Conversation with Richard Franklin about the 300 Varminter..

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Fiftydriver, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    To all,

    There has been a heated debate about Richard Franklins 300 Varminter(WSM) rifles. Because of the way the debate was heading or being taken by some, I wanted to contact Richard and explain to him exactly what was going on and my thoughts and concerns about his rifles.

    I stated that I felt in his rifles, built specifically to handle these high pressure loads, I saw nothing wrong with what he was doing in any way. I did however mention that the possibility for these loads to find their way into a factory 300 WSM concerned me greatly.

    Richard was very kind to reply to me quickly and every time I e-mailed him and offered alot of information. He said that his loads are very hot loads and special chambering must be used such as very min spec but more importantly a minus zero headspaced chamber. He explained that the cases must actually have a slight crush fit in the chamber and that the very stout receiver prevents any real case stretching.

    I asked him about case life and he said it was very short at these max pressures in his rifles.

    In a Rem 700 rifle, if your getting 3800 fps, your pushing things WAY to hard.

    He even offered to send me a once fired case so I could inspect it first hand. I said that would be great.

    Yesterday the fired case arrived and I checked it over. There was NO sign of any case head seperation risk of any kind, a real testiment of the strength and rigidity of the custom receivers used for these rifles.

    I popped the primer out and inspected the primer pocket. There was gas smoke on the inside walls of the primer pocket which stopped roughly 20 thou from the mouth of the primer pocket. The primer was flattened noticably with a very slight amount of cratering around the firing pin tip, not bad at all. The flattened primer is most certainly the reason there was no gas leakage.

    I then seated another primer and it was noticably loose. In a Rem 700 rifle I would have said the primer pocket was spoiled but in these very strong rifles that will limit case stretching, I can see how he is getting another firing on the case. I have used some cases with primer pockets this loose with no gas leakage but this generally occured after 3-4 firings, not on the first firing.

    Still, Richard stated that the third firing is the end for these cases and loads. Personally, I would be a bit nervous on the third firing but I take Richard at his word that there is no noticable gas leakage.

    Again, in Richards rifles I find nothing wrong with what he is doing. He is loading the 300 WSM to VERY high pressures and he will flat out admit that freely and also comment that it would be VERY dangerous to use these loads in anything other then a rifle SPECIFICALLY designed to shoot these loads.

    So to recap the discussion, yes, accuracy is very good, yes terminal performance is impressive out to 1/2 mile or so. But in no way are these anything but extremely high pressure loads. There is no long case life, none at all. Its simply a sacrifice for high performance.

    I would like to thank Richard for the information and taking the time to talk with me about his 300 Varminter projects. He was more then honest about its performance and challanges.

    He also CLEARLY stated that he does not feel this is a project for anyone but only the most expeirenced handloaders who have the ability to detect and read pressure signs accurately and not in any way for the novice shooter or handloader.

    All this right from the man, no opinion, just the information he offered me from his own mouth and information I got from the once fired case he already sent me. I did not post this to start a pissin match in any way. In fact, if Len wants to lock this post right after I post it thats 100% fine with me. I just wanted to offer the information that one rifle builder got from another rifle builder in a very respectful and appreciative manner.

    Richard knows what he is doing, he knows how to build a rifle to safely handle these loads for a limited amount of firings. He also knows and explains the extreme limitations of the 300 WSM and how extreme care and experience must be used and had to get the most out of his rifles safely. And also know when its time to dump the cases and not try to get just one more firing out of the cases.

    Again. There has been alot of "OPINION" posted about this interesting rifle platform. Just wanted to contact the man directly and have a conversation about his project and get the information directly from him. Not a second or third or forth hand source that is overly excited and possibly a bit overzelous about an upcoming rifle to see clearly enough to explain the limits of such a project.

    Richard was nothing but kind and professional and I in no way want to disrespect him and again will state that in his rifles, the ammo is totally safe if you use it as its designed to be used, with limited firings per case.

    So if Len wants to lock this, so be it, it was not intended with any disrespect to anyone on or off this board, just information obtained from Richard about the 300 Varminter.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  2. goodgrouper

    goodgrouper Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting Kirby. But the whole idea of this cartridge baffles me. It's called a 300 varminter? Well I don't know about the inventor, but around here, varminting is something that occurs year round and in mass quantities. So having a minimum of 100 pieces of brass is necessary if you intend to keep shooting with your buddies all day. 200 pieces is better still. Also, for long range varminting (where precision is a must not an option) brass must be top of the line and made for "match quality". This means neck turning, primer pockets uniformed, flash holes deburred, trimming, and chamfering. All in all, as much as 10 minutes might be spent on each piece of brass. To have a cartridge that that you must throw away your brass after two or three firings doesn't seem much of a varmint cartridge to me. More of an excercise in headaches.

