NEF Handi-Rifle Accuracy Problems

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by CountryGunsmith, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. CountryGunsmith

    CountryGunsmith New Member

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    fhj96
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    (1/29/02 2:57:31 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del All NEF Handi rifle 243
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    I purchased a NEF handi rifle in .243 caliber. I had read quite a lot of good reviews on these rifles, especially that they were very accurate for the money(mine has a beautiful laminate stock and cost just over $200.)
    The problem is that I cannot get it to shoot better than 3" groups at 100 yrds. I have tried two scopes(leupold & bushnell) to make sure it wasn't a scope problem. I have only shot over-the-counter Remington 100 gr. pointed soft point ammo(appx. 50 rounds).
    I realize that some rifles don't shoot certain brands of ammo well and may shoot much tighter groups with another brand.
    Before I start experimenting with other ammo(I am even considering trying handloading)I was just wondering if anyone has experience with this rifle and/or this problem.
    Thanks for any advice!

    Different name
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    (1/29/02 5:15:18 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del NEF Handi rifle 243
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    WELCOME to TFF fhj96!
    You are at the right Forum ----
    (I am not one of the TQ&I "Experts")
    Be patient, before long you will have TFF technical people who will share with you more information than you would ever expect!
    ENJOY --- Really fine people here.
    Stop in every chance you have
    and you won't be sorry!

    Charlie D aka Different name

    AntiqueDr
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    (1/29/02 7:02:28 am)
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    ezSupporter
    Re: NEF Handi rifle 243
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    Does the rifle string the rounds in a particular pattern? Vertical or horizontal?
    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
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    LIKTOSHOOT
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    (1/29/02 9:53:26 am)
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    Gotta a friend that carries on of these down on the river, his is .223 with a syn. stock. Very slick little single and the same problem as yours. He let me shoot it and I was quick to notice, the trigger SUCKED. Very heavy and gritty pull, at one hundred yards, just as yours....even from a rest, fifty yards reduced the group by more than half. Broke this beast down and stoned all the trigger components. This made it a 1 1/2" gun at one hundred yards and might be able to reduce that some with handloads, but I don`t think by much.....the lock time because of the exposed hammer fall, is now the remaining culprit and I see no way to change that.....except for a "very" steady resting shot. Regards LTS

    BlackGun
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    (1/29/02 2:37:10 pm)
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    Welcom aboard fhj96! We're always glad to have a new member join us here on TFF, drop by the Pump House, the first round of cold ones are are on me and Warpig!

    Tread On Me, But, Leave My DONUT Alone! !


    BlackGUN

    the real fredneck
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    (1/30/02 8:12:59 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: NEF Handi rifle 243
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    I think there was some company that offered a spring kit for the Handi-Rifles supposed to improve trigger pull and locktime I'll see is I can find the info

    fhj96
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    (1/30/02 3:04:41 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del AntiqueDr
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    AntiqueDr

    The rifle sprays them everywhere, no pattern. It seems to function alot like "Liktoshoot" was saying about his friends, at 50 yrds. the groups are tighter but still nothing to brag about.
    As it stands now this is a fairly decent 50 yrd. deer gun

    Edited by: fhj96 at: 1/30/02 3:08:47 pm

    AntiqueDr
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    (1/30/02 3:14:27 pm)
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    ezSupporter
    Re: AntiqueDr
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    Well, the crappy trigger may be the problem. Also, make sure the buttstock is tight to the receiver, I've seen these with a little slop too.


    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
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    warpig883
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    (1/30/02 9:07:41 pm)
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    Welcome and also check the muzzle for damage where the buddit exits
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    LIKTOSHOOT
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    (1/31/02 9:17:26 am)
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    96....call me stupid (STUPID!) Whats the barrelweight on this rifle....I fergetted....there maybe another factor in play here. LTS

    fhj96
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    (1/31/02 11:44:08 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del LIKTOSHOOT
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    I DO NOT KNOW THE BARRELWEIGHT(to be honest i have never heard the term "barrelweight"). In fact i do not even remember the twist rate for this barrel. All i can tell you now is that it is a 22" barrel. The rifle is practically new, only 50 rounds have been shot through it, so the barrel shouldn't be damaged
    The one thing that i have not checked out is the factory mounted scope rail, I tried wiggling to assure it was tight before mounting the scope, I think now i will remove the scope and torque the rail mounting screws, just to make sure
    i not chasing the wrong rabbit.

