Feedback on custom .308 build

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Heetor, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. Heetor

    Heetor Member

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    Apr 21, 2014
    Hey guys, new member to the site though I have been reading for several years.

    I wanted some feedback on a custom rifle build I was about to get started on. I have been an avid big game hunter for about 20 years, mostly archery and rifle out to 300 yards, (where I can hold over instead of dialing a scope). A lot of moose, black bear, elk and deer. I was a typical MPBR rifle hunter, 20 rounds a year to site in my rifle in the fall, then hunting season, then clean the rifle and store it for 8 months.

    That kind of changed four years ago as I sat at 650 yards watching the largest bear I had ever seen feed for an hour, and had no way of getting closer due to the terrain, so I didn't try the shot as it was way out of my comfort zone. I started looking into what it would take to shoot 650, and four years later I find myself turned into a bit of a shooting nut. I started reloading, went from 2 rifles to 13 (love new toys), and now shoot an average of 250 rounds a month. I have also upgraded most of my hunting gear over the last three years, and have the ever increasing gadget pile on my reloading bench.

    The longer range shooting has been coming along, but is a tough challenge I am methodically getting better at. I spent two years to get reliably sub MOA at 200, and I am currently shooting the gong at 400 at our DIY range in the mountains, and 300 prone at the local range, (longest lane they have). I moved my max range for hunting out to 400 yards 2 seasons ago, doesn't sound like much but it was a lot of work and I am very conscious of ethical killing. The longest hunting shot I have tried was a black bear at 369 yards the year before last, took him with a double lung.

    I was shooting stock rifles, trying out different manufacturers for accuracy and personality so I have a lot of different makes. I happened across a fairly inexpensive .223 Varmit gun, 1500 Howa with a 24" heavy barrel on a Knoxx Axiom stock, and a Monarch 5-20x44, (I added a Timney trigger). Strange looking creature that I really enjoy shooting, though with the 1/12 twist it doesn't like anything over 55 grains, but with a 52 grain Berger I have got it dialed into .75" @ 200 yards from the bench.

    That rifle really got me interested in heavy barrels, so about a year after I bought it I jumped of the ledge and bought my first custom rifle, (lightly used), a 30-378 Wby Mag, 28" Douglas premium barrel, Timney trigger, Mcmillan Stock, pillar bedded, Vortex 6.5-21X50, and BBK-2 Mauser Magnum action.

    It was a long haul getting a pet load for that one, and some serious upgrades to my reloading bench, both gadgets and learning new techniques, but I have it shooting 0.6" at 100, and 2" at 300 with a berger 185 grain, gong to try the 210 grain next. Still have some work to do but I am absolutely addicted to shooting this rifle. A lot of recoil as I don't have a break on it, but it is a 13 lbs rifle so I am getting used to it. It really makes you work on technique, but I think if you can shoot that thing well anything else feels like a .22.

    It has ruined me for stock rifles, so I have decided to do my first custom build. I am thinking low recoil, but I need something with a little more punch and a better BC than the .223. Since I really enjoy my .223 varmit gun I was planning on starting with the Knoxx Axiom stock again, which limits me to Howa 1500/Wby Vanguard, or Remington 700 actions.

    I am thinking .308 for the caliber, mainly for recoil and the fact I don't have a .308 so it is a new cartridge to play with. Since I have a Howa 1500 already I am thinking a Remington 700 for the donor action, and I am looking for one now.

    I need to figure out the trigger and barrel, optics will probably be Vortex or Sightron, I really like those two for the price. Scope rail I am thinking custom, I am having one made by Murphy Precision now for my 30-378, and I will see how they do for the next one.

    I like Timney triggers and I have a couple, but I have also been reading about Jewel and Shilen if I want to go up or down in cost, any other obvious high quality ones I should look into.

    Barrel I am struggling with as I only have experience with 1 custom barrel, the Douglas on my 30-378. I want to have the action blue printed and barrel installed by the manufacturer so I am a little limited, but I have looked at Heart, Pac Nor, and Douglas. All seem to be pretty popular and in the same ballpark price wise.

    I am also thinking 24" as I am not sure I will gain much in .308 with going longer, and it is a lot easier to hump a rifle up the mountain with a 24" barrel for a little LR Coyote hunting. The Knox Stock already make sit a little unwieldy as it is.

    I was hoping to get some feedback on my plan for the stock, action and caliber, as well as some suggestions on potential barrels and triggers that I am not looking at yet.

    Thanks!
     
