Custom Long Range Deer Rifle for a Non-Handloader

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by DZelenka, Feb 10, 2011.

  1. DZelenka

    DZelenka Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    I have a friend who is interested in building a super accurate rifle for deer hunting out to 500 or so yards. He is not a handloader, nor is he likely to be. I can get the rifle built, but I am trying to figure out a caliber to suggest. He will be hunting whitetail deer over agricultural fields. The parameters are good available factory ammunition and a flat enough trajectory to minimize holdover with about a 200 or 250 yd zero. He also doesn't want excessive recoil or a muzzle brake. I think he would stay away from a .300 magnum, but a smaller magnum would work. He is currently shooting a .30-06 so it has to be something flatter than that. I have a few thoughts on calibers to suggest, but I would like to hear from you guys.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011

  2. srttim

    srttim Member

    Messages:
    15
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    How about 257 Weatherby mag. Ammo is a little pricy but its a flat shooter and should work well on white tail. There is a lot of good cartridges out there. 243 wssm, 270 wsm, heck you could even get 280 ackley improved in factory ammo from Nosler
     

  3. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,158
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2008
    280 AI, 280, 260 Rem, 7mm-08 with a 140grn bullet, 6.5x284, 243Win, 270Win, 25-06, 25WSSM, 243WSSM, 7WSM, 270WSM, and 6.5 Creedmore.

    Tank
     
  4. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    Since factory ammo is the biggest limitation, I would first pick the factory ammo that I think will best meet expectations and then build from there.

    Next, you can't be certain that you're rifle will get along with your first choice ammo. So, I would want to have a couple of good alternative ammo choices to fall back on.

    I would steer clear of cartridges that aren't available off the shelf at major retailers.

    I would be leary of expensive ammo choices since you may have to shoot a lot of factory ammo to find the right one.

    You might consider 264 win mag, 270 wsm, or 30-06 for starters. But, there are many choices as other posters have suggested.

    "Flat" has nothing to do with it. At 500 yards, you will have to dial turrets or hold-over. With a good range finder, that's easy to control provided the ammo is of sufficient quality. You need a good BC bullet to give you more room for error in reading the wind. The challenge will be to get accurate and repeatable results at long range.

    Best of luck and I look forward to hearing how it goes.
    Richard
     
  5. DZelenka

    DZelenka Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    Poor choice of words on my part. I understand the wind issue very well.

    As you pointed out, the main issue is factory ammo. That really knocks out things like the 6.5-284 since the ammo sources are limited. I am leaning toward the .270 WSM with the 140 Accubond. That probably gives as good a combination of velocity and BC as any cartridge with reasonably available ammunition.

    I am getting ready to build a 7WSM on a 700 LA. He decided he wants a new rifle too. Problem is he doesn't handload otherwise I would just have the gunsmith build 2 of the 7WSMs. Maybe he will go that route with a shorter throat designed to shoot factory ammo. When I look at the factory fodder, I keep coming back to the .270 WSM. .257 and .270 Weatherbys have ammo availability issues. 7mm STW maybe? 7Rem? I am looking for ideas.
     
  6. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    I don't have one.
    But on paper, it looks like an excellent choice.
     
  7. Good

    Good Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    409
    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
    When looking at all the choices, and factoring in factory ammo, I would take a good, hard look at the 7 Rem Mag. The rounds can be had at Wal Mart or anywhere else, if you hand load (I know, he doesn't) you can take advantage of newer powders and the 180g bullets, and if you purchase a premium form of ammo it generally isn't as expensive as the STW or RUMs or chamberings of that nature. You can get the 168 bergers in factory ammo though. Saying that, the barrel will also last longer than those others I mentioned.

    With a decent weight, it will not need a brake either.

    All that said, a buddy shoots a .308 that is very accurate. My 308 isn't bad either and ammo is readily available and very inexpensive, relatively.

    Ballistically though, for the listed criteria, I'm looking at the 7 Rem Mag.
     
  8. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    Highly accurate, factory ammo, less or equal recoil to a 30-06 and flatter shooting than a 30-06 out to 500 yds?

