Need advice on .338 for LRH

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Demonian, Oct 28, 2009.

  1. Demonian

    Demonian Well-Known Member

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    I currently have a Rem 700 SPS Stainless in 300 RUM. I bought it to play with while gathering items to build a Long Range tack driver.

    After about 40 hours of searching, I finally discovered a stock that I truly like. It has all the features I was looking for, and a couple I didn't know I wanted. This is the stock. Now the problem I am having is that it is designed to use the magazines from Accuracy International, and the largest they make has a COL limit of 3.6". All the larger .338's or for that matter even the .300 RUM using the high BC bullets, seated properly, are longer than 3.6", and even if I seat the bullet further down and have the chamber cut to match, I lose case capacity, and thus velocity, defeating the purpose of using a large magnum round.

    What Iam wondering is if there is another cartridge anyone has had any experience with that will drop an elk at around a mile (not that I plan to run out, range one at a mile and start blasting away, I would just like to have the capability to take the shot, if the situation ever arose and the conditions were near perfect).

    I had my heart set on the .338 Edge, but there are many other .338's out there that are shorter.

    .338 RCM
    .338 WM
    .338 RSAUM (Wildcat? I have only ever seen it mentioned once.)
    Others I have not heard of?

    The reason I want that particular stock is that is is much more cost effective to build a switch barrel gun, say one barrel for a .308, and shoot the hell out of it, saving the larger .338 for true long range practice, and hunting. That stock makes building a switch barrel rifle considerably easier. When you are talking about rifles that cost upwards of $4000.00 + Scope, it only makes sense to me to go this way as I am not exactly made of money.

    I guess another option I have is to get the stock, borrow a friend's mill, and try to modify it to accept the Seekins magazines as it does appear to have the room to accept one, if I modify the magazine release. Cutting into an eight hundered dollar stock is not something I want to do, though. I am a machinist, but still not something I want to do, though I could if I had to.

    Any advice or stories of personal experience would be most appreciated.

    gun)
     
  2. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    You might look at the 325 WSM .

    It has the same energy as the 338 Win Mag but the cartridge length is 3.57 and is a little flatter shooting.

    It also has the same bolt face Dia. as the standard Magnums.

    Just a though

    The bullets are 8mm (Very good for Elk) but there is not a lot of different bullet selections.

    J E CUSTOM
     

  3. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    You are going to be hard pressed to find a caliber that will touch the mile mark in a short cartridge. The needed powder capacity to fill the bill can only be had in the bigger cartridges. I would suggest the .338WM. With the new powders out, you should be to push the Hornady 250 BTHP Match at a velocity that would be deadly to at least 1200yrds. This is all speculation. The Hornady has the highest BC to achieve that distance with the ability to open up. The Lapua Scenar's fail to open, they are very sturdy and almost armor piercing. The Nosler Accu-bonds may fit the bill, but their BC is not that great. Sierra makes a 250 that would work, but again the BC is not there to reach out effectively to those ranges.

    I just crunched some numbers. If you could get the 250 up to a speed of 2750, you would be limited to about 1150 for whitetails and 850 for elk. The mile mark is just not realistically attainable with the calibers you have chosen.

    Just a thought, I have shot a rifle built on a SA. It is a single shot, but it is a .338 Lapua. It is on a Savage target action with a 32" tube. It will eject empties, but we have to pull the bolt to get a loaded round out. We are pushing the 300 SMK to speeds of 2981 avg. This will definitely get you to the mile mark without question. I know mag length is an issue, but when shooting long range, one at a time is sometimes a better option.

    Good Luck,
    Tank
     
  4. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    I do not see any advantage to that stock over others. Switch barrel guns have to have an index mark on the action and barrel to properly insure correct headspacing when you switch them . No way to see the marks inside the tube with that configuration. So not sure how you figure it is easier? Would like to hear that.

    No money saved over any other stock also.

