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Having second thoughts about trading up on my 30-30AI Login/Join 



Picture of J A
posted
I've had a Bullberry 30-30 AI carbine barrel on order for quite a little while and it's still delayed because of barrel blank availability. It's to replace my factory re-chambered barrel but I have to wonder if I really want to go through with it. The Bullberry would be a better quality barrel with a cleaner chamber but my current barrel (butt-ugly bore notwithstanding) keeps turning in 1/2 to 3/4 inch groups.
My standard load with Varget and 125 gr Sierra SPs hit 3-shots at about 3/4" at 100 yards from a cold barrel today at the range and that's been pretty much the routine since it broke in.

 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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It doesn't even seem to matter that all the bullets aren't the same - I got right at a half inch group with two 125 gr Nosler BTs and one 125 gr Sierra SP. Smile

 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of rickt301
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Well as long as it shoots like that it is hard to justify spending $400. to replace it. How many rounds before you have to clean it to keep it shooting?
 
Posts: 131 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 16, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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quote:
Originally posted by rickt301:
Well as long as it shoots like that it is hard to justify spending $400. to replace it. How many rounds before you have to clean it to keep it shooting?

I know, right!? Big Grin
As ragged and nasty as the S & W-machined bore was when I got it (new), I expected that I wouldn't get many rounds at all before fouling started opening up groups but after a few dozen rounds of break-in and several hard cleanings, I haven't messed with it and it's still shooting great. I was frankly surprised taking it out for the first time since last deer season and not even bothering with a bore-patch that it's shooting like it is. Smile
Very likely that if I was shooting fifty or a hundred rounds per session, I'd have trouble, but testing loads a dozen or two at a time for a few sessions a year hasn't been enough to cause any fouling trouble.
 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post


061822



Picture of BT
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Butt-uglies are fun in their own way. I agree, might be unnecessary to give up on that barrel.


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Posts: 1824 | Location: Mid-MO | Registered: March 30, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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quote:
Originally posted by BT:
Butt-uglies are fun in their own way. I agree, might be unnecessary to give up on that barrel.

Even now after a lot of rounds down the tube have slicked it up quite a bit it still makes me queasy to look down the barrel at the machine marks. I swear it looks like it was bored with a hammer drill and masonry bit! Big Grin Big Grin
 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post


112722



Picture of Left Hand Dave
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A few points to ponder. I see pictures of the groups your barrel shot but no pictures of the bore indicating how it shoots is more important to you then what the bore looks like. You appear to and should, be happy with how it shoots even with an ugly bore. Would you be just as happy if it shot ugly groups and had a perfect bore? In all the time you have spent on shooting and hunting forums how many pics of, “Wallet groups” have you seen compared to pics of, “Wallet bore photos?”
I believe I would keep the barrel because it does everything you want it to and Chang your new barrel order to a different chambering you have always wanted. Two great shooting barrels is better than one.

Dave

One other thing. If you decide the ugly barrel isn’t pretty enough and replace it send me an email with an ugly barrel price for your old one to the email in my profile.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Left Hand Dave,
 
Posts: 451 | Location: Ohio | Registered: February 27, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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quote:
Originally posted by Left Hand Dave:
A few points to ponder. I see pictures of the groups your barrel shot but no pictures of the bore indicating how it shoots is more important to you then what the bore looks like. You appear to and should, be happy with how it shoots even with an ugly bore. Would you be just as happy if it shot ugly groups and had a perfect bore? In all the time you have spent on shooting and hunting forums how many pics of, “Wallet groups” have you seen compared to pics of, “Wallet bore photos?”
I believe I would keep the barrel because it does everything you want it to and Chang your new barrel order to a different chambering you have always wanted. Two great shooting barrels is better than one.

Dave

One other thing. If you decide the ugly barrel isn’t pretty enough and replace it send me an email with an ugly barrel price for your old one to the email in my profile.

Yep, you're reading my mind. Smile I ordered the Bullberry based on the expectation that this barrel, though shooting well early on would start to give trouble with groups opening up due to fouling. After a lot more rounds and no further cleanings, it's proving me wrong and I'm not seeing any issues in that department.
Since the order process has been so long with no indication that barrel blank availability is getting better, I may just have to get moving in another direction and grudgingly admit that this barrel has completely fooled me and will continue to work better than expected. Smile
On the one hand, it seems exciting to start shopping for a different caliber and barrel but there seems to be such a shortage that I may be in the same boat starting over with a new build. Big Grin I'll give Troy a call today and see what looks like a good choice in terms of getting something in a reasonable time. Smile
 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Sounds like you have it figured out. Looks like your barrel is doing fine in the shooting dept.
 
Posts: 915 | Location: Ga. | Registered: January 28, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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You can't find fault with accuracy like that, and there's no guarantee a custom barrel will do better or even match what you already have. I'd keep it and put the custom barrel $$ to other shooting or reloading applications.
 
Posts: 4730 | Location: Shiner TX USA | Registered: November 02, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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So I'm checking for fouling just to be a little conscientious and I got a good pic. There's not too much fouling considering I haven't cleaned the barrel since before last deer season and have been to the range with it a handful of times testing loads. You can clearly see the ridges in the bore though and it's like that up and down the whole length.
But...beauty is as beauty does, I guess. Big Grin

 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Dang...those tool marks are strong indeed! But all you have to do is turn to the photo of the target, and you forget about those tool marks in a hurry. Big Grin
 
Posts: 4730 | Location: Shiner TX USA | Registered: November 02, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
You can't find fault with accuracy like that, and there's no guarantee a custom barrel will do better or even match what you already have. I'd keep it and put the custom barrel $$ to other shooting or reloading applications.

