New Nosler 26 not grouping well

Mczar777

Beginner
Mar 16, 2019
10
0
So I took my new Nosler Western Rifle (chambered in 26 Nosler)to the range yesterday to perform the barrel break-in procedure. I went through two boxes of Nosler Custom Competition 140gr and was not able to get it to shoot sub 2” groups which is very frustrating.

I had a Leupold VAR-X III professionally amounted on a new Leupold Back County pic rail mount and new Leupold Back Country Cross Slot Rings before taking it to the range. Throughout the barrel break-in process, the groups did not improve but the ease of cleaning did so it’s confusing to me.

I called Nosler and they aren’t sure what is causing it so I offered to take the scope off and mount it on another rifle of mine that routinely prints MOA or better. This should at least eliminate my scope being the issue. Assuming the scope isn’t the issue, what else should I do before sending it back to Nosler? Picture of target below.
 

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gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
9
Welcome to the forum. I would check the scope first as well, if it isn't the culprit then it may need a trip back to Nosler. You may wish to try another type of factory load too before it potentially heads back but with a different scope.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
34,810
959
Welcome to the forum, Mczar. Gerry has given you great advice. Few things are more frustrating than a rifle that doesn't produce the accuracy we are expecting. For sure, eliminating the scope as the culprit is the first step in resolving the issue. If that fails to give a definitive answer, then it would be worth speaking with the people at Nosler. They are a good company that will act honourably.
 

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,823
154
It may just be that your rifle does not like that bullet and/or ammunition's bullet/powder combination.
I would try another bullet, bullet/powder combo or even some factory ammunition first, before "jumping the gun" on calling it a rifle or scope issue.

While many companies offer quality rifles that are capable of great accuracy today, there is still no guarantee that they will shoot sub-MOA with the bullet that you are hoping to use.

While the bullet you are using is a match bullet and should shoot well, the 26 Nosler is a hunting cartridge, so you may want to try some hunting bullets to see if performance and accuracy improves. I would try the AccuBond first.
In my experience, it is the easiest bullet to work up loads with, and has proven to be the most consistently accurate bullet I have used in a large variety of cartridges. The LRAB can also be very accurate, but is a little more finnicky in finding good loads compared to the AB. And you could also try the Ballistic Tip or the Partition.
 

Mczar777

Beginner
Mar 16, 2019
10
0
DrMike":ih11voas said:
Welcome to the forum, Mczar. Gerry has given you great advice. Few things are more frustrating than a rifle that doesn't produce the accuracy we are expecting. For sure, eliminating the scope as the culprit is the first step in resolving the issue. If that fails to give a definitive answer, then it would be worth speaking with the people at Nosler. They are a good company that will act honourably.

I’m going to head to the range tomorrow with the same scope and one of my .308s and hopefully this will be the issue. I did speak with their customer service and they were very helpful and showed a lot of willingness to help and they’re going to expedite some ammo that I ordered a while ago (AccuBond) so that I can try out a different load.
 

DrMike

Ballistician
Nov 8, 2006
34,810
959
The AccuBond is a fine bullet and has superb terminal performance. If it shoots well for you, you will be golden.
 

Mczar777

Beginner
Mar 16, 2019
10
0
FOTIS":1vy583dy said:
Change the scope out
Changed the scope over to my Ruger M77 Compact and shot a box of cheap 150gr Federal Soft Points. Only had one box for it and was a little pressed for time so the target below was the best 3 shot group after getting it close to being dead on.

Going to head back to the range on Sunday to get closer to dead on and then go for groups. In the meantime, I’m inclined to think that the scope is not the issue.
***EDIT*** added pictures of both rifles so that I could get opinions on scope mount differences.
 

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gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
9
It does look like the scope is doing well and your mounts look good too. Any updates with the new AccuBond factory loads?
 

Mczar777

Beginner
Mar 16, 2019
10
0
gerry":6unxtxe9 said:
It does look like the scope is doing well and your mounts look good too. Any updates with the new AccuBond factory loads?

Was finally able to find a box of 142gr AccuBond LR and took it to the range today. Put about 1/2 a box through it and the groups did not improve at all. I brought along my .308 just to make sure the issue wasn’t me and the targets below are the best I could do in each gun. The first picture is my best group with my .308 and the other picture is the best I could do with my Nosler.

I sent my contact at Nosler an email this afternoon outlining what I had done and sent pictures of the targets. I’ve let them now that I want to return the rifle so they can figure out what’s up with it and I’m waiting to hear back from them. I’m hopeful that they can fix it as I really enjoy shooting the gun.
 

