My Story & Several Questions

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by BitterrootBob, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. BitterrootBob

    BitterrootBob Well-Known Member

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    First, I apologize for the long post. I am just getting started with rifle hunting. Let me start out by saying many years ago I took up bowhunting and that essentially ended my gun hunting for many years. As a youngster I was an avid bird hunter and hunted deer with a rifle and slug shotgun in Michigan.

    I started out bowhunting with a recurve and never did get into compound bows. I made some of my own longbows and have harvested countless animals, including elk with them. I made my own wood arrows and some of my own stone and metal broadheads.

    A couple of years ago I was chasing a huge bull elk during the early archery season. I never did get him within bow range and a friend said I should go out during the general season with him. I didn't even own a rifle but he let me borrow one of his. He reloaded his ammo. We went to the range and did some sighting and practicing. We both ended up harvesting an elk that season but not the bull I saw several times during the archery season. I had a great time, though. The next season I borrowed a rifle from another friend and harvested another elk.

    Now, I have purchased a rifle and plan on purchasing another as well. I want to reload my own ammo. It reminds me of making my wooden arrows. To me both are great hobbies.

    I have the ability to practice at very long ranges at a friends ranch and up to 400 yards at the local gun range.

    The easy way to start reloading appears to be purchasing a kit but I don't think I want to go that direction. I have pretty much decided to go with either the Redding Big Boss press or the Forster Co-Ax (I am leaning toward the Forster). For case trimming I have read good stuff about the Wilson and Forster. The Wilson has a micrometer option from Sinclair that lets you dial overall length. How do you figure out the trim length with the Forster? I like the idea that the Forster has the 3 in 1 cutter that trims, deburs and chamfers in one step. Has anyone used this and does it do the job? And about deburing and chamfering, I have read the Wilson attachment doesn't work so well because their case holders are not all the same diameter. I am interested in how everyone completes these processes.

    Then comes scales. I've seen an article and video about the Sartorius GD503. Quite a scale but no way am I spending $1325.00 to measure powder. How accurate are the beam scales and is there a good, accurate, repeatable digital scale that is reasonably priced? My plan is to get a cheap powder measure and set it to throw light and then trickle each charge on a scale.

    What else do I need to get started reloading? I know I need dies and lube etc.

    The rifle I have is a Remington 700 CDL SF. I am either going to have it pillar and glass bedded or have a Whidden V-Block installed. Any advise on which direction to go here? I also need to add a scope and mounts. I have allowed up to $700 for a scope and would like suggestions on make and model people are happy with. For the base and rings I have been thinking about the Murphy Precision. They support this website and appear to be well thought of.

    Any additional tips would be appreciated. Again, sorry for such a long post. Thanks in advance for the feed back.
     
  2. 257WTBY

    257WTBY Well-Known Member

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    Sorry if i missed it but what caliber are u shooting?

    As far as scopes I only ever owned leupolds once i could afford to buy my own and have been getting into alot of others. I know NF is out of budget but I have been reading good things about Vortex I actually just ordered one for a coyote gun. I have friends who praise Burris and Nikon I personally have no expeirence with either other then a Burris 1.75-5 on a marlin guide gun i have and it seem fine on there.

    As far as reloading like u have found out the sky or better yet budget is the limit I personally use a scale I bought at a government auction that came from a post office. It is accurate as can be but a little tedious i become good friends with the powder thrower.

    Good luck with reloading i have been doing it for 20+ years and still learn things all the time
     

  3. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    My first advice would be to have a good smith do a complete bed and float job on your rifle including installing steel or aluminum pillar blocks. There are also some nylon pillars available but I'm not convinced they are as effective.

    Secondly I would advise saving another couple of hundred bucks and that will enable you to broaden your scope choices considerably.

    Look at the 4.5-14 x 44 zeiss conquests at the lower end and the Leupold Mark 4 4.5-14x50 at the high end. The vortex Viper PST in the 4-16x60 is decent glass as well. I just bought one of the latter in fact.

    Don't be afraid of buying used scopes of these three brands either. They have good reliability anyway along with lifetime warranties.

    I'll let others advise you on reloading but I especially am fond of the Swift SiroccoII, Hornady Interbond, and Nosler Accubond for great High BC hunting bullets you can rely on with every shot.

    Welcome.
     
