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Centerfire Rifles - Manually Operated Lever action, bolt action or other non gas operated centerfire rifles.

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  #1  
Old 11-19-2019, 8:26 AM
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Default Springfield 1903 What ammo do you use?

For all the guys with 03s. What do you shoot through it and what are your best groupings? I'm struggling with mine. It's a sporterized 03A3 remington model. I've tried several different rounds and cant seem to get any better then 1.5 inches. I tried 150g core lockt, 150g fusion, 180g Win. PowerPoint and 168g gold medal match. The core locket was the best with everything else being slightly worse and the fusion the biggest groups with shots off the paper. I recently picked up hornady garand match with 168g eld and some.bulk mil spec stuff to try. I did notice some pitting in the bore. I'm gonna give it a good cleaning with some solvents to get rid of any copper fouling before I go the next time to see if that helps also. The rifle is in really good shape and super clean. It would be a shame if the barrel is just wasted beyond use. Any suggestions on a different factory round would be appreciated. Thanks

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Old 11-19-2019, 9:31 AM
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1.5 inches was well inside of military acceptance accuracy. Many times these rifles will shoot a flat base bullet better than a boat-tail. The M2 ammo they were designed around is flat base. Deep cleaning may help, or not, sometimes the copper fouling acts as a "filler" in pitted barrels, dings at the crown or wear from old steel cleaning rods can also be a culprit.
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Old 11-19-2019, 9:33 AM
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Is it the original military barrel? Might be worth slugging it to check the bore diameter. Some old milsurp rifle barrels have greater variability than modern factory barrels.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Dieppe42 View Post
1.5 inches was well inside of military acceptance accuracy. Many times these rifles will shoot a flat base bullet better than a boat-tail. The M2 ammo they were designed around is flat base. Deep cleaning may help, or not, sometimes the copper fouling acts as a "filler" in pitted barrels, dings at the crown or wear from old steel cleaning rods can also be a culprit.
If that's what it shoots then it is what it is I guess. That is one thing I am worried about after cleaning. It might be worse because the copper filled in the pitting. We'll see on the next outing.

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Old 11-19-2019, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by MrTokarev View Post
Is it the original military barrel? Might be worth slugging it to check the bore diameter. Some old milsurp rifle barrels have greater variability than modern factory barrels.
I am not sure. I bought it as is. It looks like when it was sporterd and blued the markings were worn down pretty bad. You barelyake out the RA at the end of the barrel. It does look good though, haha! I wouldn't be opposed to getting a better barrel if this one isnt original. The rifle dosent really have its "original value" anyways. I do like it alot though, and with the groups it showed with core lockt it would make a great deer gun.

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Old 11-19-2019, 11:07 AM
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If it's sporterized, the barrel might have been turned down to lighten it. If so, your groups will get wider the more shots you put down range as the barrel heats up. Are you allowing enough time between shots for the barrel to cool back down?

Fusion I believe was made specifically for semi-autos. So no surprise there.

Also, as previously mentioned by Dieppe42, 1.5" is within specs.

If your bore is pitted, I'd suggest buying a new barrel. The rifle has already been sporterized, so it's not like you're ruining the value of the gun.
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:08 AM
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This is the only pic I have of it right now. I'll have to get some better ones later. The blues is like a mirror finish. The picture dosent do it justice. It's really nice in person.

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Old 11-19-2019, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by k1dude View Post
If it's sporterized, the barrel might have been turned down to lighten it. If so, your groups will get wider the more shots you put down range as the barrel heats up. Are you allowing enough time between shots for the barrel to cool back down?

Fusion I believe was made specifically for semi-autos. So no surprise there.

Also, as previously mentioned by Dieppe42, 1.5" is within specs.

If your bore is pitted, I'd suggest buying a new barrel. The rifle has already been sporterized, so it's not like you're ruining the value of the gun.
Makes sense since all the marking on the barrel appear to be gone. I did 5 shot groups with each type of ammo and I did let it cool in between.

