Caliber selection

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by straightshooter, Dec 20, 2007.

  1. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    I am back and forth on trying to get started in long range. I have narrowed down my requirements for my first long range rifle, now I need help picking the cal. I realize that I will need two long range set ups since my passion is elk hunting. I do not want to start off with a big 338 mag. I just don't think I could afford to shoot it enough to gain the skill for long range. So here it is. I want a dedicated rifle for long range deer hunting in a cal that can be used out to 1000 yard, but can also be used for close range elk. Something economical as possible to reload and shoot. I am leaning towards a 7mm mag or 300 wsm but am open to other ideas. I reload already, and I am a seasoned close range shooter, I have owned both a 7mm mag and a 300wm. The recoil in a long range rifle in either caliber won't be a problem for me since the rifle will be considered heavy for traditional hunting. Please help me nail this down!
     
  2. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

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    Straightshooter,

    I'd recommend starting out with at least a 338 RUM. Sounds rough but hey with a brake installed and loaded up or down it will cover the range of game and distances you wish.

    The first item of importance is an accurate rifle. A less than accurate rifle is what drives up shooting costs. The greater the accuracy and consistency the less you have to shoot to get confidence in LR shooting.

    Next and maybe even more or as important than the rifle is the scope. The better the scope the more apt one is to make the shot.

    Starting with a good shooting platform, a pound and a half of powder and an hundred bullets will get you ready for hunting.

    The 225 and 250 grain bullet offerings are pretty good. Jump to the 300 SMK and you have an effective long range gun.

    The name of the game is BC, BC and BC.

    As far as practice goes, once the drop chart is developed all there is to do is to manage the variables, wind mostly and environmental and terrain conditions (altitude and angle). It gets pretty simple.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. WyomingShooter

    WyomingShooter Well-Known Member

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    Amen! Your hunting ELK!
     
  4. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    So are you saying jump in with both feet and start where you want to finish? What brand rifle? I know that I will have to build a little at a time, so I need a pretty good factory base. I have thought of building on the stevens 200, or a savage 12fv platform, also saw a remington sps varmint at a decent price. I would probably get a new stock first, even though I know most of the accuracy comes from a good barrel. I have wanted an adjustable stock ever since I tried a buddy's rifle with one, sure set up good. A long range elk rig just sounds very specialized, I was thinking of something more versatile to start. I mean what does a guy do when you are rigged for a 1000 yard elk shot (338 ultra mag, or better) and a deer pops up at 50 yards? I was leaning towards setting up for a 1000 yard deer rifle that was good on elk out to say 500 yards, doing a lot of long range target practice and learning how to read the wind at longer distances. Experience is the best teacher so I will listen to everyones advise since I have never been down this road before but I can only build one rifle for now, so it will have to work for practice and all the hunting that I do (deer, and elk mostly). I just don't see myself poking out past 300 yards for probably a couple of years yet.
     
  5. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Straightshooter, I need your address so I can send you a couple of beers to chill out with. You gettin way to stressed over this. If you got the money then get the best elk rig you can get and I guarantee it will kill deer. But don't get a deer rig and go elk hunting. A $300 savage in 338 win mag or 300 ultramag I think will do wonders for you. A couple years ago I was slipping around a rim glassing for elk when a doe mulie stepped out 25 steps from me. Right behind her came a 30" 5x5 mulie and my 338-378 did just fine at 25 steps. That big buck didn't argue a bit.
     
  6. davewilson

    davewilson Well-Known Member

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    I just don't see myself poking out past 300 yards for probably a couple of years yet.

    you'll be laughing at this statement in a few months, i guarantee ya! i've had and shot most of the regular stuff for quite a few years and last year i built a 338. it's been the best gun i've ever owned. i simply love this caliber. a 338 caliber is just the easiest to load for and find something accurate.it's just not finnicky. i'm one of those guys that thinks 338 as soon as i hear elk mentioned. i agree with the others, if one pops up at 50 yards, you can kill it with the big 338...honest! just set your gun up so you can still take a close shot and also a shot at long range if one presents itself. that's why a scope in the 4-14 range is popular.
     
