BSA Majestic 308?

Posted by: mart

BSA Majestic 308? - 12/20/10 06:49 PM

I was considering some of the rifles in the safe today and stopped to wonder about a little rifle that has been a part of my collection for many years and has seen little use other than to take an occasional doe mule deer and cow elk when we still lived in the lower 48.

The rifle actually belongs to my step-son, a non-hunter/non-shooter who is happy to leave with us and I doubt will ever call for it's return. It had belong to his uncle, my wife's brother. He passed away many years before we were married but from what she tells me about him I no doubt would have liked him. The rifle really means more to her than it does to her son and by virtue of her attachment to the rifle it means much to me.

It dawned on me that although I have studied rifles all my life, I really know little about the BSA rifles. My gun books are packed away now while I remodel the family room/man cave so I am short on reference material.

The rifle is a wonderful, light little shooter that I really regret not using more. I believe I may put it to work this next season for sheep hunting. It is lighter than my KS Mountain Rifle and although somewhat temperamental about getting hot, will lay at least 3-4 good eggs in rapid succession before the heat begins to bring on impact changes. I may want to look at free floating. It has a muzzle break that takes the recoil down to 257 Roberts levels. My wife really likes to shoot it and has taken a few does and a cow elk with it.

What do you fellow shooters and students of the rifle know about the BSA Majestic? I really like the little rifle but like I said, know little about it. Any opinions or information would be much appreciated.

Thank you and Merry Christmas.

mart
Posted by: Duckbill

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/20/10 07:07 PM

I have a BSA Royal Featherweight in 30-06. I WISH it was a 308, because this little jewel will smack you good even with the brake. It handles like a dream otherwise. I had a Majestic in 270 many years ago. Haas' book "Bolt Action Rifles" has a ton of info on them. I am a bit perplexed by the trigger. It is adjustable, but too complex for my simple mind apparently.
If mine was in a more tamed caliber, I would use it a lot more.
Posted by: mart

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/20/10 08:17 PM

I have Haas' book but it is buried in a stack of boxes while we remodel the family room. If I ever get the room back in order I will have to read up on it.

mart
Posted by: CarlsenHighway

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/20/10 09:05 PM

The BSA Majestic is an excellent little rifle. They were made in teh late fifties to early sixties by BSA, which is their own push feed action design. And its a good one, all the ones I have seen have been slick and perform faultlessly.
They are very highly regarded here in NZ and used command a respectable price. They were the rifle of choice for some years here and often found in ratty condition nowadays because they did hard work int eh back country, and deer cullers shot innumarable red deer with them.
You may have a featherweight model, if you take it out of the stock you will see a hollowed out area in the forestock, to keep weeight down. BSA made very good barrels and they usually shoot very well.
.308 is a good caliber for this rifle, in .270 (common here in NZ) or .30/06 (I had one in .270)they kick like an absolute bastard - but they are handy in the hills.
I floated my barrel and it shot consistantly well.
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/20/10 09:36 PM

Duckbill - I, too, was confused by the trigger. But then "i got it." First the screw in the trigger (vertical) needs to be loosened then you adjust the sear carefully using the bump test after each decrease. I ain't an expert but I was once very lost trying to adjust it as well but once I got it figured it was pretty slick. I think I got it safely to 3 lbs with no trouble. (oh yeah, I remember, the other screw adjusts takeup. It can be adjusted to what amounts to a really bad two stage trigger. Better off to keep this one simply zero takeup. Don't bother thinking this one will change pull weight because it doesn't. The sear screw is what did it for me). Caveat - I ain't a gunsmith and I've only done this once on one BSA featherweight. FWIW

Dad's BSA is in 30-06 and judging from Bolt Action Rifles I think it's known as a Royal Featherweight. I love that rifle but it is a fouling SOB that'll only hold about the first 7 shots in a group and then starts spittin' em all over the place. Clean the barrel and you're good to go again. I spent hours trying to figure this gun out. Fell in and out of love too many times to count. One of these days I'm gonna try UltraBore Coat on that sucker because replacing the barrel doesn't have me thrilled as I can't see it being as genuine as the original.

