Figured Out My Flyers

Snakeoil

Active Member
Was not sure if I should continue an older thread or start a new one. Figured I'd start a new one. For anyone who read previous posts regarding my 1903 Springfield and unexplained flyers at various yardages, including 100 yds., I have gotten to the bottom of the problem.

Yesterday, I made a new bulb (obsolete) for my old cystoscope (borescope) and took a good hard look down the bore. To recap, I have slugged my bore twice. Groove diameter is 0.311 and bore is 0.303. Yes, oversize. I now am sure that it was made this way at Springfield. Who knows why. Initially, I was pleased with the rifle. We shoot out to 500 yds at Wilton and I did okay as a general rule. But some days I had unexplained flyers. Normally, my spotter who is a very seasoned Class F, Palma, and military team shooter and I working together can figure out the mirage and the wind to make appropriate corrections between shots. But some days I would have rounds a foot or two, maybe more off target and it did not correspond to what the conditions said to expect. I started experimenting with different bullets, borrowing molds from guys at the club. I would get good if not great single digit standard deviations, yet would still have flyers. Needless to say, there was no shortage of opinions on why it was happening. Guys at Wilton are all very supportive. Everyone wants the other guy to get better.

Looking down my bore from either the muzzle or the breech showed a shiny as glass bore, with crisp rifling. Surely the barrel should shoot. Well the borescope told the true story. Looking directly at the bore with the scope was like looking at a polished version of the moon. The lands are pitted badly. The groove are also pitted, but not quite as bad as the lands. I did find two spots where the grooves were pristine and wished the rest of the rifle looked that good. But alas, it does not.

So, it looks like a rebarrel is in my future. Rifle is drilled for a Lyman 48 as well as a Lyman STS. It was made in 1921 yet is wearing a C stock. and that stock is not original to the rifle based upon the inletting. So, she's a shooter for sure and might as well make her a good shooter. I could spend money on another 03, but it won't be cheap and I'll still have a gun that has an old barrel. I found a NOS High Standard barrel in the cosmoline and Criterion is another option. The Criterion barrel is cheaper, but required finished chamber reaming so I suspect the end cost is a wash. Plus HS barrels are said to be the best of the non-Springfield Armory star gauged barrels.

I keep looking down the bore from the muzzle, knowing how it really looks and damn if that barrel doesn't look perfect from that view. Oh well.

regards,
Rob
 

Ben

Moderator
Staff member
The bore scope and the targets down range get the final word.

Looks like a new barrel is in order.

Ben
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Hi-Standard made excellent WW2 barrels, but they still are WW2 barrels. The advantage is that if you ever want to shoot cast bullet matches with the CBA, you are required to have GI barrels, no after market. If it is a new barrel, it will also have to be finished reamed to headspace, unless the lugs have set back in the last 99 years.

Criterion barrels are of excellent quality and modern steel. You can shoot at least twice as many jacketed bullets from one than a GI. Since they are allowed in the CMP matches, they make lots of them and out shoot original GI barrels by a wide margin. No one who expects to place in CMP matches would use an original barrel. It will also have to be head spaced for the bolt/action combination.

So your choice is original as a rebuilt rifle? or a strictly match piece?
 

Snakeoil

Active Member
"Since they are allowed in the CMP matches, they make lots of them and out shoot original GI barrels by a wide margin."

That's great input. Thanks. I've struggled to get someone to make a statement like that other than guys selling the barrels. I have no problem paying to have the gun done. Have several quotes for fitting a CBA barrel and it is reasonable. I want a good shooter. That's all this gun will ever be now. I would only sell it if I had to live on Cheerios and tree bark. And with the stock market like it is, I just may start hoarding Cheerios. The barrel will never see a jacketed bullet unless something changes in my shooting.

I also looked at White Oak barrels. They are about a third more expensive than CBA and come in the white. I struggle with them being that much better. They need to be finish reamed as well.

You may have just helped me make up my mind. One of the rubs is the 03 has the rear sight collar which my research indicates can be a bear to remove. Nobody was very clear or leaked any secrets to getting them off. Supposedly there is some type of asphaltic material between the collar and the barrel. My Plan B would be to get an 03A3 handguard and ring and not put the collar on. What I read said the collars are often damaged during removal. I found replicas on Gun Parts. But I could care less about that rear sight with a 48M on the back of mine. I use the STS more than anything if the match permits.
 
