I learned something from that...What rifle?

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by straightshooter, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    First I want to state up front that this post is based on personal choice and experience. If you were to ask ten people to give rifle advice, you would probably get ten different suggestions. So all I am trying to do here is point the new guy in a direction that will save him some money and headache.

    New guy, don't spend any money on a new rifle. Go to your rifle safe and pick out the centre fire rifle that is the cheapest to shoot. Find a gunsmith that you want to work with and take that rifle in, get the action bedded, trigger adjusted, recoil lugs lapped, barrel floated, and get it totally cleaned. While you are there, get the rifle fitted. No matter what rifle you would have bought, this is work you would get done anyway.

    When I got into long range shooting I thought I needed a new rifle and scope. I went out and bought a Savage 10fp in a 308 winchester, and mounted my Tasco target/varmint scope in a cheap set of walmart rings (at this point I didn't have any money left in my budget). I then went to the range and started to work up a load. The rifle shot great right out of the box, averaging under moa at 100 yards, but I wanted better. So I saved some more and bought a SS 10 power scope and mounted it in Burris signature rings. This didn't improve accuracy any but gave me the ability to dial windage and elevation. The down side is I had to rezero my rifle. Then I decided I could improve my groups with better reloading techniques, so I bought some new reloading equipment. I put extra effort into my reloading and went back to the range. Still not much of an improvement, but I did get rid of some flyers. So next I looked at me, could I improve my groups with better shooting technique. I hit the internet, bought books and videos, and hit the range a few more times trying this and that. Groups didn't shrink but I got rid of all my flyers, and learned a whole lot. So finally I scraped some more money together and bought a new Bell and Carlson stock for my rifle, and hit the range again. At this time things started pulling together, I shrunk my groups almost in half, finally a rifle accurate enough for long range shooting. So what is the point of this story? Through all this adjusting and buying new gear I never once got to shoot out past 100 yards, and I spend about $600 extra dollars on a practice rifle, plus the original cost.

    You need to get out there and shoot to learn where you actually want to get. I learned that long range shooting takes a total package, rifle, scope, good bases and rings, then you need extra gear like range finders, weather stations, and great reloads if you want to get serious. There is a whole lot of learning you can do with old Bettsy and save your money to get out there and shoot. You will then learn what you finally really want and how serious you will actually become. I started by thinking that I would be popping elk off at 1000 yards within a couple years with a new custom rig. Now I am thinking I will probably buy myself an off the shelf rifle in a caliber something like a 300 win. mag. Have it accurized by my smith. I will have a carry rifle that I will be able to reach out to 600 yards or so on elk. By the way do you actually know how far 1000 yards is, get out there with a range finder and see what you think, for me when I figured it out I said WOW!!! I thought back to my 30 or so years of elk hunting and realized I never had the opportunity to shoot over 450 yards. Dropping down to that 600 yards is going to save me a whole lot of money!
     
  2. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Good post for the average guy. In my opinion I think a guy needs a good shooting light carry rifle and a specialized long range rig. If only one then get a light carry rifle that will easily get you to 800 yards on elk sized game. I am very fortunate to know many good hunting spots and what rifles work there. I have long range rigs built for areas where I know I could be shooting beyond a thousand yards with no possible way of getting closer and can carry the weight. For most of my hunting I use a rifle similar to what you describe.

    Long range is great when performed by people who know what they are doing and have the money to build and shoot a specialized rig for specialized hunting situations.
     

  3. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    Long time long ranger,

    I think your last comment is the key that the newbie needs to realize. Long range shooting is a skill that takes time and specialized equipment. It is a total package. I think most hunters get caught up in that magic 1000 yard range, but in most cases you will get your cross hairs on more game if you can reach out to say 500-600 yards. Like you say, get that carry rifle first. Get it accurized a bit. Learn to reload, and shoot a lot. Aim at that 500-600 yard mark (no pun intended). You will learn what it takes to reach out there, and how long range fits into your hunting area.

    What I have come to realize is that where I hunt, 600 yards is all I will ever need. It is kind of funny that a lot of people who are starting into long range shooting can't find anywhere to practice that far. How many places in your hunting area can you see 1000 yards. Where I hunt, it is hard to find a spot to recheck zero out to 100 yards once we get to camp. I know of about a handful of places where I have seen game over 450 yards and not one of those places is over 600.

