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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In 1967 I bought my first centerfire rifle ... a Winchester Model 70 Varmint grade in .243 Winchester. As many may know .243 is something of a barrel burner and I was seeing evidence of throat erosion so the other day I ran my borescope through it and the inside of the barrel looked like a country road after a bad winter. It's time for a new tube.

Currently I reload for .243, 30-06, and .308. Note that in 1967 Winchester didn't make short action M-70's - at least not in the Varmint grade - so my rifle is a long action and could handle any of those rounds. Also, the cartridge head is the same dimension for all of them. In my mind I could have it re-barreled in any of those calibers, and I have components for all three ... especially the 30-06.

So I'm trying to decide which one.

.243:
-Pros
-- Flat shooting
-- Mild recoil
-- Eats less powder than the others
-Cons
-- Another barrel burner
-- I have components but my brass is about at the end of it's life.

.308:
-Pros
-- Accurate
-- Recoil is not bad
-- Mid range for powder consumption
-- Got lots of .308 bullets and I have the equipment to cast my own if I run out
-Cons
-- Don't have that much brass

30-06:
-Pros
-- Got lots of brass and bullets, some surplus from an M1 Garand and some unfired Winchester brass - the good stuff that was made before Winchester replaced all the quality control personnel with orangutans who will pass any thing that looks like a banana
-- Also pretty accurate
-- Can use heavy bullets with H4831 powder which produces some very accurate loads with milder recoil
-Cons
-- More recoil than the other two
-- More powder consumption than the other two

So what's your opinion on those three and ONLY those three. Don't puff out you chest and insist that those calibers are all crap and I should re-chamber it for some super-duper whiz bang wildcat that shoots flatter and faster than light and will kill Godzilla all the way to the moon. Don't want to spend the money on a new barrel and die of old age before I can find ammo or reloading components and dies to shoot the frickin' thing. Ain't gonna do it.馃槈

Now to go make some popcorn.

Hector

p.s. I know replacing the barrel will cost more than a new rifle but it has sentimental value so I want to keep it running.
 
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I believe you have to decide what you want to shoot. Paper target, competitive shooting, or hunting game. It seems to me if you shot a 243 enough to burn out the barrel 243 would be an easy answer unless you no longer have a use for it. Your model 70 is post 64 so not a high end collector. They say stainless lasts longer, go for the pinto look. Brass is available like everything else somewhat expensive. Good luck I'm looking for 243 components for the neighbor who shoots coyotes and fox. He used a 17 for Fox and the 243 for coyotes. 243 has a wide range of projectile weights and it very useful for wife variety of shooting
 

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I would not really consider the 243 to be a barrel burner. Of course, it can be done, but you would have to work at it.
Truthfully, unless you plan to shoot a lot of really heavy loads, with light bullets and a crap load of powder, it will out last the shooting years you have left, given you have been working on the last barrel for over 50 years. :)

Many of the mentors that I had, when I first started re-loading, and others since, including a couple of gun smiths, believe that barrel erosion occurs prematurely when you either over heat the barrel, by shooting it too long before letting it cool off, or when you try and push for the last couple hundred feet of velocity.

I have both a 243 and a 22-250 that have seen many rounds down the barrel, and both still shoot under and MOA.
Both have been shot with loads that were a couple hundred feet less than Max. Most guns do not get the best accuracy at wide open speeds, at least not for me.

Any of the calibers mentioned are wonderful, but there is a lot of difference between 24 and 30 caliber. Depends on what you plan to do with them. Judging from your history with this gun, you are not a young man, so a softer shooting cartridge like the 243, may be more pleasant to shoot, as you continue to age.
Both the 308 and the 3006 will recoil pretty heavily in a light weight gun like a Model 70.

A 7 X 57 is a soft shooting, and a classic cartridge, that I have some love for it. However if I was re-barreling a gun to 7mm, I would probably go with a 7mm 08, as brass would be so much more abundant, and the design of the cartridge is way more modern.
If factory cases cant be found, neck down some new, or once fired 308 brass, and you are there..

You know what the say about opinions... :)
 

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When surplus ammo for the .30-06 was readily available I would have recommended that, but in today's world, I think that .308 is the better choice.

If you reload, and have the bullets .30-06 would remain my choice. The cost of powder isn't that much of the cost of reloading the cartridge.
 

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I know the 30-06 is "America's cartridge". but to me. the extra recoil is not worth the minimal increase in power over the .308. I think I would go that route, or stay with the .243 depending on what you intend to use the rifle for.
 

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But WHAT are you planning on shooting??? I would think that makes a difference. No ??
 

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I'm in the camp saying to keep it at 243. If you are are still shooting it after another 50 years you probably wont be able to see the effects of another burned out barrel anyhow. 馃槈
The 308 and 30-06 are fine cartridges, but the 243 is far more pleasant shooting.

John
 

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The real test is how the gun shoots. Just because it has some throat erosion doesn't mean a new barrel would shoot any better. I have a Remington 03A3 from 1943 and I don't even need a borescope to tell me it has throat erosion, but it still shoots sub-MOA 5 shot groups at 100 yards more often than it should.

With a classic gun like you have, you'd have to decide if it's worth messing with the OEM parts. I'm sure you have other rifles to do what it needs to do.

If you are set on rebarreling, the real question is what would you use it for? If it's to be used as a varminter, I'd opt for the 243 or even the 22-250. With the 30-06 case head, you have no shortage of options from which to choose.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just to follow up, I'm leaning towards the 30-06.

Not just because of barrel life, and, yes the current .243 has lost accuracy. In fact the M 70 with a 24 inch heavy barrel should be able to outshoot a Model 670 with a 20 inch sporter barrel, but it does not.

