Gunsmithing What size bolt face for 338 lapua?

lonesomesniper

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Hey y'all, I'm looking at doing my first custom rifle build. The plan is to build a 338 lapua. Looking for any advice I can get. So far, all I've decided is that I want to go with a McMillan stock, Surgeon Rifles action, and I'm leaning towards a night force scope.

Which brings me to my question. What dimension bolt face do I need for a 338 lapua? Im looking at the SRA 1581XL.

Also any recommendations for a barrel?

Any help/ recommendations greatly appreciated. Thx.
 

Bandit31

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The .590 is what you’d need. There also appears to be a few people here waiting on those actions and having trouble getting in touch with Surgeon.

Can’t say Stiller’s been any better as of late so if they’re a back up plan with the TAC338, look for a stocking dealer and one that can get you spare parts if need be. I’ve been trying to get ahold of them for a few weeks now.
 

surgeon260

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The Surgeon XL is a great choice for the Lapua. I have two of those actions (one single shot and one repeater). It is scaled very well to the Lapua case. I waited about 10 months for my last one, which I ordered directly from Surgeon. Kind of frustrating, but not really that out of line for the industry. Well worth the wait in my opinion. It's a beast of an action.

As far as barrels, the XL action has a 1-1/8" tenon diameter, so you need to order a barrel with a 1.350" breech diameter. I would get a 1-9 twist Bartlein or Krieger that finishes around 28".

Since you asked for recommendations, here is what my gunsmith told me regarding the XL action and the 338 Lapua:

If you are wanting a repeater, consider the 338 Norma (or Norma Improved, if you are comfortable with a wildcat). It uses the same bolt face as the Lapua. Due to the shorter case length, the Norma is much better suited to a repeater action when shooting the heavy 300 grain bullets. You will lose a lot of case capacity with the Lapua when you load it to magazine length. The Lapua is much better suited to a single shot so you can load it it to 3.9+" COAL.
 

556ARs

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I'm in the same boat!
I'm going to build off a Rem 700 long action with a PTG bolt with .338 Lapua bolt face.
 

candyx

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    I ordered one 12 months ago ,haven't heard a word when it will be shipped. I already have a Bartlein Barrel and Area 419 Brake that I ordered at the same time with the 1581XL . I got tired of waiting so I purchased an .338 rifle, I figure if the action comes in I can sell it as a package to someone who wants to build a rifle immediately , action,barrel and brake.
     

    northern50

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    Buy a mausingfield, a SAKO TRG 42, a Barnard. Anything but Stiller or Surgeon. Save yourself the headache and broken extractors...
     

    northern50

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    If you are breaking extractors,,,,, the counter bore is machined wrong.


    Tell that to everyone on the line with a Stiller cheytac action that keeps a pocket full of extractors on hand.. I’m sure they all have the same counter bore problem. Try cheap ass ptg junk extractors.

    Has anyone tried to get ahold of Stiller lately? I wonder why PTG was having a blow out sale on actions...........?
     

    kthomas

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    If you can't source a Surgeon action in a timeline that suits you, I would also check out Defiance. I use their action with CIP mag cut and .585 bolt face for my .300NM build. It's a really slick action. You can custom order there actions in almost any configuration you could think of.
     
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    Robert Gradous

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    Tell that to everyone on the line with a Stiller cheytac action that keeps a pocket full of extractors on hand.. I’m sure they all have the same counter bore problem. Try cheap ass ptg junk extractors.

    Has anyone tried to get ahold of Stiller lately? I wonder why PTG was having a blow out sale on actions...........?
    What would I know,,,,,, just a pig farmer anyway.
     

    lonesomesniper

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    The Surgeon XL is a great choice for the Lapua. I have two of those actions (one single shot and one repeater). It is scaled very well to the Lapua case. I waited about 10 months for my last one, which I ordered directly from Surgeon. Kind of frustrating, but not really that out of line for the industry. Well worth the wait in my opinion. It's a beast of an action.

    As far as barrels, the XL action has a 1-1/8" tenon diameter, so you need to order a barrel with a 1.350" breech diameter. I would get a 1-9 twist Bartlein or Krieger that finishes around 28".

    Since you asked for recommendations, here is what my gunsmith told me regarding the XL action and the 338 Lapua:

    If you are wanting a repeater, consider the 338 Norma (or Norma Improved, if you are comfortable with a wildcat). It uses the same bolt face as the Lapua. Due to the shorter case length, the Norma is much better suited to a repeater action when shooting the heavy 300 grain bullets. You will lose a lot of case capacity with the Lapua when you load it to magazine length. The Lapua is much better suited to a single shot so you can load it it to 3.9+" COAL.

    Could you elaborate a bit more on the Norma instead of Lapua when it comes to a repeater? I do want a repeater, but I didn't know that would be an issue to consider with the 338 Lapua... Also do you have any insight on the surgeon bottom metal?
     

    lonesomesniper

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    If you can't source a Surgeon action in a timeline that suits you, I would also check out Defiance. I use their action with CIP mag cut and .585 bolt face for my .300NM build. It's a really slick action. You can custom order there actions in almost any configuration you could think of.

