Got my .270 rifle glass-bedded

I've got a Remington 700 in .270 that I've been shooting for years and been trying to make accurate enough to shoot decent distances and have struggled with. Initially I figured it was because I was using factory ammo and that I'd need to handload. Later, when I started handloading, I found I still couldn't get it to shoot consistently.

I recently noticed that not only was the barrel not free floating, the forestock was pressing badly against the barrel. Aha! No wonder every time I broke the gun down and re-assembled it my zero was ruined. So, in desperation, and on a whim, I tried shimming the action. This will make ya laugh... I wedged in a wad of paper so that after I screwed the action down there was still a tiny gap between the forestock of the rifle and the barrel - enough to barely slide a paper receipt between the barrel and the stock. I call it "ghetto-bedding". :-)

Here's the best I could do with handloads before. This was at 100 yds.

Not a pretty sight, eh? And after "ghetto-bedding", here's what I got:

Eureka! The zero is clearly even further off but the group is tighter. I used this as confirmation that the action really needed to be glass-bedded and that it would yield an improvement. Plus it had to be better than just shoving a wad of paper to shim the action. :-)

I thought long and hard about doing this myself. I've always wanted to try it, but I didn't want to screw this up, especially now that I knew there could really be a big improvement from it for this rifle. If you're curious, there's lots of good resources on youtube showing how it's done.

Anyway, I knew the gunsmith at a local shop, Phoenix Arms, and knew he did good work. He'd helped me build a long-range rifle that's a real tack-driver (I'm hitting a 12 inch steel target at 730m). So I decided I'd let them do it. It took a while (they're very busy lately), but here's the results:

Far better. That's actually two groups of 3 shots. The first group was the 3 shots in a vertical row just along the left edge of the black diamond in the center. Then I made a small horizontal correction to the zero and shot the next group of three, an almost horizontal group with the first two being left of center but almost right on vertically, and one I pulled a bit to the right. What can I say. After shooting 15 rounds lying prone, my shoulder was feeling a bit beat up and I was starting to flinch a little. This rifle is fairly light, has no recoil pad, and it was warm enough I only had on a t-shirt - no padding at all. And lying prone, you get the full impact of recoil right on the top of your shoulder. Ouch.

But now it's looking promising. Next outing, I'll shoot a ladder test and tune the powder load for the harmonics of this rifle. That ought tighten up the group still further. And then after that I'll perhaps take a serious look at replacing the scope (a cheap Tasco scope the rifle came with) and then doing another ladder test. But hey! Progress!

I finally broke down and bought a new scope for this rifle. The nice guys at Mile High Shooting nearby recommended a Vortex PST and BOY what a HUGE improvement that is. All of the inconsistency I was seeing after getting the rifle glass bedded was just due to the scope. And after another ladder test and some more experimentation I found a few loads this rifle likes. With a Sierra Match King load I'm getting 4 out of 4 in a 1 inch square at 100 yds. I'll post a target later (don't have a pic handy at the moment - I'm in the middle of a move again). I also found a hunting load using a Berger bullet that is almost as consistent (and happily shoots with the same zero as the Sierra Match King load).

I haven't worked up ballistics tables for the Berger yet but with the Sierra Match King I was able to bang a 12 inch steel plate at 730m... eventually. :-) Yeah, it took me several shots to figure out my correction since the recoil is substantial and I have no spotter.
I worked up a load for the Sierra Match King and the Berger Hunting bullet and whaddya know, they both use the same zero. That's convenient. :-) They're both shooting sub-moa though the groups are a little tighter with the Sierra Match Kings. I still need to get more muzzle velocity data at different temps but for now I'm very pleased. Not bad for a vanilla Remington 700 without a fancy match-grade barrel or any of that. I figure if/when I ever shoot out this barrel, I'll get a carbon-wrapped, match-grade barrel for it (to keep it nice 'n light) but then I'll also get a muzzle break.

Here's a group for the Sierra MKs (lower left target):

And here's the Berger Hunting bullet (upper right target):

Last week I was able to hit a big ol' rock at 900m with the Sierra MK loads.