I have been watching the forums for a little while and finally decedied to ask some questions please frogive me ahead of time I am sure you all get tired of answering the same thing over and over, so I will be brief and to the point. right now I have a Ruger .338 that is new I do not even have ascope for it, but from what i have read it is not very good for long range and I am willing to get rid of it and buy something else, I bought it for a song anyways. 1st question: what brand of rifle should I get? 2nd question: what cal.? last but not least what kind of scope? I am on a budget, but I have access to a full gunsmith shop.
Thanks for any help [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]
I am guessing you are talking about a 338 Win mag. If so, there are better options.
Here is my advice, but there are certainly some more knowledgeable than I.
Get a decent 300 or 338 RUM - especially if you plan to use it for elk. Something with a target barrel preferably. Top it with a good repeatable scope with target knobs on a long range base. Some specifics might be a Sendero with the Leupold Vari-X III of your choice with target knobs. Cannot go wrong with one of the Long Range Tactical versions.
If you plan on using this to learn with - and elk are not specifically what you are after, look at getting a new or used 308 to learn with. Cheaper, but same principles apply.
Start working up loads. Think high B.C, larger bullets. Get a good accurate load built and zeroed at 100 yards and read Dave King's response to axe in this forum for using your knobs.
Plan on this being a learning process of many, many years. I have been at it for about 1 1/2 years and feel that I have just scratched the tip of the iceberg! [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]
But anything worth going after does not come easy and thats the attraction for me, so if the bug infects you as it has me, then you and your family have my condolensces [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] !!
I asked some of the same questions as you did and was told to get a 308 but instead decided on a 300WM, which is a great choice but when you are learning the LR game the more rounds you can put down range the better you will become and the 300WM's recoil and powder useage is not the best with a beginner.
Just scroll the archives and ask questions to these guys and listen to what they have to tell you, they will not mislead you.
elkhunter, don't worry about the "dumb" questions, there aren't any. We have all been there and had someone help out, so we return the favor.
First off, you have to decide what is LR to you, 300yds, 500yds, 1000yds? Makes a big difference. With a 338 Win mag and bullets like the 225gr BT, 250gr MK/Lapua, you are going to be able to deliver a heavy blow way out there. I would hazard 700 to 800yds if your rifle is accurate enough.
The drop doesn't matter as we dial up our scopes for all ranges. Dialing up a few more clicks won't matter. As long as impact vel is over 1400fps, you are going to put a big hurt on whatever gets in the way.
The big issue is how well does this rifle and you shoot. You must have equipment that can hit a gallon milk jug everytime at the longest distance you want to shoot. For some of the gear on this board, that is in another time zone. After having had a chance to shoot and work up your loads, you will know if you need another rifle/barrel or not. If you like the cal, shoot what you have first. Can't see why it wouldn't make it to 400yds at least - that is a long ways to start.
For scopes, the best bang for the buck is the Bushnell Elite 3200 10X. A very nice scope with enough elevation to make LR hits possible. If you have more coin, then Leupolds, 4200Elites, Nikons, Tasco super snipers, etc are all possible. Again, you need to know how far you want to go and how much elevation you need to make the trip. Most 1" scopes have 50min of elevation which can get you out a very long ways (tapered bases and Burris Sig rings will shim scope to account for a "high" 100yd zero).
Magnification is up to you but I find the 10/12X to be great for ranges up to 700yds.
The big part is the support equipment. You must have a laser rangefinder, good binos and spotting scope. I would suggest the Leica 800's which are going for cheap right now. Binos/spotting scopes are going to cost but without them, you will not be able to see game to shoot at. I just bought a Nikon Monarch 8X42 binos and am very impressed. Affordable, waterproof, and I will find out just how good the optics are (going hunting this week). Pentax also makes very good optics for the money.
The final equation is practise, practise, practise. You must shoot to learn about ranging, and wind doping. If money is really an issue, then consider an accurate 22LR and shoot at 200yds. Believe me, that if you are not holding or doping well, you are going to miss in a big way. Most 22LR will shoot 2MOA or under with decent ammo. Practise on tin cans at 200yds and you will learn lots and impress your friends. When that gets boring, go out to 300yds.
What you learn with the 22 will transfer over to the big bores. it is not a waste of time. practise as much as you can with your hunting rifle from field positions and distances. This confirms your drop tables and you learn how to shoot without a bench.
Over time your confidence and distance will increase. enjoy the journey...
Listen to Jerry's post. He's right on the money!! In fact the only thing I think I can add is this: give some consideration to building a rifle for LR. For me, the Remington 700 Sendero Stainless Fluted in 7 RUM was the best way to go at the time. However, if you have an action and the $$$ you may be better off building a 300 Win Mag or whatever caliber you go with rather than trying to buy factory. However, that is not to say that factory rifles won't shoot. They most certainly will!!! My sendero is getting 0.5 inch groups at 100 in my initial testing. Set realistic goals, be patient and research, research, research. I think you'll have fun.