Hi from South Africa - LRH newbie

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Vleder, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Vleder

    Vleder Member

    Nov 1, 2010
    Hi All

    My first time posting on this forum, I have been reading it for a while (year or so) with great interest and would love to get into long range hunting and decided to post to pick some experienced brains.

    I will apologise in advance for the long post as I have many questions and ideas and would like to hear from the pro's.

    A quick background: I live in South Africa where firearm licences often take 1 -3 years to be granted. Yes that long. So building a rifle is a rather serious endeavour/affair as not only is it the time invested (mostly waiting) but also the (almost) prohibitive cost: a few examples;

    Brougton 6.5mm (.264) Safari (#7.51) contour barrel - $800 (ZAR 5 500)
    Savage (short) target action, standard bolt - $1 160 (ZAR 8 000)
    Bell and Carlson tactical medallist A5 stock - $950 (ZAR 6 500)
    Berger VLD 140g 6.5mm (.264) hunting match bullets (per 50) - $65 (ZAR 450)
    Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 6.5 - 20X50 tactical scope - $2 180 (ZAR 15 000)

    The above are just a few examples but give you a good indication of prices we have to contend with.

    I have been hunting a while and always (sadly) have to borrow a rifle from the farmer or (more fortunate, licenced) friend. We use mostly 308 Win, 303 Lee Enfield, 300 Win Mag and 270. Our shooting ranges are usually anything from 50m to 250m. I am a purely meat hunter and the staple is Impala, Springbuck, Kudu and Blue/Blackwildebeest. These are (sorry for those who are familiar with these antelope) smallish (Springbuck, Impala - 20 - 40kg dressed out) to medium (Kudu - 80 - 140kg dressed) to medium large (Bluewildebeest - 80 - 180kg dressed). I would guess small to medium is the same class as your Whitetail deer and Kudu/Bluewildebeest same as Elk/Moose.

    I have been wanting to build a long range rifle and need some final advice/comments from real life long range hunters such as on this forum. Since I plan to build 2 rifles (a 7mm Rem mag, 160/168g at 3 000fps for larger stuff later) this build is the first, smaller one.

    Hunt all of the above animals to ranges of up to 500m (larger approx 400m).
    Moderate recoil.
    Flat trajectory and good wind bucking.
    At least 1000fpe at 500m.
    Fair barrel life (due to expense).
    1/2 MOA at 100m
    It will also be used for local club competitions, 300m varmint shoots and grouping exercises. (definately not serious benchrest shooting)

    From many readings/research it would seem that the ideal cartridge is something like the 6.5mm-06, 6.5x284, 270, 7x57 Ackley or 260 Rem.

    This is what I have so far: (not bought yet)
    26" Broughton safari contour (#7.51) match barrel, 1:8 twist.
    K98 Mauser action, single shot.
    Custom solid aluminium stock (the gunsmith already has one handbuilt on his 338 Lapua and it is awesome, will take pics next time and post, looks almost like the Ultimate Sniper stock from John Plaster)

    I was leaning towards the 270 Win with 130g Berger/Accubond at 3 000fps but on my last trip to the gunsmith he asked me how many guys have I seen winning accuracy/grouping comps with a 270. My answer was none. They are usually using 308, 243 or 7x57's. In the US, more like the 6.5mm's and 7mm's.

    I really like the ballistics of the 6.5mm's, long sleek, retains velocity and energy...the 140g Berger is a true thing of beauty. I was thinking along the lines of 140g Berger VLD for comps and 140g Accubond for hunting?
    The 6.5x284 is brilliant but seems to burn barrels, the 6.5mm-06 seemingly more softer on barrels? The 270 with 130g is a classic but is the accuracy there? (especially for comps). The more accurate cartridges seem to be the shorter fatter ones.
    What about the 260 Rem? Longer barrel life and it can push the 130g to about 3 000fps. The 140g and 130g Berger VLD's have high BC's (.552 and .612 respectively) but does it make any practical difference within 500m? What about the 260 Rem AI?
    Would a 130g at 3 000fps suffice? Plugging the 130g at 3 000fps into JBM Ballistics indicates it will. Is it true that the Ackley versions will allow for longer barrel life and longer case life? Does this not make a strong case for the 260 Rem AI?

    My reasoning is that I want to give myself the best ballistic advantage possible with the cartridge and then take it from there.

    So I guess my question is which cartridge for the 130g Berger/Accubond (but I can still load the 140g's if I feel like it) will easily reach 3 000fps with no pressure, decent barrel life and a high degree of accuracy.

    Thanks gents for any responses.

  2. Ranger Jim

    Ranger Jim Active Member

    Oct 23, 2008
    No brainer, 264 Winchester Magnum

    Ranger Jim
  3. LordScythe

    LordScythe Active Member

    Jun 12, 2010
    Well you know you said you don't know of anyone who uses a 270 for competition, well I do. I have been using a 270 for competition shoots for about a year and I have placed high each time I competed. I love a 270 and will always use it.
  4. LewisH

    LewisH Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2007
    I was in your beautiful country in '07 (near Kimberly), and harvested all the animals you named using my Win. M.70 .270 with factory Federal Nosler 150 gr Partitions...they dropped like rocks, because the gun is accurate and very easy to shoot, and those bullets are dynamite.

    I envy you living in such a game rich country, but I don't envy your corrupt government, or the wretched racial problems you're forced to endure.

    I was hoping to return next year, but unfortunately, the financial problems seem insurmountable at this time.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  5. ejones338

    ejones338 Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2009
    It seems to me that you have it all pretty much sorted out. Now you just have the age old problem of settling on the exact cartridge.