    LIKTOSHOOT
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    (1/31/02 12:47:27 pm)
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    96, I should have been more specific. The rifles come in two barrel weights, a standard contour and a heavy contour....sometimes refered to as a "Heavy Barrel/Target Barrel" not sure if the .243 was or not.....I know the .223 and .308 do. The reason I asked was this and it`s been a couple of years since I have looked at my friends....so this is from a feeble old gunpowder mind. Help me answer this question... "how is the forestock attached to the barrel??" I can`t remember. Thanks LTS

    kdub01
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    (1/31/02 6:33:42 pm)
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    Welcome to the board, FHJ96 -

    Hope you enjoy the forum and will stick around and join in the discussions.

    Think LTS is trackin' right on for you. A heavy trigger pull will destroy the best of groups. Most .243's have a rate of twist to stabilize the 85 - 95 gr bullets. The 100 - 105's are usually for deer hunting and don't have the same accuracy as the lighter (varmit) loads. I had a Sako .243 that loved the 85 gr Nosler Partitions when they were mfg'd years ago. The present 95 grainers did OK, but not like the 85's. The smaller bullet accounted for it's share of whitetail, tho.

    A muzzle may be damaged, even on a new rifle, so look close for any burr, nick or gouge in the crown.



    velvetnsteel
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    (1/31/02 11:08:47 pm)
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    I will throw my opinion in here too. I have had about 8 or nine of these H&R/NEF singles, and the trigger was rough on all of them. I found a gunsmith who could work magic on them, and he reworked 3 for me that made them sweet. He got them all down to 2 lbs. pull, and one was even a bit lighter. Broke with no creep. But not everybody likes to work on them since you have to re-assemble the whole system just to see where you are. One was a .25-06, one a 35 Whelen, and one a .45-70. Made excellent shooters out of them all.
  2. earlthepearl

    earlthepearl New Member

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    Mine didn't like anything but Win. Super X 100 grain.
    H&R .243 with a bull barrel.
    Shoots those with groups of a dime at 100 yards.
    Most times you can't tell if your hitting the dam target cause you keep hitting the same dam hole.
    That's clamped into a gunvise weighing at 300 pounds, once you get it sighted.
    Off hand it will shoot 1" groups off a good rest at 100 Yards.
    Well mine does anyway......... with the 100 gr. Win. S X.
  3. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Blackgun hit the nail on the head, with trigger pull; a little off base, however, with the 'locktime' comment.
    I shoot weith an old fashioned German shooting club, here in San Antonio,Tx, and will offer:
    A friend of mine, Virginia Stevens, another friend, Gaye Wimberly, and myself all shoot 'antique' external hammer, set trigger, single shot rifles: all of us have 'waxed' some pretty serious competition, shooting bolt guns, like Anshutz M-54 Match, Winchester 52's, Remington 40-X's, and the like, with our old junk, both offhand, and rest!
    I'll tell you,to be competitive, a rifle must shoot 1/2 MOA, or better, consistantly, as the 25 ring we shoot at, at 100 yds, iron sights, is a tad smaller than a silver dollar (1.45"), with an X ring measuring .312", and most matches boil down to the X count!
    FYI, Virginia shoots a Ballard, Gaye, a Winchester Hi-Wall, and I shoot a Stevens 44 1/2, all, in .22 LR.
    None of these rifles would carry a 2 oz Trigger weight; two of them would not carry an ounce, but all run with the best modern rifle out there.
    Please understand, I build 'accuracy rifles' as a hobby, and ,as such, have no need, on the part of others, for agreement on my concepts, only on price, should I choose to build a rifle,for you; that being said, I suggest that if you can not let the trigger off, precisely when you desire, the rifle cannot possibly score well; no matter how 'Mechanically accurate" the rifle may be.
    I have rifles that I have shot for 250-10X scores, (.312+.111=.423, or smaller,groups), off a rest, that simply cannot be shot as well, offhand!
    This could be shooter, or trigger, but, unless the 'Rest', above, was a machine rest (and, it was not), the answer is shooter, and stance, breath control, and sight picture.
    An external Hammer is a nice safety device, and a handicap, only at the highest level of competition; don't blame it for things it did not do!
    Rather, fix the rest of the problem: barrel, stock dimensions, headspace, throat dimension, neck dimension, round concentricity, load, and shooter performance; all outweigh the input of the hammer!
    When all this trash is 'laid away', trigger becomes an issue, but, until then, you are still looking for a rifle!
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2006
  4. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    I can't speak for the centerfire's that much personally but I have a NEF .22/.410 I use the iron sights for my neighborhood varmin control and couln't ask for nothin better. Nice clean pull, easy break open, and comfortable
  5. I've had much the same result with my H&R Buffalo Classic in 45-70 (made in the same factory as the NEFs), Southern, though I don't generally use it for varmit control--a .45 caliber, 405 grain slug is a bit like swatting flies with an 8-lb sledge! ;) This rifle came with aperture sights front and rear and I've found it to be a highly accurate weapon to shoot, both from the bench and offhand. The trigger on mine does not seem to need any refinement since let-off is very crisp with no detectable creep or overtravel. It seems fine to me as it is. Admittedly though, the way a trigger feels is a matter of individual shooter preference to large degree.
  6. coldmold

