Rifle Zero Performance Question

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  • radarman

    Member
    Feb 6, 2023
    19
    Washington DC
    Took my new Anschutz bolt action .222 turkey rifle to the range for zeroing yesterday. After zeroing at 100 yards with standard Remington 50 Gr. PSP, I fired multiple set of targets from a turret at 100 yards with similar results. Three Remingtons, a single round of PPU SP 50 Gr and then a round of custom Hendershot ammo loaded with 50 Gr. Hornady V-max bullet. The results are attached and I was suprised by them. The three in the red are all Remington, black is PPU and green is Hendershot. This was a consistent result over several targets. Is this normal? Should this rifle be that sensitive to ammunition brand or bullet type? That's 2.5 and 3.5 inches off center.

    .222 is becoming difficult to find. It would be nice to have options.
     

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    4g64loser

    Bad influence
    Jan 18, 2007
    6,985
    maryland
    The very short answer is yes this happens. Same projectile weight is not a guarantee of the ammo shooting to the same POI.
     

    Uncle Duke

    Ultimate Member
    MDS Supporter
    Feb 2, 2013
    11,991
    Not Far Enough from the City
    Point of impact shift when changing ammunition is the norm, rather than the exception. Sometimes, the shift can be rather "extreme." As similar as your ammunition seems, save the nominal bullet weight, each load is in fact entirely different. As such, barrel harmonics when firing each load will be different as well.
     

    radarman

    Member
    Feb 6, 2023
    19
    Washington DC
    Two suggestions:
    1) Buy more Remington ammo, same lot if possible
    2) Adjust your camera's Date/Time stamp :-)
    That's my plan now. Remington.com has the ammo but a problem shipping to my address. No one else on-line has it in stock that I can find. I'll try and fix the address issue next week.

    Not sure what you see wrong about the date. 9/30/23

    Thanks everyone.
     

    Blacksmith101

    Grumpy Old Man
    Jun 22, 2012
    22,616
    You can also zero the rifle with each type of ammo and record the settings then you will know what sight settings to use for each ammo.
     

    BFMIN

    Ultimate Member
    Nov 5, 2010
    2,973
    Eastern shore
    Perfectly normal.
    Zero with what you intend to shoot.
    call that "master zero" if you like.
    Dial off for all ammo deviations from thjis "master Zero".
     

    JasonD67

    Active Member
    Jan 23, 2021
    196
    Annapolis
    My Ruger American in .223 is very sensitive to ammo. With the ammo it likes best, it sub-MOA if I do my part. If I use another brand of (expensive) ammo with the same bullet type and weight, it can easily open up to 2 MOA. You have to find what your rifle likes and stick to it.
     

    holesonpaper

    Active Member
    Mar 10, 2017
    962
    Hazzard county
    Will concur with others - some variation between bullets is expected however more experienced shooters than I, have said that it's hard to make any concrete findings based upon 5 shots. You need to increase the sample size before drawling conclusions. Brian Litz has a number of good articles/books as such.
     

    gtodave

    Member
    MDS Supporter
    Aug 14, 2007
    14,932
    Mt Airy
    I would shoot a few groups with each type and see which one has the tightest group, then zero for that brand. Assuming you can get more of whatever brand that ends up being. Inconsistency between brands/loads is normal. Inconsistency within a brand/load is no good.
     

    atblis

    Ultimate Member
    May 23, 2010
    2,111
    IMO that’s not normal. The only time I’ve had “extreme” shifts with different bullets/loads was with very fast twist barrels intended for subsonic use and it’s never straight to the right.

    Shooter error, optic or mounts compromised,…

    Sample size depends on what it is to be determined with what confidence. An extreme shift like this could likely be verified with a couple shots per ammo type.
     

    Doco Overboard

    Ultimate Member
    I think it’s perfectly normal for point of impact to shift between differing lots of even the same ammo.
    The barrel of the rifle starts moving before the bullet has even met its seat in the throat of the rifle.
    What I would do is make a record once you determine what brand of ammo you decide upon using.
    Picture the muzzle moving about in a circular pattern that’s inside the beam of a flashlight.
    Cone of dispersion based on external and internal ballistic conditions.
    Even with the same lot of ammo, detailed records for each outing can be used to make sight adjustments based on conditions.
    Whelen’s second printing of design and ballistics goes into great detail for understanding operating conditions surrounding shoulder fired weapons.
     

    atblis

    Ultimate Member
    May 23, 2010
    2,111
    I suspect if you separate the barrel vibration into a vertical and horizontal component, you’ll find the vertical component is much much stronger. This can be observed doing ladder tests. Shooting max to min loads changes the vertical point of impact, but affects horizontal hardly at all. A large shift in horizontal point of impact is suspect. Shooting technique would be the first thing I’d check.

    To the OP, have you looked online for 222 ammo? I don’t remember it being hard to find.
     

    Bountied

    Ultimate Member
    Apr 6, 2012
    7,515
    Pasadena
    You shot 3 shots with one ammo then only one shot with the other two? I would try shooting 3 rounds of each. If they all group but at different POI then it's the ammo. I have seen this with my .22. Same velocities, same bullet weight, different POI. I go for consistency then zero to the ammo that has the tightest group with the best SD.
     

    radarman

    Member
    Feb 6, 2023
    19
    Washington DC
    I've finally accumulated a good amout of different brands of ammo and I plan to go back to the range this weekend. My first goal is has been suggested will be to try and see how each brand groups with multiple shots regardless of zero point. The gun is in a stable turret so I don't believe there's any shooting error causing this. Remington was consistently in the red on multiple targets after zeroing. I can live with sticking to 1 brand if that's the answer. Any .222 bullet style will take a turkey easily.

