American Rifleman - August 2017 - 73

DON'T PRE-JUDGE

There is no predicting how a given rifle will shoot. No
doubt you have hopes and perhaps expectations. Maybe
they're realistic and maybe not, but there are no guarantees.
Well, that's not true. Some factory rifles today come with
"m.o.a. guarantees." They will probably make good with
some loads, but it's hard to know which loads-and these
may not be the loads you prefer to use. Today, consistent
m.o.a. accuracy is relatively common, although attaining
it may take some experimentation. Half-minute accuracy is
something else again. This is still uncommon, and half that
again-quarter-m.o.a.-remains rare, especially on a consistent basis, no matter what you paid for the rifle.
Only you know how much accuracy you expect. Maybe
you'll get it, maybe you won't, but a key piece of advice
is to be patient. Barrel "break-in" is a real phenomenon.
New barrels, especially factory barrels, have rough spots
and tool marks. Some barrels shoot really well right out
of the box, but most barrels will improve in accuracy after
the passage of bullets has smoothed their interior surfaces.
"Lapping," whether with a mild abrasive compound on a
cleaning rod or "fire-lapping" by firing bullets coated with
mild abrasive, is simply smoothing a new barrel, and usually expedites the break-in process.
Every serious shooter has a personal protocol for
"breaking in" a barrel. I recently spoke to a gentleman
who breaks in barrels by firing one shot, cleaning, firing

There is no universal protocol for breaking in a barrel, but any variation of the "shoot, cool, clean, repeat" process will require patience.
National High Power rifle champion David Tubb's Final Finish system
"fire-laps" bores by shooting bullets through them that have been
coated with a mild abrasive. The author's CZ in .30-'06 Sprg. had a
shaky start, but responded amazingly well to the treatment.

another shot, cleaning-clear up to 50 rounds. Few of us
have such patience. When breaking in a new barrel I fire
maybe three groups, then clean and repeat. Whether we're
talking one shot or a dozen, two things are important:
First, do not let a new barrel get hot! Second, frequent
cleaning (whatever that means to you) is essential.
South Carolina riflemaker Kenny Jarrett is one of the
most revered names in rifle accuracy. A couple years ago I
received a Jarrett .300 Win. Mag., supplied with a snazzy
test target. I didn't have Jarrett's loads, and I couldn't
duplicate them. I started shooting groups, cleaning, shooting groups, etc. This particular rifle took about 60 rounds,
and is now living up to its promise. Some barrels shoot well
without break-in, and some take 100 rounds or more. My
advice? Don't give up too soon.

THE OBVIOUS ISN'T ALWAYS ...

Recently I corresponded with a doctor from back east. In
these pages I did a story on the new Kimber Hunter. Although
not with all loads, my test rifle achieved that model's "onem.o.a. guarantee." His would not, and in his initial letter
there was a hint of "foul." Hey, mine did, so I gave him my
history with the brand and made some suggestions. His next
letter took a different tone. Turns out his rear scope mount
wasn't secure and was moving. Of course he couldn't get accuracy. That fixed, his Kimber Hunter was more accurate than
the one I wrote about, down to 1/3" groups.
If things aren't going well, first eliminate as many variables as possible. If the barrel is supposed to be free-floated,
run a piece of paper from fore-end tip to action and make
sure the stock isn't bearing on it. Check the action screws
and make sure they're tight-but also make sure they aren't
too tight. A torque wrench can help ensure that tension
is kept within proper specifications. Otherwise, applying
too much torque risks
drawing an action too
tightly into the stock
and creating a bind
between it and the
barrel.

As my new doctor friend re-learned, scope mounts
are major culprits. So are scopes. A scope that is slightly
loose internally can be hard to diagnose. Before swinging
a frustrating rifle against a stout oak, think about switching to a scope from a rifle of known accuracy. I simply
can't tell you how many times I've been close to giving
up when there was nothing wrong with the rifle, it was
simply a bad scope.

Action screws need to be tight, but not too tight (l.). Over-doing it, especially with a wood stock,
runs the risk of creating an accuracy-robbing bind between action and barrel. Instead, use a
torque wrench and follow the manufacturer's recommendations. Accuracy culprits are often what
should be obvious, but can easily be missed. Are screws for scope mounts and rings snugged to a
proper torque value (above)? How sure are you that the scope is mechanically sound?
AMERICANRIFLEMAN.ORG

AUGUST 2017

73


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - August 2017

Contents
American Rifleman - August 2017 - CW1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - CW2
American Rifleman - August 2017 - Cover1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - Cover2
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - Contents
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 3
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 4
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 5
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 6
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 7
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 8
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 9
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 10
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 11
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 12
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 13
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 14
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 15
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 16
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 17
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 18
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 19
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 20
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 21
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 22
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 23
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 24
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 25
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 26
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 27
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 28
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 29
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 30
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 31
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 32
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 33
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 34
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 35
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 36
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 37
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 38
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 39
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 40
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 41
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 42
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 43
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 44
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 45
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 46
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 47
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 50
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 51
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American Rifleman - August 2017 - 73
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American Rifleman - August 2017 - 85
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 86
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 87
American Rifleman - August 2017 - C1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - C2
American Rifleman - August 2017 - E1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - E2
American Rifleman - August 2017 - MW1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - MW2
American Rifleman - August 2017 - S1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - S2
American Rifleman - August 2017 - SW1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - SW2
American Rifleman - August 2017 - W1
American Rifleman - August 2017 - W2
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American Rifleman - August 2017 - 100
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 101
American Rifleman - August 2017 - 102
American Rifleman - August 2017 - Cover3
American Rifleman - August 2017 - Cover4
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