Fifty, I agree a few fast shots can overheat and ruin one in a hurry and with sensible care they can last much longer. Broz, don't worry a bit about the 25-300 wby. I have had a 25-8mm rem mag since way before anyone ever heard it was suppose to be a STW and it still shoots great. I have the pet load and it is just fired a few times every now and then by me or someone who wants to borrow it and level the 500 yard playing field on deer a bit. It drives a 100 grain bullet 3950 FPS and is a pleasure to deer hunt with. You will enjoy such an incredible gun. It will out perform your 257 wby. I didn't say don't use these because I have all of them. Just respect the fact they will destroy the throat of a good barrel without some extra TLC.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
Barrel burners depend on many factors but think of your throat like a transmission in a truck. Heat is one of the top enemies. Obviously the longer you let them cool, the better off the throat will be.
This also lends to the philosophical differences in the fabrication of steel. Many bench shooters look at barrels as disposables, and probably quite a few long range hunters. Shoot the throat out and just get a new barrel installed. On the flip side, look at the less popular Walther barrels. Much harder steel, built to last, but hard to work with compared to the softer, higher sulfur content steel tubes. The Germans make their barrels to last a lot longer, not necessarily a lot better or more accurate.
Broz, you got a deer killin machine there. My 257 STW's are a 28", #4 Hart barrel and a 26" #3 Pac- Nor barrel and they both shoot extremely well when taken care of like you said.
Muleyman, I have a 338 winchester story to tell you and you make up your own mind. I love the cartridge and the light 200 grain bullet because it will flatten anything with mild recoil not requiring a brake. In 2000 we had a great trip planned into my favorite supercub moose and caribou hole in SW Alaska. Delta airlines welcomed me there with my pet 338-378 broken in half and the scope bent in a horseshoe shape. My pilot buddy drove me into Dillingham to buy a new rifle. They had two in the store. A 243 remington automatic and another worse than that for Alaska. Coming out of the store to make a decision my pilots brother in law walked up and hoped we hadn't bought a gun yet. He said he had a 338 winchester model 70 with a Leupold 3x10 on it and he had already taken his moose and let me borrow it. My life was saved but he was out of his special handloads. Back in the store and they had factory ammo with the 200 grain nosler ballistic tips.
I rough zeroed the rifle at a remote eskimo village airstrip while wating on some gas to fill the supercub. That evening we were at my favorite moose ambush point which is a 1140 yard wide gorge between two mountain ranges that funnels rut crazed river running bull moose right through there. You sit on the cliff face on one side of the river and the shots are up to 1140 yards to the cliff on the other side. As always the first evening we walked across the valley and set up some rock targets beside the trails to go back and take some spot shots to mark our clicks. My buddies gun was a 338-300 ultramag I had built for him and it shot incredible as usual. Amazingly my little borrowed 338 winny layed those 200's right in there once I got the clicks right all the way to the last trail just shy of 1100 yards.
First morning I wanted my buddy to take his first moose so he hunted the spot while I went looking for caribou. We both past up mid 50" moose and he hunted there two more mornings passing up some almost legal 50" bulls. The next morning he had to go back to base camp and get some things so I sat on the cliff with my little 338 knowing Murphy's law that a monster would walk down the 1100 yard trail which it did. I watched him for three miles coming down the river and he was on my side of the river going to pass within 400 yards until the bear showed up. He walked across the river and stopped right next to one of the rocks I set my clicks on. The rangefinder said almost 1100 yards. I fired and after I ate a sandwich the bullet struck. Believe me it seemed that long. He hunched up and ran about 50 yards and stopped. I fired again and he just tipped over. I waited for my buddy to get back so we could cross the river together. (Dangerous and alder thickets with bears) He had watched the entire thing from the ridge above me. There were two shots about three inches apart right through the lungs with both bullets perfectly mushroomed against the opposite hide. He was a beautiful 72" B&C bull that was suppose to be my buddies but he picked the wrong time to visit base camp.
During the remainder of the hunt that rifle took two beautiful double shovel caribou. One at over 700 yards and the other over 400. Both one shot perfect kills. I fell in love with the little winchester and offered the guy way more than it was worth for it and he refused saying it was the best shooting rifle he had ever owned. I lost a fine gun but gained tremendous respect for the little 338 winchester on that trip. Borrowed rifle, factory ammo and a perfect hunt.
If I were you I would call it good with your 338 and keep it. It will do whatever you want it to and with good care you will never shoot the barrel out of it.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
Long Ranger, great story and sounds like a great trip, not to mention all the rubbing it in that your buddy now gets. I appreciate the advise as the rifle shoots great, and I really like it, but it does not have the best reputation for longer range stuff. Based on your previous experience and what I'm getting from the rifle and load, I think it will do just fine out to the distances I'm shooting. Thanks
-Keep it cool, never shoot more then three shot groups.
-Find a good load and get away from load development as soon as possible. THat eats up more barrel life then anything else with alot of shooters. Finding that magical combination is fine, just get a 308 if you want to do that!!! LOL
-Once rifle is dialed in with load, do not shoot on paper, shoot targets of opportunity or reactive targets at various ranges, small rocks, water filled milk jugs, steel gongs, etc. But get off paper once you have a good load other then checking zero.
-Clean barrel often. I recommend my customers clean every 30-35 rounds. Many will say that will be after each outing, I reply, "EXACTLY"!!!
-Avoid shooting in extreme air temps or extreme sun, mornings and evenings are always best and barrels will cool MUCH faster with the increased angle of the sun. If you have to prepare for a hot weather hunt, do so in limited shooting sessions.
-Do not feel you need to wring out every last FPS your rifle can produce. The 25-300 Win has a capacity advantage over the Wby, this can be an advantage as well as you can get same velocity or slightly more with less chamber pressure unless you red line your rifle.
-Shot the heaviest bullet that your rifle will shoot accurately. Even though they are not as SEXY as far as velocity numbers, the heavier bullets nearly always produce lower ES in your velocities and generally produce better down range groups as well. The higher BC allows the bullet to do more of the work and takes a bit of stress off the barrel compared to taking a light, ultrafast bullet and simply muscling it out there with high chamber pressure.
DO these things and you will be surpised how many seasons you will be able to use your new rifle!!
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