Long range setup for Sambar deer in Australia

rooboy82

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Jan 6, 2018
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New member, first post. Looking for some advice.

I've recently become interested in long range Sambar hunting. Until now the the deer i've taken have been at under 300m. I've had opportunities out much further but haven't been confident with my current setup or my ability to achieve an ethical kill shot at that range. Currently using a tikka t3 lite 30-06 with leupold vx-1 3-9x40. This setup serves me well for the backpack hunting i've been doing in Victoria, Australia, but i'm thinking i'd also like a long range rig that would be capable of taking a big sambar stag at 500m+. I understand that it will take a lot of time at the range to develop my skills for these shots but what I need to figure out first is what caliber, what rifle, and what scope? The budget I'm looking at is about $3000 AU for the rifle and scope.

The 300 win mag seems to be popular and there are a lot of rifles in my budget chambered in that caliber but I kind of feel like its not enough of a step up from the 30-06 to justify having both.

My Tikka is a very accurate rifle so I've been considering getting another one in 338wm but have been seeing a lot of conflicting opinions online about the 338wm long range ability. Any thoughts on this?

The Remington 700 in 300rum has really got my interest. My main concern with this is that from what I've read on other threads the remington 700s need a whole lot of work to get under 1 moa groups. (i.e. after market trigger, barrel, stock, bedding) With the rem700 prices around here ranging from about $1200 for the SPS to $1450 for the Long Range or $2500 for the Sendero, all that extra work would blow my budget and leave me nothing for a scope. Can someone clarify why all that extra work would be necessary? How could the remington 700 be so popular if it doesn't even offer accuracy straight out of the box?

I'm probably picking between the 3 calibers mentioned above unless someone can suggest something i've missed. As far as optics go i'm thinking of something like a Nightforce scope with MRAD but what magnification would you guys suggest for the calibers i'm considering for the ranges I'm looking at?

I will admit that i am inexperienced when it come to long range hunting but i'm keen to learn so any advice, recommendations, or information would be appreciated

Thanks
 
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Canhunter35

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I’m not familiar with the sambar but will assume it’s similar to an elk.
A 300win mag will serve you just fine. The other would work well, but are more expensive to shoot and you don’t require the extra performance.
The 700 long range comes with a bell and Carlson stock and is a good enough stock to serve you. The barrel is kind of a dice roll, but you should be able to achieve sub Moa accuracy with handloads. The trigger needs to be replaced, there’s lots of good options and the stock should be bedded. It’s an easy diy project.
IMO I would buy a 700 milspec over the sendero.
For scopes there’s lots of good options. I’ve never used night force, but have had really good luck with my leupold vx3 lrp, 6.5-20x with impact reticle. For a lower turret scope check out the vx5 with impact reticle. A good value option is a sightron stac 4-20 with 2moa reticle. Don’t know if they sell them down under?

When looking for a lr factory rifle I would look for a medium to heavy contour barrel and a stock that is stiff enough it will free float the fore end along with a trigger good enough or can be replaced within budget. There’s lots and lots of options, and you should get lots of ideas, but it’s tough to suggest when prices vary so much in other countries.
 

rooboy82

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Thanks for the quick response Canhunter35.

We don't get elk here but, yes, I think sambar are similar but not usually quite as big.

I haven't seen the 700 milspec in stores here but now that i know they exist I will see if i can find one to look at. The online reviews look good. They are a bit more than I wanted to spend but i'm happy to spend a bit more if it means i don't have to replace barrel/stock etc. Excuse my ignorance but what is so wrong with the Remington triggers that they have to be replaced? I don't mind doing it but just wondering why? Are they just not adjustable enough or are they poor quality?

Sightron isn't a brand that i haven't heard off over here. They are available at online stores but i would be hesitant to buy a scope online without seeing it first. I will defiantly have a look at the leupold vx-3 you mentioned though.

thanks
 

Hand Skills

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Welcome Rooboy. I'm pretty new here myself, and I really appreciate the attitude and experience that members contribute here.

While I'm less experienced than most here (an '82 myself), I'll offer what I can. I think the Remingtons CanHunter mentioned are a better choice than Tikka T3x. I have a tikka T3 in .223, and while I really like it, the stock is mediocre, and I understand a lot of folks shooting magnum calibers are replacing the factory aluminum recoil lug with Stainless or titanium. apparently the aluminum can show deformation when properly bedded in a 'not tupperware' stock on heavier recoiling rifles, thus defeating the purpose of bedding. The tikka's in .30 cal come with a 1:11 twist, you will be better suited with 1:10 (or faster) for spinning the high BC heavies.

That being said, I'll throw another option at you. The 30-06 is a pretty capable cartridge to 500m with the right bullets. You may do well to upgrade in two parts; start with a great scope, put it on your current rifle, and start practicing at 400-600yd. I don't know if you've done any culling (and it's been a while since I've been to Aus) but goats are really good practice!

The 300 WM appears to be an incremental step up from the 30-06, but a 200gr bullet at 2900fps retains a LOT more energy downrange than a 165gr at 2950fps.