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gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
9
Doesn't look good at all, I'm sure they will take care of things for you. That group with the 308 looks good though.
 

Mczar777

Beginner
Mar 16, 2019
10
0
gerry":1bg3edei said:
Doesn't look good at all, I'm sure they will take care of things for you. That group with the 308 looks good though.
No it doesn’t and they’ve been fantastic to work with so far. I spoke to them this morning and they’re sending me a shipping label and a form to fill out so it’ll hopefully be going back tomorrow.

The Ruger is a good little gun and it’s always been a good shooter. I’m glad it shoots well since it helped me at least know that the grouping issue wasn’t something that I was doing wrong.
 

str8meat

Handloader
Jul 20, 2008
673
30
Mine doesn’t group factory rounds very well either, browning x bolt. Handloads are a different story.
 

gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
9
Is it just a temperamental round or something else? It certainly looks like the op's rifle has something wrong with it but at least Nosler is trying to take care of it quickly by the sounds of it.
 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,254
419
gerry":zm0hacs0 said:
Is it just a temperamental round or something else? It certainly looks like the op's rifle has something wrong with it but at least Nosler is trying to take care of it quickly by the sounds of it.

My small belief is any of this big jugged cases can be temperamental. Even the big 300 RUM can be sensitive as well but the 26 Nosler is even more of that.

I know they can be wicked when fed the right stuff though.


Good luck with your rifle, I’m sure Nosler will sort you out.
 

Elkman

Handloader
Apr 4, 2010
4,551
1
77-- my wife bought me a Kimber lightweight for Christmas, which is guaranteed to shoot 1" groups. I mounted a quality scope and mounts on the rifle and at last count have fired approximately 100 rounds through the rifle. I do not shoot factory ammo, so I am able to play with a wide variety of components. I have had twenty groups with two within a 1/2 inch and the other at an inch out. Now mind you I also have several around the 3/4 inch range but I knew there was more to gain there. I disassembled the rifle and put a piece of electricians tape just in front of the recoil lug and two pieces on the back side of the lug. The first group went in under a 1/2 inch and the second with a separate bullet, right at an inch with a perfect triangle. I would take a close look at the clearances and how the rifle is bedded. Another option is to try some upward pressure on the front end of the barrel back a couple of inches or so. The tape could work but also slices of a plastic jug or similar. Just enough to apply some upward pressure. Just my .02 for what it's worth.
 

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,505
492
Did you get it sorted out? Late to this post but I agree with what many have stated above. Although you would think a rifle like that would group better than what the average Rem 760 can do with just about any factory ammo, the bare fact is that a rifle likes what they like. I would try some different bullet weights of ammo and see if you can get it anywhere close to acceptable. If so you can likely get there with reloads, if not it for sure needs to go back to Nosler.
 

Mczar777

Beginner
Mar 16, 2019
10
0
Sorry for going MIA on this but I’ve been waiting to see how this plays out before updating the post. I sent the rifle back to Nosler on April 30th and they still have it. Needless to say, it’s taken quite a bit longer than I had anticipated for them to figure this out.

The representative that I have been working with called me about 10 days ago and told me that they had cleaned and disassembled my rifle (standard procedure before they test fire a gun) and during the disassembly they did not see any issues. They then test fired it with the ammo that they guarantee the sub MOA accuracy with (140gr AccuBond) which happens to be the one box of ammo I have not been able to find due to it having been on intergalactic back order for the entire three months I’ve owned the gun.

According to the rep, they were able to produce a group of .68” which I found to be hard to believe given that the best I’d been able to get out of it is almost a 3” group. I asked the rep again if they did anything to the gun in hopes that that they had found an issue since that would make their findings easier to comprehend but he said that the gunsmith had not notated anything. I then asked the rep to have them re-shoot it with the same ammo that I had been using (142grABLR) and he said they would do so.

I got an update last night saying that they had completed the test firings with the 142grABLR and the gun produced groups ranging from 1.25”-1.5” groups. I’ve pasted the email below for reference and in my reply email I said that I appreciated the update but that I was not impressed by that group size given what a rifle in this price point should be able to do. I also explained while I was happy with the .68” AccuBond group size, it doesn’t really make any difference what it can shoot if I can’t ever find the one box of ammo that it will shoot decently.

Overall I’m not happy with this and I’m hopeful that they will offer me a different solution than the one mentioned in the email below. I feel as though a rifle that is made by the company that developed the cartridge, and produces the ammo, should consistently shoot sub-MOA regardless of what type of bullet is being used. I have multiple other rifles that shoot sub-MOA with different brands of ammo and bullet types and the largest difference in group size that I’ve observed between different brands and types of ammo is roughly .5”.

