LEAD-FREE mid-ish range backcountry rifle

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by norcalnoodler, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. norcalnoodler

    norcalnoodler Member

    Oct 8, 2013
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry !
    Another boring guy asking for some help selecting a new gun but lead free this time !
    With so many options not viable for California without hand loading I looking for some expert advice. I want a high quality gun I can keep around until I'm a old man if I can have a gun in California then ?

    I've been pulling my hair out trying to decipher all this information ever since I joined this site and long before then too. The time has come to start shooting my rifle more often and at longer distances which means time for a NEW GUN :) Especially since my dog is old enough to start hunting big game with me, and yes I have been training him towards big game for his entire life but we have more work to do- always !

    I tend to gravitate towards big hikes, backcountry camping, and pretty much shooting game in the hardest to retrieve areas you could imagine. I guess thats my idea of fun
    Lugging around my old boat anchor of a Ruger MKII is not my idea of fun.

    Quail hunting with my new Beretta A400 20ga at 5 1/2 lbs - Now that's fun !!!!

    Here is what I have waiting around for the gun
    - Vortex Viper 2.5-10x44
    - Atlas Bipod

    I'm looking for a ready to shoot gun - I don't have space or time to build right now.
    Here are my parameters for the gun -
    - less than $2000-ish
    - less than 6 lbs-ish
    - capable of taking down any one of the three elk species we have in California
    - shoots factory ammo (no space in my garage and about to remodel the entire house)
    - factory ammo available that is lead free as I live in the condor zone - yay !!!!
    - able for a rookie to learn how to shoot out to 400-600 yards ?
    - stainless barrel and composite stock ( we hunt hard and dirty )
    - and of course the caliber ??? I like the idea of the 300 wsm but It's probably more than I need ? thoughts ?

    Thanks for your help guys, hope this isn't too boring of a request !

    Toby and Milo

    Attached Files:

  2. howco

    howco Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2013
    Weatherby back country vanguard or a tikka lightweight. I would say 7mm08 or 30-06 . Barnes factory ammo and nosler etip available in those calibers. The 300 wsm is great too, I would pick a caliber where ammo is readily available locally or online

  3. coyotekiller82

    coyotekiller82 Well-Known Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    ^^This, both very good suggestions for rifles and bang on with the ammo as well!
  4. angus-5024

    angus-5024 Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    try to find a used Remington Ti lightweight in .280 rem
  5. jmden

    jmden Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2003
    Precision long range rifles and lightweight aren't used in the same sentence that often.
  6. mountainman56

    mountainman56 Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2014
    I gotta soft spot for Winchester model 70 featherweight. 30-06 or .280
  7. Wedgy

    Wedgy Well-Known Member

    Feb 9, 2013
    Pick a caliber off the list.

    VOR-TX Rifle | Barnes Bullets

    I would go with one of the popular, readily available ones like 30-06 because you can find multiple bullet weights/manufacturers(even at Walmart) in case your gun doesn't like one. I have shot deer and pigs out past 400 yards with a used Savage 111(Gunbroker for $275) in 30-06 with factory Barnes 150 grain. Two of my friends were impressed and did the same thing with the same results. Any decent scope in the $300 range will do. I don't think you need to spend $2k to get a rifle that can hit a one foot target area such as an elk at 600 yards, AKA a 1 Minute Of Elk rifle. Now if you rebarreled a gun like that you could have yourself a real shooter. https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=prefit+savage+barrels
    Good luck and keep us posted !
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  8. Lefty7mmstw

    Lefty7mmstw Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2012
    t3 lite will do you. wby ultra light weight too. m7 rem may be another option, but try finding a rem right now with the recall on the triggers.
    Personally I'd go to a sporter and forget the lightweight rifle, but that's me. Many of the guys here are toting 12# and change rigs- some up to 16# or better. I try to keep my rifles below 10# ready to go.
    As to caliber, one like the 7rem, 300 win, 300wsm, 338win will be your ticket for critters up to elk if you need lead free. You've got to stay with the more popular chamberings right now if you want factory ammo with any choices at all.
  9. Kennibear

    Kennibear Well-Known Member

    Jul 24, 2012
    +1 on Lefty's post. Not many people shoot lightweight rifles well beyond about 400yds. And I agree with him on caliber but would highly recommend the 7mm RemMag over all others. From your post I surmise you have limited experience otherwise you would reload.

    There are two sporter weight 26"barreled bolt guns in the safe and they are 1/2 oz apart at 8 1/2# w/ scope and sling. One in 300 WinMag and the other in 375 Ruger. Both have considerable attitudes when they belch. A 6- 6 1/2# rifle is going to hurt in anything above 30/06. The 7mm RemMag in a rig weighing 9 1/2# with all the trimmings (the Atlas bipod will add the extra pound to the above weights) will be an easy carry and damn easy to hit with at LR. The California compliant ammo is abundant and shoots well. It will drop an elk @ 600yds every day of the week. The recoil is not going to give you a flinch.

    And to back up Lefty's post on heavy rifles carried by many, I used a 15# 30/06 M98 for years in Idaho where you don't need a compass because where you want to go is either uphill or downhill from where you are. 9- 9 1/2# is an easy carry and it would be better to trim the fat from your pack or your waistline rather than your rifle. Don't get me wrong, I like light rifles but not when you stretch the range out. Do consider a sporter w/ synthetic stock and a long barrel. The weight is really pretty good. Believe it or not my bum knee and not my back has me gravitating to lighter than 15# rifles. Injuries when you are young remind you when you are old.

    Good luck. You picked the right place to ask your question.