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Need advice on a new stalking rig!

 
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  #1  
Old 01-20-2014, 04:00 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Charlotte, NC
Posts: 2
Need advice on a new stalking rig!

Hi Everyone,
Long time listener, first time caller here... and in need of your advice/expertise.
I am ready to purchase a new Mule Deer/Aoudad/Elk rifle. I do the majority of my hunting in the mountains of southwest Texas and Montana. Days consist of a lot of steep climbs and constantly being on the move so I am looking to keep it light. Shots can be anywhere from 50-600 yards. Could potentially go longer but i don't feel that competent yet, I wont pull the trigger and just "hope" it makes contact.
All in (gun, scope, bipod etc..) I would like to keep it at $4,000 and under.

Here are my questions:
Should I go with an upgraded production rifle or custom rifle?
7mm Rem Mag or 300 Win Mag?
I don't know anything about Short mags like 300wsm. How do they compare?
If I went custom where should I look?
For production: I do like the Sako Finnlight in .300 Win Mag, I could upgrade that gun with a McMillan stock.
For scopes: Zeiss, Nightforce, Meopta or Swarovski

Honestly, I have really enjoyed the learning process researching this gun but I am ready to make a decision. I could read various articles and review forever.

Thanks in advance for your help!
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  #2  
Old 01-20-2014, 06:51 PM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,167
Re: Need advice on a new stalking rig!

First off, do you reload or not?

IMO, which some will disagree with, There is nothing wrong with either the 7 Rem Mag, 300 Win Mag or 300 WSM for what you want in either custom or factory.

All three are easy to buy factory ammo for and to reload for.

I would tell you to find a good used custom rig in one of those calibers or go with the Tikka T3 lite. Nothing wrong with T3, and all it might need is another stock. I am not a fan of the factory 700s in magnums, especially with the riveted extractor. see the link below on my carry gun and why I say that, plus you can set your carry gun up similar with any ballistic reticle scope or the Huskemaw.

No Click LR carry gun

The other gun I would tell you to look at is the Forbes rifle. No it is not the ULA or NULA but another rifle Melvin Forbes is building and at a great price around $1400 and would be a perfect rifle for what you want and is custom. I believe he is coming out with the magnums in 2014.

Forbes Rifle LLC - Home Page

Colt made a "Colt Light Rifle" years ago that was a spinoff of Melvin Forbes ULAs. They are still around NIB in 7mm and 300 Win mags for around $600-750. You can send them to Melvin, and for around another $600-700 he will put his stock on, Timney trigger and new barrel. That will be in the 6.5 lb range without scope and a shooter.

Good luck
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  #3  
Old 01-21-2014, 11:56 AM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Posts: 5,953
Re: Need advice on a new stalking rig!

First, I will never buy another Beretta product again. I bought a SAKO M85 Finnlight in 300 WSM expecting it to be a tack driver with a some carefully crafted handloaded ammo. It would not shoot handloaded or factory ammo worth a darn. It averages 2-4 MOA in inconsistant groups. The recoil lug system is a joke and recoil lugs are a critical part of a good shooting rifle. Beretta gave me the run around after sending the rifle in twice. They would not stand behind their product and told me I would be charged if the rifle was sent in again. Told me I didn't know how to clean a rifle.

Next, since this is LR hunting, I assume you are asking for advice on a rifle that will give you LR precision. My advise is get the heaviest barreled rifle you think you can live with. You're the best judge of that. My Long range carry rifles weigh 13 1/2 lbs with NF scope and Harris bipod, empty. 14 lbs loaded. That's a 27" #5 non-fluted tube, .750 @ muzzle.

Also, if it's in the budget, get a custom rifle for about $3000 and put a $1000 starter scope (including base and rings) on it and save up for a NF or equivalent to mount later. Another option is to buy a Cooper for about $2000 and top it with a NF. I would opt for #1.

The 300 WSM will allow you to use a shorter barrel with good efficiency. That will save you a little weight and more maneuverable. If you go with a WSM, do it on a long action. Some custom actions makers make a WSM action. That is a compromise between a short and long action.

If you don't reload, all this precision equipment (custom rifle, top end scope) is being wasted. So figure that in to your thinking.

Cheers and welcome to LRH
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  #4  
Old 01-21-2014, 12:39 PM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 229
Re: Need advice on a new stalking rig!

buy a blaser r8 or a SAUER 202 MOUNTAİN in 300 win mag and put a nightforce or zeiss scope on it. use quality. if you are a rich person buy cheep stuff because you will be buying alot of it as cheep stuff dont last long
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  #5  
Old 01-21-2014, 12:45 PM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,439
Re: Need advice on a new stalking rig!

The one priority you provided was you wanted a lighter gun since you're packing around in the mountains. And you stated you're focusing on 600 yd as the long end of yardage.

