Gunfight Friday: .308 Spinoffs

Today’s gunfight pits a couple of nice bolt actions against one another. Both are chambered for spinoffs of the venerable .308, which has become the most popular short-action sporting cartridge in the world since its introduction in 1952. And, of course, anytime you invent a cartridge, people start fooling with it to make it better, or at least to suit some specific purpose.

Thus the 7mm-08 was born in 1958, and was legitimized by Remington in 1980. It is, by all accounts, a light-kicking cartridge that kills deer-size things very dead. The .338 Federal has only been around since 2006 and is the result of collaboration between Federal and Sako to be a medium bore-cartridge for short-action rifles.

Tee Bone’s Remington 722

The rifle is a Remington Model 722, originally chambered in the .222 Remington cartridge. After many years of good service the bore finally gave it up, so for its 60th birthday it became a project rifle, receiving a trip to the gunsmith for a re-bore and action work. The new chambering is .338 Federal, the result of a coin toss between that and the .358 Winchester. It also received a D.I.Y. stock makeover and a few other enhancements in an effort to (hopefully) make it a little more pleasing to the eye. The rifle is fairly compact but not a lightweight. The original barrel was a meaty 26 inches, and now at 22 inches and with a .338 bore it is still quite stout. The result is a rock-solid shooter with very manageable recoil, which to me is worth a little added weight. The remarkable aspect of this rifle is the accuracy. It's easily the most accurate sporter I've ever owned.

Robert’s Kimber 84M

This is a new Kimber 84M in 7mm-08. It has a beautiful walnut stock and flawless bluing. It carries a Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x 36mm scope on Talley rings and bases. It weighs 7 pounds with scope and sling. It is wonderful to carry and lovely to look at. I've only fired three rounds at game with it which yielded 2 bucks and 1 hog, and all have been bang-flop kills. The 7mm-08 just seems to be devastating on game. It shoots 2- to 2 ¼-inch groups with 140-grain Remington Core-Lokt. I haven’t found a hand load it likes yet, but I'm still looking. Anybody out there have a pet 7mm-08 load? The Kimber is basically a scaled down Winchester Model 70 action (controlled round feed, three-position safety) that is very slick, and an excellent adjustable trigger. It’s too pretty to take out in really bad weather but I'm just not that mad at 'em anymore, anyway.

There are your choices: a nice project rifle in .338 Federal or a lovely Kimber in 7mm-08. You can debate cartridges, rifles, project vs. factory or anything else. Have at it. Vote and comment below, and send your gun pictures to fsgunnuts@gmail.com.

Which rifle do you like more?

Robert’s Kimber 84M

Tee Bone’s Remington 722