Thanks all-around Mark and especially for prayer! We *live* on prayer - no joke - especially when we consider what we have to listen to 6 times a day, everyday, in Arabic.
That's a good word on the .300 WSM - i'm not a fan of the "belt" either. Though i've had excellent accuracy with the .300 Win rifles i've fired, i believe it's more a result of the work put into gunsmithing and load development.
I'm also interested in your comment about the additional encumbrance a muzzle-brake adds to barrel length. I've never used one, though heard 'em at the range before. I'm also a spot/stalk/engage kinda hunter, though if a specific individual animal requires it, i *definitely* use set-up/ambush type hunting. That means a muzzle-brake may not be all gain and no loss.
At this juncture, i'm pretty well convinced the .300 RUM will be my next long-range hunting rig. That is if fits in my donor action because i simply can't afford to be buying everything.
My wish list was:
1) huge down-range - ahem, SMACK!!! I know it's not on par with say a .340/.378 Weatherby, but the .300 RUM, from all accounts, will definitely punch an elk properly while still being "reasonable" for long-ranging whitetails, muleys, and maybe antelope one day.
2) flat trajectory over long-distance
3) manageable recoil
4) good component selection (lotsa .30cal bullet choices available)
So now i'm needing to read up on the stalk-ability of muzzle-brake endowed rifles.... Seems like the "carry" mode will have alot to do with this and what foliage i may have to go through in hunting.
If the .300 RUM is too long for my donor action, i think i'll head toward the .300 WSM if i can get similar performance. That is given that the bolt-face will also work....