Best LRH caliber to start with?

HARPERC

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JPaul17, remember you said there are a lot of possibilities. Stay in the present-right now you don't live out west, you don't have an elk tag burning a hole in your pocket. You're in school so you realize there is a learning curve to things, and you can't jump over some steps. If its me I'd buy a great scope, shoot the 270, and 308 until they teach you all they can. If neither shoots well enough for your current situation get rid of both of them, for something better than you've got. Only you know what time, and resources you've got to play this game. There is a lot to get good optics, rangefinder, etc. very few of us can go buy it all and cry once. Take an old cast off stock, as long as its got sling swivels it will work, fill the barrel channel with lead until its 32lbs. take a hike where you currently hunt and see if it fits into how you hunt, and anticipate hunting. Nothing wrong with setting up in a fixed position it can be very productive. like bigngreen I try to keep flexible. Idaho has a 16lb weight limit, bush planes limit your weight, and some guides aren't going to let you load it on their animals.
 

toddc

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Nothing like going to the extreme. A 32# hunting rig? I don't think so. Like BnG sad, you have a decent start with the 270, but for a better, but not goofy round, the 7mag is hard to beat. Relatively easy to shoot and load, has enough punch to do the job, and it doesn't need to be 32#. The 7s are hard to beat.
In case anyone misunderstood I only mentioned the 338 32lb rig to give the idea of how much easier a little weight makes a gun. And yeah we hunt with it but mainly static setups. We do pack it some but I could stand to lose 32lb off my *** anyway so it just keeps me honest. We mainly are in flat/canyon land. Still a LR rig isnt a good place to be worrying about a little length or weight. Out here I need 10lbs of gun just so the wind doesnt blow you all over the place. I knew I should have googled windiest place in the US 1st!
 

D.ID

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Skip steps! Skip steps! Plan ahead and skip all the expensive "steps" (AKA: mistakes others have made) The seven is all the gun you will ever need until you shoot a bigger one. My 300wsm was all the gun I could ever need until I saw a 300 grain smk smack its target at 1022 yards with AUTHORITY. Investing in a good scope and wearing out one you have by practicing is always solid advise but these projects take time and money, do not build a gun that is already outdated for your intended purpose or you will have a whole bunch more customized long guns than you need and money invested in that learning curve .............. Just like the rest of us.
 

toddc

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Skip steps! Skip steps! Plan ahead and skip all the expensive "steps" (AKA: mistakes others have made) The seven is all the gun you will ever need until you shoot a bigger one. My 300wsm was all the gun I could ever need until I saw a 300 grain smk smack its target at 1022 yards with AUTHORITY. Investing in a good scope and wearing out one you have by practicing is always solid advise but these projects take time and money, do not build a gun that is already outdated for your intended purpose or you will have a whole bunch more customized long guns than you need and money invested in that learning curve .............. Just like the rest of us.
So is this a vote for the 338 edge as being the only cartridge that matters?(besides even bigger 338s)? Yeah I like the way you think. Dont forget that sierra brought back the 375 350SMK. Training wheels for guns isnt the same as bicycles. Course dad wouldnt let me have those either cuz he said they were for wimps(I think he just enjoyed seeing me fall down).
 

D.ID

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LOL Done more than my share of falling down.............338edge for everyone =Definitely not. Actually I was not even recommending a 338 do to bullet expense (and competition over supplies if he gets one) I was just hoping not to see the op get talked into making that curve harder and more expensive than it has to be. I agree the seven mags are alright, the 30 mags set up for long range are even a little more versatile. I am just making the case for not repeating common mistakes. Purpose built long range guns in 308 win are a common mistake WOE WOE WOE everybody settle down and let me explain before you charge in (coincidentally another common mistake). The beloved 308 makes sense for shooting palma (restricted to 308) or as part of a military logistics solution or for the shooter that trusts himself with a loaded rifle but not with a reloading press. More Power, less recoil, less drift and Just all around Better cartridges exist for these purposes. Get out your 22lr for rifle fundamentals and then jump up to a rifle that makes sense, Which in this case is something well suited to a 600 yard range, enough power to dump an elk at that range and room to expand if he gets were he thinks he's going. I never knew what long range was until I started doing it and even here misinformation is rampant and folks have a tendency to recommend the path they took even if it is not the best route.
 

