Complete LRH Virgin - 338 Lapua Magnum - Expertise Requested!
I know I'll probably be blasted for having too little experience or whatever, but I guess I'm just one of those guys that likes to take the plunge and dive right in, and on top of that, I have my own reasons for getting into this particular caliber.
Quick, brief about me, since this is my first thread and first real "post" here. I was in the military for about 7 1/2 years and worked with them another 5 1/2 as a civilian. Plenty of experience on the AR platform, though initially grew up doing a lot of shotgun hunting with my father (good place to start - since then, recoil has never been an issue for me). Not much experience with handguns, but I have a few and I'm getting more experience all the time. Don't have much for rifles except a decked out Mosin and have fired traditional .308 but I would say that the "farthest" I shoot has never been more than 3-400 yards.
Anyway, I've always been a huge fan of the "reach out and touch someone" calibers, and .338 Lapua really appealed to me with the crazy distances that you can reach with it. I'm not planning on going out and trying to shoot 2,000 yards or anything, especially not right away, but I do like that I can continually grow into it.
The reasons I decided on 338LM boil down to the fact that my father is about a year from retirement. I would like this to be something we can do and kind of learn together. He loves going on hunts in Alaska and Montana, though even he has never been a huge rifle guy and has been pretty much limited to the .308 and black powder. I came into a little bit of money, so I figured that would not be an limiting factor for the caliber I wanted to eventually settle on.
I did a lot of research and paid attention to a lot of different sales and auctions and got a lot of "package" deals where I could sell off the stuff I didn't need and bring down the total cost of my firearms and ammo. Anyway, end of the day, I ended up getting used rifles with under 100 rounds down the pipe for each: a Savage 110 BA for $1,238 and a Savage 111 LRH for $470. I have the 110BA topped with a Vortex Razor 5-20x50 HD scope and the 111LRH has a Millett 6-25x56 LRS-1. Both of these are 35mm tubes, and I figured the extra travel would come in handy. Also, both have Harris 6-9" swivel bi-pods.
Total into this caliber I have $6,500. That includes the rifles, scopes, bi-pods, 1,950 bullets (100 custom loaded for quick work-up, 750 300gr Scenar, 100 300gr Bergers, 500 300gr Sierra MatchKing, 500 285gr Hornady), over 300 unfired Lapua Brass casings, full Redding Competition Die Set, case gauge, bushings, seating die, 8 lbs Vihtavuori N570 powder and primers. I think I did okay on keeping the total cost on-target for what I wanted to spend.
Okay...now here comes the part where I need your help. Obviously, never firing anything over 350 yards means never having to really do much scope work or calculate ballistics coefficients. I've reloaded quite a bit, but I do realize this is an entirely different ballgame from progressive reloading, where you can just pop out a few hundred rounds of 45ACP in an hour or two.
The reason I came here is because I've read up on a lot of this stuff, and you can get load data pretty easily, and I know it's not the same for every rifle, but there are plenty of ideas on where to start with all that. That, to me, is the fun and frustrating part. Loading up some rounds, finding what works and then getting your personal accuracy on-track. But what I don't understand is.....once you've loaded a round, how do you discover velocity? Must you chrono every different load? And if so, how does one even do that?
Once you have the velocity, you should be able to calculate the BC, but how do you translate that into the adjustments in your scope? Are there calculators you can just plug this data into, or can you do it in your head? Not to sound conceited, but I'm pretty good with math and should be able to do those kind of calculations, but I have no idea what they are. How do you factor in humidity and temperature? You have scope windage adjustments, how can you accurately use those, as well? I haven't purchased a range finder yet, because first I want to use these AT the ranges and get them dialed in and myself sufficiently trained, then go real-world with it (as I think it should be).
I know you guys probably get bombarded with stupid questions like this from n00bs all the time, so even just linking threads I should read would help me out tremendously. I've tried to self-teach myself almost everything I know about firearms, but I think at this point, I'm finally at a place where I have to admit I need serious professional help. :S I just need someone to point me in the direction so I know where to start. Maybe to some people it may seem stupid to just up and decide someday that one of your life goals is to shoot a nice three round group a mile out, but that's where I am, I guess.
Thanks in advance for any assistance you can provide!