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What to do, what to do?

jbohiojbohio Senior MemberPosts: 5,615 Senior Member
I need some advice, guys.
It's a 3 weeks to the elk hunt, and my new to me Howa 1500, 338WM isn't happy.
This is to be my back up rifle, as such, I don't need anything fancy, or expensive, just dependable. A MOA shooter is fine.

Load work with 3 different bullets, and it's consistently inconsistent. It's shot a few really nice groups, but several dozen really bad ones. A few groups had 2 holes touching, with the third a couple inches right. Mostly, it shoots patterns. 5-6" patterns. I'm working with 225 gr bullets.
I never shot it hot, 5-6 shots max before a complete cool down.

It has a Hogue stock. That may be the culprit. The fore arm is super soft, it takes very little pressure to make the stock hit the barrel. I can pinch it between my thumb and first finger, and make it flex enough to contact the barrel.

It has also been ported, and not ported well. That may be the culprit.
Here's the porting.
IMG_0183.jpg
I mounted the scope and rings, I'm confident that's not the issue.

With the limited amount of time, I've pretty much got one shot at a fix. Otherwise, I'll have to take my bone stock 450 Marlin, or borrow a rifle from my FIL.
Bell and Carlson stocks seem to be scarce for the Howa/Weatherby. I've found 1 carbelite, and one medalist, both of them on the high side of the price range. Although, if it's the porting, all the money in the world spent on stocks won't help it.

I just don't know.

The other option is, there is a really nice Ruger (not sure what model) .338WM at the LGS. Again, it's used, but wearing Leupold glass.
For the price of a new stock, I could trade the Howa in and grab the Ruger. Start over with load work, but I pretty much have to do that either way.

Whatever I decide, I gotta do it quick. I've only got three weekends of range time left.

What would you do?
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Replies

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,464 Senior Member
    Trade that Howa hack job!!!!!!!

    You'd have to chop off a couple inches of barrel to fix that abomination of a porting job. Thus hamstringing the cartridge. Get while the getting is good and start fresh with the Ruger.

    Rugers can be hit and miss at times, but I think it's a better option than the MISS on that Howa.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    I can't tell for sure from that picture, but it appears that the ports are shaving the bullet jacket. That is a BIG problem if it is doing that. If that porting isn't factory, there's a good chance that you have some nasty burrs in the bottom of those ports. Take it outside in good light with a good magnifying glass and take a good look at the ports on the inside side of the barrel.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 8,496 Senior Member
    Ditto!
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 14,201 Senior Member
    Dang, 2 of us with .338's grouping weird going on the same elk hunt, not sure what that is about. Package was mailed to you today BTW.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • JayJay Senior Member Posts: 4,349 Senior Member
    I'd say with some confidence that the porting on that thing is bad. I'd agree Zee. Find out what the Ruger is and spend some time with it.
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    tennmike wrote: »
    I can't tell for sure from that picture, but it appears that the ports are shaving the bullet jacket. That is a BIG problem if it is doing that. If that porting isn't factory, there's a good chance that you have some nasty burrs in the bottom of those ports. Take it outside in good light with a good magnifying glass and take a good look at the ports on the inside side of the barrel.

    I did that. There was one port that had a tiny burr, that would just snag the fiber on a q-tip. I carefully filed it off. Not that it makes it any better.

    All you guys just reaffirmed my suspicions.
  • snake284-1snake284-1 Senior Member Posts: 2,500 Senior Member
    Do you know of a good machinist around there that can ream out your barrel just in the ported area? IF that doesn't work, cut the barrel off just before the ports and have it theaded for a brake. Also, before you do all that you might try bedding it if it isn't bedded already.
    I'm Just a Radical Right Wing Nutt Job, Trying to Help Save My Country!
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,992 Senior Member
    Your options... do nothing, cut off that attempt at porting and recrown, replace the barrel, trade / sell that firearm for another, keep it and get a completely different gun.

    You are an experienced enough gun owner and shooter to know a lemon after you have squeezed it. If good reloads and factory ammo cannot product a sub 3 MOA group in a bolt gun it's not you it is the gun. Even my Remington 742, known for not so great accuracy produced a 3 MOA group at 100 yards in 30-06.

    It sucks, but it is the truth.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 12,043 Senior Member
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    This would be my gameplan but of course it depends on your local availability to a gunsmith. I would cut and crown the barrel (cheap fix) right behind the "porting" and take it to the range. If the groups normalize then I'd know the porting was the culprit so I would then spend the money on a good stock and a brake AFTER the hunt. The Ruger option is a decent one if it's a later manufacture Ruger. The old ones where acrap shoot on accuracy.