  2. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

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    ...well it sounds like you have it figured out already. I like the 308. Easy to shoot, reload, and with practice and a good rifle it could be a 1000 yard rifle. I got my 308 out to 750 and that's my absolute max for it. I would also recommend the 260 since it will have a higher BC with 140 grainers. It will also have a little les recoil. The rem 700 is a great base, but by the time you true it, re thread it, and lap the bolt you're already in the custom action price range. The stiller predator would be your best bet. With a trigger jewel is the best, but I also use timey as well. No issue with timey jewel is just a cleaner, lighter breaking trigger. With barrels, any major custom barrel manufacturer will do you well; broughton, benchmark, hart, lija. Stock is a matter of opinion. Mcmillian is extremely nice as you know, I have a couple of BC M40 stocks that are cheap and still have the heft, extra material to open up for barrels and metal, and it has the aluminum bedding block. I used weaver, leupold, seekins, and badger ordinance rails. I would recommend a 20 MOA to add elevation to your scope. My nikon 5x20x44 is maxed out on elevation with A 0 MOA rail so I'm stuck at 750 yards. Don't know much about scopes so I can't help you too much there. A 30mm tube will aid in added elevation. Hope I could help! Good luck!
     

  3. hank440

    hank440 Well-Known Member

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    If you are stuck on a .308 bullet for long range, the 185 berger is good and the 210 even better. I think you will need to use it in a longer .30-06 case for more powder capacity. Then once you master 600-650 yards you going want to shoot farther out , which makes the .30-06 a better choice .

    Either sightron or vortex are good scopes I would base my choice on the reticle, one that can be used to hold for windage, in that case the vortex has better choices.

    as said above any quality brand is a good choice and they all have .308 or .30-06 readily available, 24" is the perfect length. Keep the profile thin like a sporter that will cut the most weight off. Think about you will be firing only 1-3 shots at a time and that's only if you miss :D

    stock is personal preference, if you like McMillan use that, I suggest you keep the rifle weight down as much as possible because you will be carrying it a lot more than shooting.

    that's my $.02
     
  4. Heetor

    Heetor Member

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback, exciting project to build exactly what I want. I had a look at that action, looks pretty nice, and $900 isn't bad.

    Interesting question on the 30-06 vs .308, this might be a big deal as I have access to a few different 30-06 donor actions, where I haven't found a .308 for the right price.

    I already have a 30-06, it was actually my first rifle in an old Remington Woodsmaster, pretty much a wall hanger, but I did dig it out once last year. Fun gun but not really a good reflection of the caliber since it shoots 3 MOA on a good day.

    I focused on the .308 mainly for the short action, not really thinking about weight but more so feeling a short action would inherently be more accurate and there would be less recoil and similar ballistics.

    Without reigniting the old 30-06 vs. .308 debate, am I worrying too much about the short action vs long action thing?
     
  5. hank440

    hank440 Well-Known Member

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    no not at all, the practical accuracy at distance is no different, the deer doesn't know you shot him with long or short action LOL

    if you limit the range to 600-650 the .308 will be fine, my suggestion for .30-06 is based on using heavier 210+ bullets with a higher bc to resist wind. Using the heavy bullets you will need more case capacity to get good velocity 2600+ on the heavy bullets in order to hit hard at long range. gun)
     
  6. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

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    No don't worry about it. Either the .308 or .30-06 will be excellent rounds. If you're worried about an action you can always get a wal mart rem 700 ADL or SPS special for literally 375 dollars. You sell the barrel, stock, and trigger and use the recouped money to true up the action to start your build. They are at the academy in round rock texas for that much and at my wal mart in central Missouri. Also, if you check the classifieds there are a bunch for sale in the parts section. I think bobcat sniper has some for like 375 or 400 for sale. Also with barrel weight I have to disagree. If you want long range performance the heavier the barrel the better. I would go no less than a 22-24" inch long, remington varmint contour. It should finish right at .800 at the muzzle +/-. The heavy/shorter barrel keeps harmonics in sync so the vibrations do not affect the bullet as much as its traveling down the barrel. Not saying a sporter contour won't shoot bc they will. Just saying if you want reliable down range performance heavier is better.
     
  7. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

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    Here is a semi custom 308 that I have to give you idea. I post this rifle a lot cause I love it a lot. It's a Rem 700 SPS tactical in 308, 20 inch rem varmint barrel, BC M40 stock, jewel trigger, harried bipod, and nikon monarch. This is just a bolt together rifle that does .25 at 100 yards with 168 and 180 grn SMK. Reliable 750 performer off a bipod (Max range for my abilities).
     

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  8. hank440

    hank440 Well-Known Member

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    there you go heetor just copy that gun)
     
  9. Heetor

    Heetor Member

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    Doing some reading and I found a few good articles about building a .308 on a long action. Completely the opposite of what I was thinking, as I started out being interested in the .308 because fo the short action, but sounds interesting.

    Longer mag box so I can load up the 210 grain Bergers all the way to the lands and still use the clip, interesting idea, and makes the rifle a little more custom. I have a line on a couple of Rem 700 30-06 actions I am going to run down this weekend as well as look to see what the basic one costs at the local Walmart :)

    Spoke with the three barrel makers I have been looking at (Douglas, Hart and Pac Nor), all said they could do the requested gunsmithing and could make the .308 on the long action, prices for truing the action and bolt plus chambering and mounting their most premium barrel in 26" ranged from $700 - $891. Lead time was very different, shortest lead time was 6-8 weeks, longest was 10 months.

