I think they are great stocks. I've got one on a 7mm Mag and it is nice due to the weatherproof nature of the stock material. It was a true drop in fit, but I had to modify mine for a lefthanded action.
If you are expecting signifcant accuracy gains from a synthetic stock, you may want to investigate your existing set up first for the usual suspects, poor stock to metal fit, loose screws, including the scope mounting hardware, check the muzzle crown for nicks, experiment with different ammo etc. A synthetic stock won't just magically make a rifle more accurate. They will maintain accuracy better in foul weather because they don't swell or warp like wood does. Unless your current stock has some pressure points along the length of the barrel, or some other poor fit, I doubt accuracy will improve soley as a result of changing the stock.
In general for hardworking field rifles, I prefer synthetic stocks because you don't have to worry about scratching them up. a little spray paint and they're as good as new. Some of them can be a little noisy if branches hit them, but it's not too bad a problem. Also sometimes people get synthetic stock assuming they are lighter than a wood one. That's not always the case.
Back to your original question, Bell and Carlson is a well known, well respected brand, and I haven't heard anybody I know complain about their product.
My rifle already has a synthetic stock. I'm mostly interested in it due to the aluminum bed that is already in it. I've done just about everything else I can to this rifle to make it shoot. I have also tried numerous ammos all in 180gr loads. Federal Vital Shok in Nosler partition, Barnes triple shock x-bullet, and Nosler accubond as well as Remington Express Core Lokt. The cheap stuff has given me the best groups so far, but still not great. conf:
I put $ 15 rubber harmonic dampners on both of my rifles and then moved them up and down the barrel 2" at a time till I found the sweet spot. It made my groups consistantly tighter. The rifles are synthetic stainless 7mm 700 bdl rem mag. The other is a mark V 300wby stainless synthetic. I tried it on the 7mm first to see if it worked, and after doing so I went right back to GI joes and bought another one for the other rifle. I used gun oil to slide it on the barrel because it's a tight fit.
I did see a HOWA rifle the other day with a rubberized Hogues stock that I am looking into, the barrel was floated and the rubber felt really nice.
These guys do stocks but seem to be more primarily in wood.
I also put one of those dampeners on my rifle, but I just put it where the instructions said, I didn't try moving it at all. Where abouts on the barrel did yours end up? I'm going to go out shooting one more time this weekend before I drop the money on the stock.
I can get the Accurate Innovations stock through work too (Joes), but they are a bit more spendy.
Your gun might like 200's. I have a 300wm that was fussy. The 200gr's made the dif. I'm not sure about factory availability though. You may have already checked some of the simple stuff? Use a Q tip to check for a rough crown like Traut mentioned. Are you sure about your scope?
Do you drink coffee? LOL! Never mind...Thats my problem.....
Those Federal classic which are now the power shocks I was told were some of the best shooting loads in more than one of my guns.
Well, after talking GA's ear off on the phone today and asking him a number of dumb questions, I'm going to go back over a number of things on the rifle before I opt for a new stock. Today I took the gun apart and made sure that there was proper clearance between the stock and the barrel. Then when putting it back together I made sure to tighten the front action screw first and then snugging up the rear one. I'm going to go out and shoot it saturday morning and I may have it bore-sighted real quick so I can start over from scratch. Going to focus on scope issues this time around.
I'm not a gunsmith or a competitive bench shooter. However I don't believe that any stock alone will improve accuracy. The bedding of the rifle in the stock is the key to consistancy which keeps the accuracy after the rest of the package is complete.
Remember that you do get what you pay for in most things. A top of the line synthetic will run over 500 bucks, plus bedding. The less they cost the more noise they make in the bush. A wood stock swiped by brush is quiet, a cheap synthetic is noisy and a great syenthetic is nealry as quiet as wood, and has a deep checkering for a decent grip when wet.
Ramline is the bottom of the barrel in quality(150 bucks), and RimRock by James Borden is the top of the heap (700 bucks). Mcmillan is probably the baseline of good quality(500 bucks). I suspect you can go from there to see where you think the B&C fits into the picture. There are others which offer special features that fit into the mix differently. Some are extreme light weight, or have blended in camo colors etc.
