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#6891636 - 09/18/17 09:57 PM Retro Surprises
jeffbird Online   content


Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 2388
Bought a rifle recently that was a real surprise to me in many ways with some lessons learned and relearned, the biggest surprise being that I bought a nice wood and blued rifle, which just does not happen anymore.

Have a young nephew, now 12 and growing fast, that has been using a R700 in 243. He asked if he could move up to something bigger, even though his 243 with Barnes TTSX has never let him down. My wife is my long time hunting buddy, and while she has only one rifle, it is very nice, but heavy. Thought it would be nice for her to have something nice, but light, to use.

By happenstance, I saw this 80's vintage R700 in 308 built by Sterling Davenport including a nice Zeiss scope and thought it would be a nice gift for both of them to go hunting with me. The seller had it listed for a crazy number, but had a note that said make an offer. Well, I thought what the heck, don't be afraid to make a fair offer. I offered what I thought it should be worth, which was substantially less than the asking price. We chatted back and forth a bit, and worked out an agreed price. Skipping some difficulties in the dialogue of the rifle not exactly matching the listing, notably having a factory R700 barrel which had been turned down and set back rather than a custom barrel as advertised being a big issue, I decided to give it go and see how it shot anyway.

Took it to the range and it sprayed bullets all over the place. Tried four different loads. Never had any 308 do this poorly, much less one actually built by a gunsmith. 308's usually are about the easiest of all rifles to make run well. Here was an example at 100 yards. This was after a good cleaning and checking for the correct torque on every screw.



Ok, looks like the gun is sick, not sure what is going on. Now thinking to myself - "Wood sucks. Remington sucks. Wood + Remington with a duplex reticle on it, just to remind how much they really suck too, is the trifecta of failure. Boy did I make a mistake. Now I remember why I quit using wood and blue rifles."

Table the project until I have some time. The seller agrees to pay for a new barrel since it was a factory Rem barrel rather than a custom aftermarket as advertised. So today, I am about to pack it up and send it off to a smith to rebarrel, but think, wait a minute. That Zeiss scope that came on it is nice and bright, but maybe the scope is sick and not the rifle?

Pull off the Zeiss that came on it, find a pic rail and a NF 2.5-10x42 and mount them up at the range this afternoon and give it a test drive. Three shots to zero, and here are the next three shots at 100 yards. Wow, I love this rifle! It instantly ties for one of my favorites.



So, just a reminder to myself, take a new (or new to me) rifle through one variable at a time, and have some patience. Use a known reliable scope to start off if possible, and definitely so if the rifle is not meeting expectations. Also, this reminds me of why I think Nightforce scopes are worth the price. This particular scope has a lot of rounds on it on some heavy recoiling rifles, but it runs like the day it was new. The Zeiss in comparison probably has not had even 100 rounds under it from looking at the minimal wear on the feed ramp. Reminder to self yet again, durability and reliabilty of function always are the most important factors for a scope.

Here is a nice photo at the end of the range trip this evening. Built by Sterling Davenport in the 80's. Note the replaced bolt handle, which is welded or brazed on, which is a nice touch. Hard to get a good photo of the stock, which is what he is known for.










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#6891641 - 09/18/17 10:00 PM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
Sneaky Offline
The "Grouch"

Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 17304
Loc: Winters
That's a sharp rig.
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#6891650 - 09/18/17 10:08 PM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
2Beez Online   happy
Chihuahua

Registered: 07/17/15
Posts: 7741
Loc: Lake Texoma, TX
Wow. What an improvement and you found it. Beautiful rifle up

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#6891693 - 09/18/17 11:10 PM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 11492
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Very nice, Jeff!!! I'd take those groups!!
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#6891713 - 09/18/17 11:45 PM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
kmon1 Offline
junior

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 22263
Loc: Texas
Agree VERY NICE STICK. From the pics looks like some nice wood on it. I am still a fan of blued steel and walnut.
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#6891725 - 09/19/17 12:21 AM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
CharlieSierraDelta Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 10/10/14
Posts: 233
Loc: Rockwall TX
That's an exceptional rifle. Good shooting as well.
Pretty sure Zeiss has a good warranty. Maybe send it in and see if they can repair?
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#6891793 - 09/19/17 06:00 AM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
Nogalus Prairie Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 22695
Loc: Corsicana
Great! Amazed the scope reticle was that "bouncy". Glad it all came together. Beautiful rifle!
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#6891798 - 09/19/17 06:12 AM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
Buzzsaw Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 10300
Loc: Frisco, Texas
find me one

crap, I never find these deals floating around
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#6891803 - 09/19/17 06:19 AM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
Buzzsaw Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 10300
Loc: Frisco, Texas
Love wood, reminds me of this one I once had. It now resides in a THF members safe


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#6891805 - 09/19/17 06:21 AM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
Nogalus Prairie Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 22695
Loc: Corsicana
You can come visit it anytime. smile
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Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.



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#6891896 - 09/19/17 08:08 AM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: Nogalus Prairie]
jeffbird Online   content


Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 2388
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
Great! Amazed the scope reticle was that "bouncy". Glad it all came together. Beautiful rifle!


That is the main reason I shared this story in case it might help others struggling with a rifle, when the trouble really is the scope.

Buzz, there definitely were quite a few hours of kicking myself over buying it until I figured out the problem.

CSD,

the scope is going back to the seller. He paid me for a replacement barrel, which turned out ok, but the scope was dead instead. Even if Zeiss repaired it, I still would not trust it, and would not sell it to someone else either. Nightforce NXS's have always worked and never let me down, despite far harder use. So sticking with what has proven reliable for me.

Thanks for the nice comments, always enjoy sharing and swapping notes with others here. Hope to have a photo with my wife and/or nephew with a deer with it to share too.

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#6892156 - 09/19/17 11:56 AM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
Judd Online   content


Registered: 01/22/09
Posts: 11409
Loc: Sachse, TX
Good looking rifle and good lesson you shared!
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#6892175 - 09/19/17 12:07 PM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
RiverRider Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 7290
Loc: Wise Co.
I agree...and I compliment you for being fair with the seller, too. Good show.
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#6892196 - 09/19/17 12:23 PM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 26311
Loc: Texas
Never had a gripe with how any of my remingtons shot. My sendero and 223 adl will do similar.
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#6892210 - 09/19/17 12:30 PM Re: Retro Surprises [Re: Nogalus Prairie]
Buzzsaw Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 10300
Loc: Frisco, Texas
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
You can come visit it anytime. smile


flehan hammer
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