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Thread: Levers and group fliers

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Levers and group fliers

    I don't expect any lever action rifle to deliver bench rest accuracy.

    That doesn't keep me from trying to squeeze the best out of mine, however.

    Often times I'll shoot a 5-shot group with 4 in a clover leaf, the 5th a flier. The flier can be the first or last shot. I always allow for the necessary fouling shots.

    I don't see this flier problem nearly as often with my bolts - same reloading and shooting techniques, same distances, telescopic sights.

    Do others here find the flier to be a pretty common occurrence when bench shooting a lever action rifle? I read about the spring and slop in a lever's bolt and wonder if that's the explanation.

    I'm shooting .30-30, .32 WS and .35 Rem - mostly Marlins and mostly 1100-1400 fps.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    Other than first shots (fouling shots) I haven't noticed that with my levers.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hick View Post
    Other than first shots (fouling shots) I haven't noticed that with my levers.
    Hick, what velocity range are you working in?

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBSmith View Post
    I don't expect any lever action rifle to deliver bench rest accuracy.

    That doesn't keep me from trying to squeeze the best out of mine, however.

    Often times I'll shoot a 5-shot group with 4 in a clover leaf, the 5th a flier. The flier can be the first or last shot. I always allow for the necessary fouling shots.

    I don't see this flier problem nearly as often with my bolts - same reloading and shooting techniques, same distances, telescopic sights.

    Do others here find the flier to be a pretty common occurrence when bench shooting a lever action rifle? I read about the spring and slop in a lever's bolt and wonder if that's the explanation.

    I'm shooting .30-30, .32 WS and .35 Rem - mostly Marlins and mostly 1100-1400 fps.
    My 76 Uberti was walking them up the target as it warmed -- shoot a couple to get it hot then got a good group - I think I might have it sorted - put a new magazine tube on and did away with the barrel mounted hanger. more testing needed yet 1

    Have a 94 rifle in 38/55 that is deadly and consistent from first shot to last - the magazine hanger is not really a hanger at all on that one - quite loose up front.

    Walking shots vertically is a classic tube magazine problem I reckon - some dont but many do - short magazine rifles seem to be exempt

    Paco Kellys had a good article on this ages ago - accurising a lever gun or something like that.

    I dont think it is action related - blame the tie up (or poor fitup) between magazine tube, forend and barrel

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master Walks's Avatar
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    I've always put a Big folded & folded towel between forend and sandbags, the "softer" rest seems to keep groups "rounder" ?
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

    My Experience and My Opinion, are just that, Mine.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=NyFirefighter357;4545944]http://www.leverguns.com/articles/paco/chapter23.htm

    yup that one

    I did mine a bit different but its a rifle with steel forend cap and dovetail into the barrel - rather than the carbine style barrel bands

    Magazine tube material comes in the local furniture store (steel curtain rod in 16mm or 19mm sizes) take (burn?) the plastic coating off, emery paper clean up, its perfect OD for the stock rifle fittings - can heat blue it with the torch - but that will soften the steel some - or a cold blue with touchup will work.

    the steel forend cap on a winchester is ready to go - look at the button plug arrangement on a short magazine rifle (model 92 fr instance) its got a small square shoudered ridge around the button that prevents it coming forward out of the end cap - thats what holds the tube against recoil on a short magazine rifle. (we have lots o these in Aussie land - comes from ammo being expensive I think)

    So turn a ring same as that and silver solder or braze it onto the new curtain rod tube in the correct position (I cheat here - allow a bit and turn the tube length to suit after you get the brazing done) it needs to be secure and neat fitted. We set this up so the steel forend cap when its screwed into its cross dovetail under the barrel, holds the magazine tube firm into the action body at the rear

    So now the forward dovetail ring and the long screw from the magazine end plug that used to locate in a hole under the barrel, they go in the spare parts bin - if you really keen make a filler for the dovetail under the barrel - cosmetic only.

    And we alter (make a new one) the magazine end cap plug so it is held in with a screw that does not engage in the barrel at all -

    this removes any and all stress connections beteen barrel and magazine tube forward of the forend cap - if that doesnt do it then go ahead with Paco's float fix for the forend wood.

    If yr rifle is NOT walking shots vertical on the target as it warms up - doin this might not make any difference - mine was and it did.
    Last edited by indian joe; 01-10-2019 at 01:13 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Is it only with cast bullets? Do you get the same results with jacketed?

    If only with lead you may have a lube issue.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Although not a big issue, the less rigid, two piece stocked levergun is definitely more susceptible to this than a one piece stock bolt gun.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by sghart3578 View Post
    Is it only with cast bullets? Do you get the same results with jacketed?

