Skip to main content

5 Steps to a Rifle Revamp

5 Steps to a Rifle Revamp

Want to turn your old deer gun into a tackdriver? Consider these five steps that are guaranteed to increase the accuracy of your rifle.

BEDDING THE ACTION

When the action is mated to the stock of a rifle small gaps occur which allow the action to move slightly under recoil. This may not seem like a big deal, but that shifting of the action ruins accuracy. The best fix is to bed the action, which usually involves using a form of hard-drying epoxy to seal the gaps between the action and stock, preventing any shifting of the action under recoil. This also protects wooden stocks, particularly in hard-hitting, heavy-recoiling magnums. Rifle bedding is usually relatively inexpensive, and if you have the knowledge to bed your own action it is a fairly simple fix. Otherwise find a competent gunsmith.

NEW TRIGGER

Over the last decade the quality of triggers in production rifles has improved tremendously. However, older guns sometimes have creepy, heavy triggers that kill any hopes of turning them into tackdrivers. Triggers initiate the firing process, which means a good trigger is the first step to better accuracy, and to be an accurate shooter you must be able to focus on hitting your target and not struggling to pull the trigger. Signs of a trigger that needs adjusted or replaced are a hard pull, trigger creep and overtravel. A good gunsmith can oftentimes fix these problems on an existing trigger or can replace the factory trigger with an aftermarket model by companies such as Jewell or Timney. One thing is for certain: once you shoot a rifle with a good trigger you'll hate shooting a rifle with a bad one.

CLEANING THE ACTION AND THE BARREL

Neglecting your rifle is certain to result in poor accuracy. Each time you fire your rifle a cloud of lead, carbon, nitrogen and copper foul four barrel and action. Over time this can compromise the accuracy of your rifle, particularly when the barrel is fouled with excessive copper buildup or rust. A proper cleanup can be done at home, but be sure that you know how to clean your rifle first. Protect the crown (more on that later) by cleaning from the action to the muzzle and use quality solvents specifically formulated to remove copper and carbon fouling, which are the most common causes of dirty barrels. Afterwards, check the barrel with a bore light to insure the rifling is clean and bright. Don't neglect the action, either. If you don't feel comfortable disassembling the rifle then find a qualified gunsmith. The charges for a thorough cleaning are usually pretty minimal.

CROWNING THE MUZZLE

The terminal portion of the rifling at the muzzle of your rifle is vulnerable to damage that can ruin accuracy. Damage to the end of the muzzle, or crown, can alter the rifling and will result in a shift in point of impact. Crown damage can be the result of poor cleaning practices (ie jamming a cleaning rod into the crown) or contact between the muzzle of the rifle and rocks, dirt, tree branches, and the like. The easiest way to prevent this is to have the muzzle crowned, wherein the rifling is recessed by grinding so that the end of the rifling is protected by an elevated layer of metal. If your crown is currently damaged (use a magnifying glass to examine the crown for rough spots and irregularities) then you need a crowning job ASAP. Image courtesy Tikka.

HANDLOADING

There are a variety of reasons to handload including saving money, insuring consistent velocities and developing loads that shoot well in your rifle. If you are serious about accuracy, though, handloading is essential. It is important to experiment with different bullets, powders and velocities to develop your 'pet ' loads. Because different rifles shoot better with different bullet/powder combos it takes some time to find the right combination for your gun, but when you do find a great load it can greatly improve accuracy. When you purchase your reloading equipment buy a chronograph as well and maintain detailed records regarding the velocity and accuracy of the loads you test. This will allow you to compare dozens of different loads to determine which one works best in your rifle.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Tactical Solutions Introduces New X-Ring Takedown SBR Rifle

Keith Feeley of Tactical Solutions sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to talk about the new X-Ring Takedown SBR .22LR rifle.

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Revew

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Revew

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Revew

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense's New Precision Bolt Action Rifle

Those looking to explore precision rifle shooting without going broke will be well served by Daniel Defense's new Delta 5.

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Scott O'Brien from Steyr Arms sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to take a look at Steyr's new tactical heavy barrel sniper rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Thompson/Center and S&W's Performance Center team up to build an entry-level long-range chassis rifle.Performance Center-Thompson/Center LRR Review Reviews

Performance Center-Thompson/Center LRR Review

Alfredo Rico - April 09, 2019

Thompson/Center and S&W's Performance Center team up to build an entry-level long-range...

Craig Boddington takes a look five great military cartridges, all more than a century old, that continue to solider on. 5 Great Military Rifle Cartridges Ammo

5 Great Military Rifle Cartridges

Craig Boddington - August 07, 2020

Craig Boddington takes a look five great military cartridges, all more than a century old,...

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak performer.Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review Reviews

Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 14, 2020

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak...

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved..22 Memory Lane Ammo

.22 Memory Lane

J. Scott Rupp - January 04, 2019

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved.

See More Trending Articles

More How-To

Whether it's as frightening as a worldwide pandemic or just coping with Mother Nature, every Americans should be prepared to survive and thrive within the confines of their own home. Utilizing the unique skillset only a former Green Beret possesses, Terry Schappert, will keep the viewers prepared, entertained, educated and hopefully calm.Shelter in Place – What You Need to Know

Shelter in Place – What You Need to Know

Outdoor Channel Public Service Announcement - April 06, 2020

Whether it's as frightening as a worldwide pandemic or just coping with Mother Nature, every...

During those months without an open season, use that time to do some prep work with this to-do listTo-Do List for the Rifleman During the Offseason How-To

To-Do List for the Rifleman During the Offseason

Craig Boddington - March 10, 2015

During those months without an open season, use that time to do some prep work with this to-do...

During a shelter-in-place order scenario, you only want to leave your house when absolutely necessary. That's why “Hollywood Weapons” host and former Green Beret Terry Schappert has this lesson about the most valuable and nutritious foods to keep stocked in your pantry, so that you can weather the storm. Shelter in Place – Quarantine Cuisine

Shelter in Place – Quarantine Cuisine

Outdoor Channel Public Service Announcement - April 07, 2020

During a shelter-in-place order scenario, you only want to leave your house when absolutely...

When it comes to riflescopes, little things make a big difference...Simple Steps to Setting Up a Scope How-To

Simple Steps to Setting Up a Scope

Wayne van Zwoll - December 01, 2016

When it comes to riflescopes, little things make a big difference...

See More How-To

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Rifle Shooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now