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Mar 25th, 2012
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Retro Surprises #6891636
09/19/17 02:57 AM
09/19/17 02:57 AM
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jeffbird Offline OP
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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.











Professionally trained and certified pistol and license to carry instructor.
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891641
09/19/17 03:00 AM
09/19/17 03:00 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 19,105
Winters
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Sneaky Offline
The "Grouch"
Sneaky  Offline
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Winters
That's a sharp rig.


Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891650
09/19/17 03:08 AM
09/19/17 03:08 AM
Joined: Jul 2015
Posts: 11,848
Lake Texoma, TX
2Beez Online happy
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2Beez  Online Happy
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Lake Texoma, TX
Wow. What an improvement and you found it. Beautiful rifle up

Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891693
09/19/17 04:10 AM
09/19/17 04:10 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 13,889
Lewisville, TX
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ChadTRG42 Offline
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Very nice, Jeff!!! I'd take those groups!!



Custom and Precision Ammunition!!
www.DallasReloads.com
Type 01 and Type 06 FFL
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891713
09/19/17 04:45 AM
09/19/17 04:45 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 23,811
Texas
kmon1 Offline
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Agree VERY NICE STICK. From the pics looks like some nice wood on it. I am still a fan of blued steel and walnut.

Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891725
09/19/17 05:21 AM
09/19/17 05:21 AM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 288
Rockwall TX
CharlieSierraDelta Offline
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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?


Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891793
09/19/17 11:00 AM
09/19/17 11:00 AM
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Corsicana
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Nogalus Prairie Offline
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Great! Amazed the scope reticle was that "bouncy". Glad it all came together. Beautiful rifle!


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891798
09/19/17 11:12 AM
09/19/17 11:12 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 14,295
Frisco, Texas
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Buzzsaw Offline
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find me one

crap, I never find these deals floating around


"I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"
King George Strait


Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891803
09/19/17 11:19 AM
09/19/17 11:19 AM
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Frisco, Texas
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Buzzsaw Offline
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Love wood, reminds me of this one I once had. It now resides in a THF members safe




"I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"
King George Strait


Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6891805
09/19/17 11:21 AM
09/19/17 11:21 AM
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Nogalus Prairie Offline
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You can come visit it anytime. smile


Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.


Re: Retro Surprises [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6891896
09/19/17 01:08 PM
09/19/17 01:08 PM
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jeffbird Offline OP
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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.

Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6892156
09/19/17 04:56 PM
09/19/17 04:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 12,270
Wylie, TX
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Judd Online content
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Good looking rifle and good lesson you shared!


Originally Posted By: Phil Robertson
Don't let your ears hear what your eyes didn't see, and don't let your mouth say what your heart doesn't feel
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6892175
09/19/17 05:07 PM
09/19/17 05:07 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
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Wise Co.
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RiverRider Offline
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I agree...and I compliment you for being fair with the seller, too. Good show.




I'm here to give and receive knowledge, not affirmation or adoration. If you don't like it, mierda dura. Intellectual honesty is not for fragile egos.
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6892196
09/19/17 05:23 PM
09/19/17 05:23 PM
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Texas
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redchevy Offline
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Never had a gripe with how any of my remingtons shot. My sendero and 223 adl will do similar.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: Nogalus Prairie] #6892210
09/19/17 05:30 PM
09/19/17 05:30 PM
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Frisco, Texas
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Buzzsaw Offline
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Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
You can come visit it anytime. smile


flehan hammer


"I ain't here for a long time, I'm here for a good time"
King George Strait


Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6892576
09/19/17 10:08 PM
09/19/17 10:08 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
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Blanco texas
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505ed Offline
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I had one of Sterlings rifles in a 404...it was beautiful. I sold it on a whim and have offered the fellow that bought it from me a tidy profit--he still has it...good for you! Looks like a fine rig.

Ed

Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6893608
09/20/17 09:02 PM
09/20/17 09:02 PM
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Texas
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Smokey Bear Offline
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Very nice jeffbird! Back when I was a young man that was the kind of rifle we all longed for. Blue steel, high grade walnut, and exceptional accuracy. I like it!


Smokey Bear---Lone Star State.
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: Smokey Bear] #6893659
09/20/17 10:02 PM
09/20/17 10:02 PM
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jeffbird Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Smokey Bear
Very nice jeffbird! Back when I was a young man that was the kind of rifle we all longed for. Blue steel, high grade walnut, and exceptional accuracy. I like it!


I hear ya, and thank you. It is coming full circle for me, and a bit of a pleasant surprise to me as well. My dad's uncle gave me his 1950 Model 70 270 when I was a young boy, when he was older and "retiring" from hunting. All he asked was I send him some meat each year, which I did for many years. That rifle with a Lyman Alaskan 4x fixed scope was the only rifle I used for many, many years without any issues. Still have it, and ought to take it out again. So, I am always sympathetic to the guys saying they have a M70/R700 with a Leupold 3-9 and it works well enough. But, I've seen how much better some equipment is now and really enjoy the increased level of precision the better built rifle, better optics, and better ammo provides. So, this rifle is a nice combination of the old school feel combined with high level performance. Going to hand this one off to my nephew, so there is a nice tradition to pass on. He lives in California, so he leaves his rifle in my safe. I'll have to make sure it does not sit idle and rust. wink


Professionally trained and certified pistol and license to carry instructor.
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6893711
09/20/17 10:39 PM
09/20/17 10:39 PM
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In the Right lane
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I have owned a few of the Zeiss Conquests and had two bad ones which Zeiss replaced but took forever to get them back. I now own none now but they are not bad ....
but like you I don't trust them now.


"Anyone taking up handloading necessarily plays with unknown factors and takes chances. But so does anyone who drives a car,goes to a cocktail party,eats in a restaurant,or gets married."

Jack O'Connor 1963
Re: Retro Surprises [Re: jeffbird] #6894058
09/21/17 04:13 AM
09/21/17 04:13 AM
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Texas
kmon1 Offline
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"I'll have to make sure it does not sit idle and rust. " I bet your wife can make sure that doesn't happen if she likes the rifle. cheers

As to Conquests I have one and so far it has never let me down. The one I have is an early model and made in Germany. Foer a while Conquests were assembled here then with the HP line assembly went back to Germany.

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