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Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

 
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  #1  
Old 12-18-2011, 11:39 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Camp Pendleton, CA / Webster, NY
Posts: 8
Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

I'm just getting started with long range shooting and big game hunting. I'm 21 and planning on purchasing a rifle for myself as my 22nd birthday present. I'm currently deployed to Afghanistan with the USMC so I figure it would be a good use of my deployment money. I'm willing to budget up to $4,200 between rifle and optics. If the quality is there and I can justify it mentally, I will spend up to $5,000 (that's one full stateside paycheck if you're wondering).

I would like to shoot something chambered in a .300WM although the less-powerful .308 or .30-06 are okay by me. I love the two .30-06s that I've shot. I have shot up to 600 yards (paper targets) with a .30-06 and I've qualified on my M16A4 at 500 yards. I would like to extend this range to 800 to 1000 yards as a technical challenge to myself.

I am planning on purchasing the rifle for both hunting and target shooting. I have never gone big game hunting but I intend to start next fall once I return stateside. I am done putting it off because of the cost or because I can't find people to hunt with. I have hunted small game with both a bow and a .22LR. I'll go it alone if I have to.

I am looking for a quality rifle that I can rely on for years as well. I own a Remington .32 single shot from the late 1870s that still shoots reliably (and groups at 2 inches at 100 yards!) which belonged to my great-great-grandfather. I would like a rifle that I can at least share with my child someday.

I have looked at the following rifles:
Remington Model 700 Sendero SF II
Remington Model 700 SPS
FN A1
Weatherby Vanguard Series 2
Savage Arms 11/111
Savage Model 10 FPXP
Steyr SSG 04
Tikka T3
Sako A7 ST

What suggestions or input do you all have? Am I missing a rifle that I should consider? Are there any on here that are not worth the money? What modifications to any of these rifles would you make? I love the looks of the Steyr SSG 04 and it feels natural to hold one (I have held one but have not fired one). I did not like the stock on the 700 SPS but I would probably replace it if I went that route anyway. I also love the feel and the look of the Weatherby wooden stocks although I'm not sure a wooden stock is the way to go with the weather as it is in Rochester, NY.

In addition, I am NOT knowledgeable about optics. The only rifle I have ever fired with an optic (apart from the RCO on my A4) was a .30-06 with a Bushnell. It seemed to be a quality scope. I have heard great things about Leupold from friends and coworkers but would like additional input before I make a purchase.

Finally, are there any good gunsmiths in Western NY who would be willing to assist me? Anything within 300 miles of Rochester is within the distance I'm willing to drive if I can be assured a quality product.
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2011, 11:50 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: GSP, SC, USA
Posts: 622
Re: Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

Welcome tensix. Thanks for "standing on that wall".
I'll get back to you on my history (choices)and you may can learn something from my research and get to your purchase point quicker.
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Son, The first shot is the important one - the others just make him run faster! Grandpa 1949
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  #3  
Old 12-18-2011, 12:08 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: GSP, SC, USA
Posts: 622
Re: Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

tensix, try these, will tell you what I did.

Greetings from South Carolina

Tikka T-3 SS Lite_338 WM Dec 2008 cost me $575.


NF, Swaro, or Zeiss scopes, WWYB?

The ZEISS cost me $2,228 mailed to me (Dec 2010 I think).

Hope this helps you some......you might can get comp today for $3K and have $2K for 185 GMX Superformances and some reloading stuff. Keep us posted and feel free to contact me on anything I did.
-----------------------------------------------------------
ADDED:

With the above set up I'm good to 800 Yds and maybe >>>>> 1,000???? MAX!

Zeiss victory or Swarovski

For a range finder: here is a lot of good info!!!

Buying Insurance with ..........in Timber ACCURATE RANGE!!


Rangefinder Field Test: Swarovski 8x30 Laser Guide Vs. Leica CRF 1600 Rangemaster

Good luck.
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Son, The first shot is the important one - the others just make him run faster! Grandpa 1949
NRA Life Member 1970
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:10 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 2,232
Re: Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

Welcome to LRH and thanks for being THERE for us.

My standard recommendations follow.

Budget 1/2 your money on scope+base+mounts. A good base and mounts are going to run you $300 or so, so you have $1600-1800 for a scope. And $2100 for a rifle.

That amount will get you into an excellent scope, that will last a lifetime (NightForce NXS etc.).

The 300WM is a fine cartridge to start with. I'm partial to the Rem 700, although I've shot and appreciate other rifles. I own a Savage and it's plenty accurate, but I like the feel of the Rem 700 better. In the end, it is a personal choice. The Rem 700 has a larger selection of stocks, triggers etc etc available for it than other platforms. Getting an SPS and a good McMillan stock, Timney trigger and nice bottom metal (Wyatts box), topped with a Nightforce scope would set you up better than 99% of most guys starting in long range hunting. Then you'd have a platform that you could have re-chambered for most of the serious Long Range cartridges available (300RUM, 338 Edge etc.) if you decided to step it up in a few years.

