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338-06

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by HM2PAC, Feb 12, 2013.

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  1. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    I have finally taken the plunge. I'm having a local gunsmith that I've known for quite some time renovate my Savage 110. the plan is to go from .30-06 to .338-06 Ackley Improved.

    While I wait for the rifle to be completed, I'm prepping brass and am getting ready to make a few rounds for fire forming of the shoulder.

    I have a few questions.....

    1. How much powder do I need in the case to form the new AI shoulder? Will a starting load be enough? Can I go lower than a starting load and save a little powder?

    2. How much use can I get out of the cases that I have necked out from .30-06 brass? Does the necked out case have a thin neck wall that will fail earlier than usual?

    3. Does anyone have any other information on questions that I don't know enough to ask?

    Thanx in advance.
     
  2. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    338-06 AI now that is a new one on me, while I have never loaded for that mouthful of a cartridge I would imagine that you would loose some case life vs a regular 30-06 due to cracked necks but it would still be more economical then buying 338-06 A-Square brass and fire forming them by a longshot. As far as the powder charge goes for fire forming you got me beat on that one, never fire formed anything in 338 caliber.
    Why the AI instead of a 338 Win Mag? I imagine they are pushing about the same speed.
     
  3. sage5907

    sage5907 Member

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    Pardon me for saying so but I've had a rifle with an improved chamber and I wouldn't go there. I do like the idea of a 338/06 but I would do the standard 06 chamber. The 338 bullet is so large in diameter there won't be much of a shoulder anyway. Just buy Remington 35 Whelen cases and run them through a full length sizing die and then trim.
     
  4. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    Kachok, the 338WM still beats the 338-06 by a good 2-300 fps in about every load. I have a lot of -06 brass kicking around as well as powder and large rifle primers. I didn't want to step into the world of magnum rifles and really start from scratch. It did cross my mind though, as did a number of the 338's out there.

    Sage5907, from what I've read, the AI shoulder does increase case capacity for the 338-06 by roughly 7%, if what I've read is accurate. This is uncharted territory for me. Luckily for a Savage, barrel swap out isn't a huge chore. If it becomes a real PITA, it won't bother me to back track. I hope not, this isn't going to be cheap. Not horribly expensive, but not cheap.
     
  5. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    No way. Looking at my manuals the 338 Win Mag tops out with a 225gr bullet in the 2800fps range and the regular ol 338-06 tops out in the 2700fps range with the same 225gr, so how is the AI slower? Hornady #9 says the 338-06 hits 2700fps with a 225 using 4895, 4064, RL15, N-150, and Win 760. AI cases are usually good for an extra 50-100fps. If you are not trying to hit 338 win mag speeds I doubt you will need the improved shoulder, the regular 338-06 can be quite the thumped with most medium burn rate powders.
    If you find this hard to believe they are that close just look at factory ammo.

    200gr 338-06 2800fps
    210gr 338-06 2725fps

    200gr 338 Win Mag 2930fps
    210gr 338 Win Mag 2830fps
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  6. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    The OP already has the rifle, the bolt face is all happy with the '06 rim size and such, plus he gets the fun of playing with a P.O. Ackley developed cartridge. All this is is an easy barrel swap plus according to bullet selection and data average you have about a .40 difference in OAL which may limit his action from working properly with the magnum. Then there is the fact that the '06 is a beltless case which eliminates the difficulty of getting proper headspace if you have cases with different width belts on the belted magnum cases of the Win Mag where you have to deal with two measurements for proper headspace, rim thickness and shoulder setback. Many African plains hunters swear by the 338-06. With a 200 grain bullet you should get around 2900 fps and with a 250 grain bullet your looking at 2600 fps. Considering the difference, the '06 and the magnum is not huge velocity wise. You actually have a very well designed cartridge with reasonable recoil, large bullet selection, lots of data available and a proven track record. It is an elk and moose train. Will slay them like a bolt of lighting without beating shooter as bad. Only down side I see is if on an extended hunt you can't buy some more of the 338-06 ammo at a LGS but who needs a truck load of ammo on a big game hunt? Go for the Ackley. That man was a genius.
     
  7. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    Thanx Kachok, I'll keep that in mind. I've only seen a few people hit the 225gr/2700 fps range on the error net. That is what I am hoping to get out of it.
    Hopefully the AI shoulder helps with that. Way back in the recesses of my mind, that is what I want. Part of me thinks it's hubris to actually toss around such lofty goals. I try to keep my brain in check.

