Sambar Stopper

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  • Sambar Stopper

    Early last year I decided that I had to build myself a new rifle, something that would fill a capability gap (the caliber gap already covered) and it would be for both close and longer range Sambar stopping.

    To be honest the majority of rounds will be fired at gongs at distance just to hear them ring. If 1 out of 10 get fired at any kind of critter (let alone deer) I will be shocked.

    So, what to build? I already have 6, 6.5 and 7mm long range rifles, and a nice 300 H&H that holds it's own. Go bigger, really piss off the licencing folks and since I live near the ACT - really get up their nose. So, it's going to be a big 338. The usual suspects of 338 Winchester, 338 Lapua, 338 RUM, 338 EDGE and so forth were considered but since I wanted to base it upon a reasonably normal action like a long Remington 700 I wanted a shorter case. Whilst the RUM cases were released in a Rem 700, that does not mean that they fit terribly well when loaded with VLD type bullets. Remington still make Rem 700 rifles in 338 Lapua, but they are 'sniper' style and too heavy to hump around the hills (and work from an ugly DBM setup).

    I was in Safari Firearms in Sydney and they had some 338 Norma cases and I realised I had found my cartridge of choice and bought a bag of cases on the spot. The 338 Norma is a shortened 338 Lapua designed specifically to work in a Remington 700 long action. It allows the bullet to be seated in or out as needed whilst still working through the typical magazine box.

    After doing some reading I realised that for my use a 375 Ruger necked down to 338 would have done the job nicely too, but I already had those Norma cases, and dies, and stuff.

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    Left to Right
    30cal 165gn Nosler BT
    33cal 225gn Speer from my 338/06
    33cal 250gn Hornady RN FMJ
    33cal 275gn Speer Semi-point
    33cal 250gn Woodleigh Mono VLD
    33cal 275gn Hornady ELD-M

    300 Win Mag
    338 Norma Mag
    300 RUM
    338 Win
    375 Ruger

    Now to build a rifle!

    Soon afterwards a Rem700 LA came up on Usedguns for a fair price, fitted with a Badger steel rail and knob. I paid for that and had it sent to my preferred gunsmith.

    Then I went to work on barrel choice. It wasn't just who made it, but the profile I could get. A little correspondence with Stuart at Wildcat Compsites in Canada confirmed that he could do me a hunting profile stock with a thicker barrel channel for a thicker barrel. I chose a Remington Magnum plus 60thou profile and after enquiring with Hardy about a Carbon Wrap chose a TSE. The Hardy CF wrap barrels are made in two profiles, bull barrel and slightly thicker than varmit. Neither would fit into the stock and my request for a special was denied.

    The thicker barrel is needed to allow for a nice muzzle brake to be fitted to the rifle because with an intended weight of 8.5 to 9lb with scope it was going to be painful to shoot when prone.

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    Two stocks out of the mold, mine is the 'heavy' one as it is reinforced for the larger cartridge.

    Anyway, time went by and the barrel was picked up at TSE, then the stock was ordered to fit, and it arrived from Canada. They were bundled off to the gunsmith so he could fit the barrel precisely to the stock. Last week I was able to go and pick the finished rifle up.

    After some delays due to a couple of hand grenades coming across my desk at work i was unable to start this weekend. Bedded the action to the stock, ground and fitted the recoil pad and cleaned up the mess. Putting it on the scales it goes 6lb 12oz with rings but no scope. The scope is going to be a Leupold VX5 3-15x44 w/ Firedot, so that adds 19oz and rounds the whole thing up to just under 8lb ready to shoot. Going to need that brake!

    On the scales this afternoon.
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    FWIW my 338 Winchester Magnum weighs 8lb 4oz with the 1.5-5 Leupold on top and I know I wouldn't want to fire that from the prone position.

    Some running in cartridges were assembled. A mild load of 85gn of AR2217 under a 250gn Hornday RN FMJ (with steel under jacket). These should be going at about 2800fps, well under the recommended maximum of 3000fps.

    The 285gn ELD-M should be good for 2750fps with 85 to 89gn of AR2217. The 275gn Speers (shorter range bullet) will go about the same.

    Tomorrow after work I'm going to a safe place to fire a single round and begin the barrel break-in process.

    No brake yet.

    This is probably going to hurt.

  • #2
    I think your going to be able to stop more then Sambar with that. It would put fist size holes in things would'nt it?


    • adamjp
      adamjp commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by bern" post=267730
      I think your going to be able to stop more then Sambar with that. It would put fist size holes in things would'nt it?
      Sambar are a pretty large deer and I like to try for wounds that offer 'crossflow' ventilation. By this I prefer an exit wound as they tend to bleed lots. Fist sized isn't likely, but I'll settle for baseball sized with a large blood vessel ruptured between openings.

      The best outcome is hitting in the right spot for an instant kill, but sometimes that isn't possible and the bigger soft nose bullets will punch through when needed.

  • #3
    Well, time has flown and the rifle build has progressed in between time away with work.

    The scope was purchased, a new Leupold VX5HD 3-15x44 w/Firedot from Magnum Sports (note no special deal done, Magnum had the best price!).

    A couple of shots demonstrated that whilst sitting and standing were quite doable with this rifle, prone was painful to the point of flinching. So a T2 Terminator brake was purchased and fitted.

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    That brought the weight up to 8lb 4oz.

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    But it brought the recoil DOWN to somewhere closer to a 30/06, but with more noise and buffeting.

    Just before Christmas I had some days off work (and at home too!) and took the time to mask out the bedding, the flush cups and the recoil pad before painting the stock in a muddy brown colour (a deviation from my normal Coyote Tan but more appropriate for this rifle).

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    I stuck with my normal metalwork colour of Sniper Grey Cerakote.

    So the mostly finished rifle looks like this...

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    And weighs in at 8lb 5oz with scope.

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    A little bit of cleanup of the recoil pad needs to be done, and the magazine box still has to be designed, laser cut and bent to shape, but it works and load development can commence.

    Note the last photo is the best colour rendition for the stock, the flash used in the other photos makes it far lighter than it actually is.


    • #4
      I'm glad you put the last picture in, I saw the first pic and thought " who the hell wants a calf shit yellow rifle".
      Not suitable for mature audiences


      • #5
        An update on this rifle.

        The magazine didn't work so I ended up buying a HS Precision magazine system originally for the factory 338 Lapuas. Works like a treat, but is a bit heavier.

        Had some issues with the scope moving under recoil which was making me think the barrel was stuffed. So, took the scope out, lapped the rings on the action, took the rings off and washed them thoroughly, dried and then applied rosin to the ring surfaces. This appears to have stopped the scope moving, but rounds are limited so far.

        Rifle now weighs 8lb 9oz.
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        Accuracy is pretty good.
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        This is the hunting load, 270gn ELD-X at about 2770fps.
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        Yes, both paper targets shot at 200m with a 3-15x scope on 15x from a rifle good for carry anywhere.

        Finally, with lockdown closing the range (which does not allow 338 Lapua or derivatives - but I can shoot my 416 there all I like), and rain closing the farm off I was finally able to get down and try out the rifle at range again on the farm. So videoed through my spotting scope @ 520m, four 270gn ELD-X in the video at the link below.

        Shots 1 to 3 went one after the other from a cold bore last fired in January 2021.
        Shot 4 went in low.
        For size comparison, the rock is about 15in across by 12in high.
        Last edited by adamjp; 23-10-2021, 12:52 PM.


        • #6
          Looked like a nice group on the rock and a great build.

          And a hunting rifle worthy of stopping the mighty Sambar.

          Just don't forget the break and ear plugs LOL