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Old 11-19-2019, 11:29 AM
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rhinoortiz, what trigger is on that rifle? And, how does it "feel"?
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:08 PM
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rhinoortiz, what trigger is on that rifle? And, how does it "feel"?
I'm assuming all original. Its very heavy and feels like it pulls for ever.

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Old 11-19-2019, 12:23 PM
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If the gun has its original 2 groove barrel and it shoots 1.5MOA you've got a winner.

Leave it alone, and just shoot it. M2 Ball ammo is what would have been used in it during the war. It is 150 gr flat based bullet @2800 fps. using IMR4895 at 45-48 gr depending on the lot of powder. They were looking at velocity so the trajectory of the bullet would match the sights. They jockeyed the charge around for each lot of powder used during the loading so the trajectory, and thus the sight graduations, would match

If you reload, then a copy of the Hornady Manual with load data for the M1 Garand is a good source for more information.

Not very many rifles from that era are sub MOA like today. For what it is intended for, the accuracy of that rifle is more than usable. In fact it is pretty good.

Randy
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Old 11-19-2019, 1:07 PM
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Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
If the gun has its original 2 groove barrel and it shoots 1.5MOA you've got a winner.

Leave it alone, and just shoot it. M2 Ball ammo is what would have been used in it during the war. It is 150 gr flat based bullet @2800 fps. using IMR4895 at 45-48 gr depending on the lot of powder. They were looking at velocity so the trajectory of the bullet would match the sights. They jockeyed the charge around for each lot of powder used during the loading so the trajectory, and thus the sight graduations, would match

If you reload, then a copy of the Hornady Manual with load data for the M1 Garand is a good source for more information.

Not very many rifles from that era are sub MOA like today. For what it is intended for, the accuracy of that rifle is more than usable. In fact it is pretty good.

Randy
I cant remember off the top of my head if it is 2 groove or not.
I am gonna try the surplus stuff I picked up to see if it likes that better. Also haven't tried the Garand specific hornady match either. I guess the fusion just caught me off guard. The groups were massive, haha. I figured the rifle would be closer to a 1 moa shooter then a 2 moa shooter.
Thanks for the load info. I'm not reloading now but plan on getting into it in the future.
It most certainly is usable right now though. I know it's no modern bench rest gun but the way I was hitting plates out to 300 yards with it, the rifle would make a perfect hunting setup. I guess I'm just asking too much out of it, lol.

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Old 11-19-2019, 1:39 PM
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Thumbs up Barrel

I have a 1/44 barrel on mine. I loaded 47gr of 4895 on the old pull down 173gr bullets. I took it to a 200 yard match and won the match. My rifle was an old A1 model before the A3. I've only shot the heavier bullets, because that's what I used in my M1. OH, the same match I shot the M1, I had 11-X's and 7-10's and 2-9's at 200 yards slow fire. I was very happy
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Old 11-19-2019, 1:46 PM
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rhinoortiz, You might think about a Timney trigger for that rifle. It made a world of difference in mine[03A3 Rem sporterized]. A world of difference. If you do indeed have the 2 groove barrel, you'll have a shooter.
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Old 11-19-2019, 1:55 PM
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I shoot the commercial 150 grain federal m1 garand loading through my 1903. I usually get just under 1.5 moa i assumed this was normal but im not entirely sure.
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Old 11-19-2019, 2:17 PM
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In lue of reloading for it,,, the M2 Ball is the closest thing to what came with it.

Find yourself a .30-06 Lee Loader Hand Tool (Midway or Ebay or ?) to get started. It is a simple method of loading good quality Ammo for your gun and is definitely the simplest and cheapest way to get started. By adding a few extras like a Hand Priming Tool and a Powder Scale you can easily produce Match Grade Ammo right at your kitchen table.

By using this tool you learn the basics of reloading in the simplest way possible. You'll never sell that tool,,, I didn't, and I make the finest Portable Hand Reloading Press ever made, and yet I still use the Lee Loader Tool frequently.

