I have a cohort at work that has gotten the LR bug. He has a couple of rifles that are very capable but are on the barrel burner side. After shooting with us a couple of times he realizes what wind plays in the overall game. He keeps quizzing me on how to read the wind and after telling him everything I know I said "You're only missing one component - Lot's of practice." So now he's on a mission to get something other than his fireburners to practice with. My first thought was to go out and get a Savage Long Range Hunter in a .308 Win or maybe a .243 and have it worked over a bit. If you were to plan on firing a 1000 plus rounds a year on practice out to 1000 yds. what would you suggest? I told my cohort I'd post this up for him - By the way when he sets his mind to something he always follows through so I would like to get him as good of info as I can. Any thoughts? Comments on the .308?
Buy a .22 that is set up similar to your big game rifle. With a .22 you shoot to 200 yards and it's like 800 on a big bore. And, much easier to find a 200 yard space than an 800 yard space.
At least, it's what I do to learn. I have a .22 bolt action set up like my Weatherbys, and a nice Savage Mk II thumbhole bull barrel as well. Both of them teach me a lot and the barrels will last forever.
Else I'd think .223 or 6mm if he wants to stay small and find a lot of support for the caliber.
+1 on the 6mmBR. On my long list of stuff to buy. I shoot in excess of 2000rnds of .308 alone a year at my current rate... I have the blessing/curse of being able to shoot to 400yards every weekend on my own property.
The 22 is also not a bad idea... Have loads of fun shooting mine. Am thinking of sticking a 10x SS on it so I can dial in better. 200 yards is very doable however. 250 is pushing it. At 400 the bullets were tumbling and you could actualy SEE them spinning. We (Trebark was my partner in crime) did however land one hit on the target stand. Held over around 24ft. Watching through Trebarks big eyes was almost more fun than shooting with the 22!
So yes, good advice here. 22lr, 223, 6mmbr will all get it done. I feel if I could only have one of those three I'd get the 6 BR since it is also a good varmint caliber and VERY accurate.
"Out of range" is a theoretical concept as far as I'm concerned. Send it!
Lots of people over at snipershide set up 22lr "trainers" basically the exact gun you hunt LR with but in a 22lr. Cowboy, if you ever wanna do some shooting I get to Billings quite a bit mom lives ther actually leaving tomorrow going to be there for a week.
My approach would be to practice as close to actual LRH conditions as possible. The other calibers mentioned would provide a lot of good shooting but shooting out to 1K with actual ammunition, velocities, bullets, recoil, etc would give a better feel for actual field performance. IMO, 300 WSM is the ideal cartridge for LRH practice. It has a reputation for excellent barrel life and with the right powder and bullet, it's capable of 1K hunting. Shoot a 22 LR and you learn something about windage, but how practical will it be when actually doping and shooting 1K? the 223 would be better and the 308 better yet. The 300 WSM will get it done. You might get 10,000 rounds out of a 308 barrel and 4000 out of a 300 WSM, but how many 308 rounds down range is one 300 WSM round worth for actual no kidding experience?
I think Zak Smith wrote an article about the cost of shooting. Consumables (bullets, powder, brass, and primers) really add up in terms of cost. A barrel is not that expensive in the grand scheme of things, especially when shooting 1000 rounds per year. Even a magnum should get a couple years of service at this rate depending on chambering.
You might want to have your friend crunch some numbers comparing the training rifle cost (with consumables) vs using one of his current rifles. The money saved now, could be used towards other gear if he doesn't already have it like LRF, spotter, binos, etc.