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Thread: Rifle build Wadda Ya think

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Default Rifle build Wadda Ya think

    I guess I'll start this thread to help pass the winter nights and see what you guys think of my latest project. This is a personal project of mine that I will be working on through the winter as time and money allow. If I ever move into the 21st century I might even post some pics with my fancy new camera.

    So since I have always been of the heavy for caliber, medium velocity camp, and I have a big bore rifle as well as plenty of small bore rifles. I decided recently that a medium bore was in order. Since I stupidly let my 350 Rem mag slip away a few years ago I have been forced to go without since that day. And seeing as how a fella can't get enough rifles and I have been a fairly good boy, I think I deserve another one.

    So thus far I have aquired a Ruger77 in 30-06 for a donor and a #3 contour MontanaRifleman barrel in 35 cal. I also have a Leupold Compact 2.5 power that will be sitting atop this new rifle. Everything else is pretty flexible right now as far as sights, stock, and even caliber.

    I like the 350 Rem Mag but dont believe in building short action calibers on long actions, not for me anyway, just dont think they match. So I originally thought 35 Whelen, done and done. Then I started to read up on the Improved Whelen, and the 358 Norma, and so on and such forth. So while there is a good chance I will go with the Whelen, I do have an Improved reamer and the Norma reamer is just a phone call away. That being said caliber is still kinda up in the air.

    For sights I am thinking of getting one of the NECG Universal banded ramps with the adjustable front blade, and using and old Ruger island rear that I took off of a rifle long ago. But the NECG rear peep is really nice or I could get one of their express rear sights and regulate it for the load I decide on. Ialso have an old Ruger front band I could ream out as well, but it has no provision for a hood. Decisions decisions

    On to the stock, I very well may just inlet the forend on the factory stock and glass bed it as it is in fairly decent shape. My problem with that is that I would like a barrel band swivel and plugging the front stud hole in the stock never looks all that good. Also if I decide to use it without the banded swivel I wont be able to put a band on without unsoldering my front band and having to refinish the whole darn thing. If I decide to change the stock I will probably go with MPI, and use their Ruger style as I really like the shape of the 77 stock I just dont know if I want wood or synthetic.

    Barrel length will more thatn likely be 20 inches and maybe 22 but absolutely no more than that.

    Finish options abound but some of the more traditional won't cut it in this case. I would prefer a rust blue or parkerizing or something of that nature. But here in lies the problem, the only barrel left in the bargain rack at MontanaRifleman barrels was SS. So I took what I could get and I have a SS barrel and a blued action. I like the metal on my guns to be all one color and that just cant happen with normal finishes. I guess my options would be a hard chrome(black, bright, or matte), Nitride, NP3, or one of the bake ons. I don't care for the bakeon stuff at all, no offense just not my cup a tea. NP3 or hard chrome would be pretty darn tuff but I am not real sure about a silver rifle, only stainless guns I've ever owned have been revolvers. The Nitride finish is the toughest thing going and its matte black but it's also pretty spendy. So I don't know what I'll be doing in this area yet either.

    So let me know what you think and I'll keep you posted as I make progress.

    P.S. I would gladly accept all donations towards this project, please make checks payable to TheKid's Medium Bore rifle project Fund. For just pennies a day you can keep a rifle project going.

  2. #2
    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Default Take your time & do it right the first time. . .

    I would make certain that what you do is what you want. I've have rushed a few projects and paid for my haste, figuratively & literally. I would let the cartridge selection steep in your brain for a bit. Make sure the finish is your first choice even if it takes a extra payday or two to make it happen. I suspect you have a smith in mind so you'll save a bit there.

    But since you asked, my thoughts would lean towards saving money on the stock for now and use the wood handle. Since you like short rifles I would barrel it in 35 Whelen AI or its ilk and set the barrel at 20 inches. Yeah, you give a little velocity away in the 20 inch barrel, but the improved cartridge will make it up so you'll get 2500+ fps with a 250 grain. You save money on brass & powder in the long run and you have enough external & terminal ballistics for bear & moose to 300 yards in a handy and shooter friendly 35. Besides the 2.5 Leupold is just screaming for an effective & modest cartridge; the Whelen is both. I know from your other posts on this forum you want to nitride the rifle and that's how I would go. Put the NECG Universal front with the Ruger rear for backup sights. And since you're going with the Whelen the recoil is comfortable enough to leave the swivel on the stock. Shoot the rifle this way until you have the cash then stick it in an MPI and you'll have one of the neatest rifles around. At least that's what I think. I believe Gary Sitton did a similar rifle years ago. I think the article is in Wolfe Publishing's Big Bore Rifles & Cartridges. It would be worth your time to look it up.

