338 Lapua Improved yea or nay?

cboom

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I recently sent my action off to get a new 27” carbon fiber barrel chambered in 338 Lapua installed. Now I’m wondering if I should have it chambered in 338 Lapua improved? I have never had a gun in improved that needed fireforming. So I have a few questions, a couple of them may be real newbie ones.
1. Is the improved more inherently accurate or less or the same?
2. How many FPS would I realistically gain?
3. I hear fire forming takes a toll on barrel life. Would this still be the case if I used the COW method? Also I already have a couple hundred rounds of once fired Lapua brass, can this be formed or should it only be done with new brass?
4. What would be the cost and turn around time to get dies for it made?

Would sure appreciate any input or advice on my questions or anything else I am overlooking. Thanks!
 

Rick Richard

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Jan 7, 2014
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I recently sent my action off to get a new 27” carbon fiber barrel chambered in 338 Lapua installed. Now I’m wondering if I should have it chambered in 338 Lapua improved? I have never had a gun in improved that needed fireforming. So I have a few questions, a couple of them may be real newbie ones.
1. Is the improved more inherently accurate or less or the same?
2. How many FPS would I realistically gain?
3. I hear fire forming takes a toll on barrel life. Would this still be the case if I used the COW method? Also I already have a couple hundred rounds of once fired Lapua brass, can this be formed or should it only be done with new brass?
4. What would be the cost and turn around time to get dies for it made?

Would sure appreciate any input or advice on my questions or anything else I am overlooking. Thanks!
1. no such thing in most cases as inherently accurate. So, no
2. 100 or 150 FPS
3. it usually takes at least 3 firings to be fully formed. So, yes it does take a toll
4. cost can be $300 or more (best guess).

I have been down this road a couple times before and for the cost and extra work it just is not worth it for the little gain in speed. If you still want to proceed in this direction, I would contact Dallas Lane since he has a version of what you want with and dies etc. good luck
 

cboom

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1. no such thing in most cases as inherently accurate. So, no
2. 100 or 150 FPS
3. it usually takes at least 3 firings to be fully formed. So, yes it does take a toll
4. cost can be $300 or more (best guess).

I have been down this road a couple times before and for the cost and extra work it just is not worth it for the little gain in speed. If you still want to proceed in this direction, I would contact Dallas Lane since he has a version of what you want with and dies etc. good luck
Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear.
 

Elk Hunter 338

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I love mine!!! is it worth it YES!!! sending 300 bergers @ 3k in a hunting weight rifle is well... AWESOME,,,, but for some guys like Rick had mentioned its not worth the extra steps in getting that 100-150 fps, custom dies extra component cost etc. ... now with me it is because well ........ i have a form barrel and don't use up any life on new barrels! 😁 😁 😁
 
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North Idaho Hunter

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Totally worth it! The biggest hassle I’ve found was dies. I scored Redding early, however we’re still waiting 10 months later for our backorder on more sizing dies.

If I could’ve done it over I would’ve just ordered a undersized reamer and had my smith make me a sizing die.

Other then that, yes to me the extra 150 FPS is totally worth it!
 

azsugarbear

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Central AZ
I have a 338 Improved based off the 338 Allen Xpress design. While I appreciate the additional 150 fps, the real advantages for me were: 1) a more consistent, lower ES and longer brass life with more firings per case (and not having to trim). The fire-forming need not be detrimental to barrel life. You can buy a hydraulic die to reform your brass with no wear to you barrel. Or you can fire-form your brass using about 15 grains of a fast-burning pistol or shotgun powder, topped off with cream of wheat. The powder burns completely inside the brass, compressing the cream of wheat against the chamber, which forms the brass. I do the latter method and find that my brass is 98%+ formed the first time. The only thing missing sometimes is a sharp shoulder edge. The cost of fire-forming in this manner saves both the cost of the bullet, plus some 90 grains of hard-to-find Retumbo, H1000, RL33, etc. So no, barrel life need not be shortened, unless you decide to fire-form with regular ammo.
 

North Idaho Hunter

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@azsugarbear makes a great point - trimming brass! also, i should note, these lapua improved have been so easy to tune its pretty awesome, we are on our 6th chamber of these, all of them have hammered right out of the gate!

most of them have ran reloader 33 and 285 ELDM. however, i have ran a couple with 300 gr. berger & retumbo with outstanding velocity and accuracy.

ours is the 40* version blown out to the max, some on here have had extraction issues, but we havent seen this yet, even when punishing the brass - all of these have been built on kelbly actions.
 
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