  4. BitterrootBob

    BitterrootBob Well-Known Member

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    I guess I did forget to mention the caliber. I currently have a 260 Remington with 24" barrel.

    I was thinking about picking up something in 338 but am not completely sure yet. I was specifically looking at a 338 RCM.

    I am going to have the action bedded. And I have thought about the Whidden V-Block. Not sure which way to go. This is the next step, though. Then I'll need to look at scope, base and rings. I appreciate the thought on scopes WildRose. The choices are so numerous and confusing. I'm not sure what retical to go with or anything. I was also looking at the Leupold CDS system.
     
  5. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Bob before buying a .338 ask yourself one important question. Why?

    The most popular caliber for Elk and Moose sized game in europe is the 6.5x55. The 6.5's also pretty much rule the plains game hunting in Africa, particularly SA where some of the largest species of antelope in the world are found and are considerably larger than the average Elk killed in the US.

    Now I'm not saying I believe the 6.5's are the best, in fact I specifically own 7mm STW's, 300wm's and a 300 Rum Specifically for LR shooting (beyond 600yds) on Large wild boar (over 500lbs) as well as for my eventual Elk, Moose, and Grizzly hunts.

    I just see no need to spend the extra money on gear, ammo, reloading components etc and put up with the extra muzzle blast and recoil

    There's a reason you can pick up so many fantastic deals on used .338's and that's because for many they come to the same realization after shooting just a few boxes of shells through them.

    The are amazing weapons and beyond 1,200yds they will do things even the big 300's cannot do but only a tiny handful of even us dedicated LR hunters will actually have such a need.

    As for scopes. If your limit for shooting is going to be 800yds or less then the CDS and similar type systems will work very well for you but they do limit you essentially to one load and if you change altitudes by more than 4000' you really do need to get multiple dials for the different elevations or they will not be particularly accurate.

    For myself I prefer to just use a standard Leupold TMR or Mil dot, or my IOR's with the MP8 which I dearly love.

    All the best.
     
  6. lamiglas

    lamiglas Well-Known Member

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    for a scale/ powder thrower, I use the chargemaster combo and would never go back. I have a rcbs beam scale as well and it works great. I used it now to check my thrown loads periodically and have found the chargemaster to be very accurate for precision reloading
     
  7. BitterrootBob

    BitterrootBob Well-Known Member

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    WildRose,

    The extra recoil and muzzle blast etc. is why I haven't done anything on a 2nd rifle. The two I borrowed were a 280 Remington and a 7mm08 Remington. I harvested an elk with each and neither took a single step.

    I shot a 338 Win Mag and the recoil was not what I would call comfortable. I also shot a 300 Win Mag and that wasn't too bad but probably the upper end of what I would want to shoot very often.

    I have made up my mind, at this point, to finish the 260 Remington and get a season or two under my belt before I worry about adding a second rifle. I started looking at some of the higher end scopes, as you suggested, and by the time I get a scope mounted and this rifle bedded and get some reloading equipment, I am going to have a significant investment.
     
  8. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    Since you are taking your time here and as I understand it not going the "full custom" route let me suggest this.

    Use the search feature on this site for "bedding rifle" and "bedding scope mounts" along with a youtube search for how to properly bed a rifle yourself. It's really not that hard and it's fun to do what work you can on your own for a lot of us and you are talking a couple of hundred dollars savings right there.

    The .338 wm is mild compared to the big .338's but all of these mag's can easily be tamed with a quality muzzle brake. Ross Schuler who is your neighbor one state over makes a very good one for an extremely reasonable price and some of our sponsors here make very good one's as well and some are in your home state.

    Visit our 7mm STW thread and give it consideration. It's a phenomenal round for the purposes you detail.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/for...imes-westerner-88228/index308.html#post733904

    This is another good thread I think you may benefit from.

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/for...etting-started-but-intimidated-dollars-80244/
     
  9. BitterrootBob

    BitterrootBob Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to get this 260 Remington done first, as I said. When the time comes, I'll certainly consider the 7mm STW. After all, the two rifles I borrowed were both 7mm, so I have good vibes with 7mm offerings.:)

    As far as bedding, I'll likely (99.999% chance) do it myself. As I mentioned in the OP, I have hunted with homemade longbows, broadheads etc. To me there is nothing like a successful hunt with equipment made with your own hands.