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Snakeoil

Active Member
Well, I can't be 100% sure, Ian. But the bore is really rough. So heaven knows what the bullet looks like when it exits. Another area that is pretty beat up is the throat/lead into the rifling. The lead is no longer a uniform ramp.

I understand that their are many variables that could be causing the flyers, including operator error. I'm in the process of reaching out to a very qualified rifle smith. I want him to look over the rifle and see what he thinks. I've checked all the obvious suspects. Stock and furniture is not touching the barrel in any location. Crown looks good. Try to maintain the same position on the rest. Try to maintain the same shooting position, grip, etc. I have been shooting every round over a chrono. Flyers are checked for variation in velocity and very often there is a velocity change that relates to the flyer. I know we have discussed 2400 being position sensitive. But I'm shooting with a number of guys using the same load and they are not having this problem. Many have been using 2400 in a number of calibers and they do not agree with the opinion that it is position sensitive. They actually got a very surprised look on their faces when I first mentioned it. Some are Scheutzen guys too. But I'm still taking that into consideration. But when I shoot a string of 5 with an SC of 7fps, I don't expect powder induced flyers.

Weather has not been very conducive to long range tests. And now C19 has pretty much curtailed any shooting. Clubs are open, but it's not worth the risk. Being in Albany and having the greatest concentration of cases in NYC, I'm sticking around the house until the dust settles.

I was reading about bullet traps the other day with this issue in mind. I liked the vertical pipe full of water. But no place to do it, especially this time of year. I'd love to recover a handful of bullets shot out of this rifle to see that they look like when they exit. Unfortunately, none of my friends are willing to catch 4 of 5 in their teeth. Damn sissies. I'd do it, but I don't trust any of them to not aim between my eyes.
 
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Ian

Notorious member
You looked really far and wide at a lot of things, but from what I can tell missed a couple of really important ones. Bullet lubricant being one.

If the barrel will group acceptably minus the flyers, lube could well be the culprit. The best-shooting rifle in my safe has a barrel that fits the description of yours exept the throat is in pretty good shape.

A new barrel would of course be nice, especially if you can get one closer to "proper" bore/groove dimensions) but it may have its own challenges too during break-in.
 

Snakeoil

Active Member
I'm using a BP lube. It is an old Paul Matthews recipe. Crisco, beeswax, Neatsfoor oil, and Murphy's oil soap. My velocities are in the 1500 fps range, +/- 100 fps depending on bullet and load. Leading does not seem to be an issue.
 

Ian

Notorious member
Leading wouldn't be the issue. But I think your lube choice is the main problem, especially after learning what you've been using.
 

fiver

Well-Known Member
it will change viscosity depending on and with the temperature.
I'd almost bet it hides on the little pits then gets pulled out or pushed out when it builds up or as the heat allows it to change and get pushed out.

in effect your changing the amount of lube in the barrel from bullet to bullet until it clears itself out.
minimal,,, minimal, minimal,,,,,crap.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
You may have just helped me make up my mind. One of the rubs is the 03 has the rear sight collar which my research indicates can be a bear to remove. Nobody was very clear or leaked any secrets to getting them off. Supposedly there is some type of asphaltic material between the collar and the barrel. My Plan B would be to get an 03A3 handguard and ring and not put the collar on. What I read said the collars are often damaged during removal. I found replicas on Gun Parts. But I could care less about that rear sight with a 48M on the back of mine. I use the STS more than anything if the match permits.
Wrong! Wrong! The rear sight fixed base is a light press fit upon the barrel. On the bottom is a cross pin, almost under the hinge pin of the sight. It is polished over before the barrel is finished! With a magnifying glass, look for it, even if you have to sand off the finish. It is easy to drive off with a punch.

If you want to put the sight on a new barrel, the barrel will have to be turned to the exact diameter of the fixed sight base. That is plan B. Plan A is to put an 03A3 barrel on it and not worry about the fixed sight base. My first match rifle, that I won the modified iron sight nationals, was set up that way, O3A3 barrel with Lyman 48 for a rear sight on a 1928 action.

The worse Criterion barrel is better than the best SA barrel ever made. IMHO

PM if you have questions, as I will take pictures and get any data you need. Just don't try to drive off the fixed rear base. The barrel has value to resell if you don't screw it up for collectors.