Just remember proper bedding and properly torqued action screws are the factors involved with consistant accuracy where the stock is concerned. The Stock alone is not going to change your accuracy.
Thanks for the tips JJ. I will admit, the last time I took the rifle apart I didn't know you should tighten the action screws in a certain order, so I'm hoping that may have played a big part in it. The factory BDL stock can't be glass bedded since it is hollow inside, so I'm hoping I can get it to shoot without having to bed it, since that would mean new stock.
At 50 yards I had a couple of two shot groups where the holes were touching, but off to either side of the bullseye. Out of ten rounds at 50 yards, they were a group of about 6 inches. When I went out to 100 yards, it was all over the place. I did the check like you mentioned for parallax, and the scope has a TON, and this older model doesn't have an adjustment. I will post pictures of my targets later tonight when I get home.
I've been through accuracy issues so many times now in my life. Lets sort out a few things to get a divide between what works and what does not.
First is all the ammo factory ammo of the same batch and manufacturer? Or is it from all good handloads with brand new brass?
Are you shooting from a solid rest, with sandbags, and no movement from your heartbeat?
Make 100%$ certain that the barrel is scrubbed spotlessly clean, then do it again! If the barrel is at all copper fouled this is a typical result. Please make this barrel mirror smooth and spotless. No matter what else you fix if the barrel is copper fouled it will never be consistant.
Is the gun new? how was the barrel broken in? Does it have a history of fouling? When you use a copper solvent does the patch turn even slightly blue?
How many shots did you make with holes touching, before they spread out? If after you shoot 3-4 shots they start moving, it's almost a guarantee of barrel heating.
Bring two guns or more, don't shoot but a couple shots and see what happens. Then shoot the other guns while the troublesome unit cools down. After it cools try another couple.
I gotta lot more thoughts but we need to set this foundation first.
I agree with JJ, you need to bring a bunch of rifles, heck bring some handguns too. When I am shooting the 7mm, or the 300wby, I shoot 3 shots, clean the barrel then let it sit for 10 minutes or more. I then plink with a garand, an m1 carbine, or my other 7mm mag. Since I have a 7mm bar it kicks very little and is fun to plink with. If i shoot more than 3 shots through either of my sporter rifles, by the 3rd set of shots, my rifles start to spread out, but not that bad. I also use one of those shooting benchrest gizbaums that you put your rifle in, and 3 sand bags. This also helps not to give me a flinch from shooting the cannons. These sporter type rifles can't handle the heat like the bull barrel cannons that target shooters use.
"Wood stock swiped by brush is quiet, a cheap synthetic is noisy and a great syenthetic is nealry as quiet as wood, and has a deep checkering for a decent grip when wet."
I have both wood and plastic stocks on my rifles. Both of them have stainless barrels, during hunting season which ever rifle I use that day for hiking, gets wrapped in green olive drab t-shirt material and gets tied up with string. The rifle barrel, stock, and scope get wrapped up a little. I have tried firing 3 shot groups with the rifle wrapped up, and it seems to have little affect on group. This material keeps the noise down when rubbing up against branches twigs, and what not, and also keeps the stainless barrel from looking like a flag. I noticed those barrels are very visible from a long ways away, almost like a flag. If i can seem them, I am sure an animal can. I really am interested in those Hogue rubberized stocks, they are cheap and floated.
Both my dampners are at different distances. The 7mm is about 4 inches from end of the stock. The 300 wby ended up being about 6 inches. The 300 has a 26 inch barrel while the 7mm has a 24 inch. That could be the reason for the different distances.
Wow....I was hoping you would have some good news. Some good info here.
As for cleaning. I usually shoot 3 or 4 3 shot groups with big guns. Then clean with sweets, or barns cr10, Rem clean, shooters choise, butches, or whatever ya like. I like a amonia based solvent. Some don't. JB's if you have a really dirty barrel. A really clean barrel might take a shot or 2 to foul before it starts to shoot. Back to cleaning. I will let someone else go into detail, but I will say this. Good cleaning habits are a must when it comes to shooting. I've tried about everything to try and take some of the work out of it. Its not possible.
