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Where to start with building a 338?

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Old 01-16-2013, 10:05 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 229
Re: Where to start with building a 338?

I just finished my 338 lapua improved and am very happy with it, however, 5k won't even begin to touch it. Let me explain. First, do you reload? If not, 338 lapua factory ammo costs an arm and a leg. Second, how far are you planning on shooting game with this rifle? You obviously know they will take game at an extreme distance. Do you have an extreme distance rangefinder? A Vectronix terrapin is almost 2 grand by itself. You can get by with others, but you may end up wondering if it's ranging what you're wanting it to range. Lapuas are best when they are built custom actions such as Stiller, Defiance or several others out there. I went with Defiance because they have so many options. You're looking at 1k minimum. You'll need a barrel with a breech of 1.350. So let's say you can gather the parts for 5k. What's your neighbor charging you to put it together? Smith fees usually come in around $1500. So now you're at $6500 just to get the rifle put together and have glass on it. You may also want to have a bubble level and ADI. Gonna cerakote the barreled action? When you take it hunting, if you're like most of us, you're going to want to have a bipod on it. There are many options when it comes to bipods. Atlas is a popular one right now and you're looking at $200-250 without the extras. If you reload, you're going to need powder. These guns love powder! You're gonna need shellholders, comparators, etc, etc. You'll need ammo boxes to keep your perfectly loaded rounds in. Oh, someone mentioned a McMillan A-5 for $575. That's for a bare bones stock, which is still very good. However, you may want to put a Seekins rail on it to mount your Atlas bipod. You may want flush cups on the side to keep the bolt from poking you in the back. Do you want it to have adjustable length of pull? That's extra, too. Do you already have a sling that has flush cup swivels? What are you going to carry this big ol' rifle around in? Are you just gonna throw it in the backseat of your truck? You've already spent a cubic ton in cash why not buy a new pelican case to haul it around? These are just the things I ran into when I built mine. I would definitely build mine just like it again but I think if I could find a used one for a reduced price I might just take it! You can find my rifle here Shurley Bros. 338 Lapua Improved I know I looked at every rifle I could find pictures of before I built mine.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:17 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 141
Re: Where to start with building a 338?

67chevl: If you have not already made your decision, take a look on John Lazzeroni's site. He makes a .338 tactical that appears to have everything you want. It is pricey, $8000, but a terrific rifle guaranteed to shoot MOA out to 600 yards. You will have a tough time putting a rifle together that will shoot better than that. John stands behind his products, so if he says it will shoot that well, it will shoot that well. I haven't shot my Warbird past 300 yards, but it shoots 1/2 moa at that distance, and that is tighter than he guaranteed. Plus, they are gorgeous rifles aesthetically. I think you mentioned putting on a bipod. Lots of guys love them, but when I put one on mine, it put the rifle all out of balance and I did not like it. I took it off and have never used it again. But, to each his own.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:02 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: SW Montana
Posts: 4,460
Re: Where to start with building a 338?

I would consider this route, 338 Edge - Ready To Ship order some of the new 338 Edge brass from Shawn and have a top notch rig shooting in short order!!!
High Fence, Low Fence, Stuck in the Fence, if I can Tag it and Eat it, it's Hunting!

"Pain is weakness leaving your body"
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:31 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 5,954
Re: Where to start with building a 338?

That Edge looks like a good package.

If I was building a 338, which I have give a lot of thought to, it would be a 338 LM or 338 LM Imp. Lapua brass is the best and the Imp sharpens the shoulder which stabilizes brass growth. It also theoretically improves barrel life. The new EDGE brass is reportedly also very good.

I'm doing a 300 RUM build right now and using a Rem 700 action and am replacing trigger, total bolt and recoil lug. By the time the action is trued up and up to speed, it wont be too far behind a custom action. So I would definitely go custom action for a 338 Lapua, and I like Defiance. There are other good ones out there. So my biggest input would be the custom action. After that, choose a good custom barrel and a good stock, trigger, bottom metal, etc of your choice. I like, Brought 5C barrels, Timney triggers, and McMillan or Manners stocks. The HS Sendero stocks are good too. You can buy one used or get a B&C clone. Get the longest mag box you can for seating long, high BC bullets.
- Mark

You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you make good use of it.
~ John Quincy Adams
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:23 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 5
Re: Where to start with building a 338?

Thanks for all the input so far. To narrow things down a bit, $5000 is definately top of my budget. I am going to use the .338 Lapua round and prefer Savage over Remington.

