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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just inherited my Dad's old .222 woodchuck gun. I'm having a blast helping out the local farmers taking out their woodchucks. Now the season is over and I'm thinking about working on the rifle. The barrel is not free floating and from what I read, MOST so called experts say floating the barrel improves accuracy, but some others say the engineers at Remington knew what they were doing when they pre loaded the buggy whip like barrel at the end of the stock. The barrel also is loaded at the heavy metal band about 1/3 down the barrel where the rear sight is attached.
Should I pillar bed and float the barrel or leave well enough alone?? I would hate to ruin this gun because it does shoot decent groups at 100 yards but 200 yards I'm missing just about everything.
I need some real life opinions on this one. Not generalities but someone who is familiar specifically with the 722 in .222 caliber. Thanks!!
 

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Asking for specifics on a 722 in .222 isn't going to get much info for ya. What works for that model/caliber will work on any other model caliber as well. BUT...what works on one rifle night not work on another of the same model/caliber. Some troubleshooting is needed.
Personally, I wouldn't touch the bedding if it's shooting to your standards...but it sounds like you're wanting improvement past 100yds.

What type & size of groups are you getting? Are they just plain growing, are they stringing a particular direction, etc?
If groups are just growing generally, I would try a couple different loads to see if it just plain doesn't like the ammo that you're feeding it.
If groups are inconsistent and erratic, I would check for loose screws (action, scope mount, etc).
If it's stringing, then I would check into the bedding.
If it's stringing a particular direction, I would check the bedding opposite the direction that the groups string. I.E. if it strings up and left, I would see if the pressure is greater on the bottom right of the barrel channel.
Is it possible that it's just shooter technique? Maybe the stock doesn't fit you quite right and you're not getting a consistent cheek-weld to the stock from shot to shot.


A slender sporter contour barrel like your rifle generally does benefit from tip bedding.
I would consider relieving the barrel channel at the sight band though and just keep the tip bedding as a first step.
I have had a couple of light/featherweight barrels that grouped better after free-floating but those are rare cases. Most light barrels prefer a bit of tip bedding pressure.

Before you fully free-float the barrel, try putting a few cardboard shims in the action bedding area ( under the recoil lug and around the rear action screw) to "lift" the barrel off of the forearm. Call it a poor-man's freefloat job if you will.
If that helps your groups then I'd look into free-floating the barrel. If it gets worse, then it most likely likes having the bedding pressure on the barrel. Each barrel will react differently.

Pillar bedding (or just plain bedding the action without pillars too) will improve the consistency of the tip bedding pressure too. The action will return to the same place in the stock if you ever have to disassemble it for cleaning/repair.


Hope this gives you some info to start with. And welcome to TFF!
 

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In my opinion I do not concider this to be a thin sporter barrel. In addition to the above (which is sound advise) I would first look at cleaning the bore with a good copper solvent to remove any deposits and shoot from the bench before removing the action from the stock.
My 722 is a tackdriver when I do my part; it is not impossible that there may be a bit of wear in yours depending on the use it had from your dad. Check everything above the wood including the scope and mount and then look at the stock for signs of contact with metal.

The band you mention acts almost like a recoil lug in the stock and helps "break up" recoil harmonics/vibration when fired.
These are nice rifles that have very good accuracy, what load are you shooting?
Free floating is populan now as it is cheaper to manufacture a rifle freefloated than properly bedded. Properly bedded is more labor intensive therefore more expensive to manufacture. I think you should look for spots of excessive contact.
 

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BTW, a calling card makes a very good temporary shim, in my case it's been temporary for over 10 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok , more specifically , I was shooting off a Caldwell lead sled without any wind ( range was very protected). I'm shooting Hornady 50 grain Varmint SuperPerformance Vmax.
The scope is a Bushnell 4.5 x 12 Trophy XLT.
The groups at 100 yards would be within a 50 cent coin, but at 200 yards they are out to around a 3-4 inch circle. I can't say whether they were tracking or not. I didn't know to look for that. I'm very much learning at this stage.
I did separate the stock from the action because I was having a problem with the bolt release lever not returning to the rest position. Once I pushed the lever and removed the bolt, the bolt would just continue to slide off the action without any stop. I probably disturbed the way the action was nested in the stock for 50 years. It did seem to hold a better group before I took things apart. I didn't torque the action screws to any specific number. I was just snugging them up for fear of causing some bending of the action. From what I've been reading that was probably not good!
What kind of groups can I expect to get at 200 yards with off the shelf varmint loads like I previously specified? I don't reload (yet) but may get into it because I really enjoyed my first summer of retirement . Am I asking too much to get the group down to within an inch group at 200 yards? Should I just try different loads first? Should I take things in steps like add pillars, then bedding then partial relief of the barrel?
I did clean the hell out of the barrel with Remington Bore Brite and a brass brush. I don't think the gun was heavily shot? My Dad only used it for chuck hunting and with 6 kids didn't get out much.
 

