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  • First time shooting with an optic resulted in poor groups. Bad scope, mounts, ammo, or just a bad shooter?

     Neville updated 11 months, 2 weeks ago 2 Members · 13 Posts
  • Neville

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    **Rifle:** Ruger American Ranch in 223/556 with a 16″, 1:8 twist barrel

    **Scope:** Primary Arms 4-14 x 44

    **Rings:** Burris Signature Zee (zero offset installed)

    **Ammo:** Federal American Eagle 55g 223

    Mounted the scope today with 30 inch-lb’s on the base to reciever and ring screws , and 20 inch-lb’s for the top screws as per Burris’ specifications.

    Started with a few rounds just to lead the barrel before starting sight-in. First 3 shots on paper (100 yards) were ~1.5″, and for my second group, the first two shots were ~1″, and the third was like 2″ off. Most of my subsequent groups were around 3-4″.

    Am I safe in assuming that something came loose during my second group or am I just asking too much from cheap Federal 55 grain? 1:8 twist should handle 55 grain comfortably, correct? I checked my scope mount screws with a FAT wrench and nothing seemed noticabley loose, but I remounted the scope to be sure.

    The barrel was hot to the touch, but I’m not sure how hot is enough to affect accuracy that much. I could not hit a standard clay pigeon at 200 yards to save my life, and I don’t think I was throwing shots nearly that badly.

    Anything else I should check? This is my first time mounting or using an optic.

    Edit: Tons of clearance between the scope and barrel too so that shouldn’t be an issue.

    Edit 2: Did the old dollar bill trick and the barrels seems free floated properly.

  • LockyBalboaPrime

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Re torq everything.

    IMO, likely the ammo. AE 55gr is pretty shit stuff.

  • Trollygag

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    I would start with the ammo. Try to find some match ammo before doing any accuracy testing of the rifle.

    Also make sure the brake/thread protector is tight.

  • Mindshattered

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Something sounds off.

    I’d go to the basics. A quick clean (I just use patches with ballistol until clean, then dry patches. A brush clean every 300 or so), double check the scope mount, pick up a couple different brands of ammo and try again.

    Some rifles are picky. Mine is a beauty with 168gr Federal SMK, but nowhere near as good with some other brands, and a bit worse with 175.

    Take a flashlight to the barrel too, see if you have any burrs, gouges, etc.

    I don’t know your experience and don’t want to assume, but poor trigger position or pulling could be throwing you off as well.

  • Maraudinggopher77

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    If you really want to know what your rifle is capable of with that load I’d suggest shooting a couple 10 shot groups to get a solid baseline. The fact that you got a single 3 shot group that 1.5 MOA is likely just chance.

  • ampactual

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Ammo: Federal American Eagle 55g 223

    Found the answer.

  • rafri

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    First check action bolts, next check rail, scope mount, and rings and torque all to spec. While yes you shouldn’t loctite as wet torque or whatever bs, use some loctite.

    Next 3 to 4 inch groups at 100 yards is completely possible with range ammo. What barrel profile do you have on your gun? Here is my brother album of shooting pmc bronze during a non panic were ammo is more likely to be QC’d and not rushed. [100 yards with pmc i believe it was.](

    View post on

  • BigWobbles

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    You shooting off a bag? Tripod? Any chance you rested the fore stock on the bag initially, then later rested the barrel on it instead? Also, did you check torque on your action screw?

  • Kuric1

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    What were you shooting off of?

    Edit as a side note if you use loctite, just don’t use it on the ring screws (screws thelat clamp the ring to the scope) no manufacturer recommends that… Action/rail screws, and base screws on the rings are ok… Also make sure to push the rings forward against the front side so that it can’t move during the recoil. Find you some better ammo…

  • Round_Chipmunk_1523

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Are you leveling your rifle every shot?

  • draftstone

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Go buy a single box of match ammo. With a 1:8 twist you’ll be able to shoot with no issues 69/77gr ammo (even heavier, but 69/77gr are the most commonly available)

    This will be the easy way to take ammo out of the question.

    If it still groups poorly with match ammo, you know something else is wrong.

    Second option, is to shoot it from a vice or ask a good shooter to try it. If from the vice or the other shooter can group it well, it will point to you or the scope setup to your eye. If the vice or new shooter can’t shoot properly, something is wrong with the gun.

  • ructorie

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    I measured a 3.76 MOA group with AE 55gr 556, and a 3.15 MOA group with AE 55gr 223 Rem. Barrel was an 18″ 223 wylde stainless 1/7 twist bought as a complete AR15 upper from PSA. The same gun got a 1.01 MOA group using 77gr IMI. and a 1.2 MOA group with Federal FC262 77 gr.

    I was using a 2.5lb trigger, rear sandbag, bipod, & 12x optic shooting from a table. All groups were 10-shots each.

  • N3oNxHaZ3

    June 14, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    Try some 62gr if you can find it. I had one of these rifles a while back and was running Wolf Military Classis 62gr FMJs through it. It would hold an inch fairly consistently.

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