Re: First time Long Range Rifle
For a dedicated deer rifle, I would consider the following cartridges for 400 yard max, in the order I would choose them:
280 or 280 AI
6.5 x 284 (or any 6.5/260 cartridge)
(for no logical reasons, I've never been a 270 guy)
I would personally never make a 400 yard dedicated deer rifle .308 or bigger. Also cannot imagine fully expecting 1/2moa with any factory rifle. You can always get lucky and some are very accurate right out of the box, but to me it seems like you've gotta bring more to the table to guarantee 1/2moa. I like the "do it once, do it right" approach.
I seem to always get into similar conversations with some of my friends. Most of the time I can show them energy #'s or other kinds of tech data to steer them in a particular direction, but other times it's just a waste of breath. Last year had a friend all ready to get a nice elk rifle, and then ended up buying some budget POS used winchester with a plastic stock, topped it with ziess optics. His best groups ended up no better than 4 inches at 100 yards, and that was after spending over $250 on every different kind of factory ammo he could find in stock. I was literally stunned at the decisions he ended up spending money on.