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Sorting a Savage Part 1 By Laurie Holland


a 75 fps drop and larger spread compared to when I’d worked them up – a substantial performance reduction. Same powder and components’ lots, similar ambient temperature, so it had to be barrel wear.


Shorter Barrel


Anyway, in the belief that the problems were caused by the barrel, a new example went on with only five weeks to go to ‘The Europeans’. It was identical to its predecessor, a True-Flite 1-7 twist, 6-groove, Heavy Palma profile job, gunsmithed again by editor Vince, the chamber cut with the same long-freebore custom reamer. The only change was to crop it at 28-inches, whereas Vince had squeezed the last few millimetres out of its predecessor and obtained 31-inches out of a nominal 30” blank. I’d been right on the 8.25kg F/ TR overall weight limit with that barrel and it seemed prudent to have a few ounces in hand, especially as two sets of scales used to weigh rifles produce readings that are not even close to each other.


Received wisdom says that 28 inches is the ballistic optimum for the cartridge anyway, each additional inch beyond that generating only ~10 fps velocity.


Back to the 100 yard benchrest range to run and sight- in the rebarrelled Mouse Gun using the remaining stocks of VarGet based ammunition left over from Barrel #1. Re-measuring the two bullets’ comparator based COALs showed they needed to be seated 0.020 inches deeper in the case thanks to the unworn rifling leade against measurements taken in March 2011 at a 1279 round-count. Twenty thou’ throat erosion is not at all bad for nearly 1300 rounds, nearly all with 90s and most shots using ‘hot’ loads and double-base Rel.15 – I was very heartened by that finding.


Anyway, the bullets were re-seated and both types tried at 100 yard, BTLRs alone in a PSSA 600 yard match. During running/sighting-in, neither performed well, the BTLR load the better of the pair but now only


16


‘Europeans’ Match 4 (800yd) plot for the Four and Five-rings. Elevations are almost tight enough to hold the ‘Five’ except for shot #4 in the ‘Three’ more than 1-MOA below the group centre. (One-MOA grid.)


‘Europeans’ Match 5 (900yd) plot for the Four and Five -rings. Elevations have now deteriorated to give a 2.5-MOA string with shot #6 particularly bad as a high ‘Three’. (One-MOA grid.)


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