Actions for .338 Edge build? beginner needs help

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Dgutter, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. Dgutter

    Dgutter Well-Known Member

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    I've decided to build a .338 Edge and need some guidance on actions. I am well aware that the Remington 700 is arguably one of the (if not the) best factory action to use. But was curious as to what other options I had. I've found a pretty sweet deal on a Weatherby Vanguard (which to me looks quite comparable to a 700) but wasn't sure if it was up to snuff. I'm not wanting to drop the dough on a custom action. Just want to start with an old factory action and re-work it. So what options do I have and what are the advantages of each? So far my very short list may consist of:
    Rem 700
    Weatherby Vanguard
    Savage 111
    ...

    Thanks in advance for any input.
     
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    The weatherby mk 5 action is the best and requires no modifications. Just screw in the barrel and shoot it. Feeds great with no mods. This is the action I preffered when I built so many of the 338-300 RUM's back in the 90's. Many times you can find a mk 5 synthetic on the rack for $450 or so.

    The Vanguard is an excellent action but like the rem 700 is a single shot without modifications. By the time you pay for mods you would have been better off finding a cheap mk 5 and have a much better action that requires no mods. Or do a custom action and by the time your finished the bottom line will be about the same but you are much better off and you will be more satisfied with the outcome. You can find a custom action I bet in the $700's to fit it.

    I did quite a few ultramags off the Vanguard/Howa action and they are very good actions. If you want to leave it a single shot then you are in a big time rifle cheap. I still own several ultramag wildcats from the 90's built on vanguard/howa actions and they all shoot excellent. A gunsmith familiar with fitting the howa's to the RUM's can make it a repeater without costing you a bundle.
     
  3. Dgutter

    Dgutter Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I had planned to just make it a single shot regardless of the action.
    So when you say the mark V doesn't need any mods....does that mean the bolt wouldnt need sleeved, lugs worked, face squared....any of that? If thats the case then I wouldn't see why I shouldnt go with one. :) I'd like it to be a rifle capable of 2K yards. Now whether I'm capable of that is a completely different story. lol.
    What would be the price comparison to have a Vanguard action reworked vs. just using a mark V?

    Thanks again, I really appreciate the help.
     
  4. BillR

    BillR Well-Known Member

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    Cheapest gun to build a .338 Edge on will be a Savage 111 in a magnum action if you can find a really beat up one cheap. Their out there. I have seen them for as cheap as $150. After all, all you need is the action. Your going to want to change everything else anyway and can do that as you go along. Trigger, stock, barrel etc. With the mag bolt face you don't need to change anything on the bolt. Look for an action that has the small firing pin which will be a later one. Savage changed the firing pin hole in the later ones when they started building the RUM's. You might also look for a 116 in SS as then you don't have to deal with refinishing an action and you also get the small firing pin bolt with that along with a large shank barrel. You should also get the thicker recoil lug for the Edge.
    The part that makes the Savage cheap to build on is the fact that you can do the work yourself as far as installing the new barrel and stock and trigger. You can also switch out the Edge barrel and go to another caliber really easy once you learn how to put the Edge barrel on. Takes about 30 minutes total time to do and can be done by yourself easily with the right tools which will be cheap to buy.
    Now all that said, if you look in my safe all you will find is Remington actions. Its going to change shortly due to the above mentioned. All I need is a single shot and I'm not going to be carrying this thing around as a walking gun so it is going to be heavy. I have plenty of rifles for that. Its going to be purpose built for that one long range shot.
     
  5. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    The Vanguard will make you a great rifle cheap since you have a deal on one. The Howa action is very good. If you seriously want to go to 2000 yard shooting I think you need to look at a custom action and getting a cartridge much better suited for that purpose. When you start shooting that far velocity gains are critical to give you a little wider range of hits because you may not can get dead on with the range unless you have a very expensive rangefinder. For instance when you go from the low end of big 338's at 2800 or so fps like the ultramag case and standard lapua to 3100+ fps like the imroved 378 case or excalibur you increase the precious few yards you must be in to get a kill hit. In other words you may have only a 10 yard window at 1500 yards with the 338-300 RUM that increases several yards with a big 338. The 338-416 improved was very popular for years but I don't mention it any more because the Excalibur brass is easy to get with no fireforming and a little more case capacity.

