Rifle Weight Vs. Distance capability...

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by HellsCanyon, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. HellsCanyon

    HellsCanyon Well-Known Member

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    What are your views on this for yourself personally?
    The last few years I've been hunting and packing a 12.5 lb rifle on some pretty knarly hunts and while it serves double duty as my competition rifle, it is a bit heavy for backpack trips. Though I do feel comfortable out there on game to 700 yards or so depending on conditions (steel much farther). We are in the process of putting together a 300 Norma in hopes of it performing well enough to be our large 30-cal option for our upcoming hunting rifles. Trying to get rifle without scope to come in under 9 lbs.

    Where do you draw the line for packing rifle weight? Do you feel the added distance capabilities of a semi-custom rifle is worth the extra weight over your typical factory Tikka/Rem/Savage? I'm trying to see what the majority consensus is as you are all potential customers, and we want to put rifles together that fit you and your hunting style! Thanks for the input ya'll...

    Mike
     
  2. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter Well-Known Member

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    Depends on a lot of factors. How old you are, how good of shape, recoil sensitivity and caliber are just a few. My new rifle should be done tomorrow. I want to be able to pack it, so I told the smith no more than 8 lbs before the scope. My scope is 18 oz so around 9 1/2 total when loaded. I'll be 55 next mo. and that is all I want to pack. At my age lighter is better. Its a 6.5-06 so recoil shouldn't be an issue. If it was a .338 of some sort I'd want it a little heavier. Lots of different scenarios. Generally speaking ,for hunting, most of us appreciate a rifle that weighs under 10 1/2 with everything on it. If you sit in a stand and can drive to within 1/4 mile of it then a 15 lb rifle is not a big deal. If you are sheep or goat hunting then every oz counts. Bruce
     

  3. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    In My opinion a rifle about the size and weight of a Sendero is near perfict for all round
    weight,accuracy and usability.

    The up side to a heaver rifle is steadiness under all conditions (Wind,out of breath,poor position
    and consistency/predictability).

    I believe in sacrificing weight in other areas (What goes in your pack)rather than in the rifle.

    I once hunted with a friend that carried a six pack of coke in his pack and complained about
    the weight of the rifle. It 'was' nice to have a coke on occasion as long as he was carrying it.

    Lighter rifles can be made to shoot very well under normal conditions, but how often have
    conditions been perfict in all categories while hunting ?

    So in truth, it is just a matter of opinion how much weight is the best compramize.

    I personally like a dressed out rifle to weigh between 10 and 12 pounds for longer distances
    in the mountains where packing is required. 12 to 14 pounds where long shots are the norm
    and distance to pack is under 4 or 5 miles.

    The only advantage a light rifle has is weight. all other advantages go to the heavy rifle.

    9 to 10 pounds is about my minimum weight preference where long shots are the norm.

    Where Shots are under 3 or 400 yards, weight is not a consideration IMO.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  4. HellsCanyon

    HellsCanyon Well-Known Member

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    Mirrors our own thoughts for sure...
    Adding up some #'s and what not, we're looking at 5 lbs before recoil lug, barrel, and optics are added. That includes rings n base... Should give us some wiggle room with the larger calibers!

    With a Vortex PST at 23 oz and a 3 lb-ish barrel that should make for a good carrying rifle right around 9.5... Throw a bipod on there and you're around 10.5.

    Mike
     
  5. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    12 pounds is a bit heavy to carry in mountain hunting conditions. One of mine weighs that but the area is well covered with ancient logging roads. The few strolls directly up the mountains are not overly uncomfortable. The problem is the weight is in the barrel which makes it tough to shoot off-hand....

    The 10 pound 338 RUM is great to carry in all conditions and is comfortable to 1200 on rocks and 900 on game (should the opportunity arise :rolleyes:) limitation due to scope reticle and turrets.

    Idaho says anything over 16 pounds can't be used for big game which leaves the real heavies out of the running.

    For me the trick of the lighter rifle at long ranges is special attention to shooting position. However, as stated above, some positions are simply miserable. The more miserable the less range the lighter rifle offers.
     
