7mm STW on Shilen DGR action

Discussion in '7mm STW' started by jasonR, May 28, 2013.

  1. jasonR

    jasonR Member

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    Here is a build (really product assembly) of a 7 mm STW on a Shilen DGR action. Since the action isn't too common, I thought this would be a good one to post.

    It was reading posts from the lunatics:D err ... 7mm STW Brotherhoods that swayed me too this cartridge.

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    Design Principle: To build an ELR shooter for target and open range hunting. The pluses are putting high bc/high mass bullets down range with high muzzle velocity. The downsides are recoil, cost, and tricky design criteria. Also, short barrel life at 1200 - 1500 rounds? Depending on the bullet and altitude this cartridge will deliver supersonic beyond 2000 yards. Action was chosen because I am a barrel nut person. I like mixing around cartridges and the barrel nut allows me to do this. I did not go with Savage because it would have taken too much work to make this rifle a repeater without compromising the handloads. Shilen offers the ideal action in my opinion for a high quality action made to order for a barrel nut/floating bolt head. The long magazine inlet and side bolt release is ideal for long cartridges.



    Action: DGR long action from Shilen. This is a Rem 700 clone built by Stiller for Shilen. It has an extended magazine box opening (3.950” vs. ca. 3.65”) and side bolt release to accommodate longer cartridges. The design comes with a barrel nut and is threaded to 1 1/16” - 20 (not standard). The bolt head is floating. The recoil lug is thicker than normal at 0.3”. A Shilen trigger, with Rem safety was installed. I installed a full 20 MOA base from Shilen. Shilen offers both short and long versions. The long was in stock when I purchased it, but that might have changed by now. I heard on the net that there is currently a wait for the short.


    Stock: HS precision with aluminum block. Required opening up recoil lug space to accommodate larger lug. Harris bipod attached. Taped on some foam to increase LOP and cheek hight. Will modify both later to something more permanent. I installed an extended magazine from Wyatt Outdoors to accept longer COAL cartridges out to 3.825”. Trigger guard/bottom metal, mag spring and follower came from Brownell’s. Currently un-bedded, but will do so in the future.


    Barrel: It is a 24” barrel contoured to Shilen’s S4 Savage replacement dimensions; it is their select match stainless steel version. Throated to accept 180 gn Berger VLD with COAL of 3.8” (I don’t have the dummies in front of me now). When rifle is used for hunting, I will at least test the new 168 gn Berger classic hunting. These are supposed to be very tolerant to jump while maintaing a high bc. No brake or suppressor at this point.


    Scope: March F 3-24x/42 mm with illumination. Mil dot reticle and RMAD turrets. This scope is FFP. Held in place by rings from Badger Ordnance. This scope was taken off of another rifle I own.


    Weight: Total unloaded weight w/o bipod: 11.4#. I was looking to hit between 11-12#. Too much lighter would probably require a brake.


    Range: First day out to zero. I used HSM cartridges with 168 gn Berger VLD bullets. Easy conditions of 70 F with light winds. All shooting was done prone off of a Harris bipod with a sock of pinto beans for rear support. All shooting was done at 10x. First impressions at zeroing were that it has an acceptable kick (less kick than I anticipated), but seeing impact at 100 yards was impossible. Midway through zeroing I had to retighten action screws which had rattled loose. Trigger appears to be set to 1.5# as measured with my gauge. I typically set my triggers to 3#. I had a couple ‘surprise fires’, thus haven’t gotten the feel of the lighter trigger, yet. Will probably adjust to 3#. I neglected to measure the COAL of the HSM ammo, but it was easily cycled through the Wyatt magazine.


    Collected very quick and dirty dope (limited ammo):
    200 yards: +0.1 mil
    300 yards: +0.4 mil
    385 yards: +0.9 mil
    500 yards: +1.5 mil


    My chrony jumped in front of a speeding bullet last year and I haven’t replaced it yet. Using JBM ballistics and the observed dope, a rough estimate of MV is around 3300 - 3400 f/s.


    I can’t really speak to precision yet. Everything else on this build has met or exceeded my expectations, so if the precision meets expectations then I will be a very happy camper. It was a good day at the range.gun)


    Shot count: 20
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  2. 7stw

    7stw Well-Known Member

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    Jason, yup, lunatics are us, :D, and I truly can't think of a better cartridge, to get obcessed with, yeah, I said that. That is a fine stick there dude. True, the Shilen action is a rarity for sure, but it is legendary in the bench rest world. I'm sure it shoots, or will shoot beyond your expectations, but wait til you take it hunting. Your confidence will be bigger then life before you take the shot. Once you find your magic recipe, you will ask, why do I shoot anything else! I have asked that question to myself a thousand times, and this caliber STILL gives me goosebumps. I am a multi STW owner, and I have been shooting this caliber for about 16 years. It never fails to amaze me, and if you don't get over zealous with your loading practices, it will last a lifetime of hunting years, and bring lots of memories, and when it comes to " bragging rights" , well, there's not much competition in my book. Enjoy your toy my friend, I mean lunatic, and share your info when you get it, and pix too!!
     

