Definition of a long range hunting rifle?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by dicktaylor, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. dicktaylor

    dicktaylor Member

    May 21, 2007
    I'm a newbie seeking information. From what I've read so far, my impression is that a long range hunting rifle must be in a cartridge for which match grade bullets are available, with a high ballistic coefficient. Barrels must be of match quality and long. Actions must be worked over for proper alignment. I haven't figured out the preferred trigger pull weight. The cartridge selected must deliver sufficient downrange energy to kill the animal being hunted (I haven't figured out what the minimum would be for pronghorn antelope or Coues deer, the smallest big game species I might hunt, or for other deer, elk, caribou or moose. I also don't know how far "long range" is for the different species or what scope magnification is required. I know there are numerous and demanding skill requirements for the shooter - just want to clarify equipment requirements.

  2. gamedog

    gamedog Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2007
    Dick, long range can mean different things to different people.
    A guy used to shooting a 30/30 would feel like a 400 yard shot is long distance, Other people feel that 2000+ yards is long distance.
    As far as equipment and bullet selection your right on course. Quality and consistant components make all the difference. A 1 MOA gun at a hundred yards will never compete against a 1/2 or 1/4 MOA at 1000+ yards.
    There is a ton of info in this forum with many informative articles, plus many people are great about giving advice . Good luck

  3. Michael Eichele

    Michael Eichele Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Any rifle is a long range hunting rifle so long as it fills two needs. One, it can accurately deliver a bullet to an intended target. Meaning not just the animal but the vital area of a game animal.

    Two, the bullet is of adequete size and construction at the appropriate velocity to do its job for a humane kill.

    I know that is a vaque answer but in all reality, that is it in a nutshell. For one hunter hunting nothing bigger than antelope at no farther than 800 yards obviously his definition of a long range hunting rifle would be different than a hunter who will be chasing moose or elk at 1300+ yards and so on.

    First ask what you intend to hunt, then how far you wish to harvest it. Once you determine this, then you can talk about which calibers and scopes will work best for you. It is also wise to start LR hunting with smaller critters at moderate ranges and work up to bigger game at farther ranges. For example. Start with deer/antelope out to 400-600 yards and work up from there. Start with a moderate rifle that you can shoot alot and learn how to develop your skills. Then work into a fire breathing dragon.

    Hope that helps!
  4. dicktaylor

    dicktaylor Member

    May 21, 2007
    Here's where I am now - I have made clean kills on deer and antelope out to 450 yards using a .270 Winchester with 3x9 scope and accubond or ballistic tip bullets. I shoot prone, over a rest or off sticks. The rifle has a decent aftermarket adjustable trigger that I can set at 1 1/2 pounds. It is an over the counter hunting rifle - nothing fancy. It groups 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inch off bags at 200 yards. The longest gun range available is 200 yards. I'd like to shoot on a 600 yard range but that isn't in the cards. I lack wind doping skills so am not confident to shoot at long range in windy conditions. I would need practice in wind before shooting at game. I'm not a magnum fan - bad shoulder limits my shooting to the standard cartridges. I would like the capability of shooting to 600 yards on deer.
  5. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    The set-up you have now is fine for taking deer (even big deer like mule deer and norther whitetails) out to 600 yards.

    In the worst case you present, your gun is shooting 1.75" at 200 yards. That is .835moa (minute-of-angle). That would be 5.25" at 600 yards - that is well within the 8" kill zone on most deer.

    Without knowing what you've done with your rifle, here are my suggestions as to things you could/should do with it in order to increase the accuracy potential.

    1. adjust your trigger to 3lbs or less (which it sounds like you've done)
    2. make sure you have a solid stock like an HS Precision or Bell & Carlson. If you already have a good stock - like a laminate or walnut - that's fine, no need to invest in a new stock unless you want to. As an FYI, most factory synthetic stocks are junk and should be replaced.
    3. bed your rifle to make sure the action is sitting rock-solid in the stock.
    4. free-float your barrel

    During/between each of these steps, be sure to shoot your rifle so you can gauge the accuracy potential of each step taken. You might get mid-way through the process and your rifle starts shooting .5moa.

    The reason for my putting the "shoot your rifle" note in at this point is at this point everything done to your rifle is relatively inexpensive and can be un-done. The next two steps move into a more money and are less likely to be un-done.

    5. rebarrel and true the action.
    6. better quality rings, bases and scope.

    practice, practice, practice.

    That's pretty much how it's done to build an accurate rifle. This will inevitably lead to questions about what's a good stock? if I rebarrel my gun, what cartridge should I choose? what are better quality rings, bases and scope? These are all subjective and personal questions and I won't go into answering them. I'll leave you to seek answers to those questions as you move through the process.

    Have fun!