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Die problems?
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 Posted: Sun Apr 9th, 2017 09:55 PM
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Beaverstate23
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Long story short, I have I rifle that has shot inconsistently from quite good (about an inch) to very bad. I've chased down some of the immediate and more obvious culprits that rob accuracy (action screws, optics, optic mounts, bore cleaning, muzzle crown) and have tried several different loads, bullets, and bullet weights while neck sizing fire-formed brass. I finally took it to a gunsmith who checked chamber specs (which checked out perfectly) and suggested I try new reloading dies. I'm game to do so as that seems like a reasonably easy and inexpensive route. My question is have any of you had any experience with a bad set of dies causing accuracy issues in your reloads? Is it possible that simply changing out the dies could quickly solve the problem? What else might I be missing?



 Posted: Sun Apr 9th, 2017 10:12 PM
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Ozark Ed



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I think your dies would be about the last thing I would suspect. Give us more info. What caliber, rifle, new, used, etc? My first suspicion would be the optics/mounts for inconsistency. If you've ruled that out, how is the barrel? How many rounds through it?

If you're only neck sizing, how many times has the brass been loaded? Do you full length size every fourth or fifth loading? Are you annealing?

Have you tried factory loads? If they are consistent then you can eliminate the rifle. If they are inconsistent then you're left with either the rifle/optics or, God forbid, the shooter. Not trying to be insulting but can we rule out operator error? Is it inconsistent for other shooters too?



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 Posted: Sun Apr 9th, 2017 11:25 PM
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golong
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I think Ed has a great suggestion on the factory ammo. FWIW, the only time I have had major variances like you are describing was from using powder that particular rifles just did not like - powder would work well on a load in rifle A, but send fliers out of rifle B.



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 Posted: Sun Apr 9th, 2017 11:56 PM
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Lost-One
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I will add a couple of more questions on to Ed's. What is the twist rate and what is the weight of the bullets you are shooting? have you gone lighter or heavier on the bullets and changed brands of bullets in the same weight class.

Example being a lot of people are having a difficult time getting the 7mm-08 in anything much over 140gr to shoot well. Others have found that shorter barrels on certain cal. actually do better than the longer barrels. This is why some more info would help.

Last edited on Sun Apr 9th, 2017 11:59 PM by Lost-One



 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 12:33 AM
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Beaverstate23
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The rifle is a Sako AV chambered 338 win mag with a 22(ish) inch barrel. I bought it used but it didn't appear to have been fired much. I haven't put many rounds through it (100 or so). It is my desire to shoot heavier bullets (225 gr. minimum) and have had the most success with 250 grain Accubonds. I've not shot the brass more than twice. The shooter is average on his best day and the range set up is marginal but doesn't entirely account for the some of the crazy fliers that show up. As a comparison, I've shot my brother's 458 Lott and 375 H&H better from the same set up so recoil doesn't explain it entirely. I bought one box of cheap factory ammo (Federal Fusion 225 gr) that has proven to be the worst of the lot and have shot Hornady SST 225's (poor results), Sierra Game King 250's (better), and 250 gr Accubonds (best) all with several powder combinations. Just bought a box of 225 Barnes TSX to give them a try. The gunsmith test shot it with 225 Remington CoreLokt's with good success, so the rifle must be capable of grouping. Maybe it's just finicky and I haven't done my due diligence in exploring all I should. Thanks for the input so far. Much appreciated.



 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 01:41 AM
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RobertMT
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What powder are you using, some are known to be more fickle, than others? I would recommend using FL die, until you get accuracy sorted out. If you only have necksizing die, you're going to need to bump shoulder back, with FL die at some point anyway.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 01:43 AM
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rainyday
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I load for my 338 win mag, I started with rcbs dies and had no issue with them but have gone to forester bonanza dies.
of this current tika I shoot and the ruger I use to have, both shot great with 210 nosler partitions and either a max load of imr 4831 or imr 4350.i get 2 bullets touching.
I have got decent groups with 210 sierras(about 1/2 inch group with sierras)
I load them about .005 off the rifling but work up to that level as your rifle may not like it that close



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 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 03:34 AM
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Beaverstate23
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I've loaded RL 19, RL 22, IMR 4350, H4831, IMR 4831 are the powders I remember. H4831 and IMR 4831 have been the best. Thanks again for the responses.



 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 03:52 AM
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RobertMT
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4350 and 4831 are pretty easy to work with. What primers are you using? I've had better results with mag primers, standard primers can give inconsistent results, with charges over 60grs or so, which you should be well over with 338wm.

You said crown was checked, but I would try box of 225gr partitions, (or another flat based bullet) with their flat base, instead of boat tail, they're easier to get to shoot well.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 04:15 AM
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papajoe222
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You mentioned taking the rifle to a gunsmith. Did he give it a good cleaning and did he check the optics. A good copper cleaning can make a big difference and I've had experience with optics giving me fits. Your dies wouldn't account for the wide variance you're describing. Your powder measure, or scale would, however.



