Hunting rifle weight?

Wyowind

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Apr 7, 2013
Messages
39
So my purpose built 'above tree line rifle' will be light and balanced enough to be in my hands at elev just in case I have to make that fast 'never intended offhand shot with heart pounding and ears roaring with bull fever and adrenaline.

That is exactly the situation that I think about when I am elk hunting in the dark timber where the grizzly bears like to nap during the day! My rifle weight in such situations has to be light enough that I can carry it in my hand pretty much all day long!

Most people do not have that as a consideration, but for me it is a primary requirement.

Hunting in more open, and less dangerous, country would be different.

Wyowind
 

Rich Coyle

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Aug 14, 2013
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4,301
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Grants Pass, Oregon
It almost seems like the heavier rifle guys view it as a religion. I carry my rifle in my hands so I am ready for offhand. The buck I got this year was following another deer that was visible for about three seconds. It was too quick to get on. The one following it was visible for about four to five seconds. I didn't even notice I pulled the trigger when I felt the very slight recoil from the 198 grain Hammer Hunter leaving the muzzle at 3,054 feet per second and saw it rolling down the hill. The Beast five port titanium brake works.

Seven and a quarter is too much for me. When my three acres sells I'm buying a Weatherby titanium 6.5RPM. At 4.9 pounds I can install a March 2 1/2-25X52 and still be under seven pounds. Life is going to be good for this old man next season. This 8mmCoyle will be relegated to elk or bigger game.
 

memtb

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Dec 30, 2013
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Winchester, Wy.
That is exactly the situation that I think about when I am elk hunting in the dark timber where the grizzly bears like to nap during the day! My rifle weight in such situations has to be light enough that I can carry it in my hand pretty much all day long!

Most people do not have that as a consideration, but for me it is a primary requirement.

Hunting in more open, and less dangerous, country would be different.

Wyowind

A very important issue that many cannot comprehend! You explained better than I! IMO, if you cannot see beyond where a rest/bipod/shooting sticks should be deployed, (I stated this before) the rifle should be in your hands....not on your shoulder or in a pack! memtb
 

reconrover

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Jul 11, 2015
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North Carolina
I'll just put in my personal experience: First long distance New Mexico hunt I went on, I took my 18lb .338 Lapua. Ya know what....it was a miserable experience. I'm former military, and used to lug all kinds of weight...but ya know, for some reason as a civvy hunting, it really impacted my field enjoyment. I switched to a 7mmWSM that is 11lbs. Ya know not bad...but humping it above 6000ft was also not enjoyable...not as bad, but not really what I thought it would be. I've settled on a paired down 6.5 Creedmore @8lbs, or my lightweight 6.5 Grendel AR (7.4lbs). A good friend has a super lightweight 6.5 x .284 he utilizes at 6.2lbs. It feels like a feather. I guess it depends on your physical condition, how high and how long you are hiking in, and what distance you are realistically going to shoot.
 

reconrover

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Jul 11, 2015
Messages
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Location
North Carolina
I'll just put in my personal experience: First long distance New Mexico hunt I went on, I took my 18lb .338 Lapua. Ya know what....it was a miserable experience. I'm former military, and used to lug all kinds of weight...but ya know, for some reason as a civvy hunting, it really impacted my field enjoyment. I switched to a 7mmWSM that is 11lbs. Ya know not bad...but humping it above 6000ft was also not enjoyable...not as bad, but not really what I thought it would be. I've settled on a paired down 6.5 Creedmore @8lbs, or my lightweight 6.5 Grendel AR (7.4lbs). A good friend has a super lightweight 6.5 x .284 he utilizes at 6.2lbs. It feels like a feather. I guess it depends on your physical condition, how high and how long you are hiking in, and what distance you are realistically going to shoot.
 