    coldmold New Member

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    Go to thr grey beard website. They have a whole forum dedicated to the handi rifles. There is a host of imformation there.
  7. mountain man

    mountain man New Member

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    n.e.f. singleshot 243 done the same thing till i chaged ammo to winchester supreme 95 gr ballistic silver tip . now i can hold 1" groups at 175 yrds. the remington shells tips are to irregular to be accurate in that small calibur at that yardage . bullet wieght not enough .also the cxp2 ammo is not to bad for around 100 to 125 yrds. no trigger problems encounterd. also looking for another brown&green stock 243 like first one for wife
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2006
  8. Clintcook

    Clintcook New Member

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    I just bought a NEF Handi Rifle in 22-250 to shoot dogs and coyotes on my farm. It has a 22" bull barrell, a good clean crown, and crisp trigger. I put a good leupold scope on it and checked the rail to make sure it was tight. It will not group worth a crap at 100 yards. Anyone got any ideas? I can't find a twist rate for this barrel anywhere.
  9. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Clintook, you'd lookfor a week for an "inaccurate" .22-250 load; trust me, on this, for the moment.
    If you have a trigger scale, use it; what does it take to break the sear, from the hammer, in a steady pull, in pounds and ounces?
    You speak of a nicely crowned muzzle, but, is it square with the bore???
    Is the stock bolt tight? this is one, of three 'hinges', in the action, the next being the lockup, (Hinge pin, and lever), and the last, barrel/fore-end attatchment, to the receiver.
    I glass all my single shots, stock to receiver, and fore-end, to barrel, with .010" minimum clearance, between the fore-end, and the receiver, and they seem to shoot, passably well.
    I'll be quite honest, in admitting I have NO experience with NEF rifles, though I own several English 'Rook', and German 'Stalking' rifles, more refined forms, around more gentle caliber rounds, and all shoot well, with loads they like, following these rules.
    But the caliber, I was shooting before the first "factory ammo' hit the scene, about 1967 IIRC, from Remington, and it was and is one of the greats; there are no 'bad ' loads, only 'good', and 'gooder'!
    Part of the problem may be shooting a 53,000 psi load thru an action designed as a shotgun; when NEF was H&R, shotguns were all they built, on the pattern, and the design itself may be an issue, in high pressure cartridges, witness the testimony from several .243 shooters.
    I have offered some of what I know, works, in other action designs, with no promise of success, here, as I have little knowledge of the action.
    Please use it as you will, and feel free tocall, or e-mail me, as you desire.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2007
  10. Humpy

    Humpy New Member

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    In looking over the above posts the thing that strikes me is for the most part these are new barrels and I can’t help but think the signs are representative of new barrel problems. When barrels are made (broached,buttoned,hammered) the internal surface is shall we say left in a roughened condition and sharp edges are left and even bits of metal. What you want to do is break in the barrel so the sharp edges are redirected toward the muzzle like grain in a field is bent when the wind hits it. Not doing this will cause copper build up immediately and follow on bullets will have more jacket material gouged off upsetting the balance of the bullet and any accuracy it may have had is destroyed inside the barrel and when it leaves the barrel the center of gravity will be altered on the bullet causing it to behave erratically in flight.
    I break in new barrels by firing one shot and clean after each shot for at least ten rounds. During this sequence I am zeroing the scope so not a waste of ammo. Once I examine the patches and the amount of blue tinge is significantly reduced I will then go to two rounds and clean until the blue reduces greatly. Then three rounds, five rounds and finally ten rounds.

