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Old March 26, 2013, 08:31 PM   #1
ndking1126
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About to rebarrel a Savage

I'm wanting a general use precision rifle in either .243 or .260. No plans to get into competition, just have fun at the range. Don't need to use it for hunting. I want a rifle with light recoil. I am going with a 26" Heavy/Varmint barrel. I know 142SMKs with a 1:8 twist is a very popular long range setup, but I'm also considering .243 in 107 SMK or .260 in 123 for the lighter recoil and I think I will RARELY (never?) have opportunity to shoot past 500, 600 yards. I am learning to reload right now, but having the right twist rate to shoot off the shelf ammo accurately is a plus.

Based on what I've read from other reloaders:
243- 107 SMK with .527 BC can expect about 2850-2900fps
260- 123 SMK with .510 BC can expect about 2950-3000fps

Are my velocities off? (It seems to me the 123s would be slower..) If not, do I want a little more speed or a little higher BC?

To shoot the 107s I would need 1:8 twist, but most off the shelf ammo is better suited for 1:9 because the ammo is lighter. I think this is why I'm leaning towards the .260. Oh, and I already have .260 dies so that'll save a little money.

At 600 yards and less do the 142 SMKs offer any significant advantage over the 123s?
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Old March 26, 2013, 08:55 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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The difference between 1:8 and 1:9 won't make a whit to that factory ammo.

If you're handloading, the 243AI has no disadvantage and adds 100-200 fps over the Win.

I changed my Savage 11 from 270WSM to 243AI lat year.
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Old March 27, 2013, 10:44 AM   #3
ndking1126
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Yeah, that's a good option I hadn't thought of. Is it true that you don't have to trim your cases after going to AI? I heard that, but it doesn't seem like it would be true.

There is one downsize to 243AI apparently.. I just checked prices of those dies and they are about 3x what I paid for my .260 and .30-06 dies!
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Old March 27, 2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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There's always a trade-off between velocity, and heavier, high-BC bullets.
At long range (past the 500-600 you're referring to) I give the nod to the high BC bullets as they're less affected by wind drift despite the longer flight time, just my personal experience.

I always experiment...you will need to see what your rifle/barrel likes- every one is different. That's what load development is for...
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Old March 27, 2013, 11:27 AM   #5
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I'm getinng nearly 3200 FPS with the 105 A-Max and nearly 3000 FPS with the Sierra 107's with a standard .243. I don't know if an AI will go much faster than that and I really doubt it will be 200 FPS faster. The nice thing about the AI is that the cases will last longer due to far less case stretch.

I twisted my barrel 1:7 so I can run 115 DTAC and Berger bullets. I've got a bunch of both, I just need to find some time to play with them.
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Old March 27, 2013, 01:49 PM   #6
Jim Watson
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Rather than 243. AI, a friend went 6mm Rem.
That makes up into a very nice rifle.

If I were shooting any 6.5 I would set it up for 139-142 exclusively. I don't think the 123 will hang with it. Kind of like my fast twist 90 gr .223. The charts and software say it should shoot with a 175 .308 but it won't in live fire at long range. It is a hammer at mid range, though, the reason I don't see a place for 6mm in my rack.
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Old March 27, 2013, 03:20 PM   #7
Geo_Erudite
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You should also look into the 6.5 Creedmoor, it is an awesome round. You stated that you reload, and if you stick with 123 grain bullets the 6.5x47 Lapua would be an excellent choice.

However, you already have .260 dies, so go with it.
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Old March 28, 2013, 08:53 AM   #8
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Yeah, that's a good option I hadn't thought of. Is it true that you don't have to trim your cases after going to AI? I heard that, but it doesn't seem like it would be true.

There is one downsize to 243AI apparently.. I just checked prices of those dies and they are about 3x what I paid for my .260 and .30-06 dies!

You don't have to trim your cases because they all come out way short of max length. You blow the case out from tapered to almost perfectly straight and the shoulder goes from something like 27 to 40 degrees. You can picture it in your head, all that difference comes out of the length.

You only need two dies sets, a regular Lee collet die set for 243Win, which MidWayUSA has for $29.99 and a Redding 243AI body die, which gunstop.com has for $31.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taylorce1
I'm getting nearly 3200 FPS with the 105 A-Max and nearly 3000 FPS with the Sierra 107's with a standard .243. I don't know if an AI will go much faster than that and I really doubt it will be 200 FPS faster. The nice thing about the AI is that the cases will last longer due to far less case stretch.
Hard to say without barrel lengths but 3,200 with 105 A-Max is way beyond published data I see for a 24" barrel. That's like 85-90gr speed.

