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In April 2007 Harry Deneen decided to post his point of view on some subjects that were being discussed on Benchrest Central's Rimfire Forum.   Harry is a 'True Artist' when it comes to Rimfire Benchrest so I thought I would save some of his comments for future benchrest shooters.                Compiled & Edited by Doug June 08

TUNING -Post 1:
Without a doubt I think shooting at a closer range while tuning a gun is the only way to go. I shoot indoors while tuning a rifle. You can try more setting this way without worrying about what caused that bad shot. If you don’t have a indoor place to tune then make sure the conditions are good when you shoot outdoors. If your groups are not very good at a closer range then they will not be any good at fifty yards. I have heard many times shooters saying that their gun would only shoot in some wind. if this is the case then that gun is not tuned. . it better shoot tiny groups when the conditions are dead calm or it isn’t right. This is because when air is blowing a little it will help stabilize a bullet and thus causing most guns to shoot fairly well in some wind. The bullet is being helped by the wind not by the barrel being tuned. I know this might not be making much sense but bear with me. I also believe with all my being that the barrel is what makes guns shoot in the wind. I will touch on this more shortly. Sure some ammo shoots better in the wind than others but it always seems to come down to the barrel - any comments or questions are always welcome these are only my opinions.

TUNING -Post 2:
I tune my guns at 20 yards. This way when you find something close then you can start to move the tuner in smaller increments. I have the hohn style tuners on my big guns. I always start with the tuner in the middle around two. Then I move mine one full turn until I find something close. If that doesn’t work then go out. You will usually find three or four spots on the tuner that is better than others - write these down and then shoot some patterns with each one, eliminating the larger patterns. After you find something close then always shoot about a box or so around that setting to make sure. when I get a barrel tuned then I tape mine with tape and never move it. This only puts doubt in the matter. I’ve had some with tape on them for six or so years while shooting many different lots of ammo. I know a lot won’t agree with this but when you get that barrel dead it won’t matter. Bill Calfee said something about this in a recent post when he said he got a barrel back and it had tape on it and the tuner was tight after not being moved for eight or ten years. When a rimfire warms up it usually holds its accuracy. This is why I paint my barrels - to keep the heat in. If one shell gets a little loose then its probably the ammo. But it could be the barrel because they are all different. .got to go now but will be back soon. I know i did not get to everything but we will.

TUNING -Post3:
I shoot three shot patterns and they should look like one little round hole. . I say no more than twenty thousands from center. After you get close then shoot a bunch more patterns with that setting, you are looking for all patterns to be good. If you get a bullet to go out a little then don’t worry about this because you won’t always get perfect ammo. You will have to use ammo that you know is good. You want really round holes, not clover leafs. . After you get close then move your tuner about five clicks at a time - always writing every thing down. If patterns get tighter then keep going, if they get bigger then go back the other way. You can always go back to the best setting if you have it written down. Tuning for the wind. after you have found a good dead spot and have your tuner set then there is not much you can do about the wind affect on the barrel. This come down to many other variables in the barrel. twist, dia, chamber, choke, lapping, etc. Remember this might take hours and a brick of ammo but you wont have to move your tuner anymore because its deadened the barrel for ammo that we shoot between 1040-1080

I try to give answers that I believe in 100% even if they might not work for some. I paint my barrels myself. Just take the gun out of the stock and tape anything that might get paint on it like the end of the action. etc,, tape around tuner or remove it and hang it outside. I use a primer and a good metal flat paint usually black. This does two things , keeps the mirage from rising up and keeps some heat in barrel thus staying the same temp most of the time. It also helps on those bright sunny days when you get glare from a shiny barrel into your scope. Some barrels will not shoot in the wind very well,, are these hummer barrels? You better believe they could be! Barrels that are hummers and shoot through the wind are rare - very rare! I have my beliefs on this also because tuners and barrels work together as one, they need to become one. Will talk more on this later.

I have killed a couple barrels by cleaning without the proper bore guide and rod. If I had not done this I probably would still be shooting them. Mill Myers makes the rods and you will want a bore guide that fits the rod very tight. I always wipe my rod off after every pass through the bore. I do believe now that nobody knows how long a rimfire barrel will last but I know most are killed from improper cleaning. To his credit Bill Calfee has brought this to the front and for that we all should be thankful. He is a brilliant man when it comes to rimfires. After they are right they need not to be messed with. If accuracy falls off then check all other possibilities. - bedding, scope, lead in chamber etc.

Question for Harry:!!
Could this be a time to put to bed the myth that the wind stabilizes the bullet? I’m guessing from reading your posts that you did not want to say anything that you did not believe 100%! (or hurt anyone feelings).so my question is if you are tuning a rifle for competition would you ever consider that you needed a little wind to stabilize your bullets?

Harrys Answer:
The answer is no. . if your gun doesn’t shoot little patterns in calm conditions them something is wrong. The wind will stabilize a bullet that wobbles a little when it exits the barrel but a fine tuned gun doesn’t need this wind to shoot great patterns in calm conditions if the ammo is good. Sometime we might get a bad shot from a fluff or something that we can not see. Mostly at night from cooling temps but overall the patterns should be small.

Everyone has been inspiring me lately, keep it up and maybe i will get my fire back. I wipe my bolt off after every target with a light oil patch and I don’t take them apart to much unless they don’t start working the way I want them to. Every year should be fine to take them apart. Keep it simple but most people make it very hard and this causes a lot of extra work. I’ve always said you only need three things to have a chance to be a winner and that is, good gun, good ammo, and shoot the wind - that’s all. How do you narrow the test lots down? After I get a lot or two that I like then I make sure that I shoot many patterns and try to weed out the ammo by the sloppy shots. I would rather have just good patterns with the ammo than better patterns with flyers. After you get something right and then start to play with it this only puts more monkey wrenches in the barrel. I have always brushed my guns sometimes after every target or sometimes after every match. depends. will explain later. I have had a couple of the best smiths tell me that a brush will never hurt your gun you just have to have the right guide and rod. Practice, practice , practice,,, after you get every thing together. Bill I think checking the barrel vibrations is a great idea. I thought this last year when you brought it up but I think the right way would be to check the bullet as it exits the barrel. . This way be can se how much it is vibrating or how stable it is. I like my one piece rest the best when it comes to tracking. You have to make sure that your crosshairs are level with the target. This way when you move your scope it will move up or down right or left but not both at the same time. . If it is not level then when you move say up it will go up and right or left also. This way when you move across a target you will be right on the next bull without having to move the vertical also. Sand bags won’t track as well but you have to set them up the same way.