    If only with lead you may have a lube issue.
    I can shoot a string of 50 blackpowder rounds without fouling out - dont think I have a lube problem - it all happened in the first three shots - once the barrel warmed (2 or 3 shots) then a good group comes .

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawlerbrook View Post
    Although not a big issue, the less rigid, two piece stocked levergun is definitely more susceptible to this than a one piece stock bolt gun.
    dont see many bolt guns with a full length tube magazine??????

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    Many good thoughts here. Thanks all for your contributions.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walks View Post
    I've always put a Big folded & folded towel between forend and sandbags, the "softer" rest seems to keep groups "rounder" ?
    So glad you brought that up, Walks.

    I recall an old magazine article from Handloader or such where a Marlin owner had trouble getting his carbine to group. He experimented with different benching techniques and found much improvement in his targets by changing the way he rested and held on the bags. If I recall correctly, he talked about the gun "bouncing" and how that ruined accuracy.

    I thought I was overcoming this problem by placing the receiver into a Vee-bag. Maybe not.

    The narrow forend on most levers does present its challenges in getting a consistent, steady rest. Your folded towel trick is an easy one to try, and I'm going to see what happens when I switch to that method. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    Last edited by PBSmith; 01-10-2019 at 11:01 AM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by sghart3578 View Post
    Is it only with cast bullets? Do you get the same results with jacketed?

    If only with lead you may have a lube issue.
    Good point. Yes, I experience the same with jacketed.

  15. #15
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    I get better groups with lever actions if I hold the forearm in my hand, and then rest my hand on the sand bag/front mechanical rest.

    If I try to rest the lever action forearm on sand bag/mechanical rest like when using a full stock rifle, the lever action rifle jumps off the rest and sometimes even "torgues" , (wants to turn right or left), and groups are never what they should be.

    The drop of the buttstock on lever actions being great, also contributes to the jump off the front rest.

    Also if I hold the forearm in my hand and rest the rifle, my point of impact is the same as if shooting the rifle off handed without a rest.

    Just my experience.
    Maker of Silver Boolits for Werewolf hunting.

  16. #16
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The old time cure was a lead shot under the magazine tube screw and then tighten it down. This wont work with some Uberti guns as they have no screw.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hickok View Post
    I get better groups with lever actions if I hold the forearm in my hand, and then rest my hand on the sand bag/front mechanical rest.

    If I try to rest the lever action forearm on sand bag/mechanical rest like when using a full stock rifle, the lever action rifle jumps off the rest and sometimes even "torgues" , (wants to turn right or left), and groups are never what they should be.

    The drop of the buttstock on lever actions being great, also contributes to the jump off the front rest.

    Also if I hold the forearm in my hand and rest the rifle, my point of impact is the same as if shooting the rifle off handed without a rest.

    Just my experience.
    "Never what they should be" is the way I look at this flier matter - most of the time. However, I've shot enough outstanding groups (no fliers) to believe that the rifles are capable of excellent accuracy. Will definitely try your technique as well. Appreciate your comments.
    Last edited by PBSmith; 01-10-2019 at 02:22 PM.

  18. #18
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    The way I read the above articles ,, about forearm & magazine pressure's effecting the barrel & MOA ,which I have read at different time's over the year's ,, have me thinking ( dangerous ),, that the original style " Henry " ( no! forearm pressure points ),, may have been designed , in part ,,for that exact reason . Think about it,, no bedding , floating ,etc., etc. just need a good glove . With all the above being said ,, I have never held or shot a Henry,,i'm just " thinking "( dangerous).

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    A few additional comments.

    I've experienced vertical stringing. That's not the problem here. I shoot very slowly. If the barrel starts to warm at all, I'll rest the rifle with action open and walk to the target between shots. With jacketed, this will be every second shot.

    As I stated in the opening post, the flier might be the first, second, third, fourth or fifth shot. I look forward to seeing if different benching/holding techniques as described by Walks and Hickok cure the problem.

    Excellent three-shot groups are what make me believe the rifles are capable of good accuracy. I've shot many such groups that "made my day," only to discover I couldn't repeat them. The problem I'm working on is getting good five-shot groups.

    The occasional excess runout in my ammo could be another monkey wrench. If so, dies or other equipment could be at fault???? Am considering a collet die to see if that helps.
    Last edited by PBSmith; 01-10-2019 at 11:52 AM.

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hootmix View Post
    The way I read the above articles ,, about forearm & magazine pressure's effecting the barrel & MOA ,which I have read at different time's over the year's ,, have me thinking ( dangerous ),, that the original style " Henry " ( no! forearm pressure points ),, may have been designed , in part ,,for that exact reason . Think about it,, no bedding , floating ,etc., etc. just need a good glove . With all the above being said ,, I have never held or shot a Henry,,i'm just " thinking "( dangerous).
    Keep on thinking, Hoot. That's how important discoveries are made.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check