A Quick Update.

Sorry about the silence. I’m currently out of town working on a project, and it looks very much like this is going to be the norm for the foreseeable future (at least the next 6-10 weeks) give or take a few days here and there. These days tend to be long, and about all I have time for in the evenings is to check out other people’s blogs and maybe leave a comment or six. I haven’t even had time to play with my new RCBS Chargemaster other than to run some tests with it. If I ever get the chance, however, I should have an interesting range report coming up.

I have an 1896 Swedish Mauser (Carl Gustav, 1916) sporter rifle (I know, I know, somebody done bubba’d a classic – but bear with me…). I bought the rifle many years ago for $100. It had no finish left, and the bore wear indicator badge said that it was about half shot out, so I thought the price wasn’t so bad. It shot OK (iron sights and my eyes being what they are) but I’d bought it to build a Silhouette rifle out of. One year I plunked down some hard-earned money and had it rebarreled with a Shilen 1-in-8″ twist medium-weight barrel, had the bolt turned down, had the whole shebang polished & blued, and had two-piece Weaver-style scope bases installed. To this I added a Jewell Timney trigger and a Fajen thumbhole stock which I then glass bedded the action to. I added to this a 3-12x 6.5-20x Simmons adjustable objective scope in a set of Burris Zee rings. (500 meters is a LONG way out there.)

I then proceeded to spend the better part of three years testing different combinations of bullets, powders, and loads to find something the damned thing would shoot. Nothing worked. I changed scopes. No improvement. I shot factory ammo. Still wouldn’t group. Finally it settled into shooting vertical strings. Much research and study later, I tried preloading the barrel. I cut up an old used credit card and slipped a few pieces under the barrel near the forend of the stock, then tightened up the action screws, and off to the range we went. The first five shots out of the rifle gave me this at 100 yards:

If you can’ t read the caliper, that’s 1.016″ outside edge to outside edge. Subtract one bullet diameter and the group is 0.75″ including the “flyer.” I was stoked! (Note the orientation of the “10” – it still was stringing vertically just a tiny bit.)

Problem was, it would shoot like this all day – but on Saturday those groups were at 12 o’clock. On Sunday they were at 3 o’clock. On Tuesday they were at 10 o’clock – and each tight little group could be inches away from the point of aim.

This is not acceptable out of a target rifle.

So I let it sit in the locker for a while. The week before last I disassembled the rifle and shipped the stripped barreled receiver to 300 Below to have it cryo-treated. It should be back by the end of this week, so if I have a little time off this weekend, the Swede and I have a date with the range to see if cryogenic stress-relief really works.

I hope so. It’s too pretty to shoot crappy.

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