New Gradous Masterpiece

surgeon260

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Sorry for the self indulgent thread, but I can't help sharing my excitement about my new rifle from Robert Gradous. Specs are as follows:

-.338 Warthog (Gradous' proprietary .338 Norma Mag IMP)
-Surgeon XL Repeater
-Surgeon bottom metal
-Bartlein modified MTU: 1.35" x 4", straight taper to 0.95", 5R, SS, 1-9.3" twist, 27.8" finish length
-McMillan A5 w/ KMW ACP (my custom camo pattern)
-Combat grey Cerakote
-Jewell Trigger @ 1.0lb
-TBAC 338BA brake (338 Ultra can still in jail)
-S&B 5-25 Gen 2 XR
-Nightforce high Ultralite rings (6-screw)
-Atlas 5-H bipod

IMG_20170226_154212.jpg
IMG_20170226_154328.jpg


300 yard 5-shot group with 300 grain Berger Hybrid, RL33, fireforming load (~0.2 MOA) IMG_20170226_171638.jpg




I have a few custom rifles in my collection now, but my experience with Robert Gradous really stands apart. The rifle is absolutely immaculate, and the attention to detail is up there with the best I have seen. Little things like including three pieces of fireformed brass threaded for a Hornady OAL gauge were unexpected and appreciated. And as you can see from the target above, I am blown away by the accuracy out of the box. 0.2 MOA with FIREFORMING LOADS. No load development whatsoever. I guess that is pretty standard for a Gradous rifle; he designs his chambers to be super easy to tune. From what I gather, Robert is an innovator when it comes to chamber design and lathe work, and it shows on paper. But what really made this experience stand out was the level of personal engagement Robert gave me. He spent a ton of time with me on the phone to understand what I wanted to do with my build, and he provided expert advice. I went into this project thinking .338 Lapua, but ultimately settled on the Norma case based on Robert's detailed justification. He provided me multiple status updates along the way, including pictures of my gun in various stages of assembly. We have had multiple conversations about reloading, cleaning, load development, and just random rifle stuff. What an awesome experience! I can't tell you how great it feels to have the name of such a kickass smith show up on my caller ID.

I know some people on this forum have had issues with Robert as a builder, but that just wasn't my experience. He was highly communicative and (believe it or not) way ahead of schedule. I think maybe I can attribute my experience to listening to his suggestions and trusting that he knows way the hell more than I ever will about building rifles.

Anyway, I can't speak highly enough of my experience with Robert. He is a master American craftsman and I feel lucky to know this patriot.
 

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diverdon

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That is a nice looking rifle, do you have a muzzle velocity yet? How long is the barrel?
 

surgeon260

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Barrel is 27.8". My fireforming velocity was ~2780. With the fireformed brass I am around 2920. It's a beast.

All rounds with 300 grain Bergers, Fed 215s, Norma brass, and RL33.
 

popapi

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WOW that is an AMAZING rifle.....Mr. GRADOUS is an articulate person when it comes down to his craft. Paying attention to detail is something he does methodically. Great person all the way around I wholeheartedly appreciate him not only as the gunsmith I use but as a great friend as well. Awesome rifle guy enjoy it!
 

Threadcutter308

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Worth every nickel, it's gorgeous, congratulations ! (You and Robert !). I love the engraving of his name on the barrel. Small and inconspicuous. The inquisitive/appreciative/in the know will find it and break the all knowing smile (to themselves only). The majority will likely just pass right by it and never even notice. You possess a piece of art that very few people will ever will. This is truly an heirloom piece. You do have a suitable heir, correct ? If not, let's talk ;)
 
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kujuak

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that group is simply amazing, How many kidneys dos one have to sell to buy a rifle like that?
 

surgeon260

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Jesus that is one sweet rifle! have any experience to compare 338 Lapua to the warthog?
Thanks!

Compare in what way? I don't own a Lapua, but my shooting buddy has one and I am pretty familiar with the cartridge. Performance wise my Warthog loads are about 120fps faster than my buddy's Lapua shooting the same bullets, and he pushes his Lapua pretty hard with Retumbo (heavy ejector marks on Lapua brass). I am runnning 2920 with Berger 300s, but I could probably go a bit faster if I was willing to sacrifice case life. It's hard to do a direct comparison because everyone has a different comfort threshold when it comes to pressure, and not everyone values case life to the same extent. Barrel length also makes a big difference. In general, compared to most common .338 Lapua loads, I would say the Warthog is around 100-150fps faster than the Lapua given the same barrel length and projectile. YMMV.
 