    Then there is the high volume of shots for varminting. Why take the abuse of a "magnum" just to kill itty bitty rodents out to half mile when there are so many other cartridges that would do that with less fuss and better barrel life? Not saying the 300 varminter has bad barrel life but it sure pales in comparison to a 6br or 6.5x47 lapua that can easily dispatch critters at half mile and still create "red mist" with less winddrift. Out here, it's not uncommon to use up 1000 rounds in a year of varminting and this would be half the barrel life of the 300 varminter at best. And I don't buy the old, "I don't care how many rounds I get" bullpucky because even if you do own stock in a barrel company, you still have to make new brass for the new barrel, break in the new barrel, find a load for the new barrel, and then buy all the new stuff for the barrel and that's not to mention have a gunsmith chamber the barrel, and the wait for the barrel to be made by the factory in the first place!! Time is money, and it takes time to work with a new barrel even if you're Ed SHilen himself and you make your own barrels!

    I guess I have a different view of varminting than the "inventor". In my mind, he should have called it a 300 predator or something along those lines. In coyote hunting, this round might actually be ideal. You might fire 50 rounds the entire season, you want a flat shooting round to 500 yards so you don't need rangefinders and drop charts to kill the yote in the .3 seconds he gives you to kill him, and brass that lasts two firings is no big deal 'cause you're more likely to lose it in the snow in the excitement of shooting a dog anyway.

    But to each his own. If touching off 65 grains of powder to kill a p-dog at 700 yards with a bus length of winddrift and having to toss away your brass after doing so floats yer boat, then the 300 varminter is for you! Give me a 6br fast twist, 30 grains of Varget, and a 95 grain Berger VLD and I'll show you what a gun can really do, day in day out, all season long.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008

  3. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    GG, I agree, that was my point exactly in the original thing. I just can't see a 30 cal. magnum as a varminter. I think your conservative on the number of brass and loaded rounds needed making your point even better. I know out shooting prarie dogs you had better have a bunch of bullets and if you shoot the large calibers a huge bankroll to support your habit. I have 500 round boxes. I just never considered a 110 or 125 grain 30 caliber longe range material. Smaller calibers can give you a much better BC with the same velocity and way cheaper to shoot. I couldn't imagine doping the wind at long range with a 110 grain 30 caliber.
     
  4. jwp475

    jwp475 Well-Known Member

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    Kirby, thanks for the info, not unexpected as that is what most of us have said all along... GG, you have very valid points as well, I can not understand the allure of such a set up as a varmint killing tool, but as you stated as a dedicated Coyotey rifle it could have some merit. Although if I wanted 4000 FPS with low BC bullets, I believe that a 22-250 AI would be my choice and to 500 or so yards it would be a death ray on Yotes..

    I believe I know why he named it Varminter Speed sell in the Market place since most don't fully understand Long Range Hunting and the Physics behind it.

    Kirby, GG, and others here on this site KEEP SPREADING THE FACTS. I have learned a ton from guys like you over the years....
     
  5. Supermag

    Supermag Well-Known Member

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    I looked through Richard Franklin's reamer list and, if you think the 300 WSM is overkill, he has a 30-338 Lapua Varminter designed to shoot 125 gr. BTs. I wonder what the fps is on that? I also wonder if the round count for the barrel ever breaks the 500 mark.
     
  6. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    The first time I read the artical on 6mmBR I thought that it miaght not be the best idea to "create" such a round that will freely chamber in a regular WSM. I think that maybe Richard could push the shoulder forward maybe .020 , make it a 40 deg shoulder and have a sort of Gibbs style case ,this would eliminat the chances of these round being fired in anything but chambers cut for this caliber.

    I would hate to see one of these loaded rounds find its way into an Encore that should have never been chabered for the WSM to begin with , I think it could quite possibley be fatal.
     
  7. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    My original comment and opinion of this chambering has not changed in any way. I still think there is a real risk of these rounds getting into the wrong gun. That said, if done the way Richard recommends, in his rifles, I have no problem.

    That "chance" just scares me.

    Personally, as far as the use of the rifle, in my neck of the woods, there is not a high volume of varminting targets, we mostly shoot chuck at long range and there are not alot of them. If you get 10-15 shots a day you would be having a crazy day here in Montana, at least in my area. Because of that, this would not be that big of a deal to live with the case prep and such.

    For high volume varmint hunting, I see no practical use for it but to each their own.

    I to agree, that moving the shoulder forward would prevent chambering in a 300 WSM factory rifle but its really a pain in the rear to relocate a shoulder unless your necking the case down to start with.

    The case shoulder could simply be improved to a 38 or 40 degree angle and get the same job done, standard 300 WSM rounds could be chambered and fired for fireforming loads or in a pinch if needed.

    Still, I was not the designer so that is not my call, it would totally eliminate my concerns however that a high pressure load could be chambered in a 300 WSM factory rifle.

    I am not promoting the chambering in any way, I simply wanted some straight factual information and Richard offered that and he is to be commended for that. He has nothing to hide, is not trying to blow smoke up anyones pant leg. His 300 Varminter is what it is and nothing magical as some have made claims at times.

    It was an informational post only.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  8. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    The rifle will be used for coyote hunting. I am sure I could have gone with something different for varminting, however, I already have a .22 cal and 6mm Cal varmint rifle. I wanted something that would shoot the lighter .30 cal bullets and this combo seemed to be perfect for my needs.

