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

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Unread 12-02-2011, 07:14 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 2,061
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?


Interesting thread. I also hunt coues but am not willing (anymore) to hike more than a mile or two into the roughest terrain.

I have a friend that also hunts coues. He backpacks in for several days. He is a fanatic for making stuff as light as possible. To lighten things he uses a couple of heavy utility blades wrapped in tape for his cleaning/fileting. A havalon piranta or even a small plastic handled utility knife with breakaway blade tips will do wonders. He does carry a very lightweight rifle and tends to figure out where the bucks will go through squeeze points rather than glass them up at long distances. He has an uncanny ability to find the right place to sit and they come to him. He really likes to get up on the edge of wilderness areas like the Rincons and hang out. I need to ask him for a list of his ideas on making stuff light.

I can remember reading Colin Flecher's The Complete Walker book where he cut his toothbrush in half, even trimmed edges off maps. I'd bet you could save a bunch of weight by going through your stuff.

I took off the lowest set of legs from my bogen tripod which helped a great deal. I can only sit and glass which is my preferred method. Shortened center post and handle on fluidhead. I sold my leica 1200 rangefinder and replaced it with a Leica 10 x 40 geovid rangefinder binos. I must admit I carry a 15 x 56 Swaro as well. No spotting scope. I have often wished I bought the 15 x 56 geovids instead. That would have me carrying one optic. I cannot complain too much as those 15 swaros are awesome.

It would appear the easiest way for you to lighten up your rifle would be to switch riflescopes to a lighter one. NFs are awesome but way too heavy for your use.

I am curious what is your average shot on a coues and what was this year's shot?

My longest shot was 725 but most of my shots are 450 to 550 yds. All of my rifles I have used were sporters weighing 8-10 lbs. Longest shot was with a 9 lb 7 rem mag.

Hope this thread continues. Want to learn a few things....

Last edited by AZShooter; 12-02-2011 at 07:18 AM. Reason: typo
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Unread 12-02-2011, 10:03 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 372
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Savage 111 Long Range Hunter at 10.2 lbs unloaded. Take off the cheek piece and add a bipod it would weigh around 11. Leave the cheek piece with a bipod added and you are around 11.5. 1/2 inch groups at 200 yards, 130 VLD at 3200 fps with an SD of 4 fps, and good for a deer out to about 900 according to the ballistics chart, I have not tried it at that distance, and probably won't go over about 600-700. Use a 140 and the groups open to about an inch at 200 but at 3100 fps they should have plenty of energy and velocity for 1,000 yard shots at your game of choice. With the 140 gr VLD my sd is about 8-10 fps.

Lighter rifle, another 6.5-284. Husqvarna Crown Grade, rechambered from 6.5x55. Weighs just over 8lbs as it is, with a 140 VLD it gets 2980 fps, and should be good for 7-800 yards, and it shoots a hair over an inch at 200 yards. It has a 23.5 inch barrel, the other has 26" barrel.

Though I would not trust the cartridge at over about 950, to me, that should be more than sufficient for any hunting I will do. If you want to shoot beyond that then a heavy rifle is the price you pay as you need a heavier bullet and with it more case capacity. This will usually require a bigger and heavier rifle. Both these rifles shoot as well or better than SOME much heavier and more expensive rifles of the same cartridge and caliber. Just thought I would throw some options out there. And I disagree with anyone saying you are blaming the gun. It seems to me that you are just looking for something with less weight that you can still go long with. In my opinion over 500 yards is long on deer sized game, over 1,000 is just unreasonable in my area because you can drive closer to them than that long before they get concerned with your presence.
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Unread 12-02-2011, 11:20 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 AZShooter View Post

I am curious what is your average shot on a coues and what was this year's shot?
My shot was 250 yards. The guy that was with me was not setup to shoot long range so we had to close the distance. I did have a shot from 650 yds.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
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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 12-02-2011, 05:35 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Mount vernon, OH
Posts: 681
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Have you considered the NightForce NSX 5.5-40X56 scope. You might be able to do away with the spotting scopes with it. The pack isnt even the issue it's the pack plus packing the animal out as well.