    Atblis: There is some .222 ammo on line. You just need to scrounge around more than normal to find it in stock. No local gun stores carry it anymore.
     
    Sep 28, 2023
    51
    Darnestown, MD
    In my humble experience, extreme variations in the POI for different types of ammo are more common in slender barrels than in thick walled barrels. And, yes, that is due to harmonics in the barrel.
    There are several Anschütz models chambered in 0.222", so there is no way to ascertain if the variation observed is extreme or not. It would be extreme for a varmint barrel, it would be almost expected for an "ultra-light" barrel.

    I second the suggestion to shoot AT LEAST 5 three shot groups before calling a particular style/brand "the one".
    This will take time, because you will need to clean the barrel between types of ammo and also ensure that the barrel is a "cold bore" before shooting the next group. Unless you want to keep track of where the first/cold bore shot is going and then reacting accordingly.
    Now, Midway shows three types of ammo available in their website, I would like to save you the time to look for it, but IIRC, links are hard to post, so just google it. They have Hornady, Fiocchi and Lapua. Between $24 and $47 per box.

    Now, I KNOW that Anschütz tells everyone to use factory ammo and not reloads, but your situation would seem to be the ideal situation to start reloading. You may already have some used cases to start with, a Lee loader will get you started for less than the price of a box of ammo.
    I located a Lee Loader for $50 in the caliber in question at the auction site, and setting up to load will not cost you a lot:
    $37 for 1# of powder (since accuracy loads in this caliber usually use 25-25 grs with 40-45 grs projectiles, you can get 280 loads out of a 1# canister of powder.
    The 45 grs. bullets cost $28/100
    Primers are $94 for 1,000

    At the pressures that the 222 Rem operates, cases should last dozens of reloads (specially with a neck-only sizing die like the Lee Loader).
    For a total of $347 you get your first 100 rounds, and you still have powder enough for another 180, primers for a lot more, and the dies.
    So, not only the availability of ammo gets solved, you also get a lot more room for practice.

    AND, as you advance, in the practice, you may start "customizing" loads for different purposes.

    Just one idea....

    Another idea would be to get a good gunsmith to look into re-chambering the rifle to 0.223/5.56X45, and then all your woes about ammo are gone. Some ammo is so inexpensive as to make reloading a non-issue.
    The bolt head is the same, the case length to mouth is only 0.060" longer for the 223, and the OAL cartridge length is 0.130" longer. Your gunsmith would have to look into the magazine size.
    It may not be possible. Again, there are many models in that chambering.
    If you go this route, do insist on getting appropriate barrel markings.

    Just another idea...

    Keep well and shoot straight!






    HM
     

    radarman

    Member
    Feb 6, 2023
    19
    Washington DC
    Midway shows three types of ammo available in their website, I would like to save you the time to look for it, but IIRC, links are hard to post, so just google it. They have Hornady, Fiocchi and Lapua. Between $24 and $47 per box.


    Another idea would be to get a good gunsmith to look into re-chambering the rifle to 0.223/5.56X45, and then all your woes about ammo are gone. Some ammo is so inexpensive as to make reloading a non-issue.
    The bolt head is the same, the case length to mouth is only 0.060" longer for the 223, and the OAL cartridge length is 0.130" longer. Your gunsmith would have to look into the magazine size.
    It may not be possible. Again, there are many models in that chambering.
    If you go this route, do insist on getting appropriate barrel markings.

    Just another idea...

    Keep well and shoot straight!


    HM
    I did purchse a few boxes of the Hornady from Midway last week. They'll be on the menu this weekend as well.

    I felt the factory loads of .223 were too heavy for turkey at ranges under 75 yards. Lots of meat lost. I really should be using a .22 Hornet but I did need something for coyotees as well, which infest any good turkey spot. The .222 and .204 fill that gap nicely.

    I'm retiring next year and may find the time to take up reloading. Probably beats shopping with wife.

    Thanks for all the suggestions.
     

    4g64loser

    Bad influence
    Jan 18, 2007
    6,985
    maryland
    You can load 223 and 222 (in good modern bolt guns) to higher or lower levels of performance. When my buddy ran a 222 and I a 12 twist 223, my muzzle velocity with sedate plinking loads wasn't much higher than his. My 40gr benchmark load was a LOT faster than he could achieve with his 222 but it was also outside of 223 book max.

    If you want to pop turkeys, a buddy in WV loads up 46gr speer flat points over Alliant 2400. Basically clones 22 hornet performance in a 223. Been his turkey load for decades (he's now retired). It apparently works well. He uses his 223 with full power loads (55s) for coyote and groundhog.
     

    Bountied

    Ultimate Member
    Apr 6, 2012
    7,515
    Pasadena
    You can load 223 and 222 (in good modern bolt guns) to higher or lower levels of performance. When my buddy ran a 222 and I a 12 twist 223, my muzzle velocity with sedate plinking loads wasn't much higher than his. My 40gr benchmark load was a LOT faster than he could achieve with his 222 but it was also outside of 223 book max.

    If you want to pop turkeys, a buddy in WV loads up 46gr speer flat points over Alliant 2400. Basically clones 22 hornet performance in a 223. Been his turkey load for decades (he's now retired). It apparently works well. He uses his 223 with full power loads (55s) for coyote and groundhog.
    I may be a layman but I've never heard of using a rifle cartridge for turkey hunting? I've always used a shotgun. I'll need to look into this rifle turkey load. Wouldn't a well placed .22lr to the dome achieve the same effect.?
     

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