Anyway, the 243AI formed case will hold more powder than the 243Win case. More powder equals more velocity. It might be 50fps with one bullet and 200 with another but it's more and there's really no downside, except slightly less barrel life, in theory, and case life is better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson
Rather than 243. AI, a friend went 6mm Rem.
That makes up into a very nice rifle.
Also a fine round, but I'd still go to the AI version.
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Old March 28, 2013, 07:08 PM   #9
taylorce1
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Brian all the info on the rifle is in this post, LR Build. You're right I shouldn't have said 3200 as when I broke that I had pressure signs it was closer to 3150 and 2900 with my loads. Still pretty respectable speeds for the heavies out of a 26" heavy varmint Stevens 200.

The general rule of thumb for an AI cartridge is that a 10% gain in capacity nets a 2-2.5% gain in velocity. With a .243 AI you'll only get around a 10-11% increase in capacity so you're only looking at a 75+ FPS gain at best if the bullet had an original MV of 3000 FPS in a standard .243 Win. However, as mentioned case life is better with the AI because it doesn't stretch as much. I don't fault a Guy for wanting an AI cartridge, but in most cases the velocity gains aren't that great.
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Old March 28, 2013, 09:24 PM   #10
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Great information, I appreciate the feedback. I've got to sell my other toy, my Jeep, and I'll be re-barreling once that happens. The .243 option, whether AI or not is really tempting, but I did some more research into shooting the lighter bullets with the 1:8 twist and everything I read agrees with you Brian that it should work just fine.

So, my plan is to get the 1:8 in 260 Rem and just see what shoots well. I should be able to find something in 123 grain that shoots well... but if not, I'll shoot something a little heavier.

Thanks!
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Old March 29, 2013, 10:39 AM   #11
taylorce1
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There wasn't a wrong choice made there going with the .260. I was just lazy when I chose the .243, I've been shooting it for the past 22 years so I had a stockpile of brass and the dies on hand. I just didn't see a real need to invest I a new cartridge.

PS. I'd keep the Jeep as well my CJ7 is always a work in progress but at least I can drive it to the range and hunting so it incorporates both thing I love.
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Old March 29, 2013, 08:33 PM   #12
ndking1126
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My CJ7

Haha, believe me, I've looked at every angle to keep this Jeep, but it just doesn't make sense. The Army is going to be moving me almost definitely by the end of the year (maybe sooner?) and with 2 drivers and 3 cars, it would be an expensive proposition. If it had A/C it would be extremely tempting, but since most options on where I'm moving is east or south (think hot and humid!) I just can't justify it. Guess I'll just have to upgrade to a TJ or even JK later on, lol.

It's an 85 with 33" Goodyear MT/R tires, 4.56 gears... it would probably cost more to drive it across country than it would be to ship it!! It's also got ARB lockers front and rear, rock sliders, fuel injected 4.0, axles, transfer case and I think transmission completely rebuilt, heavy duty tie rods, drop pitman arm, stainless steel gas lines.... It's a beast and has always gotten me where I wanted to go, I'll definitely miss it!

Like you said, they are always a project... the little money here and there starts to add up after awhile. I'd rather put that money into rifle equipment like building the 260 and replacing a few junk scopes. I'll enjoy those for years and years. I just bought a 4x4 frontier truck, so I'm still good for hunting and other outdoor activities.

You know anyone who might be interested in buying it? (Colorado Springs area)
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Old March 29, 2013, 09:41 PM   #13
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I'm sure you can find someone in COS that would be interested in it, just throw it up on CL. Unfortunately you'll never see the return on the money. I know I won't on mine, I just lowered mine two years ago to get it drivable again. The person who owned it before me lifted it just with shackles and was running 33's with 3:18 gears. I'll eventually go back up in tires but new Dana's weren't in the budget yet. BTW mine is an 84 with factory AC.
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Old March 30, 2013, 06:11 PM   #14
ndking1126
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Quote:
84 with factory AC.
Nice!

Those 3.18 gears with 33's are definitely not ideal. I bought it off CL, if nothing else I'll put it back on there.

But back to the guns, I was talking with a guy I've recently met and he's trying to get me turned onto some predator hunting with him.. which the 243 would be awesome for... Ah!! back and forth, back and forth.

I guess I'll just buy whatever I'm feeling at the time and have to be happy with it the purchase I know neither option is bad so it'll be alright.
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Old March 30, 2013, 06:59 PM   #15
taylorce1
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The .260 with light bullets would be ruinatious on varmints and predators same as a .243. Neither cartridge is going to be known as fur friendly. So pick one order a barrel and have fun, or do the obvious thing buy both barrels and sell the one you don't like. It's a Savage after all you can have it both ways.
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Old March 31, 2013, 12:58 PM   #16
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This is an excellent tool when it comes to determining whether or not you'll have the necessary stability for a given weight bullet with your rate of twist:

http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmstab-5.1.cgi
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