Sako TRG-S .338 Lapua Build

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Inkognito, Dec 12, 2010.

  1. Inkognito

    Inkognito Active Member

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    I've read a lot of posts about the TRG-s on this forum. This seems to be the place for information about these rifles. I've had one of these for 10 years or so but have never done much with it. I am thinking about rebarreling and restocking it. I've not made any final decisions on any of this yet but I'm thinking about: 1. McMillan A3 with McMillan bottom metal. 2. Bartlein 23" #9 HV Modified (tapers to .935") barrel. 3. Remington recoil lug.

    This is not the kind of project that I am used to, I'm more familiar with semi-autos so I am sort of a duck out of water with this one. I will get a quality smith to do the work, but what I need is guidance as to any flaws in my choices. Am I going to regret a 23" barrel instead of 26"? I only have access to an 800 yard range at present, but I want to be able to, or at least the rifle to be able to reach out to 2000 yards so that if I ever do have access to that kind of range I can use it. I like the 23" for weight saving and more compactness. I'll probably have the barrel fluted as well if there is significant weight savings with that. But if there is significant loss balistically with the 23" barrel I will go with a 26". This is really where I need some expert advice. Also, the barrel contour that I am thinking about, is it too light? Should I go heavier for these ranges?

    I've never really liked the original TRG-S magazine. Are there other options? Should I not get McMillan bottom metal? I once read that a TRG magazine will work in a TRG-
    S with some slight modification to the magazine. But with that modification, does it make it as lousy as the TRG-S magazine?

    I failed to mention, that I do already have the Near mount. It is a very nice mount. And I am looking at a Tango Down bipod. I think it is designed for an AR type rifle, but I really like the simplicity and smooth lines of it. That is probably going to be my next purchase as it can be done relatively cheap and mounted to the existing stock with little effort. The rest of this project is kind of an all-encompassing deal that looks like it is going to cost about $1200 just in parts. I'm a bit reluctant to go down that path on a rifle that cost me $500. Have I lost my mind?
     
  2. JRu

    JRu Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    IMHO; If you're considering a sandwiched recoil lug ( = "Remington recoil lug" ) I suggest you reconsider and rather have the recoil lug bedded into the stock itself, in line with the original concept. An even better solution would be to use an aluminum bedding block ( doesn't need to be full length ) and bed the [steel] recoil lug into the block -- similar to the solution found in the TRG-22/42 product line. I can provide photos if required, I own both the TRG chassis as well as the original TRG-S stock.

    The TRG-S action is compatible with the TRG-22/42 chassis. This requires slight modifications to get the original TRG-S trigger group safety to fit, or a TRG-22/42 trigger group ( a drop-in fit but expensive ). Please note a TRG trigger group will not fit the original TRG-S stock as the TRG trigger group contains the trigger guard and magazine release as well. On the plus side, it is a well adjustable two-stage trigger.

    TRG and TRG-S magazines have the release slots on different sides of the magazine, the TRG-S release slot is in the front, TRG in the back. Other than that, capacity and the plastic bottom on the TRG-S magazine, they are identical in shape. I can photograph these as well as I get home from the office.

    As for barrel length. I'm sure there are lots of different opinions, but I would suggest you consider your true needs and make your decision based on that. Short barrels and extreme long ranges don't mix well. On the other hand, for <1k ranges, even 20-22" in 338LM can give you a performance advantage over some more traditional chamberings.

    Personally, I'm a big fan of TRG-S. I bought one in 30-06 as a backup rifle but it's quickly become my true go-to rifle for all practical purposes. The TRG-S action is forged and with good bases designed for the Sako wedge ( if you go with a picatinny/weaver rail on a 338LM, always have it double pinned and bedded! I've seen bases come loose as Loctite'd screws have stripped ) it maintains zero extremely well.

    My 30-06 barrel is 23" but I'm constantly hanging a suppressor so in practice it's more like 28". Not feeling too handicapped about it, I bought a 28" 6.5mm barrel in HV profile and as soon as our deer season is over, it's getting chambered in 6,5x55. 140gr@3000fps with a Lapua shell full of VV N560 is rarely a bad combination...

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  3. 300R

    300R Well-Known Member

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    Look at the 338 norma magnum,i think it would be a perfect match for what you want to build.
     
  4. JRu

    JRu Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the dark pictures, poor indoor lighting, poor camera, amateur shooter-come-photographer...

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  5. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

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    JRu, It looks like some of this info and the pictures are applicable to the M-995 also. Very interesting. Thanks for some good ideas.

    Tom
     
  6. Inkognito

    Inkognito Active Member

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    JRu: Thanks for some very helpful information. I'm sure the TRG trigger group would be very expensive if I could even find it. Since I am replacing the original stock I have to get new bottom metal anyway. I am wondering if it would be possible to get bottom metal that will take my TRG-S trigger group (as I am very pleased with it) but also take a TRG 42 magazine? Probably not, but I will explore that option.

