I'm headed to MT for an extend hunt for Elk and Mulies on a large ranch (80K+ acres) west of Yellow Stone on the Upper Ruby River. I need a hunting rifle, as I shoot my pistols and and AR most of the time just for the fun of ringing steel and making lots of holes close together - this will be the hunting gun to help with my bucket list . . .
So I've read 'til I'm numb (maybe even dumb), talked to lots helpful folks and have settled on the 7MM caliber: My top 3 cartridges in current order of preference are 280 AI, 7MM WSM and the old standard 30-06 if I can't find a rifle I want to own in the caliber I prefer (7MM) at a cost I'm willing to pay.
I'm not wishing to start a caliber/cartridge debate - they are all deadly and can reach out to 350-500 yds (not untypical shooting ranges where I'll be hunting). My favorite bullet for the 280 AI is the 150gr Accubond. Does anyone load this bullet at 3050-3150 fps? The Nosler factory cartridge is at 2950 fps ±, and there isn't much difference by loading up to 3100-3150 and I get that. But that increase would help with wind drift, drop and energy in the 400+ range a bit, and I'm told to expect it to be windy in November. At ranges below ≤350 yds, I'm totally OK with each cartridge.
In the 7MM WSM I really like the 168 gr bullet at close to 3000 fps.