I am just getting into long range shooting and am putting my setup together. I wanted some thoughts from more experienced long range shooters regarding my equipment and loads. I am shooting a Rem 700 PSS in 300 RUM. I have worked on it and got the stock trigger set to approximately 22ounces where I feel it is the right pull for me and still safe. I sold my Zeiss conquest and am looking at ordering a Nightforce 5.5X22X56 with the Mil Dot Reticle (any thoughts on this or suggestions). I have been shooting factory 180gr Remington Scirroco bullets but I loaded some Berger 210gr 63BC bullets with 215M primers and 92,95, and 97 gr Retumbo to see which shoots best (a load suggested on this forum). I havent shot it yet (no optics). Most of my shots are in low light in Colorado 10K feet +/- and very cold/moist conditions. I have taken elk and deer from 60yds to 705yds, but have seen them further and am not comfortable with my setup beyond that yet. Also, I am going to be buying a range finder and need some advice along with ballistic software that will load onto a pda. Thanks in advance for the advice.
In low light the NP-R1 & R2 can be difficult to see so I would suggest you consider an illuminated reticle. I do not have an illuminated reticle to say for sure that it is the cure for the problem. However, I do just the opposite of AJ and like to click but still like the NP-R1 & R2 because it is the same units as the knobs and I can use the reticle for the second shot if I should need one.
The 56mm objective will cause the scope to sit high so you may need to get a cheekpiece. Shawn Carlock makes a very good one that I use. Some people like the strap on kind that has bullet loops and stuff.
I'm no expert by far. This year was my first 'actual' LRH. After a couple of years of preparation, I found out just how unprepared I was.;)
I came to very rapidly appreciate the importance for being prepared for the actual and varying conditions. I hadn't been in the big mountains for a couple of decades and had lost the feel for the long distances, steep angles and all 4 seasons occurring in any one day.
Since returning I have been upgrading equipment to be more prepared and am taking to opportunity with the local coyotes to get as much experience as I can i.e,. setting up hides for the time just before sunset until dark.
From that experience, here goes:
First you are headed in the right direction. You'll be well prepared when you get there.
Rifle & Cartridge: You have plenty of cartridge to do the job. Once you get your optics settle on a load and don't mess with it (right BB?);) I consider Berger or Wildcats of some sort. You've taken enough elk to know what works. You'll learn more as you develop your drop chart.
Drop Chart: Shoot it. Shoot groups 'on paper' as far as you may shoot in the field. Don't rely on the software to predict beyond where you have entered actual drop data. (right BB?);)
Optics: You are headed in the right direction here. Took two rifles this year and had the wrong scope on the wrong rifle. I had a Weaver Tactical 4.5-14 on the carry gun (which was perfect-BTW) and a 16X SuperSniper on the LR rig (which was a real bummer when the sun so much as even blinked.) The nighforce will serve you well but the mil dot may be a bit confusing as turrets are in MOA and the dots are in mils and are only actual Mils at specific powers. But the same problem exists with the MOA reticles as nf reticles are in the second focal plane which 'I' think is a bummer. But that's just me. The bottom line is that you'll see plenty well with that scope. Also, on low power those Mil Dots and connecting lines are gonna be big which may cover a bunch of target. The Weaver Tactical is an FFP reticle and is pretty sweet as he reticle shrinks with the power setting. But it would be worlds better if the ret. were MOA.
Rifle: When you shoot/confirm your drop chart at the longer distances you'll be able to see if the weight of your rifle is sufficient. It seems that the heavier the weight the more stable the rifle. But there is a lot of other considerations here depending on your hunting style. My requirements are 2: a)When setup to shoot and dry firing the cross hair stays centered on the point of aim when the trigger's tripped; b) I can spot my shot at all distances. Which brings up the bipod and rear support.
Bipod: Note: I'm talking purely prone shooting. A rock solid inflexible bipod is my preference. That way your setup is constant over the range of angles that you may shoot (+/- 25* isn't unusual). Many long ranges shots are made from the Harris type bipods but I wonder how many missed shots go unreported? My experience has been, and I have read studied and practiced from the article "Bug holes from bipods", that I had what I call "unexplainable misses". I feel that this was because I couldn't duplicate the "range" conditions in the "field" situations. It is very important that the shoulder pressure and cheek weld be consistent. When you're on a slope that is steep you're pushing when up slope and pulling when down slope. Also be careful when shooting up slope with a heavy rifle, the legs tend to fold up.
Rear support: Personal preference comes into play here. For shorter distances, under 400 yds I don't mind using my non-trigger hand to buffer between the rear bag and the stock. At LRH distances however, that doesn't work so well, for me. Here again, rock solid, when set, rear bag(s) in combinations to get the "natural -hmm I forget the term:( but its when the rifle is on target with no intervention or muscle movement by the shooter.
I've had to pass on shots when I couldn't get sufficient steadiness. Those are burned into my mind and I learn more from them than the successful shots.
PS: Hey guys, if I'm blowing smoke here let me know. Its the first time I've said it and if I'm off kilter lemme know so I don't screw up again.:o I don't have that many more hunts to go and I don't want to mess any of 'em up and flyingtxn deserves the best if info......
I may be the slowest guy on the mountain . . . . but . . . . I'm on the mountain!
Great info guys. I appreciate you all imparting some knowledge on the newbie. I almost made a mistake on the mildot, but will order one of the two suggested now. I am already using a Harris bipod, but if I have issues shooting well with it, what are some other options? Do you guys have any suggestions for Ballistic software to help with the drop charts that I can put on my pda? I looked at the cheekpiece from Shawn Carlock and was immediately suckered into wanting a 338 edge (I guess I am a sucker for an upsale). Seems like a lot of gun, which in my mind is a good thing, right? Any other thoughts?