JJ brings up a few good points. Starting with a clean barrel is one of them.
The size of your groups at 50 yds. Makes me think you have something loose, or your scope is bad, but I am guessing. You could also have a sheit barrel, but like with the stock. I would'nt get too excited yet.
Alright, here is a picture of my 50 yard target with the shots labeled in the order I shot them. I took my time and made sure the barrel was not getting hot. After the first two shots, I moved my scope to the left and then it shot far left, so I brought it half way back and it still shot way left.
Now, onto JJ's questions.
"First is all the ammo factory ammo of the same batch and manufacturer? Or is it from all good handloads with brand new brass?"
It is all factory ammo, and I have tried many different kinds. This particular day was all the same box of factory Federal ammo.
"Are you shooting from a solid rest, with sandbags, and no movement from your heartbeat?"
Sitting at a bench with sandbags. The bench I was sitting at for 100 yards didn't seem as solid as the 50 yard bench though.
"Make 100%$ certain that the barrel is scrubbed spotlessly clean, then do it again! If the barrel is at all copper fouled this is a typical result. Please make this barrel mirror smooth and spotless. No matter what else you fix if the barrel is copper fouled it will never be consistant."
I will do this. What solvent do you recommend?
"Is the gun new? how was the barrel broken in? Does it have a history of fouling? When you use a copper solvent does the patch turn even slightly blue?"
The gun is not new, and when I bought it I was uneducated as far as break-in goes, so no real process. The last year I hunted with this rifle was 2006 and I was able to get respectable groups out of it (3"). I didn't use it last year because I was dealing with this issue and ran out of time so I used my old faithful .270. I'm assuming slightly blue is too blue?
"How many shots did you make with holes touching, before they spread out? If after you shoot 3-4 shots they start moving, it's almost a guarantee of barrel heating."
I shot the first two, and was happy they were touching, even though they were off to the right. I then tried moving the scope over, and that is when all hell broke loose. The barrel never got more than "warm".
Forgot to mention while at the range, I was cleaning it after every 3-4 shots with a bore snake and Lube Job gun cleaner.
It takes a couple fouling shots to settle the barrel after it's clean, if you are cleaning after every fourth shot your not doing yourself any favors with trying to shoot a good group.
As an Example, My 30/06 will be fired 75-100 times in the 6-8 weeks I'm in Africa each year. It will not be cleaned during that whole trip unless something unusual happens. I do check it during the trip and it's always sub MOA even after 75 shots or more. Once cleaned it's not perfectly consistant for the first 2-3 shots but after that it settles in again.
CR10 is very good but also quite strong, be certain to get it all out when your done! It's so strong it has a reputation of doing surface damage to the metal of Blued rifles if left sitting in the barrel too long. My hands down favorite is an aerosol foaming spray called Wipe-out. Leave it over night and it should wipe clean the next day, no fuss, no effort!
Next thing to solve one obvious issue is to swap the scope with another one for a quick check. Any scope will do we just want to see what the difference might be. What kind of scope is on the gun? If it's a Leupold send it in for a check, it's free and they will test it 100% and then reseal it and send it back Fed X for free. Even if you're not the original owner, they will check and refurbish any Leupold scope any vintage and it takes about 4-5 days to get it back. I've sent them a used scope bought at a Pawnshop on a Thursday and had it back on the following Wednesday.
If it's not a leupold, then just find any other scope and see if it's consistant.
I bought a bottle of solvent and went to work on the gun. Do you guys use a brush at all or just cloth patches? If a brush, do you use the wire brush, or I have one that almost feels plastic? I will have to look for that Wipe Out stuff.
Depends on how dirty it is. I just use patches with sweets, or cr 10. I hear those 2 are hard on copper brushes. Use nylon if you think you want to brush or you may add copper instead of removing it. Remember to use some butches bore shine, or hoppe's to remove powder residue. Read the lables on your cleaner. It will tell you what it works on. Sweets, and barnes cr10 do not remove lead.