Floating a Xs7 barrel
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  1. #1
    Tenderfoot
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    Floating a Xs7 barrel

    I am interested in the experience of others with respect to the outcomes of floating the barrels on their X7 rifles with regard to the effect on accuracy.

    I have a Xs7 in 7 mm 08 caliber with a 3 - 9 x 40 Vortex Diamondback scope which I have owned for a few years. In that time I have developed a load for deer hunting using 145 gn Speer Hot Cor projectiles and 40 grns of Varget powder. I have now fired 30 three shot groups from the rifle using this load in varying temperature and wind conditions.

    The data shows for a hundred yards the smallest group of 0.64" and the largest at 2.2" with an average of 1.37".

    This is probably OK for hunting out to 250 metres but I wish to achieve a little better with respect to the average three shot group size.

    I am planning to do some load development with 120 gn Sierra pro hunter projectiles as a first step and then if the average group size does not improve to my satisfaction, float the barrel by sanding down the pads in the forestock.

    These pads are clearly installed for a reason by the rifle's designer so I am interested in what other X7 owners have experienced with regard to changes to accuracy having floated the barrel and whether bedding the action was also needed in the process to improve group sizes.

    Thanks for any input

    GRH

  2. #2
    Certified Gunnut
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    Well, first I think you need to do some more load development with something of at least 140gr and a bullet with a higher level of integrity then the Sierra.

    Floating ------------------- Yes!

    While I have NEVER had a rifle shoot worse after floating I have had a number shoot clearly better!

    Then and considering you already have very huntable groups, more importantly is first shot reliability. Meaning knowing where the first shot will go and do so every time.

    Anytime you have wood to barrel contact, you have the possibility of a shift of impact, caused by any number of conditions. Changes of temp, changes in humidity, changes in hold or rest - soft or hard - or changes of point at which the forend is held.

    For years I have floated every hunting rifle that comes my way, bolt action or RUGER #1 single shot.

    As already said, I have Never had a decrease in accuracy but have seen good improvements.

    Those that say a barrel MUST have stock to barrel contact for best accuracy, well maybe in a bench rest target situation where pre shoot for score sighters are allowed, but there are no sighters allowed in a hunting situation and that first shot better go where it's intended EVEN IF the groups might be slightly larger on average.

    I have not seen that, but it would be a trade off worth taking!

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
    M1Riflenut and sullivan like this.

  3. #3
    Tinhorn
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    On a X7 270 I bought several years ago I sanded down the tabs on the synthetic stock after I had shot it quite a bit during breakin. It helped. This rifle didn't shoot bad to start with, inch and a quarter. I didn't ever bed that stock. If your stock is syn. there may be un-even pressure from one side. There are several ways to put similiar tabs/ side pressure back in if removal proves to be worse.
    Da Duke likes this.

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  5. #4
    Marlin Marksman
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    I may be one of the few that can and will report that I have seen accuracy go to pot when a rifle was free-floated. Actually, I have seen it several times, but the worst was a Weatherby (Howa) .30-06. With Remington greenbox ammo it was shooting 2" at 100 yards. I removed the two bearing pads in the forend and free-floated the barrel, and any semblance to a group went away. Fortunately, adding back material to give slightly more-than-stock upward barrel pressure, and the groups tightened up to 1.5". Really consistent gun, and one of the few rifles I truly regret selling.
    rob42049 likes this.
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  6. #5
    Marlin Marksman
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    I have a XS7 7MM-08, has been a "tack driver" ever since I bought it new. Since you only mentioned factory ammo, may I suggest something with 139 (Hornady), or something in 140 gr. I do handload for mine, and found what it likes, also it's for deer hunting, and I'm only concerned about one cold shot from a cold barrel, I have noticed that shooting paper, it tends to shift a bit higher, probably from a hot barrel on the "pads", but, this does not present itself deer hunting. I do have my best target, with three 139 Hornady holes that I covered with a dime shot at 100 yds. The reason I'm proud, is because at 71 yrs. old, I'm not as steady as I once was, and will probably never shoot a better one. T Rex
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  7. #6
    Tinhorn
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    My X7 in 7-08 still has the pads in the barrel channel and shoots pretty good so I'm scared to mess with it. Most things are under an inch with nothing I have ever shot in it going over 1.5 inch.