    I know you will, but be sure to keep us informed.

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    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
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    Default Interesting...

    I was just in Kalispell this last weekend, and made a point of stopping and visiting with the good folks at Montana Rifle Co. I even picked up two of their barrel blanks while there, one a 1-7 twist .224, the other a 1-12 twist .375 bore. $49.00 apiece.
    No sign out front, I stopped at a likely looking building to ask for directions, and saw their rifles on display through the window. They are NOT set up for retail sales over the counter, but we managed to get money exchanged for goods.
    They TRY to keep their list updated daily, the one that I looked at was less than 24 hours old, and it already had things missing!
    It was mentioned that they've been absolutely flooded with orders for AR15 barrels since the election, all of those going to manufacturers, and I was left to conclude that sporter barrels are worked in as they can. Might explain some of the lag time when I had my '06 barreled by them last spring.

    As to finish options on a "Pinto", when I did mine, the intention was to bead blast and Parkerize the entire action, then blast the stainless barrel and paint it to have a less dramatic contrast between the two, though in this day and age, I don't necessarily see it a drawback. Biggest consideration with a 'white' SS barrel would be glare.
    Hard to go wrong with a Whelen!

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    Good project. Although the whelen is a great cartridge, the 358Norma will do anything the whelen will do and then some. My 358N shoots a 250gr at 2880 with a 24" barrel. You can load the Norma down as far as you want but you can only go up so far with the whelen. 300WM is easy to turn into the 358N and is easy to get. I would guess 2750fps with a 250gr would be easy from a 20" tube.

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    Member Eastwoods's Avatar
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    Sounds awesome. This is the type of rifle I have been kicki'in around in my head for at least 6 years. I also have a Ruger 77 '06.

    If you choose the 358 Norma, how would you deal with the bigger bolt face? I can't recall right now, but, is that action/mag box long enough for the Norma? Please tell the details. I'm getting more excited as I type!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Good project. Although the whelen is a great cartridge, the 358Norma will do anything the whelen will do and then some. My 358N shoots a 250gr at 2880 with a 24" barrel. You can load the Norma down as far as you want but you can only go up so far with the whelen. 300WM is easy to turn into the 358N and is easy to get. I would guess 2750fps with a 250gr would be easy from a 20" tube.
    I agree with rbuck351. I started out two years ago to build a Whelen and came to the same conclusion. You can always go down with the 358 Norma but the Whelen has an upper limit. So I built a commercial Mauser in 358 Norma with a 22" barrel. I Cerakoted the barrel and action and bedded it in custom laminated stock. I could not be more pleased with the rifle. It was also my first real adventure in handloading and I have found it to be very easy to load to all kinds of power levels. Though I am curious what loads rbuck351 is using because so far I have only been able to get 2650 or so with a 250gr in my 22" barrel. I would think 2750 from a 20" barrel would be loaded awfully hot.

    I don't think you could go wrong either way, but I sure am a fan of the 358 Norma. It's so versatile that it is now hard to convince myself I truly NEED any other rifles. Want is another matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastwoods View Post
    Sounds awesome. This is the type of rifle I have been kicki'in around in my head for at least 6 years. I also have a Ruger 77 '06.

    If you choose the 358 Norma, how would you deal with the bigger bolt face? I can't recall right now, but, is that action/mag box long enough for the Norma? Please tell the details. I'm getting more excited as I type!

    The beauty with the Norma designed round was it was meant to be chambered in std 06 length actions... So no problem putting a 358 or 308 norma mag on std 06 action. As far as the bolt face any competent gunsmith can open the bolt face up as well... also the feed rails will need to be opened up...

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    Quote Originally Posted by 323 View Post
    The beauty with the Norma designed round was it was meant to be chambered in std 06 length actions... So no problem putting a 358 or 308 norma mag on std 06 action. As far as the bolt face any competent gunsmith can open the bolt face up as well... also the feed rails will need to be opened up...

    Thanks for the info. and THANKS for your service.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Just for the record, I love the 358 NM. It is a fine round with lots of potential in the field. However the Whelen is more than adequate at ranges under 300 yards for the critters here in AK. Why not use a cartridge that has enough power, bullet weight and penetration with less recoil. Of course the 358 NM has more of these things than the Whelen and if longer ranges are a concern it's a better choice, but for most hunting I'll take the lighter recoil and the animals will never know the difference. Considering the use of the Compact 2.5X (a scope I love BTW) I just can't see this as a LR rig so I vote for the Whelen

    Another advantage in the Whelen's favor is that bullet choice is not as critical. Speer's 250 grain Hot-Cor and Hornady's 250 Interlock RN & SP will perform perfectly in the Whelen and they are relatively cheap. If you choose the 358 NM you'll need to be a bit more picky. If you keep the velocity down you can use the Speer and Hornady bullets, but crank up the speed and you'll be using A-Frames, Partitions, TSXs, etc. to get reliable performance at more than double the cost. I do not mind spending the money on the other bullets if necessary, but my point is that it is not necessry in the Whelen to use the premium slugs to have outstanding terminal ballistics. Again I've got nothing against the 358 NM, it's a great cartridge, but in a quick handling, lightweight rifle I'd pick the Whelen every time.

