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BSA hunter 243 rebarrel ?

23 Jul 2023
@ 02:04 pm (GMT)

Ross Lavis

Ok. First time posting.
I have acquired a BSA in 243win from my father. It shoots ok and after short load development got to 1” at 100m. Possibly could get tighter with a little more effort. Not sure whether to leave as is or rebarrel.
The reason being I don’t think I have much use for a 243 as I have a 22-250 for varmint work that shoots bug holes. Also a 7-08 for pigs and short to medium range deer. I’m thinking something that is good to 600m on deer. Reds or Sambar.
The magazine length is 3.1” so could probably run a coal of around 3”.
The extractor is of the claw type running right up the side of the bolt.
After some research the stamp on the action tells me it’s a BAS hunter built around 1956-7.
I’m thinking a 284win but other suggestions are what I’m after.
Don’t want something that recoils to hard as my shoulder is a bit dicky and want to be still hunting for many years.
Thoughts Please


23 Jul 2023
@ 10:08 pm (GMT)


Re: BSA hunter 243 rebarrel ?
Hi Ross

6.5 PRC would just fit if you can live with the bullet weights but the 284 makes a lot of sense


24 Jul 2023
@ 08:12 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: BSA hunter 243 rebarrel ?
Hi Ross, I hope this reply finds you well. The core of your question is - could this be made into a useful 600 yard rifle for game weighing up to or in excess of 300kg / 660lb.

You'll note that your BSA has a Monte Carlo stock and features quite a bit of drop in the butt stock. This tends to accentuate recoil which may effect you in two ways. The first is felt recoil which is of course a problem if you have an injury or are sensitive to this. The second issue is that in the prone position, recoil tends to push the face well away from the target while the rifle also shifts about greatly, causing one to lose the sight picture for a little bit. These effects are probably not so noticeable in .243 but can be a concern in more potent chamberings.

Both of the above issues can be mitigated in certain ways and to one degree or another. Solid technique can help lessen felt recoil (see book series). One get also learn to get back on target quickly with practice following recoil. Others may like to use a brake, but I wouldn't go there with this. A custom classic style stock would be the ultimate fix.

In addition to the above, you will also note that the rings are unique to the rifle (unless yours has the Remington type outer contour and utilizes weaver bases). If your rifle has unique rings, it may be impossible to cant the scope, should you need the elevation for your goals. One could I suppose fit a Tikka rail if problems are encountered but you would need to find a skilled gunsmith for this. You can probably get some idea of how the receiver and current rings are aligned versus potential come up by checking the existing scope (even though it won't be a long range unit), just to get some idea of what's going on there.

It will also pay to study the trigger unit. Some were very good but there were some cheaper models of which the trigger was very difficult to tune for long range. The quality of the lesser unit is obvious if you come across it, consisting of folded sheet metal.

I guess what I am trying to achieve here, is to provide some awareness of possible consequences. If you still want to go ahead and change the rifle, there may be some limitations.

You could adopt the .284 if this interests you but if you are not confident using the 7mm-08 on Sambar, the the .284 will not greatly add to this. If you wish to experiment in the interim, try loading a heavy pill in your 7mm-08 and taking it for a hunt. If you don't like the results at 100 yards, then you won't like the results of the .284 at 200 yards and so forth.

You could also run the .308, loading 200gr projectiles just off the lands, increasing powder space. You might want to run a 24" barrel for this. Expect about 2500fps with a 200gr ELD-X. This bullet works well out at 600 yards but it does need some come up from whatever scope you use.

You could of course have the bolt face opened up for a WSM, but this would (at full charges) increase recoil substantially and would of course drastically alter your rifle (any collector value).

If we were to be somewhat cold about this and just look at the ballistics only versus the physical properties of the rifle as is, then the question is - what is the largest case and heaviest bullet one can use with a high BC. The answer might be the .30-284 wildcat, running a 200gr projectile at around 2600 to 2700fps. The .338-284 is yet another option, though these days it is possible to run much the same weights in a .30 cal rifle (i.e 220gr 30 cal ELD-X versus 225gr 338 SST). Just keep in mind that a .284 wildcat does not take your stock design / recoil into account as well as ring or trigger issues. Further to this, the cost of a custom reamer and dies also need to be considered - though you could try generic .30 or .338 cal Hornady neck and seating dies for a while. Regardless, a .284 Wildcat would certainly be an interesting cartridge for an interesting rifle.

