Beginner caliber

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by Hurl427, May 31, 2013.

  1. Hurl427

    Hurl427 Active Member

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    Looking to get into lr hunting and target shooting. Have 1000yd range and hunting opportunities out to atleast that for whitetail. I would like to make it out west a few times too for elk and antelope. I have basic rifle skill(marine bootcamp) and i hunt and harvest deer every year out to 200yds.I'm looking for a caliber that I'd be comfortable shooting and taking game out to 8-1000yds. Rifle suggestions for hunting purposes will also be appreciated. Thanks Ed
     
  2. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    Here is a good place to start:

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/for...vage-10fcp-sr-5r-good-choice-starters-113920/

    You could also go with a Remington 700 Varmint in .308 or the Remington 700 Police. They will be more expensive than the Savage, unless you buy used. ONLY go with a Remington that has an HS Precision stock. That means no SPS and definitely no VTR with that godawful triangular barrel. A good used model to look for is the 700VS. This one is a steal IMO:

    Rem. 700 varmint 308 6-18 Simmons scope sub.moa : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com

    Here is a good example of a good buy in a 700 Police model:

    Remington 700 Police 308 26" PSS NIB 40X trigger : Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com


    Start with a good quality heavy barrel .308. Mount an adequate scope and picatinny rail on it. Here are some examples:

    SWFA SS 3-15x42 Tactical Rifle Scope

    SWFA SS 12x42 Tactical Riflescope

    EGW 1-Piece Picatinny-Style 20 MOA Elevated Base Remington 700 Short

    Burris 30mm Xtreme Tactical Picatinny-Style Rings Matte Low Package of


    Do an internet search for gun clubs/ranges in your area that hold F-Class matches. Contact the Match Director and tell him that you are a new shooter who wants to compete in F-T/R matches. Most clubs hold monthly matches from about April through October or November.

    Buy or load match ammo. Practice as much as you can afford to. Hang out with the F-Class bunch and pick their brains to learn how to dope wind and mirage and learn the finer points of long range shooting. Shoot in every match you can. Learn your limits and your rifle's limits.

    Go hunting and apply what you have learned in the field. It will be more difficult. You will be shooting at uncooperative targets at unknown distances. But, you will have a grasp of the basics and a level of self-knowledge that will help you make good decisions.

    If you don't already hand load, you may wish to consider getting started on that, too.
     

  3. Hurl427

    Hurl427 Active Member

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    Yup, the 1000 yard range holds competitions. I do reload already so that was in the plan. Is a 308 enough for deer at long range? I'm not looking to buy more than 1 gun. If i have a lil more gun than needed for whitetail thats ok. Id really like to be able to take it out west for elk too.
     
  4. idaho elk hunter

    idaho elk hunter Well-Known Member

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    I Live to hunt elk here in Idaho. I see magazines and internet forums that speek of the best cartridges for them I can disagree with all of the pro writer and internet gurus. The 7mm and 338 calibers are probably the best depending on terrain and distance. If one is stuck on a 308 cal please use a 150gr barnes and load it to 3000 plus. I have seen many elk wounded by 30 cals due to poor shot placement and misjudging of distance. Elk can make plasma just about as fast as they can bleed it. In the trees I can recommend a 45 70 lever 400 gr plus bullet or a 338 win browing BAR. Long range the various 7mm mags and 338 mags do well if the shooter is up to it. Last year I donated a elk hunt to a charity last year and a well off individual purchased the hunt. He came with a Browning a bolt 26 in barrel, loaded with 74 gr Retumbo and a 162 Amax. He shot a Elk 6 times before it walked into the trees. Elk 540 yds away. We went to see the tracks and there was little blood. We tracked for 1 hour before we found her still alive. She was finished off with a handgun. Bullets all entered and went no farther than 6 inches in and disintegrated. He swore "the people on the internet" stated they killed quickly. The manufacture states differently. The moral of the story is not only choose the rifle and caliber wisely but choose all the components. I do recommend to all that I take hunting the accubond and Barnes LRX, TTSX are very deadly. Leave paper bullets on paper. Sectional density, construction and if long range Bc should be studied for a wise choice to answer your question
     
  5. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    At sea level, the .308 will get you to around 800 yards on deer and 500 yards on elk, depending on the ballistics of your chosen hunting load. At a conservative elk hunting altitude of 5000 feet, you can tack on another 100 yards or so to the above figures.

    Those ranges are based on a 185g Berger hunting hybrid @ 2650 and take into account ballpark energy minimums of 1500 ft/lbs for elk and 1000 ft/lbs for deer. Another thing to consider is the velocity needed for bullet expansion on impact with your chosen bullet. That may have an effect on your range limitations as well.

