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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)

"Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)

07 Nov 2018
@ 10:15 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

I recently acquired an old JC Higgins Model 50 (FN Mauser action / High Standard barrel) from a friend in 270 Win. It's a sub-MOA shooter so I no longer have a need for my sub-MOA 270 Savage Axis II XP. After reading DrTHunder88's 300 Win Mag "Maxis" conversion contributions to the SavageShooter forum, I'm interested in converting my Axis to 475 Ruger.

Other than the fun of it, my motivation is to obtain an "over-powered" rifle for hunting small-ish whitetail on the property I recently acquired as my family's home (no Texas whitetail monsters where we live). I'd like to increase shot forgiveness and decrease the likelihood of a whitetail taking a dead run off of my property.

After finding Nathan's website and this forum, I'd like to hear opinions about the value of a longer barreled 475 Ruger out to 300 yards on whitetail vs. my 22" barreled 30-06 or 20" barreled 338 RCM. From Nathan's excellent summary of the limited number of 475 bullet offerings (I handload almost exclusively), I wonder if I will be much better off with the appropriate 475 cal. offerings (235 gr. Speer Hotcor or 250 gr. Sierra Game King) compared to the greater selection of "frangible" 30 cal. bullets for my 30-06 (Amax or DRT even?) or somewhat lessor selection of appropriate bullet offerings in 338 (but including the 200 gr. Hornady SST) for my 338 RCM. I think Nathan's opinion would be that I'll be better off, but it's hard to ignore his near complete positivism in his review of 30-06 load options and performance!

In a nutshell, I recently learned about the autonomic plexus from Nathan's teachings. Will a 475 Ruger improve my chances of leveraging it or hydro(static/draulic) effects to drop whitetails where they stand (out to 300 yards)?

BTW, I first considered a 35 Whelen Axis conversion, but the expense and machining required to fit a new bolt Savage 110 magnum bolt head to my Axis bolt is minimal so I started to dream about the 475 Ruger instead. On the other hand, I have thousands of 30-06 cases in "inventory" that I could neck-up to 35 Whelen and absolutely no 475 Ruger cases ($$$ :( ) yet.

Thanks for any advice, thoughts, and inputs!

-Cal

Replies

07 Nov 2018
@ 10:19 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
P.S. I hope to draw an Idaho moose tag before I become too old and decrepit to hunt them. The 475 Ruger would obviously then become even more useful to me.
07 Nov 2018
@ 02:09 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Arggh...I meant 375 Ruger in the above posts, but I have 475 Linebaugh / 480 Ruger revolvers on the brain, because we live in bear country now and I've been researching revolvers too. I wish I could edit out my errors. Sorry!
08 Nov 2018
@ 06:28 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Hi Calin and welcome to the forum.

it would be very simple to do a 35 whelen conversion if its already a 270 all you would need is a 35 whelen barrel.

the trick with a lot of these builds is to make up dummy rounds and make sure you can get them to feed.
looking at it though 375 ruger should work well.
also got to make sure its worth the hassle and expense, you can get howa 375 ruger as a factory rifle.

being of a curious mind myself i think at some stage ill have to look at a 458 bore as there seems to be a good selection of projectiles, light weights for 45/70 and heavy weights for african game.
one day ill do 458 win mag or lott just to see the results.

08 Nov 2018
@ 08:10 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Hi Calin, I believe the first step is to be clear on your goals. A bit of Dr Phil / Texas thinking goes a long way here. A gun like this may be cheap to begin with, but after converting, it will have cost a lot more than the initial outlay. What you have to ask yourself is - is this what you really want or are you just trying to make do.

I have polished plenty of turds in my time. No matter how much folk rave about budget guns and no matter how good some of these are, they will never be more than an exercise in materials cost cutting. The scales tip more towards profits than the end user. Building hype or even forum threads around this simply enables it to continue As a simple example, the .300 Win Mag likes to sit at an OAL of around 3.633" for best accuracy with modern projectiles and to avoid powder cramping with its heavy weight bullets. Have a look at your mag box and see how much room is in there for such a cartridge.

