Advice on a .308 Win Rifle for Ballistics Tests

bruce_ventura

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I’ve got a new ballistics project starting in a few weeks and I need .308 Win rifle, which is one caliber I don’t happen to own. I’m looking for some advice on factory rifles. At first, I thought I would need to start with an SR-25 or similar platform. But I decided to break up the project into two phases, and use a bolt action rifle for the first phase. Management liked this approach, so I’m starting to put the equipment list together. I have a few hard requirements and few “nice to haves”.

For this project, here’s what I need:
1. 20-22” barrel length. I could cut down the barrel when the muzzle brake is attached (see below), so a 24”barrel is acceptable, as long as it’s not fluted close to the muzzle.
2. Low dispersion (<1.0” 10-shot groups) using match grade ammo (handloads). On average that would be equivalent to <.64” 3-shot groups. I’m willing to replace a trigger, if necessary, but the factory stock needs to work.
3. Rifling twist: 10-11”.
4. Detachable 5 and 10 round magazines - strongly desired. I’m willing to upgrade the bottom metal if necessary.
5. I prefer a smooth action that can be cycled quickly – I’ll replace the bolt knob if needed. However, no sharp edges protruding off the bolt shroud (rules out Tikka and Sako, unfortunately).
6. A comfortable shooting position - the rifle will eventually get an adjustable cheek rest if it needs one.
7. I need to control muzzle rise and plan to install a brake. I could save some time and money if the rifle were already set up with a threaded muzzle. I can get the muzzle threaded, so that is not critical.

This phase of the project does not have a lot of funding and will last only a few months. Use of this rifle will gradually end as the second phase gets started. This will be a project rifle – appearance is not important. It will get worked hard and banged up in live fire tests and then retired early. I really would rather not drop $4K on a custom rifle for such a short project, and I need to start soon. I’m setting a cap at $1,500 for the bare rifle for now. The cost will grow if I need to add a brake, cheek rest and detachable magazine. I also don’t want to deal with rifle accuracy problems, so reputation (i.e., your feedback) is more important than minor differences in cost.

A quick survey identified a few factory options below $1,500.
Remington 700 SPS (20” barrel, 10” twist, threaded muzzle, internal magazine).
Savage 10 FCP-SR (20” barrel, 10” twist, threaded muzzle, Accustock, crummy plastic detachable magazine).
Savage 10 FCP HS Precision (24” barrel, 10” twist, internal magazine).
Howa 1500 Heavybarrel Varminter (20” barrel, 10” twist, Hogue stock, plastic detachable magazine).
Weatherby WBY-X Vanguard Kryptek TR (22” barrel, 10” twist, Monte Carlo composite stock, internal mag).

I’ve never owned any of these model rifles. I’m far from making a decision here. What would you recommend?
 

Greyfox

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If I were to buy a .308, I would try and track down a Remington 700 5R. 24" 1-11.25 twist. I have seen a few come and go on here. I hear they are inherently accurate.

REM 700 SS 308 24 5R MILSPEC $1,086.00 SHIPS FREE

+1. I have owned three since introduction. My also buddy just bought one All superbly accurate., sub .5MOA, 5 shots. A trigger change is needed.
Second choice would be the Savage FCP HS.
 

MudRunner2005

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If I were to buy a .308, I would try and track down a Remington 700 5R. 24" 1-11.25 twist. I have seen a few come and go on here. I hear they are inherently accurate.

REM 700 SS 308 24 5R MILSPEC $1,086.00 SHIPS FREE

+1. I have owned three since introduction. My also buddy just bought one All superbly accurate., sub .5MOA, 5 shots. A trigger change is needed.

I third the 5r Milspec. I love mine. Shoots .25" average (sometimes better) with handloads, and all I've done is torqued the action screws to 65 in.lbs. and swap the trigger.
 

FEENIX

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Bruce,

Nice list, I've shot the Savage FCP HS and they are a dream to shoot; a friend bangs them 1000 yard targets as-is with his handloads.

It's a little over your MSRP parameter but check this out for your consideration ...

CZ-USA CZ 750 Sniper, .308 Win. - CZ-USA

Gun Review: CZ-750 Sniper - The Truth About Guns


Earlier this year while waiting for the range to be safe and clear a fellow next to me let me put 3-rounds down range and all I can say was OMG! :Dgun)

Good luck on your project.

Ed
 
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bruce_ventura

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Thanks for all the feedback. I went with a Rem 700 5R Milspec, 20" barrel, threaded muzzle. They are getting scarce, but I found a few at a California dealer.

The CZ 750 is attractive, but the thumbhole stock is a non-starter for this project.
 

bruce_ventura

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Here's the rifle that I bought. I made a few changes already to get it ready for experiments.

I installed a Badger 20 MOA base. The base fit was poor, as usual with Rem 700s. I could fit a .006" shim under one rear corner when the front two screws were tightened.

I installed a JP Enterprises brake using a shim kit. Not a great looking installation, but this is a test rifle, not beauty queen.

I mounted a Bushnell 3.5-21x50 ERS in Seekins rings. Actually, it came off a 50 BMG test rifle, and the reticle alignment on the Rem 700 was perfect. The scope is a bit high to give a lot of clearance around the bolt knob. I installed a Karsten cheek rest to get a comfortable cheek rest. Next I'll install an anti- cant indicator.

Trigger pull was ~5.5 lbs out of the box. Backing out the adjustment screw all the way reduced the pull to about 4.5 lb. So much for Remington's promise of 3.5 lbs out of the box (this rifle was not included in the recall).

I read the instructions at earniethegunsmith.com. Without buying the lighter spring, I was able to get the pull down to 2.2-2.5 lbs. I simply applied gun oil to all exposed pins and surfaces, and backed the second (replacable) spring screw out two full revolutions, and then staked it with fingernail polish. I backed the adjustment screw out two revolutions, which is the max adjustment indicated by Remington. I ordered a weaker spring from earniethegunsmith.com, just in case that trigger adjustment proved unreliable.

The stock LOP is OK for prone, but a little short for a bench. The recoil pad is thin and stiff. Given that I'm using a brake, this pad should be fine. I'll probably install an adjustable buttstock, though.
 

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FEENIX

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Bruce,

The JP Enterprise Beenie Cooley brake should serve you well, I have them on .300 WM and .270 AI.

Happy safe testing!

Ed
 

Greyfox

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I used shims on my 24' 300WM Milspec to mount an Elk Meadow brake. After a little mild filing and emory cloth the mating of the surfaces are hardly noticable. With the brake it has less recoil then my unbraked 308 Milspec.
 

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