Midweight 7's in a SA Savage

JakeC

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Oct 10, 2020
Messages
23
Location
North Utah
Hi all. Long time reader, first time poster. Its long and yet another "which cartridge" post. Please forgive me. This is by far the best forum I've found on shooting in general and the only place I'd ask for advice. I've read everything I can on the topic before asking. A lot of what's out there on this little category is based on shorter or lighter barrels and is ten or more years old, leaving out the majority of bullet/powder combos I'm interested in. I've done all the research I can over the last couple years and I keep running into the same priorities and questions so it's time to bug the good graces of people who know more. So, 7mm-08 Ackley Improved or .284 Winchester ?

The project is a short action savage 10, detachable centerfeed mag. Max COAL is 2.990 or so. Currently a 20" 6.5 creed. It's got all the savage barrel quirks and all of the creedmoor quirks and I'm bored with it. Accurate but exhausting. I've circled in on the medium 7s shooting 154-168 grain bullets out of a 22-26 inch barrel as the second in the set. Why? A combination of efficiency, current parts, and curiosity. Why not a straight 7-08? Because I want more, and I want more of a project. I want to see what you can do with 175g partitions/ELDs on the experimental end. On the practical side, the 155g federal TA, the accubond family and the ELD family is what I want to use on game. Another 100-150 fps isn't a ton but it moves this class of slugs from the "iffy to decent" range to the "functional to really good" range. Or at least that's the thesis of the project.

I've thought about a 260AI but I think I want more mass and longer barrel life. I want to be able to experiment with several bullets and not have a shiny bare tube by the time I'm done. I don't want a SAW, a 7x57, 7x57AI, a SAUM, or a WSM. I looked that all over very carefully. They sound great but for my purposes they each bring new negatives and fewer positives. Frankly if I was going to saddle up another level in power there are always 300 wsms and 7mags being almost given away. I could get two, sell the less accurate one, and be ahead financially with no wait. I'll almost certainly do one of those for my next one, especially because those two are about the only thing on the shelf right now.

That's what I know and what my rationale is. Now I'll list the factors I'm weighing between the two, in no order of importance or expense. Feel free to call BS on or verify. Basically what it amounts to right now is .284 wins on ease of entry but 7mm-08AI wins on sustainability. I'm not worried about loss of powder space in either one unless someone can say "yeah, it's literally only 50 fps max gain over a 7mm-08." After all, nobody complains about the 28 Nosler being neutered because it's stuffed. I've heard from knowledgeable members on here that savage prefits can have spotty chamber quality. I think I'm willing to risk it based on a clear impression that competition has really benefited the consumer of late. Lastly, I want to use temp stable powder. Happy to hear otherwise on any of my evaluations.

7mm-08 AI:
Positives: Opportunity for 2 accurate load development trees (virgin vs formed), lots of cheap brass and lots of premium brass available, OTC loads when hoarding and hunting seasons don't coincide, potentially outstanding brass life, one magazine and one go gauge if I get a .243 or 308 barrel, very likeable ballistics, great barrel life, moderate recoil and blast, and essentially no case trimming (I hate case trimming, like very passionate hate.)

Negatives: Fireforming; special-order expensive dies; no S-type dies at all; mixed reports on accuracy vs. brass life; only 2 savage prefit providers (Shaw and Preferred); no real data (even though it sounds like most medium 7mm data is off); sounds like it has to be run at or above max for accuracy. Most importantly there just hasn't been that much info I can find about success with 160-168 grain pills in longer barrels.

284 Win.
Positives: Available dies of all types; more data (but weak data); even better ballistics (theoretically); no fireforming; potentially more authority on big game; sounds like more potential for extreme accuracy across the case fill spectrum; I can yank the barrel and toss it onto a long action when one crosses my path. Lastly and very importantly, most prefit makers will chamber the non-match .284 Win giving me a lot more options on quality, price, lead times, rifling, contours, lapping, even carbon wrapping.

