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Help a Brother Pick a Caliber

 
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Old 02-12-2009, 08:53 PM
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Help a Brother Pick a Caliber

I am betting this has been cussed and discussed more that a billion times here (a billion once seemed like a lot until the new Prez took over). But, if you will please help a fellow pick out a caliber for a new build.

My goal for this rifle is to use mainly for 500 to 600 yard elk and maybe mule deer. I just canít see me taking a longer shot. I have a 25-06AI and 270 WSM for whitetails and other critters.

I plan to re-barrel a Model 70, 300 Win Mag which I currently have. This rifle has a HS stock, action is bedded, Williams trigger guard and bottom plate and a VXIII 4.5-14-40 scope with a B&C reticle. Cost is a concern so I donít want to get too crazy. I reload and donít mind playing around with wildcats so long as it does not get to involved.

I had pretty much decided (90%) on a 300 RUM shooting 180 grain Accubonds or Barnes. But was still thinking maybe a 338 RUM with maybe a 225 grain bullet.

That was until I stopped today and talked to the gunsmith I planned to use. His name is Steve Baldwin in Jones, Oklahoma. He has a good reputation from everyone I have talked to. He bedded a stock for me last year and I have no complaints. I told him what I had and what I was thinking and he hit me with some thoughts and recommendations I had not considered. Given the 300 Win Mag platform he made the following recommendations.

300 Jarrett
300 Weatherby Mag
338 Jarrett
7 SWT

He recommends I stay away from the 300RUM cause the Weatherby and Jarrett are much better.

He is saying a Hart barrel for $290, blueprint the action (including lugs) $120, install the barrel $150 and a brake for $150.

So my questions are, which caliber should I get and why?

Are the prices listed in the ballpark of what I should expect to pay? Not trying to low-ball I just want to make sure he is close.

Thanks
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:40 PM
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Re: Help a Brother Pick a Caliber

ricknolan,

I would suggest looking long and hard at a 300WIN MAG for 6-700 yd ranges.
Everybody has dies, lots of good brass, it's easy to load for & capable of extreme accuracy. Of the ones on your list I would say the 300 RUM would be hard to beat.

Personally I'm not a fan of the weatherby's, Jarret or the STW. This does not mean they are not great chamberings, but if we all agreed there was one perfect chambering we wouldn't have any of the others When I'm picking a catridge these are some of the things I think about.

1~ What velocity and bullet weight do I want out of this.

2~ Is price a deciding factor or am I going all out on this one and buying exactly what I want

3~If price is a deciding factor
A~ is there good brass available.
B~ Am I going to have to put a lot of work into the brass.
C~ Am I willing to put the work into the brass. If not I would be better off with something I didn't have to put much work into.


4~ Are there good readily available dies at a price I am willing to pay for them.

5~ Do I want a repeater or a single shot.
If a repeater, am I willing to pay the extra to get a super long case to feed. If so what's available for making the case feed.


Hope this helps a little with your decision making. To be perfectly honest all the calibers you mentioned are all perfectly capable of harvesting elk at 6-700 yds.

The prices from your gunsmith are on the low side .

308nate
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Old 02-12-2009, 10:51 PM
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Re: Help a Brother Pick a Caliber

Thanks Nate, that is some good food for thought. To answer some of your questions (it helps me to think out loud and to read what I am thinking).

1~ What velocity and bullet weight do I want out of this. 3000 to 3300 fps give or take a hundred feet from a 180.

2~ Is price a deciding factor or am I going all out on this one and buying exactly what I want. Price is always a consideration but I will not let a few bucks stand in the way of getting the best I can for the money I spend.

3~If price is a deciding factor

A~ is there good brass available. I think brass will not be an issue for any of the above. The Weatherby brass may be a bit costly but once you bite the bullet and buy some it will last me for years. I will shoot maybe 500 to 800 rounds a year at the most. Maybe not that much after I get a load that shoots good, then a box every week or two.

B~ Am I going to have to put a lot of work into the brass. This is a good question. I have a 25-06AI and fire forming brass is somewhat of a pain but it is not that big of a deal. Even so, fire forming has kept me from buying and forming new brass just to have cause I donít ďneedĒ it right now.

C~ Am I willing to put the work into the brass. If not I would be better off with something I didn't have to put much work into. This is the best question of all. Considering the amount of travel I do for work and the limited time I have to reload and shoot I donít have much time to reload regular stuff as it is. Saving the forming cores might just make a difference.


4~ Are there good readily available dies at a price I am willing to pay for them. I can find dies and even if I have to pay a premium once I get them I have them.

5~ Do I want a repeater or a single shot. A repeater for sure, the smith said no big deal with any of the above.

Youíre the man, thanks for the input. Maybe I should stay away from the Wildcats simply to make life easer.
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Old 02-13-2009, 09:27 PM
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Re: Help a Brother Pick a Caliber

Hey rick

If you want to stay with the 180 gr bullet then the 300 win mag will do the job. It is relatively easy to run the 180 gr bullet at 3100 fps + with careful reloading. If you want to step up to the 200 gr Accubond then it will be difficult to get more than 2900 fps. Where the 300 RUM really shines is with that bullet at 3000 fps +. The 300 win mag can be shot all day without muzzle brakes or too heavy a gun, something I can't say about the others mentioned.

If you really want to step up for long range and terminal performance then the 338 RUM would be a good choice. It will push a 225 gr bullet at 3100 fps fairly easy. I recently rebarreled a 338 win mag into a 338 RUM. The bolt face was close enough so that no work was needed and the mag had enough room to hold the longer bullets and still get close to the lands as long as I seated the bullet pretty deep.

I opted for a 26" Brux barrel which is cut rifled and hand lapped. Chose a #5 contour which is fairly heavy and had the gunsmith cut in one of his brakes



and installed 2 recoil compensators in the stock



It kicks less than my lightweight 30-06 and is about the weight of a Sendero. I am pleased with the results



The pricing you listed seems in line. If the gun is to be blued that will add another $150 or so.

Dies and brass are readily available for the 300 win mag, 300 RUM and the 338 RUM and the work on the brass will be minimal depending upon the neck you order. If you get a tight necked chamber then you will need to outside neck turn and possibly ream the do-nuts.
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