What caliber to start with?

Discussion in 'Long Range Hunting & Shooting' started by Pbailey, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. Pbailey

    Pbailey Well-Known Member

    Jul 14, 2011
    Well, I now have the money, and I am seriously looking at a set up to purchase. I do not have the money to buy a custom that costs thousands, but a store bought semi-long to long range rig with the rifle cost at about $1000 max. Main purpose is for target, and deer. I currently shoot a 270 and a 223 that I built. The .223 shoots 1/4 MOA when I do my part, and my cheap 270 can get them near 3/4 MOA with the right loads. I shoot nearly every day and I do reload. I have been bitten by the long range bug, and really just want to hone my skills. I live in southern Oregon, and like I said, this rifle will mainly be used to shoot and practice, as well as for deer hunting.

    I am looking at the savage line up because of their "out of the box" accuracy. I am really interested in their Long Range Precision set up. Although I am kinda bummed because the only caliber they offer it in that I am very interested in is the .260. They also sell a .308 in the HS stock in their law enforcement line which seems like a nice rig. But, I did call their custom order shop, and they said for a couple/few hundred more bucks, they would make me a LRP in 7wsm. My thought process is, if I am going to spend the money to get into it, why not start right off with a powerful cartridge that is going to be very effective at anchoring deer at longer yardages. What do you think?

    I have a friend who bought a savage F class in 6.5x284 and he routinely kills deer at 650+ yards with 140g bergers. So...do you think that one of the savages is my best bet? Should I build my own off of a stevens action? look for a used gun? Or any other suggestions?

    Thank you Very much. I know I have a lot of questions, but you all know so much that I am just trying to get the best information possible. Thank you again!
  2. WildRose

    WildRose Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2011
    There's so many possible options that would fit your needs my suggestion would be to cruize the classified section here, sniper's hide, and over at sniper central.

    As the economic malaise we are in drags out and/or worses there's going to be a hell of a lot of nice rigs for sale in your price range.

    Give this thread a looksee and it'll give you an idea of how others put their rigs togethe on a budget.


  3. liltank

    liltank Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2008
    I like the idea of the Stevens and building one. I put together a decent list for somebody to put together a good accurate starting rig. It is something I did over the course of three years, but learned a ton. Had I known then what I know now, I would have gone this route:

    (from another thread by me)
    Here are some thoughts. You can pick up a Savage hunting action from factory for $375-$400 (w/accutrigger). Sin arms prefit barrels $275 (Savage Barrels) $180-$235 Stockade money saver stocks (unfinished, but doesn't require a lot of finish work), EGW base $40 (Savage Round Back Picatinny Rail Scope Mount: Evolution Gun Works Inc.), Weaver Tactical rings $30 a pair(Weaver Six Hole Tactical 30mm Rings), $25 SSS recoil lug (Savage Competition Recoil Lug), $400 Vortex Viper 6.5-20x44 (Vortex 6.5-20x44 Viper 30mm Rifle Scope I personally own this scope and love it!).

    Total- $1325 w/ low price options
    Total- $1405 w/ the upper pricing on action and stockade stock

    You can figure another $100-200 for a muzzle break should you decide to put one on. These would be complete guns. I don't think you will be disappointed. The reason I suggested Sin-arms barrels is due to using Lothar Walther barrels.

    You figure this is a complete gun for this package. You can also do this in your own basement, gun room, work shop if you want too. If I would have gone this route 3yrs ago I could have put a lot more money into the optics. Instead I have burning money over the years learning coming up with this very configuration. Oh well, it was fun learning!:D As far as caliber. I have narrowed it down to the 300 Win Mag or 270WSM. Both will do a number on a deer and a target as far as you are willing to go. But with anything else, it takes practice.

