Help with long range caliber and rifle please

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by MJU, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. MJU

    MJU Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    Hello. I am hoping to obtain some knowledge and opinions from people having a better understanding and experience with ballistics, various bullets and long range hunting.


    I am going to provide some detail as to help facilitate some enlightening information back to me. In advance I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to help me out.


    What I want: I am considering a lightweight long range hunting rifle. I am mainly looking for input on a caliber, but open to suggestions on a rifle as well. Regarding the rifle, I am on a budget and intend on a quality scope, so price is a factor. With that said though, I am looking for that 1 rifle to be happy with for a long time, so I will save up to get what I need to get. My goal for a rifle alone would be under 1K. I hunt in the Southwest and have hikes in the 3-10 mile range in rough country each day. That is why weight is an issue to me.
    My main game hunted is deer, both mule deer and coues deer. Although I would like to shoot them all as close as possible, I would like to be able to shoot to 800 yards and be lethal. A bonus to me would be able to kill black bear and large bull elk with this caliber/rifle as well. Another issue to throw into it would be the ability for my wife to use it on her occasional elk hunt as well, so recoil becomes an issue. I am not a fan of muzzle breaks, but would consider it if I had to for this purpose.


    What I already have: I do have a few rifles already, but don’t feel they fit the bill for me. Here is a list –
    Remington 700 ADL 243. This rifle was given to me by my parents about 20 years ago. I consider it more of a keepsake than hunting rifle and is what my wife uses for deer in the past.
    Remington 700 LSS 7mm mag. Awesome gun that shoots well but it is really heavy! I haven’t shot it past 350 yards, but am sure it would be a good long range rifle. Again the problem is the weight and I get worn out with it after a few days. It also kicks too much for my wife and I am worried the accuracy would change if I had the local gunsmith put a break on it. Recoil is ok to me but on the upper limit of being something I want to shoot at the range much.
    Browning A Bolt 308. Pretty gun and decent weight. It has a short barrel, maybe 21 or 22”. It has the BOSS system and traded for it years ago for my wife to hunt elk with. For some reason I am just not a fan of this set up and am thinking of selling to help finance the new set up.
    Remington 700 SPS 257 Weatherby magnum w/ 26” barrel. This is my primary rifle now and I am learning the art of long range shooting with this. I really like it but have countless people advise me that the 115 grain bullet I shoot is too light for the winds of the southwest (too much drift)as well as questionable energy and killing power at longer ranges, especially for bigger game animals. This gun is a bit on the heavy side. I believe the stock rifle according to factory info was 7.75 lbs.


    I don’t reload, so ammo availability is somewhat of an issue but not a real deciding factor for me. I can plan appropriately and stock up and it also seems like there are some custom ammo makers out there that could develop a load for me and I could order what I need. Again I would like to go fairly lightweight with manageable recoil (I know this is a combination of opposites)but be able have confidence that once I can be confident of my bullet placement, it will do the job even at ranges that I actually hope I will never have to do other than the range for practice!
     
  2. benchracer

    benchracer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,365
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2009
    If you were a handloader, I would be recommending a non-magnum 6.5 or 7mm. Given what you want in terms of performance, I truly believe that those two caliber classes have the best overall balance of performance this side of the big .338's.

    If you are truly serious about long range shooting, I strongly suggest that you re-think your position regarding loading your own ammo. For several reasons, that is the only way you will ever reliably obtain the performance you are after IMO.

    Having said all of that, if you are going to limit yourself to factory ammo (and given your recoil and weight limits) I think the plain old .270 Winchester is your best bet. I don't know if the bc limits inherent in available factory ammo will get you to 800 or not, but I would think that at least 600 is achievable without a lot of trouble.

    The variety of ammo available should also work in your favor when it comes to finding factory ammo that shoots well enough in your rifle to achieve your goals for range. It will also work in your favor when it comes to selecting the right ammo for heavier game (albeit at shorter ranges).

    In addition, with Nosler coming out with higher bc accubonds in various calibers, it will not be long before some excellent high bc factory loads will be available in .270. That has always been the achilles heel for that chambering and it looks to me like that problem is soon to be a thing of the past.

    If you want a production rifle to treasure for the rest of your life, buy one of the new production Winchester Model 70's. I just bought one in .264WM and it is the finest factory rifle I have ever owned.

    At the other end of the spectrum is the Savage. It is a no-frills rifle, but has a very good reputation for accuracy.

    IMO, your best solution is to start hand loading and build or buy a rifle in 6.5 or 7mm that suits your needs and tastes.

    Second best solution is a factory .270.
     

  3. youngtrout

    youngtrout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    212
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    I've been kind of walking the same line with wanting a LRH rig but keeping weight down. But your wish list is a tall order, light weight, long range, low recoil, elk rifle....

    I think at the end of the day light weight and long range don't exactly go hand in hand. Certainly not speaking for anyone, but think most, according to polls, etc, would want a 600-800 yard rifle coming in closer to 10-11 pounds. Just look at rifles for sale here, or custom builds too, not many rigs at 7 pounds being built specifically for LRH, and think its for a reason

    Your current 7 mag most likely weighs less than this.

