Need building a rifle advice

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Greywolf18, Jan 9, 2009.

  1. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    I have an old Model 70 in 30-06. It was my first ever gun that I bought about 12 years ago. However, 2 years ago when I was on deployment, my buddy had his basement flood where his safe was and now the barrel is pitted and it can't hit the broad side of a barn now (I shot another one of my rifles that same day to be sure it wasn't operator error and rebuild my confidence). I was going to sell it off, but I really wouldn't get crap out of it. So my next option would be to keep it and upgrade it. After finding this site, I am wanting to upgrade to a larger caliber long range rifle now. What are my options for caliber? Could I turn it into a 338 lapua? I want to keep it for sentimental reasons, but am I just wasting my time and it would be cheaper to just buy a custom rifle from scratch? Also, I am in Eastern NC and when I google gunsmith it gives me pawn shops and local gun stores so there really isn't a gunsmith around here either so I would have to send the gun away for everything. Price is also a consideration as I want to keep it as cheap as possible, obviously I know I won't be getting it for around $500 :p Thanks for the help!
     
  2. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    I've seen some bone stock factory actions shoot realy well (considering) when a cheap Adams & Bennit barrel was fitted to it. Granted you won't be getting a custom barrel that will shoot many rounds before having to stock and clean but 95% of the time they are better than a factroy tomato stake.

    Alot of smiths won't barrel an action for a build unless they true the action and use a good barrel , nobody wants to put their name on a gun thats not built to shoot tiny groups. your cheapest bet maybe to send it to sombody like ER Shaw or Pac-Nor who offers decient barels forma bit less than the typical match grade tube and they will barrel it for you , I've seen a few guns come from Pac-Nor that shot great.

    as for a smith in your area I don't know of any off hand , Eddie Harren is in Maryland. Most likely thow you may have to mail if off.
     

  3. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

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    Hey buddy,

    I've been a gunmaker for almost ten years now.

    First off a couple things. a 30-06 Winny in a control round feed is going to take a ton of work to turn into a 338LM. The 06 has a .471" case rim and the LM is almost .600. The claw extractor is going to really play hell with making this work.

    If its a push round feed Winny then the sliding extractor on the side will need some serious attention.

    My advice. You have a good action. Winny's have some advantages because the trigger is open architecture. They typically won't fail if they get water/ice/snow/dirt in them. You have a three position safety which is very cool as it takes the load off the sear when engaged.

    I suggest you look at other high velocity cartridges. If you are willing to fork out the cash to shoot a Lapua Magnum in 338 (I have two of them and they burn up a Visa card very quickly when buying ammunition or reloading components) then other cartridges will actually produce a bit of a cost savings while offering great performance.

    the 6.5-284 is a phenominal cartridge that is easy to load, easy to shoot, and very, very accurate if the shooter does his/her part. This was once the premier 1000 yard target cartridge used at Camp Perry. It is still very competitive and it takes wins all over the US. It also makes for a great hunting cartridge when loaded with the appropriate bullet. I've shot deer with this round at long distances and its always delivered.

    Just something to consider.

    Good luck.
     
  4. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

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    Your right Chad , I was thinking in the area of 280 Ackley or 30-06 Ackley , either of which would cleanly kill deer to 1000yds with the correct bullets , woulden't cost a ton to reload , don't require a brake to shoot and you can shoot factory ammo if you get in a pinch.

    I'm thinking about my next rifle being a light weight 280 Ackley set up to shoot the 162gr A-max , it should be a good deer gun out o 1k if I can hold it and change to the 160 Accubond for elk out to 500.
     
  5. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

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    While I certainly advocate the performance of the Ackley line of cartridges I also caution those who want them in a sporter type rifle.

    Magnum velocity cartridges accelerate barrel throat erosion. That is a common denominator that a guy can't get away from. All the fancy shoulder angles and neck lengths in the world won't make up for the increased heat and pressure these cartridges produce. Fireforming cases causes about the same amount of wear. This is also a truth unless a guy is willing to endure the nausea of the cream of wheat fireforming method. (I'd rather suck start a 1911 personally). . .

    A second barrel could be chambered, but then you have added expense. Is the slight increase in velocity worth it? That's a personal decision.

    I guess I have little room to talk as I own a wildcatted 338 Lapua Magnum set up to shoot 30 caliber 125 grain bullets at a peak muzzle velocity of 4375fps out of a 34" barrel. I'm betting I'll be lucky to get 500 rounds out of the thing. 102grains of RL25 a shot does not make this very economical either. It is quite graphic and the rifle will produce a sinus headache rivaled only by the really big boomers.

    Just something to think about.
     
  6. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    I had McGowen Precision barrels convert the same rifle last summer. I had it re-barreled in 6.5-06. Fantastic caliber. They trued the action, lapped the lugs, and did the re-barrel for under $600. This was a 24" stainless fluted barrel. Give them a call, talk to John, he'll take good care of you.

    Steve
     
  7. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I literally just got reloading equipment this past Xmas so I'm just getting into the reloading addiction as my uncle calls it. Right now just waiting on brass and primers to come in which hopefully will be a couple of weeks. I've never heard of the 6.5-284, or the 6.5-06. Are these strictly reloading rounds? I've never seen them on a factory ammo box. I wasn't set on the 338, just want a good flat shooting long range rifle. Chad, are these another round(s) that will be expensive to shoot? Steve, I'm going to look them up and see what I can do, thanks for the information. How does your rifle shoot now? I've always been told you get what you paid for, but under $600 for a tack driver would be awesome!

