Beginner needs help!

Sep 27, 2002
I would like to get in on the fun that all of you are having. So I have been logging on to this site for some time trying to get as much info as possible. My question is what rifle to purchase? I have been looking at a Sako 75, chambered to a 300 Rem Ultra Mag, and a Leupold 6.5-20X50 LR Scope. I am looking to do up to 1000yd shots, possibly a little more. My skills are not great when it comes to reloading, although willing to learn and invest in the equipment to do so. So at first I will be using factory loads. Any help is appreciated.
Very, very good advice! I too, started this game with a older 700 BDL Varmint in 308 Win.,with the 3.5x10x50mm Tactical Leupold. Had a ball learning from that rifle
. After gaining confidence about my long range skills(800yds,10 shots in a pie plate), I had to move up to a Savage 110FP in 300 Win. Mag. Then I started to play at 1000 yds, and it is a real HOOT! I have not made any long range harvests as of yet, as my hunting has always been still hunting in timber, but this year I will go looking for trouble, and if the opertunity arises, I will not hesitate. The 308 is a great way to get started, and good luck in your new adventures!

Ok .. I'll give you some good advice.. this is my .02...

Don't go over board while learning this.. all you need right now is this...

Rem. VLS in .308 or a Rem. PSS in .308

This caliber will get you to 1000 yards for targets and over 500 yards for hunting. There is alot of factory match ammo available. Also, there are alot of match bullets available.. THis is a cheap caliber and you can afford to practice alot without breaking the bank. This a a mild recoiling cal. to help you learn more about windage and drop without worrying about the hurt!!

Get the RCBS Rockchucker package and learn to reload for the .308 very easy to begin and understand....!!!

Get the Lupy ( 30 mm tube ) 6.5-20X with the target turrets.

Get Burris Sig. Zee Ring with the nylon inserts. and 1 piece lupy base..

Learn on this gun before you go banging away with a canon! I have found and I think many others as well that you need to understand the basics from the ground up for the LR game...

The .308 is fun and easy to learn with .. and did I mention fun !!!
The Sako 75 is a fine rifle but it would not be a great beginning rifle for getting into long range shooting and hunting. I have used 75's for a while now and they are very reliable, accurate rifles but they are not ideal LR rifles as they are too light, the barrels are too light in particular. I would wager that by the time you got any skills at LR the barrel would be shot out of a 75 in an Ultramag caliber. There are other reasons, such as availability of suitable mounts but the main problem is that the rifle wasn't designed for extended LR performance.

I believe that you would be much better served with a .308 Winchester in a good heavy barreled rifle - use it as a learning base to get into the big magnums down the road. The .308 is extremely accurate, cheap to shoot and all the math is done for drop and wind. Shooting is the only way to get into this game. Buying gear is part of it but you have to pull the trigger and get long range shooting knowledge, skills and confidence to really enjoy this. Winchester, Remington, Ruger, Savage, H-S and others build great .308 Win. heavy barreled rifles. Leupold, Nightforce, Nikon, Burris and Bushnell come to mind for good LR otpics.

I suggest that when you can shoot five shots into 6 - 8 inches at 600 yards consistently - then consider going to the magnums.
Ok so I have been thinking about the .308 and the advice that you all gave, very appreciated!! So is the .308 really going to get me out to 1000yds, and if so with what kind of velocity at that range? Also, I was researching (internet) the Sako 75 Varmint Stainless and I cannot tell if that gun has a heavy barrel or not, does anyone know? And would that model make a good gun for my needs. Again Thanks for your help.
If I can be allowed to throw in my 2 cents, I would suggest these two options. The 308 or the 300Win Mag. The 308 would be my first choice for a LR shooter. So much is known about this cartridge and there is so many components to load, that you really cant' go wrong.

I have shot my 308 to 1500yds and as long as I can judge the wind, I sure wouldn't want to be standing out there. There are shooters that go to 3000m with their 308. All you need is lots of elevation in your scope and mounts.

The 300 Win mag offers many of the 308's benefits and can be used, with the right bullets, for "longer" range hunting. The only downside is recoil, and barrel wear.

For an off the shelf rifle, I would look at the Savage models with the laminated and ventilated varmint/bench rest stock, heavy fluted stainless barrel. These rifles should shoot well enough to make 1000yds plinking a no brainer. The Savage short action tactical rifle is also an excellent choice. Best part is these rifles are very well priced and there is lots of support equipment for the Savages now.

The only thing you may have to add is a lighter aftermarket trigger. Slanted long range one piece bases are now available too.

With Fed Gold medal 308 brass, Lee Collet neck sizer, Varget powder and match primers, you should have no problems shooting sub MOA groups at long range using match bullets.

Welcome to this exciting and very fun part of shooting. Most of the bells and whistles you read about are great for those that have the experience. Start slow and burn lots of powder. By the time your barrel is cooked, you will have a very good idea of what you want and need. You may find that what you have is already more then you need.

Downsides for the Sako is poor stock design for bench shooting, higher price, and lack of scope mounting options. The varmint/tactical Remingtons, Winchesters, and Savages offer much more bang for the buck at this time.

Good luck...

Great advice given but you could go the route I took.Buy a $1800 dallar 50BMG & when you find that you cant hit squat add a wissbang 375-50BMG to the arsinal(point blank to 600yards ya know)Then when you find yourself broke,confused,busted up & reciol shy you take the good advice given & get a 308.
The Ruger VLE in 308 is a lot more forgiveing,cheap,lots of info,low recoil in a 10# gun,good selection of factory rounds.I can aford to shoot it alot & that may very well be the biggest part of the long range game=pull the triger as often as you can not as often as you can aford too.Heck even the little fast twist 223 is better than wissbang if you pull the trigger more(not a problem with an AR anyway)
Gota go got a few minutes befor work to shoot a few rounds with the wind bowing=CJ

[ 10-01-2002: Message edited by: Mach V ]

Sako is a good rifle but I think you would be happier if you went with a Rem. or Win. you can get the jewel trigger and any good smith can tweak them any way you wish....

My 308 is deadly to 750 on deer with the 175 smk.... I shot at many a pd past 1200....
The point is not to HUNT at 1000 yards with a .308, it is to use it as a learning tool to gain the skills to hunt long. Most users consider the .308 an adequate killer out to 7-800 but that might be stretching it. Fact is 600 is a hell of a long shot with most rifles.
Most guys cannot enjoy shooting a magnum a hundred or so rounds a session. Plus doing so will wear out the barrel in much shorter time than if you practiced with a .308. Really good accuracy life of a .300 Win. is probably one third or less that of a .308 - 1500-2000 vs 5-7000 rounds. Accuracy is in the eyes of the beholder, this would still be lethal sized group accuracy.
The .308 shoots very nicely out at 1000 and might be lethal but the magnums are designed to deliver the necessary energy.
The Sako is a heavier barreled rifle and a fine one. Scope mounts are a bit of a pain in the butt if you want to shoot past 6-700 unless you have a scope with a lot of "up" in the turrets.
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