    Guess what I'd do is focus on quality, take one of those rem700 you have and have that barrelled, trued by a good smith, (7 mag again in the long, for elk 308 in the short?) add custom trigger, stock. Think on the light side for 800, looking at 9.5lbs?

    I'm shooting for 10-10.5 for a similar range/type build right now.
     
  4. bowhunter42

    bowhunter42 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Im gonna Chime in a say look at the savage longrange hunter in 6.5x284, After reading the description of what you are looking to do, I think this rifle would fit the bill to a T and the Caliber will take all the animals you mentioned and there are several ammo manufactures that offer this in their line up using high BC bullets, IE Berger VLD's.
     
  5. youngtrout

    youngtrout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    212
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    My last comment, but to weight again, Rem 700 LSS weighs 7.5lbs. Savage above weighs 8.6lbs

    From OP 7.5lbs was too heavy, have to go with just a straight stock savage to beat 7.5 and not by much, 7.1lbs

    Only bringing it up since I was after the utimate lightweight rifle too, weighs 7.5lbs scoped and loaded. I'd rate it at a 400 yard gun (with me as shooter, sure others could do better)

    If it were me I'd actually shoot your 7 mag to 600-800 yards, see how you shoot and group and then determine what changes you need to make, just saying going lighter might not be the answer
     
  6. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,028
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    What total weight are you trying to achieve? What scope are you currently using? Your 7mm, and 257 with perhaps a lighter synthetic stock, and scope might be worth looking at further.
     
  7. MJU

    MJU Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2012
    I will say that manufacture's specs may say the LSS weighs 7.5lbs, but it actually is 9.25 measured. Through in the scope, rings and bases it came in at 14.75 lbs. It would be great to come up with a full set up in the 9 lb range
     
  8. barnesuser28

    barnesuser28 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,808
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    i am trying out a LR rig in 284 Win starting out with a savage weather warrior in 270 rechambered with a 24" #4 contour brux and a vortex viper pst 6-24x50, should come in at around 9-9.5 lbs. I am going to set a 600 yard limit for elk with this rifle and around 800 yards for deer/antelope, and 1000+ on Pdogs and rocks.
     
  9. youngtrout

    youngtrout Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    212
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2006
    Got it on weight. So looking in general at a build

    4oz for some talleys (or around that)
    20oz for an average 4-16 or 6-20

    1.5lbs looking for a rifle in about the 7.5 range which is do-able.

    Could lighten up your current 7mag, 7mag is a great caliber, drop the 4.5lbs you list for scope and bases to 1.5lbs (see above)

    Could get to 10.75 with optic / base changes, sure you could squeeze another pound or two going with a different stock.

    But back to range, still would shoot what you have to 600-800 a lot. Would give you a benchmark down the road

    But again if it were me I'd look at quality over quanity. Use the action you have. Have it trued and barreled with top end barrel. New stock trigger. Just ballpark but around 1200? And you have what you want
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  10. desertbull

    desertbull Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    229
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Get a good pack with a rifle scabbard, IE Eberlestock, and the weight will be much less of an issue. trying to carry a 10-12lb rifle with sling through the mountains can be hard but with the gun on your back it's way better.

    I would also say that your money would be better invested in a reloading set up for your existing 7 mag than a new rifle. For the money you will spend in factory ammo or custom hand loads a RCBS Rock Chucker kit will get you much closer to shooting 800 yards. You need to shoot a lot to be proficient enough to shoot at an animal that far away.
     
  11. bowhunter42

    bowhunter42 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    168
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    + 1 on the Eberlestock, I love the 2 I have!
     
  12. bthomasb1

    bthomasb1 Active Member

    Messages:
    29
    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2011
    If your 7mm shoots well,take your 1k and buy a good lightweight stock get a threaded muzzelbrake installed so you can take it off if you wish,get your bolt fluted,the bolt handel lightened flatside the action,aluminum bolt shroud and a titanuim tipped aluminum fireing pin,lightweight tally ring /base combos and a good lightweight scope(i would use a leupold 4.5x14-40 1inch tube with a non adj objective its about 13.5-14 oz)then use whatever money you have left to start reloading so you can talior your loads to the gun and the bullets to your game.Good luck
     
  13. JeffP40

    JeffP40 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    260
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2006
    Couple things here, some have already mentioned. First, your scope system is 5 1/2# ? What kind of tank is that? A lot of weight is right there. Eleven pounds shouldn't be too bad.
    Second, the comment on handloading is right. If you are on a budget and are considering custom ammo, they are mutually exclusive. You will spend as much in a short time on ammo as you would on equipment. With the equipment, at least you have something durable to keep.
    The suggestions on lightening you 7mag are good. It will do the job. I am not familiar with the stock on the LSS, I believe it is laminate. A good glass stock will do wonders.
    Let us know what you do and how it works.
     
  14. chucknbach

    chucknbach Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    272
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Spend some extra time in the gym before the season and carry a heavier rifle.