I've had an Anschutz 1417 .22LR for just over a year for shooting rabbits, but don't seem to be getting the accuracy that I hoped for. So I've been experimenting with various things on targets but I've had limited improvement so would welcome any thoughts.
My setup is:
Anschutz 1417 .22LR with 14" barrel (about 3 or 4 years old I think)
AGS 3-12x44 SWAT scope
Hollowpoint subsonic ammunition (see below for brands)
I generally zero in the field prone off a bipod at 55 yards, i.e. not off a bench at a range, and typically get 18 - 26mm centre-to-centre 5 shot groups but can't seem to consistently improve upon this. From what I've read/heard and hence based my expectations upon, and this may be part of the problem, other shooters regularly talk about ragged one-hole groups or half-inch groups at 50 yards, and one inch groups at 100 yards. At 100 yards I generally get about 50 - 60mm 5 shot groups.
Things I've tried/checked so far include:
Checked the barrel is properly free floating. It wasn't originally, but I removed some wood so it is now.
Checked the scope is mounted correctly and everything is tight but not too tight.
The muzzle crown looks fine, as far as I can see.
The moderator seems properly seated on the barrel, and there's no sign of bullets clipping the baffles, etc.
I tried shooting without the moderator, but it made no difference.
Different makes of ammo. In subsonic HP I've tried different brands and found RWS marginally better than Eley, and both of these better than Winchester or CCI segmented. In HV I tried CCI Velocitors just out of curiosity but these were hopeless on grouping and far too noisy for my liking.
Clean or no clean (the barrel, etc). It seems to make no difference to my rifle whether I clean the barrel or not, once the barrel is re-leaded.
I raised the comb on my stock to improve my cheek-weld/head positioning, and this improved things slightly, but only to my current 18 - 26mm groups.
I changed from wearing spectacles to contact lenses for shooting, as I noticed that if my glasses slid down my nose I got a slight shift in aim point through the scope.
I tried hand loading the ammo into the chamber, just in case feeding from the magazine was deforming the bullet in any way, but it made no difference. Ammo chambered from the mag then ejected without firing shows no signs of deformation, scraping, etc.
Of course the main issue could be my own shooting ability. However, whilst there's always room for improvement I've shot air rifles for many years and get what I consider good groups with springer and PCP air-rifles, so I don't THINK it's all down to me.
So perhaps my expectations, based on what others say they get with .22LR, are too high? Maybe when others talk about half-inch groups they're actually shooting off a bench + sandbag, perhaps indoors and with match grade ammo? Or, however unlikely, they're exaggerating about their group sizes (I've told them a million times not to do that!)? I know that .22LR ammo is mass produced and hence variable, so is that where the main issue lies?
Things I'm now thinking about trying include:
A different scope. However I don't want to go to the expense of buying another scope, possibly an MTC Mamba 4-16x50, if it turns out that my AGS scope is OK after all and something else is causing the inaccuracy. I realise the AGS is a relatively cheap scope, but it serves my needs (assuming it's not the problem of course). Ideally I'd like to borrow a good scope of known reliability to see if this improves things, but I don't know of anyone with a "spare" scope I could borrow.
Lapping the scope mount rings to ensure the scope is properly seated with no stresses due to poor alignment between the mount rings.
Trying some target ammo which I presume is more consistent, e.g. Eley Tenex, to see if the variability of HP subsonic ammo is causing my problem.
I'm basically trying to eliminate factors one by one, so have also wondered about my moderator, but can't see any obvious reason why it should be the cause. Again if I could borrow one then that might help confirm this.
Sorry for the long post, but any thoughts would be most welcome.