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Need Advice on Caliber

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Old 11-09-2005, 09:26 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 32
Need Advice on Caliber

Hi guys,

I am taking the plunge and having a rifle built. I have to decide on a caliber, and could really use some advice.

Here is the job that needs filled:
- 26" bbl bolt gun, tactical type
- might want to shoot from magazine, haven't decided
- 100% recreational shooting, no matches or hunting
- small stationary targets at 500-1000 yds
- a lot of shots will be first shots from cold bbl
- all weather: heat, cold, rain, wind
- not a lot of recoil
- relatively long barrel life
- NOT finicky to handload

I am open to anything between 6mm BR and .308 Win. I ran a few Sierra bullets through my ballistics program and was surprized that the 6mm BR outdid the 308 by a good bit. I would guess that there is no way to feed one of those short guys from a magazine though. I am also looking at a few sub-243 Win 6mms like the 6mm XC (?) that Tubb shoots, 260 Rem, and 7mm-08.

What would you guys choose if you were me?

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Old 11-09-2005, 10:17 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,515
Re: Need Advice on Caliber

The good ol' .308 should fit the bill. Maybe a .243 Ackley improved would be fun to play with. You could have the chamber reamed so you can load from a mag and still touch the lands if you want.

Just a thought.
GRAVITY. It's not just a good idea. It's the LAW!
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Old 11-09-2005, 10:18 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Montana
Posts: 253
Re: Need Advice on Caliber

I think you should give the 7mm-08 some serious consideration. Have it throated right for the bigger bullets so you don't loose case capacity. If you run the ballistics a 162gr a-max at a little over 2700fps is a pretty good combination. Or many other good 7mm bullets like berger 168VLD or the wildcat bullets.

Kicks slightly less than 308
Impacts at 1000yards are more noticable than 6br
Wind plays less of a factor than it does with 6br or 308

hope this helps
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Old 11-10-2005, 12:06 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: East TX
Posts: 773
Re: Need Advice on Caliber

I would only seriously consider 3 calibers.
.260 RP

There are advantages and drawbacks to each of them, but all three do exactly what you have asked.
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Old 11-10-2005, 12:24 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The rifle range, or archery range or behind the computer in Alaska
Posts: 3,514
Re: Need Advice on Caliber

Stay away from the calculator!! You cannot compare ballistics on paper, you must perform real world tests.

That said, there are several calibers that will out perform the 308 win. Out perform is also a subjective term. What you have described I would say none other that the 308 win.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (where the shot goes, how big the group is, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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Old 11-10-2005, 02:22 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,515
Re: Need Advice on Caliber

Yep I'm with Meichele on this one. Your list says "I want to use a .308 and I don't believe me yet."

I only mentioned the .243 AI because it is a bit more rare for the guy that wants something different than his buddies. It is easy to form. It loads in the same mags, uses the same bolt and action as a .308 and with the right bullets and powder you can get a MV over 4k (what is more recreational than that?) It is capable of pushing the 105s at a healthy speed for the targets past 700.

(but the .308 is calling your name) [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
GRAVITY. It's not just a good idea. It's the LAW!
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Old 11-10-2005, 03:17 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 32
Re: Need Advice on Caliber

Stay away from the calculator!! You cannot compare ballistics on paper . . .

[/ QUOTE ]

Hey, check this: After a decade of no guns at all, I get back to one of my old pursuits. I set a target at some arbitrary range, do the ballistic calculations for range and atmospheric conditions, and take one shot. Now with my new Nikon laser rangefinder (!) and ballistics software on my PDA (!!) I set my water jugs out in the field at 500+ yards, make my measurements, calculations, click-click-click -- BAM----splash. That blows me away, never was able to do that before. So don't be disparagin' the ol' calculator to me [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

But yes, I have heard the siren song of the 308.

The 260 Rem never existed when I last checked, so that has me intrigued. Back then I was wishing someone would make good bullets for the 6.5x55, as it looked really good ballistically. Now in '05 I find the well-established 260. Go figure.

Here is an interesting thing I found in my travels, a sreadsheet that estimated barrel life, assuming 30 to 60 seconds cooling between shots:


You will probably have to copy and paste the URL in a browser window, since the site does not allow direct links.

It is just a "rule of thumb" kind of thing for competition shooting, but shooters' reports of barrel life over at www.long-range.com (that's where I found it) seem to agree pretty well. I just had that darned 308 out of my head and then found that info. It argues pretty strongly against the 6mms larger than BR.

Now I'm thinking 260, 7-08, or 308. DOn't know what I'd do for 30-cal bullets. Maybe 168-gr Berger VLDs, if the BC is actually that good.

Thanks for all the help, it's great to have all the input.

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