Long Range .30s

Michael Eichele

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Messages
3,880
Location
The rifle range, or archery range or behind the co
I got what Joel was saying the first time. +1 if it's a custom barrel but, If you get a 1000+ out of a remy barrel...God bless...one of those factors.
I have found that factory barrels chambered in hot calibers actually last longer than custom barrels.

My theory is that when you have a rough barrel it actually improves as it smooths out a bit during break in, shooting and cleaning. When you take a perfect barrel with a super smooth finish, it can only go downhill from shot number 1.

If I get that many rounds out of it, I'll bet I could sell a few Lilja barrels.:D I wasn't trying to pin anyone down on a number for the 338's, I just find it fascinating that people are quick to throw out the 1000 round number for the hot 30's, but no one ever seems to throw out a number for the fairly hot 338's.

Steve
I have not fired enough bullets through my edge to give a number. What I can say is that when it was a 300 RUM, the throat was in bad shape in less than 100 rounds. The barrel in general was in really bad shape after 500. Accuracy, velocity and consistency changed from day to day. To be fair, I was hot roding it. It was also a cut rifled barrel which I hear dont hold up to the heat and flame as well as a button pulled barrel. I dont know that for a fact but after having a button pulled 300 RUM and a cut 300 RUM I would say that is a fair assumption. 1100 rounds was the magic number for my Lilja. It also in the beginning showed signs of throat troubles within a couple hundred rounds.

After 180 rounds through the edge, I am still running the exact same POI, velocity, group sizes. I have not bore scoped it since 110 rounds but after 110 rounds, the barrel looked flawless. The throat was perfect and there wasnt any heat checking. I am fairly confident that the life of my "hot 338" will be considerably longer than my "hot 300".

Just my .02
 
Last edited:

jwp475

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
2,595
Location
USA
I had a local smith look a t the bore of my 338 Lapua with his bore scope and it still looks new after about 500 rounds and it has a Rock Creek 5R cut rifled barrel
 

OKIE2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
379
Location
terlton, oklahoma
Rockymtnmt, I understand, maybe the answer is it is hard to wear out a big 338 and there is not much data on it. Some of the 1000 yard match shooters here would be the ones to answer this with a better number since they put plenty of shots down range and know when there groups begin to spread a little. I am a hunter and when I get my load right and zeroed the rifle doesn't get much work. I have well over a hundred rifles to shoot and that limits it also.

This is long range hunting site so I guess most guys spend the money for a top long range rig, get everything worked out with it, and then it doesn't get much work except to check zero and hunting. That would be wise since most are on the top end of performance which is directly associated with limited barrel life. For instance Kirby on here has all the Allen magnums which are some of the best long range hunting rigs around. But I would work up my load, zero and use it for only hunting after that. It would last a guy many years then. If he shot it regularly at the range the hunting life would be shortened with it.

Bottom line is I have worked with about everything out there which is commonly talked about on this forum except the chey-tac and 50 BMG stuff. I have owned and seen a number of big 30's shot out. During the late 90's I built near a hundred 338-300 ultramags and still get emails from many of those guys. I do not know of a one of them that has been shot out. I have shot the big 338's since the 70's and have not shot one out. My first 340 wby built in the mid 70's has well over 2500 rounds through it and still shoots a 250 sierra game king at 3050 fps very accurately. I have personal 338-300 ultramags, 338 lapuas and 338-378 wby's with over 1500 rounds through them that have still have good throats and shoot just as good as they did when I built them years ago. My big 7mm's and 30's have long since been recycled because of throat errosion. Those include the 30-338 lapua imp, 30-378 wby and the like along with the 7mm-300 ultramag. When remington released the specs on the 300 ultramag case years ago I had it wildcatted to 7mm, 338, 358 and 375 with three months of the release of that info. The 7mm barrel was gone in 750 rounds like the 30-378. I still have at least two of all the other calibers and all are still shooting great.

From all of this I would gather that once you get to 338 caliber and above barrel life goes up considerably. Big 7mm's and smaller don't last very long, and some huge 30's are about as bad.
With all your experiance what do you think is the best 30 caliber for long range and longer life?
 

MontanaRifleman

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2008
Messages
6,194
Location
South of Canada and North of Wyoming
With all your experiance what do you think is the best 30 caliber for long range and longer life?
I dont have near LTLR's experience, but I dont need it to answer the question in a general sense. There is always going to be a trade off. If you want performance, it is going to cost you. To get farther down range you need more velocity and more velocity means more powder and more powder means more heat errosion in your bore. It will also cost you in recoil.

The question is, how far down range do you want to go and what "expected" barrel life are you willing to have?