You are definitely on the right track with your .284 case thinking with regards to the available mag length. All I would suggest is that in addition to this, you could perhaps consider a wildcat variation as a means to increase bullet weight.

Note that if the current barrel is in reasonable condition, provided the gunsmith does not face off / square up the receiver, the original barrel can be greased and put into storage (the stock also put into storage if you change it out) - in order to retain the collectible attributes of the rifle. Having said this, the smith will likely have to alter the feed rails of the rifle in order to get the .284 cases feeding. Occasionally one can get away with a slight skim off the feed rails, allowing the rifle to still feed original cases should the rifle be retuned to its original chambering. But one can never really tell until the job is completed.

OK, hope that helps a wee bit.

25 Jul 2023
@ 12:47 am (GMT)

Ross Lavis

Re: BSA hunter 243 rebarrel ?
Wow. I’m glad I asked the question. Before I jumped in.
Thanks for replying Nathan and Vince.
Stock is monte carlo but not original I don’t think. As the rifle was built by a smith for my father in the late 60s. So barrel not original either.
Stock also has to short a pull for me as well so will need changing as well.
A smith did look at it when it was transferred to me and he did mention the mounts and rings on it are specific to that rifle and I need to keep them.
But maybe need to reassess.
Thanks again.
I will digest above information more and come back when I get my head around it all

25 Jul 2023
@ 04:40 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: BSA hunter 243 rebarrel ?
here I go again defending the wee EBRG/TWOFORFREE ..the rifle has history...its a heirloom as it was built for your Dad and has been handed to advice is leave it all means poke a big fat limbsaver on its butt..that will take care of length of pull and reduce the already minimal recoil to next to nothing.
unless you willing to spend a fair amount of coin rebarreling it etc etc etc its never going to be a 600 yard deer capable rifle.... so far better to either buy something far more suitable just for long range stuff of stalk closer and use what you have got....
there have been many very suitable rifles come up cheaply as of late and I predict there will be many more and prices will drop over next few years as people are trying very hard NOT to cause an activating buying something new isnt so attractive to them..therefore anyone selling has smaller amount of buyers.
if nothing else this rifle will give you something in between the two you have,to carry on day when you just feel like a change or sniping rabbits with good chance of something could be your spare rifle,the kids rifle,your mate along for hunt with you rifle...
once you change it,its no longer the rifle your Dad used
food for thought maybe.
27 Jul 2023
@ 05:09 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: BSA hunter 243 rebarrel ?
thinking on this some more...if the custom bug has bit you...turn the 7mm08 into the .284magnum...leave the .243 to do the middle range stuff.
05 Aug 2023
@ 11:51 pm (GMT)

Ross Lavis

Re: BSA hunter 243 rebarrel ?
Ok. Sorry for the slow reply.
Vince. The 270 cal is minimum legal size for sambar where I hunt so a 6.5prc is out. But thanks for the reply.
Mike. I appreciate your love for the 243 and the fact it’s handed down to me does mean something. But my Dad would be happy for me to do whatever with it as I wish. He used it on the farm for vermin control but it didn’t get to much use. He was not a keen hunter. I’m not one for ornaments in my gun safe and to be honest I didn’t realise it had collectors value.
Nathan. I do have confidence in the 7-08 for the job at hand but just not this one. It struggles to shoot 1inch at 100 consistently and would prefer better than that.
I also forgot to mention the action has 257 Roberts stamped on it which was obviously the original calibre.
The 30-284 sounds like an option but I assume I’d have to get custom made dies as well. I’ve haven’t even considered going down a wildcat path before.
I think what I’ll do now is go to a smith and get the trigger, rings and mounts checked and see what’s possible. Maybe drill and tap for new mounts if he can do it.
Thanks again all for your replies


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