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Converting my .243 to .308

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by RJS88, Dec 25, 2007.

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  1. RJS88

    RJS88 Member

    Dec 23, 2007
    Marietta, GA
    I have 3 .243 rifle's...they all have a special place in my gun collection. The problem is I don't need 3 .243's. One of the is a Rem. 700 ADL made back when they looked good (25 to 30 years ago). This gun is in pritine condition. I'm thinking of converting to .308.

    What kind of cost am I looking at? Is this a reasonable thing to do or should I just sell it and buy a .308?

    The reason I'm looking at a .308 is "I don't have one...I have a lot of different calibers but no .308.

    Please advise!
  2. Roswell 1847

    Roswell 1847 member

    Nov 20, 2007
    East Tennesseee
    Well the .243 case is pretty close to the .308 in those areas that are critical as far as the feed lips are concerned, it should be no problem rebarreling it, but money wise you'd probably come out better by trading it in on a .308 of similar vintage and book value.
    There are probably more .308 owners that would like to trade for a .243 than vice versa. Though with the tendency towards folks looking towards military calibers these days I could be wrong. It depends mostly on the type of big game in your region.

    I've only owned one .243 , a Remington 788, and kick myself (pause to kick own kester) whenever I think of how I sold it expecting to find another in .308 as easily.
    I'd been intending to take advantage of military surplus 7.62 NATO then I'd read up on warnings that many commercial .308 chambers and throats optimized for sporting rounds didn't work out that well using the military spec cartridges.
    Apparently wartime pressure on manufacturers has driven up the price of good 7.62 ammo, and theres a boatload of truly crappy 7.62 NATO ammo from foreign manufacturers out there as well.

    I broke down a sackful of cruddy looking South American 7.62 ball some years back and the square flake powder somehow broke down into an extremely corrosive gas that more or less dissolved the steel powder canister I stored it in. Even the gilded steel core bullets began to peel. Though I got those rounds for free they were of no use at all, and I'm lucky the powder did no more damage than to cause every teel item stored nearby to rust like it came from a shipwreck. Could have been much worse.
    If I have any of those cases left laying around I'll post the headstamps so the folks here can spot this dangerous ammo.

    Also some Spanish(?) made Santa Barbra ammo was found to generate proof load type pressures and wrecked a few of the Spanish 93 and 98 Mauser bolt actions that were rebarreled for the NATO round.
    Basically all this amounts to is that surplus ammo is no longer a factor in chosing the .308.

    Be nice to run across one of those Remington 600 Carbines in .308, almost got one of those when they first came out, but I was dumb enough to pass on it when the gunshop owner told me that due to ammo shortages in Nam at the time no surplus 7.62 was available locally.

    Plenty of great rifles in .308 available these days. I'd suggest that you look for one whose action is best suited to the OAL of the .308. Its length is its only really notable advantage when compared to the .30/06. Short throw Bolt actions, and the less common leveractions, suited to the round can be handy and compact.
  3. Sunray

    Sunray Member

    May 17, 2003
    London, Ont.
    "...just sell it and buy a .308..." That'd be less fuss. However, a barrel change will do it. The .243, as I'm sure you know, is just a necked down .308.
    The .243's Max. OAL is 90 thou shorter than that of the .308 with a 100 grain bullet. It shouldn't require anything but another barrel. Most smithies will give you a 'job price' to install the barrel. The barrel channel of the stock might, I say again, might need opening a tick too. That'd depend on the barrel contour of the existing barrel and that of the new barrel.
  4. Oohrah

    Oohrah Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    So. Coast Oregon
    Yep most barrel makers will do the same contours as Rem. barrels if
    requested. No other changes need to be made to the action, just
    rebarrel and check the stock barrel beding.
  5. nicholst55

    nicholst55 Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    37*55'N, 127*04'E
    If you want to do this on the cheap, look around at GunBroker.com and other places for a new factory 'take-off' barrel. You can frequently find them for around $100 or so, frequently less. Using a factory barrel should minimize the cost of the conversion and should make it a drop-in proposition with your stock.

    Another place to check is here: http://www.varminthunters.com/cgi-bin/classifieds/classifieds.cgi

    A lot of guys buy Remingtons for just the action and then sell the unwanted barrels and stocks. One dealer there - Larry Scott (Great Scott), makes a business out of this.
  6. ClarkEMyers

    ClarkEMyers Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    A stone's throw from Henry's Fork
    Depending on where you are and what's immediately available this is the sort of thing that was once handled by reboring the smaller bore - minimal change in bedding and markings - x out the cartridge marking and restamp.

    These days reboring is less convenient most places but of course parts as opposed to receivers move freely in the mail.
  7. iiranger

    iiranger Member

    Aug 10, 2007

    I assume you know the .243 is a necked down .308 case. Your options are numerous. You could have the barrel you have rebored. Costly and not super sure about quality. Things can go wrong. You can have any barrel smith screw in a custom barrel of whatever quality you (and your budget) choose. Copy the Remington look. benchrest.com has the top line barrel smiths but they are slow. Busy. The other, interesting, option is to find a used target barrel from one of the target smiths and have that installed. What was, new, a .3's barrel, after "wearing out" as a target barrel may still do .75 inches all day long. Plenty good for hunting and many, many .308 target guns and many remingtons/remington threads. Magazine/feeding should be "no work." HAPPY NEW YEAR. Luck.
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