Jamie
Posted by: Yukoner

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/20/10 11:13 PM

Jamie, your BSA is a perfect candidate for a fire-lapping session to smooth up the barrel. Have you thought about that?

Mart, I have owned several of these rifles, and handled one in 458 Winchester! Now, if you want to really understand recoil......... grin

Ted
Posted by: mart

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/20/10 11:18 PM

Mine is the featherweight and is a joy to carry. It shoots very well for 3-5 shots and then starts to wander a bit. I think I will free float it and see if that helps things. Fortunately the trigger is pretty good on this one. I haven't put my scale on it but it breaks very clean, I would guess in the 3.5-4 pound range.

mart
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 06:43 AM

Ted - my understanding is that these barrels were hand lapped from the factory. My suspicion is that it is pitted from being carried wet in a scabbard. I have considered fire lapping but Mule deer's reports of UBC success has me thinking I should try that route first.
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 06:50 AM

Mart - I have bedded the action in my dad's in acraglass and relieved any contact around the barrel flare (sight mount) which did help the wander a bit. Judging from all the reports of these fine rifles I'm convinced dad's is a unique one that suffered some abuse in it's life. I trust yours needs a few simple tweaks instead.
Posted by: mart

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 08:10 AM

It is in pretty fair shape for it's age, much like me. wink It has some honest wear but nothing I would consider abuse. After her brother's passing I imagine it set in a safe or closet for many years. Fortunately it was kept in a dry climate area with year round low humidity.

I was thinking the same thing, an action bedding and relieve the pressure point in the front of the barrel channel.

I am actually getting pretty excited to get it out and really work up some loads for it. The 308 has always been one of those ho hum cartridges for me and I have always just put together a load that works but never spent much time on it. I know it is a great round and fully capable on all North American game but it really never blew my dress up. I guess this remodel leaving me in a forced hiatus from reloading and having my stuff packed away has given me time to consider some of my less used guns. I guess my interest is more in the gun itself than in the chambering but since I won't ever be parting with the rifle I might as well enjoy it. To me that means lots of time spent at the reloading bench and the range as well as time afield with it.

I am glad to find out that the BSA's are well thought of and well made. Thanks for all the great info.

mart
Posted by: Yukoner

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 12:58 PM

One of mine, a 30-06, was wandering a bit, so I full-length bedded the stock all the way from the receiver ring to the fore end tip.

Used Acraglass, mixed with enough chopped up fibreglass cloth to give it the consistency of room temp butter. Did it all in one job, so there was no cold joint.

That smartened it right up! smile

Ted
Posted by: Grasshopper

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 01:58 PM

mart,

Over the years, I have owned three of the BSA rifles. I believe all three were Herter's Imports. 1st one was a .222 Rem Mag, then a .30-06, and finally a 284 Win. My local gun tinkerer was unable to appreciably improve the triggers. I personally prefer a 1.5-2 Lb trigger with no creep. I don't remember that he could get any of the much under 4 lbs. I don't think I'd buy another unless it was in a very rare chambering that I couldn't get elsewhere... smile

GH
Posted by: like2shoot

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 04:05 PM

My dad had one in 7mm RM. when I was a kid. ( sometime last century ) I don't remember him letting me shoot it. He would let people that said recoil didn't bother them shoot it.
Posted by: doubletap

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 04:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Duckbill
I have a BSA Royal Featherweight in 30-06. I WISH it was a 308, because this little jewel will smack you good even with the brake. It handles like a dream otherwise. I had a Majestic in 270 many years ago. Haas' book "Bolt Action Rifles" has a ton of info on them. I am a bit perplexed by the trigger. It is adjustable, but too complex for my simple mind apparently.
If mine was in a more tamed caliber, I would use it a lot more.

