That is a great question - look forward to reading what the guys here suggest. I would lean towards the 7WSM, just sort of getting to like the short fat cases and might be easier to live with since you can buy factory brass. But the 280 Improved has proven itself for decades. Pushed 7mm Rem mag performance, gives you an extra round in the mag., has great history. Some of the most knowledgable hunters I have met favor the .280 Imp., have seen some incredible custom rifles in that cartridge.
Well I am a huge fan of the .280 and I have never owned or even shot one. Someday I will also build a full blown custom rifle, and I do mean full blown. Not a single element will be standard factory gear. Even the bolt handle will be unlike anything being offered from nesika bay.
Almost everything I have learned about the .280 is positive. The energy is good for LR deer and elk. The accuracy is good for very LR coyotes and chucks. The recoil is not sharp or as harsh as the 7mm rem mag. The accuracy of the rounds being fireformed is often sub MOA. This allows having the rifle for a season and using it as a regular custom rifle while forming a boodle of brass then the following seasons the accuracy is likely to improve from having brass formed to your chamber. Throat life is good and in a pinch (you forgot your ammo) you can buy factory .280 rem ammo off the shelf and continue the hunting trip.
I have heard that the round really comes to life in a 28" or longer bbl with 32" being the "magic number" in a 1:9 twist. Loads using a 140gr to 160gr ish bullet seem to be the cats meow for this chambering. But that was before Wildcat Bullets came along. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]
Dang it! Now I'm all lathered up about that project again. I can't wait to begin working on that gun but as it is I already have many irons in the fire.(And the family wants a hunting dog now. I really need about 30 hours in a day but only 8 days a week.)
Aaaaaanyway. It would be better for a guy who calls himself "Long Action" to have the AI instead of the 7mm short, fat, squatty, wide-bottom, pin-head shaped, mangnum.
GRAVITY. It's not just a good idea. It's the LAW!
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I am about to start my last full blown custom rifle. It will be between a 7 WSM or 280AI. Witch way would you go?.
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Well pilgrim I'll tell ya. And I'll tell ya why. Completely unbiased and purely scientific. yea, right!
Of course its the 280 REM AI!
1)The case. There is something unique about the parent case. When the 06/270/280/6.5-06 are loaded and rattled together they have that certain unduplicatible sound that the short fat cases can't make. Kind of like when an F-4 Phantom is fired up. You know its a Phantom. Just sounds good.
2)With a proper smith doing the work short fat/long slender doesn't make a squat of difference.
3)W/the proper bbl length and some nifty reloading as said above, you'll push the 7mm Rem. and probably push the 7WSM right along with it.
4)W/a bullet weight greater than 140 you're getting to some good BCs and bullets that will reach out and touch about as far as you would want to walk after the shot.
5)"starting my last full blown custom rifle." If you're gonna go out, out of custom stuff that is, ya may as well go out in a blaze of glory. Kind of like Slim Pickens on the Nuke. You'd probably look dumb sittin' on one of those fat little cartridges.
and finally, with a moniker like "long action" your predisposed to the long slender 280 AI. Guess you're stuck with it. Its in yer genes.
Really though, I think that the 280 even the 280AI have a much better longer track record than the WSM. Plus its way cool and not just another fad and you'll feel much more dignified when you show it off.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
Thanks guys. I had a extreme custom 280 for the last five years. I am handicapped and it was getting to heavy to handle. I sold it to my best friend. It would stay at 2.5" at 600 on a bad day.
Roy you are right I just love the looks of that round, and the 280 is just plain solid with no glory attached.
Went through extensive surgery this summer so I can handle more weight. I am fairly certain this one is going to be a 280AI even though some of you made great points about the 7WSM. Cant picture me shoving a squatty body up the tube. Just to old and ornery I guess.