Re: Action strength.....how big a barrel can it handle?
First, let me say that I know nothing at all about this. I just tell the gunsmith to give me the largest diameter barrel that they recommend for the action. Secondly, let me say I do not endorse one bedding method over the other.
If you go down to "General Discussion" and see the thread "Gun Show in Blackfoot" you will see two guns both built by excellent gunsmiths. They are both bedded differently, and they shoot about the same which is- much better than I can consistently hold - probabably somewhere in the low 0.3 or high 0.2's. The gun laying on the ground in the case is a FN 98 with a 30 inch barrel plus brake. At the end of the barrel it measures 0.95. This is a NBRSA Heavy Varmint barrel taper. It is bedded as tight as possible with no side nor front of the recoil lug clearance. It is epoxy pillar bedded (not metal pillars) and it has 3 inches of the barrel bedded (pad). If you take the action screws out and hold the gun upside down, the action will not fall out. When he rebuilt my gun he built 4 other Mausers at the same time, so he knows something about mausers.
Morale of the story is that with a barrel pad and pillars my gunsith felt the NBRSA Heavy Varmint taper was all he felt comfortable putting on the mauser action. He made and contoured the barrel himself.
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club