Ive used a Rem 700 in 6.5x284 as one of my main stalking rifles for the last 20 years. The action was originally a 25-06 and came to me from Scotland having seen hard use in the highlands. It has been rebarrelled four times in my ownership (by me) and proven to be a very reliable and accurate tool, along with a 6.5x47 they have accounted for, many many deer. Each barrel lasted approximately 1300 rounds. The 700 action, over the years has suffered quite a bit of use (abuse) and in the last twelve months has started stripping its Sako extractor inexplicably and also stripped the forward scope screw which had already been opened to 8/40. It owes me nothing, so this year (end 2019) I decided that the action would be scrapped when the barrel was shot out.
Having an interest in Precision Rifle Shooting competition, having my own stalking on a largish estate in the north and undertaking work culling when called to do so means I need an accurate and reliable rifle (and back up) so I started researching what to use as a replacement.
Yes, I could simply buy another 700, get a custom clone to replace or buy a T3, but I prefer not to conform to trend and most people who know me will say if theres a hard way, I'll go that route...
Anyway, I also didnt want to use 6.5 x 284 again, as I fancied a change after 20 yrs.
The alternatives were another 6.5x47, 6.5 Creedmoor, 260 Rem, 6.5 Skan
I decided a compromise was in order, so elected to use 260 Rem as the base
Respective cases against the 6.5x284
L to R 6.4x47, 6.5 CM, 260 Rem , 260 Improved, 6.5x284
Many may consider a long action catridge a disadvantage, I don't, its milliseconds slower to cycle than a short action so, I started thinking 260 / 6.5 Scan as the alternative to "284"
Another consideration to my spec was to be able to feed light lathe turned solids (LTS) in the 95 - 110g range and also stabilise up to 155 g traditional bullets and feed from a mag, I also wanted to use the rifle in "conventional" format for kill work and have the ability to use it in competition in a different stock and possibly change barrels easily should I want to.
The list of possible actions suddenly becomes quite small and after some soul searching I elected to buy a used SSG3000.
These rifles were designed from the ground up as a target rifle for civillian use (in STR200 format) for use in speed shooting competition in Scandinavia, have a very slick, six lug bolt, two stage trigger and have the ability to swap barrels simply and quickly. They also come in one action length allowing 30-06 length cartridges to be used but will also feed short action cases(with short bullets) from the clever single stack magazine with inbuilt feed ramp.
The mag will allow 22-250 AI case with 50 g to feed with the next round being a 30-06 and 180 g bullet - an eye opener.
So, with that in mind, I sourced a lightly used SSG 3000 (the difference being the SSG 3000 has integral picatinny rail) and set to work.
Comparison against L/A Rem 700 thats being retired
I had hoped to use the PSE composites E Tac stock and SSG action but a lay over conmparision shows that simply is a non starter and the SSG action will not fit as id like
The standard SSG 3000 stock on my example is the Target model, which allows easy ajustment of length, comb height and has integral lower forend rail for easy ajustment of bipod position.
In standard (308 form) the rifle from the outset shot sub MOA with cheap factory ammo, the two stage trigger is excellent and ajustabkle for both stage weights, length of pull and trigger blade angle.
During my research I came upon a company in Denmark AH Larsen, who manufacture barrel extensions - in essence the bolt lugs lock into the barrel not the action - as used in TUBB ATR / 2000 and AR15 - tried and tested and as the Tubb system holds many records it must work,,
I had a barrel extension sent across (Anders Larsen was very helpful) and made the process seamless.
Barrel extension and bolt head engaged as they would be within the action.
I then obtained a Bartlein 6.5mm barrel and machined the barrel to fit the extension.
Some minor alteration was required to allow the bolt to close within the extension (my bolt is as new and has zero wear)
Once I had altered the extension piece to allow "bolt drop" on stripped bolt I chambered the barrel to headspace +001" in the chosen case.
I made up some cases to fireform in a separate slave barrel using cream of wheat method and some pistol powder (those were the days)
These proved to make perfect cases for use in the SSG Chamber
Then to the range to try the gun at 200 mtrs with a development load of XY.Z RS60 to XZ.Z RS60 and some "SMK"
The results with a three grain spread of powder in .2gr increments was impressive - the three holes outside the main group were the higher vo charges, which showed pressure and will not be used at that level
I also tested accuracy at 200 mts with 143 ELDX in non fireformed cases
The rifle delivered typical accuracy using this bullet with another three groups at .400" (at 200 MTRS) with absolutely as expected velocities in the parent brass
Suffice to say, I am please with the build so far, further testing will be done with SMK and some ELDM, velocities with the SMK are very consistent with ES in low teen or single figures and vo at a speed where one may take advantage of the G7 BC...