Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

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Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby timotheius99 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:41 am

So in the past 4 months I have purchased 2 different bolt action .450 bushmasters: a Savage Wolverine and a Ruger Gunsite Scout. These guns are my first exposure with this cartridge, and so far I have been very frustrated....mainly because I believe that these guns are banging loose the zero on my scopes. Has anyone else experienced this problem?

Yesterday I was at the range and was getting some great groups from my Ruger Gunsite Scout. (See target below) The gun has a Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14 power scope mounted on it. I used the Ruger steel rings to mount it directly to the receiver as show in the picture. Things were going great until the groups abruptly jumped 2 and 1/2" high. As you can see from the picture, after shot number 13 the zero clearly jumped high for some reason. Shots 14, 15, 16, and 17 were then all consistently high, in the same general area relative to the point of aim. When I got home I double checked and the scope itself has not moved. All screws were still torqued tight. All action screws were still torqued tight as well. I mean I really double checked everything, and the only thing I can think of is that this scope isn't holding zero under the recoil of the .450 w/ muzzle break.

I had this same problem with my Savage Wolverine and a Sightron S2 3x9 scope about a month ago. Great groups for about a dozen shots then the zero jumped high for some reason. Back then, I decided it must be a bad scope. So I bought a Leupold thinking that surely a Leupold VX-3i wouldn't get rattled loose. And now its the same thing all over again. Has anyone else experienced this problem of the scope's zero moving this much? Am I missing something here or is this a common problem? I handload and shoot a lot out to 500 yards with a .308 and a 6.5 creed and a .270 winchester and have never had a problem like this before. Can anyone recommend a scope that is built like a tank and won't jump around on me?
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby timotheius99 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:46 am

Here is a pic of the Ruger with the Leupold mounted.
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby Al in Mi » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:23 pm

Thom will chime in on what ruger specs for torque on the action screws, its high.

I've had Leo's go bad a couple times, but a 450 with a brake is sorta mild recoil wise.
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby Thom28 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:54 pm

Ruger recommends 30 inch pounds on ring base screws, 20 inch pounds on ring cap screws.

90-95 inch pounds on front action screw on Scout and Hawkeye M77
10 inch pounds on the rear trigger guard screw.

I've never had any type of scope failure due to the recoil of the 450s, I have them mounted on. I use Nikon, Vortex, and Swift scopes on my rifles.
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby timotheius99 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:50 pm

Al in Mi wrote:Thom will chime in on what ruger specs for torque on the action screws, its high.

I've had Leo's go bad a couple times, but a 450 with a brake is sorta mild recoil wise.


I agree. I'm kind of a recoil wuss, but I have found that the 450b with a brake is very comfortable to shoot. I don't know what's going on.

-Tim
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby KenMI » Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:15 pm

Was it because of the barrel heating up?
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby CJP1 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:48 pm

I own a Ruger American Ranch rifle in 450 Bushmaster. It is much lighter than either of your two rifles. I have found that a heavy scope will slide in my Burris Signature Zee rings. When I switched over to a lighter scope the sliding stopped. Both my RAR and my CVA Scout 450 Bushmasters have the Burris Signature Zee rings and Swift Premier 4-12x40 scopes on them with no sliding as of yet. I also had this same setup on three Savage WSM rifles with no sliding and they had much more of a kick than the 450 BM. There just seems to be something about the recoil of the 450 BM that can't be explained. I have recommended to others to go with the lightest good quality scope you can find and see if it helps. In my situation anyway, lighter is better.
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby Hoot » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:52 pm

A little dusting of Rosin between the inserts and the scope can make them hold on tighter. I actually use a little liquid rosin flux, normally intended for soldering. Its just rosin suspended in alcohol. Works like fly paper. Do not use liquid acid flux for obvious reasons. My 450 ARs are heavy enough that even my monstrous 6-24x50 scopes don't drift if I torque my Signature Zee's to Burris' spec, without needing the rosin. My buddy's 300 Win Mag Savage Model 110 (think angry mule) needed it in conjunction with his Signature Zee rings to keep his scope from drifting.

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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby timotheius99 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:24 am

Update - the scope is going back to Leupold. I am certain this is a scope tracking problem. I shoot a lot and have never had these sort of problems on any of my other rifles. I am convinced that there is something about the recoil of these guns that will dislodge the erectors on some scopes. Maybe this scope is just a faulty one. I don't know. Anyway, I'll see what Leupold tells me when they get the scope and take it apart.

After taking the gun home and double checking the torque settings on the action screws, ring screws, and base screws, I took the gun back to the range this weekend and shot another round of groups. See the results on the attached target. Group #1 was decent...and it was consistent with the other high groups from my last range trip. After shooting group #1 I thought that I should be able to adjust the scope down 6 clicks (1.5" at 100 yards) and should move the zero of the scope right on top of the bullseye. Well, I adjusted the scope down 6 clicks and group #2 was all over the place. Something is definitely wrong with the tracking. Group #3 similarly was large and off where the expected tracking should be. Now, groups #4 and #5 seemed to settle down, like the internal workings of the scope had settled in or something. In fact, in groups 3, 4, and 5....7 of the 8 shots were all in a consistent place. However, this is still not consistent with what should be a 1.5" downward adjustment from group #1. And group #2 was just crazy. Bottom line is that the scope definitely wasn't tracking right, and it went crazy on group #2 after I made an adjustment.

To answer some of the other questions, no it is not barrel heating. I only shoot 3 shot groups and wait around 8-10 minutes between groups for the barrel to cool. Also, the scope is not slipping in the rings. A Leupold VX-3 is one of the lightest scopes on the market....its around 14 ounces I think. So weight doesn't have anything to do with it. Also, I make light marks on the tube of the scope with a lead pencil, right on either side of the rings, to help me see visually if it is slipping at all. No movement. Since this is a Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle, I can't use Burris rings. They won't mount to the receiver. I have been using the factory Ruger steel rings that come with the gun. They seem to be holding very tight.
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Re: Did my .450B kill my Leupold?

Postby Thom28 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:21 am

I have to agree with Tim on Ruger rings. I have a variety of No.1s ranging from .223 to 45/70 as well as a couple 450s, a Scout 450 & 308, and a Hawkeye 450.
They all use Ruger's proprietary rings. If these rings are applied in the correct manner and torqued to Ruger's specifications I have never had a problem with the rings loosening or the scope moving on recoil.

It's sounds like Tim had a defective Leopold scope. It will be interesting to see what Leopold has to say. Please keep us updated.
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