It's not that hard to load it down to .308 or .300 Savage levels.
Posted by: Big_Redhead

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 04:52 PM

Mine was an Imperial featherweight deluxe 30-06. Of all the guns I regret selling through the years, I think I regret that one most. But it was no push-feeder. It had the Mauser-style extractor and CRF.
Posted by: Duckbill

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 05:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Aletheuo
Duckbill - I, too, was confused by the trigger. But then "i got it." First the screw in the trigger (vertical) needs to be loosened then you adjust the sear carefully using the bump test after each decrease. I ain't an expert but I was once very lost trying to adjust it as well but once I got it figured it was pretty slick. I think I got it safely to 3 lbs with no trouble. (oh yeah, I remember, the other screw adjusts takeup. It can be adjusted to what amounts to a really bad two stage trigger. Better off to keep this one simply zero takeup. Don't bother thinking this one will change pull weight because it doesn't. The sear screw is what did it for me). Caveat - I ain't a gunsmith and I've only done this once on one BSA featherweight. FWIW

Jamie


Thanks Jamie! I may have to re-visit the trigger. I think I was trying to fool with the take-up adjust when I got confused blush .
Posted by: ratsmacker

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 05:04 PM

My cousin has one of the Herter rifles, in .308, and he likes it a lot. It's been used hard, but it's still working fine. That brass buttplate on his particular rifle takes it's toll, though. He still hopes to buttstroke a deer with it, I think.
Posted by: CarlsenHighway

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/21/10 06:50 PM

Theres several different models being talked about here; the OP has a Majestic, which is a quite different beast to an Imperial or a Hunter or a Royal.
Posted by: elkjaeger

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 10:07 AM

....and it's different than the Herter's as well.
I just picked up a Majestic, an early Featherweight Deluxe in .243. Started doing research, and it's worth a read of DeHaas book and a search over on the Gunboards forum. Do know the Majestic was made from late 1959 to 1965 before model change. If you can't find Parker Hale or other original rings you can do minimal grinding on CZ rings & they'll work smile
I say mine was an early model because the barrel is not ported, though I'm not for sure they ever ported the smaller calibers.
I'd love to hear any additional history/info. on them from our members in England/NZ/Australia/Canada........
Thanks!
elkjaeger
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 10:09 AM

ej - thanks very much for the cz ring tip! I've wanted to replace these ones for a while but couldn't make myself ante up what it costs for a used set.
Posted by: elkjaeger

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 10:36 AM

Aletheuo
No problem! Shop where I bought the rifle had some used CZ 550 rings and the front fit perfect while the shop gunsmith ground off the notch on the rear clamp to make it work. You have to be careful cinching down the rear one but so far it's holding. If I had a bigger caliber I might just look for a couple front rings as they would work on the rear as well.
Thanks for your trigger adjustment advice as well. Saved me some head scratching for sure!
Good luck!
elkjaeger
Posted by: CarlsenHighway

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 12:47 PM

Elkjaeger, I think only the featherweight model Majestics were ported (regardless of caliber - even the .243's!)
Most people had the porting cut off over here.
Posted by: Yukoner

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 03:19 PM

That is correct. The other models had no porting.

Ted
Posted by: elkjaeger

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 04:12 PM

Gentleman,
This .243 is definitely a featherweight model as I described. Alum. floorplate, hollowed-out wood stock, 22" barrel (not cut) w/ original sights, scalloped receiver, scalloped cheekpiece, etc.
Says "Majestic" right on the bolt body.
One item I read indicated the first featherweights produced did NOT have porting, but that porting was added almost immediately due to customer complaints about excessive recoil. I'm guessing I've probably got a first year production?
Anyway, I'm glad it's not ported, my ears ring constantly as it is smile
I'm going to try & fit a new recoil pad on it tonight (the old one crumbles when you touch it) and I have acquired a Leupold 6X Compact I'm looking to mount on it (to replace the M8-6X on it now).
I've owned several Sako & Husky .243 / .308's, but so far I'm liking the balance/fit of this BSA better than any of them!
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 04:47 PM

