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Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

 
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  #1  
Old 10-16-2011, 03:47 AM
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Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

This will be my first venture into a long range hunting rifle and I seek advice of forum members. But first let me set the scene:

I already have a .308 Norma Mag, custom built for me in the late 70s early 80s, see pick below:



But it was built as a classic hunting rifle rather than a dedicated long range rig. I haven't shot it that much in recent years but threw some loads together recently using ADI AR2209 (packaged and sold in US as H4350) with 180 gr Hornady SPBT and chronographed 3,175 fps average (this load was a bit hot so would probably pull back grain to around 3,150 fps) out of its 24" Douglas premium barrel. Groups were not all that good but my gear needs some updating and haven't shot a rifle all year so I am very rusty. These loads encouraged me enough to ear mark them for further work and probably would try some 180 gr SSTs and 178 gr A-Max too. So I will be doing considerable further load development for this rifle.

Here's my question on long range calibre. I have identified that I want another rifle, probably SS/synthetic, for this (could be factory or custom as my brother-in-law is also my gunsmith) but I need to decide on the calibre first. What are the uses you might ask?

As I live in Australia, nothing more then a Elk size, largest deer we have here is Sambar but it could double as a rifle for water buffalo in the Northern Territory (NT) with the right bullets. Of course thhis would not be at long range (so the rifle may be multi-misson). The guy who built my .308NM did a number of this calibre for NT buffalo hunters.

I also want to do a bit more overseas hunting (first O/S hunt was last year to New Zealand for Tahr and Chamois and took my M70 .270 Win fwt for that).

I was thinking of a .300 Win Mag (don't really need/want to go to the ultra mags, et al) but with doing some load development for my .308 NM thought that if I made the new rifle a 30-338 WM (almost identical to the .308 NM) would have the following advantages:

> the experience there could be readily transferred with the usual caution of course to the new rifle's load development. Where as if I got a .300 WM the dynamics are sufficiently different for it to be a whole new load development process

> the 30-338 would enjoy economies of scale in my powder inventory as my .270 win shoot best with this powder too. Whereas I notice the .300 WM does best with slower burning powders like H1000 or even Retumbo (with bullets 180gr or heavier).

> Additionally, in support of the 30-338 I enjoy calibres that are a bit different and I like the efficiency of this and the .308 NM

> plus with the heavy bullets I plan to load the 178-180 Hornadys (as mentioned above) mostly and for a heavier bullet, the 208 gr A-Max. I figure the 30-338 would better fit most actions (I have a FN Mauser 98 action in my gun safe) as far a proper seating of big bullets for maximum MV and accuracy

On the other side (of the balance sheet) the .300 Win would have the following advantages:

> more standard calibre and more available and variety of brass

> I like to have proper headstampted brass and my research shows only Quality make 30-338 cases

> I can get any number of factory rifles in .300 WM, whereas the 30-338 would be also certainly a custom build

Oh, the distance I would be most likely to shoot, not having done a lot of LR shooting, probably 500- 800 yards and even then after a lot of practice and skill acquisition in this area.

A bit of info on the rifle I want to get/build:

26" barrel
SS/synthetic
< or = 8.5 lbs max (as I want to carry it up the hills)
Prefer a non braked rifle but this could be fitted (preferably a removable one)

All input appreciated. But let me tell you I am pretty set on a .30 cal
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Old 10-16-2011, 08:54 AM
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Re: Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

Well with your 308 norma you already have 300 win mag speeds so I see no need for that. Alot of the other guys on the site, from your country are shooting the 338 EDGE (338-300rum) and are quite happy with their choices.

If you dont want to go with a RUM then I would pick the 300 win mag. The bullets you said you were going to shoot are what I would consider light for the 300 win mag.
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Old 10-16-2011, 09:31 AM
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Re: Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

You already have a pretty potent 30 cal albeit it is a sporter and not a long range gun. I personally would do another norma and keep things easy if I had to do another 30 cal.

