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Elk Build--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

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Old 06-20-2012, 09:47 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19
Elk Build--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

I've decided to build an elk hunting rifle that packs some punch, but something I can still hike with. I have a scope whose reticle will match moderately high BC bullets and moderately high velocities. So basically .57 to .62 to .72 with velocities from 3050 2750 fps.

I'd like to shoot accubonds, and the above scope lead me to center around shooting a 200 grain .30 cal accubond around 3000 fps.

I have a 29" 5R 1:10 Krieger blank sitting in the safe.

My research has me comparing the .300 Dakota and the .300 Norma Mag.

Looks like I have to get custom dies for the Dakota. Looks like Brass is a long wait currently for the Norma.

The appeal of the Norma is that I could shoot a 24" barrel and still achieve velocity. I'd like to have this handier length barrel. However, Quickload shows the rounds to be very comparable, and the Dakota doesn't give up much velocity in comparison and it's using roughly 10 grains less powder with the same barrel length. I might be pushing it close to max pressures though (QL shows 59k, but is that right?). Running the Norma at moderate pressures is appealing. I would like some first hand experience to confirm QL data. Leaning towards Norma, but the efficiency of the Dakota is interesting.

I shoot a .338 Norma mag in a heavy ELR rig. The other option is to sell the .30 cal barrel, get another .338 and build another .338 Norma mag since I already have the brass and dies, and shoot the 250 accubonds. I'm not sure I can get away with a remington varmint contour with the .338 Norma mag? I'm trying to keep the rifle around 10 to 12lbs all up. Not sure about recoil with the 250's either. Not recoil sensitive persay, but my big .338 weighs 17lbs and is braked. Should I just man up to .338 and 250's or am I on the right track with the .30 cal options?

Experience, thoughts, and opinions appreciated.

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Old 06-22-2012, 07:45 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ND
Posts: 206
Re: Elk Build--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

I was going through the same type of decisioning. I wanted a lighter weight (not real light) hammer for elk and such at long range. I settled on a .300 Dakota on a Mark V action I had, #4 Brux at 26" and McMillan Edge. I hope to shoot either 210 or 215 Bergers, maybe try 230's. With the long box I'll be able to seat bullets out a ways. Weight should be light enough to carry and heavy enough to absorb some recoil, I don't want a brake on it.

300 Dakota I think is about ideal case capacity for a hunting .30 cal. QL shows it almost equals RUM velocity with less powder at equal pressures. Brass isn't cheap, but the Normas you mention aren't either. I could spend money on worse things than Dakota brass at $1.80 each. If brass is a little soft so what? Its not a competition rifle. I'm pretty anxious for this build to get done!

I like the Dakota round, it looks like a WSM and RUM hooked up....
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Old 06-22-2012, 09:32 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: NW MT
Posts: 2,587
Re: Elk Build--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

I think all your choices are good.I like the Norma case and brass,but the Dakota looks good also. I already have my light hunting set up and it is a 338 Norma. I hope to get a Sako TRG,WHICH is close to custom,without the cost. In a 338 lapua, shoot the heck out of it for fun,then either Imp it or turn it into a Norma.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:31 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19
Re: Elk Build--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

Very cool. How much are you expecting your rig to weigh?

I grabbed the Krieger remington varmint blank primarily because it was available and it was a 5R (For what that's worth). When I run the numbers I think I'll be doing good to hit 12lbs, but some weight isn't a bad thing with these large rounds.

Action: 2.5lbs + Barrel: 4.5lbs (cut to 24")+A3 stock 2.5lbs + bottom metal: .75lbs+Scope and Rings: 2lbs = 12.25lbs

I know I can get the A3 lighter, but I haven't decided on Edge with paint, or regular with molded in camo. I've weighed my blank at 5.2lbs at 29" and have done some calculations to come up with my rough 4.5lbs at 24".

I still have (some, haha) of my youth, and my competition rifles run 16 to 18lbs. Nonetheless, for whatever reason 10 to 11lbs sounds more appealing?

Am I overthinking it, or is a lighter contour recommended since I see you went with a #4.

Sp6x6, what does your light .338 NM weigh in at and what stock and barrel contour did you go with?

Agreed, cost of brass isn't an issue, especially with a bolt action hunting rifle.

Decisions, decisions, thanks for the help yall.

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Old 06-22-2012, 10:47 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19
Re: Elk Build--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

Just weighed my little 22" .270 with VXIII 4.5-14 and it comes in at 9.3lbs so maybe ~12lbs is pretty reasonable.

My .338 NM is on an Eliseo tube chassis, and I broke it all down last night and if I put on his new AR15 adapter and ran an ace skeleton stock I could come in around 14lbs. Pierce would simple machine my barrel and it'd be ready to go as I can simply screw the barrel on. However, 14lbs is getting kinda bulky, and the cheek weld on that ace wouldn't compare to an A3 unless I put some pipe insulation on it ;). I think an A3 would be sleeker and easier to pack, the Eliseo forend tubes are pretty wide, and the chassis at the action is pretty deep.
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:06 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Colorado
Posts: 58
--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

I agree with your thinking. I built a 300 Dakota about 10 years ago, on a #6 Krieger (I think). I love the gun and have used it as my primary hunting rifle all that time and taken lots of game. I chose it for the same reason - seemed to be at the "sweet spot" of the performance curve -- any more velocity takes a LOT more powder. As long as you are staying with 200 gr or below, I think either is a great choice. My biggest hesitation on the Dakota and slight pet peeve is the brass. I don't mind the price for good stuff, but it seems they have someone new making it every other year or so. I got excited when they were linking up with Norma, but that didn't last long. I don't know, it works fine and isn't horrible, but it's pricey and you are always "hostage" to them. When loading for accuracy, it sure is fun to use Lapua or real sweet brass, or buy 100 and cull through them, but at about $2 a pop culling isn't quite so fun. Again, maybe not a reason not to go with it, but that part has made me fall out of love with it a bit. If the Norma is a good alternative, I think I may lean that way.
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Old 06-23-2012, 11:05 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 19
Re: Elk Build--.300 Dakota, Norma, or .338 Norma?

AspenBugle, you make good points. While I know I can special order Dakota dies, and I've seen the brass available on Midway, it seems that the NM is the more popular round. Forster dies are readily available, and the Norma brass is backordered which is actually a good sign showing demand. I really want to drive the 200gr AB at 3000 fps from a 24" barrel. Do you think that is doable with the DK, or would I be pushing it to the fring of its pressure limit? The extra case capacity of the NM would let me run it moderately and achieve velocity.....just seems like a lot of dang powder. People often quote good velocities on a variety of cartridges, but fail to mention their running 28" barrels. I run a 28" on my .338 NM, but I want to be able to hike with this new rig. What velocity do you get with 200gr bullets and your DK?

I've also kicked around the .30/375 Ruger. It's appeal is no bolt face work (I think), but I'm not sure I want do do all the brass work. 300 NM seems to be the front runner.

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