Anyone have a long range (800 to 1200 yards) hunting rifle (either factory or custom built) and shoot factory ammo? If so what brand and bullet. I have had great performance from Federal Premium w/ 160 grain Nosler Acubonds out to 500 yards in my 7mm Rem. mag. I am thinking of having a 7mm WSM built and not sure if I want to get back into reloading due to time constraints.
I'm quite certain there are 'some' individuals that might reply back that think that 'factory ammo' is the best thing since sliced bread however after 60 years of shooting highly accurate rifles at the longer ranges I know of no SERIOUS SHOOTERS that depend upon factory ammo to deliver optimum performance from a well built accurate rifle! I equate that with putting a washing machine engine into an Indy race car!
Yes. Rifles, optics, and factory ammo have all come a long ways.
In the early 1970's, I would frequently shoot 1/2" groups at 100 yds from my Kleinguenther K14 30-06 with Hornady Frontier ammo. We thought 350yds was long range because the Leupold gold ring scopes we could afford didn't have reliable turrets or BDC reticles.
We also didn't have the selection of VLD bullets of today and the twist rates often wouldn't support them anyway.
Whether the industry has come far enough is something only you can decide based on actual practice. If you're consistently in the kill zone on paper or steel out past your likely hunting distances with factory ammo, then hit or miss on live game, I'd be hard pressed to criticize.
I bought some HSM 168VLD ammo for my 7mm Rem Mag which is box stock.( Its the same wonder ammo they advertise on "Best of the West" ( oh no not that show!!!) but I got it cheaper from Cabelas). It's supposed to shoot flatter than the no longer mfd Hornady Heavy Mag ammo I was using and maybe flatter than the new Hornady Superformance ammo too.
I used to reload but after 40 yrs of it I guess I got tired, or lazy. So I just buy a few doz boxes of diff factory ammo every year for the little bit I shoot and hunt.