As for a Whelen conversion, this could work better than other options due to the shorter OAL's. There will be some jump but that is normal for a Whelen. The mag box on your rifle should be steel sided which will make it better to work with than some other budget plastic offerings so this is another plus. It would be ideal to test dummy ammo but this will be difficult to test if you want to adopt an AI version. If you want to do something with this rifle, the Whelen could be a very good option. There are not many factory Whelen options at the moment so if you want to try this caliber, spending some money on the Axis could be justified.

Regarding the .375 Ruger, the mag box won't work so well for this. If you want a .375 Ruger, buy one. Its not going to cost any more to trade this rifle and buy what you actually want.

Understand that as you increase recoil and also change barrels, harmonics will be effected. The rifle may need some form of bedding if the project is to be brought to fruition. The Axis is not the easiest to bed so you need to have your head in the game for this, be prepared to go the distance.

Hope that helps a bit.
08 Nov 2018
@ 09:09 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Thanks for your thoughts, Rowan!

I've never owned a Howa but they appear to have a reputation for being an accurate rifle and a good value. Given my upgraded Boyds Axis stock and scope, I think the financial merits of selling my 270 Axis and buying an entirely new rifle are outweighed by the merits of an upgrade (and again, there's also the fun in an upgrade...at least for me).

Interestingly, I could do a 458 Win Mag conversion very economically because, like the 35 Whelen, ER Shaw retailers bundle 458 Win Mag Savage barrels with go/no-go gauges and a barrel nut wrench for only about $200 or a little more (for blued steel). ER Shaw seems to get good reviews from people who actually own ER Shaw barrels and the barrels are certainly lower-priced than the alternatives. If anyone here is in a position to have several data points about ER Shaw barrels that indicate otherwise (like Nathan, for instance), I'd love to hear from them!

Unfortunately, the 375 Ruger ER Shaw barrel would have to come directly from ER Shaw and a wrench and at least a go gauge would need to be purchased separately, significantly increasing the total bill. The much smaller $26 expense of a new magnum bolt head would be eliminated in a 35 Whelen conversion and my existing 270 detachable magazine would probably work with 35 Whelen cartridges without requiring any tweaks or modification too. (DrThunder88 reported buying a different Savage magnum magazine to save the effort on his Win Mag conversions.)

The big question in my head is, given my goals (mostly an "overkill" whitetail rifle for under 300 yards and probably mostly much under), is a 375 Ruger conversion worth the extra expense over a 35 Whelen. But then I think about my fairly good chances of drawing a reasonably-priced, once-in-a-lifetime Idaho resident moose tag (or actually twice-in-a-lifetime, given both bull and cow hunts) and also there are numerous decent Elk opportunities, if I hunt public land within an hour drive, and the victory goes to the 375 Ruger. Arggh--decisions...decisions!
08 Nov 2018
@ 09:57 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
It is interesting that this keeps coming up, overkill or added effect. A matter of curiosity and perhaps more recently a subconscious reaction to the Creedmoor.

Try to keep in mind that as we go up in bore diameter but down in velocity the two factors can cancel each other out to some extent. So for example, if I was to say that a certain .308 produces a high level of nervous trauma at 2600fps while a .44 load can at produce a similar effect at 1800fps, this does not automatically make the .44 better. The results are much the same. If we add velocity to the wide bore, then things begin to change. There is however a caveat to this, the limitations of bullet design. As an example, if we drive a 200gr .44 XTP at sizzling speeds, penetration tends to be limited. In plain terms, its a bummer. So to do this, we need a range of bullet options.

If you want to really see different results then go for it, do what you want to do. If you can find a conversion that works then go for it. But if you want to study 'change' then do add velocity to the equation. Too often we sell ourselves short in this regard. If you have a big case to begin with, you can generally soft load if need be. But if you have a small case, you cannot load extra fast.

I haven't heard any negative feedback on the Shaw barrels. Their stand was across from us at SHOT, customers seemed happy enough. You'll need to double check options as they state NO Axis on their fitting services.

Edit: There is a FAQ from Shaw that gives details for Axis options. So it looks like they do supply but possibly won't fit (see fitting section). I suggest you carry on this discussion with them and see what your options are and any possible mag options.

