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Thread: TAC 338 Lapua finally arrived

  1. #1
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    Default TAC 338 Lapua finally arrived

    I placed an order for this rifle back in February, it seems like forever ago.

    Last October I had a chance to shoot a similar rifle made for a good friend in a two day long range rifle course taught by McMillan. I had the advantage of helping my friend test a variety of custom loads until we found the best combination for his rifle.

    This rifle was made to order with an A-5 stock swirled in 3 colors and bedded to the G-30 action. They added a thumb wheel adjustable cheek piece, muzzle break, jewel trigger, four 5 round magazines, Elite Iron suppressor, McCann night vision 20MOA rail, muzzle brake, Harris Bi-Pod, Pelican fitted case, drag bag and illuminated Leupold Mark IV 8.5-25x50mm T/LR TMR.

    This is diffidently not a carry in the bush AK hunting rifle but it is well suited for ridge top situations down here in AZ. Before anyone gives me a tongue lashing for the money spent on this project consider that I sold a very nice AR and a Motocross bike and trailer to generate the majority of the money required. In other words, I traded 2 assets for 1 that means more to me.

    I just picked it up today so I haven't had a chance to measure or load for it yet. Fortunately I have good notes on my friends TAC 338LM made by the same shop to give me a good starting point.

    Loads and testing to follow next week. Another two day long range class to follow October 16th-17th.

    DSC01878.JPGDSC01879.JPG

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    Nice rig. I would learn to shoot it without the brake, because it will just give away your position. The supressor will do the job of the brake, and keep your position hidden, but make it longer.

    Would be fun to see how far it can go.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    What's she tip the scales at?

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    Like you say, special purpose rifle. But man, what a job it should do for that! 'Twas mine, I might next pick up a standard hunting stock to slap on it, simply cuzz I'd be tempted to carry it sometimes and use it in places other than ridgetops. Good job, and more than a fair trade for a crotch rocket, in my book, even if you had to toss in the AR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunt_ak View Post
    What's she tip the scales at?
    She diffidently tips on the heavy side. The rail added 15 ounces per the spec sheet. I don't have an exact answer for you at this time. My buddies shoots real nice at this weight. Recoil is straight back, no muzzle flip , easy to stay on the target with optics and witness the hit.

    I'll weigh it this evening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    Nice rig. I would learn to shoot it without the brake, because it will just give away your position. The supressor will do the job of the brake, and keep your position hidden, but make it longer.

    Would be fun to see how far it can go.
    Thanks, I'm not worried about the report giving me away at this point in history. I just went with the night vision rail and suppressor because it was a better deal than purchasing them later. I also have concerns about the ability to purchase a suppressor at a later date.

    The suppressor was built around a hand timed blank cut to the threads on the barrel at time of crowning. This allows the builder to control the point of impact with a the addition of the suppressor. My buddies rifle gained 1 MOA in elevation with the suppressor and the windage was unchanged.

    I have shot a similar rifle out to 1170yards with repeatability and another friend has shot his out to 1600 with very good results. He's a experienced Marine shooter that I hope to learn from soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    Thanks, I'm not worried about the report giving me away at this point in history. I just went with the night vision rail and suppressor because it was a better deal than purchasing them later. I also have concerns about the ability to purchase a suppressor at a later date.

    The suppressor was built around a hand timed blank cut to the threads on the barrel at time of crowning. This allows the builder to control the point of impact with a the addition of the suppressor. My buddies rifle gained 1 MOA in elevation with the suppressor and the windage was unchanged.

    I have shot a similar rifle out to 1170yards with repeatability and another friend has shot his out to 1600 with very good results. He's a experienced Marine shooter that I hope to learn from soon.
    The gophers had better beware!
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

    Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)

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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    The gophers had better beware!
    No kidding! I was just thinking of how much fun it would be to roll a coyote out of the nest with that set up. It'd save a lot of steps for sure!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunt_ak View Post
    What's she tip the scales at?
    As seen in the pics below she tips the scales at 15 pounds 15 ounces. The McCann rail is 15 ounces so some weight could be trimmed with a standard base. The Elite Iron suppressor which is not pictured is 1 pound 15 ounces. Total weight with suppressor minus brake (8 ounces) and no ammo is 17 pounds 6 ounces.

