Need some advice on a new rifle

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by 6072mc, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. 6072mc

    6072mc Member

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    Hello,

    This is my first time posting here and I am needing a little help with a new rifle purchase. A little about myself and what I am looking for might help in this process. First off I have been shooting firearms in one form or another most of my life.

    Over the course of my teenage years I hunted with a single shot 22 hornet, Ruger 22 semi auto, Marlin 22 semi auto, single shot stevens 410, marlin lever action 30-30, and browning semi auto 30-06. Everything from quail, beavers, ground hogs, squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, deer and hogs. I was always the best shot out of us kids and got the nickname from my dad and grandpa “dead eye den” short for Dennis. After the teenage days I joined the Marine Corps where I shot all manner of military stuff ranging from the basic a2 to the belt fed tripod mounted 50 cal, mark 19, and at4. On all four of my a2 rifle quals in the corp’s I scored 349 out of 350 (expert) giving me the second highest score in our air wing three of the four times and the highest once. I left the corps in 97 for a family life here in Oklahoma and since then have pretty much stayed away from guns and hunting due to work and kids. About six months ago I got back into hunting and purchased a 25-06 bolt action Thompson. First deer season out I got a nice buck as well as my oldest son getting his first buck and now the hunting fever has returned.

    My oldest son took over the Thompson, so now I am looking for a new rifle. I have about a thousand dollars to spend just for the rifle and another thousand for the scope. I plan to purchase the rifle in February and the scope in June. The area we are going to hunt this next season is the panhandle of Oklahoma where the fields / prairie flats there stretch for miles and miles and are flatter than flat. For sure we will be hunting Muley’s, but I have been told there are elk there as well. Additionally, family owned land about an hour from my house, were I go to shoot for fun about 2 times a month, the max range is about a thousand to eleven hundred yards and I intend to use that for some long range target shooting fun.

    With my prior Thompson we set up a 1inch square bulls eye paper target and at 150 yards I can cut the center out of it, without ever hitting outside the bulls eye, so it’s safe to say that I still possess the basic rifle skills from my teenage days and my training from the corps. The scope on the Thompson is nothing special just a Nikon 3-9x40 so I never tried to go much beyond 200 yards due to a 1inch dot being almost invisible on 9 power at 200 yards with that scope.

    What I am looking for is a caliber that can reach out to 1000 yards for bench rest target shooting fun, not competition (a 6 inch group or less at 1000 yards is what I am hoping to get to eventually), and be able to take down whitetails, muley’s, and elk with as little damage to the smaller whitetails as possible. 55gr is the minimum cut off bullet weight for whitetails and 85gr is minimum for elk here in Oklahoma. I don’t hand load and I obviously can’t afford a custom rifle with only a thousand dollar budget for the rifle itself. For hunting I am a stand hunter in either a blind or a tree stand and motor up to said stand on a four wheeler. No more walking than a couple hundred yards and both my blind and stand have a support for laying my rifle on for shooting, so weight of the rifle isn’t a big factor.

    I have read enough on this forum and other’s along with gobs of ballistic charts to make myself sick trying to decide on a caliber. As it is now the 6.5x284 is looking the most attractive. I know barrel burnout is a factor and also factory ammo is a pain to get, but I have found an online seller and so long as I buy in bulk I should be ok. As for barrel burnout It will taker me about 3 or 4 years to go through a thousand rounds (the stated life of the barrel) and for me that is an acceptable length of time before having to pay for another barrel. A 300WSM is my second choice but that’s allot of gun and I don’t want to ruin a small whitetail if I were to shoot one with it?

    Can anyone here help me decide which of those two caliber’s are best for my needs, or if there is something better out there?

    For the make of the rifle, the Savage 11/111 Longe Range Hunter with the Accu-trigger, Accu-stock, and 26in barrel look great to me as it comes in both the 6.5x284 and 300wsm (additional other caliber’s as well) and is right at thousand dollars. I haven’t found anything to beat that within my price range so if there is something better please let me know.

    For the scope I have read that in my price range a zeiss conquest or leupold vx3 are my best options. Input here is appreciated as well. No more than a thousand dollars here also.

