Different calibers and loads for a beginner long ranger

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by bcjammerx, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. bcjammerx

    bcjammerx New Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    First off howdy everyone! I've been wanting to get into long range shooting for quit some time, glad I found this site!

    My first experience shooting was with my .22 Benjamin air rifle and my sisters pump action (12pumps) BB gun...
    I've had what i consider good accuracy at long ranges with the BB gun. When I was around 16-17 I once popped a running dog in the back from 50 yards...talk about shooting at an ANGLE! Course it lost so much energy by then it made him jump but only cause he wasn't expecting it. But my regular activity was shooting red wasps from a distance...50feet? I dunno really.

    The 22lr i also enjoy due to its good accuracy to 50yards. So I can shoot well open sites...but long range is what I really want to do.

    I also have a Winchester 30-30 that I also shoot sites only but I don't shoot it much...in fact I've actually never shot with a scope so I'm looking forward to that. My 30-30 was a gift from my grand-dad and I'm keeping it as is--->It unloads from the top and I don't feel like altering it to have a scope considering how I got the gun.

    I learned many new terms on this site...which I am ashamed to admit since my 82 year old grand-dad is a gunsmith...What I've picked up on so far from quick browsing...
    things I will want my rifle to have 26"-28" long free-floating barrel, 1:10 or 1:12 twist ratio...

    For me I think I will go with a single shot bolt action and I think I would like a thicker barrel...or I should say...not a thinner one. Of which there are several options in several calibers...but the rifle isn't my question.

    My question is not the typical "what gun is best", I have that narrowed down...I think ;)

    I'm a little unfamiliar with the calibers and all...so I guess I'm asking what a good starter longer range caliber would be.

    My Winchester 30-30 has a decent kick but the 30-30 and 22lr is all I have to compare it to. If that's a little kick compared to longer range rounds then I'll just get over it I guess...but I don't really know...so I ask.

    I'm guessing until I get accurate out to 600 yards there isn't much point in buying for 1000+...but at the same time why waste my time...I don't mind buying a gun of X caliber that for now has more capabilities then I am able to make use of...course I don't know as I haven't tried.
    So what I mean by all that is that if I can only shoot to 5-600 but the round is capable of 1000 that is fine.

    Granted I assume I am going to spend a lot of time around 5-600 before getting to 8-9-1k yards.

    I don't think a 223 would get me to 1000 consistently...at my experience level, I don't think 22-250 would have the enough velocity at longer ranges either.

    I'm thinking a 308 is what I might want to go with, but I'm curious as to the kick compared to a 30-30.

    The following assume a rifle of adequate build for long range shots:
    Are there 30-30 round capable of long range and what is your opinion of a 30-30 rifle as a long range rifle...I haven't seen much there (I would of course not use my current 30-30).
    Are there .308 caliber loads that are capable of accurately reaching 1000 yards when shot by a mid-quality shooter? Would a 30-06 offer more variety/accurate rounds for same shooter? Are there 223 loads that are capable of 1k range?

    *EDIT...added* would I need magnums with any of the above?

    I'm looking for a range or calibers and loads I COULD use but I want a caliber that offers loads that are not hard to find, don't cost an arm and a leg, and that will be safe to use over and over in the rifle, I don't want the load to be at the rifles limit each time.

    I'm not asking for THE BEST as that is certainly a matter of opinion...much as my current info on what rifle i want...

    This will then help me pick through a range of rifles I also could use.

    Thanks for any advice!
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2008
  2. grit

    grit Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    Welcome! The long range game is a lot of fun and a very enjoyable journey.

    First, the thirty thirty. This is really not a "long range" round. Lever action rifles aren't generally accurate enough. You can't load long range, high BC bullets in tubular magazines. The 30-30 case doesn't hold much powder, and just isn't very potent. In this class, a 308 would be an exponentially better choice.

    As far as recoil, the 308 and 30-30 would be similar. Several factors affect recoil. My 30-30 has a steel butt plate, and can be unpleasant to shoot. A 308 in a bolt action with a better pad would be more comfortable to shoot even though the 308 produces more energy.

    For easy to obtain, easy on the shoulder long range rounds I would look at the following.