    I've read a bunch and watched some videos on pillar and glass bedding. It doesn't appear all that difficult. I might purchase the video by Richard Franklin entitled "Stress Free Pillar Bedding". Have you seen it? He has a pretty good article on another site about his process. If I can build and tiller a longbow, I believe I can bed a rifle action. I've seen many posts that say to see how the gun shoots before doing anything but I don't believe I'll follow that advise. I plan on bedding the action before a bullet ever goes down the tube.

    The other option is the Whidden V-Block. Do you have any experience or thoughts on that versus bedding? Also, it seems many shooters like the Devcon for bedding. Would that be your choice as well?
     
  10. BitterrootBob

    BitterrootBob Well-Known Member

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    WildRose, (or anyone else, for that matter)

    So, I changed my scope allotment to $1100.00, per your advise. Now, I want to go see if I can find the models on my list to take a look at them, up close & personal. The list I have come up with is:

    • Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x50 A0 MC; Kenton BDC turrets or Rapid Z
    • Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50
    • Vortex Viper PST 4-16x50 FFP
    • Nikon Monarch X 4-16x50
    • Leupold VX-3 4.5-14x50mm (30mm) Side Focus
    • Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 4.5-14x50mm (30mm) M1
    • Steiner Predator Xtreme 3-12x56mm
    • Swarovski Z3 4-12x50
    • IOR Valdada Tactical 4-14x50
    Any of those stick out to you as better then the others? Also, is their a scope I am missing, in that price range, that I should add to my list?
     
  11. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    If you are a handy guy and have a basic understanding of "Farm Physics" it's not that difficult.

    I learned by trial and error before video tape was invented so... .

    Haven't seen the video. Basically I remove as much material as I can around the action except at the holes for the action screws without defacing the stock or weakening it and I replace it with epoxy.

    One thing I'll recommend is do either the recoil lug area first or the action area first and then the other rather than both at once on your first few and it will save you some heart pounding wondering if you'll ever get it apart again HA!

    Use lots of release agent and then use twice that much.

    I prefer the pillars to the bedding block because getting a good fit with the block requires more precision and tools than most of us have and once those pillars are set in the epoxy it's absolutely solid. It's also very difficult to ensure a super solid mating between the bedding block and the stock.

    The last couple I did I did with Devcon. It is certainly more expensive than a lot of the products out there but it works well and once it sets up it's hell for stout.
     
  12. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

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    I've seen good/bad reviews on the kenton turrets. My recommedation would be regular target or tactical turrets for any of them. Even if you get custom turrets for a specific load you need different turrets anytime you change loads or have a big change in temps or elevation.

    You can always get one of those little tape label makers and once you set and verify your ranges mark one and stick it on any turret.

    There are no bad choices in your list. I don't have much experience with the Vortex personally yet but everyone I know who has one is happy with it although many will "upgrade" as soon as they can afford it. I just bought two and I'll play with them for a year on a 300wm and a 7mm STW and see what I think.

    The Zeiss Conquest series are really outstanding value for the price. My personal favorites are my IOR 4.5-14x50 tactical and my Leupold Mark 4's one ea in 6.5-20x50 and 8.5-25x50. Both of the latter have M1 turrets, one with the Mild dot and one with the TM reticles. I've shot mildots for so long it's like looking in the mirror but the IOR MP8 is my all time favorite reticle.
     
  13. BitterrootBob

    BitterrootBob Well-Known Member

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    I really appreciate all of your help! I have some concern on these scopes at the low end of their magnification. You mention a Mark 4 6.5X20X50 and 8.5X25X50. Are these strictly open country and/or target scopes? How difficult is target acquisition at say 75 yards in dark timber? Even the scopes I listed starting at 4.5 magnification concern me somewhat. It looks as though you lose about 8 feet field of view going from 4.5 to 6.5, if I am reading the Zeiss specs correctly.
     
  14. mtmuley

    mtmuley Well-Known Member

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    If you expect shots in dark timber at 75 yards, I don't think you really need any of the scopes you listed. I use a 4-12 X 40 on my elk rifle and it is more than adequate. I've practiced out to 850 yards with the set-up so far, and taken elk as close as 42 yards. If I were you, with the budget you have set, I'd look at the new Leupold VX-6. By the way, I hunt the Root too. mtmuley