Help me pick cartridge

AKPilot

Member
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
Messages
14
So my uncle wants me to help him build him a hunting rifle for western big game. The budget is pretty much unlimited. He wants to buy once cry once. I’ve got lots of ideas but would like to hear what you guys would do. This rifle would be used mostly 70% mule deer 30% elk. We live in California so we have to shot mono’s in state but would like to throw heavy BC bullets out of state. Our range goes out to 1 mile and we’ll shoot a lot of steel prior to our hunts. Reloading is probably not a real option because he’d rather buy a couple cases of ammo when he finds what the rifle likes best.

I’m leaning towards 6.5 PRC, 7mag, 300PRC. What would you guys suggest and what components for the build? Essentially build your dream rifle for western big game 700 yards and under.

I hunt primarily in MT (Where I’m from), and AZ (Coues)

I’ve been into the Long Range Game since before it was cool, and, primarily because terrain often dictated a longer shot.

I’m a huge fan of the various 6.5’s and have found them to be effective on game at distance.

i have extensive experience in field on Game with 4 cartridges of different calibers (these 4 are ones I’ve used and seen used in my most recent decade of hunting).

6.5 Creedmoor .. great little cartridge but while a great performer ballistically (behaves like a 300 WM out to about 1000 energy aside). If shot placement perfect they drop quickly. If less than perfect (statistically more likely the longer the shot) not so much. I took at 28” Muley with one at 350 yards and it never moved out of its bed, but fortunately I made a perfect kill zone shot that day.

6.5 SAUM... probably my personal favorite deer cartridge. I’ve shot:
1 Coues 1200 yards — Dropped where it stood
1 Coues 778 yards — same story
1 White Tail -/ 350 Yards - Dead where it Stood
1 Antelope — 300 Yards Same story

All with Berger 140 Gr Target Hybrids
Brass and Ammo readily available GAP & Copper Creek. Extremely efficient cartridge pushing 3150 FPS With 63 Gr Retumbo.

Two of my friends shoot 6.5 PRC’s with factory Ammo and my observation is it’s a pretty Close 2nd to the SAUM. Especially if want factory Ammo. Think they’re getting around 2950 FPS with 143 ELDx’s.

300 WM tremendously effective and more so if throat it out for 200 & 215 Bergers. Almost matches performance 300 PRC which out of the box is set up for the 215 & 230 Bergers.

Ive shot many animals out of a custom 300 WM shooting 200 Bergers at 3100 FPS. Devastating Terminal Ballistics out of this combination.

BUT, By a large margin, the best performing cartridge I’ve used and seen used in recent years is the 28 Nosler. My buddy and I each had a Custom 28 N built off of 2 6.5/300 WBY Mark V accumarks we were less than satisfied with. He put a 7.5” Twist Lilja on his (I did too on mine but it proved a Big Fail on mine when shooting anything other than Bergers for reasons I won’t go into here); So I ultimately through a Proof 8.4” twist on mine.

We initially intended to shoot 195 Bergers because of ballistic advantage they provide but had feed issues; so, we shoot 180 Bergers on his and 175 ELDx’s on mine. 3150 ish FPS at muzzle 83 Gr N570 or Retumbo.

1591904123562.png
1591904123562.png


The empirical evidence from the field is overwhelmingly in favor of the 28’s.

Animals drop when hit.
and this is simply due to High SD of bullet combined with down range energy due to to initial high FPS which is retained due High BC Bullet.

Several days ago we were at the range shooting 1” AR500 steel at 500 yards. That day I was shooting 28 and 6.5C no wind so we connected 100% of time when pulled the trigger. I jokingly said as we went down to the target “Wonder if we’ll see a difference between the 6.5 C and the 28’s?” When we saw the target up close the 6.5 C had left smears. The 28 had literally punched 3/4 way through the steel. Similarly several days later we were at another range chosen to practice shooting in the wind. Wind our position was 12-18 mph from 3 O’Clock, but we were shooting down across an area where 3 gully’s came together below us; so consequently the winds were a best guess at 688 yards. We were shooting a large target 20” by 20” because that’s what was presented to us. The 6.5 C, 6.5 SAUM, 300 WM all connected 30%. The 28 Nosler 100% over 10 shots each. We’d never seen anything like it. It was a very humbling experience, and we learned a lot about wind. But, more importantly we learned our decision to build 28’s was a profoundly good one.

