What barrel for 338 lm?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by thomas1234, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. thomas1234

    thomas1234 Well-Known Member

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    Hi guys, ive been kinda putting a project together in my head for a few days and i was wondering about barrels. Its going to be chambered in 338 lapua magnum. What is the most accurate barrel money can buy? With no regards to mobility and weight what is the best contour for accuracy? At what barrel length does a 338 lm start to stop speeding up. I am a fan of low pressure-ish cartridges but still like the speed. The reason that im looking for alot of extra speed is because ive gone to a mile but never 2k and would like to. Im kinda looking at 30-32" but would even longer help? I know this gun wont fit in most gun cases and those extra inches will really add up the $$$ but i want some speed. Thanks
     
  2. IdahoCTD

    IdahoCTD Well-Known Member

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    I'd build a Ackley Imp. version if I wanted more speed. Generally the heaviest barrel you can tolerate is going to be the most accurate. That is why they have weight classes in most shooting sports. The top names on my list would be Krieger and Broughton followed closely by Bartlein and Obermeyer. Just about all of the best barrel makers make good barrels but some make more exceptional barrels.
     

  3. thomas1234

    thomas1234 Well-Known Member

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    thanks, and i was looking at different chamberings and there is a few that i know would beat the LM but i dont want the hassle of converting the brass or in an emergency not being able to find any factory ammo. I know that sounds dumb but everybody that reloads even has to buy a factory box now and again.
     
  4. IdahoCTD

    IdahoCTD Well-Known Member

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    You can shoot factory .338 Lapua ammo in a correctly set up AI chamber. The headspace is the same. The case stretch is less with AI cases too. So that means less trimming.
     
  5. highridge1

    highridge1 Well-Known Member

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    Krieger and 30 inch plus brake
     
  6. thomas1234

    thomas1234 Well-Known Member

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    Okay. . . now you have me thinking. I was told by my gunsmith that doing a AI wouldn't be more expensive, just different reamer. What does it take to make a piece of 338 lapua brass in to 338 AI, also, Is the OAL different? My project consists of a DBM and if it is longer what bottom metal/magazine should i use?
     
  7. highridge1

    highridge1 Well-Known Member

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    No need to AI it, the 338 Lapua is a proven long range round.
     
  8. IdahoCTD

    IdahoCTD Well-Known Member

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    The AI version blows out the body for less taper and changes the shoulder angle to 40*. So the length stays the same. It's as easy as firing a standard .338 Lapua in the AI chamber to fireform the brass. You'll usually get 100-150fps more velocity.
     
  9. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    Mine is a 271/2" 1 in 10 twist Lilja #8 contour and chambered in standard 338 LM. I was torn between the STD and AI version when I built mine. The decission was to go standard for a few reasons. AI's , depending on your reamer can have variations in shoulder length and angle. So the best and most accurate way to accomodate them is with custom dies. They need fireformed and shooting std ammo in themwill work, but accuracy will not be at its best untill reloaded and sized properly. Average gains will be around 150 fps. and there will be some loss in barrel life with the AI.

    All I ca tell you is this. I have close to 1500 rounds through my 338 LM and I shoot if on accation to 2000 plus yards. To a mile quite regularly. I feel the rifle does me pretty well and I know it like the back of my hand. I shoot alot. There is no doubt that velocity is nice but it always results in lesser barrel life. If you intend to shoot one rifle, alot, at long distances, the STD 338 LM is a pretty darn good choice.

    On your barrel choice again, I have been having steller luck with the last few Harts I bought. If I was to rebarrel my 338 LM tomorrow it would be a Hart, 1 in 10 twist and 30" long. The countour would be nothing smaller than a sendero type contour and probably a couple steps heavier for my personal use of this rifle.

    Jeff
     
  10. thomas1234

    thomas1234 Well-Known Member

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    so if i were to go with the AI, would this work: buy lapua brand brass, dont size it, just load and fire. After this i would full length size it or would i be able to just neck size it?
     
  11. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

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    From all the sizing problems I have seen my brother in law deal with with his ai I would go with a standard Lm, in a saami spec reamer and use regular dies. Isn't worth the hassle especially if you have to back it all the way down to standard pressures cause they are not squeezing the brass correctly.
     
  12. thomas1234

    thomas1234 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, maybe i will just go with the LM, i still havn't gotten a whole lot of answers on barrels. I have gotten that the bigger the better but what about length? Is 30" going to be better than 28", how about 32" being better than 30", and 34" better than 32". Im just kinda wondering when it stops getting better velocity.
     
  13. Broz

    Broz Well-Known Member

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    In my opinion the gains in a barrel past 30" would be getting to a point of diminishing returns. You will probably get a little more speed from a 34" but it would not be worth it to me for my kind of shooting. With a 30" Hart you should be able to send a 300 Berger at about 2825 to 2850 fps. That is right in tune with a 338 Edge with 30" tube too. And we all know there are plenty of those 338 Edges out there doing incredible things well past 1000 or 1500 yards. To me the Edge and the STD 338 LM are pretty much even. I simply like the Lapua brass and it lasts me 15+ firings.

    Jeff
     
  14. Bob L.

    Bob L. Well-Known Member

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    You building a packing gun or a truck gun that you get out and shoot? Many go with a 30" plus brake. I have a heavy contoured 30" rock creek barrel that I like a lot. Its a 9.4 twist shoots great and cleans easy. I would buy a rock again or a brux. Bugholes is a sponsor on here and he usually stocks brux, rock creek, Obermeyer, and now Krieger.

    Here is a pic of my 338edge with a 30" rock creek barrel and holland brake. Please note this is a 15-16lb gun though. Think it shoots around 2820 with 300 grain Bergers.

    [​IMG]