Quote:

Edge/Axis Fitting Information - Original Savage "Edge" Rifles were renamed "Axis". Receiver barrel threads on these rifles are sometimes a little too small to fit 10/110 barrel. E. R. Shaw has dimensioned the threads on their 10/110 barrels so that they will fit Savage Edge/Axis receivers. However, you should remember Edge/Axis is otherwise a different receiver than the 10/110 series... It will not fit the same stocks for example.
08 Nov 2018
@ 10:20 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Quote:
Hi Calin, I believe the first step is to be clear on your goals. A bit of Dr Phil / Texas thinking goes a long way here.
<snip>....
Hope that helps a bit.

Thanks Dr. Phil...er, I mean Nathan! You are right, of course, and bring up a couple of points that I had not considered.

Primary goal: Having recently purchased a home on 76+ acres of whitetail-laden land, my hunts and freezer contents will be changing as a result. I will only very rarely be traveling to distant public land hunts (previously 1500 mi. or more sometimes) and will soon be hunting within steps or a short walk form my front door. We are surrounded by acres and acres of private land here and, although we have terrific rural neighbors, I'd like to minimize the chances of dead run mishaps that terminate off of our property. I've never lost an animal in my past hunts but once or twice, I had to do some serious tracking of pronghorn (and learning from you, I'm beginning to understand what probably happened).

I loaded my Axis magazine with 338 Win Mag rounds (I don't have any Whelen or 375 rounds) and used calipers to take measurements. I think up to 3.490 COAL would fit in the mag and probably feed okay with a minor tweak of the metal lips (at most I might end up designing and 3D-printing a new follower for the mag, as I've done for WSSM and Beowulf AR mags in the past). Given that 270 Win, 338 Win Mag, 35 Whelen, and 375 Ruger all have a SAAMI COAL max. of 3.340 and looking at published data book loads, I figured I could the Axis mag work with the 35 or 375. Alternatively, I could buy the Savage magazine part number that DrThunder88, provided on the SavageShooters forum, but it can't possibly provide additional COAL and nothing is going to work for a 3.633" COAL 300 Win Mag in the Axis; that';s for sure! I've never loaded for 300 Win Mag but I have loaded "windy day" 338 Win Mag pronghorn loads with 245 gr. Lehigh Match Hybrid BoreRider bullets. (I found them to be frangible on Wyoming pronghorn.) With the long bullet and COAL, I could only single load them into a M70. I don't want to single load for my Axis conversion!

If you don't think a 375 Ruger will work very well with my mag (yes--it is metal, as you said) in the real world of handloading (not just published COALs from data books), then the Whelen is probably the better bet. I had not planned to go with an AI chamber, because I'm not chambering this barrel myself. (Though I do have a lathe, I don't have these reamers and I'm expecting this to be a relatively quick and easy project) and the off the shelf ER Shaw options don't include AI.

My Boyds stock Axis has an Accutrigger out of the box (which I like) and it currently shoots sub-MOA 270 Win at 100 yards without bedding, though I expect that the Boyds wood laminate construction will make a bedding task quite conventional and relatively easy, if I find the achieved accuracy makes bedding a compelling project.

In considering a 35 Whelen conversion in particular, I think not selling the Axis pencils-out. The ER Shaw barrel kit costs about $200, including the tools I'll need. The Boyds stock cost about $150 but I'd probably not get anywhere near that amount back from a sale of the 270. I only purchased the stock, because the rifle shot well with the plastic stock until I slung-up tightlly and the Boyds stock fixed the sling problem--even without bedding (in the case of the 270).
08 Nov 2018
@ 10:47 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Quote:


But if you want to study 'change' then do add velocity to the equation. Too often we sell ourselves short in this regard. If you have a big case to begin with, you can generally soft load if need be. But if you have a small case, you cannot load extra fast.


I think the 375 Ruger would give me a bit more room to work with than the 35 Whelen in this equation. It's tough to generalize with any value but trying to compare apples to apples from your ballistics information, the 475 Ruger might be a 400 yard whitetail rifle for me with the right load, whereas the 35 Whelen is something like a 350 yard whitetail rifle. Either cartridge meets my 300 yard requirement, but I have more download opportunities with the 375.