    Michael Eichele has written some very good articles on this site regarding the .308 and its capabilities. I encourage you to read his writings and draw your own conclusions.

    Many of the experienced long range elk hunters on this site (I am not one of them) will tell you that legit long range elk rifles start at .300 Winchester Magnum and go up from there. Some will argue for the fast 7mm's as the beginning. In any case, a true long range elk rifle is not a beginner's rifle. Because of prior shooting experience, you may not consider yourself a beginner. Relative to long range hunting, however, you most assuredly are a beginner.

    That's not to say that you can't start bigger. You can go bigger and be successful at it if you are able to dedicate the time and money it will take. I recommended the .308 as a starting point with emphasis on trigger time and reps in mind and with the idea that you could take the same rifle afield and hunt deer and larger game with it at appropriate ranges.

    You can go bigger, but understand that the cost per trigger pull will escalate quickly, even if you reload. If you decide to go big, I would skip the F-Class route and spend the money to attend a long range hunting course like those offered by Shawn Carlock. That will shorten your learning curve and make every cent you put into practice more effective and efficient.

    In the end, the gear you choose is just the start. The real difficulty and expense involves tuning the nut behind the trigger.

    In closing, I will refer you to this thread:

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f17/cold-bore-challenge-113571/

    It gives a person a pretty good idea of the standard of marksmanship that a long range hunter is truly chasing. It is worth keeping in mind as you select your gear and choose your path.
     
  6. Hurl427

    Hurl427 Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies, I have some things to think about. Good thing im in no hurry.
     
  7. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you can blame poor shot placement and misjudging of distance on a caliber.


    To the OP, when you put elk, especially bull elk into the LR (1000 yds) equation you're in a whole different ball game than deer and antelope when choosing a rifle. Elk have been killed at long ranges by 7mm's and lesser, but I would recommend a 300 magnum of some kind as a minimum. A 338 (not WM) would be better yet. If you're not going to do much LR elk hunting, you might buy a rifle more suited to deer and antelope and get a second rifle specifically for elk down the road. The minimum LR deer rifle I would start with would be a 6.5x284. Great cartridge. Depending on your load and elevation, it may or may not get you to 1000 yds with enough velocity to ensure good expansion and penetration. The ballistic calculators will tell you that.

    Welcome to LRH
     
  8. Hurl427

    Hurl427 Active Member

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    I originally wanted a 338 lapua, ive researched the costs and pros and cons. I can afford it so thats not a problem. I shyed away from it cause the longest i could shoot it is 1200 yards and my understanding is there are other calibers well suited for less than 1200 yards. Its still in my head fir wanting one, I just want to make sure it's what I want before I get it. It's been my dream cartridge for years and now it's within reach. Like I said just want to be sure...
     
  9. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    the rifle is more important than the caliber. get a remington with a krieger barrel or equivalent. get a 7mm mag or 300 win mag. you can load them down if you choose. heavier is better for targets.
     
  10. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    I have been drooling over the Savage .338 Lapuas myself. I can't blame you for wanting a Lapua of one flavor or another. You will need another rifle to go with it, though. NOTHING wrong with that!

    I know I would enjoy shooting one, even if I don't yet posess the skill to shoot it to its potential.
     
  11. Hurl427

    Hurl427 Active Member

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    Let's sayI a deer or elk pops out a hundred yards what would a 338 Lapua do?
     
  12. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    most of my ammo is fired in matches. after competing ( 66 rounds) at 500-1000 yards; i don't shoot a lot hunting. most matches they don't allow .338 and most don't allow breaks.
     
  13. Hurl427

    Hurl427 Active Member

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    I'll have to check my range for rules
     
  14. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

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    You would have a dead deer or elk on your hands and, if you are shooting heavy bullets, probably with very little damaged meat. The Lapua isn't all that fast, it mostly allows you to launch heavy, low drag bullets that are very efficient at long range.

    A few years ago, I shot a small doe at 12 yards with a .375 H&H. The 250g lead bullet made a caliber sized entry hole, took off the top of the heart, and made a caliber sized exit hole. It didn't appear to expand and, other than the little bit that got blown out the exit hole, there was no meat loss at all. Granted, I used ammo that I had downloaded to 38-55 velocity, but I don't think the results would have been much different with a full power load.

    IME, it is the lighter, faster rounds that tend to damage meat. One advantage of being "over gunned" (relative to deer) is that the larger stuff tends to kill cleanly while keeping meat damage to a minimum.