    Hueyville stated a bunch of the reasons I went with the 338-06 rather than the 338WM. I agree.
     
  8. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    Apples to apples.

    I have always wondered why they produced the 35 Whelen and didn't push the 338-06. You have a better bullet selection, better BC and better SD with the 338. As for matching the 338 WinMag, I don't see it in my books and I have 8 of them. If you compare barrel lenght to barrel lenght you might get within 150 fps of the mag. If you go with a 22" barrel you are looking at another 50 to 100fps loss. When you look at several manuals you see a big difference in max velocity that can vary as much as 250fps. You will never know what your rifle will do until you run it through a chronograph.

    To make a long story short, if you want magnum performance buy a magnum. If you want a neat toy, build the 338-06.
     
  9. kludge

    kludge Member

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    To be honest, I would buy .35 Whelen brass and neck down.

    Is it too late to go to a .338-.280AI? That can also be formed from .35 Whelen brass.
     
  10. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    No short barrel, this will be a 26" tube. I plan on doing a bit of long distance target plinking out to 1000 yds.

    Should be fun.

    Once It's complete I'll post pics and targets. Probably a couple more months for the new stock and final touches.

    ETA: Yeah, I've spent money on the new dies, and they weren't cheap. I'll be sticking to this chambering for now.
     
  11. moonzapa

    moonzapa Member

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    I had my Remington 798 converted from 30-06 to 338-06 AI a few years ago. It was my fate to have many problems with the build. Anyway, the final product is good to go, but I've yet to take it hunting. I had it built for Elk hunting, and an occasional hog hunt.

    I used RL-15 powder for the break-in process and I didn't use marginal or low power loads. I used Remington 35 Whelan cases in my 338-06 Redding dies for forming purposes and they worked very well.

    If I had to do it all over again, I would probably just do the 338-06 and forego the Ackley Improved or Improved 40 Degree configuration. I don't believe the extra room in the Improved case provides enough difference in velocity.

    My range visits have proved that this round is accurate. I've had my best groups using IMR-4320 powder. Even so, I have gone back to using RL-15.

    Good Hunting.
     
  12. sage5907

    sage5907 Member

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    Just remember that the 338-06 standard chamber as used by A-Square was adopted as a standard industry cartridge in 1978. If you like really high pressure rounds you can flatten primers in the standard version just as easy as you can in the Ackley version. Based on the cartridge case the maximum acceptable pressure is probably the same for both versions. I've noticed that you can actually buy loaded cartridges for the 338-06 at the local gun shows. I'm not sure if you could do that for the Ackley version.
     
  13. jerkface11

    jerkface11 Member

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    If you neck up used brass make sure to aneal first I split a few by skipping that step. Oh and it will love varget.
     
  14. bdgackle

    bdgackle Member

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    Wow... he said "225gr @ 2700", and then he said "plink". That's some serious momentum for not being a "true magnum".

    This sounds like a really cool project. How did you go about this? Did you start from a .338 barrel blank and then have the chamber cut by the smith?

    Has anyone had feeding difficulties with the AI cartridges in a bolt gun? I've always had a bit of a fascination with them too, just for the variety they represent.
     
  15. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    BDGackle....
    Yep, this project starts with a .338 blank from Bartlein and has a 1:10 twist. The smith is reaming the chamber himself, as well as crowning and threading the muzzle. The whole rig gets parkerized as a lead in to Cerakote next year.

    225gr @ 2700 fps......yeah, a little on the quick side for plinking, but hey, it's plinking at 1000 yds. Gotta have a little momentum, right?
     
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I don't think you will get to a true 2700 fps with a 225gr bullet in the 338-06 or the 336-06AI without exceeding pressure limits. Hodgdon reports 2650 fps from the 338-06 which means maybe 2550 in the real world. Most of the data I found online shows the 338-06AI delivering only 75 fps over the standard 338-06 at best. You might have to drop down to a 215gr/210gr bullet or even a 200gr bullet to get what you're looking for in velocity. IMO you will want to try and keep the bullet supersonic out to the target if at all possible with that 338-06AI. (I think that's 1115 fps @sea level) I'm fairly sure a 210gr bullet with a MV of 2700 fps will stay supersonic but a 225gr bullet @2550 won't. (but I didn't run the numbers)

    Like said above, it sounds like a fun project and I will add, a project without the excessive costs associated with a cartridge like the .338 Lapua.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2013
  17. Kachok

    Kachok Member

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    Do you really think hodgdon is that overpressure with their max loads?
     