Recoil is quite pronounced from this round and we find it much easier on shoulder and to call own shots if shooting suppressed (you’re in CA so no luck for you in this department) or with a good muzzle break. The only muzzle break of the many we’ve tried to be truly effective and easy to tune is Area 419 Hellfire.
 

Cred1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
47
Location
portland
Thanks for recommendations keep them coming. I’m thinking the plain Jane fast twist 7mag might be the best blend of capability and shootability.

Components list:
Lone Peak fuzion ti
Bartlien carbon 24in 1:8
Mesa Precision Altitude stock
Hawkins DBM
Bix n Andy tacsport
Vortex razor LHT
Seekins rings


I’m definitely open to more options. I value a lot of your real world experiences. I’ve learned a lot on this site!!
280 ai. I found the 7 mag is un-necessarily harsh to shoot. I don't mind, but I can get the same performance from a 280AI. There's factory ammo for it, or just shoot 280. It shoots both!
 

montana west

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 10, 2020
Messages
307
Location
stryker montana
Do not choose a weatherby round a lot of hype and no better than the win 300 or the 7mm rimington mag,,However the new weatherby vanguards is a better rifle that either winchester or remingtons as far a quality construction of the rifle. remember a simple tool is the best tool so say away from the short mags and the ultra mags.. a 7 rem mag will shoot just as good as the 7 weatherby and the 300 winchester will do anything the 300 weatherby will do.. weathery was a great designer with his free bore and long barrels, but when the remington 7mm mag is in a 26 " bl and the 300 win in the 26" bbl this is the end of the wetherby magnums. only there 375 weatherby a superionr round today.
 

Stiltsville

Banned
Joined
May 20, 2020
Messages
310
Location
Florida,USA
Budget no constraint ? Buy a Blaser with barrels in every 7 and 30 Magnum, case of ammo for each and a $2000 Swaro/Schmidt/Zeiss for each barrel. That way Uncle can try everything before having to decide.
 

Rooks

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2020
Messages
50
Location
NC
Thanks for recommendations keep them coming. I’m thinking the plain Jane fast twist 7mag might be the best blend of capability and shootability.

Components list:
Lone Peak fuzion ti
Bartlien carbon 24in 1:8
Mesa Precision Altitude stock
Hawkins DBM
Bix n Andy tacsport
Vortex razor LHT
Seekins rings


I’m definitely open to more options. I value a lot of your real world experiences. I’ve learned a lot on this site!!
Barrel seems minimal in length for a 7-mag...
 

Jakeweb09

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2020
Messages
774
Location
Enumclaw washington
Just because you don’t reload doesn’t mean you can’t shoot one of the less common cartridges. There are companies like unknown munitions that’ll do the work for you. Ammo will be more expensive but you’ll get what you want and better quality then the factory boxes. Plus money doesn’t sound like much of a factor so I doubt he cares
 

Gobears16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2019
Messages
75
Location
Walnut Creek
I hunt primarily in MT (Where I’m from), and AZ (Coues)

I’ve been into the Long Range Game since before it was cool, and, primarily because terrain often dictated a longer shot.

I’m a huge fan of the various 6.5’s and have found them to be effective on game at distance.

i have extensive experience in field on Game with 4 cartridges of different calibers (these 4 are ones I’ve used and seen used in my most recent decade of hunting).

6.5 Creedmoor .. great little cartridge but while a great performer ballistically (behaves like a 300 WM out to about 1000 energy aside). If shot placement perfect they drop quickly. If less than perfect (statistically more likely the longer the shot) not so much. I took at 28” Muley with one at 350 yards and it never moved out of its bed, but fortunately I made a perfect kill zone shot that day.

6.5 SAUM... probably my personal favorite deer cartridge. I’ve shot:
1 Coues 1200 yards — Dropped where it stood
1 Coues 778 yards — same story
1 White Tail -/ 350 Yards - Dead where it Stood
1 Antelope — 300 Yards Same story

All with Berger 140 Gr Target Hybrids
Brass and Ammo readily available GAP & Copper Creek. Extremely efficient cartridge pushing 3150 FPS With 63 Gr Retumbo.

