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H&R 12 Gauge Losing Accuracy Over Time?


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So I was at the range today shooting, and I've had my H&R 12 gauge for quite a few years now.

I have noticed that it seems to get less and less accurate every year.

Now I would normally chalk this up to maybe my crappy shooting, but my ML is consistently touching group accurate out to 100 yards.

I can remember having the same accuracy with my H&R when I first got it.

Nothing has changed.

I clean it after every shot when checking my zero for hunting purpose, and give the barrel time to cool down between shots.


Oddly enough, I was talking to a guy at the range who told me his friend has the same issue.

He was an ex military guy who shot often, and said over time the barrel got worse and worse.

He eventually sent it back to H&R and they replaced it.


Just wondering if anyone else has observed similar issues?

Maybe the barrel is getting "broken in" and the round that shot well initially just won't anymore?

Rifling looks beautiful inside, no pitting, nothing...so no idea why it would "react" this way over time.


Maybe a call to H&R tomorrow to see what they think.

At this point I'm talking like 4-5" groups at 100 yards where it was touching groups before.



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Probably the barrel.  If you're shooting slugs, which it seems, they tend to be very hot loads.  Over time that will wear on the barrel more than shot.  When I was researching my .30-06 folks said those barrels are good for about 1,000 shots and then start having accuracy issues.  So you might need to swap out the barrel for a new one.

Sapere aude.


When you cannot measure, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.

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The barrel on a slug gun does not see the wear a rifle barrel does. Plastic sabot vs a copper jacket and lower pressures. The action maybe getting lose, scope moving around internally or maybe the barrel crown.

I spent most of my money on hunting and fishing. The rest I just wasted.

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Mat, you probable shoot more than most. The gun may just be wearing. The H&R is basically a bird gun made into a rifle. Most slug guns get shot one or two rounds a year.

I spent most of my money on hunting and fishing. The rest I just wasted.

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My first thought would be scope.  Slug guns are notoriously tough on scopes.  Another avenue to check is did your slug manufacturer change their recipe?  I used to shoot Remington Copper Solids until I picked up some new boxes several years ago to notice they had changed the slug itself.  Suddenly they no longer grouped well at all.  I wound up switching after finding a new load that shoots well in my 870 to the Hornady SST.  I also had a scope mount loosen on my once that created an issue until I figured it out at the range one day.  

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The barrel on a slug gun does not see the wear a rifle barrel does. Plastic sabot vs a copper jacket and lower pressures. The action maybe getting lose, scope moving around internally or maybe the barrel crown.


The issue the other guy had was the barrel crown.

I'm going to go over the gun in detail and see if I can spot anything.

Not sure how to check barrel crown, I'll have to Google that out.


Thanks for the feedback guys.  Not sure when I'll get out with it again.  I probably won't even hunt with it, I'll mainly just use my ML.

Honestly, I probably wouldn't go through excessive "figuring out" with it due to the cost of that endeavor.  It'd probably cost me more tinkering around with ammo than the gun is worth.

I'd sooner put that money into a new gun, namely the Savage.

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I would say probably less than maybe a couple hundred rounds tops.

So probably a non issue with round count given the plastic sabots?


Cleaning wise, I'm using a bore snake to just clean out the excess power residue/build up.

I'm not doing a super detailed cleaning.

It's mainly to get the "major gunk out", not make it pristine each time.

The rifling and barrel appear clean to the naked eye, but perhaps not enough?

Nothing wet is left behind as I'm not actively adding solvent.

Could be possible there is additional residue from the sabot's being left behind that is adversely effecting performance as well?

Again, not visible to the naked eye.


Given you are less inclined to clean your barrels, I would say I'm probably in the middle.  I don't go crazy cleaning a shotgun rifled barrel between shots or during the season, I mainly just get the major crap that's left behind out via a bore snake and continue on.  In the past this has yielded good results, but over the years it's gotten progressively worse.  At the end of the season I'll give the barrel a good cleaning with solvent to break down the plastic build up, but not during the season.


I would say the bore snake process is about as minimal/quick as one could have to get maximum benefit of cleaning out debris.

The question is, what could that do that adversely affects the grouping if anything?


Or perhaps something is being "left behind" in my cleaning process at the end of each season that is slowly decreasing accuracy.


Conversely, with my T/C Triumph ML...I wet clean it between shots with several dry patches after the wet, and maintain excellent accuracy with it.  But that's an ML, not sure if you share the same cleaning thoughts with an ML and Blackhorn 209, than you would with a rifle/shotgun and modern smokeless powders.

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I could try the dirty barrel approach and see how that goes.

I'm definitely not shooting the same lot of shells at this point.

So it is possible that Federal changed their recipe, in fact I believe they discontinued this round (I bought a bunch as a result).


I went through the multi-ammo approach back in the day, and these Federals shot the best...really solid groups around MOA at 100.

I agree 100%, 4-5" even at 100, while not "great" is certainly hunting accurate and it's why I haven't gone too crazy with the gun as most of my shots are under 100, often within 50 yards.

So it's a non-issue for hunting, just trying to figure out what the heck is going on with it that accuracy has diminished over time.


That guy at the range the other day just caught my ear with his friend's story that saw the same thing, but he probably put a few 1000 rounds through his.


I don't do any reloading YET...but that's definitely on the list, now that I have a new house and more room for a workshop, etc.

I'd like to expand my collection and work on some custom loads for them to hone out the accuracy, that seems like it'd be a lot of fun to do.

No doubt, I enjoy shooting and would like to do more of it.


Scope wise, it's a Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40mm.  I have to double check the rings, but they are either Leupold or Warne steel rings, same with the base.  I had it all mounted by a gunsmith when I first got it.  Now I have my own torque wrench, and will be investing in a leveling system to be able to set my own stuff up.  I'll definitely go over it in detail and see how it's holding up.  Could be that things loosened up over time.  I don't think the Zeiss would rattle into crap, but it is a rifle scope, not a shotgun scope.  Although there's certainly rifles that recoil more.


I agree with your approach, I'll just try to "restore" the barrel to like new with a diligent cleaning, remount the scope and make sure everything is 100% solid.  I don't know if he Loc-Tite the screws on the rings/base, but if they came loose at all, I'll be sure to do that. [not the red Loc-Tite, but the blue]


Thanks for the feedback, really good insight, I enjoy reading your posts...always good info! :up:

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