338 (norma) build question

Sako284

Formerly 'LibtardMcSocialist'
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Mar 16, 2020
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Tennessee
The CTR on the 85s drastically limits your ability to seat VLDs out where they should be. I have built a couple of sakos and that’s a reoccurring theme. To solve this I order my reamerS 10 thou over my maximum magazine length. You’ll lose some OAL on the sakos, but they are fantastic actions. As far as building the 85 kodiak I would hesitate... it’s in a very heavy stock so if you go and put in a barrel that is 50% heavier you will destroy your intended weight goal. You’re 338 WIN is more than capable to 900 yards with proper bullet selection. Pardon my saying so but you’re reinvented the wheel here by rebarrling one of the best factory rifles made. The ONLY reason I would rebarrel would be if you’ve burned your throat out.
 

Ftothfadd

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Sep 14, 2014
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126
Location
Minnesota
Thank you everyone for all the answers. Just to clarify something, I did not touch my sako 85, it remains as it came from the factory as 338 win mag. I just used it as an example what I already have. The intended new build would be a little larger capacity 338. From the responses it also sounds that managing recoil on these larger 338’s is going to be a bear. I should therefore consider a muzzle break maybe for shooting at the range, but I would definitely like to go with a suppressor or unbraked for hunting. Anyone has any comments on how the 338 Norma compares to the 338 Lappula if somebody intends to use a bottle no longer than 24 inches.
 

BigDon

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Cheyenne, Wy
To CodyAdams - the rifle in the picture above is just gorgeous! Can you tell us the details - Barrel, brake, rings, scope?
 

codyadams

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In my 24" .338 Norma, using 88 grains of H1000 I got HBN coated 300 Bergers to 2675, with this load according to quickload I was just under the 63,000 PSI limit that CIP established for the cartridge, if using a naked bullet, with the HBN coating I can usually go another 1-1.5 grains in a case this size to achieve the same pressure as a naked bullet, so I was likely well under that. Using Retumbo, velocity may go up a little, and according to quick load N570 would get around 2730 fps with a naked bullet at CIP max. With the 285 Hammer Hunter, I got up to 2800 fps using H1000, and with the 270 Badland Bulldozer my load is 2820 fps with Retumbo, and 2850 fps with VV N570. Also tried the 265 ABLR, got them up to 2900 or just shy with H1000, RL26, Retumbo, and IMR7828SSC, and all still had a little room to go. I think max CIP would be around 2900-2950, depending on which powder.

In a 28" barreled 338 Norma I put together for my buddy, with a light load of 86.5 grains, the 300 Berger is going 2730 fps. With the same 88 grain load, velocity is 2775, and 89 grains is 2810. Retumbo got the 300 Berger up to 2825 with a well established load.

For a hunting/repeater rifle, the .338 Norma is a better fit. My OAL with a 300 Berger seated with the bearing surface/boat tail junction at the neck/shoulder junction of the case (which happens to also be .020 off) is 2.680, and fits jn a standard non modified long action, as it was designed. A .338 lapua with the same bullet and the same seating limitations will be significantly hindered due to the bullet being way down in the powder column, and will have no significant advantage over the Norma. If the Lapua is set up as a long range target rig, single loaded and throated properly, an increase of 50-100 fps over the Norma is likely with equal length barrels.

From what I have personally seen and read, it seems that the Norma handles shorter barrels better than the Lapua. There is limited factual data for this, just the fact that most people have the Norma's with a 22-26" tubes, and the Lapua's tend to have 26-32" tubes, hence why the Lapua is generally labeled as a much more powerful round. It is a little bit more when seated properly, but 4" of barrel make a bigger difference.

As far as brass if you reload, Lapua and Peterson both make high quality, tough brass.

As far as factory ammo availability, you will have to answer that. Start shopping around and see what you find more of on the shelves, and if the quantity of ammo you can find is satisfactory. I personally reload exclusively, so I honestly never even look at the ammo shelves.

Bottom line, the Norma is a better hunting gun round. The Lapua is a better long range gun round. Just my opinion, backed by a few factual points, mostly linked to seating and cartridge OAL. Hope this novel helped some.
 

jrock

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Mar 12, 2014
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1,029
I'd like to weight in on this since I love my 338 NM.
Gun with scope weights in at 12 lbs. It has a 4 port brake and is a dream to shoot. I feel it could be close to 10 lbs and still be comfortable to shoot. I would never shoot it without a recoil reduction muzzle device. I'm not one for self inflicted punishment.

Action wise, PT&G makes a Lapua bolt face for Rem 700s and Savages. Pretty easy swap there. You can do a build with a custom action for <$3k, depending on the features you want. I don't know how Cody got his #5 barrel fluted as Krieger and Bartlein will not flute those barrels in 338 calibers and SST. Do your homework and call around before choosing a barrel.

