What would you do?

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
3,515
3,019
An older local gent that has always been nice to me including letting me hunt on his 300 acres, has an old Savage 99 in 308.

Got to talking to him and he talked like the rifle was shooting all over the place. Almost is off paper at times at 50 yds.

Got it here to work on it and didn't know where to start. Was extremely dirty, so took it all apart and gave it a good cleaning. Stock was a little loose, forearm was way loose, and scope rings were loose. The rings are also old Weaver tip off style, which I don't like, but that's what's on it.

Worked up some single charges with H4895 and 150 gr Speer. When I got to 44.5 gr's, a grain off of max according to Hodgdon, it was showing some pressure.

Loaded some up at 43, and 43.5. Loaded at 2.800 they are still .210 off the lands.

43 put 2 tight together and 1 high at around 3". 43.5 done the same, but the flier was 2 3/16"

Came back home and tried taking a big swing at seating depth.......loaded 3 up with 43.5 gr's at 2.750. So now I'm .260 off the lands.

Over the hood of my truck at 85 yds it tightened up to 1 1/16". Extrapolated out to 100 yds that would be 1.250".

WAY better than it was for him. Load a box up for him, or try something else yet? I don't want to unnecessarily burn through primers.


The old rifle......finish is worn off.




Sling swivel studs pulled out a long time ago.




43.5 at 2.800.




43.5 at 2.750 at 85 yds.

 
Oh and I forgot to mention.....it has a very sloppy chamber. Getting the case squeezed back down on the once fired factory cases he gave me takes a lot of force. Cases grew .008-.010 in length. I resized a couple more after I fired them, and they are still growing .008-.010 after sizing. Die is set to bump the shoulder .002.

So still some things going against it to turn it into a real shooter. I don't like those spring steel tip off mounts either, but can't prove that's causing any problems or not.
 
Personally if the rifle was mine or my fathers, given the generous chamber, I would call it a day and load up a box or three. I might try another bullet just to satisfy curiosity, but I would be very happy to have a heavily used lever action delivering sub 1.5" groups at 100 yards with a good hunting bullet. My father is very happy with 5 rounds going into 1.75" at 100 yards and he has probably shot two deer past 150 yards.

I would consider showing or telling him what the rifle is now accomplishing and get his thoughts. You probably have answers already to the following, but without knowing the gentleman or the rifle I really can't write to his needs or desires... I don't know how accurate the rifle was historically, how good his eyesight is / how good of a shooter he is, if he wants to hunt with it and if so the terrain he hunts, etc...
 
Nimrod84":2v5z17we said:
Personally if the rifle was mine or my fathers, given the generous chamber, I would call it a day and load up a box or three. I might try another bullet just to satisfy curiosity, but I would be very happy to have a heavily used lever action delivering sub 1.5" groups at 100 yards with a good hunting bullet. My father is very happy with 5 rounds going into 1.75" at 100 yards and he has probably shot two deer past 150 yards.

I would consider showing or telling him what the rifle is now accomplishing and get his thoughts. You probably have answers already to the following, but without knowing the gentleman or the rifle I really can't write to his needs or desires... I don't know how accurate the rifle was historically, how good his eyesight is / how good of a shooter he is, if he wants to hunt with it and if so the terrain he hunts, etc...

Yeah, the more I think about it, that's what I'll likely do. I hate to call 1.250" good enough when there would normally be different things to try yet, but it's not normal times.

I know where he hunts.......100 yds would be a long shot, depending exactly where he'd be and where the deer would be, there might be a spot or two where a shot could be 150 yds.

You have to know this guy......he bought me a box of once fired, and a box of factory. The box of factory says Federal Premium 165 gr........there's only about 6 Federal marked cases in the whole box. The rest are Remington or Winchester. Who knows if they're even all 165 grain? :lol:

He's a good egg though. 85 yrs old and hunts almost every day of rifle season. Unless it's downpouring or extremely windy. He should be happy with this. I might give it one more official test at 100 yds off of sandbags just to confirm.
 
Sounds as if you have a plan. We reach an age where simply being afield is reward enough. The rifle is still yielding accuracy that is sufficient to take deer on his property. If he knows his limitations and works within those limitations, he'll be fine. You've done good work, and I'm certain he appreciates it.
 
ST,
Nice work on the load development. You have a solid 200 yard deer rifle. One thought is to upgrade the mount and rings. If that were done, it just might improve the accuracy of the rifle. Weaver style would be the way to go. Add a new Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x 36mm scope to the rig and that will really make for a nice set up.

