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Caliber selection

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Old 12-20-2007, 09:52 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 208
Caliber selection

I am back and forth on trying to get started in long range. I have narrowed down my requirements for my first long range rifle, now I need help picking the cal. I realize that I will need two long range set ups since my passion is elk hunting. I do not want to start off with a big 338 mag. I just don't think I could afford to shoot it enough to gain the skill for long range. So here it is. I want a dedicated rifle for long range deer hunting in a cal that can be used out to 1000 yard, but can also be used for close range elk. Something economical as possible to reload and shoot. I am leaning towards a 7mm mag or 300 wsm but am open to other ideas. I reload already, and I am a seasoned close range shooter, I have owned both a 7mm mag and a 300wm. The recoil in a long range rifle in either caliber won't be a problem for me since the rifle will be considered heavy for traditional hunting. Please help me nail this down!
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Old 12-20-2007, 10:57 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Blackfoot, Idaho
Posts: 8,090

I'd recommend starting out with at least a 338 RUM. Sounds rough but hey with a brake installed and loaded up or down it will cover the range of game and distances you wish.

The first item of importance is an accurate rifle. A less than accurate rifle is what drives up shooting costs. The greater the accuracy and consistency the less you have to shoot to get confidence in LR shooting.

Next and maybe even more or as important than the rifle is the scope. The better the scope the more apt one is to make the shot.

Starting with a good shooting platform, a pound and a half of powder and an hundred bullets will get you ready for hunting.

The 225 and 250 grain bullet offerings are pretty good. Jump to the 300 SMK and you have an effective long range gun.

The name of the game is BC, BC and BC.

As far as practice goes, once the drop chart is developed all there is to do is to manage the variables, wind mostly and environmental and terrain conditions (altitude and angle). It gets pretty simple.

Hope this helps.
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
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Old 12-20-2007, 11:47 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 51
Amen! Your hunting ELK!
Lost in Thought, Please send Search Party!
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Old 12-22-2007, 07:44 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 208
So are you saying jump in with both feet and start where you want to finish? What brand rifle? I know that I will have to build a little at a time, so I need a pretty good factory base. I have thought of building on the stevens 200, or a savage 12fv platform, also saw a remington sps varmint at a decent price. I would probably get a new stock first, even though I know most of the accuracy comes from a good barrel. I have wanted an adjustable stock ever since I tried a buddy's rifle with one, sure set up good. A long range elk rig just sounds very specialized, I was thinking of something more versatile to start. I mean what does a guy do when you are rigged for a 1000 yard elk shot (338 ultra mag, or better) and a deer pops up at 50 yards? I was leaning towards setting up for a 1000 yard deer rifle that was good on elk out to say 500 yards, doing a lot of long range target practice and learning how to read the wind at longer distances. Experience is the best teacher so I will listen to everyones advise since I have never been down this road before but I can only build one rifle for now, so it will have to work for practice and all the hunting that I do (deer, and elk mostly). I just don't see myself poking out past 300 yards for probably a couple of years yet.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:19 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,615
Straightshooter, I need your address so I can send you a couple of beers to chill out with. You gettin way to stressed over this. If you got the money then get the best elk rig you can get and I guarantee it will kill deer. But don't get a deer rig and go elk hunting. A $300 savage in 338 win mag or 300 ultramag I think will do wonders for you. A couple years ago I was slipping around a rim glassing for elk when a doe mulie stepped out 25 steps from me. Right behind her came a 30" 5x5 mulie and my 338-378 did just fine at 25 steps. That big buck didn't argue a bit.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:11 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Pennsyltucky
Posts: 2,625
I just don't see myself poking out past 300 yards for probably a couple of years yet.

you'll be laughing at this statement in a few months, i guarantee ya! i've had and shot most of the regular stuff for quite a few years and last year i built a 338. it's been the best gun i've ever owned. i simply love this caliber. a 338 caliber is just the easiest to load for and find something accurate.it's just not finnicky. i'm one of those guys that thinks 338 as soon as i hear elk mentioned. i agree with the others, if one pops up at 50 yards, you can kill it with the big 338...honest! just set your gun up so you can still take a close shot and also a shot at long range if one presents itself. that's why a scope in the 4-14 range is popular.
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Old 12-23-2007, 12:35 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 29
I would go with a 7mm mag either a remington or a weatherb, or maybe a wms.The 7mm will kill any elk within 300 yards and the 162,175,180 grain bullets have great bc and sd. I would go with a 1-9 twist barrel and I would not free bore the weatherby.good luck.
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