    You will need a copper defouling solution to pull this off. You can buy Sweet’s Bore Cleaner for about 8.00 for 8 ounces or you can make a gallon of your own for about five bucks. Check out
    http://www.frfrogspad.com/homemade.htm and scroll down to Humpy’s White Bore Cleaner and it will give you the list of three items to pick up to make your own.

    Also on this site you will notice a formula for Ed’s Red Bore Cleaner. Once I get a barrel broken in I may or may not defoul it depending on how it shoots. If after a good break in schedule the groups do not open up in say 20 shots I will leave the copper as it will be but a trace. In this case I will switch to Ed’s Red (ER).
    ER is excellent for removing lead build up and excellent for removing propellant residue and excellent for keeping your barrel from rusting in storage. I have tested it stored in rifle in vertical position for 14 months and borescoped it and found the bore still wet with ER. The formula on the website can be altered. I only use 1/3rd MerconDexron III transmission fluid, 1/3rd mineral spirits (paint thinner) and 1/3rd K1 kerosene and find it to be the best stuff I have ever used as a general cleaner. If you buy it in bulk you can make 1 ½ gallons for about 12.00.
    I give samples away to every one that comes by that owns a gun and everyone I have given it to has become a believer.
    I have been conducting barrel wear studies on three rifles for the last three years and I have come to the conclusion there are two things you can do to ruin a barrel. One is use a jointed/crooked cleaning rod that rubs the barrel and secondly not clean it properly.

    Cleaning: when I say clean I mean run a rod down the barrel just as soon as you finish your last shot while it is still warm. When I finish firing I make three passes with bronze brush in bore soaked with ER. I follow this by a sloppy wet patch of ER. This will come out black. Run another sloppy wet patch and it should come out almost clean. Follow this with a dry patch.
    Finally when you finish run another wet patch through and leave the barrel wet. Before you fire your next time at range run rod/patch through to dry the barrel. I have fired them left wet and first shot will be erratic a bit so best run a dry patch down to soak up the remaining ER.

    Why? You may be asking yourself why not wait till I get home. Research has caused me to conclude powder residue becomes hard when it is cooled. After all what do we have? Carbon.
    When carbon cools it becomes hard to the point of becoming abrasive. If you wait till it cools you will find it harder to clean and if you fire the cooled barrel you are driving a bullet over all that loose residue which is now an abrasive. Get it out quick while it is warm.

    Generally when at range I will clean the barrel every 12 rounds to 22 rounds. But if I shoot even two or three shots, it gets cleaned. The trick is never let the barrel get cool without cleaning.

    If you don’t believe carbon is abrasive disassemble your reloading size die and look at the expander button with a good glass and I believe you will find it scored/scarred. Now this is a hardened piece of steel and it is for sure brass won’t scar hardened steel. The inside of you case mouth has unburned cooled propellant residue and this is what does it.

    When I am at range I will take a Q tip and put a drop of ER on it and run it inside the case mouths to clean the carbon from the case mouth and soften what I don’t remove immediately. Before reloading I run bronze brush in case mouth and scrub out carbon residue. Then the cases are FL sized. Look at a new set of dies before and after and you should not see scoring on the expander button. Now take some cases you have not cleaned and size them and I think you will find the expander ball has been scored. Case solved so to speak. Or think of it this way if carbon on a brass case will score a hardened steel expander what will it does to your soft rifle barrel?
    Something else that will help the game plan is to take a fired case and chuck it in lathe and drill a hole in base the size of the inside of the case through the primer pocket. Now size the case without expander button and slide it over your cleaning rod. As the rod is run into the Handi Rifle push the case in the chamber and the undersized neck will keep the one piece cleaning rod centered in the barrel. I have about ten cleaning rods and all are solid rods. I carry them to range in 1 ½ PVC pipes with cap on one end and screw cover on the other. Rod will never get bent if sat on, crushed in trunk etc. You can buy a stick of PVC , three caps, three clean outs with screw plugs and make about three cleaning rods cases for your rifles and have about five bucks in each case.
    Write on outside of case what size rod you have 22, 7MM, 30 cal etc. Oh yes I cut a round piece of open cell foam and put in end of case at plug end so when you drop the rod in the case it has a soft landing when it hits bottom.