    First, the 308 winchester based rounds.
    The 243 is very light recoiling, 1000 yard capable, and good for deer to about 500 yards.
    The 260 is an exceptional long range round offering more performance than the 243. This would perhaps be my first choice for you. It is, unfortunately, a bit harder to find.
    The 7-08 is the next step. The 7 has the advantage of a wide array of high bc bullets and is plenty capable for elk, while the 260 may be marginal. Another fine choice.
    These rounds are all based on the 308 case, shooting different caliber bullets. As for the 308 itself, it is a solid performer. A bit mild for a 30 caliber in my opinion, but a great place to start. These are all mild recoiling, inexpensive, and very capable long range rounds. They will all get to 1k on paper, targets, or varmints, and 500 and a bit beyond on game.

    The next step up would be the 30-06 based rounds. The 25-06 offers flat trajectory and mild recoil. The 270 is a long time favourite, moderate recoiling round. And the 30-06 has been used to kill everything on the planet....twice, at ranges near and far.

    The next step would be the short mags. These offer a bit more recoil than standard offerings, but a lot of performance. The 270, 7mm, and 300 short mag are all very solid performers. This is the first case size I feal the 30 starts to shine. Recoil of these may be a bit much for a beginner. I would use a brake for this class of round.

    There are a host of harder to get calibers that fit the bill also. The 284, and 6.5-284 both offer mild recoil and flat trajectory.

    I could go on for a loooong time. I would suggest a reloading book. You can browse and compare calibers endlessly. In summary, my first reccomendation for mild recoil, easy to get, economical, and long range capable would be the 260 or the 7-08. The 7-08 is a bit more versatile.

    I didn't suggest loads for any of the rounds. Basically what you want is a high bc, heavy for caliber bullet. Look at Nosler Accubonds and Berger. You need to make sure the bullets will stabilize at the twist and velocity you'll be shooting. The 1 in 10 twist you mentioned is not an across the board solution. You need to look at each caliber / cartridge / bullet combo individually.

    Some of your other questions. 223: You can get to 1k with it, but not in a factory rifle. Fun to shoot but more of a 500 yard cartridge, with a lot of drift and drop. 308: The 308 will get to 1k, but is running on empty. The 30-06 will get to 1k with much more authority than the 308. In iether case class(308 or 30-06), you're better off to go with a smaller caliber bullet. This means you get a higher bc bullet going faster. This equalls better long range performance. So, the 260 and 7-08 outperform the 308 at long range.

    I'm starting to ramble. So, enough for now. Good luck. Welcome. Enjoy the journey.

  3. Varminator 911

    Varminator 911 Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2007
    2nd 7-08

    For a beginner a bit nervous about recoil, you won't beat the 7-08. There are other choices just as good but none better.

    I love my 7-08 improved. But you don't need that starting out and it's not really better anyhow. Recoil is very mild.
  4. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Jul 1, 2002
    Well I assume that with your limited experiance with guns that you do not reload. If this is the fact that I would highly suggest that yoo look at a caliber that offers at least a few "matchloads" for it.

    The 308 is a great round , their is alot of great factroy loaded match quality ammout out their for it , this round will get you to 1000 yds with the heavier bullets like the 175gr Sierra Match King from Blackhills or Federal , the recoil on a heavy barreled 308 is pretty mild , likey a bit lower than that old 30-30 you have and the stocks on 90% of the bolt guns are a better desgine than the lever guns this will also help reduce the felt recoil.

    I'd start out with a factroy gun chambered in 308 , just about everybody makes one , Remington , Savage , Winchester and the list goes on and on and prices can range from $400 area for the Savages to $9000+ for a H&K PSG-1 , which by the way will more than likely not shoot as well as the Savage.
    Get a reasonable scope for it and start shooting , you should get around 5000 or more rounds through it before it "needs" rebarreling but after your framiliar with the gun and what it takes to read wind and range then send it off for a new barrel in a new caliber if you want , if you get into reloading then you can pick a little better caliber for shooting long range with the higher BC bullets like the 260 with 140gr Bergers or the 7-08 with a 168gr Berger. Or you can even build the same gun up to a WSM case.
  5. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

    Feb 27, 2006

    the best factory rifle is a remington sendero. you pick the caliber. you will need to reload to get best accuracy and to practice enough . a heavy barrel 308 would be ok, especailly because the cost a availibilty of factory ammo. . you don't say what you are shooting at. or what state.
  6. bcjammerx

    bcjammerx New Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    grit, Varminator 911, James Jones,roninflag, I can't thank you all enough...500% helpfull!! Thanks!

