I recently returned from a trip to Kyrgyzstan where I hunted ibex. For the last twenty or so years, I have mainly hunted big game with a bow, but get plenty of centerfire time in for prairie dogs, rock chucks and coyotes/foxes. Several years ago, when the short-magnum wars were still just a "police action", I purchased a Remington 673 in the 300 Rem SA Ultra Mag. I was after a compact, hard-hitting rifle that would carry easily in a scabbard. Accuracy was important, but not everything. I had previously sold a Sako 300 Rem Ultra Mag because it's long barrel and viscious bark made it unpleasant to both shoot and carry. Anyway, after sighting in the 673, I fired one shot at a bull elk at 65 yards. He dropped like a stone, I went back to bowhunting, and the 673 sat in the gun safe for the next several years.
When the chance to hunt in Kyrgyzstan came up this fall, I had to register a rifle with my paperwork, and assumed the 673 would be up to the task. I didn't even realize the rifle and cartridge had become a victim of the 300 WSM
. As the hunt drew nearer, and I became more aware of the potential shot distances (500+ yards), I got a little spooked and headed to the range. My fears were founded as several different loads failed to deliver the needed accuracy. I had no choice but to take the gun anyway. Sure enough, on day 2, I missed a beautiful ibex at 488 yards, and had a long horse ride back to camp cursing my lack of prep time before the hunt. Two days later, I took a nice billy at 225 yards, and enjoyed a fabulous hunting experience.
I headed home determined to purchase a new rifle. At airports on the way home, I got to talk to several sheep hunters, and was surprised to find that most had abandoned the short mags and returned to long actions, with a majority favoring the time tested 300 Win Mag. Two had Christensen Arms in 300 Rem Ultra Mags, and both were looking to get rid of them because of accuracy problems. These two guys were at different airports and unacquainted. Both planned on a 300 Win Mag.
Sorry. Long story for a short question. I have a great gun store at home, with a healthy inventory. I determined to pick a rifle based solely on what I liked the best, price be damned. Hands down, the Sako Finnlight in 300 Win Mag. Thoughts??? Lightweight vs. Accuracy? Lightweight vs Recoil? One friend insists that a decent rifle for long range sheep hunting should weigh a minimum of 10 lbs. (rifle, scope, rings and sling). Am I giving up too much performance by considering this little rifle? Scope will be a Swarovski Z3 4X12 w/ ballistic reticle (because I bought it before my trip in the attempt to squeeze everything out of the 673).