"Let glorious acts more glorious acts inspire,
And catch from breast to breast the noble fire!
On valour's side the odds of combat lie,
The brave live glorious, or lamented die;" - Iliad, Book V
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Unread 12-02-2011, 07:54 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Gillette WY
Posts: 917
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

i am in the same boat as you. Elk hunting this year carrying my 11lb edge and my swaro 80 spotter tripod and lunch and all the other garbage needed. Since this last season i have built a new rifle, 7mag weighing 6.5 lbs (no Scope) 8lbs ready to hunt. I will also be going with a smaller spotter, something around the lines of a nikon 50 ed or a leupold compact 50mm. I wanna drop as much weight as possible off my pack. carrying around 40 lbs on my back is getting old especially since i only weigh 150. Point being i dont think your long range rig needs to weigh 12 lbs. i love my new lightweight rifle shoots great and is light.
Remington 700 7mm SAUM Magnum Research Barrel
Savage Target Action 6.5x47 Lapua
Savage Predator Hunter Max1 6.5-284 Norma
Savage Bear Hunter 338 Win Mag
"Gotta Kill It Before You Can Grill It"
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Unread 12-03-2011, 03:04 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 1,663
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

I recently went on a coues deer hunt and elk hunt. I know this package my not be considered light by many, but I was using a 338 Lapua that Kirby Allen recently built for me. The rifle weight was right at 10 1/4 lbs w/o the scope, which I considered light for that size caliber.( You can see a picture of the rifle on his site) I topped it with a NF NSX 5.5 -22x 50. This rifle shoots 1/2", I am sure it would be much better, but I am not that good and the rifle can out shoot me.

The elk hunt was up and down the mountains in AZ with a 30 lbs J-34 pack with all the gear I needed. I ended up taking an elk at 180 yards through the trees, not far by any means, but the 300 SMK flattened him!

The coues deer was shot at 764 yards and I had the same rifle and pack. I like shooting off the pack and use it as my rear rest with my Harris bi pod.

What I learned from both hunts was that I needed to just be in a bit better shape than I usually am. I am not in bad shape and generally run 3-5 times a week, anywhere from 2-4 miles, however, hunting in the mountains and hiking up and down is totally different than running on a flat surface. I think someone stated it best, jump on a stair climber with a weighted back pack and loose some weight. As I hunted, I found that after several days, it became easier as I started to get in shape from all the hiking. I sure will use a stair climber with a weighted pack next time, as I like to having all the equipment that I carry!

Just my two cents
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Unread 12-03-2011, 03:25 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Western Colorado
Posts: 936
Re: Why does my long range rifle have to weight 12lbs +?

Great thread, and it relates to a build I am finishing the details on.
Option 1: HS Precision 029 stock, fluted Rem. varmint contour barrel, X-Treme Shooting Ti action, Ti 20 moa rail, Ti scope rings.
Should come in around 8.5 lbs. without scope.
Option 2: same stock, fluted Kreiger #19 barrel, BAT action.
Should come in around 11 lbs. with steel rail and alloy rings.
Either way I plan to use a S&B 4-16 PMII with Hollands ART reticle, so another 2lbs.
I want a rifle accurate enough to take marmots at a half-mile, but light enough to hunt elk. I live and hunt in western Colorado. Marmot hunting is done around 11,500 to 12,500' elevation. Elk 9-11,000'.
I have been debating this for a few months now. I have used a 5 lb. .243 to shoot many marmots from 400 to nearly 600 yards, so am not inclined to believe I need a 13 lb. gun to do what I want.
My 'smith suggests not trying to drop below the 8 lb. level for the accuracy I want, both for the rigidity of components and stability. I have debated a lighter scope, but accuracy of clicks and repeatability are critical. The rifle will be chambered for 7mm Rem. mag.
I have a 22-250 that weighs 10.2 lbs that I carry some. That's about all the weight I realistically want to carry in the mountains for more than a day hunt. If I was only hunting big game with this rifle I would build a 6-7 pounder and put a 1 lb. scope on it and call 700 yards my max range.
Eight years ago I decided a 40 lb. pack was just too much. I went ultra-light on everything and can keep my 3 day weight down below 25 lbs for everything, even the clothes I wear, as long as it's not too cold. I don't use any hunting oriented gear, it is all mountaineering stuff.
My binos are 9 oz Zeiss's Leica LRF 1200 weighs less than a lb. And I have a little Minox spotting scope that gives me a good enough idea of the relative size of an animal to decide if a closer look is warranted.
It's easy to end up carrying so much stuff I feel like a pack mule and this is not what I had in mind. I believe that with careful selection of what tools and equipment to carry I can continue to keep it relatively light and still shoot waaaay out there.
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