Sighting in a 30-06 question/issues

Discussion in 'Cast & Blast' started by Bryan Williamson, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. I'm attempting to sight in my grandfathers Rem 721 30-06 and having some issues. Admittedly I don't claim to be anything more than a novice at best, so we'll start there. That being said I've successfully sighted in my .17 HMR, .243 and .223 to a satisfactory level ~ 3"/3 shot groups at 100 yds.

    Problem is, the 30-06 just will not shoot consistently accurate at 100 yds. I'd say the pattern is aprox 6 - 9" in 3 shot groups. One shot may be decent (within 3" of target) but the other two are 6-9" outside...mostly high and right. I've switched scopes and get the exact same inconsistent results. I have not switched rounds yet but can that really make enough of a difference to matter? I've been using 180 grain Winchester ammo up until now btw.

    I don't think it is the gun, but dont know for sure? I know my grandfather successfully hunted this riffle in AK for Moose, bear, deer and Caribou for years.

    Right now I'm researching barrell heat effects but there does not seem to be a consensis opinion that this would have a large effect at 100 yards to the degree I am experiencing.

    I'm at a loss. Any suggestions? Do I need a new riffle? It is in great condition and has always been stored inside with the greatest of care.
  2. Try this.
    Take the rifle w/ scope down and get it bore sited, then to the range and start at 25 yds, (zero at 25 will be zero at 100) use a big target, use sand bags.
    When I lived in Southern Oregon this was the set up.
    When I moved to the dry side I zero 2" high at 25 yrds puts me right on at 200 yds.
    Another things that helps is another person, my shoulder gets a little touchy after 6 rounds.
    At 25 yds bullet grain will not make much difference but the 180 will drop about 1/4 inch at 100.
    Best grain bullet for the 06 is a 165 boat tail core lock.
    This is just my .02
  3. Gary is right on target...........sorry, couldn't resist that one.
  4. Thanks Gary. I definetly agree and will take your reccomendation of the next step to change bullet grain and I will move to the 165 boat tail. I did start with having the gun bore sighted (both times with each scope change) and used sand bags, etc at the Kenmore range. First started at 50yds, after 3 shots at 50 yds the gun was dead center. It's when I move out to 100 yds that it is moving all over the place. It is either bullet grain or me because I'm constantly chasing the pattern with scope adjustments and getting no consistency.
  5. 50 yds is a point in bullet rise.
    Go back to 25 yds
    Your bullet does not fly flat and then start dropping, flies flat for a while then rises then starts to drop.
    If you zero at 50 you will be shooting low at 100
    I can't hold still after the first 6 rounds. I have always needed some help.
    "Chasing the pattern w/scope adjustments" just keeps putting you more off.
    If you have bullet holes touching at 25 yds they will touch at 100 yds (don't mess with the scope) it's just you.
    Relax and trust your rifle.
    Little story
    My friend that helped me sight in my 06 when it was brand new was out hunting with me when we spotted a doe out at 100 plus yds (we had doe tags).
    He said, take that doe. I said, it's to far. He said, give me your rifle and you buy the beer to nite. I said, your on.
    This doe (black tail) was looking right at us. He laid the rifle across a fence post and said, I'm aiming between her eyes.
    He caps off a round and the doe drops like someone hit her with a club. We paced it off at 150 yds and he had missed her and hit low by 2". The only thing holding her head on was about an inch wide piece of hide under her chin.
    I had to buy the beer.
    Happy hunting my friend.
  6. Thanks again for the help Gary. Like I said I don't profess to know what I'm doing here, but I'm just not getting the same repeat performance I do with any of my other rifles. Maybe it's the 30 cal/me...probably me like you said.

    When I went from 50 yards (dead center) out to 100 yards, everything (EVERYTHING) was high vs. low like you mention. Question: if the bullet would zero at 25 and still be rising at 50 it is not my understanding from what I've read that a 30-06 would be dropping again at 100? My ultimate goal was/is 1" - 1.5" high at 100 yards to account for drop out to 200 plus yds. Definetly "chasing" is making me more off but it's very odd compared to my other rifles.
  7. Bryan, Gary is right on with his comments.I don't know how much rise and fall you will see within 100 yards but I have a few other thoughts for you. It looks like most of the rifles that you own (at least prior to the 30-06) are pretty small. I think you might be pulling in anticipation of the recoil. Does your gun have a recoil pad? I'm not saying your a wuss or anything but the bigger bullet has a significantly harder kick than the previous rifles you mentioned. That is about the only reason I can think of that you would be shooting high at 100 yds.
  8. One suggestion I want to make when next you get it spot on at 50 yards or which ever you take your first 3 shots from.

    Take 5 shots at your 100 yard mark, but take 1 to 2 minutes between each shot, and do note even look down range during that time.

    You see, it's the familiarity with your .17 HMR, .243 and .223, and that you are used to shooting them and they are a LOT different than blasting away with a 30-06, it might totally be your body not being used to the larger gun...

    {edit} I didn't see Clark saying what I was saying until too late :)
  9. Here are a few suggestions:

    Try having someone else shoot the rifle. If it gives the same results, you know it's the gun. If not, it's you.

    If it's the gun, 6-9" groups aren't going to tighten up that much by changing ammunition. Check the screws holding the action to the stock for tightness. Check the scope mount screws, too. Take a look at the muzzle crown for dings.

    Does the rifle have iron sights? Take off the scope and shoot it with the irons to rule out the scope as the cause of the problem.