I think you might be right about the Creedmore inspired subconscious reactions. Given that the Creedmore brought little or nothing new to the table (what does in firearms cartridges?) and what it does bring seems to be target-oriented rather than hunting-oriented, I'm happy to see a swing--even if it's subconscious. Being non-belted, maybe some of the new long action Noslers bring a little bit more to the table, but I don't really know; I don't have any of them.

My inquiries here are based on my new hunting situation and desire to reduce dead run probability, if I can do so (and justify having some fun with what I think will be a relatively simple and economical gunsmithing project).

I've researched the Axis re-barreling warnings and the problems appear to be rare (most rebarrels are bolt-ons) and EABCO will do commerical Axis / Edge re-barrelling. If I run into a problem, I suspect that it will be solved by "finding" the existing barrel thread on my lathe and single point cutting it down a touch to match the action. I don't expect to encounter a problem though and DrThunder88 didn't encountered a problem in the two conversions he's done. EABCO will also do the magnum bolt head mods, but I have a mill and it's not worth trading the EABCO conversion asking price for the little time required to mill a new $26 part (only requires on simple setup).

Thanks for all your help!

08 Nov 2018
@ 10:52 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Hi again, Nathan.

I forgot to mention that I usually attend SHOT show every other year or so. I founded www.smartfirearms.us with a buddy of mine but he now owns the entire company Nonetheless, I give him a hand sometimes and he's partnering with some sim companies now.

If you'll be there in January, I'll visit you and introduce myself!

Best,

-Cal
08 Nov 2018
@ 11:00 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Regarding the .375 Ruger, width is the issue more than length.

It would be well worth calling Shaw to have them walk you through options and possible favorites.

There are a lot of ifs and buts with your project. The .458 might work - if the platform can take the recoil (acceptable accuracy vs wide fliers), keeping in mind that the action rests on its trigger housing, not directly on the stock, and that that the lug is floating. This sort of thing can cause issues with added recoil. Or it could be plain sailing, hard to say. A .358 Norma or .358-338 could be excellent - but, this is not an option with regards to the choices from Shaw, nor do I believe is the .375 Ruger or any other fat case.

The bedding of this rifle is not so easy. The trigger has to be left in place to provide the correct height reference. The trick is to bed the rifle while blocking the trigger unit. The lug alignment is critical to the last thou. But the laminate aspect does make some of the work easier.

Trigger blocking:



As per the Tikka set up:


08 Nov 2018
@ 07:15 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
The ER Shaw Savage standard magnum profile online order page does offer 375 Ruger, 35 Whelen (including AI), and many other options (including the 358 Norma, which does sound interesting, but the Shaw barrel is 1:14 only). In standard magnum, barrels go up to the 375 RUM. Even larger caliber options are available on their Savage heavy magnum and varmint profile order pages. However, the Shaw website says the Savage barrels are not for the Edge/Axis and their installation services are not available for the Edge/Axis either. If I call them, maybe they'd truthfully explain the reasons behind these limitations to me (rather than maybe the reasons their lawyer gives to them).

On the other hand, E. Arthur Brown also sells ER Shaw Savage barrels, explicitly including the Edge/Axis along with the note that you previously quoted about Edge/Axis receiver threads sometimes being too small for 10/110 barrels and the claim that ER Shaw has dimensions their 10/110 barrels to fit the Edge/Axis. E. Arthur Brown will install an ER Shaw barrel on an Edge/Axis for $30 USD and also charges $65 USD to re-channel a forend for a larger profile barrel.

I never thought much about 375 Ruger cartridge width, because three 338 Win Mag cartridges fit in my magazine with a small amount of space to spare. The width of the 338 Win Mag case head and belt constitute the limiting diameter and they are the same diameter as a 375 Ruger case at the case head. Admittedly, a 375 Ruger case is wider than a 338 Win Mag at the shoulder and there's nothing like actual dummy rounds to test magazine fit, feed, and function with the actual chambered barrel. All I know now is the .338 bullet tip does slowly push feed into the cone ramp of my current 270 barrel but, again, I'd need a 375 barrel and dummy rounds to test feeding while working the bolt briskly and realistically to chamber and extract cartridges.