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Start with pillar bedding, TEST thoroughly...at least a box of 20 rounds...
that way you'll know if you need to bother with floating the barrel or not...

Sometimes you do, sometimes you cause no end of headaches by floating...

Only ever do ONE gun mod at a time, test it to see the results...preferably at least a box of ammo...
THEN do the next mod if needed...

If you do two or more mods without testing after each, and then a problem crops up...
you'll drive yourself insane trying to figure out what you did wrong...
and probably bring a few folks with you down the track as they try to figure out what you did ;)
 

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Ok , more specifically , I was shooting off a Caldwell lead sled without any wind ( range was very protected). I'm shooting Hornady 50 grain Varmint SuperPerformance Vmax.
The scope is a Bushnell 4.5 x 12 Trophy XLT.
The groups at 100 yards would be within a 50 cent coin, but at 200 yards they are out to around a 3-4 inch circle. I can't say whether they were tracking or not. I didn't know to look for that. I'm very much learning at this stage.
I would start out with a few more trips to the range to familiarize yourself with the particular rifle.

If your 100yd groups are nice consistent round groups then I probably wouldn't say that it's "stringing" the groups and there might not be anything wrong with the bedding at all.

I did separate the stock from the action because I was having a problem with the bolt release lever not returning to the rest position. Once I pushed the lever and removed the bolt, the bolt would just continue to slide off the action without any stop. I probably disturbed the way the action was nested in the stock for 50 years. It did seem to hold a better group before I took things apart. I didn't torque the action screws to any specific number. I was just snugging them up for fear of causing some bending of the action. From what I've been reading that was probably not good!
It is possible that R&Ring the action from the stock placed the barrel into a different placwe and made for a odd pressure spot on the barrel.
Pillar or glass bedding the action will help with more consistent placement...but I wouldn't jump into big mods on the rifle right away.
Unless I find an obvious big problem, I like to put at least 50-100 rounds through a rifle before I pass judgement on making a major modification.

Try loosening the action bolts so they're barely snug hold the rifle butt-down and bump it off the floor a couple times. Hold it by the stock, not the barreled action otherwise you might pull it back out of place again.
This will seat the action back against the recoil lug and probably center it into any "dimples" in the wood where it has been sitting for probably quite a few years. Tighten the action screws. Do the front one first and the back second. 15-20in/lb is a good torque figure for a plain wood stock with no bedding block. That's not much...roughly 1/8th of a turn once they're snugged down. The sequence is more important than the torque spec, although both play a part in getting the action back into a consistent spot in the stock.
Give it another trip to the range and see if it groups any differently.

What kind of groups can I expect to get at 200 yards with off the shelf varmint loads like I previously specified? I don't reload (yet) but may get into it because I really enjoyed my first summer of retirement . Am I asking too much to get the group down to within an inch group at 200 yards? Should I just try different loads first? Should I take things in steps like add pillars, then bedding then partial relief of the barrel?
I did clean the hell out of the barrel with Remington Bore Brite and a brass brush. I don't think the gun was heavily shot? My Dad only used it for chuck hunting and with 6 kids didn't get out much.
Each rifle is different, but if you're getting 1" groups (50-cent piece is close) at 100yds, then you should be able to do 2" at 200yds. That is what is commonly accepted for factory ammo out of a bone-stock rifle. Some might do better, or some might do worse. Way too many variables to say that it's set in stone though.
Keep in mind that as range increases you're also introducing more possibility for shooter error too...the crosshairs cover twice as much target area as you double the range so there's a bit more chance for error. A twitch or breath that will "pull" a shot 1/8" at 100yds will magnify to 1/4" at 200yds. Etc...
The .222 is generally a very accurate little cartridge regardless of what rifle its shot out of, so it is possible that you might be able to do better.

