Wanting a different caliber for a 1903A3 action.


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Ben Shepherd
March 3, 2009, 11:38 AM
Guys I picked up a sporterized 1903A3 a while back for a song. When I tore it apart to check it over, I found the stock was broken between the action screws clear back into the wrist.

It's already been rebarreled, as the bluing doesn't match, and the barrel isn't marked at all. I was told it's an '06, and a 30-06 cartridge fits fine. But I won't shoot it without chamber casting it.

So, since I already own a few '06s, and the barrel needs to come off anyway, what are my options without having to open up the bolt face?

I've been thinking about 6mm rem or 260 rem, but it occured to me the only thumper I own is a 444 marlin, so maybe something with a slug larger than 30 cal that isn't too brutal to shoot with a little more reach, like a 416 Taylor.

Any thoughts or input for me guys?

Thanks in advance.

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SlamFire1
March 3, 2009, 11:48 AM
Put a 35 Whelen barrel on the thing. No bolt face alterations, no feed ramp changes.

Great cartridge.

Cocked & Locked
March 3, 2009, 11:52 AM
Exactly what SlamFire1 one said. That action is begging big time for a .35 Whelen barrel. :cool:

Jim Watson
March 3, 2009, 11:57 AM
.333 OKH as modernized for common bullets, making it the .338 OKH.
Also known as .338-06.

.375 Whelen?

Ben Shepherd
March 3, 2009, 12:19 PM
The 375 Whelen has been mentioned to me by a buddy that always monkeys with his rifles. He just put a 338-06 barrel on one of his savage actions.

Anyone have balistics handy on the 375? Also, why that caliber instead of the 416 Taylor?

The upside to the 375 Whelen would be that I already have slugs around in that caliber for my 375 JDJ contender barrel.:D

Ben Shepherd
March 3, 2009, 12:36 PM
Part 2 of this question-

Which barrel maker? I don't want to wait a year for a barrel, and while I want accuracy for sure, I'm not looking to build a 1/2 MOA competition target rifle that weighs north of 10 pounds without glass.

This will be one I use. It'd be most excellent to be able to use it on a moose hunt should I get lucky enough to draw out on one.

HoosierQ
March 3, 2009, 12:42 PM
How about the venerable .270? I'd love to have a military Model of 1903 in .270 but would only do that if the thing was messed up to begin with.

Ben Shepherd
March 3, 2009, 12:49 PM
Too much ability ovelap between the 270 and '06s I already own. I need something between 223 and 30-06, like a 6mm or 243, or I want to go beyond the '06 in the aplication dept. to justify spending the money to do it.

Still on the fence between a pretty wood stock or a good synthetic too. I have this thing for pretty wood. Which is why, much to my fathers consernation, the VERY accurate 30-06 BDL deluxe he bought me hasn't been anywhere but the range on a nice day. THAT stock ISN'T getting scratched.

HoosierQ
March 3, 2009, 12:54 PM
Gotcha. I am suggesting common calibers. .243 seems like a good idea. I would think any of the "other" calibers that they camber ARs for you might like.

Vern Humphrey
March 3, 2009, 01:22 PM
If you want to go smaller, the .25-06 is a good choice. Going to the .243 and similar cartridges will require you to block the back of the magazine for the shorter cartridges. Going bigger, the .338-06, the .35 Whelen, and the .35 Brown-Whelen are all good choices and all thumpers.

Jim Watson
March 3, 2009, 01:30 PM
Why not .416 Taylor?
Because you said you did not want to have to change the bolt face. The Taylor is a belted magnum; either .338 necked up or .458 necked down.

I'd go with the .35 Whelen or .338-06. The .375 Whelen would be a step bigger bear bumper but load data is scarce.

Barrel maker? There are a lot of good barrel makers, just start calling and see who can get you the caliber and profile you want in a reasonable time. Do you have a gunsmith lined up to install it?

Vern Humphrey
March 3, 2009, 01:38 PM
The problem with the larger "Whelen" cartridges is that they retain the .30-06 shoulder angle of 17 degrees, 30 minutes. As the neck gets larger, the shoulder gets smaller -- and you get headspace problems with that tiny, sloping shoulder.

One of the advantages of the .35 Brown-Whelen is the much steeper shoulder angle, which makes for more positive headspacing.