    I was leaning towards the 308 already for my first rounder out of the box and shoot caliber rifle.

    More info on my rifle...made in new haven model 94 winchester 30-30, traditional

    I took my 30-30 out with some winchester 30-30 rounds 170 grain power points, set the rear sites up to its MAX and it was zeroed at about 105 yards...:eek:...MAXED out the metal sites and was hitting EXACTLY what I aimed at...at about 105 yards. I wasn't sure how long the barrel was but it looked WAY too short for long range. Just did some research and it's only 20"...HA HA...didn't have time to actually measure it myself today.

    .22LR is still fun to try and shoot long distances...I'm always pleased with how accurate it is...I'll post what .22LR it is, I didn't even look while i was out there today :rolleyes: I shot, changed the sites...then realized i was about to be late for work...

    Course I'll be using a scope so the sites don't matter, I just find that interesting.

    It has that steel plate affixed to the wooden butt so changing that would help the recoil.

    And correct, I won't be loading my own ammo for a while, LOT more I'll need to learn before that ;)

    And to answer the last question I'm just shooting at targets, in Texas, I live in North East Texas. But even though I'm only shooting at targets I'd like to shoot a round that is capable of a kill at whatever range I'm shooting.

    I know for just target practice I could just use a varmint round, but I think I'll be happier with the modest .308 caliber rifle and decent scope...well for now any way :D

    And the remington 700, winchester 70, and savage models were on the top of my list due to availability and cheap(er) price in comparison...even the ones around 600 retail are very good.

    Thanks for helping make my decision, now I will try and figure out what 308 caliber rifle I'll get...shouldn't be a hard choice...then the scope...oh geez...

    I'm going to start out for 500 yards so I'll try and get a scope for that range.

    Thanks again all!
  7. Supermag

    Supermag Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    With what you tend to enjoy another for of long range shooting you may also look into is Creedmore (sp?) shooting. These are usually open sighted black powder rifles, so if you really enjoy shooting with open sights in a different setting this may be worth a look.

    The 308 in something like a Remington VSSF or PSS would be a great starter gun. There are several companies that offer match loads for this cartridge if you don't reload. If your worried about recoil, the 308 is a good choice also especially in these heavy guns.
  8. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Jan 20, 2004

    Regarding the scope, I'd consider getting more than you think you need for 500 yards and within your budget. A 4.5-14 with a decent reticle is sufficient for almost all needs. However, more is better. A 6.5-20 X 50 will cover almost all bases.

    If you are on a budget and will have the starter rifle then up grade keeping only one rife at a time, it may be wise to move the scope from next to next without having to repurchase. Make sense?

    Which 308 cal cartrige? If I were doing it again and starting with a factory rifle, I'd get a 300 RUM and put a good brake on it, if I reloaded. If I didn't reload I'd get a 308. One can go a long ways with the 308.
  9. bcjammerx

    bcjammerx New Member

    Jul 12, 2008
    thanks for the insight, I'll keep that in mind about the black powder. I do like shooting open sites but I've been wanting to get into scope shooting for a while.

    I've looked into a few of the remington rifles, the different variations of the 700 that is. I'm still working out which gun, which is why I wanted to get the caliber down first. Thanks for the info thoough!

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense actually. I'll most likely go ahead with a .308 caliber, maybe spend more than I initially planned on the scope...either way eventually sell this gun and get one I can do more with. But for me, especially right now, all I want to get is a good starter setup.

    Yesterday I practiced shooting the same yardage I did with my 30-30 with my father-in-laws SKS with a scope. I don't know the type of scope but it's pretty short and it doesn't see very far...100 yards is pretty good...better than open sites of course but not as far as I would like for a scope, I'll have to play with it some more. It was shooting way to the left...so I'm working on getting it zeroed in. It's not much but it's a start, once I get my own I'll go for the far shots.