    http://www.beastwerks.com/Bore Guides/bore_guides.htm Check this site out for rod guides for cleaning a rifle from the muzzle such as your lever actions, semi autos etc. Same principle as above and this gives you a picture of how they will look.

    Defoul those barrels and I think you will find they will shoot better. That and a good trigger job is nice to have. I just got a new Handi in today in a 223 bull barrel and did my initial inspection and measurements and hopefully will start to break it in tomorrow.

    Oh yes one more thing. You need to keep round counts on your barrels. Go to Walmart and the school supply section and get a little composition book (black & white marble tone) for .77 cents. Drill a ¼” hole in binding about a half inch from top and run a 15” length of mason’s string/twin though and tie in a not. Keep a round count in the book and notes on loads. These books are enough for about 20,000 rounds of shooting and you will have all your data for that gun with you at all times. I start it off with notes like: “3/14/07 10 rds shoot & clean -10-
    Next line 3/15/07 10 rounds 2 and clean 20 and so on. At end of page take your total to top of next page. Use a sharpie permanent pen and if book gets wet you won’t lose your data. You can do all kinds of notations in it like zero at 200 yards POA/POI (Point of Aim/Point of Impact) 100 yards +3”, 300 yards – 10 inches or whatever you have.
    Humpy
  11. Humpy

    Humpy New Member

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    Update on above. I just got a new NEF Handi Rifle in 223 and broke it in as above. The barrel has first shot hitting high at 100 yards,about a foot. In the next 7 shots it will shoot lower and lower. After 15 shots when barrel is nice and warm it starts to group.

    Obviously this indicated a stress problem. I took barrel off and whacked it with a plastic hammer and it does not ring indicating no stress relief. I called NEF this morning 4/12/07 and talked with Customer Service and told them I had a barrel that had not been stress relieved. I was put on hold a few seconds and they came back on line and told me NONE OF THEIR BARRELS ARE STRESS RELIEVED ! ! ! ! !

    I was asked to run paper under the forearm and I told her I had even put the rubber O ring under the forearm and when they learned I had done that I was told it needed a new barrel and to send it in.

    I was shocked to learn that they do not stress relieve any barrels ! ! ! !

    When barrels are button rifled no material is removed (broach and hook rifling removes material). Button rifling swages the barrel grooves creating stress in the material. It needs to be stress relieved in order relieve the forces built up by the button process.

    Thus those folks that have a good shooter are indeed lucky their groups do not start to walk as barrel gets warmer. If they start to walk we now know why.

    Barrels are checked for stress relief by removing from rifle and holding with two fingers and take a plastic mallet/screw driver handle and give the barrel a light whack. If there is no stress in the barrel it will ring. If it sounds dead it has not.

    On a whim I checked about 30 barrels from all manufacturers I have that are not installed on rifles, take offs etc. 29 of the 30 rang nicely. One other barrel did not ring, it was a take off from a 30-40 Krag Cavalry Carbine made in 1901.

    Prior to the call this morning I wrote a letter to the chief engineer telling him what I was experiencing. That did not elicit any response whatsoever.

    So now we know.
  12. omeratwood

    omeratwood New Member

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    Okay, "Humpy", your thread was very educational! I was just about to buy an NEF / H&R single shot rifle with the heavy bull barrel in .223 Rem., but now I'm not sure if I want to. You seem like an firearm expert. Although I have heard many of these terms used before, I've never heard them explained to me the way you did!

    I see that your thread put an end to the debate about trigger pull & lock time!

