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Help a beginner

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Unread 03-19-2010, 06:55 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 8
Help a beginner

I am new to the sport of long range shooting and would like some advice on the most suitable choice of long range calibers. I am thinking about building a 6.5-06 or a 6.5-284. Though i have little experience i do not know which one would be the optimum rifle for long range, or if i should look at another caliber.
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Unread 03-19-2010, 07:10 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: SW MT or noVA
Posts: 986
Re: Help a beginner

Do you have another rifle? You need to practice and gain real world expeience. The short barrel life on either of those calibers won't let you practice much before needing a new barrel. But for long range capabilities, awsome ballistics and low recoil, the 6.5x284 is hard to beat.

For a first rifle, get a fast twist .223 to shoot 70gr+ VLDs or a .308 Winchester. Then get a 6.5-284, will make a good combo

I rate the 6.5x284 over the 6.5-06 because of awsome lapua brass, more info and load data and it's a proven 1000yrd round.
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Unread 03-19-2010, 07:44 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 4,155
Re: Help a beginner

Hello Olson,
Welcome to LRH.com and the addiction! There are many things to consider when trying to build a long range rig. From you caliber choices a custom or semi custom rifle is your best bet. You can buy the 6.5x284 from Savage as a factory rifle.

However I have to agree with Oliveralan. He speaks the truth that both are barrel burners. With either cartridge you are looking at a life expectancy of 800 to 1000rnds. of accurate firing. Maybe less depending on barrel care and potency of your loads. I also agree with his caliber selections for learning on as well. Both calibers will force you to learn how to read the wind and learn elevation dope.

Some other calibers to consider would be the 6mmbr, 22-250 (fast twist), 243/243AI, 260/260AI, 6/6.5x47 Lapua, 7mm-08, and 6.5x55 Swede. These are all great starter calibers to get you to 1K for target. These will all provide better barrel life than the two you originally chose. Those calibers would be great for later when you are capable of shooting very well and consistently to long distances. Another thing to consider is application... target or hunting? If hunting how far do plan of shooting and what size animal. If you want to go to Elk at 1K then none of the above will work. If you want to shoot paper to 1K then all the calibers above will work. Just some other things to consider.

Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. [14] But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

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Unread 03-19-2010, 05:38 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Holland, MI
Posts: 2,021
Re: Help a beginner

Hi Olson,

You'll probably get opinions from everyone on their favorite caliber. What I don't see mentioned is whether you want to use the rifle just to bang a gong at 1000 yards, break a rock at 1200, or take down a deer or elk. The caliber you pick will be based on your objective. Popular ones for hunting are the 7mm/300/338 families.

I agree with the "start small" idea, and then working up. In fact, I recently went so small that I picked up a(nother) .22 LR rifle built specifically for learning long range techniques. It costs pennies to shoot, and the local 100 yard indoor range can teach me a lot about long range before I move to a 200 yard outdoor range when the weather improves. To hit at 100 yards I have to adjust the elevation of the scope just like on a long range gun, and it's interesting to play with.

Sure, I've got larger caliber rifles too, but before I start spending $1-2 per round on an education I'm spending $0.01-0.02 per round.
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Unread 03-19-2010, 06:00 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 6,068
Re: Help a beginner

I've never shot either cartridge but I don't think they would be to awful hard on barrels. I do have 25-06 which is more over bore than a 6.5-06 and from what I've read, I can expect 1000-2000 rounds of life from it depending on how hot I shoot it and how well I take care fo it. The 6.5-284 will be a little hotter that the 6.5-06.

Either one would work well for deer size game. The idea of getting a more barrel friendly cartridge for more trigger time is a good one also. You might consider a switch barrel which is what I'm planning for a couple of my platforms.

Good Shooting,

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Unread 03-19-2010, 07:46 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 8
Re: Help a beginner

Thank you all that have responded. I have just returned from talking to a gun smith and he said that i could expect about 1000 rounds through the barrel before i notice a difference in accuracy. I do have several different rifles including 223, 243,25,7mm,and some 30 calibers. The advice on shooting a smaller gun to learn on is a wonderful idea, and that is what i have been doing sence that is all i enjoy shooting. The idea of shooting a 22 rimfire is a wonderful idea also and i belive i will try that on the next trip to the range. Thanks again and good shooting
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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:24 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Elizabethville Pa
Posts: 123
Re: Help a beginner

Olson if i were u i would go with the 6.5x284. imho there isnt much need to go much bigger unless your looking for more speed and shorter bbl life. I currently own 2 6.5x300 weahtherby's while i will never be without one they do go through bbls. generally i get about 1200 rounds through one before it goes south on me.. but thats with 140gr amax at around 3500fps... I would get it in a 8 twist to shoot the 140 amax's rthe 142smk's you will get around 3000fps with that set up. i do agree to start smaller like the others have said but it looks like you have dipped into it a bit allready. just my 2cents.
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