Thoughts on second LR rifle.

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by AJ Peacock, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    All, I've been lurking for a while. Finally registered today and wanted to get your opinion. I did some searching and although I found some info, I've not found everything I was looking for.

    I've done a pretty good amount of LR hunting (grew up in Western Colorado). I've been shooting a Rem 700 BDL 7mm rem mag since 1978. This rifle is my current LR rifle. Only the action is original. It has a H-S Precision Kevlar stock, Its been rebarreled (with Remington barrel), Timney trigger, VariX-III 4.5x14 etc. My best 5 shot 200yd group is 5/8". (I don't currently have access to a longer range).

    I've taken a handful of Muley's over 500 yds with it (many from 350-450). So I am very comfortable with this rifle for deer, and for hiking.

    I've been thinking about getting a 'pure' long range rifle that won't be packed uphill very much. I know some spots in Colorado that are easy to get to but the shots are 600-800 yards (elk hunting). I've shot some elk with the 7mm, but don't like the idea of using it for 'really' long shots for elk.

    I'm thinking about a heavy 338RUM, 30" fairly heavy contour barrel (lilja, shilen ...), heavy laminate stock, bipod, NO-BRAKE etc. Goal of this rifle is a 700-800yd Elk rifle.

    Here are my questions :

    1) Is the 338RUM something that would fit the bill? Other 'better' options? 338-300RUM ??? Is the 338RUM overkill?

    2) I don't know anything about the 'right' components for a rifle like this. (I'd like a magazine feed, so if I ever use it for bears). Any recommendations on Action, barrel, total weight etc. would be great.

    3) I have absolutely no problem with full house 7mm rem mag recoil in my current medium weight rifle. How heavy would I have to make this 'howitzer' to not go crazy with recoil? (Bullet = 300gr SMK, or equiv).

    4) Is 30" barrel overkill? Underkill? etc.

    5) What have I missed?

    I have a friend that is a Gunsmith, so once I decide what I 'need' err uh 'want', all it will take is $$

    I really don't like muzzle brakes, due to the noise and I've had bad experience with getting superb accuracy with rifles that had brakes. I also don't like the muzzle blast/noise for a hunting rifle.

    I also reload for everything I own.

    Thanks,
    AJ
     
  2. 1doug

    1doug Well-Known Member

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    welcome,

    The 338 edge(338-300 rum) would be my choice with your requirements. That being said, any thing from a 308 up has been used efectivly on elk at the ranges you will be shooting, just going to be a personal choice.
     

  3. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    AJ,

    First off, got 700-800 yard elk hunting a 338 is not a nessesity, nothing wrong with it if you can handle the recoil but not totally needed.

    Second, not a slam at you at all but you need to realize that compared to a 7mm Rem Mag, you will be increasing recoil levels dramatically going to a 300 gr SMK at 2800-2900 fps. Keep that in mind. Rifle weight will certainly tame these rifles down but you better have a partner to spot your hits at long range because in most cases without a brake you will not see your bullet impacts unless you get your rifle up over 20 lbs and them even with that you will get decent rifle jump.

    I will go through your questions and give you my opinion.

    1. These are both great rounds for long range hunting of heavy game. I would also consider the 300 RUM. The 300 loaded with the 200 gr Accubond is another extremely deadly long range system that would work great for your stated shooting ranges. Also less recoil with basically the same trajectory out to the ranges you list.

    2. You going whole hog on this rifle? If so I would get a BAT or Nesika receiver. H-S Precision Detachable magazine system, I would personally recommend a Lilja but any of the top brands will work, Broughton, Krieger, Rock, etc... Any of the top barrels will produce what you want at this range.

    Rifle weight is a personal thing. It really depends on how my recoil you want to deal with. Without a brake understand that you will need more rifle weight to control recoil.

    3. Again a full tilt 338 RUM or 338-300 RUM will make the recoil of the 7mm Rem Mag look like a varmint rifle in comparision unless you are used to shooting them. Again, it all depends on what you want. IF you want to be able to snuggle up to the rifle and shoot it with no fear of recoil, I would say you will need to get in the low to mid 20 lb range. Again, this is a personal preference thing so its mainly up to you.

    4. a 30" barrel is not overkill with either of these rounds but not needed either. This case capacity with the 338 bore is much more efficent then many would think. 28" is plenty to be honest and even 26" works pretty well.

    Again though, there is nothing wrong with a 30" barrel but remember that after 26" you will only gain around 18-20 fps per inch of barrel with this class of round. The shorter the barrel the stiffer the barrel. The stiffer the barrel the more consistant it will be shot to shot.

    I would also like to mention that a properly installed brake will have ZERO effect on accuracy. In fact inthe vast majority of my customers, fitting a brake to their heavy recoiling rifles allowed them to shoot the rifles MUCH more accurately.

    What brakes have you had experience with on your rifles? Were they actually brakes or did someone port the barrel?

    Good Shooting and welcome to LRH!!

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  4. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys. I really appreciate them.