^^^This. The only "possible" you might gain from a custom barrel is that the custom barrel might shoot additional loads well whereas the factory barrel "might" be limited to shooting only those 2 loads well. OTOH, how many accurate loads do you need? Shoot the factory barrel, clean it when you feel lead to and quit looking down the bore. laugh


Good luck and good hunting.
 
Posts: 1658 | Location: Springhill, LA | Registered: November 16, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post


112722



Picture of Left Hand Dave
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You know, that’s part of what makes reloading and shooting so much fun. We think after chasing accuracy for decades we know how it all works and then poof the rules go out the window. Think about how boring it would all be if no load work up was needed, all barrels/firearms were perfect from the factory and we all did the same thing every time because it worked. It looks like you have a bumblebee barrel, it shouldn’t be able to do what it does but it certainly does. That makes it a gem in its own way. Confusion can be fun and more interesting than having all the answers.
 
Posts: 451 | Location: Ohio | Registered: February 27, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I looked at the pics of the groups a lot longer than I looked at the pic of the bore. Having said that, I'll buy that junky barrel if you ever get tired of looking at the tool marks in the bore.
 
Posts: 102 | Location: louisiana | Registered: November 09, 2020Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of Leupold Man
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I say don't mess with what is working. I wouldn't get rid of accuracy to try to find it again.


---------------------------------
Veteran and NRA Life Member
 
Posts: 2724 | Location: Waterloo Wisconsin | Registered: October 22, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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Well, I talked to Troy at Bullberry and canceled my order.
Though, when it comes down to it, there didn't seem to be much danger of it being filled any time soon because of total lack of availability of suitable barrel blanks.
He didn't have any blanks that would allow me to change my order to some other chambering and keep my place in line so I'll just skip the custom barrel for a while and make do with my current (and extremely adequate) lineup of barrel choices. Smile
 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I have a feeling we'll be seeing that barrel in a photo soon -- alongside a nice plump whitetail or a big hog!

I am glad you are keeping it.
 
Posts: 4730 | Location: Shiner TX USA | Registered: November 02, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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I took a couple of does with it last season at my brother's lease and this year I'll spend some time at my son's new place patrolling for hogs. If it hadn't already proved it's usefulness, I'd never have let that 6.5 BB find its way to your house. Big Grin Big Grin
 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I would love and cherish that barrel and put it to bed gently every night while telling it bedtime stories.
 
Posts: 171 | Location: pacific northwest | Registered: January 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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quote:
Originally posted by justbent:
I would love and cherish that barrel and put it to bed gently every night while telling it bedtime stories.


Cool
 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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I found that I had mixed up a bunch of ammo and after sorting it out as best as I could, I took several rounds to the range to be sure I could be confident of which was which. I had a 125 BT load that I know hits in the same group as my main hunting load, the 125 SPs (Sierra, I think). Also a couple of old versions of that load with different primers, different brass. I threw in a 150 grain Interbond and a couple of 125gr Speer Varminter loads that have been taking up space.
Bottom line is that any load I've put together in the last several years and thrown into the chamber would easily nail a deer, even a neck shot, at a hundred yards without any compensation at all. Big Grin Big Grin

The cold barrel threw the Ballistic Tip a little high (the lead tip,spire point bullets don't seem to exhibit that habit), the 125 SP loads continue to hit routinely within about a half inch of where the crosshairs are placed on any hundred yard target, the Varminters could do with their own scope adjustment but will obviously go 1/2 MOA and maybe best of all, the 150 grainer hits in the exact same point of aim as the 125 grain bullets.

So the winning formula is basically 38 grains of Varget plus pretty much any case plus pretty much any primer plus pretty much any bullet. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

This message has been edited. Last edited by: J A,

 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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Do a little internet searching and read some of the Savage barrel stories, some barrels are so rough they nearly snag a patch and still shoot MO or better. Same with muzzle crowning. Much as I like perfect machining with no marks, I am beginning to wonder if having everything on the same axis might be more important. And, how about changing the CBTO 2 or3 thousands will open or close a group.

BUT, once you get a barrel shooting....what fun is it?

Bill
 
Posts: 137 | Location: WNY | Registered: January 04, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Picture of J A
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quote:
BUT, once you get a barrel shooting....what fun is it?

You're not wrong! laugh
My 6.5 Bullberry was downright boring after I settled on a load it liked. I hunted year after year and did nothing but deprime and necksize a few cases every now and then and load the same bullet and same charge and shoot deer. Smile
Anything further was just wasting components. The good thing about that one is that when it went to work, it was like a well honed tool. Just didn't have to think about it. This round is proving to be the same sort of deal. Smile

I had a Bullberry 15" 6.5TCU that was literally boring to shoot and since I didn't hunt with it, there was little reason to keep around except to make noise and ragged holes and burn up powder. Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin It was impressive, though! Smile
 
Posts: 2587 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: March 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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quote:
Originally posted by WNY Bill:
Do a little internet searching and read some of the Savage barrel stories, some barrels are so rough they nearly snag a patch and still shoot MO or better. Same with muzzle crowning. Much as I like perfect machining with no marks, I am beginning to wonder if having everything on the same axis might be more important. And, how about changing the CBTO 2 or3 thousands will open or close a group.

BUT, once you get a barrel shooting....what fun is it?

Bill


I've had a few Savage barrels that look like the barrel was drilled and rifled with a hand axe. Most shot "ok" for a few rounds (would have passed their QC check of 3 or 5 shots), but steadily opened up to spray shotgun patterns.

I kept one though, my cheapest of all, Stevens 200 in 223. Couldn't get it to shoot worth beans until I realized that all of my "good" groups were my starting loads. Worked up a very mild load with a 50 gr Vmax that shot so good I decided not to rebarrel it.
 
Posts: 896 | Location: Bismarck, ND | Registered: December 02, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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