My primary comment is that lots of rifles, even factory rifles straight out of the box, are going to be able to provide the accuracy required to be competent 600 yd slayers of big game. My hunting is almost solely comprised of backpack hunting in mountains also. I refuse to carry an outfitted rifle that weighs more than 11 lbs. I prefer no more than 10 lbs. I don't use a bipod because I haven't found them necessary out to 800 yds, but primarily I'm unwilling to carry the extra weight and grappling hook hanging off my stock when walking thru brushy terrain. I don't use NightForce scopes because I'm unwilling to carry the weight, and there are other options that are perfectly suited out to 800 yds that cost much less, and weigh much less. My scopes weight about 22 oz, and I wish they didn't. But that's better than 28-36 oz. There are scopes that weigh substantially less than 22 oz that would be even better options out to 600 yds. Now NightForce and and bipods are both terrific, as are 12 plus lb rifles in many hunting situations. But if your hunting is largely backpacking and you're going to keep your rifle at 10 or less pounds fully decked out, then you have to go without some of these items that result in the heavy rifles commonly discussed, used, and preferred by the majority of dedicated LRHs on this Forum.

I own two Tikka T3s in 7mm Rem Mag and they are both plenty accurate for 700 yds. They're light, they have an excellent factory trigger which becomes important for accurate shot placement at long range, and they are almost always accurate straight from the factory. They aren't expensive either. I too would recommend a better stock than the factory plastic stock, and I'm about to put a lightweight Manners aftermarket stock on one of mine. We have harvested game out to 850 yds with these factory rifles. They're available in 7mm RM, 300 WM, or 300 WSM. Their magazine boxes may restrict your overall cartridge length, but for longer shots, they can be loaded single shot style, so that magazine length is no longer an issue.

If you're prepared to spend $4000, you have many, many options available, including a custom action and a thrifty class custom rifle. So don't get hung up on Tikka T3s if they don't impress you for some reason, even though they've performed very well for me.

If you want to focus on 800 yd and farther shots, then there are some advantages to the heavier contoured barrels and heavier weight rifles. They're easier to pilot for accuracy at extended ranges. Their barrels don't heat up as quickly, and they seem to be less finicky as to the ammunition they will shoot accurately. But I believe you placed emphasis on light weight and a packing rifle.
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2014, 12:51 PM
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Alabama
Posts: 5,883
Re: Need advice on a new stalking rig!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jwsrolltide View Post
Hi Everyone,
Long time listener, first time caller here... and in need of your advice/expertise.
I am ready to purchase a new Mule Deer/Aoudad/Elk rifle. I do the majority of my hunting in the mountains of southwest Texas and Montana. Days consist of a lot of steep climbs and constantly being on the move so I am looking to keep it light. Shots can be anywhere from 50-600 yards. Could potentially go longer but i don't feel that competent yet, I wont pull the trigger and just "hope" it makes contact.
All in (gun, scope, bipod etc..) I would like to keep it at $4,000 and under.

Here are my questions:
Should I go with an upgraded production rifle or custom rifle?
7mm Rem Mag or 300 Win Mag?
I don't know anything about Short mags like 300wsm. How do they compare?
If I went custom where should I look?
For production: I do like the Sako Finnlight in .300 Win Mag, I could upgrade that gun with a McMillan stock.
For scopes: Zeiss, Nightforce, Meopta or Swarovski

Honestly, I have really enjoyed the learning process researching this gun but I am ready to make a decision. I could read various articles and review forever.

Thanks in advance for your help!
Roll Tide!

And I just had a new lightweight whitetail rig built for next season, and the end of this season, by my gunsmith. If you're in Alabama I might can set you up with him if you are interested in having one built. I recommend 7mm RemMag as the most versatile whitetail caliber there is.

Here's the specs of my build:

Remington 700 stainless action, fully trued.
Remington 26" stainless sporter 7mm RemMag barrel, trued threads, shoulder, hand-lapped bore, target crown.
B&C Medalist stock
Fully bedded
free-floated barrel
tuned trigger (old style Remington trigger)
DNZ Gamereaper 1-piece medium base
Kahles Helia KX 3.5-10x50 1" tube (one of the best hunting scopes ever).

And I'm thinking about having him put a brake on the end of it, and have it cerakoted black before next year, just because.

Here's a few pics of it...





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Quote:
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2014, 01:30 PM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Norway, Buskerud
Posts: 342
Re: Need advice on a new stalking rig!

Hunting in rough terrain especially mountains demands light equipment! You should in any case take a close look to European single shot break action rifles (awfull long name). A SSBA without scope weighs ca. 6 - 7lbs and they were originally constructed for mountain hunting. Use a suitable calibre like 280 Rem, 7x64 Brenneke or even a 7 RM if nescessary. Use a scope of best quality and low weight like Zeiss, Swaro or Leupold with a 42mm maximum opening of the objective. The whole rig will give you ca. 9,5 - 10 lbs on your shoulders. You'll find top used ones already for 2000.- dollares and those are made by premium manufacturers like Krieghoff, Heym, Blaser etc. Good luck with your choice!
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