Re: Newbie in search of first long range rifle
As far as calibers, if you are new to this game most magnums will most likely frustrate you espescially if youre going to develop your own loads. I would recomend starting with a 308 win. If that isnt what youre after then the 7mm-08, 260 rem, 280 AI would all do very well for a begginer. All are 1K capable and most of them will handle elk and black bears. If youre dead set on a magnum the 300 WSM is about the least finicky of them all. The 308 will help you and work for you instead of against you. You will be able to learn the skills needed while building confidence. Other cartridges can help you too, most just take more work to fine tune than others. Once you get to figure things out a bit, then you can move on to 300 RUMs and the like.
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.