Ok, I'll show you mine (ok, my dad's but it'll be mine someday). Sorry, can't seem to embed from Picasa but here's the link to her.
Jamie's BSA Pics

Maybe you can help ID it - I may have forgotten after reading deHaas but was pretty sure it was Royal. Help me out if I'm wrong.
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 06:27 PM

Oh sure, I go and expose my gun and everyone turns and laughs.
Posted by: Grasshopper

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/22/10 06:33 PM

Not laffin' here... That is certainly different than the Herter's imports that I owned. I have NEVER seen one like that... The safety kind of looks like a Sako L-57...

GH
Posted by: elkjaeger

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 09:04 AM

OK Jamie, some similarities, some not.
And dang! you ought to loan that Leupie 2-7 to Leupold for an ad or something (go ahead, trash our scopes, we'll just fix 'em for free!)
The stock is basically the same as mine, 'cept the recoil pad is black. My barrel does not have the built-up ring where the rear sight is, and my sights are different (Williams folding adj. leaf). My bolt has the same safety, but has engraving and other differences. Does your's have a full length extractor (ala Mauser)? Mine is a push feed with a Sako-like extractor.
Wish I could post pictures, but can't at this time.
Anyway, from the little I've read so far I would agree yours is a Royal, which I think pre-dates the Majestic (ANYONE please correct me if that's wrong).
And yes Grasshopper, these actions are very similar to the old Sako's, which is actually what I thought this rifle was when I first saw it on the rack. It was mixed in with a bunch of Sako's from the same collection so I can't be faulted too much smile

Also Jamie I might mention the rings I got are actually Burris' made to fit the CZ 550 (19mm groove). I rough measured the groove on the BSA last night & it looked like it was around 18 to 18.5 mm. Anyway, the rings made for the CZ work fine!

Merry Christmas to all.

ej
Posted by: Brad

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 09:08 AM

Yes, the 308 is majestic!

(Sorry couldn't resist) laugh

Merry Christmas all...
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 10:42 AM

elkjaeger - yeah, the leupy is trashed. I picked it up at a pawn shop for 40 bucks last year. I just sold it for $165 (Cdn) because I am having ethics issues with how Leupold is currently doing business in Canada. (edit - funny how it works both ways - they are gouging people up here and I gouged whoever I sold the scope to... I guess it's the pot calling the kettle black)

Yes, the extractor is full length ala mauser style. And barrel flare at the sight causes some rebarreling issues (read $$) so I'm really hoping the UBC treatment will keep the fouling down.

Of course, somewhere along the way, someone sanded down the stock to refinish - I might give a go at re-checkering in my retirement (about 30 years from now). And the bluing is pretty much toast so I would think a good bead blast and hot blue is in order as well. But if I can't get her to shoot then I ain't gonna bother with the other finer intricacies.

But truly, it is the finest handling rifle I have met even given all the wear and tear. I don't mind putting in some work to get it look good but rebarreling because it won't shoot seems like it wouldn't be the right thing to do. The porting is unique, the flare is unique, and the pitting is the result of hard years on the trail!
Posted by: CarlsenHighway

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 02:10 PM

Aletheuo,
Elkjaeger is right, that is a Hunter or Royal model, with the mauser extracter which means it was made prior to 1957.
Bascially it is the same rifle as a Majestic, just with the different extractor which they changed to the smaller one later on. It is a featherweight as well, looking at that stock, and the hollowed out bolt handle is a giveaway.

I always thought that Winchester ripped the BSA's off when they designed their Featherweight rifles, BSA came up with it first.
Posted by: Duckbill

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Aletheuo
Ok, I'll show you mine (ok, my dad's but it'll be mine someday). Sorry, can't seem to embed from Picasa but here's the link to her.
Jamie's BSA Pics

Maybe you can help ID it - I may have forgotten after reading deHaas but was pretty sure it was Royal. Help me out if I'm wrong.