    The 338-300 RUM is a great cartridge but at the range your talking about you may want to step up into a rifle more capable. Say at 1500 yards to hit a 12" kill zone the 338-300 may drop that much in ten or so yards meaning you must hit the range dead on to give you any chance for a kill. A big 338 gives you a precious few more yards to remain in the kill zone. It is very difficult to shoot extreme range with many things to consider. The first is your cartridge choice to give you the best opportunity for success.
     
  6. Dgutter

    Dgutter Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm I'm definitely learning alot from you guys.

    Long Time Long Ranger,
    Could you (or anyone else I suppose) expand more on the 338 options that would outperform the 338-300RUM (Edge)? I'm looking at brass cost and availability also in making the decision. I guess what I'm saying is I'm not set on the Edge, so I'm up for suggestions. Just don't have enough education on all of the other options available. So whats the specs on each and whats their availability like. You may have to explain what the round is such as parent case and such. If you wouldn't mind.

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    The 338-300 is a fantastic round because it can make kills beyond the capability of most shooters and do it on a budget. It is by far the cheapest option and will do what you want thus the popularity. When you go up in performance you also go up in cost for everything from the rifle to the brass and powder consumption. Not trying to talk you out of the 338-300 just at 2000 yards more velocity sure would help. People that do that typically have big guns. One of the old standby's was the 338-416 Rigby improved and some guys on the forum in years past took elk beyond 2000 yards with these. They had long barrels and pushing the 300 smk 3300+ fps. Now the 338 Excalibur has more case capacity and just order brass for it instead of all the fireforming with the 416 case. You must have a Mk5 wby donor action or a custom to do it right so they are expensive. Plus the brass is 3 times the RUM cost. Then 20 grains more powder.

    To start out with cheaply the 338-300 RUM is a good option. Many newcomers do this and then as they get better with long range upgrade to a big 338. I did numbers of these in the 90's and most guys still shoot game long range with those original rifles. They just never had the need to shoot beyond the capability of the rifle. Barrels seem to last forever with this one. Some guys upgraded to a bigger 338 to get them out over 1300+ yards better just because they could. I shot a deer at 1365 yards cold bore without a spot shot and that is a mighty long poke. Mark off 3/4 mile with your odometer and see what I mean. Shooting that far requires every advantage you can possibly get. At targets you can shoot until your on target and then look like a pro hitting steel. But put an animal out there and have to make all the judgements of range, angle, altitude, atmospheric conditions, etc, etc for a one shot kill and from experience I can tell you every advantage you can possibly give yourself you need. The 408 chey-tac improved starts looking really good.
     
  8. Dgutter

    Dgutter Well-Known Member

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    I understand by what you mean now. I'm one of those guys that should probably start with the 338-300. I doubt I will ever run into a scenario of taking a shot on game at 1500yds let alone further. But would like a rifle capable of it. I would be taking mile long shots at targets though. To challenge myself and the laws of physics. :D
    So I guess the final main question....Do you feel the vanguard would be a good way to go in my situation?
     
  9. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    The vanguard is a very good action at least as good or better than the rem 700. The difference is aftermarket parts. The vanguard will make you an awesome rifle in 338-300 RUM capable of your 1 mile targets. It is the equivalent of the 338 Lapua which has documented sniper kills at over 1 mile. I think you will be very happy with it. Midway has triggers for the vanguard. As a single shot you are good to go by screwing in the barrel. For better accuracy have a gunsmith true it and square it. Like I said I have several RUM's on vanguard/howas and they are all top shooters.
     
