Gear Weight Considerations

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by BlackWhiskey, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. BlackWhiskey

    BlackWhiskey Member

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    Hello gents,

    I am a long time long range precision shooter with absolutely no hunting experience whatsoever (my intro http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f65/new-guy-utah-94715/#post670530) and I'm looking for advice on weight considerations regarding gear. Up to this point I have had little concern for the weight of my gear and invested in durability and accuracy, so my stuff weighs a lot.

    I have two options as it stands for rifles and I'm hoping your insights as to how much weight I should carry (I'm hoofing this hunt in steep terrain) as well as where the weight should be invested (where should I save/increase weight).

    Rifles:

    Rem 700 PSS (.308 Win)
    26" barrel (braked)
    B&C Police Medalist 1 stock
    Harris 6-9 bipods
    No scope as of yet, but I plan on a Vortex HS of some variety, probably the 2.5-10
    Accuracy w/ FGMM 175: <1 MOA
    Weight: 12 lbs

    Surgeon 591 (6.5 Creedmoor)
    26" #8
    AICS 2.0 stock
    Harris 6-9 bipods
    Premier Heritage 5-25x56
    Accuracy with factory Hornady 140: <0.5 MOA
    Weight: 17.4 lbs (ouch!)

    This season I will be hunting doe antelope, spike elk, and buck deer (unit 17b/c in Utah, if anyone has any advice for me...).

    My natural inclination is to go with the Surgeon not just because of the accuracy advantage, but because I have more experience behind this platform and trust it thoroughly. It is, however, a porker of a rifle.

    The Remington on the other hand is a satisfactory shooter by most people's standards, but I do not have as much faith in it. I have had a tendency to brake even the most expensive and rugged gear produced (2x USO scopes, HSP DBM, several Rem 700 extractors etc...), especially when the pressure is on. I have had issues with 700's going down in the past during matches which has been costly, and I don't really want to risk this happening on a hunt. It does save me quite a bit of weight though, so it maybe worth it.

    What say you?

    Thanks for reading,

    Cory
     
  2. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Either one will handle deer sized game just fine out to 800yds.

    What I'd suggest to you since you're in Utah is take one at a time, and spend half a day with each climbing/hiking in steep terrain.

    No one can tell you what your reasonable weight limit except yourself.

    Also consider what you will be carrying along with you in your daypack while on the hunt and carry it with you.

    On optics, a good 10x can get you to 1000yds on deer or larger game, but if you can afford more get more.

    If budget is a real big consideration go with quality over magnification though because you won't be happy with cheap glass that's fuzzy or breaks down when it counts.

    For most people I've been around, no matter how much the tell you they "CAN" carry, anything over 12lbs is going to make for a whole lot of misery and bitching in steep/tough terrain.

    Just find out for yourself with a few practice hikes/climbs.
     

  3. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I am sure there will be lots of different opinions on this subject, but i think the answer to your question will depend on how you will define hunting and what appeals to you. I have spent 45 years hunting and shooting. Most all my shooting has been done over this period with the intent towards being a more proficient hunter. Long range shooting, whether practice or competition is intended to increase my hunting success by extending my range, and improving my shooting skill under varied conditions. When hunting, my goal is to harvest the best possible animal. It is also to use my skill to get as close as I can. Its very rewarding to make a 1000 yard shot on a game animal, but most of my game has been shot at shorter distances and required a lot of walking, stalking, etc. My LR hunting rigs fall in the 10 pound range, and I still consider them on the heavy side unless I'm in a stand, or single location for all or a large portion of the day. I don't think I could even imagine hauling a 17 pound rig for big game hunting under any circumstances. iMHO.
     
  4. BlackWhiskey

    BlackWhiskey Member

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    My definition of hunting is similar to yours. My goal is to execute a well planned and prepped hunt on a good animal. I enjoy the idea of scouting, tracking, stalking and observation much more than taking a shot. The harvesting, I think, is just icing on the cake.

    As far as my shooting goes, I have no real desire to take an animal at 1000 yds right now, but that may change if I see an exceptional animal. My shooting skills and equipment, I believe, are at the level required to make such a shot confidently and successfully. But once again, my shooting has always focused around a tactical mission, not a hunting one, so I maybe way off base in assuming this.

    Regarding the weight of my rifles, I don't know how much I'll actually be moving throughout the day, but I expect a fair amount. I plan on packing: binos, LRF, kestrel, 2L water, cliff bars, small trauma kit, data book, and a K-Bar, totaling about 10-11 lbs. Does this seem right?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2012
  5. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    My take without reading your intro, knowing your age or physical condition is....

    It will entirely depend on your age and physical condition. Personally, I think 12 pounds is too heavy for a rifle that you'll carry up and down mountains. You might find that carrying just yourself is a chore.

