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Building a new hunting rig

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Unread 11-08-2013, 01:06 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 6
Building a new hunting rig

So, I lurk on LRH a lot, but post very little, since I don't have near the experience to contribute, that a lot of you have. I'm gonna give you a little background here, before I ask for suggestions, so bare with me, please.

I recently moved to Texas, and in doing so, I sold my Savage Weather Warrior 338WM with a Zeiss 3x9, which I used for elk in Colorado. It was a good gun, but I wasn't fond of the cost per round and the "kick" left little to be desired. Other than that...wow, it was a great shooter out of the box!

So, now I'm currently "rifle-less" and I want to put something together again for medium sized game, including elk and maybe a trip to Alaska in a few years for moose.

I will honestly say, I'm not real comfortable shooting out past 400 yards. The longest elk I shot with the 338 was at 370 yards. Yes, I know that's measly compared to many of you, but I feel my current effective, humane killing range is +/- 400 yards, when you factor in all the scenarios you see while hunting. If I can't get close enough for that, I feel the game deserves to walk and not be potentially wounded.

I'd like to get better at shooting longer distances, but for longer ranges, it seems the money escalates fast with the level of equipment you need for medium to large sized game. I have a family and a budget for my hunting expeditions, so cost is always a factor, and given my limited hunting budget, I'm likely gonna be a "one-larger-caliber-rifle-at-a-time" man.

Anyway, I've been doing tons of research, and I think I've settled on this rifle in .308:
Savage Arms

I like the features of this model, and .308 seems, to me, to be one of the best all-around calibers for North American big game. I know I could go with 30.06, but it doesn't come in that model, and I don't know that I can gain a lot by going up to that caliber from a .308.

I also like that no matter where you are, even in this day and age, you can usually buy .308 rounds for fairly cheap if push comes to shove.

This is the scope I'm thinking of going with:
Vortex Optics - Viper 3-9x40 Dead-Hold BDC

It gets great reviews all over the web, and I don't think, given my current self-imposed shooting limits, I need more than 3-9x40.

Along with the other accessories, like a rings, bipod, etc. I'm going to try and keep the cost at around $1500, give or take a couple of hundred.

So, after that long-winded story, what are your thoughts on that setup, and does anyone have any opinions, suggestions or otherwise to add?

Thanks in advance!
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Unread 11-08-2013, 01:31 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: N.E. Louisiana
Posts: 197
Re: Building a new hunting rig

Just me personally, I would choose a caliber / round with a bit more 'pop' than the .308. If you are going to have 1 rifle to fill several needs, then in my opinion I would look at a 7mm mag or 300 Win Mag. Both are excellent long range rounds and both are effective on for nearly all game in North America, except dangerous game. Just my 2 cents.

Good Luck
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Unread 11-08-2013, 09:30 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 80
Re: Building a new hunting rig

I know that cost is always a consideration. Having raised my family, I know that your ideal hunting rifle is more of a dream than a reality.

Like LaHunter said, perhaps the 308 is not quite enough rifle for your needs. This is based on your mention of going to Alaska to hunt sometime. 308 just does not have the juice needed for Alaska game. Continental 48? Darn right! Alaska? Not so much.

Some other considerations are:
Do you reload? Or will you just be shooting factory ammo?
What is your grand total budget for rifle, scope, mount and rings?

If I am guessing, I see that the link you posted mention about $1000 for a rifle. If that is the case, I think you should look elsewhere.

First, check out the for sale section here and on other websites. Often times you can get a semi-custom rifle, or at least a higher end stock rifle, for under that budget with LOTS of life left.

If that is not your cup of tea, check out Remington (I mention that because I work almost exclusively on Remington 700 rifles) and I really like the bolt and trigger over a Savage action. Savage is OK, but I do not like the feel of the bolt and I do NOT like the trigger.

As for caliber, go hit your local sporting goods store and see what ammo is available in your area. I would, in honest, step up to a long action (like a 30-06) or a short mag (I prefer a 7WSM). My boss just took his 7WSM to Africa and took EVERY animal he wanted. I only mention that because African game is tough, and if a reasonable caliber works there, it WILL work in Alaska.

I know it is a lot to digest and consider. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. You can also PM me here and I can help you with other suggestions, perhaps even finding you YOUR rifle.

Jason Klein
Grim Reaper Tactical
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Unread 11-09-2013, 01:19 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 21
Re: Building a new hunting rig

.308 is great all around caliber. Easy on the shoulder for all day practice and effective on North American big game.

As for Savage....love them. I own Savage, Weatherby, and a Remington 700 in bolt guns. The bolt takes a little more effort to lift, but not enough for me to worry about. I recommend Savage to all my friends and coworkers.

I think your choice of scope is also good. I own a couple of Vortex products and am happy with all of them.

I think your on a the right path with your research.
Site - BackpackHunter.com
Facebook - BackpackHunter.com
Twitter - @Backpack_Hunter
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Unread 11-09-2013, 04:00 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,132
Re: Building a new hunting rig

From one family man to another, I think your on the right track.
A .308 win is a mediocre elk rifle at best, and is laughable in Alaska.
That being said, it will work for elk and if your going to Alaska you will probably be doing a little better financially and a big .338 up to a .416 of some sorts would need to be budgeted for.
so my suggestion is to buy the Savage in .308 and throw a $99 Boyds laminate on it (I like the thumbhole). Then save a little more $$ for a 2.5-10X44 Vortex PST or one of Sightrons offerings. This package will let you
*buy accurate factory ammo for as cheap as it comes*
*let you practice without killing your shoulder*
*lay a smack down on anything in Texas and still hunt elk to a moderate range*
*learn to shoot long range*
**** past it down to your kids to learn on ****

You really cant ask for one gun to do it all, but the above mentioned platform is going to do more for you on a budget than most.
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Unread 11-15-2013, 02:45 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: chickamauga, ga
Posts: 4
Re: Building a new hunting rig

I was in your shoes not too long ago, and although I'm not super experienced in the effectiveness of specific cartridges on game since my background has been punching holes in paper at long range and only recently changed from paper to tasty critters, I've got some shooting and rifle building experience to throw at you. Keep in mind I was on a budget when I did this. I bought a new Remington 700 adl at a big box store, $450 and it came with a cheap Remington scope, bought the dies and components for my chosen caliber, $100. Bought a couple boxes of cheap ammo to have something to shoot and a little more brass. This was my rig for my first season. Following summer, I bought a Boyds laminated thumbhole stock for $99 and a glassbedding kit from midway for $30. I made my pillars, but they're not too expensive if you don't have access to a lathe. Topped it off with leupold base and rings, $70 total, and a vortex viper HS 4-16x44 for $480. I ended up a good bit under your $1500 ideal including reloading supplies, didn't have to take a big financial hit at one time and ended up with a rifle that is easily upgraded with aftermarket parts. To top it off, the accuracy is amazing, the rifle truly fits me because it was made to fit me and I got to know my rifle inside and out.
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Unread 12-06-2013, 11:01 AM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: NC
Posts: 80
Re: Building a new hunting rig

Right on Angus great advice. In my group of everything you can think of I have a Savage Axis? in .308 for NC and MI where I hunt I handload 150gr Remington Corelokts (bad speller) and they kick ass. Go for it you'll like it. Then get a Weatherby 300 magnum. oh yeah love it.
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