    As I mentioned, on one of my many posts, the majority of my varminting will be done from 400 to 600 yards. So, this combo will work very well. I agree with GG, this would not be a rifle you would want to use for a high volume varmint rifle. Also, I agree again and I have stated on my many posts, this combo would not do well at long ranges in a high wind environment. Like I said, I will not be using this rifle for high volume varminting. I will be using my 223 for the high volume stuff. Also, I don't mind turning brass and doing case prep, so if I decide to shoot the rifle at the higher velocities and only get 3 to 4 firings that's cool with me. More than likely, if I do shoot this rifle at the higher velocties, I will throw the brass away after the third firing. However, my goal is to find an accurate and fast load. I am looking at running the 110grn V-Max at around 3900fps, at this speed, I should be able to get more brass life. However, I will try the hotter loads and see how they work.

    W.
     
  9. davewilson

    davewilson Well-Known Member

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    Wildcat, i hope the gun lives up to your expectations and you have fun with it. i'd bet at some point almost everyone on this site that has built a few guns had that "need for speed" somewhere along the line. you're just scratching an itch so to speak. be safe and have fun with it. just do us a favor and don't list the specs any more! LOL
     
  10. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Dave, that sounds fair enough. I have been very excited about this build, and I will admit I posted TOO many times. I didn't think anyone would care, however, I wont do that again. I have and have had many rifles built around fast twist barrels and VLD bullets. I wanted a .30 cal that would shoot the 110grn V-Max accurately and at high speeds and the 300 Varminter was just the rig.

    The reason I wanted to shoot the lighter bullets out of a .30 cal was because my friends and varmint hunting buddies use a 30-06 and 308 with the 110grn V-Max for varmint hunting. Their set ups provided awesome red mist shows and accuracy out at the longer ranges. My buddy with the 30-06 pushes the 110grn V-Max at 3300fps and my buddy with the 308 pushes it at around 3000fps. They have been trying to get me to build a .30cal to shoot the 110grn V-Max. I was originally going to go with a 300RUM, however, I felt that it would have too much recoil. Than I thought about the 300 WM. I was going to have one built and that's when I heard about the 300 Varminter and it's success. It was exactly what I was looking for. Anyhow, it should be real fun.

    W.
     
  11. Ballistic64

    Ballistic64 Well-Known Member

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    WC, but please do post a pic of the first yote you do zap with the 110 VMax.:D
     
  12. wildcat

    wildcat Well-Known Member

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    I will definitely post those pics for sure. I will also post pics of rifle and groups too.

    W.
     
  13. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    Kirby,

    Thanks for posting the follow-up information on your communications with Richard. Reminds me of Paul Harvey's "the rest of the story".

    Enjoy your rifle Wildcat. Hope it's a tack driver.
     
  14. JohnT

    JohnT Member

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    To all those People Critical of Richard Franklin & the "300 Varminter",

    I believe I was partly responsible for the term "300 Varminter" but I really can't see what all the fuss is about?:confused: Even more so when this site is called "Long Range Hunting". I mean you guys advocate shooting deer at up to 700 yards with a cartridge called a 338 Edge & a 300gr SMK and you want to say who in their right minds shoots varmints with a 300 Magnum. Plus you usually need a muzzle brake!:D I mean "real" hunters don't use muzzle brakes do they?

    Hey guys a look in the mirror is in order here!!! I have only just joined this forum & I think it has lots of interesting things to offer but we must not fall into this " holier than thou attitude". Aren't they called the gun control lobby. Wanting to save us from our dangerous toys!

    I've never met Richard Franklin as I live in Sydney, Australia and he lives in the USA but I've bought a couple of his videos and exchanged various emails with him. (It is in one of those emails that I referred to his rig as the 300 Varminter). He comes across as a most honest, helpful and obviously talented gunsmith you could come across.

    He gets a kick out of long range varminting so who cares if he uses a 300WSM as his cartridge or a 30/378 for that matter. His BAT actioned rifle weighs 25lbs so that takes care of the recoil (no muzzle brake :D) and his barrel is a 1:15 twist specifically for the light 110-125gn .308 bullets. Sounds to me like the kind of specialised toy you guys play with. Heck Iwould have thought he was crazy too, except that I found people doing the same thing with a 30MC (sort of like a 30 GIBBS) & 125gr Speer TNT's right here (our rabbits have been known to charge). Once I shot a 30MC I found it infectious & I now own a rifle in 30MC. It is just a blast in more ways than one.gun)

    As to the safety aspect. A Fool is a Fool is a Fool. There are plenty of handloading manuals out there. Plenty of warnings that handloading is an inherently dangerous activity. I don't want any more restrictions than are already upon us.

    Hey, if I did live in the USA I'd definitely order one of his custom rifles but it'd be based on the 300 RUM that you guys love so much and I'd call it the "300 Ultra Varminter". Any objections?

    Regards,
    JohnT