    I decided on a heavy barrel Varmit contour, adds some weight but I want as stiff as possible for accuracy. I think the twist rate has to be 1/10 as I want to shoot heavy .30 cal bullets for the high BC.

    I am pretty sure I am going to go with the Douglas premium barrel. Unfortunately it was the most expensive, but it had the best lead time, and I have a douglas premium on my other long range rig and am very happy with it.

    Any thoughts on this .308 long action idea or the 1/10 twist on the heavy barrel?
     
  10. 300whisper

    300whisper Well-Known Member

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    Long Action makes sense in order to seat the heavier bullets out further. That's the only real benefit that I see. Also i have never used anything past 180 grns in my SA 308 so i dont have any experience with them. Maybe someone else can chime in. I agree on the barrel. 1:10 is a great choice. My barrel is 1:10 and shoots the 165-180 grain SMK and Winchester ballistic silver tips into .25 inch at 100 yards. It's great since its a factory barrel as well!
     
  11. DOUGLAS12

    DOUGLAS12 Well-Known Member

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    You need to know the avg grain bullet you want to use and what you want to use it on. L/A is good for the 200 gr and above. I still shoot a S/A with a Wyatt's box. I run a 26" krieger barrel with 12tw. It is an absolute tack driver with 185 jugs flying at 2740
     
  12. davkrat

    davkrat Well-Known Member

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    I suppose I'm a bit of an odd ball but to me the benefit of the .308 are light recoil, long barrel life and most importantly it's ho him ballistics really let you know when you miss a wind call. It's like practicing with cuffs on then when you get out your dedicated long range rig its like shooting a lazer beam. I like to practice with a .22 LR out to 200-300 yards and the .308 out to 600. Every now and then the 7mag gets pulled out and again it's like shooting a lazer beam!

    I say go with the .308 and 150-168 grain bullets and embrace that flying pig of a round :)
     
  13. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

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    308 on long actions can work just fine. I have found that using a Wyatt box magazine on a short action allows me to run 208 amaxs in the magazine. The boat tail/bearing surface junction sits right at the base of the neck. 2600+ FPS is doable with 208s in 308. I do like 190s but the 208s have a strong foothold among 308 fans and for good reason. If you're going to hold your loads to 210 grains or less, an 11 or 11.25 twist works fine. 10 is still a decent choice and will work with the 215 hybrids.

    The 308 is a great cartridge. It's not perfect but if there was a perfect cartridge, everybody would own that one. Great barrel life, tolerable recoil, options galore for brass, bullets and powders. They're less finicky to load for than some others and don't leave dramatic carbon rings in the barrel. With the right load, it can be a legitimate 1k deer rifle. The 208 amax at 2600+ is such a load.
     
  14. Heetor

    Heetor Member

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    I am hoping this rifle will like the 185 or 210 grain Berger VLD Hunting bullets, these are the two my 30-378 likes the best so i have a lot in the locker. Most likely this rifle will see more long range target time than hunting, but I would definitely like it to be my go-to rifle for coyotes and deer.

    My 30-378 puts the 210 Bergers into 0.45 MOA at 3100 FPS, so good rifle for Elk/Moose/Bear, but at over 14 lbs and a 28" barrel it is a lot of rifle to haul around all day in the mountains, I am thinking this one will be its little brother, and give a little less of a beating at the range :)

    This build is starting to get exciting!!! Picked up my donor action this weekend, got a Remington 700 30-06. Looks pretty ancient but I polished up the bolt with the kids and it is actually in really good shape, and action looks good. I am going to get it rockwell tested before I get down to business with it.

    My Timney trigger came in, I splurged the extra $10 for the nickel platting, and I finally made the decision on optics and ordered the Sightron SII 6.5-20x50, should be here by the end of the week. Tough decision between this one and the Vortex Viper which is currently my favorite scope.

    I have to get the action re-blued it looks like someone painted the barrel and action with a spray can, but then it should be ready to send out.

    I am going to call Douglas one more time to make sure of the timeline and their process for truing the action, but I am 95% sure on the 26" Douglas XX air gauged heavy barrel.

    So I think the only big decision left is the stock, I am struggling with this one. I was thinking the Knoxx Axiom, same stock as I have on my .223 varmit rig which I really like, but they are a pretty strange setup with springs in the buttstock, and an awkward cheek piece. Seems a little cheap for a rifle this nice, and the recoil reduction isn't really important with a .308.

    On the plus side for the Knoxx the adjustable buttstock is nice because my kids can shoot the rifle as well when they get a little older, and I do like shooting the one I have, tough call.

    Any other recommendations I should be looking at for a good long range stock with the adjustable buttstock?