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Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

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Unread 12-07-2013, 11:06 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Western MT
Posts: 76
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

I'm debating this question with myself now. This past season I hunted with a 12 lb. TRG .260 rem for many days in varying terrain including mountains, high desert, and the Missouri breaks. I hunted antelope, elk, and mule deer. I took three animals at 150, 230, and 380 yds. I love the rifle but am thinking about building a 8.5-9 lb gun. I'm in my 50s and I have been a mountain climber since my 20s. Light is right is the saying in mountain climbing for a reason.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 11:42 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: California
Posts: 206
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

My heaviest rifle is 10# and it works well out to 700 yrds I have no intentions to shoot any further than that, But if I did it would take care of that as well.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 01:57 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 1,023
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Personally I think all this is less about the total weight your humping up and down the mountains, and more about that long hunk of metal on the end of your arm. An extra 4 pounds on your back isn't a deal breaker but stick it on the end of your arm for several days while doing calisthenics the whole time and that's another story. My rifle is constantly in a state of motion and balance. Side-hilling finds my rifle constantly being held away from my body. Lowering my profile, stalking, walking through brush, glassing... you name it, all require the rifle to be manipulated in a way that stresses you arm, shoulder and even your legs need to compensate for that unbalanced situation.

You can help a lot by removing the bipod. It makes your rifle nose-heavy and unwieldy and every piece of brush grabs at it. Leave it in your pack or leave it at home and practice using your pack as an improvised rest. Securing your rifle to your pack when you know you won't be using it like walking to your spot before first-light or back to camp after dark will give your arm/shoulder a break and keep the weight stationary and next to your body. Trekking poles may help when grinding up hill when your rifle is stowed (experiment). Get into better shape by climbing off trail with a full pack. Control your speed downhill. By lowering your weight down slowly with each step, you'll build strength and endurance which will make the difference on day 5. Include carrying a long (50" or so) weighted 2x4 without any fancy handle. Your hand is fairly open when carrying your rifle which is a lousy grip. That puts more stress on your forearm so your arm should be used to that. You can wrap the 2x4 with duct tape to make your grip wider and even more miserable. If your heavy rifle feels a lot better to carry, you've done it right. I don't carry my rifle when getting into shape because I don't want to drop it or fall on it.

For me, the difference between a 9 lb. rifle and a 12 lb. rifle is that the lighter one, I don't need to do anything at all to prepare for but the slightly heavier one beats me half to death if I don't get my body ready a little bit before I take off to hunt.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 02:10 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: California Central Coast
Posts: 3,556
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Christensen Arms.

Carbon stocks
Carbon wrapped barrels.

It works even with non-lead.

I'm over 50, not going to backpack hunt but walk in/out with game 9lb sure, 12lb an issue but I guess I'll train. Over that, I have to many capable rifles that weight less. My heaviest is a over 18lb.
Fred Seaman - NRA Life Member
“Ask, Listen, Learn, Grow”
"Quit worrying about the little things, good luck and god speed"
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Unread 12-07-2013, 03:30 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 30
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

A lot can be gained from taking lessons from lightweight backpacking. The two keys are don't take anything you don't need, and try to choose items that serve multiple purposes. I enjoy creating overall systems that work well together, and don't cost s fortune.

With the rifle, I would start by choosing a caliber that is efficient in a shorter barrel. Testing shows there is not much accuracy gained from a longer barrel, but a longer barrel has to have a heavier contour to remain rigid. If you can get by with a 24" #3 contour instead of a 28" varmint you will save significant weight there.

As far as needing weight on the rifle to shoot it accurately there is no need to carry extra weight. Put a butt stock pouch on it and carry your first aid kit there so you have it when you set your pack down to retrieve the game, or stick your water bottle in it when you are ready to shoot. Many people also carry Nalgene bottles, which weigh over 6oz empty, a regular disposable water bottle weighs less than an ounce.

You also might be carrying a pack that weighs 5-6 lbs empty, and its only job is just to carry your gear. The Flash 45 from REI weighs 2 lbs. If you have a spotting scope with a low enough zoom you may be able to leave the binoculars behind.

Evaluate every piece of gear you have, ask if you need it, if it can be made lighter, or if it can be replaced by something that could serve multiple purposes. You may be able to get down to a 9lb rifle and a 25lb pack.
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Unread 12-07-2013, 04:53 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: AB, Canada
Posts: 556
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

I have to apologize for my previous remarks.
I forgot one tinny detail (i'm on 40's and as you mentioned at 50's i will change my way of thinking) ad of course as you guys on 50's i will change my hunting style and i will try to get a lighter rifle.
but.... hunting with heavier rifle can be done.
One of my hunting partners (hi is 57) hunts with me with 12lb rifle all day.
of course we have to stop more often, hunt smart, and if e get something we have first to get the rifles to the truck and then very light loads we got the game quarter by quarter out....

Of course i load my pack double, and his is very light, but heck (all what his hauling out is less for me on the next trip).
here is the photo....
first photo is myself with double load
2nd photo (the guy with rifle) is my elk partner (57 year old) with his light load.
we haved lots of fun and ... well for one day of backpacking didn;t was so bad. (we wore hunting on ONLY FOOT HUNTING AREA).
We noticed using plastic snow sled is easy to get the game out then on backpack . When you go downhill you have no load behind you (it slided) and when you go up hill (is the only tie when you pull) easy then load all the game on backpack (uphill or downhill) if the terrain permits to drag a plastic sled.
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My 338Edge
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Unread 12-07-2013, 06:09 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: California
Posts: 206
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Hunt smarter, hunt longer, hunt often.
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