 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 04:50 AM
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woodsman777



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Just a few thoughts ?
Does this rifle have a muzzle break and are you flinching ?
What about the trigger, are you getting a smooth clean break or is it rough as an old Logging Road ?
What kind of scope is it and have you verified the scope on another rifle,
it's possible it could be shot loose internally.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 06:43 AM
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HighBC
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I've been at this hobby for almost 40 years and have yet to come across die's that I suspected of being bad. I've had some that were rough and needed some polishing maybe, but nothing that's ever caused me any accuracy issues IMO.

With approximately only 100 rounds down range I'd say you need to do some more load developing, in addition to checking optics and mounting hardware of course.

Try some other powders, bullets, primers. And you might consider annealing brass. Also make sure the brass prep is consistent, trim lengths are within spec..

HBC



 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 11:55 AM
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DesertMarine



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Which scope rings are you using? Factory rings?
I have a Sako AV in 270 and factory rings have come loose. I depends on where they are on the mounts. What about torque on scope rings. Too tight and you can pinch or bend the scope. Too much torque and that can interfere with the inner workings of the scope. I have had the factory rings slip.

I am going through the same thing with my AV but I think the barrel is shot. Will probably replace barrel. Used to shoot good when I first got it.

My stock cracked at tang and inside the stock, fixed that where it is now stronger than original.

Really like my AV.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 01:02 PM
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Ruffian
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I know that the 338 Win Mag is a hell of a kicker, I installed a break on mine and so doing am doing a lot better with it ( just keep getting younger, you know ! ) Am only using Nosler 210 Gr Partitions in mine keeping them between 2850- low low 2900's, with Match primers through a 25-26 inch tube. Powders have run between 4350, 4831, 760, 19 , Dies now using bushing dies, all my seating dies are Vickerman . What brass you using ? I do not mix my brass & keep good notes.:thumbs:



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 Posted: Mon Apr 10th, 2017 10:26 PM
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DesertMarine



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DesertMarine wrote:
Which scope rings are you using? Factory rings?
I have a Sako AV in 270 and factory rings have come loose. I depends on where they are on the mounts. What about torque on scope rings. Too tight and you can pinch or bend the scope. Too much torque and that can interfere with the inner workings of the scope. I have had the factory rings slip.

I am going through the same thing with my AV but I think the barrel is shot. Will probably replace barrel. Used to shoot good when I first got it.

My stock cracked at tang and inside the stock, fixed that where it is now stronger than original.

Really like my AV.


Rechecked the crown and movement of reticle of scope.
I saw some imperfections of crown. I recut the crown and made sure it was good.
Went to the range this morning. Yesterday, groups were at least 3". This morning, group was right at 1". Now happy, will not rebarrel or restock.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 11th, 2017 01:50 AM
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Beaverstate23
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Lots of good ideas! Thank you all. The optics and mounts are Leupold and the scope has been serviced by Leopold. (They're right down the road from me which is pretty cool.) Checked out ok. The trigger is fine. I torqued the optic mounting screws to recommended specs. Just bought a VX-3 2.5-8 and intend to mount that before I shoot it again. The brass is Winchester (inexpensive) but all the same lot. Intend to load up some 225 gr Barnes TSX's which are flat based. Maybe that will help too. DesertMarine, I always coveted a Sako and am pretty jazzed to finally have one. Just hoping to be able to get it dialed in!



 Posted: Tue Apr 11th, 2017 02:53 PM
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It doesn't take much of an imperfection in the crown to upset the apple cart; recommend you take DM's advice and check it out real close.

Since your smith got good group with core-lokts, maybe it's just picky. Try some 225gr Sie Pro Hunters. They are cheap enough to experiment with. If/when you find a decent load with them, then slowly branch out to other bullets and powder.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 11th, 2017 03:04 PM
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Ruffian
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have to agree with olyeller & DM posts. At same time need to remember all are not created equal , that's why we Handload. Sometimes it just takes a little longer than other times.:troll::troll::thumbs::thumbs: Hang in there, it will come together .:thumbs:



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 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 11:09 AM
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ireload2
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I have had a number of die sets that were crummy. It is also possible to size a case more than necessary and lose some precision.

I never did see the brand of dies you are using but if you can borrow another set you could find out if you have any die related issues.

One test is to roll your loaded ammo slowly across a smooth flat table top and watch the tip of the bullet. If you have .003 or more run out of the bullet tip you should be able to see it. I once had a rifle that would not shoot well and the bullets were running out about .030 which is a horrible amount. The seating die body appeared to be crooked because the seater stem ran out about .030. I sent the dies back and they gave me a new set that worked great. My rifle went from 1.5" groups to about 5/8" groups.

The other die issue is more of setting problem. Try to set the FL die to push the shoulder back about .001 to .002.
Once you have this working you will probably have better accuracy.
Any more set back of the shoulder will shorten the life of your brass. Belted magnum chambers tend to be oversize in both length and diameter so anything you do to improve the fit will probably help your accuracy.



 Posted: Tue Apr 18th, 2017 11:57 AM
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Paul Tummers



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We all look at our dies etc when it comes to run-out and do whatever is possible to eliminate it as much as possible. Lately I came across a rifle for which all those efforts were waisted time, its chamber was off-line with the bore in such a way that is was visible to the bare eye.



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