The .30-06 is arguably one of the most versatile cartridges ever invented and is good for a wide range of uses. Being able to reload for it, is the key to that versatility. There are literally hundreds of bullets from 110 gr to 220 gr to experiment with, and you've got a long way to go before you exhaust all the possibilities, and you can load every one with that Lee Loader.

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Old 11-19-2019, 5:17 PM
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Originally Posted by pennstater View Post
rhinoortiz, You might think about a Timney trigger for that rifle. It made a world of difference in mine[03A3 Rem sporterized]. A world of difference. If you do indeed have the 2 groove barrel, you'll have a shooter.
I have been thinking about getting one. That factory trigger kinda sucks, haha!

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Old 11-19-2019, 5:19 PM
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commercial 06 is going to be more accurate than any m2ball surplus. The groups you are getting are good for what the rifle is, old surplus war rifle.. Trigger work would probably help shrink the groups alittle
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Old 11-19-2019, 5:19 PM
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I shoot the commercial 150 grain federal m1 garand loading through my 1903. I usually get just under 1.5 moa i assumed this was normal but im not entirely sure.
I was trying to find some of that to try out but none of my local shops or walyworld have it. That's why I got the hornady Garand stuff.

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Old 11-19-2019, 5:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.R.Buchanan View Post
In lue of reloading for it,,, the M2 Ball is the closest thing to what came with it.

Find yourself a .30-06 Lee Loader Hand Tool (Midway or Ebay or ?) to get started. It is a simple method of loading good quality Ammo for your gun and is definitely the simplest and cheapest way to get started. By adding a few extras like a Hand Priming Tool and a Powder Scale you can easily produce Match Grade Ammo right at your kitchen table.

By using this tool you learn the basics of reloading in the simplest way possible. You'll never sell that tool,,, I didn't, and I make the finest Portable Hand Reloading Press ever made, and yet I still use the Lee Loader Tool frequently.

The .30-06 is arguably one of the most versatile cartridges ever invented and is good for a wide range of uses. Being able to reload for it, is the key to that versatility. There are literally hundreds of bullets from 110 gr to 220 gr to experiment with, and you've got a long way to go before you exhaust all the possibilities, and you can load every one with that Lee Loader.

Best "bang for your reloading buck" ever devised.

Randy

Thanks for the info. I'll have to look into that tool. For sure the first rounds I'm going to reload when I get the equipment is .30-06 and .30-30 since it's the most expensive stuff I shoot alot of.

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Old 11-19-2019, 5:23 PM
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commercial 06 is going to be more accurate than any m2ball surplus. The groups you are getting are good for what the rifle is, old surplus war rifle.. Trigger work would probably help shrink the groups alittle
I guess from all the praise you here online about the 03 I expected better. Your right though, for a 75 plus year old rifle I cant really complain.

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Old 11-19-2019, 5:34 PM
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So I'm looking at it right now and it is a 2 groove. This pic also shows the RA on the barrel I was talking about, aswell as the finish. No other markings so I'm not sure if it's original or not. I do know the action is Remington and dates to 1942

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Old 11-19-2019, 6:44 PM
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When shooting ammo of different mfgs be sure to clean in between shooting each lot.
Not all carbon and copper residue is compatible with one another causing larger groups temporarily until the previous fouling is either cleaned out or shot out.
If using the shot method expect upwards of 10 shots before the group settles.
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Old 11-19-2019, 7:21 PM
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When shooting ammo of different mfgs be sure to clean in between shooting each lot.
Not all carbon and copper residue is compatible with one another causing larger groups temporarily until the previous fouling is either cleaned out or shot out.
If using the shot method expect upwards of 10 shots before the group settles.
I'll keep that in mind, thanks.