I would try a couple of different factory loads first. It is possible that your rifle just doesn't like the 50gr Vmax load. My experience with the Hornady factory ammo is that it's pretty darn good but it doesn't hurt to try another brand or bullet weight either.
Depending on what's available in your area, I would try the Winchester 50gr SP load first, and maybe the Hornady 40gr Vmax load. If your local shops carry Fiocchi ammo, they also have a bunch of loads using the Hornady Vmax bullets. cheaper than Hornady ammo but they've still been pretty consistent from my experience with it.
I've got a friend with a beat up old 340 Savage in 222 and it just dearly loves the plain ole cheap Sellior&Bellot 50gr SP load...as in one-hole 5-shot groups at 100yds.

Keep us posted with what you find.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've tried different off the shelf loads in Remington and Hornady. The Rems were shot before I seperated the action from the stock. I was happy with the groups then but didn't shoot it at 200 yards.
The Rems Core Lok were just a little more consistant than the Hornady Poly tipped varmint load. The 35 grain Hornady was double the MOA. It did not like them at all. Does the lighter load shooting worse than the other two Brands @ 50 Gr. bullets?
The Remington "Gold Polytip" seemed to shoot about an inch higher but grouped tight as the other best .
I can move the action in the stock ( screws removed , bolt and magazine out). It moves front to back about .030. I can see it move in the recoil plate . The action does not sit perfectly flat in the wood bed. I could fit two sheets of paper under the tang. The gap goes away once the screws are in. Is that enough to affect the accuracy or does the wood give up that gap (under the tang) before the barrel moves?
Your suggestion to bump the stock on the floor with the screws just snug might just be the ticket, I'll take the play out of the recoil plate with bussiness cards. I'll see if I can find the original indentations in the stock and shim it in place.
Or should I shim on a particular side of the recoil plate?

Thanks for all the tips. It's really getting me all excited to get back to the range. Many people have told me what a great reputation the triple duece has. I want to bring this gun back to what she was made for. A damn good 200 yard gun for what ever you want to call your bull. I can carry it all day or bench rest with the best of em at that range.
 

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Hi Jim. Hope you are enjoying your .222.
I bought my used 722 at a gun show about 50 years ago and it is still my favorite varmint rifle. My initial groups were not as good as yours, but after free floating and bedding the action with a Herters glass kit I shot my first 1/2 inch 5 shot group using 19.5 grains of 4198. This rifle has well over 1000 rounds through it, and if I do my part it will still shoot 1/2 inch groups. The only difference being I now use BLC-2 because it meters better.
 

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I have an old 16" savage model 93 in 22WRM It had a cracked stock when I bought it. I dropped in to a newer polymer Heavy Barrel savage stock. I had to have it pillar bedded because the action screws didn't line up. My smith installed new fiber optic sights at the same time and the bill was 100 even. The rifle is now pillar bedded and free floated. It shoots nickel sized 5 shot groups at 145 yrds off the tool box on my pickup. Not to bad for a rifle I have all of 165 invested in. So I'd say go fer it
 

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Just a thought. To save altering the original stock you might look into a synthetic stock. That should just about cure all your ills regarding the stock itself. A friend of mine is in the same position with a 722 in 257 Roberts and he went the synthetic stock route. I don't know what he got or where but if you're interested I'd be glad to check.
 

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For my two cents worth, the first thing I'd do is to scrub the barrel clean, really clean with a good copper and carbon removing solvent. In your dad's era Hoppe's was about the only choice for a gun cleaning solvent. It did a good job but not a great job of bore cleaning. Sweets is a great copper remover, apply it with either a bore mop or a nylon brush and allow it soak for abut 10-15 minutes, then neutralize with something like KROIL soaked patches until the patches no longer come out green. Repeat as frequently as necessary, just be sure to neutralize the copper removing solvent after each cleaning. For carbon, GM makes a top end fuel system cleaner that works really well or an automotive brake cleaner, keep it off the wood and neutralize after using. Start with a clean barrel and then eliminate other potential issues one by one. As for the bedding I prefer to bed the whole action rather than place it on pillars. Although pillars when properly installed eliminate the possibility of crushing the wood when tightening the action screws.
 
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