JShirley
March 3, 2009, 03:05 PM
I really liked the 03 Whelen I shot. I'd say .35 Whelen.

freakshow10mm
March 3, 2009, 03:31 PM
.35 Whelen
.338-06
8mm-06
.411 Hawk
.376 Steyr
9.3x62

db_tanker
March 3, 2009, 04:07 PM
I own a 416 Taylor. Don't get me wrong, its a nice caliber, but I think something like a 338-06 or a 35 Whelen.

Sizing brass can be a PITA and with those two calibers you can pick up factory sized brass...you can get factory sized Taylor brass...but you don't want to pay those prices, trust me.


PLUS...338 and 358 dia bullets are a bit easier to find. :)

D

1KPerDay
March 3, 2009, 04:23 PM
I have one in .270...

351 WINCHESTER
March 3, 2009, 04:28 PM
I would keep it simple. Something that brass and bullets are readily available.

paintballdude902
March 3, 2009, 05:01 PM
.35 whelen

Ben Shepherd
March 5, 2009, 10:48 AM
After listening to you guys, poking around with my google fu, and talking to a couple friends that are always building rifles in non mainstream calibers, I'm leaning hard towards the 35 Whelen.

But one last question-

It seems to come up over and over everywhere I look that sizing this round without ending up with excessive shoulder set-back is tricky?

NCsmitty
March 5, 2009, 11:07 AM
I would consider the 6MM Rem or the 6.5x55 Swede. Both are outstanding calibers. With the cost of components spiraling upward, think smaller.

NCsmitty

Vern Humphrey
March 5, 2009, 12:36 PM
sizing this round without ending up with excessive shoulder set-back is tricky
Since you're a handloader, you might consider the .35 Brown-Whelen. With its sharper shoulder, it headspaces better and avoids the set-back problem.

In your Springfield action, with it's claw extractor, you can form cases easily -- load a primed .30-06 case with about 10 grains of Bullseye, put a quarter sheet of toilet paper in the mouth to keep it honest, chamber and fire.

If you don't get a sharp, loud BANG! increase the charge.

For loading data, start with .35 Whelen max loads and work up slowly. RL 15 is a very good powder for this cartridge.

You can actually neck size the .35 Whelen or B-W in a .357 pistol die.

SlamFire1
March 5, 2009, 05:19 PM
It seems to come up over and over everywhere I look that sizing this round without ending up with excessive shoulder set-back is tricky?

I have a 35 Whelen. An 03 custom rifle in 35 Whelen.

First I sized about 100 rounds of 30-06 commercial once fired brass. Most of it was R-P range pickups. I used a 35 Whelen Hornady sizing die, lubed the heck out of the inside of the case necks, and sized away.

Because I was worried about headspace, I loaded those cartridges with 158 gr Lead bullets, a light load of AA5744, and left the RCBS case lube on the outside of the case.

Accuracy was awful. I was able to keep all rounds within a six foot by six foot target at 100 yards.

Having lubricant on the cases ensured that the cases would slide back to the bolt head, the shoulders would fold out to the contours of the chamber, and the case would not be stretched. (case stretching will lead to case head separations.) And so it was.

I purchased a Wilson cartridge headspace gage in 35 Whelen. I resized the fire formed cases and used the Wilson gage as a guide. I also used my rifle chamber as a guide. With an O3, I can take out the firing mechanism, and extractor. With those things off, there is no spring tension to mislead you. It turned out that when cases are sized to gage minimum, and that case is put in the chamber, there is absolutely no forward and back movement of the closed bolt, and no resistance to bolt closure.

Subsequent firings and measurements indicate that my sizing length is correct.

Vern Humphrey
March 5, 2009, 06:41 PM
With an 03 or similar rifle, the simplest way is to prime the case, put in about 10 grains of bullseye, chamber and fire it.

freakshow10mm
March 5, 2009, 08:14 PM
For fire forming, I usually top it off with soap. Just smoosh a bit on there to seal the mouth. It will get pushed out the barrel anyways.

jim in Anchorage
March 5, 2009, 08:58 PM
I am confused here. Why would 10 grs Bullseye with no bullet generate ANY pressure? Its gunpowder,not a explosive. Even black just burns with no resistance. When FF cases for 35 Whelen improved,I pick a very light load and seat the bullet so far out it is shoved into the rifling,keeping the brass base against the bolt face

Runningman
March 5, 2009, 09:39 PM
You may want to take a look at the 9.3x62 been around since 1905. Same bolt face as the 30-06. Standard bullet weight is 286 Grains. Not sure if you handload or not but Norma, Lapua, Prvi Partizan load factory ammo for it.

