Hungry for Knowledge and Advice-Rifle Builds

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by AvidHunterAbe, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. AvidHunterAbe

    AvidHunterAbe Member

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    Hello Fellow shooters,

    I have finally decided to join this forum because it seems to be the only place where long range hunters actually help each other with strong advice.
    I am no newb to rifles and not so bad with a bow either but this long range rifle build has my head spinning. Before I let my self purchase a long range rifle I have decided to build two of my own so that I know exactly what goes into it. (kinda like building a hot rod rather than just buying one) Please bare with me as I will have lots of questions and am anal about accuracy.

    Gear:

    1.) Basic Remington 700 BDL chambered in 7mm rem mag, Bell and Carlson Thumbhole stock, Timney trigger at 1.8 lbs, Full float, block, glass, topped with Leupold Custom Long range scope w/already installed Mill Dot reticle and long range turrets, shooting factory Fed Premium ammo 140 gr accubonds, factory barrel, factory action

    2.) Basic Remington 700 BDL chambered in .300 Ultra Mag, BlackHawk Thumbhole full float stock, bedded/blocked, Same Leuopold Long range scope as mentioned above, Timney Trigger at 1.8lbs, shooting factory Fed Premium 200gr Partitions, factory barrel, factory action

    From reading, reading.......and reading some more I have come to the conclusion that there are three weak points in these rifles, Barrels, Actions, Loads

    I have had decent success with these set ups using the Ballistics program Exbal.

    Questions:

    Barrels: I have looked into Hart barrels, and aside from their fancy fluting which is a plus, I have decided to go with their match grade barrels, fluted bolt and muzzle brake. So the questions go: What length? Twist? Tapper? Anything else I should know?


    Action: I know I need to have these barrels trued to the actions, what exactly IS truing, what do I need to know about it? And will these factory actions suffice?


    Loads: I know barrels and Loads go hand in hand, so my first question is can a newb honestly build serious long range tack drivers doing load development them selves, or is this best left for a pro? If I attempt this myself, what kind of bullet must I use? (I see every one is into Bergers these days) Grains? Dimensions, shapes? Speeds?

    I hunt Deer and Pronghorn with the 7mm and Elk or bigger game with the 300 Ultra Mag. I have always believed that its not neccesarily about the bullet weight, speed, flattest shooting ect, its accuracy that kills. I have no problem putting in the bench time to get to know the rifles and build a better shot, I just want to build these guns to the point that a miss would only be the result of the shooter.

    Thanks for reading, I look forward to learning the proper information needed to finish these rifles.:)
     
  2. AvidHunterAbe

    AvidHunterAbe Member

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    After watching a video on here, I now realize what goes into blue printing/ truing an action.

    So the question is now, how do you pick the barrel, twist, length, tapper, ect if you do not know exactly what bullet you will use (I dont care about brands and all that, im purely after the most accurate bullet out of that gun) After looking on Bergers website they have recomended twists for each bullet, how ever I am not sure which bullet would be right for each gun?

    Also, with Berger bullets, are you able to purchase already loaded rounds or must you load them all your self, which way is best for the most accurate set up?

    Thanks,
    Abe
     

  3. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    Abe:
    You have two very nice rifles to use for a custom longrange build. As you stated, the weak points in both rifles is barrel, action and loads.

    Are they shooting .5moa or better at 200yards? if so, why make any changes?

    Let me take a crack at some of your general questions....

    Barrels
    Length: generally speaking, the longer the barrel, the more velocity you can get. If your barrel gets too long though, it can become cumbersome. Generally speaking, a longrange rig has a barrel in the 26 to 32" range.

    Taper: The heavier the barrel, the stiffer it will be. Stiffer barrels are generally more accurate. Downside of a heavy taper is that it makes the overall package heavier. This is not a problem for a dedicated longrange rig where you will carry your rifle to a shooting position and set up. If you intend the carry the rifle, weight can become an issue. My carry rifle weighs 9lbs. My dedicated longrange rigs weight 14 and 16lbs.

    Twist: What ever caliber you choose, use a twist rate that will allow you to shoot the heaviest bullet. In your particular case, a 7mm will generally have a 1:9 twist as it will stabilize the 180grain bullets. A 1:11 twist will take care of the the 30cal bullets up to 210grains. If you want to shoot the new Berger 230grain hybrid, you will need 1:10.

    Actions
    Your Rem700 actions are some of the best in the business. Many of the custom actions that are out there are just Rem700 clones.

    Since you have seen the video of truing an action, there's not much more that I can add. If you do rebarrel your rifle(s), have the actions trued/blueprinted (interchangable terms)

    Loads
    Handload, handload, handload. By handloading you are able to customize your ammunition to your rifle and the task at hand. Handloading is something that you can do and you should do.

