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

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Unread 12-01-2011, 09:47 AM
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Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?


Not sure if your referring to my comment about optics or not but if you are I was referring to accessary optics and choosing a MUCH lighter spotter then the Swaro as in reality, other then brand name status, many other brands will get the job done very nicely and save the hunter ALOT of weight.

I also stated that I would rather see a hunter skimp on spotters then rifle optics but again there are many lighter weight rifle scopes that will work very well without the need for a NF mounted on a lightweight rifle.

My point was simple on rifle weight, I would much rather see a hunter get a good quality rifle scope that is lighter then a NF or similiar weight scope and then put that weight savings back into the actual rifle in a full dimension, full strength stock and barrel with plenty of mass to get the job done properly. In the end, the rifle would be the same weight.

Probably the very best scope for this is the Leupold Mk 4 3.5-10x 40mm with FFP reticle. DRAMATICALLY lighter then most of the LR scopes on the market. Some feel you need more mag power then this but I have used this scope to take nearly 25 head of big game from 400 to 940 yards and I have never felt I did not have enough scope for the job.

That scope is on my old sporter 7mm Allen Magnum which is lighter then a factory Rem 700 BDL and uses a #3 Lilja barrel with 26" finish length. Still in the end, the complete rifle ready to hunt with is between 10 and 11 lbs. I have taken this rifle with me on hikes up to 6-8 miles and never had any problems with it at all.
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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Unread 12-01-2011, 10:08 AM
dig dig is offline
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Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Fifty Driver, I guess it does depend on your definition of Long Range. To me a the small bodied Couse at 800 yards is certainly long range and a light weight 7 WSM or the likes will more than do the job. I have taken 17 Couse with rifles ranging from 300 Wby to 25-06 in search of the perfect rifle. As for optics without something in the 12-15x range and a solid tripod you are at a huge disadvantage to find them. I gave up the spotter for a doubler or my Jim White tripler, saves a lot of weight and allows for valuation prior to walking. I have found the Luepy 4.5x14 with turrets more than sufficient to make hits to 1,000 yards (although I don't shoot game that far) and is a very good quality/weight compromise.
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Unread 12-01-2011, 10:09 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: White Mountains, AZ
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Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Originally Posted by Coyboy View Post
Who said anything about fixed power?
If you carry a 60x spotter what do you need a 22x scope for.

If you can't effectivly use 14X for a 800 yard shot you have eye issues.

I've recorded 900+ yard hits with 14x on targets smaller than coyotes.
I've used 9x on a 8lb 7wsm and shot with 1/2 moa accuracy on rocks way farther than I would shoot at deer.

the 2x10x32 NXS is 11oz lighter than a 3x15 or 5x22 NXS
A 1" leupold vx-3 4x14 or 6x20 is 13oz lighter
swaro has a 30mm tube z-6 3x18 that is 8oz lighter.

Why would someone complaining about rifle weight, use a 2lb scope?

But then what do I know, you obviously missed the whole point of my post #18 about lighter rifles.

Hopefully I didn't come across as "you don't know what your talking about".....I did not intend that. When I read your post, I misread 3x15 and 4x14 as fixed power......sorry about that. I may be inexperienced enough to believe that for a 800-900 yard shot you need to be cranked up to 22 power......I've alway interpreted "Aim Small, Miss Small" as getting all the magnification you can so you can "aim well". Based on EuroOptics website, the 5-22x56 weights in at 32 oz. I use my spotter for determining if a buck at 2+ miles away is worth getting closer too. The 10x50's are just for finding them to begin with.

I am with Kirby on our sport......if we are long range hunters/shooters that "long range" typically begins at the 600+ yard mark. I think ideally I'd like a rifle that weighed in at 8-9 lbs including optics. That may be unreasonable.......a custom rifle builder would have to get me a reality check on that.

On the hunt I just finished up, the guy I took with me was shooting a Browning A-Bolt in 7mm Mag. He was using a 9x40 fixed power Luepold and had not practiced past 300 yards nor did he have the ability to do accurate hold overs. We originally spotted 4 bucks at 1.5 miles away. With the 10x50's you could not tell how good the bucks were. With the spotter we could definitely tell that 3 of them were 3x3's and the other was a fork horn.