    I should back up and say that the only reason why I am contemplating this whole project in the first place is because the barrel that comes on a .338 Lapua TRG-S has a 1-12" twist. This limits me to shooting bullets no heavier that 250 gr. I thought maybe I could be content with that, but alas, I really want to try some heavier Barnes bullets like the 285 gr. So, I have to rebarrel and since I am going to rebarrel it only makes sense to go with a heavier barrel on something like this which means I also have to get a new stock that will allow for the thicker barrel. And while I'm at it I've been told by many people that it would be foolish not to upgrade the recoil lug that is, in many people's opinion, the weak link in the TRG-S design.

    So, that is where I am at. The TRG magazine is just a rabbit I am chasing in this already complicated project. I probably should just go with the 26" barrel. No sense in doing all this and limiting the potential to save 3 inches in barrel length. Its not like this is going to be my concealed carry weapon or anything :)
     
  7. JRu

    JRu Well-Known Member

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    Tom,

    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying -- TRG-S IS the Sako M995. But anyways, glad if this information is of use, I know first hand there's not much information on the web regarding the TRG-S. ( the complete owner's manual can be found at Sako Finland - Manufacturer of High Quality Firearms / old models, I can't give you the exact link as certain websites are blocked at my work )

    Inkognito,

    Yes, replacing the original stock means getting a new bottom metal, as the original is permanently attached to the stock. This is exactly why I bought the TRG-41 chassis and stock when I happened to come across one second hand.

    If you have to go for a custom bottom metal, consider having it done for AIAW magazines instead. TRG magazines cost and arm and a leg. On the other hand, they do allow for longer COAL so do your homework before you commit to it, if kissing the lands is your thing. With AI mags, you won't be able to, AFAIK.

    I personally see no reason to touch the barrel contour when rebarreling but then again it's a personal decision. What I *am* wary of, though, is the original stock's structural integrity when facing Wby/LM sized chamberings. But the insides of McMillan stocks aren't exactly my favourite material either -- which is why my 7RM Weatherby is bedded into an A5 with an aluminum block acting as a recoil lug counterpart and front pillar...

    Barrel length? 23,26,28,30. All a matter of preference really. I know velocities do not drop as dramatically in .338 as they do in 6.5mm, for example, but sure there is a difference when going for shorter barrels. It all depends on what your intended use is -- for a ELR rifle, go as long as you can and while you're at it, chamber the rifle in 338LM AI. For anything resembling a carry rifle, I'm not so sure a 22-24" is such a bad idea. I could certainly see having one built myself. Admittedly 26-28" is a safe choice, for sure.

    Short barreled 338LM TRGs sure do look purty next to more traditional LR rifles, especially when wearing a Gen2 folder rear end. :)

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  8. specweldtom

    specweldtom Well-Known Member

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    JRu, I've been able to examine a M-995 closely, but have never been able to examine a TRG-S.
    from the pictures you posted, the similarity is obvious though. Yes the info is very helpful, and appreciated.

    Thanks again, Tom
     
  9. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

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    Here's what I did:

    Started off with the standard TRG-s in 338 LM. Put it in a McMillan A5 stock with bottom metal provided by McMillan. Magazine hardware from the original stock was transferred to the McMillan. Recoil lug in the original stock was transferred to the McMillan stock also, and a Badger Ordinance recoil lug was also added. The stock was pillar bedded and glass bedded with Marine Tex (thus the lug in the stock was enlarged to match the recess on the action and a recess was cut for the Badger Ordinance recoil lug). Effectively, the rifle is 'double recoil lugged'... not my choice, but very solid. GA Precicion did the work. The rifle was rebarrelled with a 27" Bartlein 5R in the Light Palma Contour (0.70" at the muzzle), 1:10 twist. The barrel was chambered by GA Precision and has a min spec chamber. A US Optics 20MOA rail was added... it fits the dovetails on the action, but was also drilled and tapped with four 8x40 screws and 'loc tighted' to the action. A Defensive Edge muzzle brake was installed. The original trigger is awsome, no changes made to that.

    The factory magazine sucks, but I live with it. At the range I single feed. When hunting I use a rubber band to hold the bottom of the magazine flush with the bottom of the rifle or I use camo duck tape to hold it flush. This improves reliability but looks 'rinky-dinky'.

    I get around 0.5" to 0.7" groups at 100 yards, with some smaller groups here and there. Holds sub MOA out to 810 yards (Furthest I've grouped it at) as long as the wind isn't too bad. I use 300 gr SMK's with 92 gr H1000 and Federal 215M primers. Jump the SMK's about 0.020". I get 2805 fps average with single digit ES and SD. FYI, that's a pretty stiff load.

    I use a Redding Competiton neck sizer die with a 0.365 bushing. Bump the shoulder back 0.003" with the body die and seat with a Redding Competition Seater die.

    By the way, the manual said the factory barrel was a 1:12 twist, but upon testing I found it to be a 1:10. Same result in my dads' TRG-s. He did something similar with his, but used a laminate stock and still has the factory barrel. His groups improved a lot with the change of stock and the bedding work.

    PM me to get my number if you want to call and discuss this more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011
  10. Festus

    Festus Well-Known Member

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    Incognito,

    Have you actually checked your twist? I know the manual says they are 1:12" but I found the same thing that Rymart pointed out...the actual rate of twist on mine is 1:10" and it stabilizes 300 gr. SMK's just fine.

    Festus
     
  11. Inkognito

    Inkognito Active Member

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    That's almost too good to be true. How would I test that?