    BTW, wasn't set on the 338, just seen a lot of people on here use the bigger rounds for long range shooting so I figured I'd see what was out there. Thanks again for all the advice/information!!!
     
  8. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

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    Greywolf,

    It shoots very well. I do not have the scope on it now to really tell how well it shoots. @ 100yrds it shoots 1/2" and holds 1" @ 200yrds. It was built for my son, so when he gets bigger we will put a custom stock on it w/ an extended mag box so we can run the bullets to the lands and still have a repeater.

    Yes you will have to re-load the 6.5-06. There are other options that will fit your bolt w/o alterations that you can buy factory ammo for. The 6.5-06 is very easy to load for. I start w/ 25-06 brass, clean up the brass, and load. No different than a factory chamber 30-06.

    This caliber will handle elk out to 400yrds with a well placed shot and the right bullet. This is my opinion and others will differ. Bigger is always better for elk. 800yrds for deer no problem.

    $600 for the barrel work and a little extra plus the value of your donor rifle. This is not a cheap rifle in my opinion. Costs about the same as a high quality factory rifle, but should shoot much better.

    Good luck, and have fun w/ it.

    Steve
     
  9. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

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    Black Hills Ammunition manufactures a 6.5-284 cartridge. They use either Norma or Lapua brass. Can't recall what my brass is at the moment.

    This was once considered a wildcat, but it has gained considerable momentum over the years. The load is pretty simple. It has a rebated rim which gets some people all worked up for some reason. I've never had an issue so I can't speak bad about it. It's easy to load, runs great in the gun, and shoots damn well.

    Take a case and do all the usual prep work. Cram a Federal GM210 primer in the butt and dump 55 grains of H4831SC in it. Seat a 140 grain bullet just off or into the lands and out of a 28" tube you should run right at 3100fps. If you insist on fussing with the necks just make sure you have at least .0015" of clearance all the way around the neck (.003" larger than the neck OD) otherwise you will experience a pressure problem. You gotta allow the neck to expand to let go of the bullet.

    It shoots flat as a board and with a Hornady SST bullet it'll ventilate the respiratory tract on a whitetail with great efficiency. Recoil is very manageable (girlfriends have never been afraid of it), it is extremely accurate and it sneers at the weather. Barrel life is right at about 1200 rounds with a cut rifled, stainless barrel.

    You can stoke them up a bit more, but the issue becomes bullet RPM. You need a 1-8ROT barrel for the 140's and anything much past 3100 can get them to act a little weird. 200fps doesn't really get you much so no real reason to press your luck.
     
  10. Greywolf18

    Greywolf18 Well-Known Member

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    I've been reading more on the 6.5-284 and it seems that those rifles go through barrels pretty quick. What would be some other good calibers to convert a .30-06 to that would be a good, flat shooting, long range target/hunting rifle that I won't have to rebarrel often? Thanks again for all the help guys!
     
  11. NesikaChad

    NesikaChad Well-Known Member

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    A 6.5-284 will eat a barrel in about 1200 rounds. Now, you have a couple options here. If you hang a whippy spaghetti barrel on it chambered in this cartridge then your going to have to replace the entire barrel. The more affordable option is to get yourself a heavy contour varmint barrel with a 3" long cylinder. Order the barrel to finish at 30" or 32" and then when the throat gets shot out, take it back to gunsmith guy and have it set back enough to chase out the throat with the same reamer.

    Walla, now you have a brand new barrel all over again and it's only 2-3 inches shorter than it was. It'll still hammer out to a 1000 just fine until you drop down below 28". That seems to be about the shortest you ever see on a target rig.

    Setting the barrel back is what this process is called. It's been done for years and it works great. Competitive shooters do it often. So, think of this cartridge now with a 2400 round barrel service life. Setting the barrel back is also not overly expensive in terms of gunsmithing. Just push the shoulder forward, trim some off the breech, pick up the existing thread and carry it to the new shoulder, and then get busy with the reamer until the barrel headspaces again.

    There's a little more to it, but that's the meat of the process.

    Done properly the only thing you'll notice is a slight reduction in overall weight and your bullets dropping off a touch in muzzle velocity. It'll shoot just fine. Stoke the load with an extra bit of powder and your back in business. That's why I suggested 55 grains of 4831SC. It's not the fastest load, but it gets the job done and gives room to grow.

    to directly answer your question about alternative cartridges, just consider this: What your going to find very quickly is that whenever you decide to make a bullet go faster its going to cost you more money. Speed means heat and it means pressure, neither of which are conjunctive with long barrel life. Another thing to consider is how often you are shooting this thing. If your out every day or several times a week that is one thing. If you make it out a few times a month or a few times a season that is another. Be realistic with yourself as to how much money/time you can truly invest in this. If you are shooting it every day or several times a week then cost really shouldn't be a concern cause you've obviously got the disposable income to buy the components and a job/family that tolerates long hours in the loading room.

    (This would be a big reason why I hang onto the one I have for dear life cause she's awesome and we have a 10 year old daughter who is infatuated with guns and bullets; makes for great child/slave labor!)

    My point is 1200 rounds can last a lot longer than you think, especially in a hunting rifle.

    If you'd like to talk more about it, PM me and we'll see what we come up with.

    Chad
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2009