  10. #10

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    Kid,

    My vote is for the 358 norma, necg sights, banser stock in black and finished in NP3. Silver talley quick release mounts and your 2.5 scope.

    I am sure It would look good and would be durable.

    I have NP3 on one of my HK hand guns and it is very durable and has a nice dull look, kind off like the ruger factory grey color.

    Sean

  11. #11

    Default 35 caliber

    Since this project seems to be traveling in the 35 caliber circle; I add my 2 cents worth. That may be what you think it's worth.
    Since you already have a .473 bolt-face 30-06 action and the bolt would have to be opened for a belted mag cartridge. Why not use the standard bolt face and chamber the rifle for 358 Hawk. The Hawk round will produce higher velocities than the Whelen or Whelen AI, near the same velocities as the Norma and will have a significant recoil reduction over the 358 Norma; This would be helpful in a shorter lighter rifle.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    Just for the record, I love the 358 NM. It is a fine round with lots of potential in the field. However the Whelen is more than adequate at ranges under 300 yards for the critters here in AK. Why not use a cartridge that has enough power, bullet weight and penetration with less recoil. Of course the 358 NM has more of these things than the Whelen and if longer ranges are a concern it's a better choice, but for most hunting I'll take the lighter recoil and the animals will never know the difference. Considering the use of the Compact 2.5X (a scope I love BTW) I just can't see this as a LR rig so I vote for the Whelen

    Another advantage in the Whelen's favor is that bullet choice is not as critical. Speer's 250 grain Hot-Cor and Hornady's 250 Interlock RN & SP will perform perfectly in the Whelen and they are relatively cheap. If you choose the 358 NM you'll need to be a bit more picky. If you keep the velocity down you can use the Speer and Hornady bullets, but crank up the speed and you'll be using A-Frames, Partitions, TSXs, etc. to get reliable performance at more than double the cost. I do not mind spending the money on the other bullets if necessary, but my point is that it is not necessry in the Whelen to use the premium slugs to have outstanding terminal ballistics. Again I've got nothing against the 358 NM, it's a great cartridge, but in a quick handling, lightweight rifle I'd pick the Whelen every time.
    Just for the sake of argument, in a kind-hearted way I hope, why choose the Whelen just on the basis of recoil and bullet velocity. If that is really a concern, slow down your loads in a 358 Norma and you're essentially shooting a Whelen. Slow it down even more and you've got a 358 Win. But you can never speed a Whelen up to Norma levels if there was a need for the reach or power.

    I always enjoy reading your posts and nearly always agree with your opinions. But, I also enjoy a good friendly debate.

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    Many 358Norma rifles are freebored which allows for higher vel at normal pressure. I am now using up the last of some old Barnes 250gr semi spt over 78grs of IMR4350. My rifle has quite a bit of freebore and this load will be very stiff if you have a short throat. More like way too hot!!! As always, start low and work up.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Many 358Norma rifles are freebored which allows for higher vel at normal pressure. I am now using up the last of some old Barnes 250gr semi spt over 78grs of IMR4350. My rifle has quite a bit of freebore and this load will be very stiff if you have a short throat. More like way too hot!!! As always, start low and work up.
    Okay, now I am even more curious. I too have a lot of freebore so that is not an issue. But how in the world are you getting 78 grains of IMR4350 into that case. Mine are starting to be compressed at 73 and very much so at 75 to the point where I was afraid bullets would start creeping out of the case. I wasn't getting the velocities with 4350 and my shorter barrel anyway so I switched to H4895. But I still want to know what you are doing to get that much powder in there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    Just for the sake of argument, in a kind-hearted way I hope, why choose the Whelen just on the basis of recoil and bullet velocity. If that is really a concern, slow down your loads in a 358 Norma and you're essentially shooting a Whelen. Slow it down even more and you've got a 358 Win. But you can never speed a Whelen up to Norma levels if there was a need for the reach or power.
    Recoil is always a concern for me. I like big guns and I love shooting them, but I can't say I like recoil. External ballistics is important to choosing a cartridge/rifle but its not the only consideration. You might say I look to put a rifle together as a "System" or a "Whole" and I want the "System" to be balanced. I would not build a rifle with a 16 oz. stock and a skeletonized action with a #1 contour barrel and put a scope on the thing that weighs 24-32 oz. Some guys do, that is fine by me, but I would find that aesthetically hideous and functionally unbalanced. I'd take the same rifle and place an 8 oz. 4X on it and love it. So when The Kid wants a rifle that's going to end up scoped around 7-8 pounds (depending on the stock) and have a 20 inch barrel that rifle just sounds like a perfect match to the Whelen.

