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Hoping for a little guidance here, so I have a T3 Varmint 20" in .308.

Shoots good and same hole this week at 100m, does well out to 600 - but then I seem to struggle a bit.
Now, occasionally I shoot @1000+ and would like to be fairly capable.
Question is where do I go from here, sell the whole shebang and buy a newer T3 Tac/Precision in 6.5 or (whatever) @circa £1600.
Do I drop some money on a stock as that OE one seems a bit nasty to me - but how much do you spend?
Update the scope (Fox 8x32).
Keep the action and rebarrel longer.

What would be the best next move?

Lets say best way forward for £500 to be spent on this thing, used Sightron etc etc.

Thanks

 

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It depends on how much shooting you plan to do at 1000.  Whilst a 20 inch barrel on a .308 will get you there, you'll have to be loading pretty hot to keep it above trans-sonic. I use a 24 inch .308 T3 varmint and 175 TMKs shot at 2670fps but although I've managed moa at that distance with this combination, it's hardly competitive.  It's fine if you're just shooting for fun and to test your own skills but not for any serious work.  If you don't plan on doing too much at that distance, I'd say hang on to what you have, perhaps drop it into a GRS Decima Sporter or similar stock and develop your shooting skills.

If you plan on doing most of your shooting at 1000, and it's a range only rifle, then as far as factory rifle choices go, about the most suitable would be the Sabatti STR in 6.5 CM using a 26 inch barrel, or the excellent Tikka TAC A1 (24 inch again...don't buy the shorter one as it'll be an unnecessary handicap) or somehting like the new Ruger precision enhanced.  Those Sabatti's seem to have very fast shooting barrels and I know of someone shooting 3000fps+ loads with 139 Scenars.  I shoot the TAC A1 and the harmonic node with mine and the same bullet seems to be between 2630 and 2650fps.  It's a slippery bullet so whilst that's fine for 1000 yds, to be competitive I'd really prefer a minimum velocity of 2800fps which is achievable if loading a bit hotter (which I don't like doing).

Your scope is your main limiting factor at present.  An 8x scope just won't cut it for precision shooting past 600 yards.  If you have an all up budget of just £500, and this is all for a bit of fun, I'd caution throwing £500 away on any new scope replacement as you wont get very good glass at that budget (or if you do the mechanicals will be compromised).

I think that if it's just a bit of fun and learning, then hang onto your rifle, re-stock it in a GRS Decima Sporter (on offer at present) and put the rest of the budget towards good glass.  For around £850, the Bushnell DMR using the G2DMR ret is simply unbeatable at the price, with really only the new Gen2 Vortex Viper PST challenging it (from experience, not from reading reviews).  That would give you a very capable and accurate set up for fun shooting but you'll still need to be pushing stiff loads to do well so expect barrel life to suffer.

As you've mentioned, a change to something different will get you a more capable 1000yd outfit but you'll also have to invest in better glass and new reloading gear so it could be quite and expensive way to go.  It would be cheaper to just have your T3 re-barrelled with a custom 6.5 ot 7mm barrel (about £750 all in), use something like the GRS stock and up-grade the glass.

You can buy plenty of good used scopes such as the S3/DMR/PST for around the £650 mark.

In your shoes, I'd keep the rifle (T3 actions are pretty decent to start with and the triggers are good), rebarrel it and fit it into a more deserving stock topped off with a good used scope. 

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I would say £500 isn't enough money to see any real step forward from where you are currently at so put the money away and try to save more as you can. Your 8-32x Fox scope although not state of the art in terms of glass will be good enough in the context of the rest of your gear and Id be surprised if a stock on its own would give you any great leaps forward.

Realistically so long as the Fox scope holds POA a good quality barrel will be your first significant improvement.

If you were thinking of spending £1600 as you suggest on a factory Tikka you could make real inroads to the rifle you have with a new match quality Bartlein or Krieger barrel chambered and throated to best suit the caliber you choose (with optimised twist rate for the bullets you plan to shoot) a GRS Berserk stock and a trigger upgrade and still have some money left for some ammo.

On the other hand buy the new factory Tikka, Im sure it will also be a significant step forward from where you are, sadly £500 in this game doesn't buy you very big steps at all. 

 

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This is the thing - I could sell the .308 add another £800 or so and be in 6.5 and 24”. You see the dilemma I’m in.

1000yds would be for fun at ETR and once or twice at Bisley or Lydd. Definitely not more than four times a year.

The stock appears to be the limiting factor according to others and I looked at GRS and Parmoor or MDT but they start to get expensive.

by the time I’ve priced up a new stock and barrel I’m at £1200 roughly.

I’m not sure but for 2k I’m guessing I’d be into something pretty serious if I bought Dolphin or similar - unless they are £££££ more than I thought or even some custom R700s.

This is why I’m struggling - unless a rebarreled T3 in a good stock would be heaps better than a factory Tac A1 for example.

