Just starting off with long range shooting. I'm doing the back ground work to try and start off right. I already shoot a lot, but mostly at 100 yards for accuracy and field position practice (off hand, kneeling, sitting etc.). I already do my own reloading. My main goals will be, to learn what it takes to build a long distance rifle, learn more about caliber selection for the intended use, to see how far I can extend my one shot hit range on a 12" target. I don't mind carrying a heavy rifle, I have owned a Remington Sendero in a 300 wm. I hunt elk almost exclusively, but once in a while I will hunt for deer. I know to hone my shooting ability I will first need the right equipment, training, and practice to get to were I want to be. I don't see myself doing any long range hunting any time soon, but I am open to the idea if I have enough confidence in my shooting ability. I need a rifle caliber combo that will allow me to practice a lot, and maybe compete in f-class shooting, as well as do my elk hunting out to 300 yards. If I ever make the decision to do any long range hunting, I hope to have already gained the knowledge I will need to select the caliber and build a dedicated rifle. I am married with 2 kids, and this is only my hobby, sport, and entertainment, so funds are tight, I will need the most bang for my buck. I am looking mainly for help selecting one rifle caliber scope combo to start learning with and still be able to use it for elk hunting. The 308 in a heavy barreled Savage or Remington has already been suggested and that sounds great to me from what I already know. Just wondering if anyone has something else to recommend.
Quite a combo of things in one gun.
I would go with a 7mm-08 or possibly a 284 Win over the 308. I have taken quite a few elk with the same performance you would get in a 7-08 rifle. For your LR shooting you have better BC's for bullet weight in the 7 verses the 30 cal. You will have long throat life and it will take you to 1K as well.
For a number of years I used a 7mm shooting a 140 grain bullet @ 2750 for everything from PD's to elk and used to pop steel at long range.
I wouldn't use the 140 grain today for everything though.
The 260 rem would be another option, but I prefer the 7mm for elk over the 6.5.
Ernie (xphunter) "The Un-Tactical"
The .308 is my favorite cartridge for a lot of reasons - but long range elk hunting is not really its strong point. There are a lot of better cartridges out there for that. I wouldn't hesitate to zap an elk at 300 yards with a .308, but at 600 I'd be wishing I had a magnum. Maybe that's just me. I have a lot of respect for the strength of a big bull elk and their ability to move away after being hit.
F-class is perfect for a .308 or a 7mm-08 though. With the .308 you can enter F/TR and shoot against a bunch of other guys with .308's as well, instead of going head to head against the 6.5-284's and .243 AI's and all those other hot rod cartridges that really shine at long range. Nice to level the playing field. Also the .308 is amazingly easy to load for, there are many combinations that will generate excellent accuracy. Barrel life is exceptional too. Pulled my last Krieger at 5600 rounds and was still shooting "high master" scores in NRA prone competition with it - but not getting very many X's anymore. It was time to retire that barrel.
The 7-08 option is an excellent one too. It performs better at longer ranges, and there are really nice long-range bullets available for it. Barrel life should still be quite good, although I haven't messed with one. Do run into them from time to time on the firing line and I like what I see from that cartridge. Strongly suspect it's a better all-around cartridge than "my" .308 Win.
Either of them seems a bit light for big bull elk at long range... That's my only concern. I'm not a real experienced elk hunter. Have taken only one big bull, mostly I hunt mule deer, so weigh that into your decision too. I may be making too big a thing of the elk at long range.
After reading guy's post it reminded me of something I should have said the first time around. All of my shots on elk were calm animals with a clean broadside presentation. None of the elk went over 10 feet, 2 were medium sized bulls and the rest cows. All were 353 yards or under with one exception.
Ernie (xphunter) "The Un-Tactical"
I have a Savage 300 WM BVSS and it shoots great too 1000 yds, 200gr AB's and H-1000. Savage trigger is great, and gun is already bedded out of the box. Very easy to load for and will work on deer and elk. My gun weighs less than 14lbs loaded with bi-pod, bullets, scope, etc. A good scope, base and rings and your ready for F-Class or elk to your mentioned range and further.
My first rifle will just be to learn on. I will not be doing any long range hunting for at least a couple of years. I don't see the use of having 2 rifles, the money spent on the second I could put into a good quality scope or stock etc., so I would like a caliber I could use when I go elk hunting. I only need average hunting distances for now, for me that is 300 yards max. I understand that this rifle will be heavy, not to concerned about that. A suggestion to me on this sight was to go with the 308 and then when I was ready I could have it chambered for a 300 wsm. That idea sounds pretty good.
I am leaning toward getting a Savage 12fv 308 and replacing the stock with something that is adjustable. This idea isn't set yet though, so if anyone has a better idea I am all ears. If I gain the skill for long range hunting, elk will always be the main hunt.
Last edited by straightshooter; 12-18-2007 at 12:10 AM.