Long Range Hunting Rifle + Calibre?

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by -DC-, Nov 17, 2009.

  1. -DC-

    -DC- Member

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    I've done tons of reading on numerous websites all with conflicting information. Go figure, this is the internet. [​IMG] So, I’m here to ask your opinions. I am fairly new to guns and hunting, and I am always lent a gun to use. Now I need my own.

    This rifle will be used mostly for hunting, but I would like to get into long range shooting out to 1000 yards. Not competitively, just for fun. It will mostly be used on Deer and coyotes from 100-400 yards, although with time and serious practice I would like to be able to take game from further distances humanely. It will also need to take down at distance the odd Moose, elk, goat, etc.

    I hear the .270 will work
    I've been told to buy a 30-06
    I've heard good things about the .308
    Yet I like the sounds of the 7RM. Flat shooting, etc.

    I don't know much about the energy at long ranges in these calibres. Should I be looking outside these calibres? 300WM seems like overkill to me or deer, however its cheap to shoot. What about 7WSM? I won't be firing off thousands of bullets each year, so its not a big issue on price, lets just not hit $100’s a box!! Also, I have thought about potentially getting into reloading at a later date. For now, gear comes first.

    My other debate is which rifle to purchase. I like quality, something that will last, and is going to be reliable every time I pull the trigger. Price is not of a huge concern however I would like to keep the price down. I’ve been thinking of holding back and buying a Tikka T3 SS Lite or SS Varmint in .270, then later purchasing a 300wm, but feel I would be happier with the Sako 85 Stainless Synthetic or Finnlight. The rifle needs to be lightweight for field carry. Any other suggestions?

    Last but not least I need glass. Is the Leupold VX-3L CDS a good choice? Or should I go with something like Leupolds Mark4 LR or a NightForce? Does anyone use a Leupold CDS? Also, will 3-9 or 4.5-14 be of enough power to reach out to 1000 yards, yet not annoying if shooting Game at 100yards?

    My main concern is choosing the right calibre for me. Please help, my mind is going crazy with all these first time buying decisions. I am 22, and have many other future expenses to worry about, so another gun likely won't happen for a few years. I preferably want something that will do it all or close too it.

    If any, what other decisions may I later make that affects what I choose right now?

    Thanks for your time,

    Dave
     
  2. FEENIX

    FEENIX Well-Known Member

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    Dave,

    Welcome to LRH and enjoy!

    .300WM is an excellent choice and no it is not an overkill on deer. As to what rifle, it depends on your budget. You might see the Savage vs Remington debate here later but both will serve you well.

    Scope wise, again it will depend on your budget and type of shooting. For my eye sight and type of shooting, I prefer the Leupold because of their forgiving eye relief, i.e., most eye relief's are 3.0" to 3.5", mine is 4.7".

    BTW, welcome to the world of hunting and shooting.

    Ed
     

  3. 308

    308 Well-Known Member

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    My views may be narrow minded but I just can't fault what works for me and a number of my friends.
    Get you a heavy barreled 308, I like remingtons but savage and sako are shooters too.

    Get you a good scope, my preference is a leupold 6.5x20 or 8.5 to 25, the LR versions are nice but not absoulutly neccessary.

    Put a scope base with 20 moa of included angle on the gun and get some federal gold medal or black hills 168's or 175's and go shoot!!!!

    A 308 ain't the best gun for 1000 but it will go there,(as long as your scope has 40plus mins of adjustment in it) and you can enjoy shooting it and shooting it and shooting it while you learn to shoot in the wind and conditions you find in the field.
    The MAGS are nice, they are better 1000 yard guns but they have shorter barrel life, kick more, make more noise and generally are not as user friendly, and cost more to shoot..., I'm not knocking them, I have some but for a starter, the 308 just makes the most sense to me, you could also write in 260 rem or 7mm08 here, its just a little harder to find match grade ammo for them.

    Oh and the 308 will do all you need it to do on deer and coyotes to 400 and a little further when the shooter is up to it.