surgeon260

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Very nice! What was your wait time?
I sourced all of the components myself after deciding on the specs with Robert over the phone. Getting the parts in hand was by far the longest part of the process. The McMillan stock was almost a year long ordeal, given that it was a custom order from McMillan, and then it had to be drop shipped to KMW for the ACP install. The custom contour from Bartlein was also a pretty good wait. Once Robert had my parts, I had the finished rifle in my hands in about six weeks.
 

kingzero

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That thing is sweet and I really like the stock. Is that light and dark green? I want to order a Gamescout with a green themed mcflame but was having a hard time deciding on colors. I want to make sure they stand out enough when swirled together.
 

surgeon260

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That thing is sweet and I really like the stock. Is that light and dark green? I want to order a Gamescout with a green themed mcflame but was having a hard time deciding on colors. I want to make sure they stand out enough when swirled together.
Yeah it is light green, dark green, and light tan.
 

sierracharlie338

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Thanks!

Compare in what way? I don't own a Lapua, but my shooting buddy has one and I am pretty familiar with the cartridge. Performance wise my Warthog loads are about 120fps faster than my buddy's Lapua shooting the same bullets, and he pushes his Lapua pretty hard with Retumbo (heavy ejector marks on Lapua brass). I am runnning 2920 with Berger 300s, but I could probably go a bit faster if I was willing to sacrifice case life. It's hard to do a direct comparison because everyone has a different comfort threshold when it comes to pressure, and not everyone values case life to the same extent. Barrel length also makes a big difference. In general, compared to most common .338 Lapua loads, I would say the Warthog is around 100-150fps faster than the Lapua given the same barrel length and projectile. YMMV.
Awesome thanks for the insight. That is mainly what I was looking for. Appreciate your time!
 

surgeon260

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If you are looking for the why I'm afraid that is beyond my expertise. Keep in mind that this is a min taper 40 degree Norma improved and the capacity is probably very close to a standard Lapua round. It might even exceed it. If someone wants to post their Lapua H2O capacity I'd be glad to measure one of my fireformed cases. I've read a lot of subjective stuff about short and fat cartridges being more efficient blah blah...maybe there is some truth to that.

Maybe someone more knowledgeable than I will chime in.

 

surgeon260

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Why do you get more velocity with that cartridge than you get with a Lapua?
I could also be wrong about the performance difference. My first-hand experience with the Lapua is limited to only a handful of rifles and loads. But looking at the reloading depot here and seeing the kinds of velocities others are getting out of their Lapuas, it seems like the Warthog (and probably most Norma improved variants) is consistently about 100-150fps faster.
 

texas243

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Another beauty from Robert. he is a master at his craft. Congrats on the new stick.
 

digrazir

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They know what they are doing over there..I have 6.5 Creedmoor and 260 Remington barrels for my AI AT that shoot lights out. By the way beautiful rifle..Ray
 

Painless300

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The next time you have Robert build you a rife you need to take the trip to Georgia and visit his shop and get the full experience! Its worth every penny to take a few days and hang around his shop while he creates your masterpiece. Only then you can fully appreciate the rifle he builds.

I was just there last week and he's got some really innovative things turning out !!!!! Just wait and see.......

By the way awesome Warthog!
 

surgeon260

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Greater case capacity.
The shoulder is pushed forward and the neck is shorter.
The standard Norma case capacity is about 7 grains down on the standard Lapua. The Warthog closes the gap, but the difference in velocity has more to do with the efficiency of the Norma cartridge.
 

fdkay

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The standard Norma case capacity is about 7 grains down on the standard Lapua. The Warthog closes the gap, but the difference in velocity has more to do with the efficiency of the Norma cartridge.
You are right, of course, I was thinking warthog v norma.
The lapua and norma cases can be though of in terms of the .260 Rem vs 6.5 CM, the Norma has less capacity than the Lapua, but when using the heavier, 300 grain bullets, the Norma doesn't have as much case space taken up buy the bullet.
With the lighter 250 grain bullets, the lapua will outpace the norma, but not with the heavies.
 

lonesomesniper

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Beautiful gun. How do you like the Mcmillan stock? Thats the same stock that id like to order for the 338 Lapua build. Also is that the molded in finish or paint finish?
 

BCX

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Nice build! I just built a 338 LM AI. Loving the big 338s.
 

Aaron47pb

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This is an old thread... but since it’s been bumped, I recently got some barrels from Gradous and turn around was a matter of days. So if you want a masterpiece in weeks rather than months, now would be a good time.
 
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