Components for the .243 are dwindling. Not very many bullets and the brass has gone through quite a few cycles and a lot of it needs to be retired.

I'm also low on .308 brass but enough to keep me happy for my one rifle chambered in that caliber.

For the 30-06 I have 150 rounds of unfired Winchester brass, some fired Winchester brass, at least 500 of once fired surplus brass, and 100 to 200 rounds of unfired surplus ammo. Add to that my excellent supply of .308 bullets plus the ability to cast a bunch more, and a good supply of H4831 for which the 30-06 is the best option, it seems like the question kinda answers itself.

Hector
 

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Just to follow up, I'm leaning towards the 30-06.

Not just because of barrel life, and, yes the current .243 has lost accuracy. In fact the M 70 with a 24 inch heavy barrel should be able to outshoot a Model 670 with a 20 inch sporter barrel, but it does not.

Components for the .243 are dwindling. Not very many bullets and the brass has gone through quite a few cycles and a lot of it needs to be retired.

I'm also low on .308 brass but enough to keep me happy for my one rifle chambered in that caliber.

For the 30-06 I have 150 rounds of unfired Winchester brass, some fired Winchester brass, at least 500 of once fired surplus brass, and 100 to 200 rounds of unfired surplus ammo. Add to that my excellent supply of .308 bullets plus the ability to cast a bunch more, and a good supply of H4831 for which the 30-06 is the best option, it seems like the question kinda answers itself.

Hector
What kind of accuracy are you getting? Barrel length doesn't necessarily imply accuracy, and model 70 vs. 670 isn't really relevant. Accuracy comes from developing a load and tailoring it to your gun.

Are you talking about 2 MOA, 3? 4?
 

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Just to follow up, I'm leaning towards the 30-06.

Not just because of barrel life, and, yes the current .243 has lost accuracy. In fact the M 70 with a 24 inch heavy barrel should be able to outshoot a Model 670 with a 20 inch sporter barrel, but it does not.

Components for the .243 are dwindling. Not very many bullets and the brass has gone through quite a few cycles and a lot of it needs to be retired.

I'm also low on .308 brass but enough to keep me happy for my one rifle chambered in that caliber.

For the 30-06 I have 150 rounds of unfired Winchester brass, some fired Winchester brass, at least 500 of once fired surplus brass, and 100 to 200 rounds of unfired surplus ammo. Add to that my excellent supply of .308 bullets plus the ability to cast a bunch more, and a good supply of H4831 for which the 30-06 is the best option, it seems like the question kinda answers itself.

Hector
Hey Hector,

Think about having the barrel set back!

Many do this with good success.

Later, Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey Hector,

Think about having the barrel set back!

Many do this with good success.

Later, Mark
I appreciate the suggestion and I briefly considered it, until I ran the bore scope down it. That bore is a wreck from gee to haw. Setting it back would not be prudent.

Hector
 
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I appreciate the suggestion and I briefly considered it, until I ran the bore scope down it. That bore is a wreck from gee to haw. Setting it back would not be prudent.

Hector
Hey Hector,

Thank you for the reply....

Two options. Rebore the 243 to 7mm '08.

Second? Give Shaw Barrel, down to Bridgeville, Pa. a call.

Order up a new .243 tube.

Since low recoil = more FUN.....?? That may be a great way to go. ??

Later, Mark
 
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In 1967 I bought my first centerfire rifle ... a Winchester Model 70 Varmint grade in .243 Winchester. As many may know .243 is something of a barrel burner and I was seeing evidence of throat erosion so the other day I ran my borescope through it and the inside of the barrel looked like a country road after a bad winter. It's time for a new tube.

Currently I reload for .243, 30-06, and .308. Note that in 1967 Winchester didn't make short action M-70's - at least not in the Varmint grade - so my rifle is a long action and could handle any of those rounds. Also, the cartridge head is the same dimension for all of them. In my mind I could have it re-barreled in any of those calibers, and I have components for all three ... especially the 30-06.

So I'm trying to decide which one.

.243:
-Pros
-- Flat shooting
-- Mild recoil
-- Eats less powder than the others
-Cons
-- Another barrel burner
-- I have components but my brass is about at the end of it's life.

.308:
-Pros
-- Accurate
-- Recoil is not bad
-- Mid range for powder consumption
-- Got lots of .308 bullets and I have the equipment to cast my own if I run out
-Cons
-- Don't have that much brass

30-06:
-Pros
-- Got lots of brass and bullets, some surplus from an M1 Garand and some unfired Winchester brass - the good stuff that was made before Winchester replaced all the quality control personnel with orangutans who will pass any thing that looks like a banana
-- Also pretty accurate
-- Can use heavy bullets with H4831 powder which produces some very accurate loads with milder recoil
-Cons
-- More recoil than the other two
-- More powder consumption than the other two

So what's your opinion on those three and ONLY those three. Don't puff out you chest and insist that those calibers are all crap and I should re-chamber it for some super-duper whiz bang wildcat that shoots flatter and faster than light and will kill Godzilla all the way to the moon. Don't want to spend the money on a new barrel and die of old age before I can find ammo or reloading components and dies to shoot the frickin' thing. Ain't gonna do it.馃槈

Now to go make some popcorn.

Hector

p.s. I know replacing the barrel will cost more than a new rifle but it has sentimental value so I want to keep it running.
Hang that one on the wall and buy a new one.
 

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I've been through this very thing a few times. It all boils down to what you're going to do with it. Varmints up to antelope, stay with .243. Deer and similar game, maybe up around the .257 Roberts. Just as accurate at the .243 with a bit more punch. Long range, maybe .308, but with the long action, accuracy may be less than some other rifles in the same caliber. 30-06 is always a great choice if you have lots of components. Good luck in your choice.
 
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