Trouble with Remington 338 Lapua


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BobbleShot
April 12, 2013, 04:17 PM
I bought a Rem 338 Lap, looked like a nice rifle. I took it to the range, broke it in, after 20 individual rounds, and cleaned in between, I got to shoot my first group. Well I wasn't impressed with the 4 inch group it turned out with Hornady factory ammo so I grabbed a box of Double Tap 300 gr SMK. They did about 2 inches. Ok so at this point I wasn't impressed. I got my bushing match dies out and started loading. The best individual group at 100M was .388 five shot group. This was Lapua brass, 250 Scenar, 88gr. RL19 COL 3.624. I took this out to 1080M and it shot 9 inches which is approximately .8MOA. Not bad. The temperature warmed up and the same load wont shoot 1.5 inches now. I pulled the scope, put it on a 308 that is a tack driver and verified the scope doesn't have issues. The rifle has shot anywhere from sub half MOA to 12" groups at 100M most groups over 4". I have fired 255 rounds out of the rifle. It is the most finicky rifle Ive ever messed with. I have checked all the tensions and the only thing left is the barrel. Has anyone else had such poor luck with this one?

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TurtlePhish
April 12, 2013, 04:51 PM
Have you had anyone else try shooting it to confirm it isn't human error?

1858
April 12, 2013, 05:43 PM
Alliant makes good powders capable of producing accurate loads but they tend to be temperature sensitive. I use Reloder 15, 17, 19 and 22 with great results but I'm aware of the temperature limitations. I would consider 19 to be on the fast side for the .338 Lapua Mag. You might try 22 or 25 if you have it on hand but I'd recommend H1000 for those 250gr Lapua Scenars. H1000 has better stability over a wider range of temperatures compared to Reloder powders.

GooseGestapo
April 13, 2013, 07:13 AM
I suspect that several things are going on. You may have an improperly heat-treated barrel that has some "heating up" issues. (how fast did you shoot your groups).

Remember, if it's not a "match" grade rifle with a heavy barrel, it's a "hunting" rifle.
The .338RUM is very similar to the .338LapuaMag. But, the M700 in "hunting" rifle format isn't going to shoot fast strings of fire without substatial barrel heating and as such will likely "walk" the shots if the barrel isn't free-floated. Even then, it's likely that it will still "walk" the shots if fired rapidly. This is just basic physics. Also, what kind of winds are you shooting in? A 20mph wind 90deg to your line of fire will do amazing things to your groups... (all bad!).
I also concur that RL19 is likely a bit fast for the .338RUM. I suggest that you try RL25 or Retumbo.
My .300RUM likes both of these powders. However, for hunting in the S.E.USA where hunting season temps rarely drop below the mid 20's, I've found some surplus WC-860 (.50BMG "pull-down" powder) runs good velocities and excellent accuracy. I bought 16lbs for $50 back in '05.... Widners and Jeff Bartlett have some WV-872 and similar powders that will definitely save you some $$$ over commercial grade powders (ie: RL25 and Retumbo).

p.s. Also; weigh your cases and definitely sort by brand. Hornady cases have substantally different capacities than the Remington. You might also have a "bad" batch of brass...

TurtlePhish
April 13, 2013, 01:52 PM
GooseGestapo, the OP has a Remington action chambered for .338 Lapua Magnum, not .338RUM.

BobbleShot
April 14, 2013, 02:53 PM
I originally started with RL25. I couldn't get it to shoot under 1/3/4" with the 25. I tried RL19,22,25. N160,165,560 WMR, H4831 and h870. The 19 "seemed" most consistent for this rifle. I haven't been able to find any retumbo, or h1000. Have a hard time getting powders in Alaska. When I was shooting my groups, I let 5 minuets between shots to completely cold soak my barrel. I also did a few at one minute intervals just to see if there was some kind of heat issue. The rifle didn't really improve with the barrel warm or cold. Most temperatures I was working with were around -10F. My best group at 1080M was in a 5-6 mph wind. I could watch the wind through my scope before I pulled the trigger. My group showed very little left to right (2.5") and the "spread" was mainly vertical giving me a 9" group. All my shorter ranges had had little to no wind.
As far as brass, I sorted the Hornadys and RUAGs. I didn't sort the Lapuas or Norma's because their weights were very consistent.

GooseGestapo
April 15, 2013, 09:53 AM
Alright; let me simplify things...
1. RUM and Lapua are very, very similar. I mistated when I wrote .338RUM, meant .338Lapua.
2. You've got a "stinker" barrel.... happens, even with custom barrel makers...

Strongbad
April 15, 2013, 10:41 PM
If it shot a sub 10" group at 1000 yards I definitely think the potential is there. I think it's way too early in the discussion to decide whether or not you've got a bad barrel.

How often are you cleaning the rifle? How long does it take to clean it up? Has the rifle been bedded? Is the barrel floated. Some of the factory rifles I've seen lately, even big heavy barreled rigs, like a Remington 5R for example were super sloppy in the stock. Way too much room lug recess etc.

