I shot my very first F-Class match yesterday, and it is definitely not condusive to barrel life!! 20 rounds in 30 minutes had the 30-338 Lapua's 1.35" dia. barrel practically smokin!
Life would be better with the others, as they use less powder, performance is the trade off though. Keeping your barrel COOL as practical is the ultimate answer though.
Rechambering will generally run $150-250 depending on who does it. Muzzle brake will vary depending on whether it is a threaded or integral type, and the smith's rate. Threaded on brakes vary in price, so this is a good part of the total you'll shell out.
Another option -
If you don't feel the 7 Ultra is really needed, but you'd still like to hang onto the barrel for some real long range use at times, find a take off barrel in the fat cased 7 WSM or 7 SAUM (they will feed fine as is) and have the barrels set up for a pinned aftermarket recoil lug and both headspaced to your action. Chris could probably hook you up for a better price than you might think just setting the barrels back for a shorter throat/re-shouldering for the new lug and fitting to your action giving you exactly what you need to change barrels when you want to. I may have a CM 7 mag take off barrel, but I'd use the 7 WSM chamber to insure it feeds without modification, as you'll still want the Ultra to feed... assuming you go this route and is something you're even interested in.
If you can find a 7 WSM barrel locally that will actually headspace correctly, or wind up a little on the loose/exessive side with your existing recoil lug, you can accomplish this with even less $$.
Welcome to the board. You have an interesting dilemma. I have a 7mmRUM, and yes, I only got about 850 rounds before the throat suffered. BUT: it's primarily (though not always) a target rifle designed for conventional 1K matches such as those shot at Camp Perry. That type of shooting requires unlimited sighters (usually 5-8) then 20 shots for record - all in 30 minutes or less. I'm normally done in under 20. Definitely not good for throat life.
I agree with the others that it's unlikely to get that much shooting through a hunting rifle in your present situation. The good news is that the rifle did produce a .065" 3-shot group with some of "Shaky" Don's 'Groove Bullets' AFTER it was rechambered. Although folks rarely get an equal number of rounds through a rechamber, even in my situation using super heavy VLD bullets at near-max velocities I can count on another several hundred shots before I worry about the 'smith needing to work his magic.
The bottom line IMHO is: will you be comfortable shooting an ultramag in your hunting situations? Although you're only talking 150-300 yards, we've all heard about the Kansas winds. Would the wind resistance potential of a 7RUM appeal to you when staring through the scope at a 14-pointer in a gusty 30MPH crosswind? (Mine uses only 2/3 of a 6.5-284 at 1K, & 1/5 of a .308 Palma load). For some people it's a big issue.
Super flat trajectory is another issue to think about. There's simply not many other calibers in existence that shoot flatter inside 1K than a 7mmRUM. That translates into less holdover & fewer elevation clicks.
The downside to 7RUM's are barrel life, recoil, & muzzle blast. With typical 7mm hunting bullets in the 135-150 grain range, recoil is a moderate to medium heavy shove even without a brake. With a brake it's comfortable.
Consider all the facts in addition to these before you add extra expense & guilt to the equation. You might consider shooting some different factory loads through it first to see how you like it. You may fall in love with it. Then again, if you hate it, you can rebarrel/rechamber without a second thought.
Just my two cents for what they're worth.
Living in Kansas, I am interested in hunting mule deer, etc. in western Kansas at ranges beyond my usual whitetail range. I anticipate hunting at between 150 and 300 yards. My family gave me a Rem. 700 LSS in 7mm Ultra Mag as a gift. Fine looking rifle, but I am concerned about barrel life. I have read on this forum that I can expect 800 rounds before changing barrels. I have several questions:
1) Is 800 rounds approximately accurate for barrel life?
2) What might a new barrel cost (I have never need to change barrels)? If I replaced the barrel should I consider a muzzle brake - what would this cost?
3) Would I get more barrel life from a regular 7mm Rem Mag., Remington short action 7mm mag, or (I think I could trade without upsetting the family)?
Any other comments are welcome.
Hunting bigame normally doesn't put enough wear on a throat to be a big concern. It's the target and varmint shooters who burn barrels at an excellerated rate.
Even the overbored cases will give reasonable barrel life if you don't shoot long strings. My custom 7STW is loaded to maximum recommended velocities and has nearly 1,000 rounds through it. I never shoot more than 3 rounds without letting the barrel cool completely. This will slow down your load developement at the bench but if you bring 2 or 3 rifles to the range you can work with the others while the magnums cool. When hunting, I rarely fire more than 1 round.
With all that ammo through my Hart barrel, I still get about .5moa with tailored handloads and hunting bullets.
I'm not one of the guys with tons of money to spend on custom barrels, so I have taken VERY good care of those that I have bought.
Shoot and enjoy your new 7RUM and don't forget, keep it cool. [img]images/icons/cool.gif[/img]
Barrel life is a relative term. The other calibers you mentioned will have a little longer life. But it all depends on how you treat it. Heat is the biggest factor in barrel life (throat erosion.) Keep the barrel cool and I'll bet you'll get more than 800 rounds out of it.
However, at the ranges you mentioned a 243, 260, 308 or 30-06 is more than enough gun for west Kansas mulies. So if you can trade without upsetting the family, then I would suggest something smaller that is easier on the pocket book, the shoulder and has a longer barrel life.
The key to shooting at longer distances thn you are used to is practice, not a bigger gun. The above calibers will allow you to get in the practice you need.