    Thank you sir! Maybe I'll go with Thompson? Or save up for a Ruger #1.
  13. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Friend, there are no wrong choices in your logic; TC offres a 'Lifetime' warranty, and the (Overpriced) Rugers can be made to shoot as well as any bolt gun, too, with very classy lines.
    I own several #1's, older rifles, with the red pad, and none are for sale, at any price, because the are my kid's, and grandkid's rifles; I'm just keeping them, for a time!
    A thought on single shots, in general; nearly all have two piece stocks, and in every case I have examined, if the fore end contacts the receiver, it adversely affects accuracy.
    Most of mine will shoot consistantly under 1 moa, some, much better than that.
    As I offered before, (glass?) bedding the butt to the receiver eliminates one 'hinge' in the package; those rifles, like the Winchester Single Shots, where the stock is attatched to the receiver, with only the tang screws, need to be 'monkeyed with', to change the attatchment to a 'through bolt', in the stock, arrangement, for maximum accuracy.
    Back to fore ends; the Ruger, with a 'hanger' off the front of the receiver, on which the fore end is attatched, 'likes' the barrel to be 'freed up', free floating, above the wood; this alone, took my 7X57mm #1, fron an 'inch and a half' rifle, to a consistant half inch rifle, 'Kapow'!
    Break action rifles, like Brit Stalking rifles, and the NEF guns, must have the axis pin EXACTLY square with the bore, and TIGHT (no flex, open, or shut) or they simply will not deliver anything close to consistant accuracy.
    Even this can be fixed, by re-reaming, and fitting an oversize axis pin, but may not be really 'cost effective', for an inexpensive rifle.
    Just some stuff I've learned, over the last 50 years, about the rifles I love best!
  14. omeratwood

    omeratwood New Member

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    stash247,
    Thank you sir for your input on this subject. After a lot of research, I just ordered a Ruger #1. Varmenter
    Caliber: .223 Rem.
    Capacity: 1 Round
    Finish: Stainless
    Stock: Black Laminate
    Barrel: Length: 26" Groove: 6 Twist: 1:12" RH, Heavy Barrel
    Overall Length: 42 1/4" Weight: 9 lbs
    Front Sight(s): None Rear Sight(s): None
    Other Features: Sliding Tang Safety
    Suggested Retail Price: $ 1065.00

    I think that I have found the parts at (MidwayUSA) that you are talking about.
    "Rugers can be made to shoot as well as any bolt gun".
    Item# 174816 EABCO Hick's #1 Accurizer Ruger #1, and Item# 344087 Wolff Hammer Spring Ruger for the Ruger #1.

    I'll will take delivery of my new rifle next week, and I must admit that I'm very excited about it. I have 30 long guns in my collection now, no junk! Every one of them is of high quality for that production. i.e. 1861 Springfield .58cal, 1903 A3, M1 Carbine made by Winchester, M1D Garand, M1A Springfield 7.62mm, Colt AR-15 A3, AKM 47 made in Russia, Remington 870 Wingmaster 12ga., Model 700 SPS DM .308 Win., Model 70 .30-06, Ruger 10/22s one of em built to the tune of about $1200., ect.... All in excellent condition!

    Now I have got into hand loading, and value the rounds I fire more than ever. I thought about getting this Ruger #1 in the new .204 Ruger, but i really don't want to intoduce a new cal. into my collection that is not so different from what I already shoot, and I really like the .223 Rem.
    I don't know that much about the 7x57mm, except that it's a powerfull round, and from what you said very accurate!
  15. stash247

    stash247 New Member

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    Can't say it is the rifle I would buy; But, I am 'queer' as can be, for pretty wood!
    My one 'Composite Stock' rifle is a Rem 40-X sporter, in a MacMillan 'Woodgrain' stock, which fools a lot of folks; It really looks, and feels, like 'stump cut' Walnut! Sadly, they are no longer made!
    On the Ruger, get the front wood 'free' from the action, and 'float' the barrel, from the fore end, and if the trigger co-operates, you could just end up with a 'one holer', with good loads.
    I'm building now, two rifles, on two 'Ed Yost' actions, one, for me, the other, for a grandson. (www.edyostactions.com)
    These are two of 25 ever built, and cost me about what a cheap car should have, each, yet I cleave to this area of rifles, because it is, fundamentally, the 'girl what brung me'.
    Eliminate the 'hinges', improve the trigger, and enjoy!
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