My .34 Vaughn




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  • My .34 Vaughn

    How and why would someone want their own caliber? That's a good question. Mine started back when I was a child, my dad had a wildcat gun made up when he was just out of Vietnam by Fred at RCBS. It was called a .260 Chapin... a what??? The rifle started out as a pre'64 model 70 30/06 that had the shoulder moved forward and the case improved so there was little or no taper and re barreled to a .264. It was a super flat shooting varmint/smaller game gun according to my Dad. Here's what the casing looks like.

    I only saw it in the closet growing up and my dad only shot it once that I remember, he said it kicked pretty good. As a kid I thought that was soo cool. My dad eventually replaced it with a .22/250 for varmints and small game. I helped him reload for this .260 chapin once back in High school (1991) or so and remember it being a cool looking round. Fast forward to 3 years ago, my dad passed away and when we were dividing up the guns I made sure to get the mysterious .260 chapin and his reloading gear. I though about its usefulness in my arsenal and already had a gun for small game and a .308 for moose, and really wanted something a bit bigger. I looked at boring it to .35 but bullet selection and ballistics of the .338 impressed me and swayed my decision. So I send my barrel and action outside to a gunsmith and had it reamed to .338. Since it was a bored out .338/.260 Chapin and now my own creation, I figured I get to name it. In honor of my dad .34 Vaughn was stamped in the barrel. I fired a few of the .260 rounds in order to get the new dies made up. Here is what the new casing looked like.

    I contacted C/H to have dies made up and found it was going to take 6-12 months to have custom dies made up. He looked for a set that would work. Turns out the new casing spec's are the same as a .336/06 Ackley improved 40* shoulder, only my casing had the shoulder pushed forward 1/8 inch from the Ackley. He sent me the Ackley dies and we just backed them out of the press 2 turns. I did have to fireform the casings, so I started with 35 Whelen brass so I could set the new shoulder in them.
    I loaded it with 225 gr. Hornady Interbonds with 62.5 gr. Winchester 748.
    It did 2750fps on the chronograph with the .225 gr. bullets, I figure it will work for most big animals
    Here is the new .34 Vaughn

    More to come:

  • #2
    Here's a comparison-
    .34Vaughn on left, .35 Whelen w/shoulder, .260 chapin, 30/06 stock casing on right

    My dad's old gun, he'll be proud when I finally find a legal moose to shoot.

    One of these days I'll cut the stock and put a limbsaver on it, for now the slip on pad works for range shooting.

    The Barrel stamp

    That is the story of my gun, I guess it's a bit unique and I really like it. I plan to experiment with some Reloader 19 and see if I can nudge a bit more out of it then maybe load up some 250 grain bullets.


    • #3
      Very nice gun, and a neat project!

      Family heirloom guns are the best, they have a story to them that you just can't replicate with any custom. I'm sure your dad would be happy to find out you'd put new life in the gun, and I have no doubt it will serve you very well.
      Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

      If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.


      • #4
        What an awesome tribute to your dad! I can't think of a better way to honor him by carrying on the tradition of wildcatting a unique cartridge - I especially like the name you had stamped on the barrel . Very moving.


        • #5
          WOW........and I remember when the second Vaughn moved to Alaska. (Per the phone books anyway). As I recall he was a U.S. Marshal.
          The stories I could tell.
          ALASKA is a "HARD COUNTRY for OLDMEN". (But if you live it wide'ass open, it is a delightful place to finally just sit-back and savor those memories while sipping Tequila).


          • #6
            Sounds sound and looks good,congrats on the project
            Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you


            • #7
              Very cool indeed! Well done - good luck on the moose now!
              When asked what state I live in I say "The State of Confusion", better known as IL....


              • #8
                very moving. love it!


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