Do you reload? You'll want to budget enough money for 100 good brass and reloading dies etc.

Hope this helps. Use this forum to ask your questions, there are WORLD class gunsmiths and WORLD class shooters on this site that are never shy about helping someone out.

Stay safe and Merry Christmas,
AJ
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  #5  
Old 12-18-2011, 12:35 PM
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Location: GSP, SC, USA
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Re: Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

tensix, when do you think, in the fall 2012, you will be back to USA?
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Son, The first shot is the important one - the others just make him run faster! Grandpa 1949
NRA Life Member 1970
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  #6  
Old 12-18-2011, 12:48 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Camp Pendleton, CA / Webster, NY
Posts: 8
Re: Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

Thanks for your responses! I'll read over the other posts and I'm sure I'll have some more questions in the next day or so (although I do apologize if it's a few days again before I respond--the internet here is less than reliable). I hope that someday I'll be able to help other newcomers. Are there any good books?


Real quick:
AJ: I used to reload with my .32 but had to give that up when I enlisted. I intend to start again with my new rifle. I couldn't imagine shooting a factory load past 600 yards and expecting it to work consistently. Unfortunately, I will be unable to reload until I am done with my service in 2013 (powder on base is frowned upon).

T3: Yes, I am set to return stateside in August 2012. I've been here 5 months already. I am getting a two week R&R period in March/April which I hope to take full advantage of. I was hoping I could get in contact with a dealer and a gunsmith while I was over here and see if I can't have a rifle ready by April. That way I can take it for a test drive and have it worked on or adjusted while I'm back in the 'stan until August.
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  #7  
Old 12-18-2011, 01:22 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wilmington NC
Posts: 4,166
Re: Getting Started -- $4,200 Budget, Western NY

couple considerations considering your budget and skill level.


1. Look at the savage target action Fclass, Benchrest and Palma rifles. You can get them in 308 for right at $1000. Another barrel in 300 Win will cost you $350. $60 for nut wrench and go guage and swap barrels in 5 minutes.

Savage Models 12 and 112 Review good article here on how they work.

A 308 shooting the Berger 185s is a good LR round and you will learn wind doping. Easy to reload Win or lapua cases, either Varget, IMR4064 and RL 15 powders, BR 2 primers and the Berger 185, 178 Amax or 175 SMK. Used Savage target action guns are around $875 to 900. On the 300 Win, same on cases, F210 primers, H4831 powder and either the 190-210 grain bullets from Berger, Hornady or Sierra are the tickets. The savages are great and very accurate guns that are routine winners at Fclass matches.

Fred Moreo of Sharp Shooter Supply normally keeps a couple target actions for sale that are already tuned and tweaked for just over $500, add his trigger and pick your stock and barrel(s).

2. Most military bases are running F class matches and you can shoot the 308 in the F-TR matches. Lot of experience learned fast and easily with guys who will go out of their way to work with you. You will find them on the west coast too. Look here, Benchrest Central and Long Range Target shooting.com for a listing.

3. $300 for bases and rings is Rolls Royce level and not remotely needed for your budget now. The burris double dovetail bases $45 and set of signature rings with inserts $50 will give you the needed 20 MOA. They are as durable as any $300 set up and do not require lapping in. Just not picatanny rails to swap and add optics. However, this is not a tactical gun and not needed. Later if money is no object, then add a picatanny and high end tactical rings if you must have them.

4. Used Nightforce 5-22 can be had for around $1400. You will be hard pressed to beat that scope, especially at your skill level now. Watch here, Benchrest central, 6mmBR.com and snipers hide for used ones.

5. I used to have my reloading setup at a friends house or in a cheap storage unit. Take the extra $ for reloading equip as you will need it. If not Black Hills offers the best and relatively cheapest ammo for you to try. Go to 6mmbr and look in the articles for plans on a cheap fold up reloading bench. I have one I use at the range and matches, works very well. It is built of the Black and Decker folding little work bench. Good solid press, set of dies, caliper, and other misc tools will be $400-500 starting so plan on that.

6. Several 100 yard ranges in PA, Williamsport, Read range and another out west. They shoot 1000 Yd BR and F class matches.

7. Some of the best LR smiths are in PA such as Kevin Cram (Montour Rifles here on this board), Mark King (King Custom Rifles) and Bruce Baer at Baer Custom Rifles. Joel Russo here makes an excellant wooden stock. you can google any of them.

For a great inexpensive stock look at the Stockys Stocks and his Bobby Hart LR stock. Costs $300, with chassis block already in it, laminated wood clear coated, sling studs and recoil pad. Drop your action in and go.

BH
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