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Best Long Range Setup

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Unread 10-23-2010, 08:42 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 535
Re: Best Long Range Setup

The rifle I find myself using the most is a 7mm Allen Mag with the 200 grain Wildcat ULD RBBT. This rifle is built to be a medium weight carry rifle and weighs about 10 lbs scoped. It was obviously built by Kirby on a Nesika action, #5 contour , 26", 1-9 twist barrel, McMillan Varminter stock, PK slim muzzlebrake. It is topped with a US Optics SN-3 3.2-17x44 scope.

I will limit myself to about 1000 yards with this rifle due to it being a little lighter; however, that is due to my own limitations. With a muzzle velocity right at 3200 fps and a bullet with a BC of .850, I don't have to worry about dial-ups out to 450 yards with a 250 yard zero. 1000 yards is just 14.7 moa in my typical hunting conditions. Recoil is very light due to the PK muzzlebrake, so spotting my own shots is not a problem.

As far as results go, this rifle has killed a pretty wide range of animals including moose, elk, mule deer, and dall sheep at varying ranges from 90 to 750 yards. The 7mm AM with the 200 grain Wildcat ULD RBBT is a deadly combination and has resulted in quick, humane kills.

For longer range work, my 338 Allen Express has worked very well for me. It is based on a BAT action, McMillan A5 stock, Lilja #7 contour, 26", 1-10 twist barrel, PK muzzlebrake and Jewel trigger. The rifle is topped with a US Optics SN-3 3.8-22x44 scope. The rifle, scope, sling, and Atlas bipod weigh around 15.5 lbs. It launches the 300 SMK at 2950 fps. I was able to anchor an elk at 1150 yards with this rifle this year.

For ELR, I have a 338 Allen Mag on the way which I hope will push my effective range to the next level, but it will be more of a specialty weapon, and I don't see myself hunting with this rifle except under special circumstances. I typically hunt steep, rugged country and a 20 mile day is not unheard of. I think that is why the 7mm Allen Mag is the rifle I tend to use the most.
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Unread 10-24-2010, 03:09 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Boise , Idaho
Posts: 131
Re: Best Long Range Setup

Beware of the man with one rifle...

I have longer range rifles but, I can't cheat on my old first love/rifle, a Fiberclass 270 Sako. It tags the cold bore shot right where the next 5 go every time. It get's heavy at 10.5lbs after climing a few thousand feet so I really can't imagine taking my bigger LR rifle. I guess you have judge weather you want your sholder to hurt from the carrying of the rifle or the shooting of it lol. She has zero recoil.
I think the 180 Berger/ 7mm Rum has enough legs to please almost anyone with bc, velocity, rifle weight and recoil. Never hunted with it though.
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Unread 10-26-2010, 02:57 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,612
Re: Best Long Range Setup

Long range rifles and cars are very similar. I drive a 1992 Buick Riviera every day. The last of the plush, luxury sport sedans. It gets 26 MPG in plush leather luxury and electronics that are closer to whats found in an airplane than a car. $40,000-$50,000 to replace it. The new one would not beat it in any way but would keep me up with the Jones's.

I have a 1979 model 338-378 wby that shoots the 300 grain smk at 3060 fps and weighs 10-3/4 pounds. I could spend several thousand dollars for a new one but 31 years later I can't beat it in that weight rifle.

In both cases you have got to take care of them. Barrels and cars wear out if you don't. The car has 176,000 miles and the rifle over 1000 rounds but both still work great. But bottom line with both I couldn't do much better now than I could way back then.

In both I find as new components come along it changes the playing field. The main things being electronics with cars and bullets with rifles. New high ballistic coefficient bullets are changing the sport and not the calibers or cartridges in a hunting weight rifle. As the long range sport has gained quite a following over the past ten years manufacturers are spending money in research and developement to keep up with the popularity because the numbers are there to support it.

Years back I built my big 338's with 1-12 twists because at the velocities I was shooting it would stabilize about any bullet out there. Always use the minimal twist for best performance. Then as the 300 smk and a few others similar came out I went to 1-10 twist. Now years later I am glad I have those 1-12 twist rifles. New light, high bc bullets are becoming available and I see more in the future that can change the scope of long range hunting.

Most hunters can not shoot a light rifle accurately enough to go beyond 1000-1200 yards on game. Within those ranges bullets like the new light Rocky Mountain bullets, the new ones out of Pensylvania and others may be the best choice for many hunters. Rocky Mountain Bullets offer a 225 grain 338 bullet with a .773 BC. A Pensylavania company offers one in the mid .6's. Run the ballistics of my 338-378 wby with a .773 BC at 3500 fps and you see what I mean. A VLD bullet that light has minimal surface area on the rifling so it is temperamental but can be done and a number of people are having success with them.

I just tried some that were given to me. All of a sudden my 338 winchester shooting 225 grain Rocky mountain bullets is ballistically equal to an improved 338 Lapua shooting 300 grain smk's. Both shoot about 2950 fps. BC's are also about equal. Bullets are changing the landscape and not the rifles. The twists may need to change to keep up though.

