good glass#1, good stock #2 (Mcmillan A5) if money isn't an issue, A good trigger #3, and if you don't like the barrel then any of the top barrel makers.
Nothing wrong with an 06 or any cartridge based on it for where your at. I put together a rifle based on 280AI for a friend while he was in Iraq, very impressive caliber.
Keep in mind the animals we shoot for food and display are not bullet proof. Contrary to popular belief, they bleed and die just like they did a hundred years ago. Being competent with a given rifle is far more important than impressive ballistics and poor shootability. High velocity misses never put a steak in the freezer.
Id pitch the stock ( I had mine only 1 day before I had a new stock ordered) and unlike all that run around screaming about this and that newest "plastic" stock, Id look to Stockys laminated wood stocks. About $150 or less each ( let me see ya touch thta price with a high dollar syn stock!!) and they arent going to warp and are drop in's for that action.
As far as triggers go....you may have a good one or you might have bum luck. Out of 5 M700's I have 4 adjusted nicely and One feels like Im dragging across gravel. For that one, and Id recommend the same if yours is that way...a Jewell. And you can adjust it to your preference..and it DOES make a difference!!
Develop your own brand of medicine for that particular weapon and fire away. It will be chugging along when your grand kids have kids!!
Derek, I will have to look into this .280 AI. obviously, i am a newbie, but how do I know what calibers are in the same family? and when you say "same family", does that mean the casing is the same size and any cartridge in the same family will fit in the same rifle (as long as the barrel can support that cartridge)?
Gary, i'm always up for going shooting if I can make it. I'll try to remember! If i don't, give me a call.
Same family means anything based or spawned from the .06 case, such as:
and any Ackley version of any of the above. Here's one good article: The .280 Ackley
I've gone back and forth so many times for so many years on whether or not I'd ever own a 280, let alone a 280AI. I JUST received my 280 not long ago and it wears a Shilen barrel and it didn't take long at all to find a load, like ONE DAY. Every time I read about the AI version, I'm inclined to build one just because!
And here's a comment that is posted with that article in my above post that is worth noting:
Bob Jourdan · 50 weeks ago
Be aware...! Headspace differs between the new SAAMI spec .280 Ackley Improved and that of all the .280 Ackleys built in the custom shops over the years. When SAAMI specs were set up, they changed headspacing from the junction point of the cartridge neck and shoulder to that of a point on the shoulder where the shoulder diameter measures .375", the common method used on many SAAMI spec cartridges. Now the SAAMI spec brass is too short for safe use in older, custom .280 Ackley chambers.
Now we have two .280 Ackley chamber reamers, one the original Ackley version, the other is the SAAMI spec version. Customers should be careful not to interchange the two. If factory .280 Ackley brass is used in other .280 Ackley chambers, case separation near the head may occur. Therefore, if you load for any .280 Ackley, you should always start with new standard .280 Remington brass and fireform it into the proper dimension for the chamber you are working with.
So, are we to understand you don't want to replace the barrel or have the action worked on at this point?
First I'd get the trigger reduced to about 2 pounds. Next, invest in a stock. I just saw 4 HS-Precisions for sale here on the forums tonight, and get it bedded properly by someone who knows what they are doing.
Until you are ready to move fwd and make more modifications, the above is a good start. Buy the best scope you can afford. I have several matte Leupold 4.5x14.40 AO VX-IIIs I'm willing to sell. They are used and I'm thinking around $350.