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Old 11-19-2019, 7:26 PM
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The patches never end. I guess it had alot of copper after all, haha. Decided to go at it for a while. This was a combination of patches and brush using Bore Tech eliminator and then hoppe's #9 at the end. Letting the eliminator soak a couple times as well. Did this for about 2 hours, haha. Decided to call it for now. The bore does look way cleaner. Still some copper visible but not nearly as much. Well see how she does. I did this same.method on my Marlin 336 and in about 20 minutes had that bore looking better then new. I was amazed.

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Old 11-19-2019, 7:53 PM
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That is one of the nicer jobs of sporterizing a 1903.

Try Wipeout foam cleaner on the barrel, it attacks copper and you can let it sit overnight. Spray the foam in the barrel, let it sit overnight, and then spray again. Keep doing this until the foam comes out clean. No scrubbing involved.
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Old 11-19-2019, 8:14 PM
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That is one of the nicer jobs of sporterizing a 1903.

Try Wipeout foam cleaner on the barrel, it attacks copper and you can let it sit overnight. Spray the foam in the barrel, let it sit overnight, and then spray again. Keep doing this until the foam comes out clean. No scrubbing involved.
Thanks. It is a really good looking rifle. I actually scored it for about $250, haha.
I'll try and get some of that wipeout and give it a try. The eliminator seemed to work pretty well it just has a serious amount of copper buildup.

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Old 11-19-2019, 8:28 PM
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How does the barrel crown look? If it is creased, dented, or otherwise not uniform, it may (will) throw the bullets off. An '03 with a 1.5" grouping at 100 yards is a keeper.

Congratulations on an outstanding '03
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Old 11-19-2019, 8:58 PM
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How does the barrel crown look? If it is creased, dented, or otherwise not uniform, it may (will) throw the bullets off. An '03 with a 1.5" grouping at 100 yards is a keeper.

Congratulations on an outstanding '03
It seems to be In good shape.

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Old 11-19-2019, 9:01 PM
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Like everyone is saying, 1.5 is plenty good for hunting. I once got a 1/2” group at 100 out of my sporterized 06, but can’t remember what load it was. Still have the rifle, I shot hornsdy superformance out of it last time (a few years ago now) the performance was awesome, I won’t bother trying other factory stuff.

I shoot 3 round groups in hunting rifles, they aren’t varmint guns after all. I liked to get some of the smaller diameter paper plates and try firing rounds all on the plate fast as I could to prep for season. Sorry this is all past tense I stopped hunting for a few years and am just returning now

You can also check the stock bedding, see if there are pressure points on the barrel. I don’t remember if that was mentioned.

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Old 11-19-2019, 9:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Dago Red View Post
Like everyone is saying, 1.5 is plenty good for hunting. I once got a 1/2” group at 100 out of my sporterized 06, but can’t remember what load it was. Still have the rifle, I shot hornsdy superformance out of it last time (a few years ago now) the performance was awesome, I won’t bother trying other factory stuff.

I shoot 3 round groups in hunting rifles, they aren’t varmint guns after all. I liked to get some of the smaller diameter paper plates and try firing rounds all on the plate fast as I could to prep for season. Sorry this is all past tense I stopped hunting for a few years and am just returning now

You can also check the stock bedding, see if there are pressure points on the barrel. I don’t remember if that was mentioned.

Red
I am starting to realize this now that ks to all the responses. It seems to be pretty on par with the standard.
I dont think bedding was mentioned and until you just said that I've never even thought to check on this rifle. The stock definitely touches at the end of the forend. It's for sure not fully free floated. Maybe I'll try clearanceing the stock a bit and see if that helps also.

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Old 11-19-2019, 9:34 PM
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I really appreciate all the feedback. I really like this rifle and I'm just trying to get it to shoot to the best of its ability. If that's 1.5moa then it is what it is. I'm hoping to use it to hunt in the future and I think it will fit that bill perfectly.