    I'd be toting a lightweight firearm, mine is 7.5 pounds with scope and 4 rounds in the magazine. 8 is my upper limit. I'm in my 60's and I want to come back, not in a body bag.......:D Shoot a common caliber. It's nice to have a wildcat or some rare but insanely powerful, flat shooting caliber, but, if you loose your ammo or it gets misplaced, with that odd out caliber, the local Wally World or hardware won't have it and you are SOL. I shoot a 308, available everywhere.

    On toting, forget a sling carry. I do that deerhunting in Northern Michigan and by the end of the day, I know just where that sling is riding 'cause it's damn uncomfortable.

    I'd get a good pack, I suggest Eblerstock and carry the firearm on the pack or in the case of the Eblerstock, in the scabbard behind your head, parallel to your backbone, ready for an instant grab should the situation demand it.

    Len sells them on this site BTW. I have a G2 and it will carry everything you need for an extended hunt plus carry the boned out meat to your base camp or vehicle. It has room for hydration bladders and a bunch of other stuff, like lip balm, good knives, camera, tent or bivy, sleeping bag ground cloth/shooting mat, food and munchies and all that stuff you need......

    Don't forget good fitting and comfortable boots, proper clothing and a first aid kit, a cell phone and leave someone you know, your itenerary and approximate location.

    Makes it easier to find you should something happen.

    have fun......
     
  6. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    BeIng a recent Scout Sniper, a 12 pound rifle should be no problem at all, in contrast to my 61 year old bones! Your list sounds pretty good. I bring a similiar list along with a GPS, cell phone, and small rear bag should a LR prone shot be available. If you plan on packing you animal out yourself, a back pack/frame would be needed. I expect you will thoroughly enjoy the hunting, and make great use of your tactical skills. Good Luck.
     
  7. aspenbugle

    aspenbugle Well-Known Member

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    Some good advice already. I carry a 12 # rifle a lot now. It is easily at the extreme of what you'd want to carry for a walking hunting rifle. Something 8-9# is much better. The main reason I do, is because where I hunt now in CO (mostly for elk) I have a couple of ridges I tend to spent a lot of time on. The heavier barrel and glass pay some dividends there, but are a real liability when doing lots of hiking. It will end up depending some on where and how you eventually end up hunting. I'm also getting a 17# much longer range rifle - but it will only be lugged back and forth to a ridge, where I will spend most of my time.

    I agree if you're young and tough you can carry it; I'm not as young now and I do fine - still doesn't mean you should. First, you may end up with many shots that are 150 yards or less (on the deer and elk) and you don't have time to drop to the ground or a knee or find a tree. Shooting a 12# rifle off-hand, huffing and puffing from climbing, with buck fever etc. - isn't easy. I joke that I'm a deadlier shot at 600 yards than I am at 100 with my gun - since it's a chore to hold steady for a "surprise/pop-up" shot. Many times you and the game will both spy each other at the same time at that distance, and you many just have 3-4 secs to send lead before their internal timer tells them it's time to bolt. The 17# gun would be pure lunacy (for elk/deer) - other than walking to a ridge you were going to sit for hours. Just because you can do it, doesn't mean you should. Us that extra energy to hike another ridge, or save it for packing the game out. If the terrain you end of hunting isn't real open, and you do lots of walking - you'll wish you had lighter than even the 12# - especially if you are in a foot of snow. Even though this is "long range hunting" - many of your chances at game are often at 300 yds and less, and you don't need 1/2 MOA accuracy for that.

    A pack for the gun is good, but in timber and close shots - you'll probably want it in your hands. Some of the "stretchy" type slings, like those from Butler Creek, really do make the gun feel a couple pounds lighter, and won't kill your shoulder if you do sling it. Although a 12# rifle seems to be about the max weight I'd want on one of them. Good advice on some of the packing. Remember "layers" - so you can pull on and shed layers as you go. Shed the layers long before you're soaking wet from sweat. Good boots are key. I wouldn't recommend most combat boots - more like good quality hiking boots like Meindle and the like (best $ you'll spend). I've found, all but the tallest bipods are pretty useless in the mountains - hills too steep, brush/grass to tall. Tall bipods or shooting stick seem to work best.

    Find some hunters at work, church or get to a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation event/dinner or anything with sportsman and make a friend or two. Many will be happy to have you tag-along on a hunt. You can learn from some locals for a bit at least. Good luck!
     
  8. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    I would also add a pancho and pancho liner and some good way to start a fire along with at least one short, fat candle.

    In a pinch a pancho and pancho liner and one candle can keep you alive in sub zero weather for a long time or keep you alive and fairly comfortable long enough for a rescue if you should find yourself injured and unable to get out on your own.
     
  9. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    Thinking about things I take on a hunt, any hunt.....

    SOP for me at least is an Adventure Medical First Aid Kit in my pack and when at home, it's in the tractor (I farm) and I have one for each of the cars too.

    You never know when you might need it. The one in the pack has a space (foil reflective) blanket, waterproof matches and a candle, fits in a compact nylon pouch and weighs at most a couple ounces.