    IMO, he will need a smaller caliber. He will also need a cartridge that has alot of factory ammo varieties available (highly accurate may take some experimentation and trying different bullet weight/brands of ammo)

    He will need to stay with 30-06 or bigger case capacity to get flatter shooting and less recoil, while using a lighter bullet at the same time. Faster velocities is the number one way to get flatter shooting out to 500 yds.

    Therefore, I'd suggest 25-06 or 270. Both have alot of varieties and choices when it comes to factory fodder and both kick less than the 30-06. They are both based on the 30-06 case. Also, the 270 WSM and 280 are viable, along with the 7 WSM. I am not 100% sure, but I think the 25-06 and the standard 270 have more ammo choices available though.

    My 25-06 with 100 gr Barnes TSX is "hold on hair" out to 400 if sighted in at 250 like you mention. It's still got plenty of pop left at 500 if the shot is broadside and the bullet's in the vitals.

    There is alot of ammo available for the 7mm Rem Mag. I've shot some 7 mags, and they are an excellent long range gun. However, I felt that the recoil was quite a bit more than the 270's I have shot, and probably more than a 30-06 even.
     
  9. rem300ultra

    rem300ultra Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    There are quiet a few good recommendations listed above. I would give the 7mm Remington Mag. a serious look. The recoil is on par with the 30-06 and every ammo manufacture offers loads for it.
     
  10. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2010
    If you go with 7mm Rem Mag, try Superformance. I friend has had good results in his Tikka T3. My Sendero kicked a lot harder than my 30-06. So, I had to install a brake. (Yes, I'm a wimp when it comes to shooting 15-20 at one sitting.) That may not be an issue for typical hunting.

    I love the 25-06, but I've always been disappointed with bullet options compared to other calibers. There may only be one or 2 factory loads with a BC over .4. (BC isn't everything. But, it is one thing you can control.) Check your twist if you're building for the 115-120g's. Like most cartridges, handloading opens up your options.

    Jack O'Connor would likely have chosen the 270 Win.
    30-06 is very capable and lots of ammo like 270 Win.

    WSM ammo may be less available in small stores. But, there are a lot of choices from larger retailers. I haven't shot them. But, I hear claims of more velocity with less recoil. 270 WSM looks about right to me with 7 WSM possibly a better performer yet more recoil.

    Does anybody out there actually have a rifle like he's describing? Or, are all the serious long range folks handloaders?

    --richard
     
  11. CogburnR

    CogburnR Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    555
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Whitetails and 500 yards=270WSM. Lots of good ammo and a ballistic plex scope works great out to 600+ yards.

    I have shot more deer with a 270 WSM than just about all the others combined; generally 4-7 a year on average and one trip where I shot 7 on one trip. 40-50 deer since the 270WSM came out.


    BTW, My deer rifle is a Kimber 8400 in 270WSM with a Burris FFII4.5-14x42 Ballistic Plex.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2011
  12. DZelenka

    DZelenka Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    231
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2009
    I would say the answer is either yes or willing to pay for custom loaded ammunition. Some factory ammunition shoots great in some rifles, but there is almost a luck factor in having the load you want shoot work well in your rifle. With handloading you can control a lot of variables.

    Although I have not had one in 25 years, the .270 is what I recommend for those people who want a deer rifle that do not handload and have not shot enough to deal with much recoil. In many ways it is a perfect deer sized game caliber.

    Personally, I shoot a .280 and a 6.5x55 when I use a rifle which suits my style of hunting pretty well. I also used a .300 Jarrett for quite a few years but really didn't need the horsepower after I quit traveling to hunt.
     
  13. SBruce

    SBruce Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2009
    I have shot both deer and antelope with factory ammo out to about 400 yds in 25-06 and 270. Not that it wasn't capable of further, I just never tried it. Both rifles were factory barrels.

    However, I was shooting well tuned handloads in the same 25-06 to take a couple antelope at between 500 and 550.?
     
  14. soundwaves

    soundwaves Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    379
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    7 rem mag l would say the recoil is ok. but depends what you think what hi recoil is if you not that recoil friendly it can give you a flinch. l would go the 6mm STW if it were me. or the bang of the 7mm STW is great:D