  6. Biggs300

    Biggs300 Well-Known Member

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    I'm an older hunter (61 yrs old) and most of my hunting now is backpack hunting/stalking deer and elk. I haven't been in a tree stand for several years now. My heaviest rifle is my Rem 25-06 (just under 10 lbs) which I will soon be re-scoping and changing out the leather strap to lighten the rifle. My other rifles are all under 9 lbs with my lightest being my X-Bolt 300 WM that is a little under 8.5 lbs with scope, strap and fully loaded magazine.
     
  7. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    Not very scientific, but I have settled over the years on my chosen rigs. For under 500 yard expectations I use rifles that are typically 8.5-9.5 pounds with sporter weight barrels. For over 500 yard expectations my rifles will have 26" minimum, #6 or larger barrels that run in the 10.5-12 pound range. My accuracy has proven to be better at longer ranges with the added weight.
     
  8. HellsCanyon

    HellsCanyon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies everyone they are much appreciated... always good to get some insight into potential customers! ;)

    Hopefully we'll have a good new announcement coming out soon that will have some of you excited! :D

    Mike
     
  9. ATH

    ATH Well-Known Member

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    I carry a Sendero on back country hunts, it has served me well to 700 yards. Some day I will build a lightweight rig, but to be honest I would not trust it to the same distance regardless of the builder. Target rifles are heavy for a reason.

    I prefer to hunt with the heaviest rifle my conditioning allows and cut weight elsewhere vs going to a light rifle. Given I'm still running 2:3X in the marathon in my mid-30s, the lightweight long range rifle is still pretty far down my gun-related wish list. ;)
     
  10. COBrad

    COBrad Well-Known Member

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    I'll agree with the several other posters here who think the Sendero is just about the ideal compromise between weight and heft. I use a 13.5 lb long range rifle, and have made kills on varmints over 1100 yards, but it's heavier than I'm going to pack around on an elk hunt. My elk rifle is 8 lb scoped and is really nice to carry. So far it has shot well out to 500 yards. My next long range hunting rifle will be a custom sendero type rifle. I would expect 1K yard capability on big game with this platform.
     
  11. HellsCanyon

    HellsCanyon Well-Known Member

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    Its funny as I have spent countless dollars to cut OUNCES off other hunting items of mine to get my backcountry pack setup between 30-35 lbs depending on 3-7 day trips for sept early october hunting. Then when I strap on that 12.5 lb rifle I ALWAYS chuckle at the irony... ;)

    Honestly we've seen rifles built at <9 lbs shoot just as good cold bore 3 shot groups as our heavy >13 lb competition rifles. The main areas we see performance is when you are shooting a timed multi-stage course where you might throw 18-20 rounds down range in under 2 minutes! As soon as you get over a few shots with the lighter contours you will have to worry about that barrel heating up vs. a heavier/stiffer barrel.

    We are hoping to be right at the 9-9.5# mark with optics (think Vortex PST).

    Mike
     
  12. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Well-Known Member

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    My 264WM weighs in at 10.5lbs ready to hunt with it's new larger scope and thumbhole stock. It is my "flatland" rifle, and I am waiting on a barrel for a custom 270 win I am having built that will be at 8.3lbs hunting weight. I'm not a true long range hunter though, I get close when possible. 500yds is my current limit I'm comfortable shooting at game, but I practice regularly at 600. I will be building a 300 magnum at some time in the near future that will also be fairly light.
     
  13. COBrad

    COBrad Well-Known Member

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    hellscanyon, I took a look at your web site but did not see any rifles. Did I miss the tab? Would like to see your work.
     
  14. HellsCanyon

    HellsCanyon Well-Known Member

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    You have not missed anything and thanks for clarifying... My hunting partner/bestfriend/business partner has been building rifles for a number of years now. He was the former CFO at Seekins Precision and helped get me started in the industry. We are in the planning stages of bringing to the market HCA hunting rifle packages as well as tactical match rifles. Hope to have the first official HCA rifles built by October but may push it into winter as this time of year gets rather hectic and we want to make sure we have things lined out pretty good before we start taking orders.

    Here's my hunting rifle that I helped him build a few years ago and she's still shooting like a champ... That .63" is overall group minus .284" for bullet diameter. Would've been better had I not had a slight wind sneak up on me. ;)
    [​IMG]

    Mike