Re: Long Range Hunting AR
I'll tell you strait up that the WSSM, while easily the best "long distance" performer in the AR15 platform, is still going to be a bit under gunned on Elk at that "middle distance" you mentioned.
I send my 105 Amax at 3200 +/- and while I wouldn't hesitate to take deer with it...IMO, that's a little bit light for Elk at the range you're looking.
Even the 300 OSSM (Olympic Arms' WSSM in .30 cal) which boasts 30-06 velocities with 150gr bullets... wouldn't be my first choice.
At that range, on that game...the 300SAUM is my absolute first choice, and that's exactly why I bought/assembled mine. However. Neither Armalite, nor DPMS are still making them, and the guys that are...are going to be back ordered 9-12 months.
If weight is a concern, get in better shape or start looking for a different rifle. Nothing about an AR10 style rifle, built specifically for "long" range hunting is going to be light weight.
You're not going to be taking your 600+ yd shot off hand, and you're not going to be pressed for time. Get a comfortable pack, or double shoulder sling. It makes a 20lb rifle feel like 10lbs.
For long range, weight should not be the primary concern.
When it comes to hunting, energy delivery comes down to mass and velocity. How accurately and fast can you send the heaviest bullet.
You're going to need case capacity and barrel length.
If you want to hunt with it at "long" range..then that's one of the few times I would suggest a 24" barrel.
18-20 is fine for punching paper and hitting steel...but for taking critters, you're going to want the added velocity. Especially if said critter is an Elk at 600+
"We do not rise to the occasion...we fall to the level of our training."