Once we closed the distance, I could have taken a 748 yard shot, but that would have left my hunting buddy out of the game. We closed the distance to 300 yards (NON long range) and sealed the deal.

I'd really like to know if a scoped rifle chambered in 7SAUM is reasonable. When I say scoped, I'd also like to keep my 5-22x56 NF. I've heard mixed reviews on the high tech stocks.....do you find them to be consistent from one stock to the next?

I would also like to add that coues deer are NOT your standard big game. They have been described by professional hunters as some of the most elusive and difficult game on the planet to hunt. As an example, the guys at Gunwerks, Aaron and Mike obviously spend a lot of time behind their rifles. Folks watch them take 500-1000 yard shots all day long and seem to do it with ease. When they came to AZ to hunt coues deer, they had plenty of opportunity to take the deer at those yardages and as I understand it, opted to close the distance to 400-500 yards......I am NOT bagging on them, but the point I'm trying to make is these are small deer and thus small targets. From bottom of brisket to top of back is on 12-14 inches. Unless you have a gauranteed, proven, sub MOA rifle and ideal conditions they are difficult targets......end of story. The terrain these animals inhabit is rugged, dry, steep and flat out tough.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
--Frank Outlaw
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Unread 12-01-2011, 10:42 AM
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Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?


I have taken ALOT of big game in the 700 to 940 yard range with my Leupold 3.5-10x 40mm Mk4 FFP scope and generally its set on 8x. Have also taken three rockchucks at ranges past 2000 yards with a 3.5-15x 50mm NF NXS.

Optical quality is far more important then mag power for making the shot. Now if your trying to pick a bucks antlers apart at a mile, you will likely need more power but for shooting big game, there is not much need for mag powers much over 15 even for +1000 yard shooting.

A 9 lb rifle can certainly be made to work well for sub 1/2 mile shooting. My lightweight 7mm AM will easily put first shot within 1/2 moa of point of aim well past 1100 yards. Practice at these ranges all the time. That said, in the field, I am not comfortable pushing the rifle much over 900 yards even though the rifle will do it, I am not comfortable with my ability to shoot it past that range on big game, in ideal conditions, I do very well out to 900-950, anything under 800 yards is pretty much boring if I can get an accurate range measurement which is as it should be if your going to take a shot at these ranges.

As far as Coues deer being more difficult to hunt then other big game because of their size...... Not sure I buy into that arguement. If you practice all year with your rifle and you have a quality rifle and ammo, you better be practicing from field positions and if you plan on being a big game hunter, you better be able to put first shot placement WELL within a 1/2 moa radius of your point of aim. With an accurate drop chart and rifle system that is proven, getting with 1/4 moa of point of aim should not be a problem. If you can not, your shooting to far for your abilities or rifle systems accuracy potential.

If your rifle will hold 1/4 moa to your point of aim using field positions, the size of big game your hunting does not matter at all. Even coyotes are easy game with a properly set up rifle system. Even at 1000 yards, your only looking at a 5" diameter window for first shot placement if you can hold your first shot to 1/4 moa radius from your point of aim.

Now mentally, it may be a much bigger deal but in practical terms, big game size makes very little difference. I guess I am used to hunting pronghorns and with those a BIG goat will push 100 lbs on the hoof, probably about the size of your coues deer and can be JUST as difficult to judge at long range.

Again, I beleive its a mental thing more then anything else. By the time we get to big game season, busting a water filled gallon milk jug at ranges from 200 to 900 yards is common place from field conditions. Thats a hell of alot smaller then a coues deers vital zone.

The most important thing to learn is when NOT TO SHOOT because of conditions you can not predict accurately. That is something that many getting into long range hunting do not realize. The best long range hunters know when NOT to shoot and thats an invaluable skill to learn.
Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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Unread 12-01-2011, 11:09 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Yes very small target, definatly don't need a magnum, My point being a small cartrige, say a 6.5x47, will shoot very accuratly, have very managable recoil, will not require as stiff a barrel as some magnums, nor as long a barrel. So a 22" mid-size 6.5 on a #4 would actually be quite stiff.

Whats the goal here? light. and accurate, extreamly so. The 6.5x47 is the darling of the precision rifle compeditors. I shot a match my first in OK this fall using my 7rsaum. My team took 11th out of 39. 90% of the guys above us were running the 6.5x47.

