If you're struggling to shoot 1MOA at 100yrds, you will not be smelling 1MOA at 500yrds, especially with the cheap 3-9x which came saddled upon your rifle. No sense in backing up before you're proficient at your current range.
     
  12. johnmcl

    johnmcl Member

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    As mentioned earlier, do not under estimate the value of quality optics. If you want to shoot seriously, get serious optics. The bench rest guy and others in the target community frequently use fixed power scopes. Those that shoot in field conditions use variable scopes.

    The other parameter is practice, practice, and more practice. I'd also recommend you find training material out there. A favorite of mine is The Art of the Precision Rifle. This training material can give you pointers on your secondary equipment such as bipods, rear rests, levels, etc.

    Best of luck,
     
  13. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    Sounds like you're off to a good start, having found ammo that your rifle likes. To answer your question: no, there's nothing inferior about your rifle or it's skinny barrel. I think that at the longer distance that you want to shoot, you'll probably discover the limitations of your scope and ammo first.

    Specifically, I'd be weary of that scope's adjustment range as well as the relationship between it's click value and what the reticle is actually doing, especially as you approach the limit of the scope's vertical adjustment.

    See how you and the equipment do at longer distances. I don't think there's anything you can learn shooting at 100 yards that you can't learn at 500.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  14. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    My wife's cheap Walmart special 770 can split the ribs on a 5gal bucket with fusions, and with handloaded Sierras, it gets scarier, the blue box gets right around 1moa.......maybe you should look at the ammunition, also, tweaked the trigger on a friend's ADL and made tons of difference, no overtravel very little to no creep and right about 3lbs. No need to worry bout the fancy models. I'm not a Remington guy myself but have no qualms picking one up and sending lead downrange with one. If I were you, I'd spend the time and money shooting what you got till you can drill your targets consistently. Then upgrade her bit by bit as you go and you'll be just fine, do the barrel towards the end so you don't waste the life of your new barrel on "learning" shots. By the time you've grown with your gun, your confidence with it will surpass what you would have by throwing money at a different gun just for giggles.
     
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  15. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    If your 700 shoots 1 MOA at 100 with your scope, spending three wads of money on a high priced one might end up letting it shoot 7/8 MOA at a hundred. Is that worth the cost?

    Spend one (or one and a third) wad of money on a high quality match grade barrel and having the receiver and bolt face squared up then properly epoxy bedded and your scope might enable that renewed rifle to shoot 1/2 MOA or thereabouts. Use the scope you have. Or aperture sights; the difference between scope sight and aperture sight bullseye target scores are small, very small.

    Scope quality does nothing to improve a rifle's accuracy; they don't shoot the bullets down range. Having tested several scopes repeatability of reticle position both from adjustments and recoil, there's about 1/3 MOA spread across all of them. All the variables had some hysteresis in their power range; that's the reticle making a figure 8 movement pattern about the aiming point as power was changed. There has to be some clearance between the two lens mounts in the erector tube that changes the magnification; if you must use a variable, set it hard into the highest power setting then tape it there so it doesn't move. Fixed power scopes don't have this problem.

    It doesn't matter if the optical quality of one lets you resolve a fly on a log and the other can discern nothing smaller than a bumble bee on that log, what difference does that make several hundred yards down range? Is an extra thousand dollars for a scope worth it?
     
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  16. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    That's the accuracy benchrest aggregate records are at 300 yards comprising several 5- or 10-shot groups' extreme spread.

    Expecting that criteria with any commercial rifle is a dream. Wake up and hopefully you'll realize only the smallest fraction of all the very accurate rifles do that; then only once.
     
  17. thewillweeks

    thewillweeks Member

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    My first upgrade will be the stock, this flimsy thing they sold with it doesn't pass for much. I know with a properly stocked rifle I can shoot 5/8" groups, but I've got 3 times the money in that rifle. Then a trigger.

    Those things would be easily reused on another rifle.
     
  18. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I never said a thing about factory or "commercial" rifles. You can give away the punchline, however, in that reaching that benchmark typically requires 2 things 1) the shooter to practice sufficiently to surpass their equipment, then 2) the shooter to modify the equipment to bring it up to their new speed.

    So when I say a shooter should be able to shoot 1/2 MOA, it's a dream, but when you say the same, it's a reality?

    I was coached on the 1-1.5" at 300yrds about 20yrs ago by qualified and credentialed shooters - guys you'd probably know by name, but I was too young and foolish to pay close enough attention to at the time. The advice, going hand in hand with that "benchmark" was that in starting with a factory rifle, the shooter would burn out a barrel in its pursuit, then their salt would be sufficient when they rebuilt the rifle to actually be capable of it.

