Accuracy & Power at Long Range?


Well-Known Member
Feb 12, 2004
Does this exist?

I am looking for accuracy and power at long range. Should I stay away from belted cartridges? I would like to be able to take a grizzly at 100 yards yet take a prarie dog at 1000-1500 yards. Am I asking for too much?

Suggestions please.
Questions like this have come up a few times around here...

Let's say you build a super-accurate heavy varmint or benchrest rifle chambered in our super-duper 30 caliber of choice. 15-20 pounds or so. I own an excellent example of this type of rifle so I have some experience here...

Now you've got a stick that in your hands will hold 1/3 MOA from 100-600 yards, and like .5 - .75 MOA at 1000. Honestly, what you've got is a rifle that'll kill the big stuff way out there. But what about a prarie dog?

First off, a 3 inch wide target like a prairie dog is near impossible at 1000 and unimaginable at 1500. Except in the early morning, I am unable to even see a prarie dog size target beyond 500 yards due to wind and mirage. No way to hit what you can't see.

Oh, you may hit 3% of the dogs 1000 yards from your barrel because conditions were perfect, a perfect wind call, a perfect shot, etc... Do you wanna build a rifle for the purpose of hitting 3% of your targets?

Now about that grizzly... I'm no expert - but common sense tells me if I'm hunting in close quarters for dangerous game, my 18 pound, 55 inch long, high-magnification scoped super-tactical-whizbang is not what I wanna be carrying!

I think you're looking at two rifles, one of which (the 1000-1500 yard pdog rifle) really doesn't exist...
You have described a caliber that can be decided on but a "rifle configuration" that cannto and doesn't exist.. I sus[ect that money is the limitation here and understandably so...

I don't agree with STL and many of the people I have helped take PD's at 1K and over would disagree too.. while mirage is brutal you can shoot for several hours in the a.m. and with a little work you can shoot through mirage past 1500 yards.. just my opinion. Albeit there are days when it is impossible..

I have experience with Ole Griz as well and you don't want a "lr accurate rifle" in that situation you want a 6-8 lbs short barreled rifle with a scope that has a wide field of view( 2-7X ). the 300WSM would work the 300 RUM would work and several/many others...

like I said.. calibers would be easy.. the rifle configuration .. well 2 completely different ones!
Belted cases are not the problem, it's the lack of headspace on the shoulder. Many top-notch gunsmiths will adjust the chamber so that the cartridge headspaces on both the shoulder AND the belt at the same time. Tight chambers work good whether it's a belted case or not.

The .300 WM is known as a pretty accurate cartridge. I adjust the dies on my 7 RM to give me a slightly snug close on the bolt. Accuracy improves.

Unbelted has more potential for accuracy, but that's not to say you can't have a very accurate belted rifle.

Mark in Utah
Now boys - did I say it wasn't possible to hit a 3 inch wide target at 1000 or beyond? Nope - said it was a low percentage thing.

My skill level indicates that for a poor shooter like me (why, you've seen some of my 1/3 MOA groups) it's a very low percentage thing.

So, if you wanna blast away like the author of the PS article:

"...the wind was virtually non-existent...After three shots, Bill identified a mound with several dogs on or near it. After each shot, Bill called a correction. He proceeded to walk me right in. On the tenth shot of the morning, I waited the two seconds as the bullet traveled down range, and watched as the dog did the old flippity-flop..."

with a fire-breathing Wolf, Ultra Mag or whatever, melting your barrel's throat like a Pratt-Whitney jet engine... Then sure, you'll connect once in awhile. Now, add some wind, barrel heat/fouling, mirage, shifting target lighting... It's a low, low percentage thing.

Fun? Sure, ask Mach V - I love PD shooting. But trader388 was looking for one rifle to do this extremely specialized, low-percentage thing, as well as to kill grizzlies. It certainly aint one rifle.

And if I can ever get out west with some of you guys, I'm gonna hand you my Wolf and a bunch of precision-loaded 210 grainers with less than .002 runout (Len can verify that!). Then I will humbly watch and learn as you turn it into a 1500 yard prarie dog rifle before my very eyes!

p.s. Don't mind me, I'm just havin' some fun...
STL - lol

How easy is it to adjust the chamber in a 7 rem mag so the cartridge headpaces on the shoulder and belt? Approx. cost?
Well, the combo could be one rifle but it would have to lean very heavy towards the grizzly. Since shooting PD's at extreme range is a "spray and pray" situation, why not build a 375H&H, big 40cal, or 458 Win mag in a 22 to 24" rifle. Get two stocks. One for hunting grizz, the other the weight of a small truck.

You could easily use cast bullets for LR shooting. Many already do and achieve some pretty good accuracy. Unlike a small cal, a 45cal 535gr bullet could probably kill a PD either by hitting it directly or knocking it over from the impact crater. You could probably spot for yourself without any optics at 1000yds+

Time of flight is extreme and wind drift is amazing but what the heck, hitting a pop can at 1000yds plus is rarely a called one shot endeavor anyways.

There you go. A one rifle battery/artillery for both your exploits. I am serious. The BP 45-70 has been used to over 2000m. There is a NRA class out to 1000yds. The win mag is much faster so should make adjusting for windage "easier".

Whlie for many years Weatherby had the corner on high velocity, they no longer hold a monopoly on it. The newer RUM's are pretty dang hot. For what you're looking for, I'd look at either the .300 RUM or the .338 RUM. The .300 RUM is more overbore, and believe it or not has slightly higher recoil than the .338 RUM. Some guys are reaming out the .338 RUM to a .338-.300 RUM wildcat, as the .300 RUM has slightly higher case capacity, but this will reduce the neck length. This will put it about on a par with the venerable .338 Lapua, but in a factory action. Using a longer bull barrel and 250 grain or 300 grain MK's you should be able to accurately drop them in, and on big game 250 grain Partitions are devastating.

Another option, if you want to go with a belt-less cartridge is the .50 BMG! Accuracy AND power at long range!!!! <GRINS>

Mark in Utah
Did some checking. I have it down to a 7mm Mag, 300 win mag, 300 RUM, or 338 RUM. Not a fan of the short actions. I am not planning to hand load either but I have a source that would load match ammo if I wanted it. Looking at making a custom rifle too. Rem action, H+S stock, shilen barrel. Optics: Looking at the nightforce 3.5x15x56 NP-R2.

Thoughts and opinions?
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