New Barrel...New Caliber?

  • So I've been looking around at barrels and think I've settled on a Krieger Varmint profile 4 grove stainless barrel. Not sure when I'll pull the trigger on ordering it, but its in the plans for sure.

    Almost everyone I talk to is saying make the jump to 6.5. But part of me really just wants to stick to .308. I have the dies, bullets, new Lapua brass, and if I got a new .308 barrel, I can load up rounds the day after the barrel is done. I'm mostly shooting just for fun myself out to 600 yards. I should be able to make it to 1000 with a long barrel, heavy bullets and a good charge in .308 if I decide to start shooting that far regularly. Am I really going to miss out that much by not going to 6.5?

    On a side note, I know I've asked a lot of questions about buying this or that lately and I'm thankful for the help I've received on here. A new stock is on my want list still, but I've moved that down the list. I'm also going to have someone else shoot my gun tomorrow. It won't be a scientific fact if its me or the gun, but it certainly won't hurt either.

  • I often feel the same way you do, I ask a lot of questions but it takes me awhile to purchase.

    There's so many little (yet for me costly) things that help with this sport.

    I made the switch from 308 to 260 with the thought I could reuse some of my brass. I ended up not doing that.

    I haven't shot enough at distance to say if it was worth it (really with either so with out getting another 308 I won't ever be able to sayl

  • I would strongly consider a benchmark. I have a kreiger and a benchmark...and the benchmark seems to be much faster. Might just be me...but that is my experience. I am getting more FPS out of my 22" benchmark than my brother is out of his 26" factory barrel.

    As far as is always a trade off. I went with 308 for several reasons.

    1. I believe everyone should own a 308 bolt gun. It is just fundamental to shooting.
    2. The 308 has better barrel life. It is not unheard of to get 3000+ rounds out of it.
    3. The 308 is a more challenging round to learn on. The regular place I shoot is 600 yards. At 600 yards and a 308 the wind can be a challenge. I won't be able to learn the wind nearly as quickly on the more forgiving 6.5's.
    4. The 308 is marginally cheaper to shoot. I say marginally because really the only savings is in brass...and if one compares Lapua 308 brass to hornady 6.5 cm brass it could be argued the other direction as well.

    now...the 6.5 cm is also a good round to consider. While it does have some disadvantages (listed above), almost all of them could be argued in the affirmative as well. It will shoot farther than the 308 and it is more forgiving on wind than the 308 is.

    I know you have components and dies for 308...but don't base your decision on that. Components and dies can be sold and replaced with other components and dies and you will only lose a very small amount of money.

    Well...this is my take on caliber choice...but also keep in mind that should I change my mind on caliber (and I'm sure I will at some point in the future) I can order another barrel and change in out in under a minute. If I was going to be stuck with one barrel until it was shot out I might very well have gone with a 6.5 instead of the 308. As a matter of fact...I did go with the 6.5 (.260) on my tac ops when I had it built.

  • Thanks @dddoo7 thats the kind of answer I was looking for. I know I can sell all the dies and brass to cover most of my cost there, its just easier not to do it lol. I have to drive 2 hours to a public 1000 yard range. So more often then not I'm shooting out to 400-600 yards.

    I'll look into the benchmarks as well. My smith here suggested Krieger, and being he's a bench rest shooter/builder I thought I should listen.

    @rhyno I completely understand. We just started a big home improvement project so gun parts get pushed back a bit.

  • I will also suggest that you send the rifle to TS Customs. Your local smith might do just fine...but you KNOW travis will. He put together the barrel for my DTA, and has another one of my rifles he is working on right now. If you ship your action to him, he can ship it straight back to ffl needed.

  • All the top manufacturers can turn out a good barrel. Most can be found in stock somewhere like bugholes or bruno's.

    The best possible choice for you is to send your rifle to TS Customs for the re-barrel. He'll provide a benchmark blank and do it up to your desired configuration. He's got them on hand. If it doesn't shoot, he'll have the power to make it right. (almost never necessary, travis's rifles shoot)

    If you source your own components, you're on your own if the blank is bad.