Ways to shave weight; flute and skelotonize the bolt and handle, pick a light SA to begin with. Talley alum. ring/base sets. #4 barrel with only about 1/2-3/4" of straight shank in front of the lug. a light stock, if you don't like the high tech (I usually buy the blanks and finish myself) get one of the McMillian sporters with light fill they have many different styles you not limited to the HTG.

I have a McM rem sporter here for a customer build that weights 30 0z.
stiller sa pred w lug and 20moa rail 28 oz
jewel trigger 2.3 oz
rem BDL box spring and follower 5.3oz
bedding 2oz
You now have 4.3 lbs
#4 barrel at 22" est. about 3.2 lbs (for reference a remy tak-off is 2.5lbs)

rifle at 7 1/2 pounds
add your nf and it will add w rings 36oz and look like the hubble telescope on your rifle.

now you just made it a 9 3/4lb rig, see how easy it is to get heavy.

Run a rsaum and you will want 24" on barrel maybe a muzzle brake and you just went over 10 lbs.

When you talk about light rifles every ounce counts
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Unread 12-01-2011, 11:55 AM
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Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Congrats on the buck Coues7, looks like a pretty decent buck. Being in AZ myself, I know how weather varies day to day and the terrain the coues deer live in can be at times what seems like sheep country. But I am one who will not skimp on optics. I always have my 80mm swaro and vortex 15x's with me, along with 8x nikon's that I wear. My 300RUM weighs in around 17+ lbs. Does everything fell heavy? You bet your bottom dollar it does! But i will have to say, you have 51 weeks out of the year to prepare for that 1 week hunt. Not to bag on you or say you are out of shape, but I would be in the gym or training outside simulating what you are most likely going to encounter during that week hunt. Your body will get used to the weight that you will be packing around and it will make everything much more enjoyable. I will sacrifice carrying more weight if it is going to better my odds at having a successful hunt. Besides, you never know when you might get a tag to hunt in AZ with our wonderful draw system. Why not make the most of it!
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Unread 12-01-2011, 01:19 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 33
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

This question has come up before. And it's always the same debate.

Carrying a marginally lighter rifle on a backpack hunt is irrelevant with respect to the overall weight of the pack. We’re essentially talking about shaving off 3 lbs, or 6% of the overall weight. Granted, the weight is significant to the overall rifle weight. But, if I gave you two packs, one weighing 50 lbs and the other at 47 lbs, you’d have a difficult time determining which was the heavier pack. Finding 15% or 20% weight savings is where you’ll experience a noticeable difference in the backcountry, which means you’ll need to sacrifice more weight than just your rifle.

I spend most of my elk and deer season hiking between 9500 and 12000 ft in some of the most rugged country in Colorado, putting in the same 6 – 7 miles a day, sometimes even longer. I think most who hunt, or have hunted, public land in Colorado will agree that taking quality game requires a lot of time in the backcountry. A number of years back I had the same notion of using a lighter rifle for my backpack hunts. So, I invested in a lightweight rig totaling about 9 lbs. (7 lbs. rifle). My previous rig weighed in at just over 13 lbs. There was little discernable difference with respect to the overall carrying weight. There was absolutely no difference in the quality of my hunt. The terrain still kicked my ass.

My current LR hunting rig weighs in at just under 12.5 pounds. I couldn’t stand shooting a 300 mag from a 9 lbs rifle. I think it had more to do with the muzzle break than the weight/recoil.

Depending on where I hunt, and if I’m glassing beyond a mile, I might bring my spotting scope (65mm), with a compact tripod. In all other situations my 24x rifle scope is sufficient. The one thing I learned a long time ago is to ditch the hunting branded backpacks, and stick to the technical packs. You’ll typically save a few pounds depending on the pack, and they are almost always more comfortable to carry. As others have said, I’d look inside your pack to see where you can save weight.

Unless you’re willing to invest $8k - $10k into the newest lightweight hunting gear, you might just be better off every season offering $500 to a friend to help haul your gear!

From this years self guided hunt. Muley taken near Ute Peak, CO at 10,500 Ft. (612 yds / 35 degree decline).

The long haul out!
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