    As far as the brakes, I actually have played with ported guns and have always found them to be somewhat picky about loads. I've played with a lot of non-ported rifles that would shoot well with a wide range of ammo, not with ported rifles though. I'm not talking 1moa and such. I'm talking 1/2moa and less. Maybe brakes are a different animal w/re to accuracy. If so, count me in.

    As far as a spotter goes. When I hunt from a LR type position, I almost always have a spotter. To this point, my 2 longest kills just over 800yds Horizontal distance and 500yds where both one shot kills (34" and 28" Muleys). Both with the 7mm. Your points on muzzle jump are certainly valid. When I shot the 34" Muley (820yds) I was able to watch the hit (heart shot !, I should have bought a lotto ticket that morning /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif ).

    I've debated many times about a .30cal rifle as my 'upgrade'. But never decided it was 'enough' of an upgrade to spend the dough. Now that I've looked at the 338, it seems that it is 'More than Enough' of an upgrade.

    As far as the Barrel length, if 26" is long enough, then what would be wrong with finding a Sendero and adding a Brake? That would be much easier than building.

    As far as recoil, I'd setup the rifle while using a sissy bag and would only shoot it in hunting situations after that. It definately would not be for a leisurely afternoon of burning powder, I have other rifles that are 'fun' to shoot (.243, 7mm-08, 7mag ...).

    If a Sendero would 'do it', what brake would you recommend?

    Thanks,
    AJ
     
  5. 1doug

    1doug Well-Known Member

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    You could start with a sendero see what it shoots like and go from there.
    AS far as a brake get a holland Q/D brake

    Kirby could install it for you as well.
     
  6. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    You might take a look at the 30-378Wby with a 30 inch barrel, a brake and about 12-15 pounds of weight shooting a 240 grain Sierra match King with a BC of 0.711. It is still trucking at 1500 yds.

    Another good option would be to take a look at the 7MM Allen Mag when it is up and running with a 30 inch barrel and 200 gr wildcats. It appears that it will be good out to 1200-1300 yds for elk..
     
  7. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

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    AJ,

    With the Sendero its certainly possible to get a factory Sendero that will offer you what you are looking for as far as accuracy at this range. Many of them shoot extremely well.

    Others though, sadly should never make it out of the factory as they machining quality is less them many high school shop programs are putting out!!! This is not a slam to highschool kids starting to machine, its a slam to Remington for letting their quality control go to hell!!

    Its simply a crap shoot with a factory rifle. In my honest opinion, about 20% of the factory Senderos are capable of consistantly holding sub moa groups at 800 yards and thats with top quality ammunition and top shooters which if you have taken game out to 800 yards with one shot kills you are a fine shot.

    The difference compared to a full custom rifle is simply this, you know what you will get for your X amount of dollars, with the factory rifle you have to wait and see what you get.

    As far as muzzle brakes, I would recommend the Holland. All I own personally and only thing I fit on my Allen Magnum rifles. Accuracy is not effected any way and recoil would be dropped to that of a 308 Win chambered rifle.

    The 338 is certainly a hammer at long range but as far as trajectory with a 300 gr bullet, they are not the flattest shooting rifle out there. A 300 RUM with a 200 gr accubond or 220 gr SMK would offer flatte trajectories but then again, bullet drop is easy to correct for, wind drift is the kicker so use this to determine which caliber family you want to go with.

    TO be honest they are both great.

    Kirby Allen(50)
     
  8. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    FiftyDriver,

    Thanks again for the replies. My LR shooting is without rangefinder or personal computer. Just a few 3x5 laminated cards with my drop charts, cosine chart and reticle size/yardage chart. (I made these myself based on actual shooting at ranges up to 1000yds, with the rifle and load I was using). Back then, you couldn't buy laser range finders!

    It seems that with the cartridges we have access to today, palm pilots, rangefinders etc. It makes it quite a lot faster to determine shot placement. My 34" Muley, took me almost 15 minutes to range (pencil + paper + charts) 20 degree down angle.

    I have a question I think you can answer for me.

    My friend is a gunsmith by trade (nobody famous, just a journeyman, owns his own shop and does good work). I have shot several of his rifles and they shoot 3/8-1/2moa with me shooting them.
    I asked him about all this 'blue printing, trueing etc.'. He kinda laughed and said "Its nothing special, just make sure everything is square and put'em together."
    My question: Is all this super duper double dog dare LR gun building magic, really magic? Or is it just quality gunsmithing and good components?

    Thanks,
    AJ
     
  9. Charles A

    Charles A Well-Known Member

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    AJ, buddy, you have got to get you a range finder! Seriously its that big of a deal. Spend the $350 and buy a bushnell 1500. IMO your fooling yourself if you try to get serious about LR without one. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif
     
  10. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    AJ, buddy, you have got to get you a range finder! Seriously its that big of a deal. Spend the $350 and buy a bushnell 1500. IMO your fooling yourself if you try to get serious about LR without one. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Don't mis-understand me. I haven't been able to hunt out west for several years. Back when I was hunting hard and shooting LR, you couldn't buy laser rangefinders because they didn't exist! I'll have the best I can find next time (next year) I go out west hunting.