Vern Humphrey
March 6, 2009, 03:42 PM
Why would 10 grs Bullseye with no bullet generate ANY pressure?
Bullseye is very fast burning (which is why it tales so little of it in most applications, and why large charges of Bullseye are dangerous.)

In a semi-confined space like a .30-06 case, 10 grains produces so much gas, so fast, that it cannot simply bleed out the case mouth. It produces enough to expand a .30-06 case to fill a .35 Brown-Whelen chamber.

Try this: Prime some .30-06 cases and load them with increasing amounts of Bullseye. (Warning! NO bullet. Just use a quarter square of toilet paper to hold the Bullseye in the case.)

Chamber them in your .30-06, and notice when the report changes from a fizzle to a BANG! Wear hearing protection!

jim in Anchorage
March 6, 2009, 03:59 PM
Thanks. I knew bullseye was fast,but not THAT fast.

dirtyjim
March 6, 2009, 06:26 PM
7x57 but stamp the barrel .275 rigby just because it sounds cool or .318 westly richards. then put it in a pre-war british style stock

B BRI
August 26, 2009, 01:07 AM
+1 on the 35 Whelen. A simple change and a GREAT round.

jpwilly
August 26, 2009, 01:17 AM
My 45 likes Bullseye! 4.8grs actually - 10gr should whip that brass into shape!

Mr_Pale_Horse
August 26, 2009, 09:01 AM
284 Winchester or 9.3x62

jpwilly
August 27, 2009, 12:57 AM
You could get a chamber insert and shoot 32ACP...that would be different! Ha Ha. I'm going to say 338-06 FTW.

garyhan
August 27, 2009, 02:50 AM
My "03 rebarreled to .25-06 is one of my favorite rifles. Pac=Nor barrels of Brookings, OR is currently running 8-10 week turnaround time and is a fine qquality barrel.

gary

Otony
November 17, 2009, 11:14 PM
Old classic actions require classic cartridges. Have you considered .257 Roberts?

SeekHer
November 18, 2009, 12:17 AM
db_tanker -- I own a 416 Taylor. Don't get me wrong, its a nice caliber, but I think something like a 338-06 or a 35 Whelen.

Sizing brass can be a PITA and with those two calibers you can pick up factory sized brass...you can get factory sized Taylor brass...but you don't want to pay those prices, trust me.


PLUS...338 and 358 dia bullets are a bit easier to find.

I just don't understand this...How expensive is the empty sized brass? How many reloads are you going to get from them before they're too stretched out or cracked--as long as you don't overload? How many rounds are you going to be shooting in the course of the year?

So what if they're $5.00 a case in a 50 lot...so you spend a little now and get what 450 to 600 shots out of those 50 cases and they last you 40 years of hunting...What's your time worth having to form those cases from .458 brass? Which is a more expensive!

What would you expect of a .416 cartridge, same cost as a .222 Rem? Hell the bullet will weigh almost as much as the whole cartridge does...More powder, heavier bullet all add to the cost...

If we were talking shooting 250 rounds each and every weekend in competition like with a .408 CheyTac then that's a different matter but you've got a pure hunting cartridge there not a target load...

There are more .30 bullets then .33, there is more .33 bullets then .35 but there is about the same .35 to the .410

RonE
November 18, 2009, 02:04 AM
5.6 X 64 (.22-06) faster than a 220 Swift with heaver bullets. Be the first on your block.

Float Pilot
November 18, 2009, 06:06 PM
35 Whelen or 338-06.

Although I did have one in 358 Norma Mag that was a dream to shoot...

Maverick223
November 18, 2009, 07:00 PM
The 9.3x64 Brenneke should fit, and would be my first choice for "thump" in a 1903 action.

:)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 18, 2009, 07:13 PM
5.6 X 64 (.22-06) :eek:

Heck, why not just go for the .17-.50 BMG? :)

For the OP, I like the .35 Brown-Whelen idea, or .375 Whelen. Or if you go the other way, maybe 6.5mm-06.

Maverick223
November 18, 2009, 07:35 PM
Heck, why not just go for the .17-.50 BMG?Will it fit in the '03...and where can I get one? :rolleyes: :uhoh:

dirtyjim
November 18, 2009, 07:44 PM
the 375/30-06 ackley & 400 whelen are a couple good big bores that would be right on a g&h style springfield sporter. pac-nor chambers both of them.
22 hornet would also be neat in a 1903.
i'm going to build one in the future. i have a sedgley 22 hornet magazine for a 1903 & a bolt thats been modified to fit the hornet casehead & uses an ar-15 extractor.

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