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Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

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Unread 11-17-2009, 05:12 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 12
Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

I've done tons of reading on numerous websites all with conflicting information. Go figure, this is the internet. So, Iím here to ask your opinions. I am fairly new to guns and hunting, and I am always lent a gun to use. Now I need my own.

This rifle will be used mostly for hunting, but I would like to get into long range shooting out to 1000 yards. Not competitively, just for fun. It will mostly be used on Deer and coyotes from 100-400 yards, although with time and serious practice I would like to be able to take game from further distances humanely. It will also need to take down at distance the odd Moose, elk, goat, etc.

I hear the .270 will work
I've been told to buy a 30-06
I've heard good things about the .308
Yet I like the sounds of the 7RM. Flat shooting, etc.

I don't know much about the energy at long ranges in these calibres. Should I be looking outside these calibres? 300WM seems like overkill to me or deer, however its cheap to shoot. What about 7WSM? I won't be firing off thousands of bullets each year, so its not a big issue on price, lets just not hit $100ís a box!! Also, I have thought about potentially getting into reloading at a later date. For now, gear comes first.

My other debate is which rifle to purchase. I like quality, something that will last, and is going to be reliable every time I pull the trigger. Price is not of a huge concern however I would like to keep the price down. Iíve been thinking of holding back and buying a Tikka T3 SS Lite or SS Varmint in .270, then later purchasing a 300wm, but feel I would be happier with the Sako 85 Stainless Synthetic or Finnlight. The rifle needs to be lightweight for field carry. Any other suggestions?

Last but not least I need glass. Is the Leupold VX-3L CDS a good choice? Or should I go with something like Leupolds Mark4 LR or a NightForce? Does anyone use a Leupold CDS? Also, will 3-9 or 4.5-14 be of enough power to reach out to 1000 yards, yet not annoying if shooting Game at 100yards?

My main concern is choosing the right calibre for me. Please help, my mind is going crazy with all these first time buying decisions. I am 22, and have many other future expenses to worry about, so another gun likely won't happen for a few years. I preferably want something that will do it all or close too it.

If any, what other decisions may I later make that affects what I choose right now?

Thanks for your time,

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Unread 11-17-2009, 06:56 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Great Falls, MT
Posts: 9,807
Re: Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?


Welcome to LRH and enjoy!

.300WM is an excellent choice and no it is not an overkill on deer. As to what rifle, it depends on your budget. You might see the Savage vs Remington debate here later but both will serve you well.

Scope wise, again it will depend on your budget and type of shooting. For my eye sight and type of shooting, I prefer the Leupold because of their forgiving eye relief, i.e., most eye relief's are 3.0" to 3.5", mine is 4.7".

BTW, welcome to the world of hunting and shooting.


I voted for my "FREEDOM", "GUNS", and "MONEY" - keep the change - UNK.

"I am always proud of my country!"

"Leadership Rule #2: Don't be an ***hole." - Maj Gen Burton Field.
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Unread 11-17-2009, 07:10 AM
308 308 is offline
Bronze Member
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Fl
Posts: 90
Re: Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

My views may be narrow minded but I just can't fault what works for me and a number of my friends.
Get you a heavy barreled 308, I like remingtons but savage and sako are shooters too.

Get you a good scope, my preference is a leupold 6.5x20 or 8.5 to 25, the LR versions are nice but not absoulutly neccessary.

Put a scope base with 20 moa of included angle on the gun and get some federal gold medal or black hills 168's or 175's and go shoot!!!!

A 308 ain't the best gun for 1000 but it will go there,(as long as your scope has 40plus mins of adjustment in it) and you can enjoy shooting it and shooting it and shooting it while you learn to shoot in the wind and conditions you find in the field.
The MAGS are nice, they are better 1000 yard guns but they have shorter barrel life, kick more, make more noise and generally are not as user friendly, and cost more to shoot..., I'm not knocking them, I have some but for a starter, the 308 just makes the most sense to me, you could also write in 260 rem or 7mm08 here, its just a little harder to find match grade ammo for them.

Oh and the 308 will do all you need it to do on deer and coyotes to 400 and a little further when the shooter is up to it.