    I practice out to 1000 yards for the fun but to be honest I don't have the equipment or the skill yet to hunt that far. If I limit my hunting to 500 yards for elk and a bit more for deer I don't need to spend anymore money and I will not be giving up any opportunities. Now if you have unlimited funds and don't mind carrying a 15lbs rifle all day, this post is kind of mute.
     
  4. snowpro440

    snowpro440 Well-Known Member

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    Yep you guys are right, there is alot to learn when shooting. I just started shooting 200 300 400 yards and I learned so much with reloading for accuracy, holding the gun an the rest that it sits on, how to squeeze the trigger an follow through .When i first started shooting 6 months ago I was lucky to keep my shots on the 18x24 inch paper at 400yds, now with all the fellow shooters giving me pointers and helping me, I am able to hit an apple at 400 yds every time. Hopefully I will be able to shoot the ten ring everytime next year from what I have learned this year...:D
     
  5. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Well-Known Member

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    Back in the '70s I had a Rem 788 in 6mm. It was cheap, plain and not really attractive. It killed deer at 250+ yds like a lightning bolt. It smacked chucks with authority at 350+. It would vaporize sage rats out to 300. At the range it stacked alot of bullets atop one another, right in the 200yd bull. It had an old, heavy Weaver k6 on it.
    When I went in to get more scope for it, to extend it's reach, I heard those fateful words:
    Lesson:
    Just because it's cheap and ugly doesn't mean it won't shoot!
    I would damn near kill to have that rifle back.

    And every time I find one to replace it, the price is 4 times what I sold that one for!! Apparently I was the only one that didn't know the true value of the 788Rem in light calibers!
     
  6. Guy M

    Guy M Well-Known Member

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    Apparently!

    Agree. More shooting. More loading. Less money out on new rifles & fancy doo-dads... That's how to learn this long-range stuff. Get out and do it!

    Regards, Guy
     
  7. yobuck

    yobuck Well-Known Member

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    hello guy, you know a person can get in trouble for downplaying whats required to do this.
    but fact is you and all the others are right on with your comments.
    there is one thing to remember though. many of the store bought rifles today will shoot as well or better than some of the custom guns did 30 years ago.
    thats a big plus for those starting out. also even the cheaper scopes will do the job pretty well.
    as you know, we have bigger equiptment, but frankly rarly use it. many days the conditions wont allow us too.
    keep it simple and close if you like venison.
     
  8. Too Tall Rosenwald

    Too Tall Rosenwald Well-Known Member

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    Guy, a couple years ago you ask,

    "Why have a safe full of guns that you don't shoot."

    "For some reason, I'm reallly getting into a "less is more" mindset, and am contemplating further clearing out the gun safe, cutting down to a few really useful rifles, shotguns and handguns.. " by Guy.

    Every since that day I have wanted to thin out and only have a few 'Custom' tack drivers.
     
  9. Fitz

    Fitz Well-Known Member

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    I agree that someone just needs to get out there and shoot. My question is: Is there a gun that will grow with the shooter?

    Currently, I have a 30-06 I use for close range hunting. Actually, I prefer bow for deer... I also just received my grampa's Rem 700 6mm. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been fired in over 30 years.

    I'm looking to get into more long range hunting. I'm not looking for the top of the line or even really custom made. But if I buy a new gun, I would like one that will grow with as I get more experiences, i.e. if I buy a 300 WM/RUM and get accurate at 600 yards, would I be able to push the limits and shoot an elk at 800-900? And when I burn out that barrel, will I be able to mod it to hold 338 lapua for moose?

    I don't see many long range shots over here on the east coast. But when I'm back home in Utah or visiting Alaska, I've seen Elk/Moose on the other side of the valley at around 800-1000 yards and wished I could take them.

    Is the way I'm thinking not possible/logical?
     