    Any assistance with this is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    Due to not reloading you are at the mercy of ammunition manufacturers. 300Win mag, the new 338 Lapua Savage, 7WSM are all your best options. With a little diligent searching of ammo manufacturers you should be able to find ammo that will work. In 7WSM you want 160grn bullets or higher. In 300Win you want 185grn or better. Anything in 338Lapua is good. The RUM is an option, but you can't purchase that in the Savage. Going to 1000-1100yds with factory ammunition is going to be difficult unless you can find something in HSM, Gunwerks, or Bryan Litz target ammo that will work in your particular rifle. If you could pull with in 800yds w/ the WSM than that would be the good caliber. But you are still limited. However the 300WSM is not overkill for whitetail.

    Tank
     

  3. 6072mc

    6072mc Member

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    Just out of curiosity what are the starting costs for reloading? Is it cheaper to buy allot of rounds of the internet or make allot yourself? When I say allot of rounds I am talking about enough to last for a year of shooting as I obviously wouldn't want to keep ordering online each month, you follow me? I shoot on average about twice a month. Usually two boxes of ammo per trip.

    Additionally how complicated and safe is it to reload? I attempted to make a pipe bomb with a copper pipe and pyrodex black powder when I was about 13 and the end result was me losing my eyebrows and having a red face for about a month. That was a long time ago and I have improved in my instruction following abilities significantly since then, but if the chances for something blowing up seriously exists then I had better stay away from it until the kids are grown up and out of the house :D

    300win mag vs 300 wsm... which of the two are better? From Winchester's ballistic's table the wsm was showing better trajectories. Winchester and Hornady's tables are what I have been using recently. I have no real world applicable knowledge with these two caliber's so all I know about them is what I can find on the internet.

    How do the 338 Lapua Savage and 7wsm do on small deer (Small deer in my state would be a doe in the 130-150 weight range. I personally don't shoot doe's and wouldn't shoot a buck that small either but I am thinking worst case scenario here. I have no experience with the 338 or 7wsm so I don't know how much damage they do.

    There is no 7wsm in the savage model I have picked. If this is the superior caliber can you recommend a rifle in my price range?

    the 300win mag ($962) and the 300 wsm ($1001) in the savage rifle are both at a thousand, but the 338 isn't (it's at $1239). That's going over quiet a bit and could push the purchase date out another month to March. Is that caliber that much better in the long run and waiting another month?
     
  4. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    remington sendero. leup 6.5-20.
     
  5. deserthntr

    deserthntr Active Member

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    what i have found when doing my long range research and deciding on what caliber i want etc, is that it all comes down to personal preference. how much recoil you can handle, price, etc. all these calibers mentioned are great, i personally just recently got a 6.5x284 and absolutely love it. its my caliber, mild recoil, long distance capabilities, and i can kill everything i will ever get a chance to hunt here in arizona. none of the rifles will do excessive damage, but they can, all depends on your bullet/shot placement combo. many people here in az use a 300win, wsm, etc on our little coues deer. a big mature coues buck will weigh around 110lbs to give you an idea. i would highly suggest getting into reloading if you can. getting started it is expensive but in the long run it definately pays off. especially if you want to get to 6" at 1000yds. its not dangerous at all, although it can get complicated because its addicting and once you get going you will want to squeeze all the accuracy you can out of your rifle. once you accomplish one goal you then want to get better etc. but the basics to get atleast 1 MOA arent complicated at all, its about being consistent and figuring out what your gun likes
     
