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Old October 22, 2020, 11:40 AM   #1
stagpanther
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winter project gun: 338-06 A2

Winters are long in Maine--and I'm very fond of the 35 whelen--so I decided to build a 338-06 to keep me busy on those long dark nights. Shaw barrel

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Old October 22, 2020, 02:09 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good idea. What action do you have in mind?
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Old October 22, 2020, 02:58 PM   #3
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I'm going to guess it will be on a savage...
Nice choice on 338-06 too, often overlooked IMO.
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Old October 22, 2020, 03:25 PM   #4
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Good choice. I had my 700 re-barreled to 338-06 after reading a Steve Timm article in the late 80s. I had it throated for 250 Noslers, but shoot 200 Hornadys for a nice freebore. I get 2810 out of 22" and use his recommended IMR4320 and regular Remington '06 Brass. I would recommend an RCBS die set that will include a .338 expander die. I wish that I hunted hogs in more open country, as this would be a thunderous solution. My 450 Bushmaster will have to do!
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Old October 22, 2020, 03:55 PM   #5
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Are you gonna recontour that?
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Old October 22, 2020, 06:43 PM   #6
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Interesting cartridge for sure. Can't wait to see the finished product
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Old October 22, 2020, 06:55 PM   #7
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It's a standard Shaw savage 110/Axis LA prefit in their "magnum" profile; which to me appears the same as a heavy varminter. It looks like they finish it with some kind of paint coat--by the time I had it recontoured and refinished it would cost far more than the barrel itself so I'm leaving it as is--if I started with a top-tier blank I'd consider that. This rifle will sit between my 338 federal--which I'm not crazy about--and my 338 Lapua magnum; which is great fun but very expensive to feed, even reloading. I think 338 projectiles are awesome.
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Old October 22, 2020, 11:33 PM   #8
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This rifle will sit between my 338 federal--which I'm not crazy about--and my 338 Lapua magnum
What don’t you like about the .338 Federal? Just curious, I’m waiting on a barrel nut to finish up my .338 Federal AR10 build. I’ve never shot one, and don’t know anybody who has one.

Was going to build a .358 Win AR, to go with my bolt gun, but decided that since I already had a .358, I wanted something different, and the .338 Federal caught my eye. Reviews and ballistics seemed decent, and I didn’t have one, so I went with it.
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Old October 23, 2020, 01:51 AM   #9
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What don’t you like about the .338 Federal? Just curious, I’m waiting on a barrel nut to finish up my .338 Federal AR10 build. I’ve never shot one, and don’t know anybody who has one.

Was going to build a .358 Win AR, to go with my bolt gun, but decided that since I already had a .358, I wanted something different, and the .338 Federal caught my eye. Reviews and ballistics seemed decent, and I didn’t have one, so I went with it.
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I tend to get calibers and do a lot of hand-loading for them, and in the process develop a personal, subjective "feel" for their balance across a range of projectile weights, velocities efficiency etc. However, these are just my personal impressions and not verified with actual hunting results--and I'm sure many shooters would disagree with my "biases"--so take them as just that.

The Federal 338 looks great on paper, but IMO is a marginal cartridge for the 338 projectile IMO because most 338 projectiles are developed for bigger, faster primarily magnum power level cartridges and the fed is jamming them into a 308 parent case. This whittles down the selection of bullets that you can use with the 338 fed IMO. The other issue is that bullet construction is a factor to be aware of when selecting what you're going to use if hunting--the velocities decay fast enough as the range increases with the fed IMO that the performance of the bullet construction can be unpredictable depending on the range and velocity. A solid monolithic may not expand well at medium/long distance, a light bonded or non-bonded bullet might not penetrate well and fragment at too close range. The other thing that I don't especially care for about the 338 fed is that it has what I consider a sharp "outsize" felt recoil--not that it's especially heavy or intolerable, it's just a surprisingly "snappy" kick IMO for a 308 based case cartridge which makes balancing the shot in a lighter weight rifle a bit of a challenge. It's not a cartridge I get excited about firing.
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Old October 23, 2020, 06:06 AM   #10
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Wait....
You wax poetic about the 35 Whelen, then state your building a 338-06 A Square?

Ya shoulda had E.R. Shaw polish & blue the barrel.
I have 2 that they've done. Still can't get over the bluing quality, especially at the price point!

I wanted to go with Shaw for my 7mm-08AI build. But i'm looking at a range build and want a 30" tube. Shaw does a max of 26".
Will probably end up with a Shilen, or Criterion barrel from Northland Shooting Supply.