The 300 RUM is the most popular 1K plus 30 cal cartridge. There are others that will get you farther but It is the most popular. By comparison, the 300 WSM on average will get to 150-250 yds down range of the 300 RUM. The expected barrel life of the WSM is 3-4 times that of the RUM. Specifically, most would say 1000 is expected in the RUM and 3000-4000 in the WSM. There are some reports of longer barrel life in the RUM, but I wouldn't "expect" it. I can get 3200 fps with a 180 bullet in my 300 WSM (which is better than most) and 3400 fps with my RUM burning 30 gr more powder (67.5 vs 97.5). That puts the WSM within 125 yds of the RUM down range.

There are no hard fast rules on barrel life. But on average, the more powder you are burning the harder it will be on your throat and bore.

Hope that helps,

Mark
 
Last edited:

bigbuck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
1,650
I dont have near LTLR's experience, but I dont need it to answer the question in a general sense. There is always going to be a trade off. If you want performance, it is going to cost you. To get farther down range you need more velocity and more velocity means more powder and more powder means more heat errosion in your bore. It will also cost you in recoil.

The question is, how far down range do you want to go and what "expected" barrel life are you willing to have?

The 300 RUM is the most popular 1K plus 30 cal cartridge. There are others that will get you farther but It is the most popular. By comparison, the 300 WSM on average will get to 1250-250 yds down range of the 300 RUM. The expected barrel life of the WSM is 3-4 times that of the RUM. Specifically, most would say 1000 is expected in the RUM and 3000-4000 in the WSM. There are some reports of longer barrel life in the RUM, but I wouldn't "expect" it. I can 3200 fps with a 180 bullet in my 300 WSM (which is better than most) and 3400 fps with my RUM burning 30 gr more powder (67.5 vs 97.5). That puts the WSM within 125 yds of the RUM down range.

There are no hard fast rules on barrel life. But on average, the more powder you are burning the harder it will be on your throat and bore.

Hope that helps,

Mark
Montana,

I have herd that the WSM is a pain for finding a good load , have you found this to be true? This is just hear say..

Bigbuck
 

Michael Eichele

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2003
Messages
3,880
Location
The rifle range, or archery range or behind the co
I found that with my RUM's (300) that after the throats were degraded, which happened fairly quickly, that the subsequent friction caused higher pressures than when the bore was fresh. Once this happened, I was stuck shooting 3200 FPS with the 180 grain variety to keep the bolt from sticking where as I was getting 3350-3400 when they were new. I had to back off at 65 rounds with one and somewhere around 100 rounds with the other. For the end result to be 3200 FPS, I may as well have just got a 300 WSM, WM or WBY mag and burned less powder and enjoyed more of my money on other shooting supplies instead of new barrels. Albiet I did get 1100 rounds out of one with good accuracy.
 

MontanaRifleman

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2008
Messages
6,194
Location
South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Bigbuck, My 300 WSM (Sako M85 Finnlight) does not shoot anything well. But a lot of 300 WSMs shoot very well. In my case that is a big reason I have the 300 RUM, because I was looking for something accurate to shoot while trying to get the Sako troubles sorted out. So I found a Sendero. I have not heard that first hand form anyone but I have it heard it secondhand. I know someone else personally who shoots one hole groups consistantly with 168 TSX's and H4350. He is an experienced handloader and knows what he's doing. He doesn't hunt much, mostly just recreational shooting.

So bottom line, I have not really heard any first hand experiences of the 300 WSM being difficult or finicky to load for. I think if you have a good barrel and rifle it should be fairly easy to get a good load for it.

Mark
 

Long Time Long Ranger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Messages
2,612
Location
Wyoming
My experience with the 300 wsm is that it is very easy to load for and shoots all weight bullets very well in any length barrel we have tried over 24". My personal 300 wsm is a tikka t3 and it shoots anything very accurate. I have tried off the lands and into the lands and all loads are accurate. I like the 300 wsm. With less powder and near the velocity of the big 30's it is hard to beat. My opinion is that barrel life would be very long compared to the big 30's. I don't know how it does it and would not have believed until I worked with it, but the 300 wsm will stay right in there very close to the 300 win mag.

Okie2, I think Montana said it very well. Bottom line it is give and take and you have just got to decide which way you want to lean with respect to velocity/barrel life. I have worked with the 30-416 imp, 30-378 wby, 30-338 lapua imp, 300 ultramag and a few more as the really big 30's. The first two get the best velocity and are the hardest on barrels. The 30-338 lapua imp will outperform the 300 ultramag in my tests and both are probably about the same on barrels. That imp lapua design is just a very good efficient design that I have grown to like. I guess because it gets about the best powder/velocity ratio so you would assume the best ratio of barrel life.