    Here's my rifle that I built, its a consistent 1/4MOA rifle to 800yds:

  4. Boom

    Boom Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2010
    Funny you mention the 7wsm from the Savage custom shop. Savage just built a rifle for my shooting partner in 7wsm based on the FCP-K line. He received the rifle last week and I shot the rifle Saturday. I am familiar with the that line from Savage as I shoot the FCP-K in .308. Once we found the right load, the 7wsm came in just fine, putting six rounds sub MOA at 100. Recoil was not an issue at all. Combination of cartridge, accuracy and price seems hard to beat for a good budget, starter rig. The only issue I see with such a set up for your situation is ammo but if you're reloading then even that should not be much of an issue. FYI, factory 140, 150, and 160 ammo was ok, but the rifle loved hand load Berger 180's, loaded for 2850 fps.
  5. snowpro440

    snowpro440 Well-Known Member

    Oct 1, 2008
    I dont know about you guys, but my next choice will be the Savage 338 lapua . I know they shoot $5 bills but how many long range animals do we shoot in a season....? Model 111 longrange hunter , its well worth the anchor point.
  6. ptsdvet

    ptsdvet Member

    Oct 23, 2012
    I have a 22X250 that if I do my Job at the range at 200 it will do 3/8" A 300 Win Ive killed deer and moose with and will shoot 1 MOA at 200 but since I started shooting a 6.5 witch was original a 6.5X57 with Iron sights at the time shooting 100 m I was able to repetable pu three shoot touching each other. The barrel was straight taper 26" from europe that had not been shoot because you cant buy ammo of the shelf so it set until I saw this mauser no one was buying. After shooting the tightest groups of my life with iron sights the hook was set. When you study the 6.5 history and performance you will find that 6.5X06 & 6.5 are the top two on the 6.5 list then the two 6.5 belted mags. The 6.5 X55 is the on reconised hero we then come to Creedmores, 6.5 X57, 260 and the other military 6.5s.
    Your 270 will do anthing those listed after the first four 6.5s and yet wont match up to the first four. So long story short my 6.5X57 be came a 6.5X284 I get store bought cases, wounderful accurce, not hard on sholder or a powder hog and it flat puts deer down
    Savages 6.5X284 is the best pick off the shelf Nam Vet
  7. A Train

    A Train Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2011
    i love my Savage LRP in .260 rem. Pretty heavy but shoots good.
  8. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2011
    They are fun, look industrial (as my wife calls it) and really don't shoot 5 dollar bills if you roll (reload) your own even with Lapua components, which I recommend.

    I believe 'street' price, snot stock with Karsten Cheek is around 11 smackers but probably can be had for a bit less, but maybe not considering the epidemic in gun buying lately.....

    Not a brush gun certainly.

    Of course adding a suitable scope, sling, extra magazine andcase will appreciate the price a bit....

    It's hard to beat (for stopping power) a 338 caliber pill...
  9. RangerBrad

    RangerBrad Well-Known Member

    Dec 26, 2010
    What kind of scope do you already have or do you intend on buying one? I think you'll find the scope is far more important than the rifle as long as you can get about 1/2 moa. You mentioned that you have a .270 shooting 3/4moa. Can it be improved upon trigger job, new barrel (blah blah blah?) The reason I bring this up is because you will find yourself shooting alot once you start this so, you will want something inexpensive to reload for and since you reload you already have the equipment for the .270 I presume? I am shooting a 25-06 routinly out to 730 and am just finding my self wanting a larger cal weapon( one of the big 300s) If you have $1000 to spend it may be better to jack up what you have and add the remainder to the price of a top of the line scope. As for sharp shooting off the shelf rifles I've heard lots of good things about the Marlin x7 the only problem with the marlin is it maybe harder to find aftermarket stuff for it. Just some thoughts. Brad
  10. bower4311

    bower4311 Member

    Nov 12, 2012
    Or you could go with a cheaper savage and add on a nice stock and whatever else you might want.
  11. toddc