    Now why not a 358 NM since you can have more power if you need it. Well IMO the Whelen has enough power for anything I would be tempted to use that rifle to hunt and where I am from enough is all you need. I'd have no reservations of carrying that Whelen in the alders after Brownies and it is a near perfect moose cartridge/rifle. You are correct to point out that you can load a 358 NM to Whelen velocity levels, but you are going to burn 15% more powder (this means more recoil) for about the same velocity. You may or may not get the accuracy you need with a downloaded 358 NM; I've seen some magnum rifles download easily and others that simply do not perform well with reduced loads. Brass that is properly head stamped is much more expensive in the 358 NM and magnum brass to neck up or down is more than the ubiquitous '06. He can carry four or five in the magazine instead of three; that would not be a deciding factor, but it's an advantage IMO. I've no issues with the 358 Norma. It's a great cartridge, but in this setup I do not think I prefer it to the Whelen. The 358 NM costs more to feed, recoils heavier, has fewer rounds in the magazine and will have considerable muzzle blast/flash in 20 inch tube all for power that you don't really need. Not to mention that in this rifle the Whelen is just plain sexier (IMO).

    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    I also enjoy a good friendly debate.
    I love a friendly debate myself.

  16. #16

    Default 35 caliber

    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    Just for the sake of argument, in a kind-hearted way I hope, why choose the Whelen just on the basis of recoil and bullet velocity. If that is really a concern, slow down your loads in a 358 Norma and you're essentially shooting a Whelen. Slow it down even more and you've got a 358 Win. But you can never speed a Whelen up to Norma levels if there was a need for the reach or power.
    I believe that in a 20" barrelled rifle the 358 Hawk will equal or exceed the 358 NM performance; all with less recoil and muzzle blast and an unbelted case allowing 4 rounds down.
    The 358 Hawk is a well balanced 30-06 based round that is within 20 fps in velocity to the Hodgdon manual for the 358 Norma Mag.

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  17. #17

    Smile me thinks...

    The tradiitional "express" style rifle is a thing of beauty. The .35 Whelen pushing a stout 250 grain bullet at 2550 fps mv has plenty of power for most any thing on earth and it is easy to get 5 rounds in most magazine rifles. A set of Warne detachable rings and their detachable "peep" sight with a low power scope will cover most hunting. A NECG barrel band front sight looks good and is sturdy. A barrel band for the sling is worth a second thought and as good as they look, I am not convinced they are the best way to go. Some say they are to move the sling stud forward to protect the hand from recoil, maybe. I think they are at their best for lowering the muzzle on long barreled rifles when one is going through the brush and carrying the gun slung on the shoulder. I think if a tight "hasty sling" is used barrel bands may put unwanted strain on the barrel and may effect bullet impact. The rifle slung on the "off shoulder", muzzle down, or "African" carry is my preferred method to sling a rifle. Those laminated walnut "Serengeti" rifle stocks look good and are strong. I have a Bansner's synthetic stock on my .338. It is a very good 20 oz. stock, but it is not the best for my back up iron sights, which I have never had to use. Choices, have fun and post a picture when your done.

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input fellas, I keep rolling it over and over in my head at night but I think sleep deprivation is catching up and maybe I will get a couple hours tonite.

    Also it is nice to see a FRIENDLY debate for a change, as it has gotten ugly around here at times lately. So keep the input coming and I'll keep ya posted.

    P.S. What no donations yet ?

  19. #19

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    OK "KID" I'll donate my time and take it black bear hunting for you next spring. Just to make sure it works properly !! LoL
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  20. #20
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Kid,

    I'm enjoying reading this thread and I'm very interested to see how it turns out for you.

    The Whelen seems a very practical type of cartridge and after shooting a buddies a few weeks ago I'm thinking pretty hard about putting one together over the winter. A lot of killing power at a modest price in recoil and muzzle blast. It's got me rethinking my ways with lightweight 300 short magnums in souless Kevlar stocks...

    I am also a big fan of the banded sight, quarter rib and barrel mounted sling swivel as well.

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