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Building a 308 Bolt Gun


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With my job search finishing up, I have decided to plan for a matching set of guns for myself and my wife. I have wanted to do a bolt gun build for a long time, but got into a huge Glock bender that put that project on the back burner.

 

I am wanting to build one right handed and the other left for my wife, she's true ambi but shoots rifles better as a southpaw. I would like to utilize the XLR Industries Element Chassis system - a close second would be the MDT LSS chassis - cost purposes the XLR seems the better bet since I can get one installed with an XLR butt stock and ergo grip; but I am not opposed to trying the MDT-LSS as I have heard equally great things about it.

 

The only bolt action I know anything about is a Remington 700, both will also accept the short action versions of the Tikka T3, Howa 1500 and Savages - from my research 308 seems to be a SA - hope I don't jack it up and end up grabbing a LA - I'm not sure of the differences either way. 

 

I was hoping that I could just buy a barreled action, again one in Left and one in Right - I would not be opposed to mix matching the brands, but I'd like to stay the same; I.E a LH R700 and a RH R700. So, do they sell complete barreled actions or do I have to piece on together or buy a whole rifle? The idea is to keep labor and cost down as low as possible.

 

In a perfect world they would be 16-20" if at all possible - my Google-fu is giving me some $1500 "trued" complete barreled actions. Also, if they do not come threaded, how expensive would some time be with a smith to have them thread to accept a .30 cal muzzle brake? Big booming concussion keeps the lanes clear.

 

I am not hoping for crazy accuracy - I'd at least like 1MOA at 200 yards and the ability to hit something and piss it off at 600m - so the need for super custom stuff is not in consideration.

 

Depending what I go for - Howa 1500, Tikka T3, Savs or R700s (again, I'd like some feedback on the best for less) how bad are the triggers? Maybe later down the road I'd put in a drop-in Timney or similar, is there any polishing or modification I can do to lighten up the pull weight? I'd like 3-5lbs, but if that is not attainable I'd drop for a better trigger unit.

 

As far as twist rates go - what would be the best to go with a 16.5-20" barrel to shoot bullets in the 110-125 range? I reload everything I shoot, so factoring in that cost is a HUGE part of the final decision, this will be for punching paper mainly, I do not see that justifying the need for a 175gr SMK - why spend so much money if I am just going to pollute the backstop? Or would it be better to go with a slightly heavier weight - I can probably find a deal on whichever weights through my reloading syndicate.

 

As far as powder, my books and Hodgdon's online library shows Benchmark and H322 with lower weights - I won't be shooting full house in these - mid range, obviously I'll have to do ladder tests with my finished product but it is a reference point. Both 8 pounders are 168+tax here in Midsouth, my preliminary calculations show an 8 pound jug with load about 1400-1500 rounds, so that's cost effective enough for me especially for the market median prices on factory .308Win ammo. Anyone have a preference? I have zero experience with IMR powders, that numerical naming convention confuses me - I am open to other powders but want to weights low - I assume I would not have to load too hot either way as it's for a bolt gun?

 

Anyone have a die preference? I will be loading on an XL650, I do not need Redding Comp dies but I do not want some cheapo Pacific die set either. Do I need to crimp on these, or not? I am too lazy and will buy full processed brass the first time - all that trimming, deburring, chamfering and SB resizing makes my soul hurt.

 

Anyone have a preference on glass? I do not want to drop 3K on a Nightforce but I do not want some $100 scope that'll explode on the first round. 

 

Any other things I should consider feel free to square me away, this is a new horizon for me. Thanks in advance!

 

 

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I would start here: http://www.cabelas.com/product/SAVAGE-FV-VARMINT-RIFLE/1994604.uts

 

There is a left hand version, but you would have to call and ask if they can get it.  You could run over to Bowling Green and order them if they can get them.   They have a $100 rebate right now as well so it makes it a no brainer as far as I am concerned.    If you plan to shoot long range, I would keep the 26" barrel or you could have it cut down and threaded any length you want.  Less than $350 each out the door after rebate.

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Pick yourself up 2, older Savage model 10s in any caliber for around $300 each. Sell the stocks & barrels for around $50/each.
Buy an action & barrel wrench & then go nuts!
No truing needed, smithing can be done at home with nothing more than a vice & everything about them is brilliant! :D
I can switch out calibers from .223 to .308 in around 15 minutes.
If you go long action, you could go .223 to .300RUM in 15 minutes! :) Edited by robtattoo
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Best powders I've found for my .308s have been Varget for up to 150gn & IMR3031 or 4064 for 165s & up.