  3. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    That's a nice rifle! Welcome to the brotherhood. I love my STW. I hope to have another one soon, so I can quit putting wear & tear on my Sendero SF.
     
  4. jasonR

    jasonR Member

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    Thanks 7mmstw,

    I can't wait to spend more time with it. I had most all reloading supplies before Newtown except for ... powder and primers. I eventually grabbed a bottle of RL 22 (5#) and Win mag primers when they appeared on otherwise barren shelves.

    I have two types of bullets on hand to load with: 168 gr classic hunter Berger and the 180 gn VLD. From looking at the Berger reloading manual it appears Rl22 will work for both. Is that your take?
     
  5. jasonR

    jasonR Member

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    Thanks MudRunner

    From reading these posts looks like 2, 3 or more rifles in this caliber isn't unusual:D

    (I better keep it at one for awhile!)
     
  6. geargrinder

    geargrinder Well-Known Member

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    Nice looking build. I've been wondering about those actions.

    It's combined all the best attributes of Savage and Remington.

    The barrel thead is very close to Savage thread. Anyone confirm that they are the same or different?
     
  7. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    I've had mine for 11 years, during the major downswing of the caliber's popularity...I didn't shoot it much b/c back then ammo got hard to find before Nosler started producing factory loads, and it was hard to find the Federal 160 Gameking factory loads, then the Federal Premium 160 Accubond factory loads got the ax, too. So I had only 1 choice....Handloading. It has been an excellent rifle, and the spur of many a conversation when at the range discussing the caliber.

    RL-22 will work. I have a good load with 22 and NAB 160's. I tried the 180 VLD's with RL22 and mine didn't care for it so much...However, every rifle is different. Mine loves the Berger 180 VLD's with H1000.

    I have lots of 19 & 22 sitting around that will probably last me forever since all my magnums love H1000. I have developed loads for all of them with 19 & 22 incase I have to use it during a "dry spell" like what happened after the Newtown incident. I also learned to stock up on primers and projectiles, too.

    If gou want some Berger 168, 180, or Nosler AccuBond 160 loads to try, holler at me and I'll see if I can point you in the right direction.
     
  8. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

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    nice rifle, would you mind posting a pic of the floating head?
     
  9. jasonR

    jasonR Member

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    Here is the pic, but frankly it doesn't show much because it is all black. Whereas a Remington bolt is a solid piece the Savage (and Shilen) bolt has the head pinned in place.

    Here is Savage's vid description of their bolt head.

    Really is a useless photo (sorry abou that)
    [​IMG]
     
  10. jasonR

    jasonR Member

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    Thanks for the info and offer mudrunner. I will start with the 165 gn classic hunters that I have with RL22 - maybe not ideal but it's what I have. Now should a bottle of H1000 show up on the shelves ...
     
  11. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the pic, i can pick it out. I am familiar with both but was just kinda curious what the "hybrid" looked like. I think that action will probably be on my next build.
     
  12. jasonR

    jasonR Member

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    It looked to me like a very good price point from a company with an excellent reputation. To realize the good price you have to willing to do some of the work of putting together the entire rifle. But that is part of the fun anyway.
     
  13. jasonR

    jasonR Member

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    I had my new Shilen actioned 7mm STW out today for rounds 20-40. This time I used Double Tap 175 gr Nosler Partition cartridges. Still working on dope and getting used to new rifle. Like before this was prone off Harris bipod, though this time with improvised rear support because I forgot my bag 'o beans.

    300 yards required 0.3 ml elevation. Shot a 10 round string with group of 1.7 MOA, but remove a single shot and it was right at 1 moa. Remove one more shot and it group would have dropped to about 0.6 moa. Then remove another ... oh, ok ... never mind!

    Moved to 500 yards. Doped to 1.4 mil with impact high by about 0.1 mil. Here the 6 round string came in about 0.8 moa.

    Sorry no pics, dead camera battery.

    Ok, not great shooting on my part at 300 yards, but my guess is that with this factory ammo, I will be able to hold 0.5 - 0.8 once the barrel and I settle down.

    I hope to be reloading for this rifle soon.
     
  14. 7stw

    7stw Well-Known Member

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    Jason, good things take time, and your doing just fine. A couple of things need to come into focus. You need to get used to your new machine, the barrel need to break in a little, and you need to find your pet load, and yes, YOU need to settle in , and settle down. The gun and it's load will come to you, but you need to find the right load, and the right conditions, and yes, the conditions are a big thing. One step at a time, and each day at the range is always a learning experience, especially with a new rifle. Have fun, RELAX, and enjoy the ride!!!