    Plus you are pushing the envelope trying to make any one action "properly" work for both a 308 AND a 338 lapua/Edge size case and it will require two bolts. You can go with a Wyatts mag box and maybe get a smith to fit a second 308 spring and follower in the larger box and just swap them out each time.

    You have two choices if you absolutely want to do it. 338 Norma (short 338 lapua) that is giving 2850 with 300s and the Edge.

    Got a better idea for you. Call John Myer at Custom Gunsmithing in Boyce VA. He just happens to have a factory Rem 338 Lapua with brake, dies, brass and loaded ammo for a steal in his shop, as of 2 days ago. Ready to go now. Call him at (540) 837-2598.

    That leaves enough $ for a 308 and then some.

    BH
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  5. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    D,

    I've spent quite a bit of time over the years looking into the various options in that .338 caliber. Droping an elk at one mile is a quite a quest.

    Exbal shows that with an MV of 2850fps (a bit more fps than many folks are getting with the EDGE w/30" barrel) and using the 300 SMK (probably the best bullet out there right now for this use) at 7000' (lower elevation will give you lower velocities and energies--higher ele. is kind of a best case scenario) that you'd be at 1356 ft.lbs. of energy and 1427 fps at 1760 yds. Not saying it's not doable, but that's getting pretty low energy for an elk and below the typical number that I hear (1600 fps) for any expansion of that bullet. In short, IMHO, you would need to look at a bigger gun.

    Now, if the 300g Berger comes out sometime here and has the predicted G1 BC of just over .9, your numbers would look better-- around 1620fps and 1747 ft. lbs. of energy.

    If I was u, I'd email Carlock and ask him about using the EDGE on an elk at a mile with the 300SMK--I would think that's a bit too far.

    The various 338 Lapua's improved will get you another 100-150fps over the EDGE, but with the 300SMK and 7000' sceneario above, I'd still say it's fairly marginal even in the best of conditions.

    Personally, I would think you need to look at the various .338's built on the 408 Chey-Tac case such as the 338 Allen Magnum built by Kirby of APS and others similar to that. Launching a 300SMK at 3300fps with those or so and the above 7000' still only gives you 1730fps and 1994 ft. lbs. at 1760 yds. If you are hunting at elevations below that, that numbers drop off.

    Don't want to get too hung up on the numbers, but they are at least representative of what can/should/should not be done to a large degree. Something to consider. The other cartridges mentioned pack no where near the punch to even consider elk at a mile in MHO. Good luck.


     
  6. Demonian

    Demonian Well-Known Member

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    I checked out the 325 WSM, and it comes up a bit short, ballistic wise. Bullet selection is, as you said, quite limited. I do appreciate the suggestion, though.

    Single shot is something I am still thinking about, but I would really like a repeater, if at all possible.

    I looked at the Lapua, but ruled it out due to the fact that I would have to let the bank repo my truck, take out a mortgage on the house (might irritate the landlord, considering I am renting) and use my kid's college fund in order to keep it in ammo. Ok so it isn't all that bad, but the cost per round was a bit shocking, to say the least. $260.00 for 100 pieces of brass... Wow.

    The stock makes a switch barrel gun a bit easier due to the fact that you do not have to deal with a pinned recoil lug. Not too much of a difference, but it is there. As far as an index mark not being able to be seen... I do not understand why you said that. The hand guard is removable, and if you look at the Power Point installation guide, you can clearly see that you can still see the receiver, at least enough of it for an index mark. Also you can use a torque wrench, or so I have been told, and forgo the index marks. The bolt issue is one I had not thought of. I do thank you for pointing that out. It is something I will have to think about further. For the cost of a good bolt and the barrel I could just about get a Rem 700 in one of their heavy barrel variants and call it a day.

    Other advantages, in my mind:

    The inline recoil (less muzzle jump, all but non-existent with a brake, less than a "normal" stock).

    The ability to use a custom grip without breaking the bank, and switch it easily if I decide I like something else better. I have tiny hands and this is something I actually do need (Men's small leaves a bit of room at the end of the fingers, most of the time).