toddc

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100% agree on that one. The reason I thought a 7stw/rum would be nice is that the big 30s(rum/378 etc) need a tad more lbs and brake to be shootable for a LR beginner, The torque alone is something to get used to. I used to shoot 240 smks and they were a handful out of a rum. I hear the 7rum is twitchy to reload for so I figured the stw would fall right in there belt be damned. And yes the 30s are more versatile but I think the new 195 is gonna change some things. The 300gr berger/smk from a 338 are so far above any 30 cal combo that it doesnt make sense not to shoot a 7mm. If you need more than a 7 ya might as well skip to a 338.
Dont ley me BS you though Ive used the 300 ultra and 30-378 a time or two lol. Wow remeber when a win mag was big? A weatherby HUUUUGE! 378 variant still is I guess, course it was a wildcat like the 25-06. God Im old.
 

jakelly

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I'll say the 300 RUM.
Inherently accurate.
Easy to handload.
Awesome downrange ballistics.
Decent barrel life.
Won't kill you in dies or brass.

You'll want a brake, trust me. I would plan a 12 lb rifle and scope.

It is what I would start with, but the guys telling you to start with the scope are on the money. That $1200 swfa 5-20 will serve you well for decades of long distance shooting, and odds are pretty good that you will switch cartridges within a couple years.
 

WildRose

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I dont agree on the 308. Since elk were thrown into the mix + a move out west I think you probly will wanna throw the 308 off a hill the first time a nice critter is at 750 with a 20 mph wind. I live out west and thats better be a chip shot or your givin up a ton of opportunities.
Where I live its not even a poke till 880. This isnt 308 country. Will it work?Yep....but not like a high BC high velocity combo will. Here are my reasons.
#1 Everyone says they are good to learn on. BS Learn on what is forgiving and easy to use.
A real LR round will FORGIVE a bad wind call. A 308 wont.
#2 Availability of ammo.HUH? Are you even considering not reloading? LR without reloading is a JOKE! Learning to reload a STW isnt any more difficult than a 308. If you reload for LR you will be good at it which will make reloading for anything a breeze.
#3 600 isnt LR. Not out here anyway. We killed 50 deer in 08 with an avg dist of 748. Considering 6 were bowkills and 3 with a 357 this will give you a concept of the capabilities needed. Pick a gun that will do the job with about a 50% power reserve for when a target moves or shot is bad. 308 ISNT IT.
#4 308 doesnt kick! Uhhhh try a lightweight cheapo stock one with 210gr bullets. Get a real caliber and then get a BRAKE! Edges dont kick with gun weight and a brake. Brakes are tooooo loud. EARMUFFS!
#5 Its military pedigree! See (MILITARY INTELLIGENCE)
SOLUTION
Parts list
Savage LA action. ????? kEEP IT CHEAP.
Prefit barrel using 7mm stw as a MINIMUM. Yes you need a longer barrel. $300+-
Large muzzlebreak $200
trued recoil lug $30
tune stock trigger (yes it can be done)(yes by anyone with a brain) FREE!
Good stock $100-1000
DONE
If you keep the stock $$ reasonable then this is under 1k and will be a hammer.
Caliber Id probly lean to a 7mil of some sort to learn on.
Remember buy once cry once. Learning wheels are for 3 yr olds on bicycles.
Learn on an effective round and learn to use that 1 round. Why would anyone practice or learn on something they wont wanna use when its the real deal.
I'd mirror a lot of this and suggest the 7mm STW as well along with 300wm, and 300 RUM. I own and shoot all three and love all three. In fact I own 3 STW's, two 300wm's and one 300Rum.

All of the above are deadly to 1,000yds on any north American game and the Rum adds about 250yds above the others.

Get a good platform not a light or ultra light model, and spend money on a quality stock such as HS Precision or Mc Millan, or Precision stock works and do it right from the start.

As for action the Savage, Remington 700 or Mod 70 Winchester's will all suit your needs quite well. You can spend a lot more on a custom for very little return in accuracy or lifespan if any for the added investment.

Welcome.
 