Two of my friends shoot 6.5 PRC’s with factory Ammo and my observation is it’s a pretty Close 2nd to the SAUM. Especially if want factory Ammo. Think they’re getting around 2950 FPS with 143 ELDx’s.

300 WM tremendously effective and more so if throat it out for 200 & 215 Bergers. Almost matches performance 300 PRC which out of the box is set up for the 215 & 230 Bergers.

Ive shot many animals out of a custom 300 WM shooting 200 Bergers at 3100 FPS. Devastating Terminal Ballistics out of this combination.

BUT, By a large margin, the best performing cartridge I’ve used and seen used in recent years is the 28 Nosler. My buddy and I each had a Custom 28 N built off of 2 6.5/300 WBY Mark V accumarks we were less than satisfied with. He put a 7.5” Twist Lilja on his (I did too on mine but it proved a Big Fail on mine when shooting anything other than Bergers for reasons I won’t go into here); So I ultimately through a Proof 8.4” twist on mine.

We initially intended to shoot 195 Bergers because of ballistic advantage they provide but had feed issues; so, we shoot 180 Bergers on his and 175 ELDx’s on mine. 3150 ish FPS at muzzle 83 Gr N570 or Retumbo.

View attachment 198168View attachment 198168

The empirical evidence from the field is overwhelmingly in favor of the 28’s.

Animals drop when hit.
and this is simply due to High SD of bullet combined with down range energy due to to initial high FPS which is retained due High BC Bullet.

Several days ago we were at the range shooting 1” AR500 steel at 500 yards. That day I was shooting 28 and 6.5C no wind so we connected 100% of time when pulled the trigger. I jokingly said as we went down to the target “Wonder if we’ll see a difference between the 6.5 C and the 28’s?” When we saw the target up close the 6.5 C had left smears. The 28 had literally punched 3/4 way through the steel. Similarly several days later we were at another range chosen to practice shooting in the wind. Wind our position was 12-18 mph from 3 O’Clock, but we were shooting down across an area where 3 gully’s came together below us; so consequently the winds were a best guess at 688 yards. We were shooting a large target 20” by 20” because that’s what was presented to us. The 6.5 C, 6.5 SAUM, 300 WM all connected 30%. The 28 Nosler 100% over 10 shots each. We’d never seen anything like it. It was a very humbling experience, and we learned a lot about wind. But, more importantly we learned our decision to build 28’s was a profoundly good one.

Recoil is quite pronounced from this round and we find it much easier on shoulder and to call own shots if shooting suppressed (you’re in CA so no luck for you in this department) or with a good muzzle break. The only muzzle break of the many we’ve tried to be truly effective and easy to tune is Area 419 Hellfire.
I agree the 28 is a hammer. That’s what I’m shooting and it definitely is a cheat code for wind. I’m not thinking of going that route with this rifle build because of the hand loading. Thank you for the detailed response.
 

Stgraves260

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
863
What do you want to do with your build? Target shoot? Hunt? If hunting rifle what kind of game are you hunting?
 

Straightshot069

Active Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
28
Location
Oregon
So my uncle wants me to help him build him a hunting rifle for western big game. The budget is pretty much unlimited. He wants to buy once cry once. I’ve got lots of ideas but would like to hear what you guys would do. This rifle would be used mostly 70% mule deer 30% elk. We live in California so we have to shot mono’s in state but would like to throw heavy BC bullets out of state. Our range goes out to 1 mile and we’ll shoot a lot of steel prior to our hunts. Reloading is probably not a real option because he’d rather buy a couple cases of ammo when he finds what the rifle likes best.

I’m leaning towards 6.5 PRC, 7mag, 300PRC. What would you guys suggest and what components for the build? Essentially build your dream rifle for western big game 700 yards and under.
If you're not reloading I'd go 300 win mag.
I've had 7mm Mags, 338 win mags.
They both lacked something for the "do all" round.
300WM is perfect.
Tons of factory ammo for all species, and available at any store.
I went with the 30 Nosler but I love working up loads. Good luck, and choose wisely.
 

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