    Well that was a much longer winded version than I meant to pen,
    but thats my 2 cents JS aka 308
     
  4. Ernie

    Ernie SPONSOR

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    Dave,
    Welcome to LRH!
    One of the reasons you have heard so much different opinions is that there are many cartridges that can get the job done.
    Add to that some people believe yo need the best and biggest Super-Wiz-Bang to shoot game at 400 yards.
    Others will have one cartridge that they believe is best for everything.
    Reloading would be beneficial for you.
    I like the 7mm cartridges for the bullet options and better BC (Aerodynamics) of the bullets. Nothing wrong with the 30 caliber, but you can do as much ballisticallly with less bullet weight, therefore less recoil. The 270 will also work for you as well. Again, not as much bullet selection for LR shooting/hunting as the 7mm or the 30 caliber.
    The 7mm-08 would do all you wanted it to do.
    I would prefer the 280 Remington, and there is sure nothing wrong with the 7mm Rem Mag.
    There are many different ways to skin the cat.
    So please do not expect to hear a resounding one cartridge come to the top for what you are asking.
    The other limiting factor is being stuck with factory ammo. Both because of its cost, limited bullet selection or whether your barrel likes that particular load.
    Depending on the stock you get, weight, and your own sensitivity to recoil when shooting from field positions (stay off the bench as much as possible). A muzzle brake may be a good thing to consider. It takes the recoil out of the picture and allows you to spot your own shots.
    A 4.5-14 is more than enough for big game out to 1,000 yards. I used a 3.5-15 this year and took a antelope buck at 1,037 yards. I did not feel handicapped with 15x in any way. It was a 7mm and it had the performance level of the 280 Remington. I like the Huskemaw, VX-3's, Mark 4's, and the NightForce (have all of these scopes).
    Since you are considering elk and other mountain game, be careful about getting a real heavy rifle. Once you get up in elevation and steep terrain you can come to hate a heavy rifle, that you once loved on the plains shooting from the bench a few feet from your vehicle.
    If you want my opinions on reticles, brakes or anything I else I would be glad to respond. There is a lot of good folks with good info on this site
    When it is said and done, buy what you want. It is your money, and if you do not like or feel comfortable with what you get, you will never be happy with it.
    Good luck in your endeavors, and practice, practice, practice from field positions.
     
  5. -DC-

    -DC- Member

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    Thanks all for the warm welcome and great advice. I have decided on a rifle and calibre now. Yes I have changed my mind completely, but its what I originally had in mind. I’m getting the Savage 10FCP in the McMillian stock. This is obviously in no means a light rifle. I thought long and hard about it, and since I will only be shooting Coyotes, Wolves and paper for the next year(until big game season), I will have time to save for my next true light weight “hunting” rifle. I’m considering purchasing both rifles now, but will probably just wait. The light hunting rifle will most likely be a Sako A7 in .270 or 30-06 topped with Leopold glass. I am still thinking out my options for my long range rifle‘s glass, but will probably go with a Nightforce and try not to lose sleep over the cost. Thanks again all for the advice.

    Dave
     
  6. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    The Tikka T-3 you mentioned in 300 wsm would do about anything you ever wanted to do. Mine shoots very accurately right out of the box.I don't think they make it in a 7mm wsm but that would also be good. Either one of those and your good for about anything out there. If I were just starting out I would go with one of these most modern cartridges that are proven and will be around a long time for easy to get components. The Tikka is one of the best buys in the business. I would not have a problem shooting anything in Wyoming with mine out to 600 yards right out of the box.
     
  7. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    DC, Glad to hear you mention 30-06 it was the rage many years ago but, IMHO hasn't had the popularity in recent decades it once had. Nonetheless it's an excellent cartridge-readily available, easy to reload, inexpensive, tons of bullet choices, modest recoil etc. etc. and a little more umph than a 308. Bought my first factory 30-06 in a Sako back in 69' and as factory rifles go it's the most accurate one I've owned.
     
  8. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    DC....Although it sounds as though your mind is made up, let me try to sway you a bit. The 270 and the 30-06 are nice but.....

    - 270 bullet selection and BC is not great.

    - 30-06 has great bullet selection, but the '06 case is not the most efficient for long range shooting.

    If you like the 30 caliber, the 300WSM would be a better choice. And instead of the 270, think about a 7mm like the 7mmWSM or 280Rem. You get great bullet selection and great BCs with the 7's.
     
  9. -DC-

    -DC- Member

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    .280fan, Not sure if you understood mypost. The Savage will be in .308(only choice) and the Sako was going to be in .270 or 30-06, but I may stay with both in .308 for reloading purposes. The Sako calibre is undecided right now, I may even go with a 300 win mag, we'll see... its not really a long range hunting gun, just a light weight rifle for long backcountry hunts. The Savage will be my long range target/ hunting rifle.
     
  10. hammertyme

    hammertyme Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the amazing world of guns and hunting Dave!

    Great choice on the Savage. If you spend some time around here and on the Savage Shooters website you will see how easy it is to change your own barrels on a Savage. Many inexpensive factory takeoff barrels out there so you can try out any caliber your heart desires at that particuler time for $50.-$125. Requires an inexpensive action wrench and a barrel nut wrench. Add a few minutes and some practice and you will be changing barrels with the best of them without gunsmithing costs and waiting time.