I think you mentioned that the 35 Whelen AI has been one of your wife's favorite cartridges. Maybe the AI is worth the extra money, if I go with a Whelen conversion, which is probably the safest and least expensive conversion choice.

Would you mind looking at these screen captures of other Shaw Savage barrel offerings and see if anything else catches your eye as possibly compelling, given my goals?






Thanks for all your time, Nathan. I've just started to look at your books' tables of contents and I'll probably ask Santa for your entire book collection for Christmas. If Santa doesn't deliver it, I'll just have to buy it for myself!
08 Nov 2018
@ 07:20 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Oops! Looks like I doubled the standard magnum order form. Here's the heavy magnum:



I would've just posted a link to the URLs, but you have to work your way through the order forms.
09 Nov 2018
@ 11:20 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Regarding the .375 Ruger, feeding is different when you have the whole body at belt diameter. But further to this, it changes again when both body and bullet diamter are increased. It can be quite annoying, cartridges popping out. But I suppose anything is possible given enough time and mucking around.

That .358 Norma option looks enticing. But you would need to be prepared to muck around with brass (best to trim .300 right down) and it would be good to make use of the Hawk brand of bullets. This cartridge does not 'feel like' its too much or too little in any situation, hard to put into words otherwise. Its just a feel. But do take note, the bullet diameter will cause it to behave much differently when feeding compared to the .338.

I am having a hard time with this thread because I know the difference between what is said on forums and what actually happens behind the scenes in order to get a lot of these rifles shooting straight. I don't want to send you up the garden path with this.
09 Nov 2018
@ 05:52 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Thanks very much for your thoughts and feelings about the 358 Norma, Nathan. You're definitely not alone. You got me reading about the 358 Norma now and it seems that hunters who own it love it! It's a shame that the cartridge never took off.

Making brass from 300 WM looks like a fairly easy and economical solution. Interestingly, online retailer MidwayUSA's price for Norma brand 358 brass is actually lower than the price for nearly any other Norma brass, including Norma 338 Win Mag brass. Sometimes it's a LOT cheaper. Nonetheless, Norma products are all expensive relative to US-made products and it "pays" about $1 per case to resize less expensive brands of 300 Win Mag brass.

I read this post about throating a 358 Norma chamber a bit longer so 300 Win Mag necks do not need to be trimmed. Interesting:

https://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/topics/5804133/re-358-norma#Post5804133

MidwayUSA just got some 35 Whelen stainless barrel kits in stock. One of the reviewers reportedly had it installed on an Axis!

Again, it would be the simplest and least risky conversion for me, but it's not nearly as appealing to me as taking-on a Norma 358 conversion project. I have plenty of information now. I just need to make a decision, which might also come down to what Internet coupon deals come into my email inbox between now and Christmas.

I've heard of Hawk bullets, because Alexander Arms uses them in a factory Beowulf hunting load and publishes the load data too. I've never hunted with my Beowulf AR-15 upper. Ballistically, it would be much like hunting with a 500 S&W revolver, which I'm sure works very well at shorter ranges with a Hawk bullet too! Regardless of my Axis conversion decision, I think I'll try some Hawk bullets soon.

Don't worry about sending me up any particular garden path. Thomas Jefferson was an ardent horticulturist. As I recall, he said he had one success for every 200 experiments but the success was worth it! (My gun projects success rates run much higher!) Mostly this project will be an investment in my time. Even if it doesn't work out, I'll probably be able to reverse the conversion and return my Axis to a 270 and then sell the Savage parts for most of whatever I'll end up paying for them. They'll fit plenty of Savage 110s out there!
09 Nov 2018
@ 06:03 pm (GMT)

Luke Schmidt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Calin I am currently messing around with a 375 Ruger that I bought on Nathan's advice. Couple thoughts
-Have you considered the price of ammo? Even reloading a 375 gets pricey.
-How much do you want to lug up a mountain? I like my 375 as an Alaskan rifle. But for Moose or Elk I would happily use something a bit smaller to save weight. I'm actually planning a 35 Whelen project in order to have a lighter rifle.