My glass preference is Vortex. They're all good & I don't think there's anything better in the price range. SWFA SS are also good for their fixed power glass, but their variables have felt 'sloppy' in my experience & the clarity was no better than average.

I'd be looking at a 1:11 twist as a good 'compromise' It'll work with pretty well everything. If you're definitely sticking with tiny 110s 1:12 may be a little better, but you'll hardly see a difference inside 500yds

I use Redding & Lee dies & I have no complaints with either. Both are the basic versions.

If you're buying fully processed brass, they'd a guy on Facebook called Wes Sage (Sage's reloading supplies) who'd prices cannot be beaten! If you want unprocessed, I think I have a couple hundred spare you can have. Toss me a fiddy & I'll F/L size & wet tumble them for you! ;)

The older savage '3 screw' triggers are a cinch to work on. Obviously newer Accutriggers need no intro. Rifle Basix are the go-to replacement & it's $90 well spent for the SAV1 model. Edited by robtattoo
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Thanks for the insight brother, I may have to go with the Sav for her after all - R700s are too damn expensive for what I need it for.

I usually use Sage but his shipping prices are steep - I can usually find better OTD prices with private sales - I dont anticipate needing more than 500-1K in total, Im not ready for that plunge yet.

Besides gunbroker any go to places to try to track down a used LH?

Also, if I were to get the barrel cutdown and threaded for a brake is that a difficult thing to ask a smith to do? A brake will be needed since the chassis systems are so light.

I forgot all about Vortex, I think they have a military half off program too. Its worth looking into.

How hard is it leveling a scope to a bolt gun? Ill probably just get pic rails for both

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk
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Running the cost for a Howa 1500 barreled action, R700 SPSV left handed complete rifle, 2 PA 4-14x44 FFP 308 scopes, 2 complete XLR Elements and 2 JP Enterprise 308 muzzle brakes not including FFL charges and smithing costs for cutting and threading the barrels im looking at $3000 right now.

Time to do some frugal shopping

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk
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Maybe I missed it, but have you stated a max budget?  You could purchase a savage action and criterion barrel from Northland shooter supply and put them together yourself.  You would be in it about $650 per barreled action, trigger and stock of your choice, and optic of your choice.  That should be a solid <1moa rifle with match ammo. 

 

I use Varget for 308 and typically load either 175smk or 178 amax.  I use Hornady dies with no problems.  My factory rem 700 action with B&C stock, 16" barrel 1:10 twist and Timney trigger will shoot 1/2moa with handloads.

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Thanks for the insight brother, I may have to go with the Sav for her after all - R700s are too damn expensive for what I need it for.

I usually use Sage but his shipping prices are steep - I can usually find better OTD prices with private sales - I dont anticipate needing more than 500-1K in total, Im not ready for that plunge yet.

Besides gunbroker any go to places to try to track down a used LH?

Also, if I were to get the barrel cutdown and threaded for a brake is that a difficult thing to ask a smith to do? A brake will be needed since the chassis systems are so light.

I forgot all about Vortex, I think they have a military half off program too. Its worth looking into.

How hard is it leveling a scope to a bolt gun? Ill probably just get pic rails for both

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk


Cutting & threading a barrel aren't that big a deal. It starts to get expensive if you want the threading done so that your brake indexes by itself. Personally, I'd rather save that extra & but $5 worth of crush washers.
Another price-plus for savage here.... If you roll up to your Smith with a 700 he's better either have access to a big lathe, or you're gonna pay to have the barrel removed. With the Sav, you can whip it off yourself & take him it bare.
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For the sake of simplicity, I am getting two Howa 1500 barreled actions - my wife is a true ambidextrous shooter and I think she got aggravated hearing me bitch about not finding an affordable, matching left.

 

I will still need two inches of the standard model chopped off and threaded (22" 1-10) to accept brakes.

 

Already began buying pieces for my Dillon, I'll buy some 308 off of ya Rob if ya don't mind F/L and tumbling them - my tumbler is still taken apart on my bench, I haven't touched my workshop in almost 2 months now.

 

I know where my first pay check is going to go towards...a whole lot of components.

 

Anyone know how well those Hornady 110gr FMJ-RN bullets work? They look a bit funky - it's $450 for 3K of them; or $375 for 2.1K of the 150gr FMJBT.

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Are they the little .30 carbine bullets?
I know that they can be pushed to around 3200fps, but I couldn't comment to their accuracy.

Paco Kelly wrote about them as an ideal varmint round from a .30-30 loaded super hot, so I guess a mild .308 loading should be about right.

I'm headed down to Florida on Monday, but if you don't mind waiting a couple of weeks, I'll get them done & mailed to ya.
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