Good, Basic, Longer Range Rifle to learn on?

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by TheSquirrell2, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. TheSquirrell2

    TheSquirrell2 New Member

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    Good Morning All,

    I am looking into purchasing a rifle so that I can learn how to accurately engage targets at longer ranges. I know the basics of shooting, however I know very little about equipment... Between the 300, 308, and 338, and the various brands/models I am lost on where to start. I know that at longer ranges Optics become a large part of being able to hit anything, I think, but right now I just want to get a rifle I can start to learn with. I have been looking into the Benelli R1 rifles, because I love my Benelli 12 gauge, but I dont know if there is something maybe cheaper, better, or more user friendly? Please Help!
     
  2. bkondeff

    bkondeff Well-Known Member

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    I am probably the wrong person to respond, since I am primarily a deer/elk hunter simply looking to "stretch" my effective range. I have 3 rifles, of which only 1 has anything that it didn't come from the factory with. All three shoot sub-moa to 600-800 yards, but not necessarily 1/2 minute.

    I mention this because what your "goal" is might help with the answer. For example, since I live in Idaho and hunt in some insane mountains, carrying a 12lb gun at 46 years of age is not that appealing to me.

    So, are you mostly looking to learn to shoot or hunt long range? If your a hunter, will you be carrying the gun a lot and is weight likely an issue? If you hunt will you be hunting only deer, or will elk and other large game(bear, moose, etc) part of your plan? Do you reload or do you plan to? How recoil sensitive are you, you mentioned .30's and bigger, so I hope not much.

    Here is some of the advice you are likely to hear:

    If you plan to hunt, particularly anything larger than deer, at distances that exceed say 800 yards, then yes a .30 or a .338 would be a better choice, though since I am a die hard 7mm man I would argue that isn't the case.

    I was a die hard anti-brake guy until I got my first gun with a brake and not I am a die hard brake fan. 2 reasons. First, the recoil reduction is very helpful for range time. Second, spotting shots at long distance is extremely helpful. But never forget your hearing protection.

    Don't go get a big fast .30 or .338(or maybe 7mm) and put it on a 22" or 24" barrel, you just loose too much speed and negate the benefit it brings.

    I know you asked about guns not all this other stuff, but this is what will help you make your decision.

    Once you pick a caliber to fit what your needs are, you will decide on a factory available one or a Wildcat.

    For factory calibers I would look for first tier options to include Savage, Tikka, Howa/Weatherby Vanguard, and Remington. I think the concensus is the first 3 are good values and all have reputation to shoot out of the box. Remington is simply the easiest to semi or full custom, followed by Savage. Savage also chambers a number of models is 6.5x284, a good LR option.

    I think for about $1200-$1500 you could pick up a fairly LR ready Savage, add good Talley rings, and a Vortex HS series scope and be ready to go shoot as far as someone with your experience can realistically handle and expect with no more than a little experimenting with different factory loads or reloads to be sub moa.

    You can make an argument for many manufacurers, for example I have and love my Sako, but I would start with the 4 above for simplicity.

    For realistic 1/2 moa, especially at long distance or with minimal load development, you will need to look into custom barrel, stock, trigger, and likely an accurized action at about $2500 bucks. You will likely need a few months to a year to be able to get it all done. I think if you find this will be a true passion you will have wished you started here, with the best.
     

  3. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    Squirrel- i would get a rem 700 adl varmint with a 4-12 , from dicks in either 308 or 243. i would start reloading. you can spend more, but you will get shooting and learning sooner. BKON- i carried a 700 sendero on my rocky mtn bighorn hunt it has a muzzle break . it weighs quite bit. it was a tough call because i have a 700 ti that is light, and a 700 mtn that is light. but they can't be reliably hit one at 759.
     
  4. one crazy kid

    one crazy kid Well-Known Member

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    Savage fhss or rem 700 cal. will be dependent on weather you reload or not for example 308 270 30/06 very easy to find ammo were as WSMs weatherby mags less common rounds but what ever you decide keep the future in mind. good luck and happy hunting.
     
  5. TheSquirrell2

    TheSquirrell2 New Member

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    Good Morning All,
    Thank you all for your replies. It took me a bit to look up all the terms and try to get a better grip on your answers. I still have much to learn; however, I do have a better understanding of what I will need. I purchased a Benelli and I took your advice and went with the .300 as opposed to the .338. I wanted this rifle for deer hunting, and target shooting in up state NY.
    bkondeff: I believe this system fits the parameters, as I understood them...
    Lite Weight (7.3 lbs)
    1 for 100 moa, I think?
    A Break to dampen recoil
    Ability to be customized
    I stuck with Benelli strictly out of personal preference. I love the two shot guns I have by them too much!
    But I stuck with the .3 over the 7mm because it seemed to be more common for ease of finding ammunition, magazines, and so on. I do have to say I don't fully understand the barrel lengths and how the effect the shot... this rifle has a 24" barrel.
    Thank you all again for the help! Now I have to try and figure out a scope and ammunition, do you have any thoughts?
    -William
     
  6. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    The best factory ammo for gun is determined by the rifle preference. the 190 matchking from federal should be reall good for targets. for deer maybe some of the berger from hsm. for a scope i like leup and i like the higher power ( 6.5-20) and i like a turret/ kenton knobb matched to my load. a 4.5-14 for a scope or higher
     
  7. Stanm70

    Stanm70 Well-Known Member

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    My rem 700 XCR Long Range Tactical in .308 is amazingly accurate. With good consistent handloads I shoot 1/4-1/2 MoA all day long. This rifle sells for 1050-1100 street price, if you can swing it I highly recommend for an intro rifle.
     