  7. ks270

    ks270 Active Member

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    I would go with a 7mm mag either a remington or a weatherb, or maybe a wms.The 7mm will kill any elk within 300 yards and the 162,175,180 grain bullets have great bc and sd. I would go with a 1-9 twist barrel and I would not free bore the weatherby.good luck.
     
  8. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    Well all the advice I seem to be getting so far is go for the elk rifle. I am almost talked into it. Is the 338 winchester mag enough for a 1000 yard elk shot, or do I need something with more powder? I am in unfamiliar territory now so I will probably get the cal. most recommended , so lets hear what you suggest and maybe a reason or two why. I have been invited for my first elk hunt with my wife's side of the family next season, and I would like to have my rifle, long range gear, and reloading all set up by then. Thanks again for all your advice.
     
  9. WyomingShooter

    WyomingShooter Well-Known Member

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    KS270, Knowbody on here would say a 7mm wouldn't take an elk with a good shot.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2007
  10. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    Sorry guys, the more I read the more questions come up. Still trying to pick a rifle base to start. I don't want to rush this and end up with something that I will end up regretting later, but I do need to get going to have everything ready for this next elk season. I just read a post where one guy has a savage 300 wsm and has a 338-300 ultra mag barrel. He uses the 300 wsm for practice and screws on the 338-300 ultra for the long range stuff. He says the 338-300 ultra empty case will eject from the action but the rifle is a single shot since it is a short action. This sounds kinda like the best of both worlds. What are the thoughts on this route. Practice with the 300wsm to save the barrel on the 338-300 ultra.
     
  11. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    Calm down WyomingShooter,

    Straightshooter get the 338 win mag and spend a few years enjoying it and learning how to shoot it well at elk within your accomplished range. No offense meant, but in my opinion you are not ready to even consider 1000 yard hunting. But after a few years with the 338 win mag you will be. Then you have the action to send to Shawn and get the edge. Will the 338 win mag take an elk out at a 1000 yards, yes. I have used it in a pinch to take a larger animal further than that. But when your ready for a 1000 yards just upgrade to a little more velocity. I wouldn't do the two barrel thing. Just get to know your first gun very well and when you feel your ready then upgrade and learn that one as well.
     
  12. Nomosendero

    Nomosendero Well-Known Member

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    That seems to be good advise. I am looking at the same basic idea, but with a used 338RUM & using the new 250Acc. if possible. One could stay with that set up a good while I bet.
     
  13. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    I would say forever as far as big game went. You could do whatever you wanted with that gun. The way I look at it, I had much rather shoot a deer with an elk rifle, than an elk with a deer rifle.
     
  14. straightshooter

    straightshooter Well-Known Member

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    Long time long ranger, just to clarify, I agree with you, I am not ready for 1000 yard hunting. I do not have all the equipment, no training, don't know didly about wind effect past 300 yards, don't shoot much prone with a bipod, never shot any caliber over a 300 winchester mag., never developed a drop chart, have never reloaded any caliber larger than a 300 wm, very little experience dialing a scope for drop or wind, etc. etc. I don't expect to go out 1000 yard hunting anything. Don't know if I will ever get the chance at a shot like that, but if 1000 yard shots are attainable for me, I would like to have adequate equipment for the job, and the experience on this equipment so I am not trying an impossible shot with an unfamiliar caliber. I want to give this a fair shake and see where it takes me. I am not the competitive type, I don't need a pretty, top of the line, biggest caliber rifle. I am just interested in extending my effective range to the maximum limit and see where I end up. I am relying on you all to help nudge me along the right track to get there making the fewest mistakes possible. The first step I want to take is a rifle to get going on. In the end I figure the whole rifle will be replaced except the action. So that is where I think I need to start. I need you to tell me what action is best to build a great 1000 yard elk rig on. I do like the sounds of a savage since it seems to be quite accurate right out of the box as well as being the easiest and cheapest to work with. I need help with getting a caliber that has the right bolt head and action length that is practical to learn on. I have a vote for a 338-300 ultra, a 338 ultra mag, a 300 wsm, and now one for a 338 winchester mag. Confused? Yes!
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2007