I have NO interest in a 12-15 pound hunting rifle. I don't think I said anything about a 7lb gun either as I'm not looking for a thin barreled sheep rifle. Though I do appreciate the advantages of both set-ups, I just don't like the trade-off's.
At 6-800 yards a 7MM RM will kill any deer or elk with a 160gr Accubond coming out of the muzzle at 3000 fps. I won't play the shot placement game either. Nor will I buy into the fact that a 50BMG can take an elk out with a marginal shot. Bottom line if I do my part the 7 mag kills even an 800LB 8 year old elk in his prime, with room to spare.
The only logical reason to carry a 12-15 lb gun up and down Idaho mtns is if you jones for those types of guns, and many do, or you are trying shots at longer distances than me and need the additional capabilities and energy that a 300 Gr SMK will carry at 1000+ yds. I appreciate the guys that are into that, but I'm not there(yet).
BTW, I am willing to pass up shots. Past my limits is where I believe(opinion) that I would have to start shooting a gun I've decided isn't that fun to shoot or carry. The 7MM is about all the recoil I like. I'm willing to carry an extre 2-3lbs, but not 7-8lbs. I'm not leaving my Swaro bino's/spotter behind becuase I can't kill what I can't find.
If I do decide I need to start moving up the food chain my choise would probably be the 300RUM, In that Sendero style set-up. That would be when I want the gun for up to 1000 yards.
While I appreciate all input so far, please NO ONE start lecturing me about how I need a bigger bullet for elk, damn that is an old argument I don't want to go through.
Always good to know what you want and how you want to hunt with it.
A 27-28 inch barrel contour that tapers to about 0.65 - 0.7 inches at the muzzle will still point fairly well and swing well and can be fired off hand moderately well because it is still pretty well balanced. It will group well at long range as long as you don't get it hot which I will talk about in a minute. Such a barrel is referred to as a heavy sporter or light varmint barrel and is about a #4 or #5 Lilja contour (see his website). I just had a 27 inch #3 taken off and a 28 inch #5 put on and I wish I had gone to a #4. The #3 shot very well and was a pleasure to carry and handy in the timber. Maybe I should have stayed with the #3. Oh well, not much of a mistake.
Barrel heating up is one of the great rural myths of the hunting world. The urban myths do not include barrel diameter so it had to be a rural myth. The only place that one is concerned with barrel heat is on the inside of the barrel. The heat on the outside of the barrel is of no concern to anyone who knows anything. The transfer of heat from the burning of powder to the first very thin layer of metal in the throat is what ruins a barrel. There is considerable debate and scientific uncertainty as to the exact nature of the process that ruins a throat but it is my opinion that there are two methods of ruining a barrel. High-frequency-high-temperature heat cycling and low-frequency-moderate temperature heat cycling. With the high frequency method if you fire ten rounds in two minutes the throat gets hotter and hotter and in between each shot there is a reduction of temperature in the first thin layer of metal which causes the expansion and contraction to occur at very high temperatures. If you fire ten rounds spaced over 30 minutes the temperature peaks are lower and there should be less thermal cracking of the surface of the throat. One method ruins a barrel quickly and the other ruins it slowly. Thermal checking and cracking is unavoidable but you can reduce its affects by the rate of fire. In my opinion this is much more important than barrel thickness. So, if you would like a nice handling light barreled rifle remember to treat the throat kindly and it will be accurate for many years.
If you haven't already, look at Manners stocks --- they make a very good product ---- with several lightweight versions (24oz to 2.5lbs) and their turn-a-round time is exceptional.
For the cost of the fluting and some of the controversy surronding it, I would go with a lighter barrel contour to save weight vs. a heavy contour with fluting.
If you go with a lighter wt scope (under 20oz), lightwt manners stock and a #5contour - you should be in that wt range.
My buddys shilen #5@27inches, zeiss conquest, HS sporter stock weighs in at 9.5 to give you some ideas vs my #5.5contour@27in w/McMillan thumbhole, IOR scope which is 13lbs)
As far as barrel heating without flutes - both of us have around 800 rounds in less than 2 yrs and are still getting 0.5moa consistently.
Thanks so much for the informed responses. The #5 contour Lilja, fluted, for quicker cooldown during shooting sessions is what I'm leaning toward. I guess at this point the best way to learn is to start ordering. I sure hope I can get to that .5 moa mark, I've been doing a lot of reading in hopes of improving my reloading skills to match the gun. Thanks again.
You also might want to look at carbon wrapped barrels by Advanced Barrel Systems. You will gain 2 advantages:
1) it will weigh about the same as a #1 or 2 contour barrel, with the accuracy of a heavy barrel.
2) it will dissapate the heat created 300x faster then a steel barrel
I routinely shoot big calibers (300 RUM, 338 Lapua mag) in 5 shot strings with no waiting between shots, and see no affect on point of impact due to heat. I shoot all the rifles I build in this manner to make sure they shoot sub 1/2 moa. I have no problem putting a 1/2" accuracy gaurantee on rifles with these barrels. Most of them shoot groups in the .2-.3"s.
As for a lightweight stock, another good choice is carbon stocks from Lone Wolf. They have several styles available to suit one's taste. You might look at his "Rogue", it has a palm swell, and cheek peice. I find it a very comfortable hunting stock.
I put these components together to build long range rifles that weigh under 7 lbs in long actions and @ 6 lbs in short actions, all with .5 moa gaurantees.
can Uall help me out Iam new out here I finly made up my mind going to make/build cost rifle at this point it is a rem721 30.06 allready got triger job done about 1# pull 3-9x40 scope with ballistc plx going to use a bell carlson metalits weatherby look alike stock now for the barrel should I go with a 308 or stay with 30.06 it will be a deer gun in mn (i want bragging rights)trying 2 beat friends 7mm mag please help
There is not much difference between the 30-06 and 308 as far as ballistics are concerned. Perhaps if you do not reload, then the plentiful supply of factory loaded competition grade ammo for the 308 would be a point to consider in achieving accuracy.