    I don't mind the weight. It makes for an easy shooting light recoiling 338. If I was carrying this thing in the woods and hunting it would be a different build all together.

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    Finally got a couple of hours to myself tonight. I measured the chamber, COL and ogive distances with three bullets that I intend to develop in this rifle. My choices are 250gr Lapua Lock Base, 300gr Lapua Scenar and 300gr Berger Hybrid.

    The 250gr Lock Base will load from the magazine and reach the lands with .045 to spare, I'm going to start with that one. The 300gr Scenar will be .040 off the lands at max magazine length and the 300gr Berger will be .166 off. I plan to shoot from the magazine if possible. If the 300gr bullets won't shoot accurately with a jump I will find the sweet spot and single load for long range target shooting if necessary.

    The 250gr lock base is a great shooting round in a good friends 338 Lapua so I'm using the data we came up with in his rifle adjusted for my throat. I'm loading 5 test groups in .5gr increments from 87.0gr - 89.0gr with VHN-165. His pet load is 88.5gr at .15 off which is seated .007 deeper than mine at the same ogive measurement.

    I'm planning on shooting Saturday morning as long as everything stays together around the house.

    Pic is a finished 87.0gr load with the 250gr lock base bullet.

    DSC01883.JPG

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    I took it out this morning and put a 25 rounds down range. Testing was most likely flawed by the method I used. I shot and cleaned each round since it was the first time it was shot. People tell me that a hand lapped barrel doesn't require a break in but I've sunk a few bucks in this package and figured it wouldn't hurt.

    All shots were from the bench with a Bi-Pod, no bag. That's a change from my normal testing methods too. I like prone but getting the chronograph that low is out of the question. Three rounds were required to set the zero and four rounds were fired a steels set up at 300 yards for fun.

    Lapua Brass trim 2.714"
    Vihta N-165
    CCI 250
    Lapua 250gr Lock Base
    COL~3.605
    Ogive 2.953" / .015 off the lands

    86.5gr / 2825fps / 32.65fps per 1gr charge
    87.0gr / 2843fps / 32.67fps " " "
    87.5gr / 2861fps / 32.69fps " " "
    88.0gr / 2877fps / 32.69fps " " " good load, 1/2" group
    88.5gr / 2922fps / 33.01fps " " " most efficient load, 1/2" group
    89.0gr / 2928fps / 32.89fps " " "

    I plan on testing the 88.5gr load with seating depths at -.010, -.015, -.020, -.025 and -.030 this week in attempt to tighten up the group.

    McMillan had the trigger adjusted to 3.0 pounds which is generally consider normal. I thought I would give it a try. I didn't have a good feel for the break because I've become accustomed to 2.0 pounds with my other rifles. I've adjusted this rifle to 2.0 pounds for my next test.

    I'm attending a long range shooting class on the 16th -17th, this load will do just fine for that. If I get a few additional hours to test prior to the class I may check out the new 300gr Berger Hybrid over Retumbo.

    The pic is a little deceiving at first glance. The squares actually measure at .969", not 1.0" as advertised. The group was .837" outside to outside which is .499" center to center. I'm pretty sure I can improve a little.


    DSC01885.JPG

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    This write up is with 300gr Berger Hybrid's over Retumbo. It really worked out to be a very good comination. Best group came in at .320 with single digit ES and SD numbers. Col was just .015 shorter than max magazine so I could utilize the magazine. This length put the ogive at .170 off the lands, it shot just fine with a jump. The Retumbo was very well suited for this case and bullet combination.