Ric
 

Snakeoil

Active Member
Thanks Ric. I am familiar with the hidden pin. The discussions I read on the CMP forum were pretty detailed until it came to how they actually got the collar off the old barrel.

I mentioned your comments to others at the club that shoot and collect high end (NM and NRA) Springfields and they don't think too much of Criterion barrels. Cheap junk was one comment. Another was if you are going to put a quality modern barrel on a Springfield, it will be a Krieger.

CMP only goes out to 200 yds if I am not mistaken. What kind of MOA do you and others shoot with the CBA barrels. Another one of my shooting buddies has a sub-1 MOA 5 shot target shot with his Remington 03A3 at 200 yds. I struggle with a Criterion doing better than that. I'm a retired engineer and I like data. The trouble with opinions is they are like belly buttons.

Before the club shut down for C19, they ran a St. Paddy's Day match at 300, 400 and 500 yds shot thru windows again. Match is 10 at 300, 5 at 400 and 500. There were 8 shooters with scoped rifles. Only one was modern, a Tikka in .308. The rest were Springfields and one had a Criterion barrel. The top 3 finishers all shot 19/20 and all hit 10/10 at 300 yds (12 inch gong). Winner shot an original 03 and the other two shot all original 03A3 with Unertls. The shooter with the Tikka, who is damn good, shot at 17/20 . The shooter with the Criterion Springfield and is a superb and consistent shooter, shot a 9/20. There were only two shooters with iron sights, both shot 1917 Enfields and shot 8/20 and 9/20. If that were the only data I had, it would not speak well for Criterion vs. original.

Ian, I understand what you are saying. And I'm not arguing. But I'm struggling with the theory. Normally, I would say that my lube is pretty consistent stuff. It's soft and does not require a heater to push thru the lubrisizer. But you do have me thinking a bit. I was shooting the rifle in matches during the warmer months. It did okay, or at least I thought it did. I started to notice issues when we started having special matches shot indoors thru windows, but still in the winter. It could be the lube properties are changing just enough to do what you say is happening.

I may have a stick of Lyman lube in my reloading bench. I know I got one with the sizer years ago and never used it. I have a hunk of aluminum plate that is intended to make a heater for my sizer. I may just make that heater today. If I can find that stick of Lube, I'll give it a try. I am also going to talked to the guy that shot that great group with his 03A3 and ask what lube he is using. I know he buys his lube.

If you are correct, the pits are playing a role. Finding a lube that will not collect in the pits will be much harder than eliminating the pits with a new barrel. In the meantime, I will talk to the other guys and see what lubes they are using. I'll be back.

And I appreciate everyone's input here. If I push back, it is just my nature since I always look for hard data to support any claim or theory. You don't know what you don't know so back-up info fosters a better understanding. I spent my career as a consultant in the power generation world and you could not guess or accept theories without a basis. You have a lot of incentive in the form of angry subscribers and politicians when the lights are out, that requires one to know rather than guess.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
First I realize that CMP is suppose to be "experts", or at least Lynn Meredith, my experience differs at times. After you have removed the pin, put a good penetrant at front and back of fixed rear sight base and wait 24 hours. There is no glue, just dried WW2 and earlier "light gun oil". Heat the FRSB with a heat gun for 60 seconds. With the sight leaf up, put the barrel in a padded vice and drive the base forward with a heavy brass square stock, or shaped hard wood punch. Nobody talks about it because half will be ruined taking them off. They were never meant to be removed but stayed on as the barrel was scrapped.

CBA matches are 100, 200 and 300 yards.

In barrels, like most things in life, you get what you pay for. However, in my opinion, half of the end result is the ability and patience of the gunsmith fitting the barrel. Just because Bubba down at the sporting goods store and crank on a Savage or Remington with V threads, doesn't mean he can do a square threaded Springfield or Model 70 barrel.
 

Snakeoil

Active Member
Thanks for the how-to on the FRSB. I am also a formally trained machinist and thought that unless some mechanical one-way locking arrangement like that of a push-nut was involved, heat should be all you need to get it free. And to your point, a liberal dose of Kroil will help. Mine is very early so milled and not made from sheet metal. I believe the later ones were stamped sheet metal.

You mention using an 03A3 barrel. Granted, they are not machined to accept the FRSB. But if an 03 replacement is used will the handguard for an 03A3 and ring now work with the 03 config barrel? Fitting wood is not an issue. Just wondering now if the ring will go on? But that can probably be addressed as well. I have both put it on machines and take it off machines.

