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Model 88 advice

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by krivey, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    I was given a winchester model 88 from my grandfather. It's a great gun, but there is some pitting in the bore down near the chamber that I feel is affecting its accuracy. I have looked around for a replacement barrel but haven't had any luck. Am I not looking in the right places? What would you do?
     
  2. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    I would try the Tubb system of fire lapping first.
    If replacement is found to be mandatory, then it's time for a barrel blank, and pay the difference to the gunsmith for machining and custom fitting.

    How badly is the accuracy affected? How many different loads have you tried?
    Considering that the M88 is a hunting rifle, keeping your expectations reasonable, if it's within 1.5 MOA I would say you're good to go.
    Not every rifle will shoot all ammo with accuracy. All rifles seem to prefer one or two loads more than others.
     
  3. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    If you can get a 2" group at 100 yards I would shoot it. The barrel design and profile is not complicated so having one made would not be astronomical. You might also watch the gun action sites.

    Also it's the last inch of rifling at the muzzle that has the greatest effect on accuracy the rifling near the chamber has little if any effect. Unless it was somehow bad enough to damage the jacket on the bullet (Highly doubtful). You might try as Jamie suggested one of the bore lapping products to smooth any pits out.

    Also what caliber is this rifle?
     
  4. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Howdy Krivey,

    Unless that pitting is quite horrible, I don't think I would suspect it as the prime cause of any accuracy problems (granted that the remainder of the bore looks good). .308? .243?

    The 88's can be finicky about shooting well. Experiment first with varying torque (tightness) of the single screw that goes through the forearm to attach to the barrel. Never "farmer tight", just moderately firm, and lighten it up about half a turn and try another group. Rinse and Repeat. Another detriment to their accuracy is that they generally have pretty horrible triggers. Try various loads as well. (Either factory or home-brewed).

    The 88 action is attached to the stock only at one other location, and that is a "hook breech" type arrangement at the rear of the action that sort of cams into the breech block which has the buttstock screw coming into it from the rear. This is a quite unique method of securing an action to a stock, and can produce some accuracy headaches (especially on an older gun--which they all are now--and compression of the wood over time).

    I recently spent time with a .243 88, and finally did a glass-bedding job on the barrel portion (it is NOT done in the normal fashion, but rather two "pads" are poured on either side of the barrel screw). This improved the rifle greatly (along with barrel screw torque experiments), and I am now speculating on glass-bedding the breech block (an even more technical procedure).

    The gun will now hold 1.25-1.5" groups at 100 yards with a good handload, but being a .243, I think there is more to be had. (It started at 2-2.5" with factory loads.)

    I found the glass bedding info at Glass Bedding winchester 88 - Shooters Forum

    Posted by moniker EDip. If you are not experienced with glass-bedding, this is NOT the gun to learn on.

    If you decide to rebarrel the gun, I think an internet search for an origiinal barrel would be nearly fruitless (is that what you tried?). Second avenue would be to lurk around the Winchester collectors websites, find out who collects '88's, and inquire there about sources for original barrels.

    Failing that, and assuming you will keep your Grandfather's gun (no intentions of selling it), Grandfather would probably have no objections to you doing anything necessary to make it a useful gun. Rebarrel it with a good custom barrel, done by a smith that KNOWS '88's. While doing it, have him bed the gun for you. A custom barrel will diminish almost completely the collector value of the gun.

    88's are gaining in value (especially for the pre-64 guns in good shape). Odd calibers (.284) bring even more.
     
  5. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    I have tried 18 different hand loads and 5 different factory loads and the best I can get is 2.5-3 MOA (depending on how i am shooting that day)with 165gr game kings and 44 gr IMR 4895. It seems to shoot better the heavier and faster I push it. But it is an older rifle and I am afraid to go much farther than I have. When I ran 150gr SP at 2500 fps I was getting 4-6 MOA. My 10/22 shoots better than that.
     
  6. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Another source of 88 bedding info is a book, "Gunsmithing Tips and Projects" (Second Edition, 2010), by Wolfe Publishing.
     
  7. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    Sorry guys. I forgot to mention it is a .308. I will try messing with the mounting screw first, as that won't cost anything but time. I will also look at fire lapping. (can only do so much with a bore brush and jag). I have never done any glass bedding, so that is out of the question for now. Maybe I will get some experience with a couple of 10/22 I have setting around. They could probably use a good barrel bedding. I have some time off next week. I will try a couple ideas and let you know how they worked. Thanks for the help :)
     
  8. Mecanik

    Mecanik La Center Active Member

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    Maybe I'm just easy to please but if your getting under 3 inch groups at 100 yard I would just hunt with it. 88's are not known for extreme accuracy. (owned one) I have a few rules:
    4 inch groups or less or don't waste your time in the woods with it.
    3 inch groups are adequate for putting meat on the table.
    2 inch groups are respectable and you can hold your head up saying it.
    1 inch groups and I'm bragging to the whole world about it and hollering, Yee Hawwww.
     
  9. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Maybe the scope is crap. If you are using open Iron sights and getting a 3" group at 100yds stop bragging.
     
    krivey and (deleted member) like this.
  10. krivey

    krivey mcminnville oregon Active Member

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    It's got a leupold scope on it. So I figure that the scope is fine. I could send it in anyway just for them to check it.
     
  11. the4thshake

    the4thshake Portland Active Member

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    Have you checked the condition of the muzzle crown? It is pretty simple to re-crown a barrel.
     
  12. slightly disturbed

    slightly disturbed Oregon City Active Member

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    for me my 88 was very load specific. Using 168 gr match loads that my m1a loves would be all over in my 88. I worked up a load that was very accurate. 45gr of 4064 with a 150gr speer bullet. It was accurate and flattened blacktails at 150 yrds. Sadly my rifle was a victim, her and my stereo ran off together back in 2003. I new that stereo was no good