  6. deserthntr

    deserthntr Active Member

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    oops... double post
     
  7. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    Depending on what caliber you choose, you can load for about $0.50 to $1.00 a round. Reloading is safe as long as you use common sense and get a good reloading manual. Most manuals are good. I found that some offer a little better instruction in the begging of the manual. Lee, and Lyman I feel offer the best info on reloading technique and instruction. With the price of magnum ammo, you are looking at $35-70 a box. Assuming your rifle shoots the cheep stuff you are looking at 35x2=70x12 $840 a year. Assuming you have to go with the more expensive stuff, you are looking at 70x2=140x12=$1680. For $300 you can get a complete kit or put one together yourself to get started. Then you are looking at an additional $40avg for premium bullet, box of 100, $40avg primers for a box of 1000, and depending on your brass choice your looking at between $20-$70 for a 50ct. So initial costs will run you right around $100-150 for components. So now your at $400-450. Then you add dies for reloading, your can go cheap, but average quality dies are between $45 and $60. And depending on powder selection will also vary the price some. So with all of this, you are still under the cost of a box of cheap ammo 2x a month for a year. So if you get 100 casings then you have 2.5 months of shooting. :D The only problems is then you are tempted to shoot more often. :D

    But there is no substitution for hand rolled ammo. It will perform better, and give you greater option in bullets to fit your shooting needs.

    The 300WM, 7&300 WSM, and Lapua damage will all be determined by how fast you push your bullets, what bullet you select to use, and where you hit the animal. If you use a soft construction bullet, your going to get maximum tissue damage. If you use a bonded premium bullet your damage will be much less. So it is really a matter of what you want to accomplish. For deer, the WSM in 7mm or .30cal is going to get you to 1000. For elk or black bear, then you really should go with the 300WM, but guys on here are getting superb performance out of the 7WSM using 180 Berger's. Does this help or add any clarity?:cool:
     
  8. 6072mc

    6072mc Member

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    I will look at handloading a little further down the road for sure.

    Black bear is never going to happen. I have only seen one in the wild in my entire life. Elk will happen someday, but I just learned that the family land that I am hunting that has elk on it, is not a legal elk hunting county here in oklahoma. This leave's muely's, whitetails and paper targets for what I will be shooting.

    From all the posts so far in this thread I should be looking at these caliber's:

    300 win mag - Yes comes in savage 11/111 LRH
    300 wsm - Yes comes in savage 11/111 LRH
    7mm wsm - No does not come in savage 11/111 LRH
    6.5x284 - Yes comes in savage 11/111 LRH

    For what I am wanting to do:
    1. Kill Paper targets out to a thousand yards (as i get more experienced be able to shoot 6in groups)
    2. Kill Mule and Whitetail deer
    3. Later in the year start learning handloading

    Help me decide on which "one" of those four are my best choice.

    PS.
    Just thinking out loud: I like the Savage rifle and since I cant find a better rifle in my price range for the 7mm wsm that pretty much eliminates it from the group unless someone can link me to one just as good as the savage?
     
  9. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    Than the 300WSM will do all you need. Though I am going to direct you to the Mod12 VLP. It is the same price, but a little better set up. You get a true 26" barrel. I would take it to a gun smith and have a good break installed instead of the factory break. The LRH is a nice setup, but you will have a much better platform with the VLP. The laminated stock is very nice, the pillar bedding is solid. Plus it's stainless steel.

    Tank
     
  10. codyjoe1128

    codyjoe1128 Well-Known Member

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    X2 I just got my 300wsm savage model 12 goin and man is it sweet! True to savage style it shoots nice little three shot groups even with factory ammo, mine loves 150 grain winchester silvertips....one holed 3 shots at 300 yards yesterday...I will be reloadin for it but got 60 rounds of factory ammo for Christmas.....as for recoil....just some muzzle jump, shot 22 rounds zeroing the scope just the way I like it and no sore shoulder....love me some accutrigger too!!!
     
  11. codyjoe1128

    codyjoe1128 Well-Known Member

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    That and they are just down right perty rifles...
     

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  12. 6072mc

    6072mc Member

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    What does that mean a "true 26in barrel"? Is the barrel on the 111LRH not really 26in because they are counting the length of the muzzle brake as the barrel?

    Pillar bedding - Is that the same thing as the Accu-stock?

    Is there some type of modification that can be done to raise the cheek rest without making the stock look bad (IE strap-on devices)

    The 12VLP is much sexier than the 111LRH...
     
  13. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

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    Read answers that are bold and italisized.
     
  14. codyjoe1128

    codyjoe1128 Well-Known Member

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    The cheek really doesn't need raised for me anyway....I love the way it shoots and fits..