Was getting FFL info together to order a Savage target action, when a super deal came for a Sightron SIII 10-50X60.
Scope just arrived yesterday.
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Old October 23, 2020, 06:32 AM   #11
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Wait....
You wax poetic about the 35 Whelen, then state your building a 338-06 A Square?
Essentially it does everything the 35 whelen does--but slightly better, so why not? I already know the whelen as a great cartridge, so I really look forward to exploring the 338-06.
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Old October 23, 2020, 07:20 AM   #12
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The other thing that I don't especially care for about the 338 fed is that it has what I consider a sharp "outsize" felt recoil--not that it's especially heavy or intolerable, it's just a surprisingly "snappy" kick IMO for a 308 based case cartridge which makes balancing the shot in a lighter weight rifle a bit of a challenge. It's not a cartridge I get excited about firing.
Funny you should mention that, it’s almost exactly what one of my brothers (Frankenmauser) says about shooting my Ruger Hawkeye in .358 Win.

Thanks for your input on the .338. I knew going into it I would run into bullet selection issues, and that it would also suffer the low case capacity the .358 does, but I got a free lower and had to do something with it, and the .338 Federal was enough of an oddball/non-mainstream cartridge to interest me. I’ve got some other big boomers for longer range/more serious hunting (.270, ‘06, .375) that if it doesn’t turn into a good hunting rifle, I’m ok with it.

Sorry to stray off subject, but thanks again for the info.
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Old October 23, 2020, 08:02 AM   #13
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Funny you should mention that, it’s almost exactly what one of my brothers (Frankenmauser) says about shooting my Ruger Hawkeye in .358 Win.

Thanks for your input on the .338. I knew going into it I would run into bullet selection issues, and that it would also suffer the low case capacity the .358 does, but I got a free lower and had to do something with it, and the .338 Federal was enough of an oddball/non-mainstream cartridge to interest me. I’ve got some other big boomers for longer range/more serious hunting (.270, ‘06, .375) that if it doesn’t turn into a good hunting rifle, I’m ok with it.

Sorry to stray off subject, but thanks again for the info.
I also have a 358 win--that one I like better, it's a bit of a thumper but more of a "push" hit than a sharp snappy kick IMO. But the 358 bullet in the 180 to 225 gr range--like the gameking or similar bullet-- is IMO more adept in the confines of the 308 case and is also a pretty reliable expander at the ranges it's reasonably designed for--say out to 300 yds, but starts to seriously rainbow after that. Carries a wallop of energy too. I'm sure you'll be fine with the fed--just need to be aware that careful bullet selection for the job is more important (again, just my opinion).
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Old October 23, 2020, 08:08 AM   #14
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Ran into a bit of an issue right off the bat--I checked headspacing in a spare axis receiver I have using the included Shaw go/ no-go gauges--they do not match my PTG 30-06 gauges; so I'm a bit mystified as to who's to use.
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Old October 23, 2020, 11:05 AM   #15
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I got this Boyd's stock dated 2015 off a 25-06 axis I bought used at a great price and decided to recycle it. It's a bit unusual in that I can't tell for sure whether or not Boyd's did all the work or if this was a savage "high end" axis 1 offering originally (It's stamped with the iconic savage "S" on the grip butt but "Boyd's" on the buttpad). It came with a accutrigger as well. The stock is a bit banged up but otherwise superbly executed (compared to the modern Boyd's I've bought, anyway)--inletting for the action is very precise and also has steel pillars and cross bolts fitted. Other than widening the foreend to fit the thicker barrel and refinishing the stock, I don't think there's a whole lot I need to do to the stock.





I can't tell what the wood is--pretty sure it's not walnut--looks more like a poplar or beech to me but I'm not sure.I'm thinking maybe it's maple.
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If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
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Old October 24, 2020, 06:40 PM   #16
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Didn't read the fine print on when I bought the barrel--for some reason (which escapes me) it has no barrel stamping which is required by law--so I have to do that myself when the rifle is assembled.
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Old October 24, 2020, 10:01 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by stagpanther View Post
Didn't read the fine print on when I bought the barrel--for some reason (which escapes me) it has no barrel stamping which is required by law--so I have to do that myself when the rifle is assembled.
The only custom barrel's that I've ever bought that were stamped with the cartridge were from X-Caliber.
Some do etch the bore / land diameter and twist rate on the chamber end, but none of the Pre-fit barrels that I've ever bought from Shaw, McGowen, Shilen, etc. had any cartridge stamping on them.
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Old October 25, 2020, 12:06 AM   #18
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You could find an engraver to have the caliber engraved to give it that extra touch. That few letters shouldn't cost too much...

