+1 to Shawn Carlock,
If you do not mind I would like to elucidate just a little however.
-- 1: 6.5mm = Lapua recently started making 260 brass! Nice vote of confidence, and peace of mind for people who reload, and like to keep their reloading relatively simple. (no brass forming, limited brass prep, long brass life) The Hornady 123gr Amax bullet is just about the highest BC bullet you can find in the lower cal. lighter weight type bullets. 25, 26, 27, 28, 30, cal. bullets-to-bore ratios Vs. BC/SD can get complicated. I have been a reloading nut case as well as intermediate to longish range shooter for about the last 20 years. I am not a rabid fanboi of any particular cal. They all have their uses, claims to fame, ect... That 123gr Amax in a 260 Rem, or a 6.5 Creedmoor is dang tough to beat! And, the bore life of it will tend to be better than the .243 or 6mm Rem/AI series. Although some of the 6mm AI can straight up lay the Smack Down for ballistics, as long as you do not care too much about round count for barrel longevity (read below notes on barrels).
- 1a: Personally I would be tempted to use a 5 or 6 groove type barrel @ 8.5 rate of twist, if you decide on a 6.5mm. The reasons being: BSC (bearing surface compression) will be a little lower on say a 5r/5c type, or 6 groove, this will tend to help the smaller bullets in not coming apart when driven real hard. The 8.5 twist reflects a decision for a 2 gun scenario: The 123gr Amax is a *VERY* good bullet! I would just almost be willing to say good for most things a 260 is really thought of as "Good For". Okay, not quite that good, but they are nice bullets with a high BC and good SD. The 140gr bullets will also stabilize *Well* all the way down to about -15F at sea level, without drastically over stabilizing the 123's (too many RPM's and high velocity contributes to mid air bullet explosions).
- 1b: 30 cal.: Another vote would be the 30 cal. 135gr SMK, this little bullet is Very Nice! I hardly ever see it mentioned, but man it deserves an honorable mention for a 308win build! You could build a 12 twist 5r/5c 308win. The other side of the coin for this build bullet wise is the excellent performing 130gr Barnes TTSX! This is another one you hardly ever see mentioned, but I am here to tell you now, It is *Truly Excelent* !!! Out to about 400 yards it is absolute DRT poison for Deer, Pigs, and Antelope. If you count 1800 fps. and 800 ft/lbs as minimum for this kind of game taking this little TTSX in a 20" barreled Handi-308 (in fact even an 18" barrel would be great as velocity loss is not as bad as you might expect it to be) is good for right about 500 yards! The SMK extends that a little for the varmint shooting and such. Another good thing is, IMR8208XBR powder is just almost a perfect match for these 2 bullets in the 308, making for an extremely reliable hunting setup, that is also a dream to reload for (powder dispenser wise it measures great in a Uniflow). Another plus to the 308 is barrel life!
-- 2: 30cal = I am torn here, the OCD side of me does not like even a mildly rebated rim! That being said, I know a couple of people who have WSM's and they do not seem to have any feed problems. I prefer a good old 300WM personally, but recently I have lusted hard for a 30-375 Ruger. Reason for the non belted is again purely my OCD kicking in! While it has more capacity, the 30-375 Ruger, for me, is more about loosing the belt.
- 2a: I can not honorably knock a 300wsm. The short actions do have some basic advantages. When you go to do a very fast follow up shot, the SA's tend to make life a bit easier. Some of the LA bolts can come back far enough to be a bit of a problem to some folks, depending on setup ect... I believe norma still makes their very good brass for the WSM as well. I would however consider lengthening the magazine via Wyatt Box or some such on an WSM though. You are likely to want Long Heavy bullets for your bigger game, the extra length in the mag well will help you A LOT if you reload! I would definitely ask the local LRH smiths about WSM and a longer mag box and potential for feed issues. I am reasonably sure they will tell you it is NP, but still it is worth doing the extra research.
Ok, so lets jump over to the rifle setup:
- Scope = 2.5x10 is a great setup for hunting in my opinion! IOR makes one in a FFP scope that has the MP8 Reticle and can be had Illuminated as well. Good scope mechanically, fantastic glass and coatings, and not break the bank expensive. Failing that, I would probably go with either the Nightforce Shawn mentioned, or maybe even a Premier Heritage 3-15, I believe as of this year they will even be coming out with a Hunting specific model of it. It is good to have GREAT glass and rock solid mechanicals in a scope you intend to Seriously Use! The latter 2 have proven track records for mechanical durability, and even the IOR has proven itself to me to be more than reasonably tough. (I own the 3x18-42 personally) Some folks say Mil Dot optics and FFP both are absolutely only good for killing humans! I disagree! Mil Dot does not mean Military Dot, it means Milliradian, which is a unit of measure. Once a person learns to use a Mil Dot scope for Ranging life suddenly begins to get a fair bit easier/quicker! They are also great for kentucky windage. I prefer the Front Focal Plane because I can range on any power setting. On a SFP scope it is most usually 10x only for ranging using the reticle. So, FFP for overall quick ease of use for any scenario where you may want to get a fast shot off.
- Scope Base / mounts: I am torn here. Glen Seekins makes a Picatinny rail in either aluminium or steel and rings that truly are world class quality. I would probably opt for the 8-40 milled threads for extra strength, especially if you end up with that nighforce scope! Just a detail really, but one worth considering for a new build. Some folks do not like Picatinny for hunting, but it does allow you to get your Eye Box set-up a bit easier. The knock is, some folks do not like how it tends to make quick loading into an internal mag a little more fussy.
- Lets talk barrels: Some one here on LRH posted about Ferritic Nitride I believe it was, man that stuff looks real nice to help in barrel life. Gunwerks I believe uses ABS Carbon Wrapped Barrels for their lightweight hunters. The carbon wrap also is reputed to help in keeping chamber / throat temperatures down, which should help extend useful barrel life. Good way to drop some weight, and gain in long term durability.
- Actions: I would never order a custom rifle
that has a standard-soldered on bolt handle! The new stillers, and I think Lawton actions as well use 1 piece bolts. I also kind of like the idea of the M16 type extractor. Lots of great actions out there!
- Stocks: I agree about nice wood and getting beat up. Have you considered a Manners Stock? The Manners MCS-TA and T stock is listed as a Hunter / Tactical stock. If you look at it, it does not look Tak-Tic-Kool, it is a very well designed stock that is also extremely well made. Prices are fairly reasonable as well. Lots and Lots of great stocks to choose from!
Have a good one,