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Forum Index > Medium and large game hunting > Cold weather hunting ballistics, and feedback on my first custom rifle build.

Cold weather hunting ballistics, and feedback on my first custom rifle build.

09 Jun 2018
@ 08:46 pm (GMT)

Scott Sammons

I am a pipeline worked in Alaska. While I was an avid hunter on my family's dairy farm in Arkansas, hunting was mostly a subsistence activity. What may not be well known about Alaska is that though there is a huge amount of open country and wildlife, there is little road accessible hunting land open to the public. Most hunts are fly in, mush in (dog sled) walk in, or boat in affairs some requiring guides. Many Native Land hunts for muskox or carribue require the Hunter to forfeit much of the meat to the land owning village, the Hunter keeps trophies, and a portion of his harvest. But I digress. Hunting in Alaska can be costly and it is only after long work that I had been able to afford hunting again. I am building a switch barrel takedown model rifle in 25-06AI, 30-06AI, and 338-06AI. I chose the Ackley Improved not so much for the increased velocity as for better reloading characteristics. The bolt action (Montana 99 controlled feed mauser descendent) all stainless rifle with three 24inch barrels (one at a time) each weighing around 3 lbs, a 6X 42mm, and 10X 42 .mill dot scopes is my intended tool for mountain sheep,deer, carribue, wolves, fox, bison, moose, and perhaps some black and Brown hears (I am not keen on the bear meat have tried but I am a better butcher than my friends and might like it if I handled the meat) I

The question is what suggestions would you have for making effective rounds in these cartridges? What would you suppose to be the practical range limits of each? Are the two scopes adequate for the work, and finally any feedback on loading for subzero (down to -50F/C ) in darkness (sunsets in November and rises in March) in some of the areas O intend to hunt wolves) Thank you for your consideration


10 Jun 2018
@ 08:12 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Cold weather hunting ballistics, and feedback on my first custom rifle build.
Hi Scott, the actual switch barrel concept can be hit and miss, especially in these environments.

Yes, I know its popular these days, especially in tactical rifles- but so are bubble levels mounted in places where they are of no use.

A major problem with switch barrels, is that in order to be able to make the switch, the barrel threads need to be loose enough that they can be undone by hand, often using a grub screw as a retainer. The trouble with this is that changes in temp can allow the system to loosen just a fraction, either opening up groups or causing double grouping. This can be offset by bedding the first couple of inches of the barrel channel but the trouble is, the bedding will only suit the one barrel.

Then comes the annoyance of the switch where the rifle has to be re-zeroed each time and where changing scopes is not as plain sailing as it might have initially seemed in light of other factiors.

Some of the heavier switch systems work well but the rifles are not well designed ergonomically. The Desert Tech is a good example of this, quite solid in design, locks ups well, but is a mongrel to carry any distance in its current design guise.

The cartridges you mention also yield some cross over. The man with an accurate .30-06 AI loaded with projectiles capable of producing clean kills on all manner of game out to 800 yards or so has no need for a .25 and will eventually tire of it. The .338-06 has merit but its not a major step up in power over the .30-06, only penetration with conventional soft point projectiles. Change the projectile in the .30-06 and you will change the dynamics. If only each of you could understand just how versatile the .30-06 really is simply by changing projectiles rather than barrels. If you settled on the .30-06 AI only, then waited and saved for a .375 Ruger, you might find this combination to be highly rewarding.

Sorry, I know this is not the answer you were hoping to hear. However if I am to help, I need to be able to explain some of the pitfalls of switch barrel rigs, plus the possible waste in time and funds doubling up on cartridges. The first step is to understand the projectiles rather than the cartridges. Also, in my cartridges book, I would suggest that you refer to the throating section within the .30-06 section. Your M1999 has plenty of mag length and if you combine you AI blow out with the longer OAL, the cartridge will very easily equal the .300 WSM.

Food for thought. All the best.


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