Negatives: Having ogive in the case neck looks very stupid; magazine becomes dedicated after modification; headspace gauges aren't interchangeable with other chamberings I want; Only Petersen makes brass right now, and that one source might not last (Norma gave up lickety split); alleged weak primer pockets at full pressure; if Peterson goes away I'll need to screw around with donuts from 6.5x284 brass or move the barrel to a long action.

Anyway, if folks are sick of this type of discussion I understand. If not I'm happy to hear any thoughts at all. I've only been able to have conversations that get stuck on 6mm/6.5mm and why we should all hunt bison with grendels. I've said a lot to show I've put the time in, not to be belligerent. Thanks for the help,

Jake
 

Tiny Tim

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Joined
Jan 26, 2015
Messages
526
I'll make it short and sweet. I like the AI cartridges and for all the benefits you listed, that's the route I'd take. If the prefit chamber is of concern, having a smith chamber one with a reamer designed for the bullets you want to shoot would be minimal in cost.
 

BountyHunter

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Jun 13, 2007
Messages
5,381
Location
Wilmington NC
Well if you are worried about brass for a 284, go to Accuracy One in PA. that is John Hoover, pretty sure he bought up the worlds supply of Winchester white box 284 brass and had pallets of it. The white box winchester is by far best 284 brass ever made. Lot to be said for the 284. You might be able to buy a 100 cases from him.
 

Savage 12BVSS

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Dec 20, 2019
Messages
852
Location
Maine
As a savage shooter I will vote for the 7mm-08 AI, with a short action you will have less room for the 284, I considered one a while back and without a longer action you will be handicapped some. Brass is much more available for the AI as well, my only complaint with the AI is the fireforming but it comes with the cartridge. You can buy a criterion or shilen prefit and have your gunsmith rechamber for the AI. Good shooting either way they are both good cartridges.
 

JakeC

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Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
23
Location
North Utah
As a savage shooter I will vote for the 7mm-08 AI, with a short action you will have less room for the 284, I considered one a while back and without a longer action you will be handicapped some. Brass is much more available for the AI as well, my only complaint with the AI is the fireforming but it comes with the cartridge. You can buy a criterion or shilen prefit and have your gunsmith rechamber for the AI. Good shooting either way they are both good cartridges.
Yeah, I love the idea of the 284 but it's just seeming like it's worse than I'm wanting it be. I don't mind losing the powder space at all but it's got to cause some kind of issue having the bullet THAT far in. I didn't realize until very recently that the actual shape of the bullet is going to be a bigger limitation than I thought. This guy in the link below has got the ogive on 162g hornadys past the case mouth, and regular accubonds .1 outside. I'll have another tenth OAL to play with but I'm looking at even sleeker bullets. Freebore would be insane if nothing else. I keep thinking I've got a way around it but those ways are ruining my parameters.

 

Lefty7mmstw

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May 13, 2012
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Dakota del norte
I just put a striker together in 7-08. It's shooting 1 to 1.5 moa right now with 139's and 154's. The little 7-08 has a couple of new powders out there that will make it keep up with the 284 and regular 280 pretty well; rl16 and sta-ball. I was thinking of reaming this bbl. to 284 before she went on the pistol, but I'm going to work this one up as-is instead and worry about big speed in my magnum rifles.
 

JakeC

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Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
23
Location
North Utah
I just put a striker together in 7-08. It's shooting 1 to 1.5 moa right now with 139's and 154's. The little 7-08 has a couple of new powders out there that will make it keep up with the 284 and regular 280 pretty well; rl16 and sta-ball. I was thinking of reaming this bbl. to 284 before she went on the pistol, but I'm going to work this one up as-is instead and worry about big speed in my magnum rifles.
Yeah that StaBall looks like it brings all the goods, as in too good to believe without seeing. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it. I know Rl17 is supposed to be the ticket but I found it filthy and inaccurate.
 

xsn10s

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Mar 7, 2016
Messages
1,168
I'm considering a 7-08 with 26" barrel. I saw one post where a guy had a Rem 7 with 24" barrel and got 2680 fps with a 180 gr Hybrid. Seems like 2700 fps is doable with a 26" barrel. That would make a good hunter.
 