My advice is take Nathan's advice and get it right the first time.
09 Nov 2018
@ 07:20 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Thanks for your input, Luke. Yes--I understand your point about reloading costs being higher for all the cartridges that I'm considering other than the 35 Whelen, which shouldn't cost me any more than the 270 barrel it is currently wearing. I'd probably never need to buy brass for the 35 Whelen, because I'd just neck up a bunch of my old 30-06 brass and I could probably mooch even more 30-06 bass from my friends and neighbors. I have quite a bit of factory ammo for most of my current rifles that I bought before the recent price increases. It seems like hunting ammo prices (especially "street" prices after discounts from sales, rebates, etc.) have skyrocketed here in the U.S. in the last couple of years so I'm not buying any factory ammo at all now.

Reloading components have gone up too, but not nearly as much as factory ammo, I think. I also cast bullets for all of my guns, but I don't hunt with my cast bullets. If factory bullets become too expensive, I guess I'll start experimenting with powder coating or plating my cast bullets and pouring soft lead bullet tips for enhanced expansion. :)

You make a good point about weight. A 35 Whelen can probably work well in a standard magnum profile barrel. Even though the larger 375 Ruger bore promotes lighter weight (it's filled with air ;)) it might warrant getting the heavy magnum or even the varmint profile.

It's hard to predict the future but I'll probably not be carrying this rifle much--mostly just around my property. Of course there's the once in a lifetime possibility of a moose tag (or maybe twice for cow and bull moose tags) and then the terrain and carry would be much more challenging--at least where I'm interested in hunting moose. I might use this rifle on elk hunts too, but I have a lighter and smaller Ruger M77 Hawkeye compact in 338 RCM or even a M70 Winlite in 30-06, if I wish to reduce the carry burden. Next season I'll most likely go on a muzzleloader-only elk hunt on a nearby private farm property (about an hour drive from home).

So even for moose, you'd go with a smaller gun (smaller than your 375 Ruger) to save weight? Huh. I guess I can see it if you have enough moose opportunities (or if I lived in Alaska). If you can't get close enough, just try to get closer next time. I'm worried that I'd draw my Idaho moose tag of a lifetime and the extra 50 yards or so of terminal ballistic capability might make a difference. That would be just my bad luck!

10 Nov 2018
@ 09:01 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Hi Calin, you can employ a long neck but not via a throat reamer. To employ a long neck, either create a wildcat reamer or use a Whelen reamer over a .358 Norma cut. After the work is done, the barrel should be stamped .358 Norma long neck max case 2.626 - or whatever the chamber length turns out to be.

Whelen freebore is around .250". Most others run around .150 to .200. The Norma / True-Flite in my recent video (Is it me or is it my rifle) is .200 which is somewhat weatherby-ish but is accurate as can be seen. I set all the NZ stuff at .200 so that kiwis would have plenty of room for power generation. In contrast to this, there are versions of the .35 AI that have .150 freebore which seems a bit counterproductive - blowing out the body but shortening the freebore dramatically. This type practice can be very useful when developing long range cartridges, helping to eliminate some negative variables without either reducing velocity or looking for a gain. But there is no great need for it on the likes of the Whelen AI.

All of this goes beyond the realms of basic prefit barrels.
10 Nov 2018
@ 12:12 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Quote:
...or use a Whelen reamer over a .358 Norma cut.
Yeah--that's what the 24hourcampfire forum member did with his 358 Norma. Thanks for the confirmation of the method, Nathan!

Quote:
All of this goes beyond the realms of basic prefit barrels.
For sure! It's hard enough to find a prefit AI barrel, though Shaw does offer AI chamberings on their custom order page but they are made to order and the claimed build time is 6-8 weeks.
13 Nov 2018
@ 12:39 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
13 Nov 2018
@ 12:40 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Thanks to Nathan's inputs, I'm about to order a McGowan custom barrel in 338 Norma Magnum (Black Friday coupon deal already). I can order any profile, finish, length, crown, twist, etc. that I desire. I plan to order a matte blued 26" 4140 barrel in Savage Varmint profile (0.8" muzzle) with an 11 degree crown, but I have a barrel question (mostly for Nathan, given how rare valid Internet reports can be--let alone 358 Norma experiences):

Nathan's 358 Norma page reports "A twist rate of 1:12 works well with all bullet weights up to 275 grains but with the caveat that light bullets (180-200 grains) do not shoot well at velocities over 2950fps.". It's likely that I'll mostly use 180 to 200 gr. bullets on whitetail (though the 225 Gameking looks like a serious contender as a whitetail bullet too).

