Educational Zone #5 – Solving Accuracy Problems with Handloading

Some of you may remember when I posted on AR15.com about finally finding and buying a clean 1917 Enfield. 

Mine is a great example of this weapon. I have seen many in museums that are not anywhere near as clean.

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The problem is that, like almost all examples of this rifle, the bore is pretty well shot. This rifle was manufactured and used during the days of corrosive primers, and the users usually didn’t wash the bores with soapy water as required before oiling for storage. This played havoc with the rifling.

I cleaned mine as best I could, but looking down the bore would make you want to cry. The only way one of these rifles will have a good bore is if it was either never shot or it was properly cleaned (not likely), or if it has a replacement barrel. Mine has the original.

Well, I loaded up some 147 gr Military Ball Spitzers, just like the original loading and went to the range. It didn’t shoot “groups”, it shot “patterns”.

Some of these patterns were 12 to 18 inches at 50 yards. I even noticed a couple of side-ways holes that indicated the bullets were tumbling.

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So, I then decided to try a different bullet, a Hornady 165 grain Spire Point. 

The one of the left is a standard 147 grain military ball. The one on the right is the Hornady.

Notice the longer “bearing surface” of the Hornady. This was what I was looking for in a bullet. This might give the shallow rifling a chance to make a “purchase” on the bullet and stabilize it. 

At the range, the Hornady bullets shot into groups of 3 to 4 inches at 50 yards. 

That’s not too bad for 56 year old eyes.

Conclusion:
Just goes to show that if you handload, you can solve some accuracy problems.

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