    Is the barrel fouled with copper? A few minutes with a cleaning rod and patch with appropriate solvent will fix that.

    From the sounds of it, I'd bet on the scope mounts, but you just don't know until you've tried a few things.
  10. Lastly from me, Either fully float your barrel from the chamber to the end or the stock or fully Seat your barrel to the end of the stock.

    Floating is when your barrel does NOT touch the stock anywhere but the base. If it does, the barrel will transfer head differently and you will experience shot creep off and away from your target in increments as the barrel heats up with each shot.

    So to check it, wrap a dollar around the barrel and slide it towards the chamber, if it meets resistance then take it down and make sure that the place it touches it equally placed on the barrel or sand it away until the bill clears to a point of equal seating.

    That's as good as I can tell it without showing you.
  11. Something I didn't think of before.
    I had an 06 auto loader and it started to shoot off even at close range.
    It turned out to be the scope.
    Auto loaders kick forward and back, scopes don't like that.
  12. Wow, thanks everyone for the great suggestions. I'll start with me regrding Clark and Kools' suggestions then move on the the gun adjustments if necessary.
  13. I agree.
    My first thoughts are scope and or mounts.
    Next is crown being dinged, off center, rifling at the muzzle deformed.
    Copper fouling is another good place to look.
    Good luck.
    change one thing at a time
  14. I would start with a rifle examination: Double check the rifle is unloaded. Is is really a 30-06 (a .338 WM will chamber 30-06 ammo and never pattern). Look at the crown if damaged (dinged) no matter what else you do it is never going to shoot straight unless you have it recrowned by a gun smith. Stock to action - tight and no cracks. Scope mounts tight and aligned but not crushing or bending the scope. Slide the dollar bill down the barrel to check for pressure between the stock and barrel this can cause movement due to temperature or humidity. Run the bolt, shoulder the rifle, point at an object in a safe direction, lightly squeeze the trigger until you are not sure when it will go off (do not jerk). The trigger should click smoothly with 2-4 pounds of pressure, try again, if this is not the case you need some trigger work by a gun smith. Clean the barrel: Remove bolt, plug crown, pour in some Sweet's cleaning solution, let soak an hour, unplug crown, scrub from the receiver end with a 30 caliber brush for a minute. Run patch and jag after clean patch, from the receiver end until they come out clean (if you see blue you had copper fouling). With bolt out, point gun at a light and look up the barrel - it should be smooth, shiny and all one color. If not you still have copper fouling or rust (not fixable). Go spend some money if you are not a reloader. Buy three different brands of ammo with three different types of premium hunting bullets in 150, 165/167, and 180 grain bullets each. Take a whole cool, non-windy afternoon off, a pencil, a heavy jacket you might wear hunting, a spotting scope, large targets with multiple bullseyes, thumb tacks, a piece of plywood (to thumb tack target to), no help/distractions, no alcohol, a magazine/book, two or three sandbags or bags of lead shot, a sturdy chair and table. Sandbag the rifle on the table to eliminate any possiblity of movement from you. Set the target up at a measured 100 yard distance, with an earthen back stop at least 10' taller and wider than your target. Load three rounds of the same ammo. Take your time firing each individual round (you have all afternoon remember), breath in breath out, pull the trigger lightly until you don't know when it will go off, it should take 5 - 10 minutes to fire three rounds. Open bolt, walk down to target, circle group and mark ammo brand in circle. Walk back, load three rounds of the same brand ammo different weight bullet. You should have waited 10 - 15 minutes before shooting next three rounds. Repeat cycle. You are not to touch the windage and elevation on the scope unless you are not even on the paper! You are looking for consistancy and reduction of group size, not sighting in. Realize that your first shot after cleaning may be a "flyer" and not relevant. If after all this you are still getting 6 - 9" groups you need to forget about/sell this rifle and consider getting another one. With this technique you should be able to get at least 1.5" max grouping (MOA). Then you can sight in for 3" above bullseye at 100 yards, re-clean it and safely store it, seperately from the ammo.
  15. Awesome North, thanks! I will try this!
  16. Well...don't get me wrong but it sounds like you are used to shooting low recoil rifles.
    A 30.06 is no shoulder breaker but it has much more recoil than a .243, .223, and especially that .17
    Assuming the gun is clean and has no bolt, barrel, chamber, or crown issues (probably not if it has been cared for) it should shoot fine. The advice to check scope and scope mounts is good advice.

    This is usually the most common issue with accuracy:
    Trigger pull.
    The shooter probably puts more movement on the target from the trigger pull than anything else except maybe a bad scope mount or scope.
    With the greater recoil you might be unconsciously anticipating the recoil and moving slightly when the trigger is squeezed.

    Pay particular attention to how you are squeezing the trigger. It may take some getting used to on your 30.06. It is amazing how much movement takes place even when you do your best to "squeeze" the trigger and not "pull" it.
    Have a gunsmith check trigger pull and see how may lbs it takes to release. It should not be more than 4-5lbs.
    Too much and it will exaggerate any movement you already make.
    Keep practicing! you'll get it!
  17. I'd suggest getting all set up on the shooting bench (at a range) with sandbags as usual, but with an extra sandbag draped over your shoulder. Pull the rifle into the bag draped over your shoulder snug as you would if it were not there and begin your sighting in process. Having the bag there will spread out the impact as well as diminish the felt recoil due to inertia - it may feel more like your other rifles. However - it won't diminish the BOOM or the need for careful attention to relaxing and a very very slow trigger pull.

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