Well that was a much longer winded version than I meant to pen,
but thats my 2 cents JS aka 308
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Unread 11-17-2009, 10:28 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,840
Re: Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

Welcome to LRH!
One of the reasons you have heard so much different opinions is that there are many cartridges that can get the job done.
Add to that some people believe yo need the best and biggest Super-Wiz-Bang to shoot game at 400 yards.
Others will have one cartridge that they believe is best for everything.
Reloading would be beneficial for you.
I like the 7mm cartridges for the bullet options and better BC (Aerodynamics) of the bullets. Nothing wrong with the 30 caliber, but you can do as much ballisticallly with less bullet weight, therefore less recoil. The 270 will also work for you as well. Again, not as much bullet selection for LR shooting/hunting as the 7mm or the 30 caliber.
The 7mm-08 would do all you wanted it to do.
I would prefer the 280 Remington, and there is sure nothing wrong with the 7mm Rem Mag.
There are many different ways to skin the cat.
So please do not expect to hear a resounding one cartridge come to the top for what you are asking.
The other limiting factor is being stuck with factory ammo. Both because of its cost, limited bullet selection or whether your barrel likes that particular load.
Depending on the stock you get, weight, and your own sensitivity to recoil when shooting from field positions (stay off the bench as much as possible). A muzzle brake may be a good thing to consider. It takes the recoil out of the picture and allows you to spot your own shots.
A 4.5-14 is more than enough for big game out to 1,000 yards. I used a 3.5-15 this year and took a antelope buck at 1,037 yards. I did not feel handicapped with 15x in any way. It was a 7mm and it had the performance level of the 280 Remington. I like the Huskemaw, VX-3's, Mark 4's, and the NightForce (have all of these scopes).
Since you are considering elk and other mountain game, be careful about getting a real heavy rifle. Once you get up in elevation and steep terrain you can come to hate a heavy rifle, that you once loved on the plains shooting from the bench a few feet from your vehicle.
If you want my opinions on reticles, brakes or anything I else I would be glad to respond. There is a lot of good folks with good info on this site
When it is said and done, buy what you want. It is your money, and if you do not like or feel comfortable with what you get, you will never be happy with it.
Good luck in your endeavors, and practice, practice, practice from field positions.
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Unread 11-21-2009, 12:00 AM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 12
Re: Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

Thanks all for the warm welcome and great advice. I have decided on a rifle and calibre now. Yes I have changed my mind completely, but its what I originally had in mind. Iím getting the Savage 10FCP in the McMillian stock. This is obviously in no means a light rifle. I thought long and hard about it, and since I will only be shooting Coyotes, Wolves and paper for the next year(until big game season), I will have time to save for my next true light weight ďhuntingĒ rifle. Iím considering purchasing both rifles now, but will probably just wait. The light hunting rifle will most likely be a Sako A7 in .270 or 30-06 topped with Leopold glass. I am still thinking out my options for my long range rifleĎs glass, but will probably go with a Nightforce and try not to lose sleep over the cost. Thanks again all for the advice.

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Unread 11-21-2009, 01:13 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,612
Re: Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

The Tikka T-3 you mentioned in 300 wsm would do about anything you ever wanted to do. Mine shoots very accurately right out of the box.I don't think they make it in a 7mm wsm but that would also be good. Either one of those and your good for about anything out there. If I were just starting out I would go with one of these most modern cartridges that are proven and will be around a long time for easy to get components. The Tikka is one of the best buys in the business. I would not have a problem shooting anything in Wyoming with mine out to 600 yards right out of the box.
Predictions are difficult, especially when they involve the future
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Unread 11-21-2009, 10:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 3,548
Re: Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

DC, Glad to hear you mention 30-06 it was the rage many years ago but, IMHO hasn't had the popularity in recent decades it once had. Nonetheless it's an excellent cartridge-readily available, easy to reload, inexpensive, tons of bullet choices, modest recoil etc. etc. and a little more umph than a 308. Bought my first factory 30-06 in a Sako back in 69' and as factory rifles go it's the most accurate one I've owned.
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