|Pictured left to right perched on the barrel:
What is a .308 Bellm No. 2?
- Standard .308 Win. with 165 gr. Speer bullet seated to the base of the neck,
- Fired .308 Bellm No. 2 showing the step in the neck where the larger .345" diameter .308 Win. factory chamber neck stops and the .308 Bellm No. 2 chamber neck extends forward at .339" diameter more closely matching a loaded case neck diameter which typically measures .335" (Note the approx. .150" additional length of the necked down .444 case. This additional chamber length is what cuts out the factory throat.),
- .308 Bellm No. 2 with the same 165 gr. Speer bullet also seated to the base of the neck,
- Standard .30/06 for comparison,
Why a No.2? No. 1 wasn't good enough?
The .308 Bellm No. 2 is basically a .309 JDJ with a standard .308 Win. shoulder angle instead of a 40 degree shoulder that requires custom dies, a feature in common with both the original .308 Bellm and the .308 Bellm No. 2. Both use common, off the shelf dies available everywhere to give true custom performance.
The original .308 Bellm was brought out for Contenders before the Encore was introduced and in its original form is reserved just for Contenders.
Since the Encore's strength can utilize more powder and can operate at higher pressure than the Contender, the .308 Bellm No. 2 was made longer in the body for more case capacity and also to prevent its use in the Contender which cannot handle the same pressure levels as the Encore.
This rimmed "stretch" version of the .308 Win. is just enough longer to allow cutting out the factory throat and thereby provides a fix for factory chambers whose throats are not well aligned with the bore.
Most of the .308 Bellm No. 2 barrels that will be offered here are new factory .308 Win. barrels we inspected and found not to meet our standards for throat alignment. We therefore choose not to sell them as they come from the factory and to rechamber them for the top accuracy we insist upon.
With Mike Bellm's Co-Axial throating and inspection/touchup of the crown, these barrels offer top accuracy and reliability for hunting and long range target use.
Cases are made by simply running common .444 Marlin cases into a standard .308 Win. size die far enough to create a .30 cal. case neck the same length as the neck on a standard .308 Win.
(The .444 can be further necked down in successively smaller necked common size dies for 7mm-08, .260 Rem., and .243 Win. for similar rounds based on the full length .444 Marlin case and not requiring custom dies. 7mm Bellm No. 2 is an excellent round and also a good choice.)
Trim cases to 2.200" max. trim length, then adjust the size die for final headspace. Correct headspace will leave the case head sticking out of the barrel approx. .001" LESS than the barrel-to-frame gap measures.
Ie, if the barrel to frame gap is .002," then the case head should stick out of the barrel .001," which is true for all bottle neck cases.
Secondary headspace is on the case rim, but rim counterbores are kept to a depth to permit headspacing just on the case rim if desired. However, headspacing on the shoulder is recommended, but now that we offer headspace shims for the firing pin bushing in the frame, you have the option to fine tune headspace on the rim with no contact at the shoulder.
Since a standard .308 Win. size die is too short to fully reach to the web of a full length .444 Marlin case, once the case web expands to the point that sized cases no longer drop back into the chamber, simply run the sized cases through a .444 Marlin size die or simply cut the top half off of a common .308 Win, .243 Win., or any other similar size die and use it to size the last .2" of the case down at the web.
Slumming around gunshops, gun shows, garage sales, etc, one comes across old used die sets in the $10 to $20 range. A trip through a chop saw renders one of these dies into a perfect size die for the base of the .308 Bellm No. 2.
Or, one can go the somewhat more costly route of buying a Redding body die. Lee .444 Marlin die sets are quite economical, and of course can be left unaltered.
No loading data is available at present. For data, simply take loads for the slowest powders for .308 Win. that are normally compressed charges and work from there. Start with about middle .308 Win. loads and work up.
Capacity with IMR 4064, for example, just rattled into the case to the bottom of the neck is 51 gr., well ahead of .308 Win. and not far behind .30/06 capacity.
Charges of WW760 with magnum primers or powders such as 4350 worked up to maximum and combined with good 165 gr. bullets will make this an outstanding, user friendly hunting handgun cartridge and a good, all-around rifle cartridge as well.
Ballistics should be very close to those of the .30/06 with the main advantages being improved accuracy and not having to fight a spring loaded extractor.
If you already have a .308 Win. barrel and would like to have it rechambered, contact Mike Bellm at email@example.com or call (541) 956-6938