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Wanting a different caliber for a 1903A3 action.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Ben Shepherd, Mar 3, 2009.

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  1. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  2. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Put a 35 Whelen barrel on the thing. No bolt face alterations, no feed ramp changes.

    Great cartridge.
     
  3. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Member

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    Exactly what SlamFire1 one said. That action is begging big time for a .35 Whelen barrel. :cool:
     
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    .333 OKH as modernized for common bullets, making it the .338 OKH.
    Also known as .338-06.

    .375 Whelen?
     
  5. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    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
     
  6. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    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.
     
  7. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    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.
     
  8. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    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.
     
  9. HoosierQ

    HoosierQ Member

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    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.
     
  10. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  11. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    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?
     
  12. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  13. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I really liked the 03 Whelen I shot. I'd say .35 Whelen.
     
  14. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    .35 Whelen
    .338-06
    8mm-06
    .411 Hawk
    .376 Steyr
    9.3x62
     
  15. db_tanker

    db_tanker Member

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    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
     
  16. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    I have one in .270...
     
  17. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    I would keep it simple. Something that brass and bullets are readily available.
     
  18. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Member

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  19. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    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?
     
  20. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    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
     
  21. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  22. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    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.
     
  23. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  24. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    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.
     
  25. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Member

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    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
     
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