    Not that I use a .270 currently, but the first 13 big game animals that I harvested were with a .270. In fact I had a savage laminated stocked .270 that consistently shot .350-.5" groups with factory ammo. So I would certainly keep it on the list. Unfortunately I did sell that rifle years ago to raise funds for a larger caliber.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2010
  6. hypersonic

    hypersonic Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2005
    Well if you are looking for good barrel life and you are using a 26" barrel with an 8 twist the 260 Rem will give you the best barrel life. You said you have a single shot action so I would have the barrel throated for the bullet you plan to shoot while allowing enough of the bullet in the neck to get a good solid hold on the bullet. ( some say a minimum of one caliber, some say more some say less.) Yor rifle is going to be unique to it's self so you will have a bit of work to find what works best. With a 26" tube you can take advantage of powders slower than you would think would work in the 260. I like H-4831 in mine with a 22" barrel. I have tested with 140 Bergers and IMR 7828 and H-1000 I got pretty good velocity but accuracy was not there as my barrel is a 9 twist. You should have no problem driving the 130 AB to 3000 fps and beyond with that barrel length. I have been running 125 partition's at 2880 + or - in mine for 5 years now I can push them faster without trouble but accuracy goes away. I have no idea what powders or brass you can buy where you are and that might be a deciding factor in what you choose.

    Elk and moose where I live are large, the deer are too whitetails and mule deer. A 136 kg buck of either does not draw too much attention unless he has big head gear. Elk bulls can hit 300 kg and above. Bull Moose 400kg plus and 500 kg is not unheard of and even larger. I can't comment on how tough you game is but the 260 with a good bullet in the right place will drop 200kg animals in short order. Put the right bullet in the right place and get your knife out.
  7. Vleder

    Vleder Member

    Nov 1, 2010
    Thanks for the responses so far gents,

    If I suggest that the ideal would be a combo 6.5mm Accubond/Berger 140/130g at approx 3 000fps from a 26" barrel, then:

    1. The 6.5x284 and 264 will achieve this without pressure signs, is this also fairly easy for the 6.5-06?

    2. Which one will have the longest barrel life? I am not going to be shooting long strings and will clean religiously, also not 1 000's of rounds p.a. Given this, is this really a factor (practically speaking) between the 3 rounds?

    3. Which one is the easiest to load and develop a load for? i.e. least finnicky to get accurate.
  8. MacDonald

    MacDonald Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    good day Newby,
    I have been a 270 addict since 1983 and have shot all my game, up to an eland with this rifle.
    I also compete in competititions and place middle plus. mostly due to lack of training, not the weapon.
    I have fired 4500 rounds, using only the 150 grain and am only now seeing signs of moderate barrel wear.
    my new rifle build is nearing completion,also a 270 . you are more than welcome to phone me on 0836255617 for more details
    fellow South African
  9. azsugarbear

    azsugarbear Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    Good Day and Welcome!

    The 6.5x284 or a 270 WSM would fit the bill for me.

    Given the expensive cost of the parts, would it be any easier to just buy something on gunbroker and then pay the import fees?
  10. Capt Academy

    Capt Academy Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2006
    I have been to SA three times and am planning a 4th trip. I hunt with Thamba Mmoya Safaries, Fanie Steyn.

    Welcome to LRH, it's a great site!
  11. Vleder

    Vleder Member

    Nov 1, 2010
    Due to the huge cost I have gone the (more sensible?) route. Got myself a Howa Supreme (M1500) Varminter heavy barrel (24", 1 in 12) in 308 Win. Last one at the gunshop before price increases in 2011.
    Thinking was that I should rather get a standard round that has plenty of factory ammo avaliable, shoot for a season or 2, get used to the rifle, round, ballistics etc, then start reloading and refining the long range art. Barrel life will be good, cost is half of a custom rifle, huge amounts of reloading data and the very inherently accurate 308 cartridge.
    The gunsmith is building me an aluminium stock, looks almost like a Choate Ultimate sniper stock, very strong but not too heavy.
    License should be here in May (!!???) hopefully, just in time for hunting season.
    My partner is picking up a Falcon Menace 5.5-25x50 FFP metric scope in the UK in the next 2 weeks. FFP for simple, MIL measurements stay the same on whatever magnification, no dialing for me.
    Anyone have a good load in the following:
    150g at approx 2 800/2 850, preferable high BC hunting bullet like Accubond, Interbond etc. without pressure signs. I know some cases have higher volume than others, which ones?
    Anyone have nice things to say about the Howa?
  12. rscott5028

    rscott5028 Well-Known Member

    Apr 18, 2010

    Howdy from Texas and welcome aboard.

    It sounds like you're on the right track.

    It will really come down to the ammunition and practice. But, the 308 will serve you well from PE to Tolwe and everywhere in between.

    It's a beautiful country you live in.

    Best wishes!
    -- Richard
  13. Lapua guy

    Lapua guy Well-Known Member

    Nov 25, 2010
    Love South Africa for the hunting. Better value than any guided hunts in the US. Prices are pretty good now for plains game. I have an outfitter I use over there, and he just was in the states going around to his regulars. Beautiful country, great trips. I will be back soon!
  14. MacDonald

    MacDonald Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    Hi there LRH newbie,
    I cannot fault you on the choice of rifle nor calibre, mu other rifle is a 308 RSA Bisley , it has shot umpteen rounds, more than 5000 and is still giving 12mm groups at 100m.
    If you indicate what application, I am willing to share my load data.I am a great follower of the sierra game king bullets, they give supreme accuracy as well as excellent terminal performance on game.
    I have never fired a Howa but I hear only good things about it and I agree with your thoughts regarding costs and aggro, given that our gunsmiths dont really want to work