    20 some years ago is the last time I seriously hunted with LR in mind. I carried a protractor to estimate the angle, a drop chart I made based on actual shooting and calculated by hand. Next year, I'll have my PDA and a laser rangefinder.


    AJ
     
  11. Charles A

    Charles A Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    "Back when I was hunting hard and shooting LR, you couldn't buy laser rangefinders because they didn't exist"

    "I carried a protractor to estimate the angle, a drop chart I made based on actual shooting and calculated by hand. Next year, I'll have my PDA and a laser rangefinder'


    AJ

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Man I'm glad those days are over. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif


    Then I think about mil-dots and stalks... Arghhhh! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
     
  12. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Writers Guild

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    AJ

    I'm the same as you. I still have my 25 year old 7mmWby with the 25 year old 6X18 Redfield with the ranging stadia and the first generation Kenton target turrets. 1200 yds worth of clicks and then 200 more using the plex. Spend nearly ten minutes ranging and reranging an animal and then pray that it was "normal" sized.

    No internet back in those days, learned everything the hard way. Poor animals, it was pretty hard on them as many mistakes as I made.

    Left the west and got heavy into bowhunting here in the east.

    About a year ago I started thinking about retirement and a modern long range elk gun. Found out everything was computerized except for the toting of the gun. Remington will even sell you electric bullets.

    Excuse me, I forgot, you don't even need to tote the gun anymore you can just sit at home and use your mouse.

    As Roland says in Stephen King's Dark Tower, "the world has moved on"
     
  13. AJ Peacock

    AJ Peacock Well-Known Member

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    BuffaloBob,

    I didn't even have a scope that was made for estimating. What I did was mark a tall fencepost every 6", then backed off every 25 yards (300-1000) and figured out where I needed to dial the magnification to use the duplex reticle to cover a certain distance on the fencepost (kinda like what Leupold does now). A little work off those numbers and the size of the animal I was hunting and I had a lot of good data to use for ranging and hold over. It might take me 10-15 minutes to range the animal, then another couple minutes to deduce holdover and dial the scope to figure out where on the hillside I needed to aim with either the crosshair or the lower point on the duplex. (don't forget the wind drift /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif )

    I used to shoot a lot up to 1000yds and kept track of how the round shot (used as my drop chart). Always shot the same round at everything (154gr spirepoint, H4831 at around 3100fps).

    As far as the animals go, I never had a problem, as I rarely shot in high wind, or when the animal was moving. Just too many added variables to try and compute.

    Good luck on the retirement, I still have a few years ( 8 until my youngest is out of college), then I can start seriously playing again.

    AJ

    Oh, the good old days.

    I sure miss hunting out west /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif, I can't even get in to hunting here in the east this year. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif
     
  14. BountyHunter

    BountyHunter Writers Guild

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    AJ

    Several good calibers but bottom line is you will need either a large 30 case shooting the 240 SMK or a large case shooting the 300 SMK

    You will need a gun weighing at least 20-25 lbs lbs with either the 30 cal or 338 and a muzzle brake is essential.

    Magazine is not needed and just extra money for nothing in my opinion. You will end up single feeding anyway. Second any gun with mag is weaker in the action.

    Buy a custom action such as the BAT or Python. Python is $950 and comes with trigger guard and 20 MOA tapered rings in either 1" or 30mm. $950 seems like a lot until you find out how much it costs to true a factory action and then find out it is only worth half what you paid and not nearly as smooth or accurate as the BAT or Python. The Python will handle any case you want.

    Three things make accurate LR guns: good bullets, good cases and good barrels.

    SMKs are good if sorted base to ogive.

    Best cases are RWS, followed by Lapua and then Norma.

    RWS cases are now available in larger calibers for $1-1.50 per case and 20 cases have worn out a barrel and then some.

    Barrels, Broughton, Lilja, Hart etc.

    I would build on the 338 Lapua case. Either in 30 cal or 338. Brass is now less than $1 each and will outlast 10 pieces of Rem in the RUM calibers. Second choice would be the 338/404 on the RWS case.

    30"-34" barrel in barrel block with Holland or Answer brake.

    Go to www.6mmbr.com and look at the recommended smiths. Look for Mark King in Pa. He is building on of the premier heavy guns now and is an expert LR hunter. He can build a top notch rig that is centered around his heavy gun stock with barrel block built in. He has several 338/404s that he shoots with also.

    I have a 338 Lapua Ack Improved that is built on a custom Rampro action, 32" Lilja mounted in bedding block. It does 10 shot groups at 1000 in the 7-9" range and weighs about 26 lbs, but is a beast to shoot without the muzzlebrake.

    As for rangefinders, go either with the Leica 1200 or if longer ranges, get a good coincidental like the B&amp;S, Wilde or French copies.

    BH