    In load development, I take a reverse engineering type of approach. Which is to say I start with the intended use (hunting big game, varmints, targets). Once that decision is made, I consider the bullet I would 'like' to shoot. Then I start to work on getting that bullet to work in my rifle.

    One thing that will help the members of this forum with your projects is to narrow your focus a bit. Rather than querying about both rifles, take one at a time. Tell us about your intended use for the rifle and if you have any type of budgetary constraints.

    Keep the questions coming.

    As a potential point(s) of reference, here are links to my carry rifle and two dedicated longrange rigs:

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f53/my-280-updated-32771/

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f53/my-260-mcr-59628/

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f53/my-300rum-mcr-70809/#post494570
     
  4. AvidHunterAbe

    AvidHunterAbe Member

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    trebark- Thanks for your reply! I plan on finishing these two and am not to concered about weight as I dont mind lugging around a 15lbs rifle when I can get my buddies to carry the rest of the gear :). I plan on building a light weight long range/semi-long range gun or just buying one after I actually figure these two out myself. I appreciate your help and input, keep it comming! Also, what is the best way to learn how reloading pricisley works....videos? books?
     
  5. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    ok - so you want to work on the two rifles you have. My first suggestion would be to consider your caliber choice. When you rebarrel a rifle, you can pretty much choose whatever cartridge you wish. The reason for my suggestion is because ballistically, there's not much difference between a 7mag and a 300rum. My suggestion would be to consider changing the 7mag into something that can kill antelope and deer at fairly longrange, but has less recoil and better barrel life.

    For instance, in my three rifles, the 260 will kill deer out to ~900 yards and the 300rum will kill them at ~1500. The 260 is the workhorse and gets most of the shooting jobs. It is extremely accurate and provides very good barrel life.

    Because both of your rifles are long actions, you might want to consider rebarreling your 7mag in 280Rem. With a 28" barrel, you can probably get the 168VLD going 2950+. That will easily kill deer/antelope at 1000yards and give a lot more barrel life than the 7mag.

    For reloading, read, read, read. Get your hands on some reloading manuals (even older editions) and read their 'how to' pages. Check out youtube and search for reloading videos. Reloading is like a lot of things in life in that there are different ways of accomplishing the same things and often everyone has an opinion as to which way is best.
     
  6. AvidHunterAbe

    AvidHunterAbe Member

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    I see, awesome input! And another question....I never considered rechambering these guns but now that you got me ticking, give me your thoughts about chambering the 7mm to a 7mm ultra mag..?

    Upon completion of these two rifles I was planning to buy a 30-378 WTBY but building a rifle with better barrel life sounds even better. Just to throw out a feeler I have a M77 Ruger .338 win mag laying around and a real nice TC Encore in .270, any considerations on building something out of these? Or is it best to stick with the above mentioned smaller calibers?
     
  7. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    When you rebarrel the 7mag, you can pretty much choose any cartridge with a magnum bolt face (.534). The 7Rem Mag and 7RUM both use the same boltface, so you can easily rebarrel to 7RUM. If you're going to leave other rifles as 300rum, then no reason to build a 7rum. Plus the 7rum is a known barrel burner.

    As I said before, I would recommend building a rifle in a cartridge that would give you a lot more barrel life.


    Why buy a 30-378 when you already have a 300rum?

    While your Ruger is probably a very nice rifle, I would recommend you sell it and use the cash on the other two rifles. There are LOTS of aftermarket parts for the Rem700s and every gunsmith works on Rem700s. But it is difficult to find aftermarket parts (especially custom rings and bases) for the Rugers.

    The TC Encore is a nice rifle but not a great platform for a longrange rifle. Because it's so lightweight, it could be your carry-rifle.
     
  8. Lyons7STW

    Lyons7STW Well-Known Member

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    I am really liking the sound of the 7mag as is. I would bet if you hand loaded for it you would need nothing more. How does it shoot now, with the factory load? I finished one just prior to the season very similar in 7 STW and love it. Granted I handload the 168 bergers to 3050 fps for it.
    I prefer mine lighter because I never can predict where the hunt will take me. I like to have the option of going to them or shooting em way over there.
     
  9. AvidHunterAbe

    AvidHunterAbe Member

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    Thanks for the replies Trebark and Lyons, about dang time I got to converse about this stuff with hunters and shooters that use this stuff afield. I can acquire the information, the experience/wisdom is what Ive been looking for.

    Correction: The .270 win is actually a TC Icon, not an Encore....I seem to make that wording mistake often.