  18. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    re: original post;
    try 10.0gr of Unique with either cream of wheat or corn grits filling the case to the neck and plug case with a small plug of toilet paper to hold the charge in the case.
    Point in a safe direction with muzzle up...
    Should blow the case neck out to where you can load a jacketed load at normal levels to finish the case forming.

    I formed some .300win-mag to be usable in a .375Ruger this way.

    It actually worked as well as 15.0gr of Unique and a 255gr cast bullet.

    You'll enjoy the .338/06AI.
    I have a .338/06. It's a lot of gun, and it DOES come within 100-150fps of the .338winmag.
    It's no longer my "heaviest" rifle, because I got the .375Ruger for a "song"...
     
  19. hueyville

    hueyville Member

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    Once I get a new barrel chambered I send it out to be "black starred" and cryofreeze. Last couple of actions went in the freezer too. One of those I welded up the bottom and turned it into a single shot as I was pushing my OAL and figured loaded ammo to the lands was not going to fit in the magazine and feed properly. I just love to take a perfectly good rifle and cross breed it into a mongrel.
     
  20. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    Goose Gestapo,

    That sounds like a great idea. Much better than destroying a Hornady SST just for brass forming.

    I'll let you know how it turns out. Gonna be a while though.
     
  21. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    A new problem has turned up with forming brass.

    I have run them through the neck sizer to neck them out to .338. that seemed to have gone well. The necks were not square after the resizing.

    No problem, I need to trim the cases. No dice. Not long enough to trim.

    My first idea is to run them through the full length resizing die. The die is for Ackley improved, these brass have not been fire formed and have the original -06 shoulder.

    Is it OK to do this, or am I about to create a new problem?
     
  22. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    15 or so years ago my Dad had a Remington 78 30-06 (if I remember correctly) rebored and chambered to 338-06 AI. I had a large hand in case forming and load development, so maybe I can offer a little help/insight.

    Case forming is pretty straight forward and easy.

    Save your bullets and don't worry aout annealing. Like Goose said, a little pistol powder, Cream of Wheat (COW), toilet paper and bang...instant 338-06 AI. I used 8.0 grs. of Unique, COW, seal the neck with a plug of wax out of a candle, and would put a little case lube in the shoulder area to aid in case expansion. Likely, the shoulders won't be perfect after thie initial firing, but they'll fill out during load development.

    You'll get as much use out of the brass as you will with any other '06 based case. I never noticed any substantial thinning of the neck although there had to be some.

    I shot tons of rounds through the rifle developing loads. Most of the loads centered around 210 gr. bullets including the Nosler Partition and at the time the original Barnes X. Dad settled on a load that ran the old X something over 2700 fps simply because the load shot very well. Other loads with the 210 gr. bullets easily topped 2800 fps out of the 22" barrel, but the particular load in question gave hime the accuracy he wanted.

    I piddled with 225 gr. bullets some, but he and I both felt the 210's would be plenty for elk, so we didn't mess with the 225's much. I don't have his load logs at hand and I don't recall exactly what velocities we achieved with 225 gr. bullets. But given the 210's did 2800, I see no reason the 225's wouldn't do 2700 especially out of your 26" barrel.

    If you can find one, get a Handloaders Digest 13th Edition. There's an excellent article on the 338-06 AI complete with loads. They only load up to 210 gr., but get over 2800 fps.

    Don't let the naysayers discourage you from the AI. The extra velocity potential is pretty much irrelevant if the AI is what you want. Just enjoy it. If nothing else, the AI is a sweet looking cartridge.

    Here's a shot of Dad's rifle with some targets and loaded rounds:
    Actiongroupsonpaper.jpg

    Enjoy your rifle!

    35W
     
  23. Mobuck

    Mobuck member

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    I used new Whelen brass and lightly outside turned the necks to even up after necking down.
     
  24. HM2PAC

    HM2PAC Member

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    Very cool 35Whelen, thanx for the tips.

    How difficult is it to clean out the COW and wax plugs? Does that make much of a mess?
     
  25. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    The wax just blows out the barrel as the COW protects it from the gas from the burning powder. Any COw remaining in the barrel, which I don't recall any, could be pushed out with a dry patch. I've also used COW in reduced rifle loads with cast bullets there's little if any left in the bore.

    35W
     
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