I have a browning A-bolt in 338 win mag that I suspect needs a barrel change. I bought the gun used a few years ago and only shot boxed ammo out of it. It didn't shoot well so I tried reloading for this gun but got no where. It is possible that's why I found so sheap to begin with. Several different bullet and powder combos and depth changes. What I found odd is there is a half inch difference from the book seating depth (measured at the ogive) to where the ogive touches the lands. I think that's a lot! Do you guys have any thoughts?
If I do rebarrel what are my options. I prefer to stay away from widcats as I don't want to fire form.
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I would give it a very thorough cleaning first and look at the crown to see if there is any obvious damage. Are your action screws tight? Are your scope base and rings secure and is the scope proven to hold zero? Is the trigger pull light and crisp? Also, the 338 WM has fairly stiff recoil from the bench. Are you holding steady? I have found that a PAST pad on the shoulder does wonders for my groups with hard kickers.
I would check those things first and it wouldn't hurt to have a local gunsmith give it a quick look over. I would bet that you probably don't need a new barrel.
Best of luck,
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I'm not too far from you about 3 hours East on I80 in Danville, PA. Before you have a new barrel put on I'd be glad to bore scope it for you and see if there are any problems. As for chambering options if you decide to go with a new barrel there are several magnum calibers. The .300 Weatherby, .300 Win Mag, 7mm Mag, 7mm STW, or go with a .338 Win Mag. All of these are fairly easy to load for and are proven to be good choices. Montour County Rifles
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I`ve never heard of a .338 barrel being shot out. It could have been damaged or have just been bad from the factory though. Before I rebarreled it I would first make sure that the crown has not been dinged. Then I would glass bed the action and float the barrel. But befor you start on any of that check all the screws on the gun and make sure that they are tight. Make sure the scpoe is good, ect. If none of that works drive up to Montour Co. Rifles and take him up on his offer to bore scope it. As for the long through, yes it is far longer than I would want, but is not really uncommon and it should still shoot.
Years ago it was popular to lengthen the throat/lead in short-neck-for-caliber cartridges like the 300WM, 338, so long bullets could be seated out to the base of the neck and not intrude into the powder space.
That's probably what was done to this barrel. I'd vote for a rebarrel.
Not only do you need to check that everything is tight, you also need to make sure the action screws aren't too tight. I remember reading an article where the reviewer received a brand new Weatherby that shot like crap. After he had to use a wrench on a screwdriver to get the action screws to loosen, he retightened them to a "reasonable" tension and cut group size drastically. Just something else to check.