Time to finish the 338 LM Elk Rifle build - need some advice

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Rymart, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    OK, I'm about ready to send in the Sako M995-TRGs for a custom barrel and a muzzle brake. This is the last step in completing a 2-year project. Originally I had planned to install a Schneider 5P barrel, and may still go that route. The last time I talked to George Gardner he recommended a Bartlein barrel as they had been shooting very well. I am also considering a Rock Creek or a Broughton barrel. I will go with a 1:10 twist and prefer 5P, 5C, or 5R style rifling. So what barrel would be best? Would there be any advantage to going with a chromoly over a stainless barrel?

    Next dilema... What contour and length? I am looking for the best balance of performance, weight, and portability. I currently have a 26" barrel and think I would like to go a little longer, but, then again I also have to pack the thing up the mountains during elk season... It just seems like with a 26" barrel, I am not really tapping into the potential performance of the cartridge. As far as the contour goes, I am considering a 5, 5 1/2, or a light Palma contour. Mainly I would like the diameter at the muzzle to be between 0.7 and 0.8 inches. I'm not a big fan of the ultra light barrel contours. Any suggestions or advice on this matter?

    Next... Fluting? Is it worth it? How much weight am I really going to cut? Will it have any effect on accuracy or any thing else (barrel cooling)?

    And finally the muzzle brake... Any recommendations? I am leaning towards a baffle style brake without the holes in the bottom to kick up dust or snow. Also, I want a brake that is as compact and as 'pretty' as possible while still effectively reducing recoil. I'm pretty much used to shooting the 338 Lapua mag. without any brake, so whether the recoil is reduced by 35% or 50% is not that big of a deal to me, but I would at least like there to be a chance of me being able to spot the ocassional shot for myself.
  2. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    I’m having a 338 Lapua built also. With the smiths suggestions have settled on a 28 inch Broughton 7.6 light varmint barrel. 5C, 1-10 twist, 6.6 lbs. Going to use a Badger muzzle brake. I want the barrel to finish up at 28 inches overall. Not going to flute the barrel as a few ounces with a gun of this type really does not matter to me



    SUNDEVIL Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    I have a 338 Lapua. Went with a 28in. Schneider 1/10 twist, hex rifling, palma contour. Cleans really easy. Extremely accurate!
  4. badaboom

    badaboom Well-Known Member

    Apr 30, 2007
    I would like to see some of these modified rifles in pics.
    I have the same rifle, performance so far has been outstanding.
    M995 TRG-S .338LM.

    I like the factory rifle it weighs pretty lite and is a good field carry rifle right out of the box. Using a kahles 3.5X10X50 TDS.

    What part of WY are you located
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2008
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004

    26" is a good length but 28" is much better and 30" is about optimum
    but if you add a muzzel break it will add another 2"or3" of length.

    If you can handle the recoil then go with the 28"or 30" barrel for
    performance with no break.

    If you don't flute and go with a #7 taper 28 to 30" barrel recoil will
    only be about 40 ft/lbs as apposed to a factory weight rifle that
    produces about 55 ft/lbs of recoil.

    A 5.5 taper would reduce rifle weight by 1.1lbs and recoil would be
    around 47 or 48 ft/lbs.but a 5 or 5.5 taper is a little light (Whippy)
    for a long barrel.

    My 338 has a #7tapered 27.250" barrel and no break and it is very
    manageable and recoil is mild(some would say brisk but not bad).
    using a 225gr AB at max velocity.

    If you are going to drive very close to where you set up to hunt
    then barrel length would not be as much of an issue.

    In other words if your looking for performance but still need to carry
    it around dont use up 2"or 3" of barrel for a break unless recoil is an

    Just my opinion for what its worth
  6. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    Badaboom, glad to hear that you are getting good performance from your factory TRGs. Mine didn't do too well until I had the after market recoil lug installed and fire lapped the barrel. Despite not adding much weight, the recoil became much more manageable after adding the McMillan A5 stock. Here's a picture of mine, as is:


    J E, Great advice! It seems that no matter what I decide to do, it will end up being a compromise:

    If I go without a muzzle brake, I will probably not be able to ever call my own shots (this is important to me), even at longer distances, and I have to admit that those 300 grainers do hurt a little. I would, however, save myself from the muzzle blast and get ~ 2 more inches of 'free' bbl length.

    "If you are going to drive very close to where you set up to hunt
    then barrel length would not be as much of an issue."---> The rifle will be my 'all purpose' elk rifle, and there is a good chance that I will be packing it in several miles occassionally. Additionally, I would like it to be 'Idaho Legal'. I have been wondering if a 5 or 5 1/2 contour would be too whippy, just can't make up my mind on this.

    Can you spot your shots/hits with your rifle as is (without the muzzle brake)?

    One more question that I had is if anyone has an idea how much the TRGs action, without the bbl installed, weighs?

  7. Rymart

    Rymart Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2005
    OK, here's another question:

    Among the barrels that I listed as considering, it appears as if only two of them have cut rifling verses button rifling (Rock Creek and Bartlein). How important is this?
  8. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004
    I have a 30" Lilja #7 fluted w/a Defensive Edge Brake. It has a 270 hole.

    The rifle all up, as they say, weighs in @ 12 pounds. W/a 338 hole it would be a might lighter. I don't think it would be too "whippy" in any way.

    With the proper carry system there should be no problem hauling it around the mountains even for miles. The long barrels are front heavy and somewhat uncomfortable to carry w/a standard sling arrangement.

    I'm kind of down on the weight of the McMillian stocks but that's just personal preference.
  9. Takman

    Takman Well-Known Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    Also just starting a 338 Lapua build on a Stiller 338 TAC action. Called Broughton as I am working on an "Idaho" build and they guided me to a fluted 7.9M contour that is not listed on the web yet. It finishes out .900 I believe, at 30". They informed me this is what the long range builds in the 338 from Idaho are using. I will probably go with the A-5 although have been giving thought to the Manners T-4. Think I will use the Badger or Carlock brake.