I only recently discovered this board after a hunting experience this year. Last half hour of light and across a canyon I'm glassing I spot a magnificent 7x7 bull elk. Without a doubt the biggest bull I've ever seen while hunting. I ranged him at 643 yards with my Leica. In my hands was my Browning A-bolt .300 Win, a rifle and cartridge certainly up to the task. Having never shot at that distance before I opted to not shoot instead of popping and praying.The longest shot I've ever taken at game was a laser ranged 389 yard shot on a pronghorn this year, one shot kill, but that elk was just too far for me. That night in the wall tent, I made myself a promise that if a shot like that presented itself ever again, I'd be prepared to make that shot.
I've decided to do some work on that A-bolt this winter to make her a real shooter (will do 1 MOA at 100 as it is now). My father in law makes custom Mauser 98's and has a shop with all the bells and whistles, as well as the knowledge, so it shouldn't be too difficult a task. First off, I'm going to put the barrel and action in a McMillen stock and get some new optics. Looking at the 4.5-14 Leupold with an aftermarket BDC. My questions to all of you with experience in this game are as follows:
Do I need to do anything special with the action and barrel that will enhance performance?
Is the A-bolt action good enough, or should I opt for another action/barrel combo?
The mounts I now have are leupold QD. I'm planning on pinning these to avoid any minute shifts. Should I stick with these or look at something different?
Any other suggestions as far as scope choice? How about reticles? I like the set up that John Burns has put together but am open to suggestions.
I'm also considering purchasing a Kimber Montanan in .270 WSM for a easier carrying rifle. These come pillar bedded, floated barrel, match grade barrel and chamber and sweet trigger. Anyone have any experience with these rifles?
I load all my own ammo so any handloading input is also welcome. Currently I'm shooting Nosler 180 ballistic tips at 3200 muzzle velocity. I'm full length sizing these at present.
Thanks for any input you might have. It's going to be a fun year practicing this long range shooting!
Warmest Regards and may you all have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. MTTB
You can spend a lot of money and not have a gun that suits your hunting style.
First thing I would do is run a ballistic calculator on the 300win BT and get my drops out to 1000 yds. Then I would take my sling swivels off and the scope caps off of the turrets and put them in a dish up on the shelf. Then I would find me three or four nice boxes and put some duct tape on them in about three or four inch squares and go out and shoot at them at ranges out to 1000yds. Hunting season is probabaly over for you so you may as well burn up those BTs. You will not be needing them next season. Better bullets than that for what you are going to do. Dial your scope and shoot at the boxes. Record the scope settings when you start getting hits on a box at a certain range. If you got some varmint gun then shoot it too. If it is windy so much the better. It is hard to gut shot a box and if you should they are easy to track. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] Lots of people just shoot rocks and that is fine but you will need the practice of trying to get some kind of groups at those ranges so you will know you can consistently hit a small area. You will probabaly figure out in the first hour that your scope is not mounted properly for long range hunting. Then it will be back to the house and a question posted on the forum on how to shim a scope. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
My point is go burn some bullets at ranges from 500 yds to 1200 yds before burning any money. Learn the very basics of dialing a scope for distance and wind. Learn what you as the person on the trigger can actually accomplish. This will help you figure out exactly what kind of gun suits your personality.
Just my opinon but you might not want to drop down to a 270 WSM when you got a fine 300W. You are going the wrong direction in terms of long range killing power.
I hear what you're saying about burning some bullets. I've got maybe 500 of those BT's so that should be a good start and a heckuva lot of fun. But, since it's winter, and I've got the time and means, I figure on stepping up the performance capabilities of my rifle. Besides, unless it's chasin' coyotes with my .22/250, you won't find me outside with a rifle right now. But I'd sure like to be up to speed with a tuned .300 come spring. I like the rifle fine as it is and am comfortable with it in the wide open as well as the doghair lodgepole thickets. Can't blame a guy for wanting to make a good thing better. Curious about your comment on the mounts - what's wrong with the leupold QD? If that's going to pan out as a future problem, might as well switch it out now. Thanks for your reply, MTTB
MTTB, You do need to establish the max distance you can hit at under field conditions, but there are two ways to try getting there. As a biginner, I think that you will progress faster and with more confidence if you switch over to a range compensating reticle scope. Scopes using a mildot, ballistic plex, TDS reticle, etc. will let you shoot longer ranges without having to "click" for hits. They take practice and range verifying of impact distances, but in a hunting situation I'm comfotable out to 600 + yds with a light hunting type rig such as what you own or a Kimber Montana. Unfortunately, nothing short of a howitzer would have solved your problem this year since it was across canyon AND almost dark. An elk is a big animal to anchor and you probably couldn't have gotten over to him until dark ++ under the circumstances. Long range shooting includes more variables than just hitting at distance. Across canyon is always tricky brcause of wind, angle considerations, etc. Tough decisions to make.
Anyway, you are on the right track. Your caliber is OK if it will shoot small groups is something only practice will tell you if your rifle needs changes. As far as the QD mounts, I personally would rather use a Talley type mount with the screw version. Still changeable in an emergency, but tough and not going to come accidently loose at the wrong time. Just some thoughts.
Most of the accuracy of a gun comes from the shooter. Not the metal and wood (or plastic). Your confidence in your ability is more important than a custom stock and barrel.
Your question on the mounts is what I am trying to tell you. You need trigger time not a fancy gun. You need to wade out there in the snow and shoot, not wait for springtime and new gun parts. You do not yet understand the fundamentals of the game.
It is not the mounts but the traditional way a scope is boresighted and put on. For long range shooting when the gun is zeroed at 100 yds you should be maybe 10 or so clicks off of the bottom of the elevation adjustment. This will leave you with the 30 MOA you will need for elevation adjustments at ranges to and beyond 1000yds.
I am really just saying that my perception of your level of knowledge about longrange shooting is that you are fixing to spend several thousand dollars and will not be happy wiith the results.
It really doesnot matter whether you shoot the 300Win or the 22-250 at long range as long as you start getting expereince at ranging and shooting to the limits of the gun. For a 22-250 that will be about 700-800 yds. Take the boxes and go get it zeroed at every 100 yds from 100 to 800 yds. It wll be an educatinal experience that will enlighten you concerning scopes and bullets and trajectries.
In the post that I have referenced the critical point in the whole hunting story is that no money had been spent on the gun. The money went into the spotting optics. Two trucks of hunters- one successful and one not successful. Key was the glass.
Anyway, I do not mean to be insulting or nasty or derogatory. I just am trying to save you some money. By all means spend your money. This is a very expensive sport.
Thanks again for the input. I did not at all think you were insulting or derogatory in any way. I have the boxes, the tape, and am prepared to be humbled by going out and seeing what happens "way out there." I'll give the coyotes a break for a few weeks. I am very confident with my rifles right now out to 350 or 400 yards as I do quite a bit of shooting all year long. This past year I put 300 rounds through the .270, 'bout the same through the .300, and 740 through the .22/250. That's alot to me but probably not to you guys that frequent this board. That A-bolt will, if I do my part, keep 'em inside a 6" bull at 300. I recognize the fact that I need more time with that hard kicker as I can do better than that with the smaller calibers. Looks like I'll be getting that chance sooner than later. I've got the reloading bench set up, 300 brand new cases, and 5 lbs. of RL22 ready to go. I'll make the call to a rancher friend of mine that has a nice chunk of land that'll let me shoot out to 1200 or so (the longest bench range we have aroung here is 300 max). I don't mind saving money at all, but if my wife knew that you were the one telling me not to spend money instead of her, she'd call you her new best friend [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]I'll be getting back to you after a few sessions outside with the box.