All the prototype(if you will) AM rifles I will be building will be using a #6 contour Lilja Stainless steel barrel of 30".
As I said, these are designed as hunting rifle, that being, carry rifles for use in open country where the 30" pipe will not be a bother.
I have used my wifes 257 STW built on this same configuration, in fact it is the rifle I used to take my whitetail this year. This rifle is inthe 9.5 lb range ready to hunt with this barrel length and contour and I am getting 1 1/4" three shot groups at 500 yards so the stability and rigidity must be there.
Also this barrel is totally floated. This was kind of an experiment to see how the #6, 30" barrel would perform as far as barrel flip was concerned. I do not see a problem as of yet and do not expect to.
The barrel that is on order for the 257 AM is another #6 contoured Lilja Stainless 30" blank. The only difference is that I had Dan flute this barrel with the larger diameter flutes designed for the 50 BMG barrels.
What this will do is give me the stiffness and rigidity of the #6 contour which is obviously working with a barrel weight slightly less then a #5 contour barrel. Put another way, I will be able to cut 1/2 lb off the rifle weight compared to my wifes 257 STW.
I will also be using a Holland Signature Series Laminated stock which is about 1/4 lb less then the Boyds Thumbhole sporter I fitted to my wifes rifle.
These are certainly portable rifles that will easily be under the 10 lb range.
As you know there is always some sacrifice in accuracy trading rifle weight for portability, at least at a certain point.
I am looking to build rifles that will perform as a portable rifle that will allow the hunter to engage deer size game, up to 500 lbs even, at ranges out to 500 yards without major sight adjustment.
Here are a couple pics of her rifle. The three initial AM rifles will look similar to this but will have the heavy flutes and a traditional sporter Laminated wood stock.
One could also go with one of the light weight composite stock as get down to very light rifle weights for a 30" barrel.
I feel the #6 contour is as light as I would go out to a full 30" and still be comforatble with rigidity with these rounds.
Again, with this barrel weight, there is no need for exotic bedding systems, just a quality pillar bedding job is plenty to support this barrel length on a Rem 700 action in my opinion.