  10. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Mar 22, 2011
  11. 7mm Wsm

    7mm Wsm Active Member

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    Hello!! Did somebody know which Gunmaker in Europe has a reamer for the 338 Edge???
     
  12. highridge1

    highridge1 Well-Known Member

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    I would take the remington 700 over the Vanguard. The Mark V action is a great choice but I never see any on gun racks for $450 and I look... You would be lucky to find one for $575 and thats a great deal.The 338 edge is a great round,but the 338 ultra is so close to it in performance I would just go 338 ultra and buy 338 ultra brass instead of necking 300 ultra to .338. When I look at investing in a gun I think about what it would be like to sell it if I decide too. Building on a Savage or Vanguard action isn't going to help you out at all, trying to get funds back on a sale. Tons of guys like rem 700's and they are very proven in long range BR.The Mark V is great too, a local guy is getting accuracy at 2000 + yards with his 338 lapua AI built on a Mark V action. Consider a 28 inch barrel + Brake,you'll get the performance you need and it will be handy enough,30+ inch barrels get awkward aand aren't necessary. There are guys getting 2800 fps in the 338 ultra with 300 gr and the edge is in the 2850's in most cases ,so they are very close.
     
  13. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

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    I beleive we're kidding ourselves if we think building a semi-custom like this is an investment.

    I do get Highridge's point with Mark V vs Savage. But by that logic, you should consider something like Lawton or Stiller.

    Otherwise, you might as well pick one you like and have fun with it.

    For that matter, there are a lot of good factory rifles that a beginner could get a lot of mileage out of.

    Learning to reload for LRH and reading conditions beyond 500yds will be vastly more important than the particular action you choose.

    But, hey... all those decisions along the way is half the fun.

    JMO
    -- richard
     
  14. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Highridge, I agree mostly with what you are saying but letting you know to keep your eye out for deals because this is what I have found. I have bought several Mk5 wby's for $300-$500 over the last three years. I have 20+ now and probably haven't given over $500 for any of them. I have every wby caliber except the 460 and the 224, but I do have the old 220 wby rocket and the 375 wby which were the precursors to the 224 and 378. Just got to keep your eyes open. I bought three Tikka t-3 lights yesterday in 338 winchester from a store going out of business at such a rediculous low price you would not believe.

    I have done quite a few rifles off the vanguard/howa and the tolerances are better than the remington and I prefer them to the remington for my personal rifles. In my opinion working with both straight up the vanguard is a better action. The big drawback is aftermarket parts which is why remingtons are so popular. The remington is a good action and you can easily get any modification for it. Every gunsmith is very familiar with them and had rather work on them than anything else because they can get any part quickly for customization.

    I agree the 338 RUM is the better choice which is why I quit doing the 338-300 RUM in 2001 after three years hyping it all over the internet. Both are great cartridges with the same performance but I can easily get components for one cheaply over the counter. I had my own range with benches 20 steps outside my shop. I shot a bunch of rifles head to head like these two. I jumped all over the 300 RUM case when we got the specs for it in 1998 and then all over the 338 RUM when we got it in 2001. I have an off the shelf remington 700 with a 26" barrel that gets up to 2800 fps however I shoot the best accuracy at 2730 fps. My 28" barrel 338-300's will get over 2800 fps also. Like you say, about the same numbers with both. I did several rebarrel jobs for guys to the 338 RUM and all at my range would shoot in the 2800's however best accuracy may or may not be at the top end with either.

    I was just saying if a guy could find a deal like I have ran up on a few times with a mk5 action then he does not have the expense of modifying it for a repeater. Screw the barrel in and it feeds perfectly with any RUM cartridge. If the action is for a wby shorter than the 300 you have got to extend the groove in the bottom of the bolt so it reaches back for the longer case and order the longer magazine box from wby which is easy. I have called weatherby at 5 pm one day and had the gun ready by lunch the next. They have great customer service.