That is the spitting image of my Royal Featherweight!
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 03:23 PM

DB - I'd love to see a photo of yours to know what the checkering actually should look like. If you can email 'em to me I can post 'em. PM me if you can.
Posted by: MikeNZ

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 05:43 PM

Here's a link to a BSA Majestic question that I posted a while back

http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/1276449
Posted by: MikeNZ

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 05:49 PM

Originally Posted By: CarlsenHighway
I always thought that Winchester ripped the BSA's off when they designed their Featherweight rifles, BSA came up with it first.


ALL manufactures ripped BSA off when they came up with their new 'lightweight/featherweight' rifle. (I'm talking basically duplicating the weight/handling of the BSA majestic / hunter models, not the much heavier BSA Monarch or CF2's).

BSA had it right with the Majestic, but decided to go with the Weatherby look (Monarch / CF2) and the company went downhill from then.

You can get into a fight in a gunshop in NZ when a second hand Majestic comes onto the rack....

(and I will fess up to the fact that I own a BSA CF2, but that's another story)
Posted by: Duckbill

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 06:04 PM

Originally Posted By: Aletheuo
DB - I'd love to see a photo of yours to know what the checkering actually should look like. If you can email 'em to me I can post 'em. PM me if you can.


I'll work on some pics. I lost the ones I had in a HD crash. I stripped the old "varnish" off of mine and refinished it in Tru-oil, but the checkering is fine.
Posted by: Duckbill

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 06:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Aletheuo
DB - I'd love to see a photo of yours to know what the checkering actually should look like. If you can email 'em to me I can post 'em. PM me if you can.


Here is a photo I had that best shows the checkering



If you'd like some detailed pics, I'll work on them for you. Just let me know.
Posted by: CarlsenHighway

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 07:01 PM

How come you guys get decent looking wood? All the ones over here look like they were made out of old fenceposts.

Mike, Ive had a couple of Majestics and a Monarch. Gone by the way now, but whenever I see a Monarch with a good barrel I want to buy it up and then restock it with a '50's Majestic style featherweight stock.
Monarchs are the same damn action and they are half the price.
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/23/10 08:10 PM

Very nice and well cared for, DB. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Yukoner

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/28/10 05:16 PM

Jamie, the old Leupold in those ancient Parker Hale rings sure bring back a lot of memories for me! smile

Ted
Posted by: Cariboo

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/30/10 08:16 PM

My BSA Royal Featherweight re barreled to 338-06 with 24" medium weight barrel. 8 pounds with 3-9x40 scope. As a 30-06 the rifle weighed in at just under 7 1/2 pounds scoped with a 22" barrel. (complete with BSA's directionally ported brake) I had the bridge drilled and tapped for Weaver bases as the aluminum Parker Hale rings could not withstand the recoil of the 338.



Posted by: Duckbill

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/31/10 01:58 PM

Cariboo,
What barrel maker did you go with? I'd like to go the other direction and drop from the 30-06 to a 25-06 in mine. I'd like to get rid of that ear-drum crushing muzzle break, too.

Bill
Posted by: UncleJesse

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/31/10 02:04 PM

'boo - tis nice. Did you for-go the barrel flare where the leaf sight was mounted and fill the void in the stock or did you have a barrel without the mid flare?
Jamie
Posted by: Cariboo

Re: BSA Majestic 308? - 12/31/10 03:37 PM

Duckbill, the barrel was made and chambered by a fellow named Bevan King who IMHO is one of the better Canadian barrel makers. This model has a coned breech and requires an extractor cut so the machining was a little more detailed than say for a Model 700.

Aletheuo, the original barrel was pencil-thin so the new one was profiled to be the same width as the sight flare at that spot. The channel on the stock was opened up to accept the thicker barrel. The action was also bedded and the barrel floated.