Project 30-06: Part OneBy Aaron Carr
- 15th Sep, 2020 Sep 15, 2020, 1:19 PM
- 7 Comments
My old faithful rifle was a 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser. It was accurate and while I had downed a few animals with it, the cartridge didn't have quite the stopping power that I was after.
I shoot home-loaded ammunition with Hornady 140gr SST projectiles going 2500 fps, but I had lost three big boars and was not happy with how far deer would run before dropping with shots I knew were well placed. Furthermore, the rifle was in its seventh decade of life and was a bit of a tank to carry around. As much as I loved the old girl, I concluded that the Swede had to go.
Now I needed to decide what to replace it with and funnily enough, I actually considered getting another 6.5x55. I typically used my previous rifle for close range to intermediate distances - anywhere from 50 to 250 meters. However, while a modern action 6.5x55 could handle higher pressure loads, speeding up the same projectile would not fix the lack of knock-down power at longer ranges.
“...the rifle was in its seventh decade of life and was a bit of a tank to carry around. As much as I loved the old girl, I concluded that the Swede had to go.”
With the 6.5 calibre having limitations in the size of projectile it can shoot I looked at increasing the calibre from 6.5 to 7mm. That isn't much of a jump however, so a .30 Cal. seemed the best choice. Now I just had to choose the case size.
The .308 Winchester probably wouldn't push the heavier 160-180gr projectiles as fast as I would like, especially with four inches off the barrel, and a .300WSM would likely have a little too much power for what I was after.
That left me considering the .30-06. The .30-06 is after all the .308 Winchester's big brother, and the .308 owes its existence to the .30-06 being expensive to feed in wartime. The .30-06 was the perfect jump up from the 6.5x55 without going overboard.
With the decision made I had to decide what type of action to wrap around it. I already have a Remington Model 700 in .300 Winchester Magnum. It's an action I know inside and out, so I knew I could depend on it to deliver the accuracy I wanted.
As it happened a Remington Model 700 ADL popped up for sale in Hunting & Fishing for $1000. Perfect! Let the fun begin. The first port of call would be the stock.
Considering I was on a budget, I had no desire to change the stock, although it would need some work to improve it. I purchased some of Nathan Foster's (owner of Terminal Ballistics Research) Match Grade Synthetic Stock Stabiliser, which aims to stiffen up the fore-end and reduce vibrations.
To prep the stock for adding the compound, I scored out the bottom of the inside of the fore-end with a sharpened and heated scribe. I then used a Dremel tool to remove stock material that was touching the barrel to ensure the barrel was free-floating.
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This meant that I would not have to remove more material after adding the compound. Once I was happy with the preparation, I combined the liquid compound components and poured it into the stock until it submerged the support ribs.
One potential issue I ran into was attempting to get rid of the air bubbles in the mixture before it dried, but fortunately I'm told the bubbles are merely superficial and do not affect performance. Anyway, the barrel hides the compound. All I had to do was finish it with sandpaper to get the best surface possible.
My next move was to bed the action. Bedding is a lengthy process, so I won't go into detail. I used Devcon, a two-part aluminium putty that sets like steel when the two compounds are combined.
I would recommend Devcon to anyone looking at doing a DIY bedding job because it is very forgiving and mess-free, plus it gives a tidy finish and performs well.
The next step in customizing the '06 was to decide on the barrel length. The .30-06 has a long narrow case so I believed it would need a reasonable length in the barrel to allow all the powder to burn. I also wanted to get decent velocity with the heavier projectiles.
However, I still wanted the barrel to be as short as possible. I opted for having the barrel at 20 inches long. Starting with this length I could check the velocities and always remove more barrel if desired.
After shortening the barrel length, it was time to thread it and choose a suppressor. I had my .300 Win Mag threaded for its removable muzzle brake, so it was logical to get a suppressor with a matching thread.
I ordered a DPT Magnum Suppressor with a 9/16x24 thread. The .300 Win. Mag. certainly needs a Magnum suppressor and although a little smaller, the .30-06 still has quite a large case delivering considerable recoil and a big “BOOM”, so it made sense to go for the Magnum option.
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The DPT is great value for money with a good weight to noise reduction ratio, plus I enjoy having the ability to pull it apart and clean it, or even add or remove baffles to suit the situation.
Once I had finished the work on the rifle itself, it was time to decide what components to attach. I have used Sightron scopes in the past and am impressed with the quality of their optics for the price paid.
Deadeye Dick's Shooting Supplies is the local stockist for Sightron optics, so I took a trip to Levin to see what Tracy Short had in stock. An S2 3-12x42 was sitting on the shelf with a Sika Show special sticker on it.
With a 2 MOA Hunter Holdover reticle, it would be perfect for the intermediate-range shooting I would use the '06 for. Having two hold-over lines means I can shoot out further without the need to dial-up. I could also use the rings from my 6.5 as they had never let me down in the past. Despite having no clue what brand they were, they worked so they would stay.
I did, however, need to mount the rings to the action. There is no arguing with NightForce quality, so a 20 MOA Picatinny rail would be the go.
I also removed the original Remington trigger and replaced it with a Trigger Tech Primary Trigger to match my .300. I decided that having the same type of trigger would be the most important way to get the two rifles feeling like the same gun to shoot.
Finishing the stock off with one of Uncle Mike's rifle slings, I was happy with how the project '06 looked, felt, and weighed, but the actual test would be at the range. Some time at the relaoding bench was now in order to decide what ammo would be best for my intermediate-range, boar-stopping and deer-dropping .30-06.
Load development and range time is a whole other story. Keep an eye out for Part Two!
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