Using the Berger online stability calculator (Miller formula based) I don't see a need for 1:12--even for the longest bullets (310 Woodleigh, for example). They are all predicted to be very well stabilized, even with only 1:16 (and the Miller formula also under estimates stability for plain base bullets). Is there something in real life results that are not being reflected by the stability calculator?

A few runs of Quickload indicated that H-4350 might drive the 180s only about 100 fps faster than the 225s so I would not be losing much by downloading them, but other powders (like RL-17 at the top of the list) are predicted to drive the 180s MUCH faster than the 225s with 4350! If I must compromise with twist selection, I'd rather compromise with the lighter bullets than compromise stability and accuracy of the occasional elk and moose load.

Also one more question, if you have the time to reply, Nathan. (I know I've asked a lot of question here). You advise:

Quote:
If using .338 brass, the case must be necked up to 375 caliber, then necked back down to .358, sizing only a part of the neck, resulting in a false shoulder. This makes the case neck shorter, but helps to prevent case head separation as a result of excessive head space during fire-forming.


I understand how the neck ends up being short with 338 brass but I always thought that an advantage of a belted magnum for wildcat development (fire-forming a shoulder out) is the case will headspace off the belt (the way beleted magnums were originally designed) and support the case. I ask because I have a bunch of once or twice fired 338 Win Mag brass in good shape.

After spending much time researching this cartridge online, I think it is ideal for my current hunting interests and the risks of installing it on my Savage Axis lie somewhere between a 35 Whelen and a 375 Ruger--mostly because the Norma's 338 Win Mag-size case and recoil lie somewhere in-between those other two contenders for this project.

McGowan seems to get good reviews online. Perhaps they shipped a few more "lemons" than some their competitors in years past; it's difficult to say from only online Internet forum buzz! I just called McGowan and someone immediately answered the phone and answered my questions. WRT my Axis application, they said "the Axis is just another Savage!" so no problems are expected with my Axis. I do need to order a new Savage 110 model bolt head from MidwayUSA and mill its shank down a little to fit my Axis however.
13 Nov 2018
@ 01:18 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
For a minute there, I thought we were going .338 Norma till I saw it was a typo.

Financially, we only had one shot at getting set up for a twist rate here. The barrels were not going to be sold in high volume and initially it was more an excerize in making this bore diameter readily available for Kiwis. The bulk of my prior experience was with the 12 twist and it had worked well. I never trust twist calculators after past experience so we went with what I knew (worked well across various case capacities). Grant at True-Flite purchased the button, David Manson and I donated the reamers. You can see the accuracy in the recent vid.

Otherwise yes, less is often more - although a lot of long range folk would state the opposite, not really understanding what they are getting themselves into. If you want the highest possible speeds with light bullets, then go with a 14 or 16. I doubt you will run into problems with heavy bullets. Copper might be a different story. Interesting to read about this again just recently in a UK government military book from the old days, the pen and paper maths for calculating twist rates of various materials from lead to aluminum and how a barrel could be made for lead, but not then be useful for a lighter alloy. Also interesting to read about the decision to adopt a left twist for the Enfield as a means to overcome Coriolis in the Northern hemisphere. Its all been done before.

Regarding the belt: Yes, its good for fire forming. But this is too much of a stretch. You really need a .375 button for this (not a whole die). Could you turn a button to suit? As for die brands, I am having a very good run with my Redding dies, just a basic two die set. Or as a more accurate statement, these die specs work exceptionally well with the Manson reamer specs. Very little work on the brass.

13 Nov 2018
@ 07:40 pm (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Thanks, Nathan! Sorry that I had you going with a typo! Yup--the 358 is what I'm courting.

