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Hunting Rifle Dilema

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Beefcake, Oct 6, 2014.

  1. Beefcake

    Beefcake Portland Active Member

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    I sold my nice stainless hunting rifle / Leupold scope last year to fund rifles for the kids. I replaced it with a very basic Winchester Model 70 in the caliber I like (.300 wm) that I thought would be temporary. I mounted a Burris Fullfield II 3.5-10X50 on Burris Z-rings, tightened up the action screws and dialed it in at the range. Wow, this thing can shoot (holes nearly touching from the bench at 100 yards with cheap ammo). That brings me to my dilema.

    I don't take great care of my hunting rifles. I mean, I handle them carefully when possible, but they end up going in the safe damp quite often. I never clean them during the season due to my belief in a "fouling shot" (unless they get dirt in the barrel or action while hunting). I just wipe them with a cloth and put them away, which was fine for the rusty old '06 that I started with and for the stainless rifles I've had since then. Based on this shortcoming of mine, I fully intended to trade back into a stainless .300 in a year or two.

    Since the Model 70 shoots so well as it is, I'm starting to consider modifying it to make it my primary gun long-term. I'm sure I'd never get my money back if I do this, so I'm trying to determine if I'll be happy with it before spending the money.

    The base rifle is an early '90s Black Shadow (Walmart package gun with synthetic stock and blind mag box). Besides the blind magazine (which really doesn't bother me; it only takes a few extra seconds to unload after a day of hunting, can't get bumped open like a hinged floorplate, and doesn't allow any dirt to enter from the bottom, so it's a very minor annoyance to me even though it reduces the value of the rifle), and the corrosion issue described above, the main drawback of this rifle is the weight. With its long barrel (28" if I remember right), it felt a little unwieldy on its first hunt yesterday - not horrible, but heavier than I like. The extra weight helps with recoil, but I'd rather have a lighter rifle for field use since I only plan to pull the trigger a couple of times per season.

    My thoughts for customizing it would be:
    Boyd's Prairie Hunter stock (primarily for looks)
    Trigger adjustment (not bad now, but super easy to do on M70)
    Cerakote or similar (corrosion resistance since I live / hunt in Oregon)
    Possibly fluting the bolt / barrel for weight

    What would you do? Should I start tinkering and hope I'll be happy since I'll be upside-down in it, or am I just putting lipstick on a pig? Should I look for a shorter-barreled stainless base rifle and build what I really want?

    I'm primarily looking for experienced advice on the durability and corrosion resistance of Cerakote and on advantages / disadvantages of fluting. I can probably live with the weight of the rifle if fluting isn't a good option for a field gun.
     
  2. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Sounds like you already know the answers to your questions.

    If you want to trick it out and loose some money, go for it.

    If you want something different then sell it and but what you want when you can.

    Lastly, start the habit of cleaning your gun from top to bottom when you get home and you won't have to worry about rust.

    Cleaning your rifle should be one of the first things you teach your kids, right after you show them how to squeeze the trigger and not jerk.

    Teaching your kids to clean their guns will be a lifetime investment for their benifit. It only takes 20-30 min for me to completely take mine apart, clean it, oil it and then put it away.
     
  3. Beefcake

    Beefcake Portland Active Member

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    I agree to an extent, and I practiced this for many years (and still do when target shooting). However, after hunting dawn to dusk in the rain, and with family responsibilities when I get home, it just doesn't happen. I haven't ruined a hunting rifle yet by just wiping them with a dry cloth followed by a silicone cloth and setting them action-open next to the dehumidifier in my safe, but my duck hunting shotgun is sure showing rust issues from the same cause. Plus, there was a noticeable difference in the accuracy of my last hunting rifle before vs. after a fouling shot. It wasn't enough to miss a deer at the distances I am willing to take a shot at big game, but it made a difference in my confidence. Therefore, I don't clean my hunting rifles during the season unless I have to or unless I know I will be at the range before hunting again. I'm sure others will side with you, but that wasn't the point of the discussion. I believe that "all weather" rifles make a lot of sense in our climate, which is why I'm not sure if I can make this into what I want. It mainly depends on peoples reviews of Cerakote.
     
  4. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Well I am certainly interested to hear about the cerakote. I've thought about having my ruger done since I didn't get it in stainless like I wanted (it was too good of a deal to pass up) so I may be doing that same thing here in the future. And I totally agree with the stainless approach, I always buy stainless if I can.

    I didn't mean to get preachy about the gun cleaning;).

    My grandfather taught me how to shoot but not how to clean guns so I'm kinda OCD about it now.

    Best of luck to you and your boys this season:)
     
  5. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I never put a gun away wet. The moisture can/will spread to the other guns in the safe. Also, I leave the sling out for several days after cuz it holds moisture loner. I'm not bothered by taking the action out of the stock if the gun is so wet that water runs out when it's upside down.

    I doubt that the Black Shadow has a barrel longer than 24", but even that seems long to me. Find a gunsmith to cut and crown it to 22". Yeah, you lose velocity, but it will still be more than a 30-06 and there ain't anything here you won't kill quickly with one of those.