For factory big 30's with everything considered I like the 300 ultramag and 300 weatherby. The 30-378 wby will outperform these but barrel life is less. So take your pick there of what you really want. The 300 wby is only a 100 fps behind the 300 ultramag but barrel life is way better. I have quite a bit of experience with the 300 wby for 35 years and own five now. I have over 2000 rounds through some and hunting accuracy is still there. I'm sure 1000 yard match shooters retire them before 2000. I guess if you compared all of them as to best velocity vs barrel life the 300 wby is still the top 30 caliber round out there. You can not beat the accuracy of the 300 wby. It's performance in 1000 yard matches for nearly 50 years is a testament to that.

But then if you want the top barrel life out there in a magnum velocity rifle the 300 wsm is tops. I don't have enough personal experience with it to wear out a barrel but I have not known of a barrel being shot out. So you see we are basically back to what Montana said.

If you want the fastest factory thing out there, reload cost not an issue, barrel life not an issue, it is 30-378 wby. Work up a load, zero and just hunting after that, it should last many years. A rifle for near the top of performance that will last you a lifetime of hunting then the 300 weatherby. Since remington makes brass cost is cheap. A rifle that gets near magnum velocity that you could probably shoot a few thousand rounds with then the 300 wsm. I know I left out some very popular cartridges like the 300 win mag but I picked what have performed best overall in my years of testing. The 300 win mag falls between the 300 wsm and 300 wby so not the best of either.

Here are some of my average chronographed velocities out of 28" barrels that might help you make a decision now that you are more confused than ever.

200 grain bullet, 30-378 wby 3300 fps, 300 ultramag 3200 fps, 300 wby 3100 fps, 300 wsm 2950 fps.

150 grain bullet, 30-378 wby 3850 fps, 300 ultramag 3750 fps, 300 wby 3575 fps, 300 wsm with 25.5" barrel 3400 fps.
 

Long Time Long Ranger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Messages
2,612
Location
Wyoming
To continue that a little the 300 wby case is just really hard to beat when comparing going up to the ultramag and 378 cases. If you look at velocities there is not a lot of difference compared to the barrel life you get. When you go up to 338 caliber the 340 wby off that case is nearly the same as the 338 and 338-300 ultramag in velocity with about 15 grains less powder. With same length barrels my 340 wby shoots the 250 grain bullets at 3050 fps. My 338 and 338-300 ultramags shoot the same bullet 3100 fps. Just not much difference but in 338 caliber the step up may be worth any velocity gain because barrel life in 338's off the ultramag case are very long in contrast to 30 calibers off the ultramag case.

I guess bottom line they all kill stuff but for the guy wanting to figure out what is the very best to give him the best of all worlds there would be a lot of debate. Me personally I go with the top velocity out there when hunting seriously to give me the least error in wind prediction which is the toughest thing in long range shooting. Those rifles have accuracy loads worked out, zeroed, and limited zero check and hunting after that. I have plenty other rifles to practice with and just shoot in general.
 

MontanaRifleman

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2008
Messages
6,194
Location
South of Canada and North of Wyoming
LTLR, it's interesting to read your experience with the 30-338 LMImp compared to the RUM. it seems to support the theory that the relatively fatter cartridges are a little more effiicent, as in the WSMs. The 300 WSM uses about 10% less powder than the 300 WM for close to the same velocity and probably (on average) has maybe double the barrel life. I wonder if the same holds true for the Dakota cartridges? Do you have any experience with the straight 30-338 LM vs the RUM?

Mark
 
Last edited:

bigbuck

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Messages
1,650
To continue that a little the 300 wby case is just really hard to beat when comparing going up to the ultramag and 378 cases. If you look at velocities there is not a lot of difference compared to the barrel life you get. When you go up to 338 caliber the 340 wby off that case is nearly the same as the 338 and 338-300 ultramag in velocity with about 15 grains less powder. With same length barrels my 340 wby shoots the 250 grain bullets at 3050 fps. My 338 and 338-300 ultramags shoot the same bullet 3100 fps. Just not much difference but in 338 caliber the step up may be worth any velocity gain because barrel life in 338's off the ultramag case are very long in contrast to 30 calibers off the ultramag case.

I guess bottom line they all kill stuff but for the guy wanting to figure out what is the very best to give him the best of all worlds there would be a lot of debate. Me personally I go with the top velocity out there when hunting seriously to give me the least error in wind prediction which is the toughest thing in long range shooting. Those rifles have accuracy loads worked out, zeroed, and limited zero check and hunting after that. I have plenty other rifles to practice with and just shoot in general.
I hope i'm not to far off topic but I have a friend that has a 300 WSM and he says that when loading a 208 Amax it is usually a compressed load because of the long bullet will this be a problem for the WSM concerning load develepment and different powder charges? The reason I ask is the hull is shorter than the 300RUM so if one were to load the heavy bullets then this seems like it could be a problem what's your experience in this area?