    Defiance was my plan b.. Would you say quality is equal to the surgeon actions?
     

    lonesomesniper

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    The .590 is what you’d need. There also appears to be a few people here waiting on those actions and having trouble getting in touch with Surgeon.

    Can’t say Stiller’s been any better as of late so if they’re a back up plan with the TAC338, look for a stocking dealer and one that can get you spare parts if need be. I’ve been trying to get ahold of them for a few weeks now.

    Thank you. I was having a hard time trying to find the correct diameter. And you've been trying to reach surgeon for two weeks now? Poor customer service? or?
     

    Bandit31

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    Thank you. I was having a hard time trying to find the correct diameter. And you've been trying to reach surgeon for two weeks now? Poor customer service? or?


    Stiller, their CS used to be pretty awesome from the little bit I experienced with them but they went through a personal change and it's been poor ever since. I've sent a few emails and made some calls to get parts for an action with no response.

    I sold my Surgeon after learning about their problems with poor CS too.
     

    surgeon260

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    Regarding the extractors...

    I have four Surgeon actions. None have had extractor problems. But don't listen to me. If Robert Gradous is in this thread saying the extractors are fine, that is all you need to know.

    Regarding Surgeon customer service...

    Kara answers the phone every time I call. 623-780-1050. And she always calls me back when she says she will. Again not sure what people are talking about. Yes these actions have a wait time of 10-12 months. I don't consider that a customer service issue.

    Regarding the 338 Norma...

    It is basically a shorter Lapua case that has less taper. Still a beast of a cartridge. Brass is widely available from Norma, Peterson, and soon Lapua. It will push a 300 at 2750 without breaking a sweat. My improved version is over 2900 with Berger 300s. You can absolutely run a Lapua at mag length; tons of people do it. Bullet seating just is not optimal. You asked for recommendations, so that is mine for what it's worth.
     

    BCX

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    I have a Defiance Deviant .590 Ion bonded w internal polish in a 338 LM AI which is still tight in my opinion. Defiantly need to keep the bolt oiled up. I just picked up a Surgeon XL build that I'm going to use for a 2ND 338 LM AI build. I prefer the Surgeon actions in my collection!!!
     

    lonesomesniper

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    Regarding the extractors...

    I have four Surgeon actions. None have had extractor problems. But don't listen to me. If Robert Gradous is in this thread saying the extractors are fine, that is all you need to know.

    Regarding Surgeon customer service...

    Kara answers the phone every time I call. 623-780-1050. And she always calls me back when she says she will. Again not sure what people are talking about. Yes these actions have a wait time of 10-12 months. I don't consider that a customer service issue.

    Regarding the 338 Norma...

    It is basically a shorter Lapua case that has less taper. Still a beast of a cartridge. Brass is widely available from Norma, Peterson, and soon Lapua. It will push a 300 at 2750 without breaking a sweat. My improved version is over 2900 with Berger 300s. You can absolutely run a Lapua at mag length; tons of people do it. Bullet seating just is not optimal. You asked for recommendations, so that is mine for what it's worth.

    So does it just have to do with the length of the casing of the lapua vs. the shorter norma that makes the difference?
     

    BCX

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    First I heard about this problem? Funny I have had no issues w any of my Surgeon action rifles.
     
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    kthomas

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    Defiance was my plan b.. Would you say quality is equal to the surgeon actions?

    I don't own any Surgeons but have handled a few. Quality of the Defiance actions are top tier - it's peers with Surgeon and any of the other top tier actions for quality.

    You can't really go wrong with the Defiance for this application, IMO. The Defiance has a standard rem700 LA foot print, where the Surgeon 1581XL has a different foot print, and the Surgeon also requires a barrel with a thicker tennon if I recall correctly - limits your options for chassis and barrels are more expensive. Maybe not a deal breaker, but something to consider.

    A plus with the Defiance is that you can order it in almost any configuration you want - coatings (bare, nitrided, DLC/IonBonded), where the ejection port is (left or right side), LH or RH, single or dual plungers for extraction, 0 - 40 MOA of elevation for the integral base, bolt handle style and size, etc - basically however you want.
     
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    BCX

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    My only complaint about the Surgeon XL is Proof won’t make me a 1.350 shank 338 barrel! Proof makes a large shank 375 CT barrel but no XL 338 love! ?
     
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    surgeon260

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    So does it just have to do with the length of the casing of the lapua vs. the shorter norma that makes the difference?

    Pretty much yeah. The shorter case makes it easier to fit the cartridges in a magazine while seating 300 grainers way out where they want to be. The Norma has less body taper than the Lapua so it makes up some capacity that way. The shoulder dimensions are also a little different. Performance wise, the Lapua has a bit more case capacity so it has a bit more headroom (to the tune of 50-75 fps), but the Norma is not far behind while burning 6-8 fewer grains of powder.

    Or you could improve the Norma (40 degree shoulder, min taper) and have all the benefits of both cartridges. That is the route I went.
     

    Iron-E

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    I wanted to use a Cadex Action but they don't have a .590 bolt face. Would .600 be usable for a 338 Laupua Magnum? Also, I haven't found anything, but is there a bottom action that allows the use of 10rd AI mags? All the bottoms seem to be meant for 5rds.