    If I were to keep it as a 7mm, what kind of like expectancy does the barrel have? (approx. shots?) The reason I like the idea of a 7mm RUM is because I like to think more rifle is better than not enough rifle. I only use my long range rifles in persuit of trophies, any meat hunts (a few does and cow elk each year) are usually left of to the the old 300 win or 338 win mag or .308

    Trebark: What are any other advantages you have found in the .280?

    What kind of range are you comfortable with when shooting your carry gun?

    And why is it you suggest I shoot the heaviest bullet I can, I was under the impression that the flatter you can get the trajectory the better it will be for accuracy.......obviously I am here to learn.

    Thanks for all of your help!
     
  10. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    You're right, there is no such thing as being 'under-gunned'. For the 7rum I would expect to get about 1000 rounds from the barrel. As long as you don't shoot long strings of shots, you can probably get more.


    I like the 280 because of the barrel life (2500+ rounds), it does not have a steep shoulder so it feeds well from the magazine and it can shoot a high BC bullet at 2750fps which carries a ton of energy and low wind-drift way down range.

    Although my carry-rifle (280Rem shooting 168VLD at 2750fps) has sufficient energy to kill deer at 1000yards, I am comfortable and confident with it out to ~600. I have an opportunity for some longrange practice coming up. If all goes well, my confidence level may stretch to 800. Longrange is not the primary purpose for this rifle though. Generally I have the gun zeroed at 200 yards and shoot 200 and closer with it.

    Couple of things here....

    1. You want a rate of twist in your rifle that is fast enough to shoot the heaviest bullet. Lets say for instance in your 7mm you went with a 1:10 rather than 1:9. The 1:10 twist would limit you to shooting 150grain or lighter bullets. What if your rifle doesn't like the 140 and 150 grain bullets? then what? you don't have enough twist to try the 160+ bullets. Whereas if you have 1:9 you can shoot everything.

    2. Heavy vs. Light bullets.
    You're partially right that lighter bullets tend to shoot faster and flatter than heavy bullets..to a point. It's all about ballistic-coefficient (BC). BC puts a numberical value to the aerodynamics of a bullet. Generally speaking, heavier bullets have a better BC than lighter bullets. As a result, the heavier bullets will be able to maintain their velocity at longer ranges than the lighter bullets and they will have much less wind drift. (note: the higher the BC, the better)

    As an example, use whatever ballistic software you have and compare the trajectory, energy and wind drift of two 7mm bullets...150grain Nosler Ballistic Tip @ 2900fps (BC = .429) vs. 168grain VLD @ 2750fps (BC = .612). You will see that inside 600yards the 150 might have some superiority over the 168, but when you cross 600 yards you will see that the superior BC of the 168 will take over. From 600 to 1000yards, the 168 will be flatter, carry more energy and have less wind drift than the 150. When the range gets loooong, wind drift becomes more of an issue than flat trajectory.
     
  11. Lyons7STW

    Lyons7STW Well-Known Member

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    I like the 7mm 168 for several reasons. Especially when you can get it over 3000 fps. Which you can with the larger 7s.

    I still consider long range anything I have to compensate for. Especially if I have to hold off the bodyof the animal. So for me long range is conditional.

    I strive for a happy medium. I want a rifle I can carry and still be a solid platform. So 8-10 lbs. Flatter and faster gives you more leeway im range.estimation.

    Higher BC gives you more leeway in wind estimation.

    If you have a good range finder, plenty of time to calculate and dial and good drop info, the wind bucking capabilites is yoir hardest to overcome variable.

    Ex. I have a super accurate 308. I know it to a T. It drives tacks at the range when time is not an issue. I got frustrated with it on.coyotes because they would not stand to be ranged or dialed on. On the other hand my 22-250 is flat! A good guess on distance is all you need. But it is hard to compensate for in the wind.
     
  12. Lyons7STW

    Lyons7STW Well-Known Member

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    Sumation... 7mm 168 with a BC of .6 or better at over 3 thou fps gives you reasonably flat and isnt a leaf in the wind either. In a mid weight platform its a half mile rifle. Or a oh crap he walked out of the brush at 350 rifle.
     
  13. AvidHunterAbe

    AvidHunterAbe Member

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    Thanks for the info, I think I will keep them chambered the way they are and build a 600yrd or less carry gun later. I didnt get a change to shoot past 100yrds this weekend because of the preivious nights festivities. Aside from the guys next door shooting my target I did well at a 100 yards, unfortunately the groups at that close of range does not tell you much. Here they are any way:

    7mm
    [​IMG]

    .300RUM
    [​IMG]

    factory ammo factory barrels and actions.
     
  14. Lyons7STW

    Lyons7STW Well-Known Member

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    They seem to shoot fairly well. Get out and stretch the legs on 'em some. Keep track of your holds/ impact info and enjoy.

    Add practice and experience in the feild at the range you are striving forto the equipment you have and success will follow.