    toddc Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2005
    Im with tank.
    I buy the cheapest savage/stevens I can buy. My personal record is $25!(1 ton ran over barrel it looked like an L and stock was in splinters with trigger in 10 parts laying in the parking lot of a pawnshop). Accutrigger is nice but not necessary, I can get most any savage trigger to break clean and light with a little to a lot of tweaking.If not buy a $100 Basix. So like tank I would go for the build it route which also teaches you what you are really shooting and how and why it works.
    1 action $275 max
    2 stock($100-$1000) Look at the boyds prairie thumbhole if you can pillar bed and do SOME work) Stupid cheap tho.
    3 recoil lug $40 shipped
    4 brake ($200 max installed) Guns without brakes for LRH are stupid
    5 barrel ($300 m/l)
    Fully braked setup that will shoot with or outshoot anything factory on the cheap side at $915 BRAKED. Add optics to your level and voila.
    338 is the only cal to start with. The whole idea of STARTER RIFLES in LRH has caused a sh#@load of problems for a lot of guys who would be lightyears ahead if they werent handicapped by an inferior caliber and bullet.
    Yes 338s are big. Yes they CAN kick. Yes they cost more per shot. Yes they produce a lotta noise.
    They also hit harder,shoot farther,with less windage,with higher hit probability and easier reloading than anything else commonly used.
    1. 338s are big. Uhh any LRH rig is gonna be a tad larger than a normal gun. WEIGHT=STABILITY AND SHOOTABILITY. Even if you shoot a lighter recoiling gun the gun wont ride bags or bipod at 8lbs like at 13.
    2 They kick too much! Uhhh you were aware of these things called muzzle brakes? Put a brake on it that makes it shootable.PERIOD. Whether its a 7mm or 338 any LRH rifle for deer at 800yds NEEDS a brake.
    3 They cost too much to shoot. Uhhh if you are using a gun you miss with 15% of the time wont it be cheaper than shooting a gun with a 40% miss rate? Certainly make it a lot faster learning process with positive feedback for fewer shots.
    4 They are noisy! Uhhh I think any rifle is. Buy a pair of electronic muffs so you and a spotter can talk as soon as you get into this. Good hearing protection even with a non braked 223 is a must.
    Ok so we have the negatives handled right?
    Now lets put out the positives.
    Compared to the 7mm we have this.
    At 1k (Good even # for comparism, changing it doesnt change the vast gulf between them)
    338 SMK at 2850 7mm short mag berger 180 at 3k
    24.45 moa elev 21.28
    9.5 moa wind 10
    2100 fpe 1291
    This comparism is of two rifles that will be dimensionally similar in size and weight(3k 180 = long barrel). They will kick pretty close to the same. (338 has a bigger brake obviously). If you smack a deer 8" too far back with the 338 it will rupture enough stuff to kill...a 7 MIGHT. A 7 might also pile up on a shoulder or hip or pencil thru or miss completely instead of hitting the front shoulder due to the windage difference of 5". And yeah I know 5" is no difference at all....till ya miss something by 5'" then its a real big deal isnt it?
    This was the best case for the 7mm velocity wise and it did real well, if I had used the commonly used 15-168 gr stuff it would be a huge gulf. The 338 barely beats it in wind bucking but when you hit something and its 5" closer to POA and hits it a 1000fpe harder I would like to be totin a 338.
    I realize this all seems radical but I have thought about this a lot in regards to starter rifles. We want a persons 1st gun to be FORGIVING AND EASY TO LEARN ON. So many times people suggest a 308 for this. Wanna see the diffs at 1k on those 2 rounds? Cuz its hilarious!
    Why would anyone suggest that the best way to learn a new sport is by using inferior junk that will teach bad habits when a perfectly suitable gun is available?
    The less wind correction needed and the more consistent a gun is the better it is for a beginner. Loading a 300 338 slug to 2800 or so with a REALLY low es is as easy as it gets. Neck tension and load density and weight accurracy all matter less in a 338.
    And when it does get there a beginner (I guess Im a beginner cuz I like all the help I can get) needs a FORGIVING combo. A 338 300gr slug with 2100FPE is about as forgiving as you can get without a GIBBS case.
    If you never plan to shoot past 600 or so the diffs are much less important(600 is never enuf then its 800 then 1000 then 1200), Sooner or later the 800 yd goal GROWS. Now your buying a NEW COMBO because the 7 isnt cutting it anymore. It happens.
    If you move the data on the 7 and 338 to 1200 its REALLY eye opening.
    I fixed the kicking,muzzle blast, weight and price lets see why else we shouldnt shoot the most suitable gun from the get go and should instead handicap ourselves with a sub optimal combo,
  12. toddc

    toddc Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2005
    If I cant talk ya into buying a 338 Id load some of the 175 matrix or 170 bergers and see if they will shoot. You dont know till you try. A lot of 3/4 MOA guns are 1/2 with a little tweaking. Those 2 bullets outa a 270 would be just as good as a 7mm short mag and you could burn the 270 barrel to the ground and then rebarrel.