    Though you quote the 308 which is a good first choice caliber, the 284 Winchester will readily fit in that action as will the will the W inchester S uper S hort M ag's and the other W inchester or R emington S hort M ags.

    Yes with the short fat cases one needs a bolt alteration. The 284 uses the same sized bolt head. ALas, again you are in luck both in price and easy of changing the Bolt head. One can change Savage boltheads very cheaply and in five minutes without special tools or machining. On the Savage you can quickly go from 223 Remington too 375 Rum with a simple remove the allen head screw at the back of the bolt, pull the cap, blast shield and bolt off. Pull the firing pin assembly,knock the head pin out and put another on and just reassemble in reverse order.

    Good choice and have fun

    Neal
     
  11. trebark

    trebark Well-Known Member

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    I understood your post that one of your rifles would be in 270 or 30-06. My post was an attempt to sway you towards calibers that are more efficient, have more/better bullet choices and better BCs.
     
  12. -DC-

    -DC- Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t quite sure. I was thinking the 30-06 because of the different grains available (up to 220) and the low cost on ammo. Considering it’s a hunting rifle and won’t be shot the majority of the time,(little ammo used) and at no longer than 500 yards on game, I may go with the 7 Rem Mag like I thought of going with in the first place. If you have any other opinions feel free to let me know. Keeping in mind this ammo could be reloaded, but for little amounts most likely store bought. Again, sorry for jumping the gun... Thanks for the advice.
     
  13. winmag

    winmag Well-Known Member

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    just my take, but i hunted with an '06 for 17 years and killed everything i needed to from sage ratts to deer elk bear etc. There are better calibers for bigger game and better cals for smaller game, but you asked for opinions on what would bennifit you now and in the futre and said you were interested in hand loading in the future. my opinion the 30-06 is the most (versitile while still forgiving) for anyones first rifle.JMO. young or old almost everyone i know has an '06 or two with piles of stories to tell around the fire. .30 cal has a HUGE bullett selection with factory ammo and for handloads. not to mention the old saying "big enuf to take down anything in north America". altho not my first choice for grizz or for sage ratts, the light recoil makes them more fun to shoot alot thus giving incentive to shoot more. and ammo is cheap. that being said, 7mm and 300wm shoot flatter and may hit harder,on both ends. I look at it this way, even if you decide to buy a magnum later, the '06 is a handy do all rifle. Mine has its place in the safe behind all my latest greatest "wiz bangs", but unlike all the newer ones, the '06 earned its right to be there. I still fondle mine and take it out now and then for ol times sake and it feels like a good saddle, or broke in pair of boots. just fits right.
    just my opinion. good luck

    sorry, just re-read your origional post, 30-06 out to 500yds.....ya....but 1000yds, youd better shoot alot and hand load and be damn good to down a critter at this range. & im not. im sure theres some guys on here who are, but im sure they shoot quite a few rounds a year in lots of conditions and know thier equipment intimately.
    i apologise for not being thurogh the first time.

    JMO,30-06 great 1st do all rifle. Maybe not so great 1st choice at extended range.

    someday id like to be good enuf to push my 300wby to 1000yds, i know it will do the job, but im still mastering 600 on paper so to 400+or- on critters for me, but im relitively new to "long range" and my pockett book and personal ability havent caught up to my imagination yet. but thats just me. sorry for the lengthy SNAFU
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  14. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Welcoem to LRH DC,

    You've already got a lot of good advice and I'll add this. Bottom line, the bigger and more powerful the cartridge, the more effective a killer it will be and the farther down range you will get. For elk size game i would recommend at least a 30 cal although well placed shots with smaller calibers can be effective. You may have some tracking to do.

    Sako usually puts out good rifles but not always and their guarantee is worthless. I know because I got one of their lemons and have sent it to the factroy twice now with them sending it back twice saying there is nothing wrong with it. It's a Sako M85 Finnlight 300 WSM and it shoots about 2-4 MOA. Once you buy a Sako or a Tikka, you're stuck with it and they aren't easy to bed and there are no aftermarket stocks other tham mcmillan to get for them. They have a proprietary recoil lug system that makes stock bedding very challanging.

    I would strongly suggest looking at Sub MOA Vanguard or Savage instead and if you're really interested in LR, look at the more potent cartrides like the WSMs or Rem Mag ro Win Mag, etc.

    Good shooting and hunting

    Cheers,

    Mark