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exbiologist's picture
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elk and deer project rifle

I'm starting to get the itch for my next project rifle and am exploring the idea of what Pacific Tool & Gage calls the .338-.243 WSSM (why not .338-.25 WSSM?). They have reamers for both dies and chambers. I've never seen load data for this cartridge, but imagine it must be similar to a .338-06, but in a super short action, which I love. I'm obviously not the only one who has thought of this, since reamers already exist. Just wondering if anyone here has any opinions on this, or other festive little rounds for elk and mule deer?
I like the idea of a .338 Federal or 325 WSM, but a .338-243 WSSM seems even more fun.
What do you guys think? If you were to build a rifle for high country elk and muleys, what would you do?
This isn't need based, I've got plenty of guns that will do for both, but love building something different.

bitmasher's picture
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elk and deer project rifle

If I was going to do it off a wssm case, I would at least pick the 25 wssm. I imagine necking up from 243 -> 338 is quite a pain and 25 -> 338 probably isn't going to be much fun either.

If you wanted to go with something in 338 off a short mag case you could just start with the 325 and work up. But then ruger has already created the 338rcm which defeats the purpose of such a project....

Don Fischer's picture
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elk and deer project rifle

I'm not a big fan of the super short's, old habit's hard to break! Big smile I think if I was going to do something like your talking about I'd look at maybe a 260 rem AI. I was going to suggest the 6.5x55 IMP but long action. Another to think about if you want a bigger caliber might be a 338-350 Rem Mag

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elk and deer project rifle

Don,
Why don't you like the super shorts? I've enjoyed using them (and carrying them) as long as I don't push the envelope. Is it because of the perception that they don't feed well? I've never had a problem with that or the regular short mags.
I totally forgot about the .338 RCM, but it is supposed to reach its potential only with double top secret probation powders.
A .338-350 Rem mag should provide similar ballistics and you would likely have a longer neck to use, but you'd then have an unnecessary belt (as do half of my guns), and still not as short or light as a WSSM version.

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elk and deer project rifle

One issue at least with the 223 wssm is excessive throat wear

exbiologist's picture
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elk and deer project rifle

The throat wear issue should only be a problem with overbore cartridges, so a .33, .35 or 8mm version of a WSSM shouldn't have that problem. I have 4 of what are supposed to be the worst throat eaters, and haven't yet had an issue with my .300 Ultra Mag, .264 Win Mag, .270 WSM or .243 WSSM. And two of those guns are about halfway to the 1,000 round mark. I have little doubt that these calibers are harder on a gun than a .30-30, but so what? Make a point of letting the guns rest for a little while so they don't get too hot at the range, clean every twenty rounds or so and switch to another gun so you don't get bored and burn out your "barrel eater".

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elk and deer project rifle
exbiologist wrote:
Don,
Why don't you like the super shorts? I've enjoyed using them (and carrying them) as long as I don't push the envelope. Is it because of the perception that they don't feed well? I've never had a problem with that or the regular short mags.
I totally forgot about the .338 RCM, but it is supposed to reach its potential only with double top secret probation powders.
A .338-350 Rem mag should provide similar ballistics and you would likely have a longer neck to use, but you'd then have an unnecessary belt (as do half of my guns), and still not as short or light as a WSSM version.

I'm an olde, experienced gentleman! Everything I own and have owed for about 30yrs is based on the 30-06 case or the 308 case. Old habit's just die hard. And then there's the issue of what if the short case cartridges don't last? what to do when the case supply is exhausted? I remember the 5mm Rem. I new a number of guys that had the rifle and couldn't get ammo!

For anything you get on the 30-06, 308 or 223 case, there will always be cases to make what you want. Want a 260? I wouldn't worry about cases, to easy to make from a number of different cases. If I built a wildcat, I did, it would be on one of the above cases.

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elk and deer project rifle

Don,
So would you just stick with something like a .338 Federal? Or a .350 Rem Mag (I've already got a .358 Norma)? I guess the .338 RCM will do exactly what I'm looking for, but it's a lot more fun to have something you won't find on a gun rack.
I'm not worried at all about the WSMs disappearing, but that's a legitimate concern with the WSSMs, especially the actions, which is the whole point of having one of them. It's been nearly ten years since the .300 WSM and nearly every major manufacturer produces a rifle and even Remington produces ammo for the .300 and .270 WSM (in addition to Federal and Winchester).

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elk and deer project rifle

I don't believe any major manufacturer is producing wssm's today. Browning dropped them last year and I don't think the new winchester producer (fn) is chambering for the wssm's either.

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elk and deer project rifle

Yeah just realized that you can't buy a new one recently. That ain't gonna stop me! I already found a couple of custom action manufacturers that can do it at a reasonable price(depending how you ask). Lawton makes one that is perfect for a super short, it's called the 7000-S and has a .545" bolt face and 2.44" ejection port and weighs only 26 ozs for $795. Yeah that's not free, but my last two projects started as $300 Remington 700s and ended up costing me considerably more than that.

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