JD338
 
DrMike":3w1zjjgc said:
Sounds as if you have a plan. We reach an age where simply being afield is reward enough. The rifle is still yielding accuracy that is sufficient to take deer on his property. If he knows his limitations and works within those limitations, he'll be fine. You've done good work, and I'm certain he appreciates it.

Thanks Dr Mike.......I tried to do a good job cleaning it, might be the last cleaning it ever gets, I know he never did, I asked him.

Took it all apart including the bolt out of it and the firing pin. Firing pin had some rust on it, as did the tang underneath where the safety slides back and forth. Red scotch brite and some bore cleaner got it shined up.

The guy is a millionaire, if not a multi millionaire, and I'm pretty sure this is his only rifle.......at least it's the only one I've ever seen him carrying when I bumped into him the last several yrs.

Last yr I put on a one man drive for him and no sooner got started and I heard a shot...I pushed 4 doe out to him and they stood on a logging road at 80 yds and he missed them clean. Doesn't surprise me. He was a timber man by trade and good at it, rifle maintenance was obviously not one of his strong suits.

I wont charge him anything of course, but if I can play a role in him getting a deer this yr, that will be reward enough.
 
JD338":3hq4613j said:
ST,
Nice work on the load development. You have a solid 200 yard deer rifle. One thought is to upgrade the mount and rings. If that were done, it just might improve the accuracy of the rifle. Weaver style would be the way to go. Add a new Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x 36mm scope to the rig and that will really make for a nice set up.

JD338


JD, you wouldn't have to convince me. I think I see a little flex and movement in those rings when I push around on the scope, but it could all be in my head.

If I was to convince him he needs new scope mounts, I wouldn't be able to show him these last 2 targets, I can pretty much guarantee that would squash any thoughts of buying new scope mounts. :shock: :lol:
 
ShadeTree":1pmp9n79 said:
Nimrod84":1pmp9n79 said:
Personally if the rifle was mine or my fathers, given the generous chamber, I would call it a day and load up a box or three. I might try another bullet just to satisfy curiosity, but I would be very happy to have a heavily used lever action delivering sub 1.5" groups at 100 yards with a good hunting bullet. My father is very happy with 5 rounds going into 1.75" at 100 yards and he has probably shot two deer past 150 yards.

I would consider showing or telling him what the rifle is now accomplishing and get his thoughts. You probably have answers already to the following, but without knowing the gentleman or the rifle I really can't write to his needs or desires... I don't know how accurate the rifle was historically, how good his eyesight is / how good of a shooter he is, if he wants to hunt with it and if so the terrain he hunts, etc...

Yeah, the more I think about it, that's what I'll likely do. I hate to call 1.250" good enough when there would normally be different things to try yet, but it's not normal times.

I know where he hunts.......100 yds would be a long shot, depending exactly where he'd be and where the deer would be, there might be a spot or two where a shot could be 150 yds.

You have to know this guy......he bought me a box of once fired, and a box of factory. The box of factory says Federal Premium 165 gr........there's only about 6 Federal marked cases in the whole box. The rest are Remington or Winchester. Who knows if they're even all 165 grain? :lol:

He's a good egg though. 85 yrs old and hunts almost every day of rifle season. Unless it's downpouring or extremely windy. He should be happy with this. I might give it one more official test at 100 yds off of sandbags just to confirm.

Sounds like a good guy! I have a friend like him - "It will shoot the same, its all 30-06."

Glad you were able to help him out. And I would have to agree with JD338, that load can take deer out to 200 yards.
 
Nimrod84":evq5t9gb said:
ShadeTree":evq5t9gb said:
Nimrod84":evq5t9gb said:
Personally if the rifle was mine or my fathers, given the generous chamber, I would call it a day and load up a box or three. I might try another bullet just to satisfy curiosity, but I would be very happy to have a heavily used lever action delivering sub 1.5" groups at 100 yards with a good hunting bullet. My father is very happy with 5 rounds going into 1.75" at 100 yards and he has probably shot two deer past 150 yards.

I would consider showing or telling him what the rifle is now accomplishing and get his thoughts. You probably have answers already to the following, but without knowing the gentleman or the rifle I really can't write to his needs or desires... I don't know how accurate the rifle was historically, how good his eyesight is / how good of a shooter he is, if he wants to hunt with it and if so the terrain he hunts, etc...

Yeah, the more I think about it, that's what I'll likely do. I hate to call 1.250" good enough when there would normally be different things to try yet, but it's not normal times.

I know where he hunts.......100 yds would be a long shot, depending exactly where he'd be and where the deer would be, there might be a spot or two where a shot could be 150 yds.