Bigbuck
 

MontanaRifleman

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 21, 2008
Messages
6,194
Location
South of Canada and North of Wyoming
I hope i'm not to far off topic but I have a friend that has a 300 WSM and he says that when loading a 208 Amax it is usually a compressed load because of the long bullet will this be a problem for the WSM concerning load develepment and different powder charges? The reason I ask is the hull is shorter than the 300RUM so if one were to load the heavy bullets then this seems like it could be a problem what's your experience in this area?

Bigbuck
I'll give you my experience and LTLR can give you his. I have loaded the 210 Bergers in my 300 WSM to fit right up to the lands. They dont fit in the mag of Sako's short mag action, not even close. They actually only catch about 2/3rds of the neck of the case. I get 2935 out of a 24 3/8ths tube with 65.5 gr of RL17 which is probably about 90-95% capacity.
 

Long Time Long Ranger

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Messages
2,612
Location
Wyoming
montanarifleman, I think you are probably right. I have no experience with the Dakota or the straight 30-338 lapua. My experience is with the improved lapua case and I have used the ones that push the shoulder forward a few thousanths. In both 30 and 338 calibers pushing the shoulder forward just a bit seems to be the best version. Many out there though.

Bigbuck, That is a problem with the 300 wsm. Most guys do that one in a long action so you can seat the bullets way out there and still work them through the action. By using a long action that can be a benefit also to that cartridge. Same as the benefits of the much shorter 338 lapua improved compared to the 338-378 wby. Nearly the velocity in a more user friendly cartridge. I personally think the 300 wsm is a great 600 yard cartridge and at it's best using the 150-180 grain bullets. It would not be the best choice for extreme long range hunting with the big long, heavy bullets because of the slower velocities with the heavier bullets. I think a higher velocity round would be a better choice but it would work if a guy wanted to do it. Just my opinion.

Okie2, I realized I never really answered your question. All things considered for the super 30's in a custom rig I would do the 30-338 lapua improved. It falls just under the 30-378 wby and 30-416 imp in velocity with longer barrel life. If this is a sole purpose limited use long range hunting rig the 30-416 rigby imp with the 240 smk is hard to beat at the top. It needs a long barrel. It is just a longer version lapua. Same case, just longer. The lapua was based off it. In a hunting weight barrel again I go back to the lapua imp which is a more efficient case design that will retain more velocity in the shorter (26") hunting weight barrels.

In a standard cartridge just under the super 30's I would get the 300 ultramag or 300 wby. Take your pick comparing barrel life vs velocity.

The next step down I would do the 300 wsm. If this is your only rifle and it will get plenty of range use plus hunting this would be a good choice. The tikka t3 in 300 wsm weighs a little over 7 pounds scoped out with a 3-10 scope with a wide field of view for hunting. It makes a great 600 yard rifle which is where 99% of animals are taken and does not require a muzzle brake to shoot accurately.

Just my opinions but they come from many years experience. From all those years I understand you will get a thousand other opinions. My 270 will outshoot your 30-06. no it won't, yes it will. it gets bla, bla, bla.
 

OKIE2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 19, 2007
Messages
379
Location
terlton, oklahoma
Thanks guys yes you give me a lot more infomation than I exspected.
with all the calibers you both covered I may have to look at the 300 wby and the 338 luapa. I have just never been impressed with the wby because of the cost of the brass and dies. I just wanted to build another rifle in a caliber I don't have beings I have 32 rifles with these calibers
223, 22-250, 220 swift, 243, 25-06 6.5x55 6.5 rem mag, 264 mag, 270 wsm,
7x57, 7rem mag, 308, 30-06 300wsm, 300 win mag.
I have been very impressed with both of my WSM's for accuracy
and I don't want to go more than the 300 win mag case length for the action.
 

Trending threads

Recent Posts

Nightforce has great tracking capabilities, they are rugged, a bunch of elevation, holds zero forever, and reticles are designed for long range shooting. So if you are looking to shoot long distances constantly, then you need a scope that can take the abuse. -- gilmillan1


Culture Of Excellence At Nightforce Optics
By Len Backus

A high level of quality both in production and in service. Read More


Nightforce is such a solid combo of reticle, available elevation, glass that is good enough to shoot at the longest range you can dial. Nightforce has bullet proof construction that can handle the incidental horse rolling or some other rodeo action. -- bigngreen


Nightforce ATACR Scope Review
By Jeff Brozovich

The new NightForce ATACR is for sure a top choice for any long range shooter. Read More


The total package. Nightforce is the best I have used as far as turret feel and solid detents. I have never had one that didn't track right on and always return to zero. Nightforce NXS is the best value for everything I need. -- Broz


Nightforce Velocity 1000 Reticle Review
By Scott Shreve

I think Nightforce knocked it outta the park with this reticle! Read More

NightForce


Top