  8. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    You might consider a Range Certified Weatherby Vanguard. They come with a Sub MOA guarantee and factory shot target that usually measures less than .7 MOA and sometimes better. No other manufacturers other than Cooper provide a factory shot target or accuracy guarantee.

    They are an excellent platform to customize from down the road. The action has an integral recoil lug, one piece ported bolt with M16 style extractor. They have an excellent 2 stage 3 position trigger, however it can only be adjusted down to 2 1/2 - 3 lbs. After market options are available if you want less pull.

    The Stock is a B&C pillar bedded stock which would also be good for a future build project or you could sell it and upgrade to a full aluminum block or a Manners or McMillan.

    I currently have 3 build project in process. 2 on Vanguard actions and 1 on a Rem 700. The 700 has cost me a lot more than the Vanguards to upgrade, i.e., new bolt with extractor kit, new heavy duty recoil lug.

    With a good bullet and a good load you could hunt deer to 700-800 yds with a 308 Win, With a 300 WM you could exceed 1000 yds. The 308 would not need a brake. A brake would be very helpful on a 300 WM. The 308 would be a little cheaper to shoot and much better barrel life. The 300 WM would buck wind better.

    You should be able to get one off the shelf for about $900

    http://www.weatherby.com/product/rifles/vanguard_2/rc

    Hope that helps and good shooting
     
  9. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    Montana- he bought a benelli R1?
     
  10. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Maybe he could trade it in :)
     
  11. diriel

    diriel Well-Known Member

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    One thing I rarely see mentioned is Recoil induced Flinch due to "Magnum Bite". One reason to go 308 Win. is the substantially reduced recoil. In order to get good at LR shooting you need to Practice, Practice and Practice some more.... a 300 Win Mag can quickly take a toll in this type of scenario. I do not know all that many people who can honestly go out and shoot 60+ rounds of 300 WM. without having to fight Shooter Fatigue // Flinch.

    Another reason for the 308 is how much quality information is out there on extended range shooting with it. Ammo can be purchased that is *VERY* high quality match, and reloading for it is about as easy as it gets...

    I used to own a 300WM, my brother in law wanted it worse than me and hit my greedy spot :) I still reload for it of course.
     
  12. nuance231

    nuance231 Member

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    Think I would personally go with the .308 to learn on. While others are far more qualified than me in longer range shooting, IMHO trigger time is most important in learning and maintaining shooting skills. The more rounds downrange the better. I can shoot alot longer without pain/flinch/scope eye with my .308 than with my 300 WM. It's an accurate round for as far as most folks can shoot.

    FWIW I have a .223 bolt gun and a scoped 22LR I also practice with. Want a challenge? throw out some targets/cans at unknown distances for a hundred yards or maybe a bit more, range em and dial your scope for 1st round 22LR hits. Not all that easy, the skills are the same as much longer shots with centerfires. Once you get a little good at it challenge your friends, might get an adult beverage or two out of it.
     
  13. Shoot 708

    Shoot 708 Member

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    Have to throw in my 2 cents here. My 13 y.o. Son and I have been on a similar quest started about a year ago. Here is our just under a $1000 learning set-up. A Remington 700 varmint in 7 mm 08. That gave us a stock rifle with a longer 26" heavy barrel. I think this was the largest caliber in that barrel. ( The extra weight seems to help with recoil vs his youth model 700, same caliber, 20" barrel. With 100 fps more on the same loads out of the longer barrel). Accurate enough to take us out to a 700 yard hanging steel plate so far. Not sure if We are good enough shooters off a bench rest to brag about sub moa. Topped it with a 4.5-14 x 40 Nikon Buckmaster bdc scope. Then added the Monarch high replacement turrets that drop right into place on the Buckmaster. A $74 nice upgrade that gives easy to read 1/4 moa clicks and consistent return to zero. Under $400 on what seems to be quite good optics. I now don't even use the bdc circles and would just go with the nikoplex reticle. We are hand loading at my father in laws. He was set up for everything 30 06. We bought our own dies and supplies and use quite a bit less powder in a 308 size case with great 7 mm ballistics, that catch up to and pass the 30 after 400 yards or so. (from what I've seen that last statement could start a few good arguments). Less in the rifle has left room for some of the other necessary long range accessories. We got a CED M2 chronograph, an invaluable help in developing our hand loads. We are now shooting beyond what our used Nikon Monarch 800 rangefinder will read. (I got it used from a golfer for $100, putting it to much better use than it's previous life). Time to spend more $$$ on a 1600 something or other rangefinder. Also no surprise that my big gift last Christmas was a nice spotting scope and tripod that lets us see our holes in targets at 300 yards. And now a Kestrel wind gauge for my birthday at the end of this month. Maybe my wife will go for that new rangefinder as my son's birthday gift next month.... Luckily He already had an iPod touch. The $10 isnipe ballistics app has worked great for us and shows me that we run out of clicks at 890 yards shooting the 162 Amax at 2800 fps behind 45.2 grains 2000MR, fire formed, neck sized Winchester brass, WLR primers. With little to no pressure signs. (A year ago not much of those last sentences would have made sense to us, how far we have come!). Oh but now, if I were to remount with a 20 MOA rail we could click to well beyond 1000, and maybe even reach that 1200 yard plate our crazy range has up. (google Spirit Ridge Rifle Golf, lucky to have it less than an hour from home). But then, would I maybe want to upgrade to that Monarch scope with a bit more magnification? That comes with the high turrets included and get the finer crosshairs? When does the spending stop?
    All in all I have to say this has been a great father son year and I don't think we have spent any on video gaming. We have enjoyed our venison and have decided that My Son's 454 yard mule deer last fall wasn't just a lucky shot and we now have the confidence to hunt further this coming season. What a great country we live in for now, and "fight" to keep it that way. God bless those that do:)