I'm getting more and more serious about rebuilding my 7mm wsm ultimate shadow. After a few hundred rounds of factory ammo followed by many trials and tribulations reloading a few more hundred rounds of test loads, this gun just won't produce 1" groups, so it must be re-built or retired to the back of the safe. This rifle always has massive copper fouling after every trip to the range.
My goal for this gun is an accurate, high powered rifle that can be carried into the field (i.e. not TOO heavy), shot comfortably at game in excess of 300 yards and cleaned up easily without heavy fouling. Secondary, I'd like to use this gun to try target shooting 600 yards.
What I like about this gun is, 1) the Controlled Round Push Feed action and 2) the cartridge, which is vastly under-ultilized with the current rifle 3) recoil feels reasonable and less than my similar (cheapo) 700 adl 7mm rem mag.
Initially, I'm considering pulling off the stock and sending the barrelled action to Pac-Nor to fit a new 24" Stainless, bead blasted finish barrel, reamed to 7mm wsm and true the action, then return to me to install a timney trigger, then send the barreled action to Joel Russo for a laminated thumbhole sporter stock, bedded and equiped with sling mounts.
I'm looking for input about the service and end product from Pac-Nor & Joel Russo, as well as advice on the barrel length and contour to select.
Also, I'm interested in learning more about the actual steps that should be done to true the action.
Lastly, how much time should I expect all this to take?
I wouldnt hesitate to put a Russo Laminate on it. His stocks are beautiful.
Also you could not ask for a nicer guy I'm sure if you contacted him he would be more then happy to help you with any questions.
I have to ask if the rifle has ever been bedded, or had any work done on it previously? If not, bedding has proven itself to be one of the most cost effective methods of reducing group size, as has trigger work. That being said the current barrel will still copper like crazy. I'm certainly not going to recommend against custom work or a new barrel, as all my rifle have had work done to them and sport custom barrels.
As to teh 7WSM, I love mine and shoot it frequently.
JeffVN - the rifle has not been bedded, its only free floated from the factory. The insane 9Lb factory trigger has been adjusted as low as I could get it without dropping the hammer on closing the bolt - 4 Lbs. I'm not thrilled with 4 Lbs either - my preference is normally 2-3 Lbs.
With the terrible fouling and a noticeably flexible stock, I'm not thrilled about pouring good money after bad into the existing barrel or stock.
Judd - I've conversed with Joel Russo already, which is why I'm considering his product. He was very prompt via email, which I appreciate greatly. Customer service is a dying trade - glad to see some folks like Joel still understand its importance.
Well, it is my opinion that turning the gun custom is the way to go. I can also attest that PacNor has an excellent lap for their bbls. While they may not be the most popular custom bbl maker out there, or the best known, I believe they have one of, if not the best, lap and lapping techniques. I've just seen it too many times where their barrels just don't foul like a Hart, Shilen, and sometimes, a Lilja. Granted, they are all shooters regardless of fouling.
I'd take another PacNor bbl any day.
I'm also of the opinion that no matter how high the quaility of any custom barrel, your new build will still need a break-in process. It just makes too much sense to me to do it.
If your current barrel really fouls that much, pitch it and get a real barrel and PacNor is an excellent choice.
Turn around time is too difficult to estimate since every smith is on their own schedule, and like most any other business, they probably have their busy and slow times of year. The typical range of time I've seen was from 3 months to greater than a year, but no more than 18 months.