  • I looked at the 6.5 CM when I re-barreled my .308 Howa; I like everything about it except that it is not allowed on the range where the mid range F class shoots were held here. Even if allowed, it would not qualify for the F/TR class.
    I agree with 3d, everyone should own a .308 and I would add a .223 bolt gun also. You are fortunate to live in a state where you can stretch the distances and the 6.5 maybe the right choice for you.

    That being said, think it through and go with what you want. You can always change your mind down the road.

  • Part of my thinking was, that at the time I was interested in doing competitions and the 260 would help a bit, that never happened.

    Right now I'm looking to do the reverse, I want to get a 223 so that I can learn on a shorter range. (Or a better 22lr I haven't decided what to do next and it's still a ways off money wise so it doesn't matter.)

  • I'll send Travis a PM.

    My guy still says stick to .308. I wouldn't mind having a 6.5 down the road though. But I think my next gun will be a .223 bolt gun. I like my AR, but I love bolt guns.

  • @norcal_in_az

    My 6.5 sits in my safe and I shoot my 308 every week. I wouldn't mind having a 6.5 barrel for the DTA either, but the 308 works great for what I shoot right now. As a matter of fact I will probably skip straight from the 308 to a magnum cartridge when I get ready to stretch out farther...but that is a ways down the line. gotta get a scope for the .22lr next.

  • It's about what YOU want to do, not about what someone else wants you to do.

    Choosing 308 or 6.5 is about YOU. No one else.

    What do you want to do with this rifle? Do you care about round count? Do you like recoil? (as in, do you want to see a lot of it so you can learn to manage it?) ... or would you rather shoot little tiny groups and not have such a hard time of it? What kind of barrel length are you going to have? A short 308 running heavies will get STOMPED into oblivion ballistically by a 6.5CM of equal barrel length if the 308 is running heavy bullets.

    You have to decide what you want out of this rifle. Otherwise, no one is going to be able to tell you anything. I promise you no one on this forum (and probably many others) has as many rounds of 308 under their belt as I do. I've got quite a bit of experience with 6.5's too. ... so I can, and will, help you decide... but in order to tell you which to go with, I need to know what your expectations are.

    The truth of it is, the ONLY things a 308 does better than a 6.5CM is round count before rebarrelling is required, and more recoil, which can help you learn more.

    Outside of those two things, when it comes to killing big game, shooting targets at distance, and cutting little groups... the 6.5CM will kick the 308's ass every day of the week and twice on sunday.

  • @norcal_in_az said:

    I'll send Travis a PM.

    My guy still says stick to .308. I wouldn't mind having a 6.5 down the road though. But I think my next gun will be a .223 bolt gun. I like my AR, but I love bolt guns.

    That was supposed to say my gut, not my guy.

    I'm going to think on what your said @orkan before I reply directly to you later. Thanks.

  • @orkan When I go down this road of going full tilt on a barrel, blueprint, then a chassis, I don't want to have to rebarrel again for while. Yeah I don't shoot all that much, but I may and I like the idea of barrel life.

    I also would like to have a magnum someday. Maybe 300WM, or 7mmMag. Just because I want it and knowing I can knock over an animal at along ways off is cool. So I don't see going down in recoil helping me learn as you said.

    I still have very little idea on wind reading. I'm learning more everytime I shoot, but I feel that going to a wind cheating round isn't going to teach me as much either.

    I still have lots of improvement in me. Yeah I can out shoot the average guy, but I don't have the round count or experience that many others have. I need to learn and grow as a shooter, plain and simple.

  • Sounds like 308 is the way to go for you!

  • @norcal_in_az

    Nothing wrong with a 308 and with a 26" barrel shooting 155's you can come close to 6.5. Also think of round count of 100 rounds a month so 1200 rounds a year it should last you give or take a little 2 years for a new barrel for a 6.5