    I remember reading a post on this site a while back about a fellow that packed in and hunted with a Savage 110BA .338, the one with the pistol grip and all the picatinny rails, a very heavy gun with no scope, I believe around 23 pounds with an optic attached..........and I thought to myself, I'd really hate to be carrying a 23 pound gun, especially a 23 pound long barrel as in 55" overall length in the woods, or anywhere for that matter at my age. A hunt like that would be misery for me. Some posters on here appear to like punishment from lugging tanks around, I don't.

    I own a 11-111 in 338 and with a 6-24 x 50 scope and 4 rounds in the magazine it weighs just over 17 pounds, IMO, about 10 pounds or so too much to be lugging over hill and dale.... Great at the range on the bench or sitting somewhere, very accurate and lethal at extended ranges but it's not a lug-around gun. It's long too. Carrying it on your shoulder in a sling or in the Eblerstock's pouch, in the woods (here in Michigan) is an exercise in hiking hunched over and avoiding tree limbs that snag the long barrel. Not fun and this is after all, about fun and enjoyment.

    It's also about survival if you should become incapacitated or injured so go prepared for any eventuality, especially if going alone. I prefer the buddy system myself. I've been injured in the woods before with only my wits and survival instinct to get out. You do what you have to do but any additional aid in the form of a partner, first aid kit or cell phone can be a godsend.
     
  10. kcebcj

    kcebcj Well-Known Member

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    Weight is everything! I don't know where unit 17b/c is but for years I hunted Mt. Belknap in the Fish Lake National Forest between 9,000 and 12,000 for bucks and up there ounces kick your butt if your pounding it. Don't get caught up in all the hoop-la about all the crap you need to carry your going hunting for christ sakes not to the top of Everest for a month.

    In those days the rifle weighed 8.5 lbs fully loaded with the sling on the pack weighed 25-30 lbs for a 3 day hunt and I weighed 150. Today the rifle is 10.5 fully loaded and I use horses and me well let's say I'm rubbing against 200 lbs.

    Take that Surgeon and go do some serious hunting in steep country and it will wise you right up. Three days of dragging that thing around and you will be done. I could see using it for the Antelope hunt and shootin way out there but between the two for mountain elk and deer it would be the 12 lb rifle.
     
  11. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    200... Must be packing the Coleman stove and a generator....

    I agee pack animals are a good thing for those of advanced age. I'll take an ass over a horse however. After all, we ain't in any hurry......

    One of my hunting comrades said one time that packing a heavy rifle for a week will cause a divorice between you and the rifle.......:D

    They do make excellent walking sticks when traversing downhill......
     
  12. BlackWhiskey

    BlackWhiskey Member

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    Than you all for the very helpful and thoughtful responses.

    I went scouting yesterday (at least I think I did, as I am fairly ignorant of what to look for) with my Surgeon and decided, as has been suggested, that it is just too heavy. This decision came after considering how slow and difficult it would be for me to quickly acquire a target at close range and engage it effectively while in thick cover. Exactly what makes the gun surgical for what it was designed for would make it a cumbersome and inaccurate in the situation described above.

    After much thought I am toying with the idea getting rid of my PSS .308, as I don't often shoot it, and picking up a more hunting specific rifle. I am sure the "pick a rifle for me" game has been played out on this forum ad nauseam, but I have some special issues to take into account: I don't want to get into too much detail, but in 2006 I received shrapnel in my right arm and shoulder from an explosion as well as traumatic brain injury (not to be confused with PTSD) which lead to my subsequent medical retirement.

    I have recovered quite well from both injuries, but I am still somewhat sensitive to loud concussive noises as well as sharp impacts to my shoulder (recoil for instance). A magnum caliber rifle used to be out of the question, but I think if I have a nice butt pad and don't shoot it too often, I could potentially use it for hunting. I am a fan of the ballistics of 7mm projectiles, and from what I understand they can provide ample kinetic energy to put down big game at distance if shot placement is good.

    Rifles I'm interested in:

    Howa 1500 7mm Rem mag fluted (I'll drop it in a light B&C stock)
    TC Venture 7mm Rem mag (it's light, feels good, and has a 60 degree bolt throw)
    Savage long range hunter 7mm Rem mag (I really like the idea of the factory muzzle brake)

    Does anyone have experience with these rifles that they would like to share, or have suggestions on alternatives?
     
  13. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    We share some of the same issues from the same causes.

    That being said, I'd toss in the 7mm STW and .300WM for consideration as well.

    Recoil just isn't a problem with a decent muzzle brake like the Gentry Quiet brake (greatly reduces blast/sound for the shooter) and a Decellerator or Simm's recoil pad.

    Either of those will give you all you need ballisticaly to take pretty much anything in North America.
     
  14. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    I have a Savage LRH Hunter in a6.5x284. It's a very accurate shooter producing .25 MOA at 500 yards with handloads. and has little recoil with the brake. Also like the Kardsten cheek rest.