Overall, the rifle shoots a few loads pretty decent even with a cooked throat and heat cracks several inches up the barrel. The barrels may hold up much better with smaller cartridges, but that remains to be seen. All I really ended up with was a barrel that fit my existing stock channel that didn’t weigh as much. I think that what I will do, since what is done is done, is use this rifle for a 1300 yard sheep, deer, goat and antelope rifle. Since it really shines with the 208 AMAX, and this bullet is perfect for up to big mule deer size critters, this is what it will be summoned to do.
After upgrading scope bases and rings, the total rifle with scope and bipod weighs in at around 12 pounds. This is my comfort level for a back country rifle. So even though I feel I could do better with a different barrel, this one will work more than adequately for anything I am going to ask of it, so long as I stop all development and move to using it only when needed.
After the above writings, I contacted Mike at ABS and explained the problems I have had with the barrel. He invited me to ship it back to him and he would examine the barrel. If there was a problem, he said he would replace the it. I sent him the barrel and he bore scoped it, Rockwell tested it, re-lapped it and scoped it again. After lapping it and scoping it, he decided to offer me a brand new barrel.
He couldn’t explain the problems as he just hadn’t seen anything like it. He was honest and said he didn’t have an answer as to what was going on. He did say that the Rockwell test came back with perfect results. So the steel was fine. After he offered me a new barrel, I asked him if I could go with a different caliber. After having two different brands in the same chambering with similar results, I decided to move on to something that would last a bit longer. He said no problem. He would cut me anything I wanted. I had always wanted to play with the 338 Edge and asked him about boring the .308 out to .338 out, since it was cut rifle barrel and the steel was perfect and I was supremely happy with the chamber. Then if it didn’t shoot well, then he could invest in a brand new one for me. Why risk getting a substandard piece of steel or a less than perfect chamber? I already had those things.
He agreed to bore it out so we could test it. After getting the barrel back, I bore scoped it and found that it was a good looking bore. It was a wee bit “rough” but that was due to the limited lapping you can do with a bore that is already crowned and chambered. I allowed for a break-in period to see if it would “smooth” out. I installed it, and had a break-in session. After 17 or 18 shots she started to clean up extremely well. In fact, about the easiest I have ever cleaned a barrel. Another look through the bore scope revealed that it was very smooth and crisp with NO heat cracks or any burned throat.
During break in, when I got to the part of shooting up to 3 rounds between cleanings, the first group at 300 yards was promising and the second was 7/8” at 300 yards! That is promise. I started developing using H1000 and the 250 SMK. She seemed to hold .5 MOA. I decided to take her to 700 yards and it held about .75 MOA for the most part in some awful wind. One group was 1.5” at 700 yards! Once I got some 300 grain Scenars; things really looked up. She started shooting in the .2’s at 100 yards and held sub half MOA at 300 yards. I cannot argue with that.
So far it has been one of the sweetest shooting rifles I have owned yet. It seems very easy to tune loads, has very low extreme spreads and is very accurate. After exceeding the 100 round count, I bore scoped it again and it looks the same as It did in the beginning. Perfect. There was not one single heat crack and no burned areas of the throat. It truly looks brand new. Albeit I let the barrel cool between every shot, and I am not running super hot loads. I will admit I was skeptical of boring out a barrel. But after the results I have been getting, I am very glad I went with it. Mike D. at ABS really is a stand up guy. He was ready to give me a brand new barrel after examining it and still would if this one didn’t shoot well. I wouldn’t be caught dead trying to get rid of this barrel!
Now, The Caliber
My overall impression of the 300 RUM is mostly positive. In standard air it can easily deliver a very well constructed bullet capable of expansion at 1000+ yards, as well as deliver over 1360 foot pounds of energy. It can also deliver higher BC bullets of less stout construction capable of expansion well under the 1600 FPS mark, with nearly 1500 foot pounds of energy at 1000 yards. In the accuracy department, both my barrels showed that they can run with the best of any hunting rifle. While short of benchrest standards, they were more than adequate for long range shooting and hunting. Both shot under .25 MOA on their best days and seldom shot 1 MOA and even more rarely, over 1 MOA. Usually if there was a 1 MOA or over 1 MOA group, it was during some developmental or experimental stage. My only gripes with the 300 RUM are barrel life, cost of operation and recoil, which is manageable even for a recoil sensitive shooter like myself but I still don’t classify it as mild. At least not at 12#. When it was 16.5#, it was very mild to me.
Again, after the above writings and some time behind the 338 Edge, I can honestly say that barrel life looks much better for the bigger bore. With the added “reach” of the 300 grain pills over the 30 caliber variety and better barrel life I cannot see myself ever looking back to the 300 RUM. The recoil did go up a bit, but not as much as I had anticipated. The other benefits more than make up for the bit of added recoil. The accuracy potential of this caliber seems better than average. Maybe I should rephrase that comment and say that this caliber does not seem finicky as it is very easy to tune and even the “bad” loads are sub minute. All in all, I am VERY happy with both the rifle and the caliber.
Michael Eichele has lived in Alaska for 10 years. He has killed 4 Dall rams. The largest was 38" long with 14 1/2" bases. The longest was 763 yards.
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