Rechambering to .338 Lapua from .338 (any other)

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by dualdueler, May 22, 2013.

  1. dualdueler

    dualdueler New Member

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    I'm trying to put together a hunting package so I can hunt long range. I'm first starting with a bullet, which is the .338 Lapua. I've made that decision, so now I need to buy a suitable gun to deliver the bullet downrange accurately and consistently. Guns that are chambered for the .338 Lapua are, by and large, priced much higher than other .338's. Is it feasible (for instance) to, buy a suitable rifle, like the Remington 700 bolt action, that is chambered and rifled for the .338 Winmag and rechamber for the Lapua? The size goes from a width of .532" Winmag to .588" Lapua, and the length is approx. .27" longer casing, so mechanically, it can be done. Would the bolt face have to be changed or altered? Would the cost of rechambering outweigh the savings in the cost of the rifle? What other considerations are there? Would the cartridges fit the magazine? etc...I don't have a lot of money to spend, and I'm aware of the costs of suitable optics, so wherever I can save is important. I can't find a thread where this topic has been discussed, so if it exists, point me to it.
     
  2. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that the .338 Lapua is based on the .416 Rigby case. That, in itself, should tell you that you are making the jump to a much bigger class of cartridge. When you step up to the full-length magnums, as opposed to the 30-06 length Winchester Magnum class cartridges, you are automatically stepping up to a larger, more expensive action.

    Yes, Remington does make .338 Lapuas on their 700 action. They are not cheap, though. They start around $1500 and go up from there. Probably the best deal going in .338 Lapua factory rifles is the Savage Long Range Hunter. It will set you back about $1100 or so. The rest of the .338 Lapuas start around $2000 and go up from there.

    Add to that the kind of glass that you will need to take advantage of the Lapua's capabilities, and there is no way you will get into the game inexpensively. The Lapua is not cheap to shoot either. Have you checked out what loaded ammo or brass costs these days? If you can find it. If you don't have much money to spend, I really think that you are barking up the wrong tree relative to the Lapua.

    You can try buying a used rifle and re-work it, but that is not cheap to do either.

    You can look for a rifle in .338 RUM. The RUM gives about the same performance as the Lapua and is less expensive to load for. The rifle and scope will cost about the same as the Lapua, though.

    No matter how you slice it, getting into the big-cased .338's is not a cheap proposition.
     

  3. Hired Gun

    Hired Gun Well-Known Member

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    The 300 Rem Ultra Mag is about the most potent of the long range boomers without going to the Lapua. Especially with the recent release of the Berger 215 and 230 grain bullets and VLD Accubonds coming from Nosler. You can buy a heavy barreled 300 RUM pretty reasonably and put a NF rail and 20 power scope, either a Leupold VX3 or Night Force NSX and have a first rate long range rig with plenty of power to bust elk at 1000 yards. I would recommend a muzzle brake to make practice a lot more pleasant. Big guns kick.

    In my opinion the big Weatherby's are good choices too. I'm a huge fan of Accumark rifles. The 300 Wby is very close to the RUM. The 30-378 is a little better but at the edge of being just too much powder for a 30 caliber barrel. The 338-378 has a small horsepower edge over the Lapua.
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    If you are looking for a 338 sized cartridge the 338 Ultra mag will best the Lapua just a little.

    Brass will not be as good as the Lapua brass (But none is) but it is much cheaper.

    The 338 RUM will work with a magnum bolt face, without any modifications.

    If I were going to build a 338 Lapua It would be an improved version to take advantage of the
    fine cases and with the larger bolt face I would use the Weatherby mark 5 action that has a
    longer mag well and can use a standard 378 extractor. This would give the Lapua an advantage over the 338 RUM.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  5. dualdueler

    dualdueler New Member

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    Thanks for your input. In looking at the Wby 338-378, I found an A Square Hannibal 338, and the article states that the Hannibal 338 is made from the .378, as is the Wby. I assume the ballistics are similar.? I am saving up for a higher budget. I haven't found much written about the A Square. I found a 338 RUM, but it got away before I could buy it.