  10. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Here are my thoughts-

    Take the 6mm and check the twist. If it is 1-14, it will not stabilize moderate to heavy bullets. If it is 1-9 then get some Barnes or Speer 85 grain bullets and use the rifle for deer hunting in Maryland. It will be just perfect for any deer we have at ranges under 500 yards. It will be OK for antelope if you can get some higher BC bullets to shoot accurately. It will also make a good varmint rifle. There is a possibility the rifle will handle the 105 Amax and if so then that would be a great combination for 1000 yard practice. For some reason a lot of people report that the Amax stabilizes fairly easily so I would give it a try.

    Take the 30-06 and see how it will shoot some of the VLD bullets such as Berger or the 175 SMK. You would like it to shoot equal to or better than 1 MOA. This will then provide you with a rifle capable of practicing out to 1000 yards and killing deer sized animals to about 600-800 yards depending on a number of things but chiefly your skill and the rifle's accuracy. There is another thread by a guy who wants to shoot half a mile with a 308 and that is just about 80 yards too far to be trying to kill a deer unless you are really proficient (or very desperate).

    If the rifle will not shoot under 1 MOA on a consistent and reasonable basis with high quality ammo then drag it over to Eddie Harren and have him borescope it and assess the situation. Take him a fired case so he can determine how well the chamber was put in.

    Harren's Custom Rifles
    2309 Oak Dr.
    Ijamsville, Md. 21754
    301-831-8068

    If it was me, I would just have Eddie do three things automatically unless he says otherwise. In fact I would probably take the 6mm to him also and just have everything fixed at once.
    1. Recrown the barrel
    2. Adjust the trigger
    3. Bed the action
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  11. RBetts

    RBetts Well-Known Member

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    New to the site. You can learn more about shooting long range with a 22 than you can with a center fire. Most important is fire control and shot set-up. I only have access to a 200yd range. If I want to shoot beyond that it takes awhile for permission.
    With a 22 at 200 yds many of the variables are present. You will need to adjust the elevation and dope the wind. If you only have 100 yds use the 22 shorts that are subsonic. This will allow you to dope wind and elevate for different range out to that 100 yds.
    By sizing the target by 1/10 you can practice using a reticle scale. for reasonable simulation. When my folks got rid of the horse farm I lost my 500yd range. This is the only way to keep sharp that works with what I have available.
    It's not the same as looking over 8 or 9 football fields and putting the proper dope to get you there but it does give you the method to set up how to practice.
    Accurrate shooting is about repeatability. The mechanicals in shooting ie the gun optics ballistics are pretty much a known. The inside of your hat carrier is the unknown. Once that hatrack gets confident with it's ability it can apply the mechanical parts to there limit. If the hatrack is not confident it will be a very expensive learning curve
    I have 3 sub 1/2 minute rifles in my safe my wife and her boys are 3 minute shooters with those rifles at 100 yds with the 22 they all are better than 2 minute shooters at the same distance
     
  12. bowhunthard

    bowhunthard Well-Known Member

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    If you want a gun you can grow with (without spending a lot of money during the entire process) buy a Savage. The way the action is set up, it is pretty simple to swap barrels, and bolt faces (if you have to). And... most of them shoot pretty good out of the box anyway. There are better rifles out there, but you'll probably pay more for the rifle, and more when you get it worked on. I own Winchesters, Rugers, Remingtons, CZs, and Savages. And I just bought another Savage in 7mmRemMag (AccuTrigger, AccuStock, DBM, sporterweight), and my next build will be on a Savage RBLP target action. They're hard to beat.

    Good luck.
     
  13. Fitz

    Fitz Well-Known Member

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    Is Eddie a pretty good smith?
     
  14. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    Eddie builds his own rifles and his own bullets. He is nearly always ranked in the top ten of the IBS score shooters nationally for as long as I have l known him. He and his wife won the nationals in 2008. I forget whether he is first or second this year. His particular field of endeavor (varmint hunter) is not quite within my full understanding but he has at least one Maryland state championship and maybe more.

    In order to be consistently ranked nationally one needs to build consistently accurate rifles (it also helps to be able to shoot them accurately I am sure). Like many of the gunsmiths on this forum he is a very honest and forthright person whose reputation is built upon his character and the quality of his work.


    Go to this link and read the last three years or so

    Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels - NBRSA Winners and Records

    P.S. What he charges for his work is about the same as anyone else.