    Steve.........
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  8. #7
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    Morning Steve.

    I'd surely hope that your rifle remains accurate and consistently "on" with the barrel to stock contact/pads.

    However, this Ol'Coot usually DOESN'T like surprises when hunting and greatly values consistency! I simply will not allow the possibility of some change in hold or climatic conditions to send a game shot to a point of impact other then what I expect!

    As I said in post #2 above, there are no "sighters" allowed when hunting so I would sacrifice, something I have never seen, a small degree of accuracy to assure first shot consistency.

    I like beautifully figured wood stocks, and in fact two such stocks are currently in the hands of a professional checker for her to work her magic, but the one from an old RUGER "flat bolt" .243 is floated while the other from a RUGER #1 single shot chambered in .223 is not.

    I stocked the .223 back in the early 80s then stupidly sold/traded it to a friend who sold/traded it to another friend who kept it as a safe queen for about 30 years. Well, when I built the #1, it was highly accurate, VERY!, but I have yet to again develop loads for it since I reclaimed it 4 months or so ago.

    I hope that it remains so having very little use during the time out of my hands, but considering it will be used for fuzzy little ground vermin I might? live with a slight degree of shift in the point of impact. "Slight" being the key word here, but even then it could be a candidate for barrel floating.

    A well made laminated stock should have a lessor degree of possible point of impact shift do to hold or climatic changes but for me, other socks, even my "plastic" stocked rifles are floated with the wood stocked rifles having the action glass bedded.

    Works for the Ol'Coot, and has for years.

    Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

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    Last edited by Crusty Deary Ol Coot; 12-21-2019 at 07:24 PM.

  9. #8
    Gun Wizard
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    My .270 was half moa out of the box. My brothers 7mm-08 was not. I only removed enough material where the barrel is not supposed to touch the stock when it is hot. His is now sub moa.
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  10. #9
    Tenderfoot
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    Thank you, responders for your advice and comments - I found the input helpful and it has been greatly appreciated. I did what I should have done in the first place and searched the forum on this topic. It has certainly had a good airing. I concluded from the topics I read that all rifles are individual and there appears to be variability in the response of x rifles to floating of the barrel.

    i decided that I would try having my cake and eating it too and trialled the impact of floating the barrel on my rifle by jacking up the action using plastic shims to have the barrel clear the fore end pressure tabs. The results albeit not fully conclusive suggested promise so I decided that I would float the barrel but also epoxy bed the action and stiffen the fore end. The latter of these steps was achieved by cutting a 16 mm dowel to snugly fit in the forestock channel and then cementing in situ with JB Weld marine having first given the bedding surfaces some serious treatment with a dremel and cleaning with solvent. I then bedded the tang area of the stock and from the barrel end of the magazine box to 1.5" in front of the recoil lug using WEST system epoxy thickened with a solid amount of aluminium powder. The stock bedding surfaces again got some serious dremmel treatment, lots of small drilled holes and clean up with solvent in the hope of achieving strong adhesion. I taped the front, sides and base of the recoil lug with three layers of electrical tape to provide a small modicum of relief in that area. I then sanded down the pressure tabs.

    The end result proved satisfactory although there were a few minor imperfections / voids in the surface of the epoxy which I might address at another time.

    I also replaced the plastic trigger guard with the alloy facsimile.

    i loaded up some rounds using varget powder and Sierra 120 gn prohunter projectiles starting at 42.9 grns and finishing at 44.1 grns advancing in 0.4 grn increments. The results proved most encouraging shooting four shot groups. The average group size for the four load increments went 1.03" with the best load delivering 0.86". (44.1 grns). All pretty consistent.

    i am most satisfied with the outcome and will now try developing some loads using Speer 130 gn hotcor and 140 grn Sierra pro hunters and maybe some 140 gn Hornady interlocks.

    The exercise has been a great learning experience and has helped me gain confidence and liking for my rifle. So once again, many thanks for your encouragement.

    Kind regards

    Rob
    Boris, sullivan and GJinNY like this.

  11. #10
    Deadeye
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