Mustang72

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Feb 9, 2019
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486
Location
Texas
Maybe I am an the odd ball but too heavy of a rifle makes my offhand shooting worse,so does too light. My hunting rifles have to fit,feel and balance for offhand shooting.I also must be able to get the safety off in a fluid motion While swinging the rifle into play,as well as having natural scope - target alignment the instant my stock touches my cheek. For me a little bit of muzzle heaviness helps offhand and moving shots. The best overall balance I have found for up close and fast shots to that one is out there a ways is around 7 1/2 lbs +/- 1/2 a lb all in. Every body is different but that is what works for me. Not as pleasant as ultralight not as good for long range as the heavys, but the best balance and compromise I have found.
I agree that some people might not fully understand the importance of these things when hunting areas that your life could change or end in the blink of an eye. Luckily I have never been charged by a bear but I have been by 200-300 lb pigs. I would much rather go home a little more tired,sore,or empty handed than not go home at all!
 

Bigeclipse

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Aug 10, 2012
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1,876
I know this is completely subjective but what do you all see as the max weight you would want to be lugging around for an elk rifle on backpack hunts?

I have hunt with rifle in the 7-8lb range (with scope) and up to 12lbs with scopes. The superlight rifles were great for walking and shooting unsupported like in a tree stand, on deer out to 150 yards but were not any fun to do load work ups, shooting at the range for sight ins (or just for fun range time) and also I scoped myself once do to not paying attention to my hold in the treestand and the recoil. Lighter rifle setups also typically meant a skinnier barrel profile which could make it more difficult to get an accurate 3-5shot load. The heavy rifles are not fun to carry and are pretty unwieldy to shoot off hand but have a lot less recoil and much easier to shoot at the rang, and in the field off a rest or bi-pod. They typically have thicker barrel profiles which means easier to get tighter groups. For me the perfect rifle is about 9.5lbs. Anymore and it gets a bit too heavy and any lighter it begins to get too much recoil. All that being said, newer lightweight stiff stocks are available and also carbon wrapped barrels which can now make some of the negtives I wrote above go away such as having to have a skinny barrel profile. So if you have the money you could build a custom rifle with a light stiff stock and a thick profile light carbon wrapped barrel. You could throw a brake on it to help with recoil. This will be my next my rifle purchase in a couple years. This could get me back into the 7-8lb range and have most of the benefits from both worlds.
 

thunder12345+

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Oct 19, 2020
Messages
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Location
wisconsin
I used to carry a 30-378 Wby at about 12.5# , dam near killed me in the west. My Rifles Inc 7mm stw at a little over 6#'s w/ swarvorski 3-10×42, loaded and sling is my perfect rifle.
 

Darryle

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Apr 19, 2019
Messages
168
Location
Weatherford, Texas
I bought this rifle specifically for a future elk hunt. Nosler M48 Custom Shop 270 WSM wearing a Leica ER 5 2-10x50mm magnum ballistic reticle scope. I feel like this is a perfect weight for me to lug around chasing elk.

IMG_20201013_122605854.jpg
 

FEENIX

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Dec 20, 2008
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Great Falls, MT
I know this is completely subjective but what do you all see as the max weight you would want to be lugging around for an elk rifle on backpack hunts?

9 pounds plus or minus a few ounces! memtb

I wouldn’t go much over 16 probably

No more than 8lbs or less

For me 7 to 8 lbs seems to be my sweet spot

.. etc,

Thanks for providing a simple and straight to the point answer to the OP's question.
 
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wbm

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Dec 18, 2008
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New Mexico
For me 7 to 8 lbs seems to be my sweet spot
Yeah. Me too.
One thing i find sorta funny is that seldom do read or hear someone say...maybe YOU need to lose a couple of pounds instead of the rifle.
 

Rich Coyle

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Grants Pass, Oregon
Yeah. Me too.
One thing i find sorta funny is that seldom do read or hear someone say...maybe YOU need to lose a couple of pounds instead of the rifle.

I have read that one a lot on this type of thread. It does not work for old men who are not overweight. Maybe even for young men who are not overweight.
 

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