If I was going to pick a gun based on factory 338 ammo, I'd go with the cheapest route. I think the 338 RUM would be the best option. I'ts not much different than the NM and you might find ammo locally. 338 ammo is expensive to shoot, even when you reload. I wouldn't own a 338 without reloading. Going with a RUM will also maintain the standard magnum bolt face.

In shorter barrels, the 338 Lapua and NM are splitting hairs. My personal preference is 26" for any magnum cartridge as speed is part of the reason people choose magnums.
 

waspocrew

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Mar 16, 2014
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786
Any reason for not considering the 338 RUM?

It doesn’t have any edge in performance with the Lapua or Norma, but at it does operate on a standard magnum bolt face and has factory ammo options available.

For 24” barrel, it’s probably a wash between the Norma and Lapua.

And PS: I second the notion for a good brake. My 338 RUM with 285s is tolerable with my brake, not sure I’d want to fire it without a brake and in a rifle weighing a few pounds less!

5CC7E29D-495C-488E-9531-4BCAEA685483.jpeg
 

codyadams

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I saved a picture of this very rifle from Instagram. 👍

BTW, y'all need to become a bit more acclimated to recoil. My un-braked .416 Rigby has HELPED me with my shooting. It's all in ones perspective and "mental game." :cool:
I tend to give advice from my personal perspective sometimes and forget that more often than not, people likely do it differently than me. After load developement is done, 99% of my shooting is prone in the dirt, and I also hunt at long ranges the vast majority of the time in the open Wyoming country, our average shot is somewhere in the 600-700 range, and I am often by myself and may need to spot my own shot. The savage recoil of rifles like that from prone would be challenging, and spotting shots impossible. I am still unsure if I will be able to spot shots with my braked rig, I need to get out and shoot some more steel. For a walking/hunting rig, where shots will be off hand, kneeling or maybe sitting, a supressed or possibly unbraked .338 NM would be aggressive, but manageable. I'm just not sure if I would take that beast prone for long range useage, which is the purpose for a cartridge such as a .338 Norma. I personally have no experience with them, but from my observations the big dangerous game cartridges are generally shot off hand/from sticks, I haven't seen anyone shoot them prone. How much does your rigby weigh? And do you shoot it prone very often? If you do, you are a much tougher man than I, that is for sure!!

To CodyAdams - the rifle in the picture above is just gorgeous! Can you tell us the details - Barrel, brake, rings, scope?
To prevent derailing this thread, I'll just link my build thread -


Thank you for the compliment!!
 

jrock

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If I'm set up prone with my natural point of aim, I can spot all my shots with my 388. I find the recoil impulse of the 338 NM different than 300 win mag and WSM cases. Those cases feel like a sharp punch where the 338 is a more drawn out.

After hunting with mine for several years, I am getting a suppressor for it. In close range conditions, its tough to pinpoint sound and get your ear plugs in in time using a braked rifle. I think the recoil with the suppressor will still be pleasant.
 

codyadams

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Any reason for not considering the 338 RUM?

It doesn’t have any edge in performance with the Lapua or Norma, but at it does operate on a standard magnum bolt face and has factory ammo options available.
Only reason I decided not to go with a .338 Edge was I wanted a repeater to shoot the 300 Berger and the long monos and not have to worry about jumping a long ways or other seating issues. Even in my .338 Norma, my OAL is 3.820" with a .020" jump using 270 Super Bulldozer (pictured below). For reference, with the same jump the 300 Bergers are 3.680".

20200223_154010.jpg
 

codyadams

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If I'm set up prone with my natural point of aim, I can spot all my shots with my 388. I find the recoil impulse of the 338 NM different than 300 win mag and WSM cases. Those cases feel like a sharp punch where the 338 is a more drawn out.

After hunting with mine for several years, I am getting a suppressor for it. In close range conditions, its tough to pinpoint sound and get your ear plugs in in time using a braked rifle. I think the recoil with the suppressor will still be pleasant.
Please post a thread on it if you do, I would like to know. It's a big investment, and I am nervous about doing it and having my gun be painful to shoot from prone with it.
 

Ftothfadd

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126
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Minnesota
Thank you guys. This is very informative. Codyadams I think outlined very well why I would like to go with the 338 Norma. I would like to use the 300 grain bullets and still be able to magazine fed the rifle.
Anyone has a 338 Norma with a carbon wrapped barrel? I know it is rather odd but I just like the looks of carbon barrels and never had one. If I decide to go ahead With this build, which is a giant IF, then I would like to check all my dreams. Thank you, and please keep the opinions coming.
 

Ftothfadd

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Sep 14, 2014
Messages
126
Location
Minnesota
As for the recoil is concerned, it is pretty impressive to see the bottom metal popping open in the video Cody Adams posted about shooting his gun... makes you wonder.
 

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