I purchased the subject rifle, used, a few years back and only have recently decided to work on improving its accuracy. It is a neat, very nice handling weapon. My goal is to produce 2” or better groups at 100 yard. First, some description:
Ranch Dog 265 Gr. cast air cooled WW, sized 0.432", LBT Blue, 23 Gr. H110. 5-7” groups @ 100 yard, bullet entry stable, estimated speed 1,700 FPS. No leading.
Lee C430-310-RF 310 Gr.,cast air cooled WW, sized 0.432", LBT Blue, 21 Gr. H110. 5-7” groups @ 100 yard, bullet entry very slightly unstable, just a smidgen, estimated speed 1,600 FPS. No leading. I started out by slugging the barrel. It measured 0.4316” and very tight at the muzzle. The muzzle end has a dovetail on the bottom to hang the end of the magazine tube, the iron sight with two screw hole drilled in the top of the barrel and 14 factory drilled muzzle brake holes. Needless to say this is a stressed area and the slugging tightness is not surprising.
The first thing I have done is to fire lap the barrel. 10 rounds of NECO 220 grit on the 310 Gr. Lee bullet, vinyl wad, 3 Gr. Bullseye. Then, 10 rounds of 400 grit. Results: slug measurement 0.4317” with much less resistance at the muzzle end. It is stll ever so slightly tight at the muzzle but I'm going to let that go for the moment. Can do more later if need be. Hard to reverse by adding metal. :) I am going to test fire this Saturday for hopefully better groups.
In reading a bit on tuning lever guns I know the there are stresses built into the rifle at the barrel/magazine/forend interface and of course opportunities for improvement. A number of articles that I have read refer to Accurizing the Factory Rifle by M. L. McPherson for guidance on levergun tuning. I've enjoyed reading a number of his articles in the past, particular in “Varmint Hunting” magazine. He is ahead of the curve ball but AFR is almost impossible to follow on the subject of lever guns, at least for me, and I'm not interested in doing some of the things he suggests at this point. Before I start doing anything with the forend suspension of this rifle, I thought it a good idea to see if anybody has successfully made modification to the forend of their lever gun that they would share and that I might apply in this project. I will relate data as I make the improvements step by step.