    86.0gr 2428fps
    87.0gr 2483fps
    88.0gr 2539fps
    89.0gr 2597fps
    90.0gr 2647fps
    91.0gr 2692fps
    91.5gr 2709fps This is the load I choose to shoot in my class
    92.0gr 2732fps

    Two day class with 90-93 degree temps and 50-56% humidity at 1530MSL 29.62
    Actual scope dopes to hit 18" x 30" IPSC targets center mass were as follows:

    100 yard zero / + moa adjustment
    270 / 3.5
    357 / 5.5
    380 / 6.0
    400 / 6.5
    450 / 8.0
    485 / 8.75
    500 / 9.5
    535 / 9.75
    625 / 13.0
    645 / 13.5
    665 / 14.0
    910 / 22.75
    1420 / 47.0
    1800 / 50.0 plus 5 mil hold over

    I had an opportunity to shoot a mile plus 40 yards so I went for it. My spotter had a reticle in his spotting scope so I dailed full up plus a forcasted mil hold over of 5 mil, the elevation was spot on. His wind call of 3 mils hold off after he saw the dust fly on the first shot made the target go ping on the second shot, very lucky for me. It took 7 more shots to get a 1800 yard hit again.

    Other guys in the class were shooting Barnes production ammo with the new 285gr TSX. The much lower BC, (.585 versus .818) it didn't afford them the ability to hit at a mile with the limitations in their elevation turrets.

    After 135 shots fired in 2 days my shoulder was spent...

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    That is excellent shooting. I am sure you had a blast at the class. Your rig is definitely a keeping.

    You could try single loading the cartridges to see if reducing the jump to the lands will give you better groups. If it does, you could have the magazine slightly lengthened.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

    Better living through chemistry (I'm a chemist)

    You can piddle with the puppies, or run with the wolves...

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    Thanks Nitroman,

    The class was excellent. I went to one last February, this one was leaps and bounds better. McMillan actual contracted GPS to do the school for them. It was at the same location McMillan rented last time but the instructors were in my opinion much better. http://www.sniperschool.com/

    At my age and the multiple broken bones and knee injuries from 31 years of Motocross related injuries joining the military is not an option. However, training with my rifle, it's optics and the long range target opportunities was a blast and something I highly recommend. If anyone up there is going south for the winter they offer 1 day individualized training or full blown 2 week long concealment sniper courses for the hard core guys.

    As far as modifying the mag goes mine are removable mags. To rebuild the receiver and make new extended length mags would be quite a chore. The rifle is shooting better than 1/2 moa as is so I'm pretty satisfied with that. It will shoot 250gr Lock Base and Scenars touching the lands from the magazine but I choose the 300gr Berger due to the fact that it has 20" less drop at 1000 and 10" less drift in a 10mph wind. I felt that it would give me an advantage in the class. I may experiment with loading them longer just for grins.

    The next project is working with the 285gr TSX for hunting opportunities. I don't want to shoot any game with a target bullet.

  15. #15

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    You have a great rifle and caliber. I used one of the first 338 Lapua Magnum`s made by Sako TRG as a member of Finish Defence Force`s.´My shooting was only in the range, on targets, head shot`s 400 m and body shot`s 1000 m. Some of my friends have used .338 LM in combat, some in moose hunting. Both user`s have been very satisfied...

  16. #16

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    Sweet! I've wanted one by GA Precision for quite some time but the cost and me not having over 400 yards..it's not going to happen. You have a very nice looking rifle! Congrats!

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    I just got an AR-30 in .338LM. I only have one load worked up for so far. It's a 250 grn. Accubond over 7828. It's shooting 1/3MOA or better at 100" with this load. I can't wait to find more brass, and try out some of the aforementioned bergers. It sounds like those are some gooduns'. I'd also like to give some Lehigh brass match bullets a go.

  18. #18

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    Impressive rifle indeed. That is an AT&T rifle for sure, reach out and touchem
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    THE HIDE OF A RHINOCEROS

  19. #19
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    Thanks guys, I've been back to the range twice recently and tweaked the Berger load. The improved load for this rifle came in at .010 off the lands with 0.5gr less Retumbo and a 13fps increase in velocity than the load I shot in the class.

    I did the testing with and without the suppressor. The suppressed loads average 16fps faster and hit 1 MOA higher and 1/4 MOA right with the same tight accuracy. I will have to single load at this length but 5 shots touching at 100 yards suppressed was a hoot.

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