I agree with you about not completely trusting stability calculators, which is why I asked you about your real life experiences. I'm somewhat hesitant to deviate from anything that worked for you. (I watched the 358 video with the 35 Whelen AI 225 Gameking 100 yard target.) On the other hand I also have to remind myself that there are many factors potentially at play so I might try the 1:14 and report the accuracy and chronograph results I obtain with the little 180 grainers and the much longer Barnes 225 TSX so we can perhaps learn something. I also used the JBM Ballistics online stability calculator and found the results were about the same as the Berger calculator. JBM indicated "green" for my 1:14 twist scenarios but JBM also advises "Stability value should be in the range of 1.3 to 2.0 to ensure bullet stability." For whatever it's worth, the longest Barnes copper projectiles might get me down to about 1.7 to 1.8 under conditions where I hunt here and a 1:14 twist but the results move down close to 1.5 for slower Whelen-like muzzle velocities on a very cold winter day at sea level. I also checked the Barnes site and, while Barnes advises minimum twist rates for "close calls," for several of their bullets, there is no published minimum for any of their 358 offerings.

Thanks for your explanation about sizing up 338 necks. I could easily turn a a button from 440C stainless. It would last forever even without heat treating. I accidentally melted a couple of my 440C muzzle loader percussion cap firing pins in a kiln once. They were for my 209 primer to musket and percussion cap inline muzzle loader conversion. I learned something about kilns in doing so; monitoring the color inside a heated kiln is a good backup to thermocouples and thermometers, but that's another story!
14 Nov 2018
@ 09:34 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
We still have some 1:16 and 1:14 stuff floating around here in NZ but much of it is stuffed now. I had access to some of these, got me through testing and were fine. We then had a run of barrels imported some years ago which gave me good experience with the 12 twist in custom builds.

It will be more help to you if I relate buddy work. Over the last few years I have buddied a number of readers shooting slow twist rifles including 16 twist Remington Whelens in the U.S, generally bought off the online auctions. After bedding and a replacement trigger, the rifles have shot extremely well, very tight groups. Another reader picked up a 16 twist Remington recently in Europe (posted somewhere here in the forums). How a Remington .35 Whelen ended up in Europe I will never know but they do seem to crop up from time to time. I have yet to hear of a single one of these rifles that could not shoot well. Statistically speaking, that is a 100% success rate. But note again that each rifle was bedded and tuned.

If you want to drive the light bullets at the fastest possible speeds then go for it, try a slow twist. I was not too fussed about this here as I felt that if a guy wanted to build a .358 caliber magnum for NZ, he would need to use a bullet heavier than 200 grains as the performance of the light bullets can wane if you push too fast on heavy bodied red deer.

14 Nov 2018
@ 10:49 am (GMT)

Calin Brabandt

Re: "Maxis" (Savage Axis Magnum Conversion)
Nathan, Those are useful and interesting data points from your 35 cal. buddies. Also interesting to hear of military twist considerations for less dense projectiles way back in the old days. I agree. It's all been done before us and there's not much new ground in light arms!

Given that you've found that the 180 gr. Hot Cor holds up well at high velocities, I plan to try it for whitetail, of course. No doubt I'll much less often load heavier and perhaps tougher bullets for elk or even moose though, so I'm thinking that 1:14 might be the best choice for me. For what it's worth, all of the ER Shaw 35 cal. barrels are 1:14--from the 35 Rem to 35 Norma. I'm currently planning to go with the McGowan (not much difference in price after coupon) and I prefer the .8" McGowan varmint muzzle diameter over the .85" Shaw muzzle, though a good Shaw Black Friday coupon appearing in my email inbox could earn a switch to Shaw. The McGowan does offer a full range of twist options, however, if I decide on other than 1:14. I'm still deciding and researching while I wait for the arrival of perhaps more barrel maker coupon codes. :) I haven't found any reasons to expect either barrel maker to make a better barrel than the other.

I'm happy with my Axis Accutrigger, and it doesn't even have the lightest available spring in it, but I suspect the increased Norma recoil (increasing from roughly the high teens to somewhere around 30+ ft*lbs) might induce an accuracy hit and motivate me to bed my Boyds stock. I'll worry about that when the time comes. I pillar bedded and floated my 30-06 M70 Winlite's McMillan stock and it turned out great (less load sensitive and a bit smaller best groupings). I mostly followed some instructions that Gail McMillan wrote up years ago, but this Axis might be a bit trickier from what you've said.
 

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