    Agreed, but I'd look at rebarreling after the hunt, instead of a brake. Recover the last few inches.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 27,457 Senior Member
    jbohio wrote: »
    I did that. There was one port that had a tiny burr, that would just snag the fiber on a q-tip. I carefully filed it off. Not that it makes it any better.

    All you guys just reaffirmed my suspicions.

    Okay. Here's the deal with that burr you found. If the ports weren't properly milled, there will be displaced metal along the inner edges of the ports. Whether that is true or not is kind of out of the means you probably have at your disposal to check. A borescope would be ideal to check the condition of the ports.

    If there is a gunsmith locally that can cut and recrown the barrel behind the last ports, then do so. You will lose little velocity as those ports bleed significant pressure once the bullet passes them. If it then shoots with acceptable accuracy, have a brake installed after the hunt. If cutting and recrowning don't work, options are to rebarrel, or trade for another rifle in same chambering.
      I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that I don't know the answer”
    ― Douglas Adams
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,244 Senior Member
    For now, just cut and recrown. Switch toward the faster burning powders for your loads. Cheap and easy. Give me a shout if you need the .338 Federal. It is ready and itching to hunt.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Amazingly, there is only 1 reputable gun smith here in town. He's old, cranky, and busy. No promise on turn around time, so that's out.

    There's a Ruger m77 tang safety, factory adj. trigger, 338WM sitting where the Howa used to be. Gotta find a new trigger spring somewhere, 5lb is as low as it goes.
    I let them keep the Luepold VariX Compact 3-9 that was on it, I kept my Burris.

    I decided that if I was gonna have a rifle that didn't shoot, and I was gonna dump money in it, I'd rather have an American rifle.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    I believe Timney still has a drop-in trigger available for the tang safety Ruger M77's. Mine began life as a .308, but I swapped barrels as soon as I bought it and made it a 6.5-06. It's been very accurate and predictable at around a 2-lb. trigger pull.
    Jerry
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,464 Senior Member
    http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=25032/Product/RU-T-SEAR

    That will solve your problems. I put one in my M77 and it took the trigger down to just over a pound.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    I've shot that rifle, I sure like it! CPJ can't hit squat with it, though. :tooth:

    I've got all the creep and overtravel out of the adj. trigger, but the pull weight spring is just too heavy. Even with the screw removed, it's 5lb.
    I was thinking about digging around in all the left overs from my Wolff and Wilson spring kits for revolvers, see if maybe I can find a suitable replacement spring. There don't seem to be any out there.
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=25032/Product/RU-T-SEAR

    That will solve your problems. I put one in my M77 and it took the trigger down to just over a pound.

    Cool. I looked at that, wasn't sure how it would work. Thanks! Does yours have the adj. trigger?
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,749 Senior Member
    I'm a big, big believer in brakes.

    I think porting, OTOH, is about the dumbest idea to ever hit the market. Any market.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,464 Senior Member
    Yes.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Linefinder wrote: »
    I'm a big, big believer in brakes.

    I think porting, OTOH, is about the dumbest idea to ever hit the market. Any market.

    Mike

    I'm with 'ya. One of these days, all of my rifles will have brakes.
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    Yes.

    Was it stuck at 5 lb?
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,464 Senior Member
    Linefinder wrote: »
    I'm a big, big believer in brakes.

    I think porting, OTOH, is about the dumbest idea to ever hit the market. Any market.

    Mike

    :that:
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,464 Senior Member
    jbohio wrote: »
    Was it stuck at 5 lb?

    I think it was at 3-4 pounds prior to the new sear.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,575 Senior Member
    Why not a 30-06? My buddy killed a cow elk with a 50 pound hickory bow. It went maybe 25 yards. Lots of elk killed with a 30-30. You don't need an elephant gun for elk. Not that I speak from experience, just from second-hand experience. Shot placement!
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 27,464 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    Why not a 30-06? My buddy killed a cow elk with a 50 pound hickory bow. It went maybe 25 yards. Lots of elk killed with a 30-30. You don't need an elephant gun for elk. Not that I speak from experience, just from second-hand experience. Shot placement!

    Well, one could be just because. Another could be because it works better.

    I've killed elk with a .270 and a .30-06. The .30-06 was more effective. So, I'm pretty sure the .338 WM would be the same.

    Yes, there is shot placement. But, there is also increased penetration and angle options with the bigger/more powerful cartridge.