I understand what you are saying about "just any gunsmith". I've run into more than my share of wannabe smiths operating out of gun shops. I've even had some fun now and then by testing just what they really knew about machine work. The club I belong to is pretty much a vintage gun club. It is standard to see Hepburns, Ballards, 44-1/2 Stevens, Rolling Blocks, High Walls, and Peabody rifles on the shooting line. The two gun smiths that belong to the club work on vintage stuff like this on a regular basis and of course that includes vintage military bolts like the 03, 1917, Schmidt-Rubin, Mausers, etc.. Square and Acme threads are well known to both. One has run his shop for probably 40 years and it is really a machine shop that sells guns. The other is a full-time machinist making medical instruments that has a nice shop at home and is a part-time smith. I know them both very well, seen their work perform and they know what they are doing. The third smith is a full time smith that builds custom rifles. He's built several for a friend and they shoot. He's got the medals to prove it.

Regarding lube, I found that the shooter with the great 500 group uses NRA lube, 50/50 alox/beeswax. He makes it from Javelin Scheutzen lube by adding more beeswax to get a 50/50 mix.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
"I believe the later ones were stamped sheet metal." Not quite, they tried to cast some in 1944 for replacement barrels, but it didn't work well (cost too much). So they went to the scrape bins and took off WW1 FRSB's and cleaned them up and put them on new barrels.

"Granted, they are not machined to accept the FRSB. But if an 03 replacement is used will the handguard for an 03A3 and ring now work with the 03 config barrel?" Yes, the 03 barrel dimensions are smaller than the 03A3 barrels. To make an 03A3 barrel you use the 03 barrel spec's but don't precision turn for the FRSB. So the 03A3 handguard will cover both barrels. The ring will only fit on WW2 03 stocks and 03A3 stocks. However it is a simple job to cut out an early stock for a ring to fit, maybe 15 minutes.

You have the gunsmith issue handled.

I use NRA for everything except for some matches. If I am traveling in the RV across the country, Iowa, Ohio or New Mexico and I have to have a bullet in storage for wide ranging conditions I use Grey #24, a not longer made synthetic lube.

Hope some of that is useful.

You can make 03's shoot without perfect barrels, but is it harder to do.2014 CBA NATIONAL GROUP.jpg2014 CBA National group data.jpg
 

Snakeoil

Active Member
Yes, very. Thanks.
Friend has a new 2 groove and a takeoff 4 groove. Both Remingtons. Might try the 4 groove in hopes it will headspace. Worth a shot and simplifies things. Picking up the 4 groove tomorrow to slug and borescope.
 

Ian

Notorious member
I was just offering my observations because I've seen this before, not trying to talk you into or out of anything.

NRA 50/50 made with Alox 2138F and yellow, cappings-grade beeswax is good stuff for comfortable weather and inder 2K FPS. Stay away from LBT Blue unless you cut it about 30% with Vaseline.

There are many other excellent medium-velocity lubes that can be bought or easily made at home and will address your flyer issue, but for now any kind of commercial NRA 50/50 will do and it is a KNOWN good standard.

Wanna know WHY your BP lube is causing flyers? In a word it's too SLIPPERY. Further, hydrogenated plant and animal oils scorch at low temperature and leave lots of polymerized varnish behind which hang out in the pits along with all the excess slippery stuff and cause cyclic puking, thus changing bore condition. CORE, an acronym one of our members came up with for Consistency Of Residuals Encountered (by the bullet as it goes through the barrel), defines the single most important characteristic of accurate bullet lube. Cold-barrel flyers, clean-barrel flyers, purge flyers, all due to CORE and CORE is entirely controllable with proper lube choice for your conditions and rifle system.

MOS has no place in a rifle that uses smokeless propellant. It's purpose in a lube is to emulsify and retain water to keep BP fouling soft.
 

RicinYakima

High Steppes of Eastern Washington
Nobody is shooting +2000 f/s for precision matches at this point, we have not figured out how to make that work yet.
 

Ian

Notorious member
The thing about accuracy and lube is lube cannot make your groups better, only worse. So experiment and choose one that demonstrates the least deleterious effect. For 1,400-2,000 fps NRA 50/50 is pretty tough to beat.