So to sum this all up. The calibers and cartridges for long range still do the same thing they have for many years in a hunting weight rifle. Look all through this thread and it is represented by many calibers and cartridges. They are like makes and models of cars. You like Chevy, Ford or Dodge trucks. They all do about the same thing and so do rifles. Rifles kill stuff and they all do it about the same.

For what I used most the past couple of years:

I have all kinds of long range rifles in every caliber. Lately the ones that got the most use are four rifles. In lightweight rifles a Tikka T-3 light in 338 winchester and a model 700 remington in 338RUM. The Tikka weighs 7 1/2 pounds scoped out and so far I have worked it out to deadly one shot kills at 800 yards. The Remington weighs 1 1/2 pounds more and so far I haven't shot it much past the tikka but the extra velocity gives more pop within that range. It is just hard to shoot light rifles at 1000+ yards with repeatability. I have made excellent hits beyond 1000 with both but I am talking guaranteed one shot kills. That is tougher.

For extreme long range the past two years I am using my old 338-378 wby with a light and heavy bullet and 300 ultramag with the 208 Amax at 3210 fps.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
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Unread 11-11-2010, 03:41 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,612
Re: Best Long Range Setup

I forgot to come back on here and list one of my favorites through the years that performs at the top ballistically with cheaper easy to get bullets. My 264 STW shooting the berger 140 grain bullet with .612 or so BC right at 3400 fps may be the best of all my long range rigs for deer/antelope/caribou type animals. Some use the 6.5 for elk but I do not since I have better elk rifles. I had a good friend back in the 70's who had great success with the 6.5-300 wby on long range animals including elk.

With the 177 GS bullet (.638 or so bc) near 3500 fps some of the biggest 30's can beat the 264 STW and the big 338-378 wby, Excalibur, etc with Rocky Mountain or similar high dollar hard to get bullets can beat it. But with standard easily available bullets that don't cost 2$ apiece the 264 STW is hard to beat. It will easily outperform the 7mm rem mag and beat the 7mm stw with 180 Bergers. There is a 6.5 GS bullet available also if a guy wants to pay the price for that performance.

Head to head with my best long range rigs the 264 STW shoots flatter with less windage than anything I have to about any range I want to shoot an animal. Again assuming I don't use hard to get expensive specialty bullets. The 264 STW is extremely accurate and fun to shoot. It does not require a muzzle brake like the big boomers so it is more pleasant to shoot and cheaper. It is also very easy to load for using 7mm stw brass. Most any load I try in my two rifles shoots well.

For anyone considering a long range rig the 264 STW may be worth a look. Busting rocks across canyons at 800-1200 yards is way fun with a rifle capable of these kind of ballistics. Barrel life has been a knock against it but mine have several hundred rounds through them and still shoot very well. Barrel wear is always going to be a problem with any high performance cartridge and the gun must be used accordingly. I am calling it the STW since now that is the parent case. I guess that is proper. Easier than the 6.5-8mm rem mag it was before the STW came out.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
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Unread 11-11-2010, 04:34 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 86
Re: Best Long Range Setup

I have a TAC 50 for ultra long range but I proved last year that you can shoot a deere off hand at 100 yards. Deere went right down!!lol I uses a NF 5-22 for optics on it. This is my favorite but to heavy to lug around except in my Polaris Ranger. With the drag bag and ammo I think it tips the scales around 75-85 pounds.

Second rifle is 338AX built by Kirby. Shoots a 300SMK at 2950FPS out of a 26 inch barrel. Optics are a USO 5-25x50 EREK. This is a awesome peice and my buddy took a black bear at 286 yards last year. It was a chip shot for this rifle. I have only stretched it out to 1K so far.

Third Rifle is a GAP .308 on a FN action. Gap Camo, USO 3.5-17x44 EREK. Shoots the 178 Superperformance Ammo and Loves it. I'm trying to decide what bullet to use in this for Bear hunting out to 700 yards.

Forth rifle - GAP built 243AI 1-10 twist. Optics-USO3.5-17x44 EREK. Shoots the 80 and 90 grain Bergers over RL17 and it is a screamer.

The above rifles are all heavy barrel and they are a little heavy.

Fifth rifle-22-250 VTR with a trigger job. Optics USO 3.5-17x44. Shoots the 52 grain Amax over 4064 and does very well. This is the rifle I carry most of the time.

I have a collection of Remington 788's and as I get older, I really like the light weight of them!!lol
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Unread 11-11-2010, 05:44 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 195
Re: Best Long Range Setup

I have been thinking about the 6.5 stw but was reading a post by Kirby not to long ago and he was saying that the 140 berger would come apart after 3250 most of the time. What barrel are you using to keep them from coming apart?
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Unread 11-11-2010, 06:02 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Potomac River
Posts: 5,088
Re: Best Long Range Setup

Post #31 is a good post. Great bullets will make an old cartridge perform wonders. The most under bulleted calibers are the 257 and 277. If one had some good high BC bullets for them it would make them perform like new.

I would agree with Post #28 also. Trying to make a 1000 yard kill with my light rifle last year was extremely difficult. Trying to make a 500 yard shot with an XP pistol was more difficult than any 1000 yard shot I have ever made with a rifle. When you need to reach out there you need weight, barrel length and high BC bullets
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
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