.280AI build questions

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by blackdog, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. blackdog

    blackdog Well-Known Member

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    I've got an old Remington 721 that I've been debating on what to do with. It's been either a .280AI or a 6.5x284. I have a .260 Rem now and love it but it weighs close to 15lbs and is definitely not something I want to lug around the mountains too often. I've also got a .338 Edge that while ultra fun to shoot, again isn't something I would want to pack around long if I'm going to be putting serious miles on.

    So I've decided (until convinced otherwise) to build a .280AI that I can use for elk, deer, bear, antelope, and sheep if/when I ever draw one of those tags. I feel that the slightly bigger and heavier bullet will be better suited for those times chasing elk and bear.

    Bearing in mind weight, am I going to be disappointed in the performance of a 24" #4 Kreiger or #3 Bartlien barrel? I'll likely finish it with a brake and I know some might argue this but I've come to love to reduced recoil and hop that comes along with one and I don't mind the noise and percussion. So any thoughts on that length and contour of barrel? I was originally considering a #5 Kreiger or #4 Bartlien but with these weighing a full pound more, I'm now leaning towards the smaller contour.

    Lastly, based on some recent feedback from friends, I'm leaning towards a Manners stock and looking hard at the 'Elite Hunter' or MCS-EH1 stock. I was a big fan of the McMillan A3-5 I had on a previous .300WM but don't want the weight that comes with a full blown adjustable tactical stock and this Manners looks like a good compromise.

    Any thoughts or ideas are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't go less than a 26" barrel. I would go with a Bartlein stainless 5R 1:9 Rem Varmint Contour barrel finished at 26" cut from the muzzle end so you have a long shank. So 26" + the brake.

    Manners are nice, but I am not a fan of palmswells, so I would ve looking for an older HS Precision Sendero stock for packability and accuracy and weight reduction.
     
  3. blackdog

    blackdog Well-Known Member

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    What's your reasoning behind this? Am I going to need the additional 100fps to shoot an elk or deer at 500-700 yards?
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    To get the most out of the 280 AI with heavy bullets you will need a 24'' to 26'' barrel.

    My preference is to chamber with the 280 AI (SAMME) reamer , and head space with the standard 280 Remington head space gage so you can shoot 280 rem ammo on the lighter stuff(Deer) and
    step up to 180 grain bullets in the Fire formed brass and get 7mm rem mag performance.

    This also saves a special fire forming step because you can hunt with standard loads while you fire forming and load the AI for bigger game.

    If you have the chamber done with no head space using the standard 280 head space gage it will shoot very accurately and brass life will be much better.

    You wont be able to use the factory loaded 280 AI ammo because the head space will be wrong.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  5. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Exactly why JE said...You won't get full potential out of the rifle with the heavier bullets unless you're running a 26" barrel.

    I would use the SAAMI go-gauge and reamer, because I reload and plan on using Nosler (SAAMI) .280 AI brass.
     
  6. blackdog

    blackdog Well-Known Member

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    Except JE said 24" to 26". He didn't say anything about having to use a 26, so I'm still curious about your reasoning. And realize too that this gun will be a compromise somewhat between lightweight pack rifle and long range rifle, probably leaning more towards lighter weight pack rifle.

    Thanks to both for the thoughts on reamers and head spacing.
     
  7. TOM H

    TOM H Well-Known Member

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    What I do is weight stock,action,scope/mounts and whatever weight rifle I want to carry that give me idea on barrel weight,contour,length and I like my packing rifles to weight 10lbs give or take little.

    My 280AI is SAAMI spec build on a Rem action and barrel is 27" long it's little over a sporter weight barrel and same spec barrel I put on my 284 on a long action. I've got a pretty good gunsmith and 280AI is good and balance for me.
     
  8. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    Lots and lots of research of people's trial and errors...2" of barrel makes a big difference in velocity. I am building one myself, as soon as the money comes along for my barrel blank. I have been researching the caliber since I was in my mid-teens. I have always been fascinated by it, and always wanted one. That's my reasoning.