What about the suggestion from Turtlephish... have you had anyone else with confirmed solid rifle skills get behind the gun? Even with a brake, the big 338's can be a handful.

How much tweaking have you done with the loads? Have you run a ladder test with RL19 at say 300 yards or 500 yards to try to find the accuracy node? (I already know that the answer to this is a no, so you should go out to Accurate Shooter.com and look up the article.) That should help you figure out what the best powder charge is.

How are you cleaning the rifle? Breach only with a bore guide I hope? Have you checked the crown on the barrel for damage?

Anyway, like I said... there still lots of boxes that need checking... hopefully this will get you started.

BobbleShot
April 19, 2013, 11:30 PM
Strong....obviously you want this to be an easy fix. I love that you want to teach me cleaning, reloading, and shooting techniques all on an Internet thread. I have wasted a lot of time on that particular rifle. It has been a frustrating endeavor. I wish you had enough experience to know when you are the novice giving advice. In my better than thirty plus years of reloading and pushing forty shooting, this is the first time I've asked a question about one particular rifle on the web. It seems as I may have wasted my time doing this with several idiots asking if I can shoot, clean or reload.

Casefull
April 20, 2013, 12:10 AM
Bobbleshot. I completely understand your frustration...I have the same rifle in 338 lapua. It is the only Remington I have out of a bunch of them that will not shoot most anything under an inch without trying very hard. I also get a kick out of some of the advice on the internet...so many folks assume that if you ask a question that you do not understand what you are doing. I get this when I build hi performance engines. Many times I ask a question to see what the other guy actually knows. He then ASSUMES I don't know much and I quickly find out what he does not know by his explaining how smart he is.
Back to the 338. I did all the usual stuff with mine. The stock did not fit as well as it could in the action area and I have found I have to hold it tighter than some of my other rifles to get it to group. I have not shot it without the factory brake but am curious if that would make any difference. I think some more rounds through mine will help also. I have not tried neck sizing the brass only. I got sidetracked by a kimber 300wsm that I am trying to dial in...that thing really jumps around. Good luck and thanks for the post, nice to know I am not the only guy fighting with that rifle.
By all means let me know if that new barrel makes a difference. Thanks. Chuck

BobbleShot
April 20, 2013, 02:13 AM
I have had quite a few different Rems and most do a good job. I played with tensions on the stock, dampers on the barrel. I did neck-sizing I even turned a few necks that I never do for factory rifles. I would have loved to yank the brake but it is a permanent attach job. I scoped the bore, it didn't look terrible, the crown is funny because from the factory they just overbore the last 1.5" then drill a bunch of holes through it. My other Lapua has never had accuracy problems. Glad to know this one isn't the only one out there. I'll keep you posted after I get the rifle back. Sounds like it is going to six months before it's done.
As a side note, my buddy has a Kimber 300 WSM. He's got it to shoot but it is definitely a handful.

murf
April 20, 2013, 02:59 AM
sounds like your scope mounts are tweeking the scope with temp changes.

murf

LeonCarr
April 20, 2013, 11:39 AM
Have you thought about cyro treating the barreled action? I have heard that it can work wonders for rifles and even shotguns that have issues when they heat up. From what I have researched it is not that expensive and the people I know that have had it done rant and rave about how their rifles shoot more consistent groups with fewer flyers and are much easier to clean.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Motega
April 21, 2013, 02:21 PM
did you buy it new? I assume so since you mentioned shot count. If not, I think those barrels wear out fast. If new the manufacturer should be willing to take it apart and put it back together verifying everything is as it should be.
There are custom barrel makers that can scope the barrel to see how the grooves look at say 100X

Fremmer
April 21, 2013, 03:08 PM
Bed and free float the rifle.

jon_in_wv
April 29, 2013, 09:46 AM
Strong....obviously you want this to be an easy fix. I love that you want to teach me cleaning, reloading, and shooting techniques all on an Internet thread. I have wasted a lot of time on that particular rifle. It has been a frustrating endeavor. I wish you had enough experience to know when you are the novice giving advice. In my better than thirty plus years of reloading and pushing forty shooting, this is the first time I've asked a question about one particular rifle on the web. It seems as I may have wasted my time doing this with several idiots asking if I can shoot, clean or reload.

Its not like every one here knows your life history, shooting experience, reloading experience, etc......People are trying to be helpful. This is a FORUM not a personal message from someone who knows you. If you don't get anything from the answer its entirely possible someone with less experience may benefit from it. Besides, you posted a question on a public forum and you are getting frustrated you can't get only and exactly the answer you want? Sometimes no one has the answer. You claim all this vast wisdom and experience and YOU don't have the answer either so don't so hard on the people trying to help out. In the future you should explain you problem, the things you have tried, your experience, etc.....in a little more detail and instead of leaving it as a given we should know that. Calling people novices and idiots probably isn't the best way to get what you want either. This is called "The High Road" for a reason.

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