To get some more funds for the build or maybe even the gun, I am going to have to sell my pre first ban PWA lower AR15. Thanks to the upcoming ban on these rifles, I may be able get what I need.

Where is the best place to get the Stiller actions? I noticed that a link to their website is no longer working.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:45 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 141
Re: Where to start with building a 338?

I just keyed in Stiller rifle actions, and it went right to their home page. The Lapua is an excellent choice...a little less powerful than the Remington RUM, but not enough to make any difference. I have both, and I like them equally well. My 338 Rum is, as I posted before, just a Sendero that has been rebarreled because they do not make the Sendero in .338, just the .300. I enjoy high end rifles as much as the next guy, or I would not have spent $9000 on my Lazzeroni, which is what it cost by the time I paid shipping, tax, and put a decent scope on it. But if you can get what you want for a lot less money, sometimes you have to admit that your ego is driving your wallet. (I did not mean to call you egotistical, but I see that happening all the time at the range.) I have a Sendero that my wife bought me for my 50th birthday 16 years ago, and it will still put three bullets in the same hole at 200 yards, and I have the targets and witnesses to prove it. This is an over-the-counter gun that has never had any work done to it. My .338 RUM puts three in the same hole at a 100 yards, but I have not shot it past that, so I cannot make any judgements on its long range capabilities. My Lapua is a CZ 550, but I have not shot it much yet, so I can't say much about it except that it is not a hunting gun unless you are a serious masochist who likes to crawl the last mile back to camp. It weighs over 16 pounds without the scope or sling. Savage and Remington both make excellent rifles. I do not own a Savage, but John Lazzeroni would not have agreed to license them to produce at least one of his calibers if they were not high end rifles. The problem with building guns by buying one part here, another part there, a third part somewhere else, etc., etc., is that sometimes you get a pile of excellent parts that don't add up to a good gun. A good smith can always make it all work, but the question is, is it the best you can get for the money. That is why I bought the Lazz. Let him do all the experimentation and then sell the best rifle on the planet. I would give my left leg to have one of his tactical .338's, but I already gave my right leg to get the Warbird. All I can say is that you need to do a tremendous amount of homework before you start buying parts. Are Stiller good actions...of course. Do they work well in Macmillan stocks...who knows? Those are all the little details you have to work out before you even start buying parts. All you need to ruin the whole project is to have part F not work well with parts ABCD and E. But, on the other end of that spectrum is the fact that you can go to the range knowing that you have a really special rifle that NO ONE else has, and that feels pretty neat. If you plan to AI this rifle, take that into account when you order your barrel. You need to keep your bullet rpm's under 295,000. Also, when we are talking about high performance rifles, you need to keep the barrel squeaky clean, and while shooting, do not let your barrel get above 165 degrees. Do those three things religiously, and your barrel will last forever. Since you are on a budget that will pretty much get eaten up on the rifle, you will have do something about a scope. There are lots of expensive optics, but you can get a good variable scope for under a $1000. I have a bunch of Leupolds, and I don't really like any of them. Zeiss makes a nice scope, but I have had trouble getting warranty work done. Whatever the problem is, the warranty never seems to cover it. Plus, I sent one in for some work, and it had mil dots when it left, and they were gone when it returned. They would not admit that they took the mil dots out, so I was screwed on that one. My latest scope purchase is a Vortex Viper PST, 6-24, 50 mm objective, 30mm tube, and it is a great scope. Warranty wise, I have read (maybe on this site) posts from two guys who sent in their scopes for work, and the Vortex people just sent them a new scope, no charge. Hard to beat that. And, the warranty is lifetime and transfers with the gun. Cabelas sells them for $900. That is probably way more advice than you wanted, but good luck on your project. Be sure to post the outcome.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:04 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: pa
Posts: 316
Re: Where to start with building a 338?

If it was me, the first thing I would do is order some Lapua brass and some 300gr Matchkings, A jug of H-1000 and then I would buy the Savage 110FCP-HS . Get a nightforce scope[ SPORT OPTICS ] , tweak the trigger a little and change the brake to a Ross Schuler Brake and go shooting. Save the extra money on a new 28-30" krieger barrel when you shoot the factory one out. Why spend all that money when you can learn to shoot your gun an tune your load at the same time.
100 pcs brass $280
8 lb Powder 170
500 smk's 280
110FCP 1300
Nighteforce 1400-1800
Primers -dies - 80

Somewhere around $3800 +/- to go shooting .
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