    It's hard to compromise between a pack gun and a LR rifle... 2" of barrel on the muzzle-end won't make that much difference in weight...Maybe ΒΌ lb. at the most. For shooting long range you will want the stiffest barrel possible...And a sporter or magnum sporter contour is not it...You will want a light-bull - Full Bull contour for LR shooting. Because the stiffer the barrel, the less harmonics are gonna affect your accuracy.
     
  9. ohiohunter

    ohiohunter Well-Known Member

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    I have a 280 light varmint 24" on a mcmillan edge stock. It will absolutely accomplish what you want. Tho I haven't weighed my gun I'm sure it is under 10lbs thats w/ 6-24x42mm. The AI on the same set up will do it w/ a little more velocity.

    Am I squeezing every bit of velocity out of my round, no but the deer don't know that. For all intensive purposes it is more than adequate for what the op wants. The edge stock saves a ton of weight, and surprisingly my gun balances ok. A lighter barrel and it would be cherry.

    If I were the op I'd do this: Mcm edge stock, heavy 24" sporter or magnum (or as heavy as you can get away with) barrel, talley base/rings and a light scope. That should bring you in nice and light yet capable of what you want.

    Or get a carbon wrapped barrel and go as long as you want w/ weight being of little concern. I was just informed they are running about $900 for the brand my buddy has.
     
  10. blackdog

    blackdog Well-Known Member

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    I'm curious, following this advice, do you anticipate any trouble loading the Berger 168 and/or 180 vld's where they like to be seated and still staying comfortably inside the standard factory magazine? This being strictly a hunting rifle, that is one issue of concern and I don't necessarily want to be restricted to a bullet like the Classic Hunter.
     
  11. Jcub

    Jcub Well-Known Member

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    You were doing great until you mentioned the bbl harmonics. All else being equal, the shorter bbl with have better harmonics, I.E. Less bbl whip.


    I have a .280 AI with a 24" bbl and I have never regretted my decision. The reason I chose a .280 AI is for the superior ballistics the 7mm bullets have at the moment. Those ballistics will help counteract the loss in fps, again the reason I went with a shorter bbl. I promise you, the animal is not going to know the difference between 3,000 and 2,900. Remember, elk do not have body armor. This rifle will do everything you want.

    Good marksmanship, not cartridge selection kills animals. The U.S. Military figured this out when they decided to go with a .308 and not a magnum. I realize they are in the testing phases of using a .300 winmag, but chances are we'll stick with the 7.62x51.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  12. MudRunner2005

    MudRunner2005 Well-Known Member

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    You are correct that a shorter barrel will have less barrel whip. However, if you use a thicker barrel that is adequate to the length of the tube to counter-act the whip, you will also be fine. For example, a 20" sporter barrel is stiffer than a 26" sporter barrel. But a 20" sporter barrel is about on par with a 26" bull. Not to mention the added velocity gained from the extra 6" of rifling.

    I agree with everything else you posted, as well. Everybody these days seems to have to have the biggest and baddest caliber money can buy all in the name of killing elk and moose. Like you said, they don't have body armor, so I would imagine a well placed shot from anthing 6.5 or larger, within a reasonable distance, would do just fine.

    I am one of the biggest 7mm advocates on this site. I also have always a place in my heart for the .308 Win...And will always have one in the safe.
     
  13. Jcub

    Jcub Well-Known Member

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    That's why I said all else being equal. Same contour the shorter will have less whip. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with a 26" bbl. I'll be using that length on my varmint build. The reason I advocated a 24" bbl was because of the experience I have with it, also for the fact that he said this will be his do it all I believe. In that, a little shorter bbl may suit him better to carry around, I don't know the area he will be hunting, so again a shorter bbl may be more well suited for his applications.
     
  14. Jcub

    Jcub Well-Known Member

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    I wholeheartedly agree with all of this!

    I believe every caliber has it's niche and truly believe that a 7mm fills the do it all rifle perfectly because of the bullet selection ranging from 110 gr Barnes to 175 gr Nosler's. Yet this is my personal opinion and almost any caliber 6.5 and up could be a do it all. I just prefer the lighter recoil of a non magnum 7mm.

    The 7.62x51 or .308, will always be near and dear to my heart as well, because of how much experience I have with it, and how many times it saved my, or a close friends life. But MY experience with ammunition is limited to the M118LR, I've never loaded it myself.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013