.257/300 Win Mag Wildcat

.257/300 Win Mag, Let's start from the beginning....

This is a project that started out as a simple search for something fun to do. I was visiting the local gun shop one day, Trop Gun Shop, here in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and one of the employees was talking about the wildcat they use for shooting groundhogs. He spoke about his 6.5/300 Weatherby Improved , shooting 107g Sierra MatchKings to great distances with incredible velocities. Well, this really got my juices flowing to build a wildcat and I proceded to track down information on this groundhog killer. During my search I found a ton of great information but nothing quite got my attention like a reference to a .257/300 Win Mag in the wildcat forum on Shooters.com. I quickly e-mailed the individual with the post and asked him about about his gun, who made the reamer, how did it shoot, etc... My first "big" gun was a 300 Win Mag and I have a romantic attachment to the cartridge; so, I knew that if I could pull this together, this was the round for me!!

To make a long story short, he had the reamer custom made by Pacific Precision Grinding & Machine (PPG). Click here to see the spec sheet for the reamer. He gracously offered to allow me to use the reamer to cut a chamber if I decided to build a gun. He also offered to sell me the reamer. And, after feedback from my shooting buddies indicating that they might want to build a 257/300 also, I bought the reamer and went to work assembling the components needed complete my project.

First, I needed an action. My first blush was to find a Remington 700 with a .532 bolt face, something in 7mm Mag, 300WM, or any other caliber that showed up on a used gun rack. I searched for about a month and finally decided I just wasn't going to find one for what I had in my budget. I wanted to stay under $300. So I need to find plan "B". Maybe a Savage. I'd been hearing and reading good things about Savage and thought maybe I can be one of the first kids on the block with a tricked out Savage. A few days after this revelation, I stumble on a used Savage 110 in 7mm Mag and I decide this is the foundation of my new project.

Now that I have an action, I need to get it blueprinted. This is the basis of my new beast and I will spare no chance for success. Again, on Shooters.com, I saw reference to Paul Dorsey who is a gunsmith in Texas that had a good reputation with Savage actions. I contacted Paul and sent him the the action with the barrel removed for easier shipping. Paul did a superb job at truing the treads and lapping the bolt. Paul also pinned and installed a Holland recoil lug and upgraded the fire control package, with new trigger from Sharp Shooters Supply. Now that I had the action issues well in hand, I set out to find a barrel.

Since I'm from the northeast, I figured I'd start with Hart Barrels in LaFayette, New York. Although I looked at all the other top quality barrel manufacturers, I decided to stick with Hart in my continued quest for excellence. I ordered their Magnum 1,000 contour (1.250" for 4" X .875" @ 29") in .257 with a 1-12" twist. I wanted to shoot Berger's 95g bullet and they recomended a 1-12" twist to launch this .343BC projectile. I choose to have the barrel fluted to help save on weight and to help with cooling. I imagine this baby is going to make some heat so I wanted to maximize surface area.

Well, that was easy... in a few days I had purchased an action, arranged for blueprinting and a new trigger and ordered the barrel. Let's see, what's next... so, I made a list:
1) Gunsmith, who's going to put it together
2) Stock decisions
3) Reloading dies
4) Scope... very important, almost forgot this one

For a gunsmith, I asked the gentleman who I got the reamer from who he used to chamber teh one rifle he made. He used Bud Weiker of Weiker's Gun Repair in Wooster, OH. I thought it would be beneficial to use someone who had experience with the chamber and Mr Weiker came highly recomended. I contacted Mr Weiker and he agreed to chamber and thread my barrel.

For a stock, I went exploring for a do-it-yourself project. I settled on a unfinished stock Elkridge stock from Reamer Rentals. I choose a thumbhole benchmark stock, no cheek piece, in Electric blue with a flat bottom, 3 inch forend and had the stock inletted for the Savage action. I ordered the stock and started looking for a suitable scope.

Dies were pretty easy to arrange. I called Fred Zeglin of Z-Hat Custom, sent him the chamber specifications and he took the job of cutting dies.

(L to R) 300WM, Case @ .308, .284, .264, .257, 25-300WM, 22-250

Since this was a project of excess, I thought it deserved the best set of optics I could offord. By the time I got serious about looking for a scope, my chambered barrel had been returned from the Weiker's Gun Repair and the stock had arrived from Reamer Rental's. So I had all the components together except the looking glass. Then, I met Jeff Bortz at a local gun show and he had a nice selection of Nightforce scopes for sale. After much debate, I selected an 8-32x56 with the NP-1RR reanging reticle. 20MOA tapered Nightforce bases and Warne rings completed the optics package.

So, there's the story....and if you're brave enough to see how much all this cost, feel free to take a look at what a I have invested. OUCH!!

So, how does it shoot....

How does a muzzle velocity of 4015fps, with 1/2 MOA groups sound?? That's what she does...

Pics of targets to follow....

Related Links
Accurate Reloading's 25/300WM Page
Quarterbore's Home Page A great resource for other .25 caliber cartridges


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