    I'll stand by it: Shooting well at 100 then accepting poor accuracy with the excuse "it's farther away" at 500yrds is inexcusable game. Unless they're coming specifically into a competition format which dictates range, the shooter should grow their range organically, not make a huge jump across a transitional boundary without earning their path along the way.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
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  19. maxxhavoc

    maxxhavoc Member

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    I kind of agree with this. The problem I have seen with cheap scopes is usually:
    1-Failure to maintain zero from one shooting session to another.
    2-Failure to adjust precisely.

    These two issues can become a circle of frustration as you end up needing to sight in every time you go to the range, and adjustments are not predictable. I had a long range shooter school me on this when I was getting frustrated.

    He ran what he called the box test on my scope, which was:
    Put a target spot on paper, then one exactly 12" to the right, then another pair exactly 12" below the first two. Zero the scope, then put 3 rounds in the upper left target at 100 yards. Turn the turret to adjust the scope 12MOA to the right, then aim at the target already shot and shoot three more. They should hit on the upper right target. Adjust down, 12MOA and shoot at the first target again. They should hit bottom right. Repeat to hit the bottom left, then come up again to hit the original target. The Bushnell I was using ended up being off by at least an inch (and not necessarily in the direction I adjusted on all targets. When I got back to the first target, I was 3" off or so...even though the scope was set exactly the same as it was when we started.

    I ran it on a Tasco 3-9 I pulled out, it was better, but not perfect. I shot my .223 with a cheap CenterPoint on it and it passed the test, or close enough. So I moved it to the .308 and it would not hold zero shot to shot (yes, it was torqued and loctited.)

    He recommended I go to a SWFA as a starter scope due to the build quality of the scope, as well as the cost. Fixed power only. I got the 10x42 $299 Mil/Mil version. When I ran the box check the last group was right on top of the first. After several years of use, it still is.

    Having a scope that was mechanically predictable let me focus on the real problem with accuracy, the shooter. A more expensive scope is better for clarity and low light, but I shoot at a range in the daytime. As long as the crosshairs are where I expect them to be, the quality of glass is a non-issue. When I was using the scopes I got free with rifles or bought on the cheap, I was chasing 2 problems at once.

    If your scope maintains zero and you don't switch target distances, you may not see the problems I had. If you switch from 100-300+ using mechanical adjustments, make sure your scope does this exactly the same every time.

    Any recommendations on a good 'smith to do the barrel work? Most of the smiths around here are big on talk, small on performance with anything that requires slow work or precision. Someone who does good work without charging a truckload would be good :)
     
  20. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    Your Walmart Remington M700 is what it is. An excellent (by your description) economical, HUNTING rifle.

    To turn it into a TARGET rifle will take $$$$. How far you take it depends on how many $$$ you want to invest.
    My sole M700 is likewise a M700 ADL with "plastic" stock in .22/250.
    With glass bedding the stock, adjusting the trigger, free-floating the forend, stiffening it with epoxy fill, and installing target grade steel base, rings, and scope; AND, adjusting the reloads with Sierra bullets, It shoots in the .3's. I did the work myself, and bought the scope used, so total investment is ~$500.

    It's a "Varmint" rifle. Our varmints includes whitetail deer so all it's shot are coyotes, deer, targets, and one one occasion, some prarie dogs.
    It fills its intended purpose.
    You decide what your rifles purpose is.
     
  21. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    When I say a rifle shoots 1/2 MOA testing for accuracy, I mean all test shots fired are inside 1/2 MOA. Not one group out of several being 1/2 MOA or less. It's popular to claim a firearm's accuracy by its smallest group fired.

    Rifles shoot their smallest group just as often as their largest one. Both are equally difficult to repeat. And all are between zero and some amount; most in the inner third or half of that spread. Group centers are not at the same place relative to point of aim. Which is why "boxing" a scope to check its repeatability is not very precise.
     
  22. alientrainwreck

    alientrainwreck Member

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    Nevermind Barrel Harmonics just start shooting and see what you got. Also your gonna need some good quality optics & mounts installed and probably lapped then if you just wanna bust clays at 500 should be pretty easy with the correct practices.
     
  23. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    I always used scopes with less than average quality glass but above quality mechanics. Never lapped cheap mount rings made by Tasco and Weaver either. They were good enough for sub half MOA test groups at 800 to 1000 yards.
     
  24. IMtheNRA

    IMtheNRA Member

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    Bart, what scopes?
     
  25. Bart B.

    Bart B. Member

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    Yes. But only when the shooter has and does all the right stuff and lucks out shooting half MOA at 300 yards. That's what happens in benchrest matches. Smallest groups in any rifle shooting events are always luck; otherwise they would be the norm.

    Benchrest records are mostly luck. The rest bracket normal or average performance with bigger numbers.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
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