Kenrup

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Sep 15, 2012
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Ok so I've pretty talked myself into my first true long range build and have all my specs picked out except for one pretty big detail.....the caliber. So far I've got three great guns that could be contenders for a build but I'm looking to do a whole new gun for this. As of now I have a 243, mid range lightweight walking varmit gun, a 270 thats a mid weight mid range gopher and deer gun, and a 308 that is my all purpose lightweight deer gun. I live in western Pa so mid range I'm going to say is about 300 yards. Have had room for longer shots on gophers but hardly ever on deer and most of the guns are easily under 9 pounds with a scope and all completely factory with 22 inch sporter barrels. What I'm looking for in my next gun is something I can shoot out to 600 and possibly further since I've just found some areas that allow practice at that range. The gun must be able to take anything from a deer to an elk at that distance since after graduation im planning on moving out west granted I have sucess in finding a job (environmental science major with wildlife bio minor). All of the guns that I own shoot great and have me leaning towards using them for the next gun, more so the 270 and 308. Im hoping for a gun that has great ammo selection and is also some what on the cheaper side to shoot, since I haven't done a ton of long ranging, Im sure I'll be practicing alot and would like to not have the barrel shot out before I even get to hunt with it.
My idea is a build on a savage action staying around ten pounds with a 24-25 inch medium to heavy weight barrel possibly 25-26 fluted and a traditional synthetic stock (no adjustable cheek pieces or folding tactical stocks) more than likely a new trigger and bedded. For now im not worried about a scope since you cant shoot a scope without a gun. I'm leaning on the side of the 308 since it seems to be a good basic beginner gun but any one who has any better suggestions can feel free for input. Also anyone who has done a build with a 308 similar to this specs of your gun and how you went about achieving it would greatly be appreciated.

Sorry for the rambling but theres almost too many possibilities.
I'm just a few steps ahead of you in my LRH. I've hunted elk with a traditional muzzle loader so I know it doesn't take a shoulder breaking howitzer to bring them down. I'm starting with a Remington 700 ADL in .270. It was a very good shooter to start with. I floated the barrel myself and then I bumped into a gunsmith that specializes in Remington 700 accurazing. I had him do the bedding, pillaring, lap my scope rings, install a Timney trigger and lighter firing pin and for grins and giggles he did a brake. It came back a tack driver and a hoot to shoot. I wasn't sure which way I wanted to go with a scope so after some research I settled on a Tasco Varmint/Target mil dot scope to see if I like the mil dot system. I have had a lot of guys with much more expensive scopes scratching their heads over how good this cheap scope is. I live in San Antonio but I will hunt Colorado for elk next year. I'm hand loading several suggested recipes and fortunately I have friend that owns a custom ammunition company and he guiding me and advising me on my loads. My best right now with for a deer load has it at 1.75" group at 400 yards with good speed and energy. But I'm enjoying the quest and I have some more bullets like Barnes and Berger on order and I'm trying a variety of powders. One thing I learned from working up muzzle loaders is that what works for one gun may or may not work in your gun. My advice is go with what your gut is telling you and what your budget will afford. I usually say I can afford my dream rifle setup but I can't afford the divorce.
 

Joshuak12

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Dec 28, 2011
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Pine Bluff, AR
Am I crazy or would the old .30-06 (no longer sexy, I realize) provide the young man with a small ballistic boost over the .308 for the same price? I hear all the points made for bigger, faster, heavier, and longer but I'm just trying to respond to the original question. Bullet options are practically limitless.
 

Greyfox

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Jan 21, 2008
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Am I crazy or would the old .30-06 (no longer sexy, I realize) provide the young man with a small ballistic boost over the .308 for the same price? I hear all the points made for bigger, faster, heavier, and longer but I'm just trying to respond to the original question. Bullet options are practically limitless.
Yes. all things being equal you could expect about 100 FPS, maybe a little more. It is an advantage over the 308 using the heavier bullets. Overall though, at the longer ranges you might pick up 50-100 yards ballistic performance over the 308.
 

yote yodeller

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Dec 20, 2011
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Central Saskatchewan Canada
A decent 7mm would make you happy I'm thinking. Start reloading and practising and you'll be pleasantly surprised at what it and you are capable of. An old Vietnam vet helped set me up with my 7 and 1000 yds is easily achieved. Would you shoot an animal at that range? That opens a whole different can of worms, are you capable of making a kill shot at that range? Is it ethical to take that chance of losing a wounded animal? Only you will know your capabilities and you make that call. Some folks can't and some can. Practice is the key with any caliber IMO as shot placement is the deciding factor in most long range kills. Just my 2 cents!
 

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