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QUESTION: What has caused the improvement???

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 05:09
The Apostle View Drop Down
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My boss at work used to be a shooter back in his younger days and just recently he gave me some old gun books from back then. Flicking through them and reading the reviews on the various sporting rifles inside, some of which are still in production in some form or another, what people were shooting back then would have people these days either:
 
a) Heading straight back to the shop and asking for their money back.
b) Sending it to a gunsmith.
c) Sending a strongly worded letter to the manufacturer.
or d) Seeking to trade it at first opportunity.
 
I'm talking about groups in the region of 2 to 4 inches at 100 metres (presuming these were shot from a sandbag or benchrest). One, the S&W 1500 (AKA Howa 1500 and Weatherby Vanguard) is listed as shooting a 3 inch group at 50 yards. Shocked
 
Question i've got is: What has caused the improvement over the last 30 odd years???
 
Is it ammo quality? Or ammo calibre choice?
The machinery they make actions/barrels on these days?
Metallurgy?
Free-floating of barrels? (which is another topic altogether)
The way they're making guns these days?
Using synthetic stocks instead of wooden stocks?
 
What?
 
Or maybe the answer is, that guns that are 30 plus years or older are just as accurate as todays ones. (i'm sure some people on this forum have used or own(ed) guns that are 30-90 years old or more).
 


Edited by The Apostle - March/18/2010 at 06:42
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 06:18
8shots View Drop Down
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Good question.
 
I would say it is the improvement in ammo.
 
I attended a commercial ammo manufacturer shoot this past week end (South African). I am horrified at the poor results, even out of todays guns!!!
 
Out of 326 targets shot, only 20 grouped better then 3/4 inch.
 
Probably 80% grouped above 3 inches.
 
My own rifle, which with own loaded ammo groups 1/2 inch, could only achieve two out of five attemps under 3/4inch.
 
It would be interesting to see this company go head to head with some other ammo manufacturers.
 
By the way, this is a large respected company in South Africa.
 


Edited by 8shots - March/18/2010 at 06:19
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 06:21
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I think a little bit of everything you mentioned.  Look at how technology has improved over the years for everything. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 06:26
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SVT, I agree to a point. However, I have a rifle that is 35 years old and shoots very accurately with the right ammo.
I am sure others on this forum have old rifles. It would be interesting to hear from them.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 06:29
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I to have a few olde guns that hold MOA but then I have a lot of older guns that dont, My point being that not ever gun came from the factory like that it was more hit or miss being the manufacturing process....Now with the update technology you see most of guns from the factory that hold MOA.  Look at the savages now, most all you hear about out the box hold MOA or bettter.........
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 06:48
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I used to have a Swiss K-31 made in 1941 that shot MOA or just under with surplus ammo from 1978. My M1 Garand - a mass-produced semi-auto - has always shot under 2 MOA with surplus HXP and shoots close to 1 MOA with hand-loaded 168 gr. Sierras over IMR 4064.

But that said, I think a good amount of the "arms race" towards more accurate factory rifles can be attributed to things like Weatherby's well-publicized guarantees of sub-MOA accuracy and to the demands and popularity of varmint shooting. It hasn't hurt to have the addition of good synthetic and composite stocks and heavier, free-floating barrels either.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 08:16
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Gotta 1895 Chilean Mauser that was sporterized (not by me) using the original military barrel.  Barrel was removed cut to 21.5" and recontoured.  Shoots WW 145g SP's and my handloads sub MOA.  Also own a 1953 Rem. 722 in .257 Bob it shoots Fed. Prem. ?120g? Partitions and my handloads sub MOA.  I think ammo and optical sight improvements are the big factors.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 09:20
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Thirty plus years ago my two older brothers were argueing about thier Brownings. Both in .270, forgive them Pyro. One was scoped the other had steel sights. They had set an orange atop a milk jug at 200 yards, roughly a 2 MOA target. Niether could hit it. My 60 year old Father removed his glasses asked my brother who's rifle was unscoped for his rifle. Dad snapped it to his shoulder and fired. The orange exploded a half a heartbeat later. The Ol' man as we called him smiled, looked at my two oldest brothers and said that their was nothing wrong with either Browning just the shooters weren't listening when he tried to teach them to shoot. To this day I don't let them forget that one. LOL!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 10:25
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It's due to several factors.  Vast improvements in bullet design is indeed a big factor, but it's also due to the advent of more advanced technology manufacturing equipment (i.e. CNC machining centers, hammer forging machines), better inspection equipment/gauges, better steels (and materials overall), better production methods, better cutting tools, etc.  Today's manufacturers have the ability to hold much tighter production tolerances than was possible in the beginning of the 20th century.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 17:28
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What caused the Improvement??  Probably someone told them to keep their eyes open, instead of closing them, while shooting a firearm.   
 
I have never seen any articles where people were saying they were shooting 4 inch groups at a hundred yards--- unless they were testing a 75 year old Mauser army rifle with original iron sights. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 18:24
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Advancements in both machining and ammunition manufacture. Getting a better result and being able to reproduce it consistently. In short, quality control.




Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/18/2010 at 22:03
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Originally posted by Steelbenz Steelbenz wrote:

Thirty plus years ago my two older brothers were argueing about thier Brownings. Both in .270, forgive them Pyro. One was scoped the other had steel sights. They had set an orange atop a milk jug at 200 yards, roughly a 2 MOA target. Niether could hit it. My 60 year old Father removed his glasses asked my brother who's rifle was unscoped for his rifle. Dad snapped it to his shoulder and fired. The orange exploded a half a heartbeat later. The Ol' man as we called him smiled, looked at my two oldest brothers and said that their was nothing wrong with either Browning just the shooters weren't listening when he tried to teach them to shoot. To this day I don't let them forget that one. LOL!


Great story SB.... I wouldn't let em forget it either!!
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 00:15
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The shooters then were at best shooting off bags. Now many of the groups are shot from machine rest like Lead sleds or much better. This will really tighten groups over off hand shooting like most shooters relied on 50 years ago. Bullets then were mostly flat or round nosed bullets, Todays computer designed, multi structured bullets, have huge ballistic improvements. Powders have also improved 10 fold in consistency and formulas.
   The rifles today are machined on CNC machines with much greater tolerances. The total of all the improvements shrink the groups of today.  Many times these are the groups of the rifle and equipment more than the shooters ability.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 01:29
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My 1949 Winchester Model 70 with a 60 year old lyman alaskan scope and G&H mount from 1932 will outshoot any other centerfire I currently own when using factory ammo...and I own a couple in the 800-1200 dollar range. I think accuracy improvement and general improvement in quality is rather specific to the manufacturer and the model. The older remington firearms are very reputable, and I know several people with very accurate M700's. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 05:01
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I still get back to the ammo. Take most of todays accurate rifles and see how the groups shrink with handloads. However, not just any handload. It takes time and effort to produce that one accurate load.
The amount of powder has to be just right to within 1/10th of a gr, the seating depth to within 1thou, no runout, the right gr bullet , benchrest primer, the cases uniformed and so on.
But I also agree that each improvement such as better triggers, barrels, bedding, less tolerances etc contributes to the overall accuracy of mass produced rifles.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 16:58
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Sounds like a really nice gun, and am glad it shoots so well for you. It's a lot like cars made in the 70's. You could get a really good one, or one slapped together on a Friday that was possessed by little monkey demons. For every one like yours there are about 50 average ones, and a few that would serve better as canoe paddles. If you got a good one, and from the sounds of it, you do indeed have a good one, you're a lucky man.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 17:16
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Agree with 8's.  Old guns shoot just fine.  Quality of ammunition has improved with more accurate procedures for loading factory ammo, yet most is behind custom reloads.  Steels is correct too, quality marksmanship is lacking with most.  Heaven knows I need improvement.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 18:47
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Actually I think some of it is hit and miss.  I bought a Ruger 10-22 in 1969 and it would shoot the stim of a flower or a fishing line at 25 yds it was very accurate. I bought one last year and was horrified how inaccurate it was.  I had a Ruger mini - 14 in the early 70s and its group was horrible about 4 inches at 100 yds compared to the AR-15 that I bought about the same time which was sub moa.  I bought a stainless Ruger mini - 14 last year for my son to shoot coyotes and it is quite accurate at least sub moa.   It is like you could buy 10 of the same thing and every darn one would shoot different.  I ve been amazed at the consistency of Glock pistols they seem to all come from the factory sighted in, you didnt see anything near that years ago you were lucky if a pistol worked without being gone over by a really good gunsmith, especially the Smith and Wessons which now are pretty well made and reliable  where they were not in the late 70s you always had to re cut the crown on the barrel to make them shoot and taking a coil or two off the trigger return spring was almost a must.  The rifles I owned years ago were a mix also some would shoot some wouldnt.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/19/2010 at 19:26
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Reminds me of the story Shifty Powers told in Band of Brothers about being repeatedly dinged for having a dent in his old M1 Garand. They issued him a new one and it couldn't hit the side of a barn. Sometimes it is just luck of the draw. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: March/20/2010 at 23:06
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Ammunition quality has improved substantially!  When I started reloading in the 1960s, a leading rifle factory's .30-06 brass could vary from box to box by as much as 12 grains.
 
150 grain cartridges shot into a 4 1/2" group at 100 yards.  However, with the little Lee "pound-a-peg" reloader kit, I was able to shrink those groups to 1 1/2" in my Remington 742.
 
Scope sights have helped, but I think ammo is the component that has seen the most improvement.   


Edited by Longhunter - March/20/2010 at 23:07
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: April/04/2010 at 02:08
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No doubt, there have been improvements across the board in rifle build quality, ammo quality, and scope design. Once in while a lemon slips through, but nowadays this is the exception rather than the rule.  In my opinion, the main reason for the improvement is all of us -  the customers, demanding better quality products from the manufacturers, and making sure they hear about it if we don't get what we expect.

 
Mike
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