    Synthetic stock? I'd not change it unless I'm buying a Hogue. I hunt this area and when it's wet, it's wet. Wood, even laminated, isn't my choice. Plus I believe you will gain weight. My choice for weight is a fantastic scope!


    If you are trying to save money, I'd look at Duracoat. If you've got a bit more to spend, Ceracoat would be my choice. In fact, I have a stainless gun that's blasted and is a shade darker than Ruger's Target Gray finish. I've thought about a Ceracoat matte black finish on it, but that's just for color on this gun.

    One last thing. When it gets wet, I put a strip of electrical tape over the muzzle.
     
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  6. rp243

    rp243 Monitor, OR Member

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    Ceracoat rocks, I've done several rifles in it and it really does stand up to the abuse. You will be happy with the results as far as protection goes.
     
  7. Beefcake

    Beefcake Portland Active Member

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    I just looked it up, and it's a 26" barrel. Sorry for the exaggeration; it just felt really long compared to my other rifles.

    I never remove the action from the stock unless I will be going to the range before hunting. I have had several rifles that noticeably changed their accuracy and poi based on tiny differences in the tightness of the action screws (specifically Savage 11o's and a Ruger M77 MkII). After a lot of research and trial at the range, I have this Model 70 torqued at 65 inch-pounds on the front screw, 35 inch-pounds on the rear screw, and 20 inch-pounds for the middle screw. I can repeat these specs, but I'd want to test fire it due to a reputation for them being touchy.

    The stock is a vanity thing. Although I'm falling in love with the way this gun shoots, it looks exactly like all the other all-black rifles in my safe (well, not including the evil black rifle....). The Boyd's stock I'm looking at is a laminate stock, not wood. For under $100 bucks, it's a cheap way to deal with my mid-life crisis.

    I've gone back and forth on the electrical tape over the years. I was taught to do that at my hunters safety course in the mid '80's, and I did it religiously for years. After reading studies about how easily a bullet can be deflected by any minor obstacle, I started to worry about the "what-if's". Specifically, what if only one side of the electrical tape releases from the forward gas pressure in the barrel before the bullet exits and the bullet hits the tape on the other side? I have been meaning to test this at the range, but I don't think the scenario is likely unless the tape was wrapped around the barrel. After carrying the rifle for a couple of hours on Sunday, I decided that the extra barrel length made it more likely that I would accidentally get it full of mud while hunting, so I went back to the truck and added a piece of electrical tape.
     
  8. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    Balloons also work unless you are using iron sights, and would probably provide the least resistance. My guess is that any accuracy lost by electrical tape would be trivial for hunting purposes unless you are shooting at long range.
     
  9. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    My iron sights have a guard and a cage on the threaded barrel.

    I am going to try the corner of a ziplock over it with a piece of elect tape around the barrel; it'll be the first time I've used it in wet weather next week so I guess I'll know to try something else if I miss;)

    I tape my 6" gp100 because it hangs low on my bag and can hit the dirt occasionally; it's worked well so far.
     
  10. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    Sounds like a great rifle. My 270 is essentially the same, I ground the bolt knob flat on top and bottom for personal reasons but it reduced weight as much as a fluted bolt. When my rifle rusted I painted the action with green enamel paint which works great for $5. I painted the stock as well with Krylon camo over a base of Krylon Plastic water based paint and let them cure for 3 weeks in a warm room. shortening the barrel will shave off a few ounces. I would use a ballon or a light weight plastic tip found in hard ware stores, the compressed air generated by the bullet when fired should pop that muzzle cover off before the bullet passes through it, an interesting experiment if you have a high speed camera.
     
  11. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The electrical tape will cause no difference in point of impact. The pressure coming down the barrel ahead of the bullet will blow the tape off before the bullet gets to the end of the muzzle.

    Think "pop" gun.

    Yes, I've checked this.
     
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  12. erudne

    erudne The Pie Matrix PPL Say Sleeping W/Your Rifle Is A bad Thing? Bronze Supporter

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    there is an item used in food industry called Cots, they are short pieces of rubber to cover finger tips
     
  13. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You can buy similar items ar Rite Aid, or probably Walgreens. I don't have them, but I got electrical tape! Small ballons used for water baloons would work well, too. Heck, masking tape would be better than nothing!
     
  14. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Not to be crass, but non-lubricated condoms work well to. But a strip of black electrical tape is probably the easiest. I had a customer bring me a rifle last year to cut back and re-crown that had bulged right at the end. From his description of events, the likely culprit was water as it was carried muzzle up in the rain before a shot was taken. So something over the barrel or muzzle down carry is a good thing.
     
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  15. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    And it's raining today! Now where's that tape.....
     
  16. Beefcake

    Beefcake Portland Active Member

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    You guys convinced me, there is tape on the barrel.

    I have found a stainless model 70 that I'm considering trading into, but I don't want to have to start over dialing it in mid-season. Plus, I'm having trouble figuring out the value. It's a mid-90's stainless composite, but it's a push-feed rather than a classic; I can't find any sales comparisons for price. It does have the hinged floorplate, and I don't mind the push-feed, but I know they don't seem to sell for as much. I can't decide how much it's worth to me bare (no scope or rings).
     
  17. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    about $4-450 would be my guess.