I'm a avid hunter and want to start doing some long range hunting. Previously everything I have shot has been between 50 and 350 yards. Deer and Elk. I usually shoot a 300 SAUM Remington model 7 and occasionally my BAR 300 Win Mag. Iwant to learn to shoot out to 1000 yds. My question, what do I need to do to my model 7 to build it up for the task? Or should I think about selling it and starting with something else? I have about $1,500 to spend on this right now. If I sell the gun I'll have a little more. Also need a new scope. Any suggestions?
The model 7 is a little bit smaller than the 700 short action , it could be made to work with a WSM case but youwould be limited to how far you can seat your bullets out , seeing how the Wyatt's mag box is the same for the 700 SA as the M-7 I don't see why you would be anymore limited than anybody building a WSM on the SA 700. That said , I would suggest rebarreling your M-7 to 300 WSM , get a little longer and a little heavier barrel , maybe a 28" #5 conture from say Broughton , Bartlein or anybody else that make sa 5R rifled barrel , the barrel land profile is a personal preferance of mine , it does lend to a little higher velocities.
Your factory stock would work but for the cost of having the work done to it to accept the bigger barrel and a good bedding job you would be better served with a new stock.
Alright lets recap with money figured in
#1 New barrel , $300 any top brand
#2 action blueprinted , Wyatt's box installed and barrel installed , $400
#3 New stock , $500 any top brand
so for your $1200 you could have a very well built gun in a caliber able to shoot to 1000yds on deer and probably 600yds on elk comfortably. Now you could sell the BAR and that would be a big down payment on a great scope , either Nightforce or Leupold MK-4 , or my new favorite Nikon Tactical.
Seeing how its gonna take at least 10 weeks to get a barrel made probably double that if you get a McMillan stock , which I'll never buy another one of. So if you ordered your stuff now you could get it to a smith by early spring and he could probably have it to you by mid summer and that would give you a little time to get some load work done and a little practice at longer range. I'd probably choose a 300WSM or 7mmWSM for the caliber choice
The time frames and dollar amounts are pretty modest and the cost could be cut several ways as well as the time frame depending on what your exact needs and wants are.
If either of your rifles will hold one MOA groups then you are good to go as far as the rifle is concerned. I am sure you have noticed that an elk is a little bit bigger than a possum so it has a rather generous kill zone. A deer is not so big and is harder to hit but still at 1K you have room for error.
First thing I would do on the Model 7 is get the action bedded and perhaps have the trigger adjusted and you might as well have it recrowned just for good measure.
Second, I would break out the reloading equipment and start working with the 180 Accubonds and see if I could get some accuracy out of either or both rifles. I would go with the Accubonds because for large boned animals bullet construction is very important and BC is secondary. I am not a big fan of repeaters so I would not worry about feeding from the magazine and I would seat the bullets long and maximize powder capacity of the SAUM case.
If I could get decent groups from the rifle, then I would get me a good scope such as a Leupold V3 6.5-20 X 50mm Long range, a wind meter, and a first class pair of binoculars.
I would warn you not to get confused and do something you will regret. I think most hunters only want a longrange capability to add to their skills but do not want to be strictly longrange hunters. They will hunt with their normal methods and if a longrange shot comes up then take it. This means their equipment should still be functional at the more conventional ranges of a couple of hundred yards. So you might want to drop down on the scope to lesser power such as a 4- 14X than what I recommend depending on your intentions.
Finally, you will need a lot of practice to get proficient at long range, you might as well get it with the factory barrel and burn it up and then do as James recommends. The wind is a very difficult thing to learn to judge and the only way is to get out there and shoot. I would recommend something like the 168 or 175 SMKs as good to practice in the wind with. You can load them a little light so that recoil is nice and it will make the wind issues even more tricky but it is that which you will need to learn.
Thanks to both on your input. I have decent binos, Zeiss 10x40 and a fair spotting scope. Do need a new rifle scope and a lot more knowledge on how to use em. I have everything I need to load for the 300 SAUM, just haven't loaded anything yet and not real knowledgeable on reloading. Guess it is time to learn. I know for a fact I am not shooting MOA groups or sub MOA with factory ammo. Maybe I should talk to a local gunsmith about having some bedding done and try some hand loads and see what happens?
there's another very important item you'll need for long range. i don't think anyone's mentioned, and that's a rangefinder. most figure how much they have to spend and put it in a gun.don't forget about a rangefinder. becoming a good long range shooter and hunter doesn't happen over night. i agree with getting the 300 shooting good and practice with it. that's a great cartridge and can do everything you need and a bunch more. during this time you will learn how to reload. i would suggest finding someone that's knowledgeable and learn the basics. then, after spending many hours on this site( i have to warn ya, it's quite addicting)you can start loading using some better techniques. it's a crawl before you walk, before you run type of thing. good luck, wear the barrel out on that 300 and keep reading LRH.
A couple of other things that I forgot. While at the gunsmith as him to check your bolt lug contact and see how it is doing. If it is not good, then you probably are not going to achieve great accuracy with the rifle.
Secondly, take a couple of fired cases and roll them on the coffee table and see if they are warped, bulged and crooked. You will know by the bumping and flopping they do. This will indicate either a bolt face out of true, locking lugs making uneven contact or a chamber that is off center or possibly that you have a bad coffee table.