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Old 11-19-2019, 10:45 PM
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If you want to get this rifle to shoot to the best of its ability, have you considered a new match grade barrel, or do you want to leave it as it is and try to develop a load?
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:48 PM
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Default Springfield 1903 What ammo do you use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhinoortiz View Post
I am starting to realize this now that ks to all the responses. It seems to be pretty on par with the standard.
I dont think bedding was mentioned and until you just said that I've never even thought to check on this rifle. The stock definitely touches at the end of the forend. It's for sure not fully free floated. Maybe I'll try clearanceing the stock a bit and see if that helps also.

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No! Don’t clearance the stock until you look into how it should sit, it should have contact at the band but be light and relatively easy to push away from.

Like this (not my video, posted publicly by user and linked from the CMP forum)
Stock pressure like this
https://imgur.com/gallery/ZNo6DEC

Upper hand guard rear ring loose like this
https://imgur.com/gallery/8nkkzwP

In order to get that ring loose you may have to carve the stock at that point, and in order to get that light upward pressure you may have to adjust elsewhere along barrel, it shouldn’t touch most of the way just there at the band and the receiver.

I recently re-stocked my 1903-A3 that was sporterized by previous owner and I haven’t been able to yet get both of those conditions... but it looks good.

https://imgur.com/a/TP4lkfq

Andrew - Lancaster, CA
NRA Life Member, CRPA member, Calguns.net contributor, CGF / SAF / FPC / CCRKBA / GOA / NAGR / NRA-ILA contributor, USCCA member - Support your defenders!

Last edited by lordmorgul; 11-19-2019 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 11-20-2019, 6:05 AM
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rhinoortiz, the Wipeout mentioned above works very good. They also make "Wipe Out Patch Out" patches that work very good also if you don't go with the foam. The crown looks good also.
If your rifle is shooting 1.5" now, I wouldn't mess with the barrel/stock fit.
The Timney trigger will be your best bet, in my opinion.
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Old 11-20-2019, 9:41 AM
SMarquez SMarquez is offline
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A beautiful example of sporterizing from 50-60 years ago. A complete barrel cleaning and Timney and I would leave it alone. That was a steal at $250.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:02 AM
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Calif Hunter Calif Hunter is offline
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You will probably benefit most from the good cleaning, a Timney trigger, possible bedding and then handloading. I have a 03 MK IV that loves a good 150 gr bullet (Sierra or Nosler BT) over 52 gr of IMR 4064. It shoots under an inch and often closer to 1/2 inch with the original barrel. I haven't tried Barnes bullets yet as I haven't hunted with it in CA.

Beautiful rifle, by the way.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:09 AM
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Now find a Front Sight for it (Ebay) and the gun will be finished.

Randy
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyD View Post
If you want to get this rifle to shoot to the best of its ability, have you considered a new match grade barrel, or do you want to leave it as it is and try to develop a load?
I'd rather not change the barrel. I guess get it to shoot to the best of it's ability as is. Eventually when I start reloading I will probably develop something g for this rifle.

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Old 11-20-2019, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordmorgul View Post
No! Don’t clearance the stock until you look into how it should sit, it should have contact at the band but be light and relatively easy to push away from.

Like this (not my video, posted publicly by user and linked from the CMP forum)
Stock pressure like this
https://imgur.com/gallery/ZNo6DEC

Upper hand guard rear ring loose like this
https://imgur.com/gallery/8nkkzwP

In order to get that ring loose you may have to carve the stock at that point, and in order to get that light upward pressure you may have to adjust elsewhere along barrel, it shouldn’t touch most of the way just there at the band and the receiver.

I recently re-stocked my 1903-A3 that was sporterized by previous owner and I haven’t been able to yet get both of those conditions... but it looks good.

https://imgur.com/a/TP4lkfq

Andrew - Lancaster, CA
NRA Life Member, CRPA member, Calguns.net contributor, CGF / SAF / FPC / CCRKBA / GOA / NAGR / NRA-ILA contributor, USCCA member - Support your defenders!
I probably wolnt mess with the stock. Gonna do a trigger first for sure. Mine does touch in a few places bit I cant flex it like in the video. My stock is super rigid.

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