AZShooter

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Dec 12, 2005
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Tucson Az
As a long time owner of the 284 win I can share some details in favor of this chambering.

There is brass available. Even Winchester brass shows up from time to time. If things get bad you could always neck up Lapua 6.5-284 brass

Working with a 2.990" magazine limit is not bad. As you know the original OAL is 2.8". You should be able to use a decent range of bullet weights from 168 gr on down. IMO anything heavier will begin to impinge on the internal powder space. Quite frankly the performance you will get with a 168 high BC bullet vs a 180 high BC bullet will be almost identical in regards to wind drift and retained energy.

In the past 20 years I have moved towards custom reamers and the 284 win is included. I opted to turn the necks. The reamer has a .317 neck. Throat angle is 1 1/2 degrees. I set mine up for a 168 Berger VLD to engage the lands .010" with an OAL that is just under 3.050". "Regular" hunting bullets , even the 120 nosler ballistic tip, work fine with this configuration. I am certain you could do something similar for your slightly shorter mag box.

As to performance, the 284 Win walks away from your other choice in a bolt action rifle. The original rifles offered in this chambering were the Win 100 autoloader and the model 88 lever action as result the published load data is a bit anemic. There are two powders that have worked well for me. While the original powder of choice was IMR 4350 and I used my share, H4350 is a better choice because it fits better and is more temperature stable. RL-17 is another great powder that will yield higher velocities due to its longer burning curve. It is my current choice. 52 gr of RL-17 and the 168 VLD yields 2925 fps from a 23 1/2" barrel. For grins I seated a 120 nos bt without changing seating die, it was accurate and very fast. I won't mention the load but PM me for all sorts of details on what you can expect with it and a variety of other hunting bullets.

The 284 win's case design was far ahead of its time when it was introduced in 1963. It has the best attributes of today's modern cases. 35 degree shoulder minimum body taper and plenty of case capacity for such a short case. I sectioned a win case and compared the web to a winchester case in 300 win mag, the web was thicker on the 284 win! If there is any complaint the winchester 284 brass often has necks that are often thicker on one area which is why I turn them.

Let us know what you end up doing.
 

Calvin45

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Apr 13, 2019
Messages
597
Location
Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada
Saum or wsm get my vote. 1-9 twist would be perfect for that billet range.
Im guessing that wouldn’t work with the bolt/action he’s using, needs to be the .473” 308/30-06 rim diameter family. And he’s saying the magazine would need to be modified to fit the .500” head diameter .284 win case...I don’t image the .55” wsm case working at all. Just my thoughts, I actually don’t know but even if it could be made to work it sounds like a lot of work compared to just getting an entirely new action for a cartridge in this class.
 

Flintlock

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Joined
Oct 6, 2006
Messages
92
Location
Central Oklahoma
The 7-08 or 7-08AI is a great round. I have been shooting them in XP100's for years with 15 or 16" barrels and they will shoot a long way from those barrels. I have had two XP's just recently built in the .284. Don't have to worry about the magazine since they are single shot but running the Accubond or. Berger the barrel likes, I have to take the bolt out to remove a un-fired round. It is a short action, just like the Model 7 Rem. I have learned to just not chamber a round until I'm set up and ready to send one. I didn't think about have a bolt release machined into the action when they were built. One is going. back for a bolt release after this season and a break.
If I need any more power than the .284's I have I just dust off the .300 SAUM, HS Precision 2000 bolt action pistol and light them up with 150grn Accubonds using a rifle scope on it. :cool:
I have killed deer, antelope, prairie dogs and coyotes with my 7-08 out to 405 yards using a Burris 3x12 pistol scope. I'm sure with the rifle he wants it would reach way past 500 if he has good glass and a steady hand.
Good luck with your venture.
Mike
 

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