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Hi Spencer

Some time ago I was in a similar position to you, before I really caught the FTR bug.  I have competed with, and still own, factory actions that perform exceptionally well at long range, but a certain level of investment is required.  As Big Al has suggested, the most 'bang for your buck' is to replace the existing barrel with a match quality one, this is where you will see the highest level of improvement for your money (as well as getting the twist rate / length / profile chambering that you want).  This will also give you the opportunity to change to 6.5cm if that is something of importance to you.

As far as a stock is concerned, have a look at the KRG Bravo, which is a drop-in replacement, will not require bedding, and is relatively good value. 

Overall, a similar level of investment to buying a Tikka Tac A1; BUT, the big difference is that you will have that all important match barrel rather than a factory one, which will always offer better performance than the factory barrel.  You don't see the 'smiths on this forum replacing barrels with hammer forged factory options - there is a reason for that.  Some factory barrels can perform well; however, all properly fitted match barrels will perform.

Whilst resources may mean that you are currently unable to get that full custom rifle you may like; since you already have the action, a semi-custom should outperform a similar factory option every time...good luck!

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Thanks chaps

I've got a few ideas - but the main point here seems get a match barrel.

Who do I talk to about that - any recommendations?
Length and Caliber for a consistent 1000yd with what I have?

I had looked at 6.5CM and 260 Rem as possibles or even sticking with .308 as ammo is easy to source?

 

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Ronin got the perfect rifle in classifieds for you at your budget

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I think he's referring to this item in the For Sale classified - just needed to scroll through a couple of pages.

 

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I'm a little confused by the recommendations here to splash out up to £2K for an improvement for a rifle that the OP has said he will only shoot perhaps 4 times a year at 1000 yds and for a "bit of fun" rather than competition.

There's no need to spend that sort of money to get reliably to 1000 yds...lets put things into a bit of perspective chaps!

A factory barrel, especially the 24 inch Tikka and 26 inch Sabatti options are perfectly good enough to shoot to 1000 and well beyond and shoot reliably to moa at that in the right hands with the right loads (I've done it many times myself but am no top rate match shooter).  Granted, you see few Tikkas shooting into the "3's or 4's" at 1000 but I have seen one shot very proficiently into the "5's" and "6's", and that is pretty astonishing for any factory rifle.  A Tikka Tac took a national 600m title last year as I understand it too, and with group sizes that would put some custom barreled shooters to shame ;-).

If this is all that the OP wishes to do, and the rest of the time is shooting at perhaps between 100 to 600 on other ranges/own land, then any of these factory options will be more than good enough.  The Tikka TAC A1 or Sabatti STR would be my personal recommendations as very accurate well made factory rifles, preferably in 6.5mm.

If keeping your own rifle chap, then there are a few offers on presently for the GRS Decima Sporter stock £350 to £400.  That is way better than the Beserk stock (no front end  flex!) and a drop in replacement for your rifle.  

The Fox scope may be optically and mechanically pretty sound, but you are going to struggle with precision at long range using an 8x, so if funds are very tight, look at a Falcon Menace in FFP instead.  Sub £400 and about the best LR scope for the money.  Add £350 for the GRS stock and a re-barrel and you're looking just sub £1500.  You have to ask yourself whether this is money well spent for shooting 4 times a year to 1000 yards.  In your shoes, on reflection, I'd put the money into a much better scope, use the rifle you have and see how you get on.  Good glass is rarely money wasted and is transferable to another rifle.  If you decide you want to do more or that you would like to invest in something more suitable money-wise, then you'll not do better for around £1700 than a Sabatti or tikka Tac A3.  I priced up going the custom build route and was looking at £2,300 for a good but basic build.  The alternative as already pointed out is t o save a similar amount £1600 to £1700) and at a later date drop your action into a KRG or GRS stock fitted with a custom barrel.

Personally, in your shoes, if only shooting 4 times annually to 1000, I'd stick with what you have and buy decent glass.  There's more to shooting LR than the value and technical specs of the rifle.  Reading the wind well counts for more than the rifle's ability.  Getting to grips with producing small ES reloads is also essential, as is shooting technique.  Only when these things are proficient, will a much better rifle outfit be of real benefit.  All imho of course.

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Just to be fair to the Fox scope, its 8-32 power - it does OK, but I do need to upgrade that as well. So I have my work cut out, load development, new glass, and then the crossroads of upgrade vs Tac A1.

I've had a ballpark quote on the rebarrel and its the same investment as selling the Varmint and buying the Tac.
Almost to the pound.

Not easy.

 

 

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The Tac gives you a superb chassis so if the investment looks to be the same, I'd switch to a TAC or even a Ruger Precision Mk2 for the same money....then again you have the excellent Sabatti STR as well....take your pick!  All are accurate  rifles well suited to range work.

There's something more personal and satisfying I think though in going the custom route, one benefit of which is you are able to specify a barrel and barrel length that some massed produced rifles mightn't quite live up to.  The gap does seem to be lessening though as there have been reports on the competition scene of superb results with factory TAC A1s and Sabattis.

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