    A bow can kill an elk. But a centerfire cartridge can do it further and from increased angle. Same thing goes for cartridge ability.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • snake284-1snake284-1 Senior Member Posts: 2,500 Senior Member
    Don't get me started Zee, all jokes about the .270 aside. I get tired of watching these hunting shows where some guy or maybe gal, shoots a deer or elk or whatever with a bow and the damn thing runs to creation. Then they say, "OH WOW! Did you see that??? Got 'em!!!" Then the next thing you see is everybody tracking it with flash lights. Then they come upon a dead animal. Hell for all we know, somebody finished it off with a rifle or it wasn't the one we saw the person shoot at.

    I don't mind bow hunting, if the hunter is a good shot and knows his limitations. But now if you notice they're shooting at them at longer and longer ranges. I saw a guy shoot at one at 60 yards the other day on a show and it ran off, not telling how far before it died, if it indeed really died. This is getting irresponsible.
    I'm Just a Radical Right Wing Nutt Job, Trying to Help Save My Country!
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    Gene L wrote: »
    Why not a 30-06? My buddy killed a cow elk with a 50 pound hickory bow. It went maybe 25 yards. Lots of elk killed with a 30-30. You don't need an elephant gun for elk. Not that I speak from experience, just from second-hand experience. Shot placement!

    Because I wanted a 338! Beside that, my main elk rifle is a 300 RUM. Doesn't make much sense to take a back up rifle with less capability.
    Shot placement is all well and good, elk hunts are expensive. If a huge bull is 300+ yards out and quartering towards or away from you, with a 30-06 you have to wait, and HOPE he turns broadside. With a RUM or WM, I'm pulling the trigger.
  • snake284-1snake284-1 Senior Member Posts: 2,500 Senior Member
    jbohio wrote: »
    Because I wanted a 338! Beside that, my main elk rifle is a 300 RUM. Doesn't make much sense to take a back up rifle with less capability.
    Shot placement is all well and good, elk hunts are expensive. If a huge bull is 300+ yards out and quartering towards or away from you, with a 30-06 you have to wait, and HOPE he turns broadside. With a RUM or WM, I'm pulling the trigger.

    At 300 yards with a 30-06 and a good bullet "I'M pulling the trigger, quartering or straight away. However, I'm no longer at a disadvantage gun wise. I went from recoil shy to BRING IT ON and from No Mag to PLENTY of Mags. So the 30-06 probably isn't going to make the trip in the first place.
    I'm Just a Radical Right Wing Nutt Job, Trying to Help Save My Country!
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    snake284-1 wrote: »
    Don't get me started Zee, all jokes about the .270 aside. I get tired of watching these hunting shows where some guy or maybe gal, shoots a deer or elk or whatever with a bow and the damn thing runs to creation. Then they say, "OH WOW! Did you see that??? Got 'em!!!" Then the next thing you see is everybody tracking the elk with a flash light. Then they come upon a dead animal. Hell for all we know, somebody finished it off with a rifle. I don't mind bow hunting, if the hunter is a good shot and knows his limitations. But now if you notice they're shooting at them at longer and longer ranges. I saw a guy shoot one at 60 yards the other day on a show. This is getting irresponsible.

    Sounds like you're pretty out of touch with bow hunting. All my bows have been sighted in to 60 yards, and I wouldn't hesitate to take a laser ranged shot at an elk or deer at 60-65 yards. Not for one second. I can pound arrows into a 6" circle all day long at 60 yards. With practice, and the proper equipment, there's no reason not to.
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,615 Senior Member
    snake284-1 wrote: »
    At 300 yards with a 30-06 and a good bullet "I'M pulling the trigger, quartering or straight away. However, I'm no longer at a disadvantage gun wise. I went from recoil shy to BRING IT ON and from No Mag to PLENTY of Mags. So the 30-06 probably isn't going to make the trip in the first place.
    http://www.americanhunter.org/articles/gun-elk-cartridges/
    I don't know a whole lot about killing elk, but there are a lot of writers that do. This article is pretty much sums up the conventional wisdom. Going by his theories, a 30-06 is out of gas at 275 yards.
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,975 Senior Member
    Snip the barrel behind the ports. Ive run across many reports from many forums, most more actual hunting focused than just shooting. Seems to be about 1 o ut of 4-5 that regret going short with a 338. The rest all prefer em a bit shorter running the 250gr bullet. Bam, you got a long range and thick cover duo in the RUM and the 338. Worse that happens is you dont like it. an are worse problems to have. You can always put another barrel on next year if you dont like the snubby. No need to spend way too much either for a hunting rifle.
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