    The ability to get a decent adjustable stock, without having the weight of the large steel rods most stock makers use. AR 15 stocks come in just about any shape and size anyone could ever want, and most are quite reasonable price wise.

    The lack of bedding, is another thing I could list as an advantage. Never having to worry about being gentle putting it back together after a thorough cleaning is a peace of mind that, for me, with two sons who I can get to clean my rifle to earn their ammo (call me lazy if you want to), is worth quite a bit, as a good bedding job isn't cheap.

    Last but certainly not least is; I just plain love the look.

    Basically the Tube Gun just works for me.
     
  7. Demonian

    Demonian Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I started crunching numbers a bit more after posting this and came to about the same conclusion.

    I did find some people who disagree with the 1600 ft. lbs. minimum, though. If only I could remember where it was I read it. They were saying the 300 SMK needed considerably less energy to expand, somewhere in the 900 ft. lbs. range. Regardless, it is something I would have to play with, prior to ever taking a shot at that distance.

    The Berger would be a better choice in my mind as well and I hope they release their .338's soon.

    Thanks for the input, all. I have a lot to think about now. Time to go back to the books, crunch some more numbers and see if I can't get some better pictures of the magazine well of that stock. Get a better idea of how feasible it would be to machine it to accept a Seekins magazine, or just go with the single shot idea.
     
  8. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    Hey, if the tube gun works go for it but it is not as quite as simple as you are thinking.

    Add to your costs the action wrench and barrel vise for the receiver and barrel. Got to have those for any switch barrel. Pipe strap is not going to cut it here.

    Plus you should not be taking the action out of the stock for cleaning! You have to reset the torque on action screws and rezero. Buy a $45 Lucas Bore guide and that is all you need along with a good coated one piece dewey rod.

    However, you may not have to bed the stock, but you will have to bed the action to the sleeve. So no cost savings and $851 for LA kit, you can get a hell of a custom stock made by Joel Russo with custom grip.

    Looks like the Edge and the 338 Norma are the shortest case ways to go. Both will fit comfortably in Rem LA and are extremely accurate.

    as for the Lapua, brass is right at $2 in most places if you look and lasts for 3-6x minimum reloads compared to others so I see it as cost savings not a higher cost. We have seen them loaded 54 times and shoot a world record group and same brass last 80 reloadings. That makes it pretty dang cheap to shoot IMO compared to any other brass!!

    I know I have loaded my 338 lapua AI brass over 20 times and still going strong on my first rifle.

    People often think cheaper initially is less expensive, when often it is not.

    BH
     
  9. 406pat

    406pat Well-Known Member

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    How about the .338 norma? Haven't personally used one but according to the review on this site, its whole design premise was to be able to drive the 300g SMK out of a Remmy Long Action. 338 Norma Review.

    Edit: Should read before I write. Should have known I wouldn't be the first to suggest the .330 Norma on this site!
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2009
  10. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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  11. novaman64

    novaman64 Well-Known Member

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    What about a 338 Norma Mag? Some of the guys over on Snipers Hide are getting almost identical numbers to the 338 Lapua pushing the 300's.
     
  12. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

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    That was 1600 fps lowest speed to get some expansion on the 300SMK. That's the number Carlock mentioned in his first DVD: Longrange Hunting. That's an minimum, I would think, from what I've heard. Just another note--the rigs that are shooting out that far that I've seen are certainly not switch barrel guns. I doubt you'd be able to get the very high degree of accuracy and repeatability out of the switch barrel idea necessary to accurately and consistently place shots at one mile, let alone with enough ummpphh left to cleanly kill an elk. I recently bought 100 Lap cases from a tactical supply place on sale for $175. IMHO, you really need to be looking at a 408 Chey Tac case based round and the money needed to support that may make a Lap based case look cheap. I'd email Carlock or Kirby and ask him about shooting out to a mile. That's getting into a very high priced, huge time investment scenario to be albe to do so cleanly. Good luck. Makes us all think a bit more about what it takes to do that, however. Never a bad thing.