To be clear, I’m not trying to trash them at all especially since this hopefully hasn’t been resolved with finality. I’m planning on calling my rep today so we can further talk about where to go from here. Once I have another update I’ll repost.

Last night’s email from Nosler:
Our lab was able to get some groups through your rifle, but did find that it preferred the 140gr AccuBond over the 142gr AccuBond Long Range. The 140gr AccuBond (prescribed load) shot at .68” while the 142gr was shooting around 1.25-1.5” groups. I am letting our head ballistician look at the groups to find out his opinion on it.

With the 140gr AccuBond being our prescribed load, I would be happy to send the rifle back to you along with the 2 boxes of ammunition that we discussed. I will also let you know what our ballistician has to say about the 142 ABLR grouping, but I do know that the ABLR bullet can be a little bit more picky and likes when barrels have more wear rather than being brand new.
 

Richracer1

Handloader
May 12, 2005
2,103
23
Shooter's Pro Shop has Trophy Grade 26 Nosler 140AB ammo in stock and they have a 4th of July sale going on. MidwayUSA also has Trophy Grade 26 Nosler 140AB ammo in stock.

FWIW, my Nosler Heritage 26 Nosler does really well with the 140AB Trophy Grade ammo. Mine is sporting a Leupold VX-5HD 3x15-44

 

SJB358

Ballistician
Dec 24, 2006
31,254
419
Mczar777":1pyvutms said:
Sorry for going MIA on this but I’ve been waiting to see how this plays out before updating the post. I sent the rifle back to Nosler on April 30th and they still have it. Needless to say, it’s taken quite a bit longer than I had anticipated for them to figure this out.

The representative that I have been working with called me about 10 days ago and told me that they had cleaned and disassembled my rifle (standard procedure before they test fire a gun) and during the disassembly they did not see any issues. They then test fired it with the ammo that they guarantee the sub MOA accuracy with (140gr AccuBond) which happens to be the one box of ammo I have not been able to find due to it having been on intergalactic back order for the entire three months I’ve owned the gun.

According to the rep, they were able to produce a group of .68” which I found to be hard to believe given that the best I’d been able to get out of it is almost a 3” group. I asked the rep again if they did anything to the gun in hopes that that they had found an issue since that would make their findings easier to comprehend but he said that the gunsmith had not notated anything. I then asked the rep to have them re-shoot it with the same ammo that I had been using (142grABLR) and he said they would do so.

I got an update last night saying that they had completed the test firings with the 142grABLR and the gun produced groups ranging from 1.25”-1.5” groups. I’ve pasted the email below for reference and in my reply email I said that I appreciated the update but that I was not impressed by that group size given what a rifle in this price point should be able to do. I also explained while I was happy with the .68” AccuBond group size, it doesn’t really make any difference what it can shoot if I can’t ever find the one box of ammo that it will shoot decently.

Overall I’m not happy with this and I’m hopeful that they will offer me a different solution than the one mentioned in the email below. I feel as though a rifle that is made by the company that developed the cartridge, and produces the ammo, should consistently shoot sub-MOA regardless of what type of bullet is being used. I have multiple other rifles that shoot sub-MOA with different brands of ammo and bullet types and the largest difference in group size that I’ve observed between different brands and types of ammo is roughly .5”.

To be clear, I’m not trying to trash them at all especially since this hopefully hasn’t been resolved with finality. I’m planning on calling my rep today so we can further talk about where to go from here. Once I have another update I’ll repost.

Last night’s email from Nosler:
Our lab was able to get some groups through your rifle, but did find that it preferred the 140gr AccuBond over the 142gr AccuBond Long Range. The 140gr AccuBond (prescribed load) shot at .68” while the 142gr was shooting around 1.25-1.5” groups. I am letting our head ballistician look at the groups to find out his opinion on it.

With the 140gr AccuBond being our prescribed load, I would be happy to send the rifle back to you along with the 2 boxes of ammunition that we discussed. I will also let you know what our ballistician has to say about the 142 ABLR grouping, but I do know that the ABLR bullet can be a little bit more picky and likes when barrels have more wear rather than being brand new.

While the 140 AccuBond is a great bullet, I have given myself fits trying to get the assorted ABLR's to well consistently. I hope they sort you out, and get you underway.

A shooting buddy just got a Christensen Arms Mesa in 28 Nosler. Mounted a 3-10 Leupold on it and after getting it on paper took three shots with the Nosler 175 ABLR ammo... Put two groups into 3/4's.... Pressure signs all over the danged case but wow did it shoot.

Good luck with it. Looking forward to seeing what you end up with.
 
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