You have to know this guy......he bought me a box of once fired, and a box of factory. The box of factory says Federal Premium 165 gr........there's only about 6 Federal marked cases in the whole box. The rest are Remington or Winchester. Who knows if they're even all 165 grain? :lol:

He's a good egg though. 85 yrs old and hunts almost every day of rifle season. Unless it's downpouring or extremely windy. He should be happy with this. I might give it one more official test at 100 yds off of sandbags just to confirm.

Sounds like a good guy! I have a friend like him - "It will shoot the same, its all 30-06."

Glad you were able to help him out. And I would have to agree with JD338, that load can take deer out to 200 yards.


:lol: :lol: Old guys, gotta love em. They're a breed of their own. I was thinking about it and I might be able to convince this guy to let me purchase some new scope bases and rings.....he usually hunts between 2 different box stands he built on some pretty rough ground. He travels between the 2 on some kind of 4WD pre-historic buggy of some type. I've no clue what it is. A 1960 prototype of a Polaris Ranger maybe. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I'm gonna explain to him that the bouncing around with those flexible tip off mounts can't be good for holding scope zero.
 
Shade, I think I would do exactly what you have done. You're a good man.

Trouble is with these old gentlemen, there's not that many of them around and unfortunately, they don't last forever. ( So much to learn from them. )

All the best

Kevin
 
DrMike":2zshcov7 said:
Sounds as if you have a plan. We reach an age where simply being afield is reward enough. The rifle is still yielding accuracy that is sufficient to take deer on his property. If he knows his limitations and works within those limitations, he'll be fine. You've done good work, and I'm certain he appreciates it.

I think you are there... and you've done your friend a great favor. Couple boxes and hes ready to go. I love shooting those "clover leaf" groups but the reality is that many rifle/ shooter set ups just wont get there, myself included. I suspect that Jack O'Connor would have thought our "need" for a sub inch group rather silly. Set you and your friend up w/ a couple gallon jugs full of water and a few clay pigeons on a hill side @ 100 yards a way and just enjoy each others company and shooting together. I suspect he will be happy too. CL
 
I'd load 'em up and roll with it.

No disrespect to your friend...but the that rifle is shooting better than he does and frankly, likely better than it ever has.

Sometimes good enough is just that...good enough.
 
Same. cleaned a 99f that an 85 yr old was sure it was shot out, but couldn’t remember last time he ran a rod...

Got it sub Moa with core locks.

Did put a new scope on it too


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HodgemanAK":1554um2x said:
I'd load 'em up and roll with it.

No disrespect to your friend...but the that rifle is shooting better than he does and frankly, likely better than it ever has.

Sometimes good enough is just that...good enough.
This.


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It seems that as I grow older (and older, lol) the more interesting and appealing the majority of the rifles of yesteryear are to me.
I agree with the majority. I doubt the rifle has ever shot better than that and for a general hunting rifle at the majority of hunting ranges even if it shot groups HALF that, the shooter would never know it....or likely care.

Neat old rifle.

God Bless
Steve
 
It is all your fault.

I usually think I have all I need.
And thinking about it, I think my thinking is sound.

But still I find myself thinking about a bigger safe and stuff to fill it with.

Probably most will rarely be taken out.

But having is better than needing

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350JR":18x70wx3 said:
It seems that as I grow older (and older, lol) the more interesting and appealing the majority of the rifles of yesteryear are to me.
I agree with the majority. I doubt the rifle has ever shot better than that and for a general hunting rifle at the majority of hunting ranges even if it shot groups HALF that, the shooter would never know it....or likely care.

Neat old rifle.

God Bless
Steve


You boys sure are all letting me off the hook easy enough for calling it quits early. That's alright though, I'll take it. (y) Saves primers.

Just to be clear, I've no qualms about an inch and 1/4 or 1.5" rifle that will just be used to moderate ranges. My 760 in 35 Rem shoots 1.250" with factory loads, and the same 1.250" with the same factory bullets but a much faster handload behind them. I can pretty much guarantee that will be the rifle I'm carrying again this yr up until my first deer, unless it's a heavy rain day.


But that's what that 760 rifle does with that setup...no better, no worse. I have about 15 shots into this 99 rifle including initial pressure test charges and zeroing the scope. But like you all say, that might be as good as it will do, and if it would do better he wouldn't notice anyways.
 
What do you want to hear?
I currently load for about 10 rifles, only 2 of them are mine.
I know only one of them shoots beyond 200 y.
Still it hurts my pride if they are not sub-moa.
And I don't stop before I get there, even if it is not necessary.
So yeah - 1,5 is probably better than it shot ever before and if the gent does his part, he is set up well!

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