First off, I want to begin by thanking everyone who makes this forum so amazing! I feel I've come so far over the past few years lurking, reading and learning from all the various threads and reviews. Thanks.
First thing I need help with is figuring out what rifle will suit my needs the best. I will be hunting game the size of coyote up to elk (moose if my name ever gets drawn
) and everything in between. I hunt the high country where an 8 mile hike in is the norm and 12-15 miles isn't unheard of. My longest shot to date was measured out to 500 strides on a mule deer. I've been practicing out to 700 yards recently and can consistently put 5 rounds on a 6'' target. My current hunting rifle tips the scales at just under 12 lbs and it's a 308, but I want something bigger with a longer reach.
Originally I planned on building a Savage in some sort of WSM variation, but I get a great deal on factory rifles through my job and figured it'd make sense to take advantage of this opportunity rather than spend a bunch of time and money putting together a semi-custom Savage.
Some of the rifles I'm looking at:
Remington m700 Sendero (heavy for a back packing rifle)
Winchester m70 Extreme Weather SS
Browning A Bolt II LRH (another heavy one)
Winchester m70 Coyote Light
Browning A Bolt Stainless Stalker
Remington m700 CDL SF
I'm also trying to decide whether or not I want a short mag or regular mag rifle. Currently I'm leaning towards a 300WSM, but am also considering a 7mm Rem Mag.
Lastly, at least for now, I need to pick a scope. The two I've got my eye on are Leupold VXRs:
30mm 2-7x33 1/10mil adj
30mm 3-9x40 1/10mil adj.
They weigh in under 1 pound each and the reviews look pretty good. For a hunting rifle, I believe this variable zoom is perfect for the distance I plan to be shooting: >800yards. I also like the illuminated reticle the VXRs come with. Any other lightweight options would be greatly appreciated, I'm just not sure where to look. I'm trying to keep it right at 16 oz if possible and want at least a max magnification of 7. I prefer a 30mm tube and don't want an the objective diameter over 40mm, so I'm able to keep it mounted as low as possible.
Please feel free to rip these choices apart or sing their praises. I want to hear the good, bad and ugly on each of them if you've fired, hunted or looked through them.