Tony
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Old October 25, 2020, 12:08 AM   #19
stagpanther
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Pre-fit barrels that I've ever bought from Shaw, McGowen, Shilen, etc. had any cartridge stamping on them.
That's odd, all the prefits that were "finalized" with chamber reamed etc that I've bought were always stamped, maybe because they were intended to be resold by other vendors? I'm going to engrave it myself; and I'm not especially worried about ruining the astronomical resale value of an axis-based rifle.
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Old October 25, 2020, 12:17 AM   #20
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Every now and then gun broker will send me an e-mail with links to beautiful "ultra rare, once in a million years only a few made" special edition lever guns and rifles with "factory in the raw" stocks that I always admired the looks of. So after sanding down the gouges on the Boyd's stock, I thought--why not, I'll give it a go.







I was tempted to go wild and do all kinds of detailing, but "keep it simple" (aka rush the fastest solution) won the day. I even considered hand-chequering which I'm sure would look stunning, but it looked way too involved (and a major investment in equipment) so I took the easy way out.
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If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
I am NOT an expert--I do not have any formal experience or certification in firearms use or testing; use any information I post at your own risk!

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Old October 25, 2020, 03:43 AM   #21
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Dang, that looks nice. I always thought the .338-06 was an under appreciated round...

Anyway I hope among the next pix you post of this rifle include the deer you harvested with it.

Tony
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Old October 25, 2020, 06:18 AM   #22
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Dang, that looks nice. I always thought the .338-06 was an under appreciated round...

Anyway I hope among the next pix you post of this rifle include the deer you harvested with it.

Tony
Thanks geezerbiker--unfortunately other essential parts are being delayed by the shippers, there's always at least one that says "yep, in stock out the door as fast as we can" that ends up taking weeks to ship. I need dies and brass and decided the best route was to neck up 30-06 brass.

The felt recoil of the 30-06 family cartridges IMO is "reasonable" and appreciably lighter than the next step up magnum alternatives. The 338-06 (like the whelen) makes a compelling argument for itself once I started looking at all the ballistics/velocity/trajectory numbers.
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Old October 25, 2020, 09:13 AM   #23
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You should be able fire form some .30-06 cases. I'd use the Ed Harris load of 13g of red dot behind a 150 bullet. Even with the bullet rattling down the bore, it should generate enough pressure to form the cases. Do you have any .30 caliber cast bullets to try?

I just did some checking and if you were able to fire form some cases, you could use .338 Win mag dies to neck size and seat the bullets. That is if you had or could borrow a set... The .338 Win mag is only .006" longer than the .338-06 but has a fatter case.

Tony

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Old October 25, 2020, 10:19 AM   #24
stagpanther
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I'm not sweating it--except maybe finding 30-06 brass--which is pretty tough right now. My 35 whelen is dialed in ready to go into the woods if needs be.

I just assembled everything except the base, rings and scope are still missing--all up weight right now is just over 8 lbs (that nearly 5 lb barrel is a big part of that weight). This is going to be hefty rifle!

Holy beezlebub! loaded ammo is up to $4.00 a cartridge!
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If you’re ever hiking in the woods and you get lost, just look up and find the brightest star in the sky and you’ll know which way space is.
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Last edited by stagpanther; October 25, 2020 at 01:15 PM.
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Old October 25, 2020, 01:50 PM   #25
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Would you be interested in some new old stock nickle plated Remington '06 cases? I bought 500 of them about 35 years ago and I haven't used half of them yet...

If not, I think I have some once fired '06 cases that I could let you have enough to get you started. PM me and we can talk more.

I was thinking that if you seated a lead bullet long then wrapped it in Teflon plumbing tape it would be sufficient to center the case in the chamber and seal well enough to help with the fire forming. It might even shoot straight.

When I first got my .45-70 I didn't have any bullets for it but I had a lot of bullets I had cast for my M1911. I was looking into paper patching when someone on a forum asked if one could patch with Teflon tape. I figured the only way to find out was to try it and the results were very good to say the least. After that I bought a 12 pack of wide Teflon tape so in case I ever wanted to to it again, I'd be ready.

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