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Another Newbie Question

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Unread 02-02-2008, 12:48 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Star, ID
Posts: 341
Another Newbie Question

Howdy to all. I am from SW Idaho and having moved here just 3.5 years ago I have obtained a great appreciation for the wide open spaces here and have found a growing desire to be able to reach a little farther for my deer and elk.

I am trying to decide which direction to take, send my recently purchased used Mod 700 in 7MM rem to a smith to try and get a 1/2 moa gun or buy a gun that comes with a 1/2 moa guaranty - HS Precision Pro Series.

My situation:

1. Hunter first. Deer, Elk, Antelope. My desire here is to take advantage of my terrain. I'm not as motivated by the technical aspects.

2. I won't shoot at a distance until I have become proficient at it and want a gun capable of a lot of rounds, so I don't prefer a cartridge that will burn out barrels quickly.

3. I do reload, though I just started and am just past the beginner stage.

4. I don't need a speep hunters/high country style light rifle, but I'm 40 now and need a gun I can carry up and down these steep hills without too much discomfort.

5. I don't prefer to get my shoulder overly bruised. I am comfortable shooting my current 7MM, but currently don't want a break mostly because I don't want to deal with getting sand-blasted if the muzzle is too close to the ground on a prone position shot.

Currently I am most interested in staying in the 7MM Rem Mag range, but I have considered the 300WSM or Win Mag for the benefit of Elk mostly.

I am very impressed my some of the faster cartridges like the 300rum, etc but I fear the recoil. In our house we also shoot .243Win w/ .95gr part, .270Win and .280Rem w/ 140 gr Accubonds, so when I look at the 7MM Mag w/ 160 gr or possibly 300 Mags w/ 180 Gr bullets I get almost identical drop data around 3000 fps. This helps when we are all hunting together.

Sorry to be long winded but I know additional information is usually solicited when these types of questions are asked.

Two questions. 1) Which route on the rifle - gunsmith or HS Precision. BTW the cost is a factor, but having just the past few years finally invested in good glass(swaro) I really believe quality counts. 2) Is the 7MM Rem shooting 160/168 Gr bullets good enough for deer/ant to 800 yards and elk to 600-700 yards, and how much does the extra grains of a 300 outweigh the extra pounding my shoulder would take for a couple hundred rounds per summer.

Any other input would be helpful

P.S. Any other previous attendees of Basic long range Hunting class at Defensive Edge in No Idaho have any feedback.
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Unread 02-02-2008, 01:09 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,855
well number one , don't be scared of brakes ALOT of guys here shoot rifles from prone with brakes , it not a factor when you use a properly desgined baffel style brake , as they don't have holes on the bottom.

Second is the caliber you have will cleanly kill deer to 1000yds and elk to 600 with the right bullets and shot placement , just need to get the accuracy down some. The 300 mag will step up in power a little but not worth the cost of the rebarrel.
Seeing that already have the action you will be FAR better served with a rebuilt rifle than one from HS , in my oppinion they are way over priced.

For around $1000 give or take , you can turn your 7mm into a 300Rum that should shoot under 1/2 moa , using your current stock having it bedded youir factroy trigger tuned and your action rebarreled trued and braked.

the 300RUm with 200gr accubods will kill elk with authority at 600yds and effectivly to 1000yds and with a good brake will likely kick less than your 280 !!
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Unread 02-02-2008, 10:07 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,871
I agree with everything that James Jones said.

I'd bring the caliber up a notch as in bigger is better.;)

the elk really likes to live. Even with good shot placement they can go just a little too far. Thus I prefer the heaviest long range bullet practicable. That turns out, for me, to be the 338 Cal. 300 gr SMK. Much success has been achieved with both the 225 Accubond and 250 grain offerings.

I shoot this bullet in a REM 700 338 RUM with a 26" blue sporter barrel. The gun weights 10 pounds, all up, and is plenty accurate for the game you mention out to 1200 yards. Though I'm in the process of restocking it and it will possibly < 9 pounds. The 300 SMK moves out at well over 2700.

It has a Holland QD brake and I've shot 50 rounds over an afternoon and evening, prone with no adverse affects. No aches or pains the next day either.

I also shoot a 270 Allen Mag with 170 grain Wildcat bullets @ 3200 fps w/a BC of, we'll say, 0.7 to 0.74. The 170 grain bullet is designed for long range deer and is a bit light for elk but would do if done right. The 195 gr Wildcat @ 3100 fps would be great for elk but it isn't quite perfected.........yet.

Thus I'd recommend from the following cartridges in the following order, based on the ease of reloading, smithing and sheer power: 338 RUM, 338 EDGE (300 RUM necked up to 338 - reamer needed), 338 Thunder (reamer needed), APS 338 AX (based on 338 Lapua Case - only one guy makes this rifle thus things would be pretty fully custom and that's a good thing!).
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Unread 02-02-2008, 10:51 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: on the rifle range in Utah
Posts: 2,704
WHile I am a big fan of the .338 caliber, the standard 7mm mag is fully capable of long range elk killing. A friend of mine used one to kill a cow elk this year at 755 yards. He used the 160 grain Nosler Accubond at a mv of 3000 fps. If you can get the 168 grain berger to shoot, it will even outdo the Accubond at long range.

As for barrel life, I agree with your approach. Practice is what makes a shooter into a precision shooter by natural evolution of the sport. A caliber that roasts barrels quickly is more of a pain nowadays than ever with the rising costs of brass, bullets, powder, and gasoline to and from the range. Once you get things figured out, it is nice to keep it that way for awhile before the next barrel is needed. A 7mm mag is really close to the same life as a 300 win mag so if you want to step up to the 300, don't worry about that.

Look into the Hollands QD muzzle brake. It has no holes on the bottom and won't blow sand into your eyes. Plus they look good too.

The HS guns are ok but where you already have an action, I would build a semi-custom off of it and use a good smith to do the work. All gunsmiths are not created equal. Also ask your smith what he recommends for stocks and barrels as he will be able to point you the right direction and will know what companies are being punctual with their order filling at the time of your build.

Whether you're hunting together with your family or not doesn't really matter if you said this with intent to swap ammo. When you get a load dialed in for a gun, you probably won't want to shoot it in any other gun. One load, one gun. No substitute ammo for long range!

Hope this helps.
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Unread 02-03-2008, 03:53 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: North Idaho
Posts: 668
I'm with goodgrouper on this one. I shoot the 7rm with 180 bergers and feel comfortable out to 800 yards on elk and 1000 with deer. If your comfortable with that caliber stick with it and start practicing. With the 300 rum your gonna need a brake and then you gotta wear ear plugs when your hunting which kinda sucks imo. ON the plus side with the brake you can spot your shots. However with all the practice I've had with my 7rm I can spot shots 800 yards and beyond.
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Unread 02-03-2008, 03:17 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: West Central Idaho
Posts: 1,219
Hey bkondeff

Iím kinda a neighbor to you living just to the north west of Riggins Idaho between the Salmon and the Snake rivers and find myself in the same boat with you as to the long range hunting dilemma. I have finally made up my mind to have a smith put together a 338 Lapua for me with a 3.5-15 Nightforce scope. I truly want a 1000 yard rifle for elk and after reading on this and other forums, listing to the long range experts I have concluded that what royinidaho stated above in his post is right on, the 338 caliber is the way to go.

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