Since you want to do something different and want to go long range I would look at moving up to 338. There are all kinds of options there!
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Old 10-16-2011, 10:18 AM
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Re: Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

Dedicated longrange rig that weighs 8.5lbs? That is kind of oxymoronic.

If you want a dedicated longrange rig, consider bumping that weight up to ~12lbs.

In terms of caliber, sounds as though you are rather set on 300winmag. That's a good choice.
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Old 10-16-2011, 03:26 PM
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Re: Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

Hi Magnum,
I am also in your part of the country and was faced with a similar decision recently. I decided to start with a factory Remington SPS in 300 RUM and upgrade the barrel, trigger etc as needed. I already have a nice laminated stock with Limbsaver fitted to replace the plastic job. I reckoned that a 338 RUM would have been probably better for long range but they were not available in the SPS and would have stretched my budget a bit. A 300WM may have done the job but only at the extremeties of its capabilities with the heavier higher BC bullets. Given all that a 300 RUM can easily duplicate a 300WM 300 Norma etc without maximum loads and can also be rebarrelled to 338 RUM or even 338 Edge.
My project will get under way as soon as I get the rifle back from having the brake fitted. It must be great having a brother in law that is a gunsmith! Where is he situated?
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Old 10-16-2011, 04:27 PM
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Re: Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Footsore View Post
Hi Magnum,
My project will get under way as soon as I get the rifle back from having the brake fitted. It must be great having a brother in law that is a gunsmith! Where is he situated?
Footsore,

I'm in Brisbane, Qld and my brother-in-law is in Ipswich, just west of Brisbane. He is Allan Swan 07 3288 1880
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Old 10-16-2011, 05:31 PM
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Re: Which 30 cal? Help Me Decide?

Thanks for the input and i appreciate the effort you've taken to contribute to this decision. But just a couple of comments on them:

1. As good as it is, I don't want another .308 Norman Mag. Cases are hard to find and are relatively expensive. Plus I don't want to get the cases mixed between the two rifles.

2. Although this is a long range rig I am considering, it is a "hunting" rifle and therefore needs to be capable of being carried into the hills/mountains as well as other gear day pack etc, and I'm on the wrong side of 50 to be seriously considering a 12 lb rifle for this. There was an interesting series of article in NZ Hunter last year on a long range hunting rifle build (eventually it ended up in 7MM RUM) and it weighed less than 8 lbs (after skeletonising) and was capable of taking game to beyond 700 yards, as I recall.

3. I mentioned I liked efficient cartridges. Although the 300RUM is a great cartridge and I've looked at it (on paper) a bit and can be loaded back to 300 WM ballistics it is less efficient than the 300 WM at this (i.e. takes more powder than the 300 WM to get 300 WM ballistics out of it, according to Chuck Hawkes, see .300 Super Mags.). That's why I proposed the possibility of the 30-338 as it (like the .308 NM) can produce 300 WM ballistics with a few grains less powder than the 300 WM.

4. I am surprised no one mentioned anything about the 30-338, it seems to have a pretty dedicated following and was the record setter (in 1,000 yard target matches) some years ago

5. The other thing that interested me is the news of the XM2010 that is being adopted by the US army and its corresponding round, MK 248 MOD 0 and MOD 1 in .300 Win mag, giving a 220gr SMK a muzzle velocity of 2,850 fps out of a 24" barrel. That seemed to me to be pretty impressive ballistics and with my rifle/build with a 26" barrel I figured I could get around 2,950 fps out of a 208gr A-Max or the 210 gr VLD hunting bullets. Heavier than this, none of the major bullet makers seem to make anything in a hunting bullet. In any event with the game I am most likely to hunt here I figured the 178-180-190gr weight would be pretty capable out between 500 to 800 yards (my "target" distances).

As I said, great input and keep it coming.

Cheers,
Magnum
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