25 October 2022
Accuracy is relevant to the firearm isn't it. My guess is that the .2's you shot with your Savage took a lot less time to work up a load for than your 1.0" - 2.0's you are shooting with your military rig. My Savage 10 has a freebore of .0085. My Mosin's had a freebore large enough that it was never measured. They chambered whatever I fed them. I would be tickled if the iron sighted Mosin shot in the high 1's at 50 yards. I would be just as excited if the Savage could agg in the low 1's.
Early last year I bought a short barreled Savage .308 F10 with the sole intent of pulling the barrel and converting the bolt face to .223 and re-barrel to .222 for jacketed group shooting. For personal fun. It was and still is a good idea (and it does have an 8" twist would take the 80 grain NOE) But while I was waiting for the .222 barrel to come in I put about a hundred rounds of cast 311299 through the .308 barrel and the groups looked promising. I was getting a few fliers but it looked like getting a load worked up would be a challenge and a hoot to boot.
About that same time I found the CBA forum and learned about the cast benchrest competition. I worked through the information that the CBA has about classes and found a class that the .308 I had just bought would fit. I was committed to the .222 but the feel of the rifle and how it rode the bags was real nice. That led to a second .308 F10 but one with a full length barrel and I got to learning about how to develop an accurate cast load.
Now to get back on track regarding handloading jacketed bullets for accuracy versus cast bullets.
Load development with a high end jacketed bench gun is done with three shot groups followed by a few 5 shot groups followed by a few more 5 shot groups shot the day competition. That upsets a lot of people's apple cart but its true. And why shouldn't they. They only have a choice three or so practical seating depths, and maybe four different powder charges. That's powder charges as in 29.8, 30.0, 30.2, 30.4 not # of different powders. After that its between you and the wind. Either the barrel will shoot or not. And by the way, that competitor shot that same lot of powder and that same bullet in probably their last dozen barrels that was screwed on that action.
Jacketed BR shooters can't afford to put 120 rounds through a barrel working up a load when a barrel live only has a competitive life of 500 to 700 rounds. In major events there are many shooters that will go to the line with less than 60 to 70 rounds through their barrel. Other than reading the wind, jacketed benchrest accuracy handloading can be taught fairly quickly.
Three shot groups and cast? Don't be silly. To see if a cast load shoots well you'll be shooting 10 shot groups or preferably 25 shot groups to cipher out if a load will hold its own.
Try to remember that until a year ago I had never focused on how well I could get a cast load to shoot. So as you read this keep in mind that I truely was starting out at ground zero on how to handload cast. Between October 21 and May 22 I've developed a handload that I think will be competitive for the Production class. My records show I tried 9 different powders, 6 different molds and put 475 rounds downrange to get there.
Could I cut that in half on maybe even better than that on my next rifle? Heck yeah. But there are levels of detail in cast load development that makes jacketed benchrest pale in comparison.
And the same is true for handloading for accuracy with rifle or handgun that you may be using to shoot cast. So yes shooting a 2" group with a factory rifle, a Nagant or a Springfield can be harder than shooting jacketed benchrest in the.2's.
And I repeat the disclaimer. Popping cans or shooting steel plates is a heck of a lot of fun and that's what so great about cast shooters. Most all don't look down their nose at what gets other people excited. And again, sorry for venting. Bill.