+1 for VX5HD - I'm waiting for a 3-15x44 with the impact ret myself (they are back ordered here in Canada at the moment)

image.jpg image.jpg
 
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adam

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Caliber choice is a lot like ice cream. 95% cream sugar and eggs. 5% whatever else you like. In my opinion the tikka action is is really a very good action. Great trigger. You can shoot WAYYYY further than you think with that “old” dusty caliber.

You can change almost everything about a gun incrementally except the internals of the glass. Spend your money on some great glass. Like make your eyes water because it cost so much glass. Those tears dry fast. Put it on your tikka. Load some Bergers over h4350, vit, or something similar. Possibly change the stock to one of the many available options. Charge on. You will have no problems hitting distances you thought were pure fantasy if the rifle fits and you have good glass.

When you get a few really long range sessions under your belt, then consider your caliber choice. Your glass will happily slide right on over for the ride. Guns come and go. Glass endures.
 

rooboy82

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You guys have made some valid points. I think I will take your advice and just put my money toward a high end scope for my 30-06 for now and see what i can do with it at the range. Then when save up more funds i'll look at a more suitable long range rifle/calibre.
 

Capt RB

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Try the 195(.610 G1) tipped match king over reloader 17. Federal 210m. Lapua brass. In a 24" 2650-2700fps should be fairly easy to achieve without being on the very edge of over pressure.
This will carry 1450#s of energy to 1000 yards. There are a few other bullets that will do this also the 200.2 Berger Hybrid @ .640 The 195 eldm and 200 eldx @.584 & .597
The next class of bullets the 208-215 will compare favorably with energy and better wind characteristics. All will make the 06 have more than enough energy @500 yards. Getting the precision and accuracy to make those shots would depend on your glass.
This is where to cry once. Also find out if you can have a brake installed on your tika. Shooting heavy for caliber bullets in a rifle always increases shooter fatigue. Hunting rarely will bring this out however during load development it can.
After purchasing my first nightforce recently I know my next one is coming when my rifle is done
 

Canhunter35

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Remington triggers are just junk. 6-8lb pull to answer ur earlier question.
The stock will be the weakness on that tikka. You need one that the barrel cannot touch or it will constantly shift ur poi.
But it certainly will let u stretch out and it’s good to use the tools you have.
May I suggest you buy a good scope and a good range finder. Without the range we r helpless at long range lol. I use a bushnell 1mile arc. Would buy a sig kilo 2200 now
 

Elkeater

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Your tikka in '06 will probably be fine out to 500m. I currently have a ruger m77 in .300 win mag that has been reliable out to 500 yards with nothing but a 3-9x Nikon prostaff and a BDC reticle.

That being said I upgraded the stock to Hogue overmold, got a timney trigger and a vortex viper hs lr 4-16x scope. Total cost on the upgrades has been $700. That rifle will now shoot well to 600 yards with 180gr accubonds. I started messing with some 215 berger hybrids but haven't had a chance to test them.

My point is that to shoot to say 5 or 600m as long as your tikka shoots sub MOA to start with some good glass is really probably all you need. And maybe some high BC bullets like bergers.
 

WildRose

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Your tikka in '06 will probably be fine out to 500m. I currently have a ruger m77 in .300 win mag that has been reliable out to 500 yards with nothing but a 3-9x Nikon prostaff and a BDC reticle.

That being said I upgraded the stock to Hogue overmold, got a timney trigger and a vortex viper hs lr 4-16x scope. Total cost on the upgrades has been $700. That rifle will now shoot well to 600 yards with 180gr accubonds. I started messing with some 215 berger hybrids but haven't had a chance to test them.

My point is that to shoot to say 5 or 600m as long as your tikka shoots sub MOA to start with some good glass is really probably all you need. And maybe some high BC bullets like bergers.
The Hogue stocks are not real popular but I have one on my M77 MKII Alaskan .375 Ruger and I have to admit there's a whole lot to like about it.

Yes they are heavy.

They float easily, bed well, and absorb a lot of the recoil and vibration, are very handy to carry in any weather and I find the stock exceptionally comfortable to shoot as an all position stock as well as for quick standing shots as it was designed for.

On top of that they are cheap.
 

Elkeater

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Yup definitely agree Hogue stock are heavy especially the model with the full length aluminum bedding block. But they are the only company other than McMillan that makes an aftermarket stock for the m77 mkII. But let's face it a 550 dollar stock on a $600 dollar rifle doesn't make much sense so the $220 Hogue was what I went with.

That rifle went from shooting 3MOA on a good day to a sub MOA rifle with just a stock change and some good handloads.
 

LRHAUSSIE

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Hi mate, I'm a sambar hunter as well and have a 300NM for long range hunting. I have a few mates who have taken sambar out as far as 1150m using Tikka T3 varmints in 300WM using 180gr accubonds.
 

lancetkenyon

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.30-06 with a 168-200gr. Bullet should be more than capable of taking large elk and deer sized game to 800+. Elk in the states can't be any bigger, and they fall to less at further distances every year with proper shot placement.
 

rooboy82

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Remington triggers are just junk. 6-8lb pull to answer ur earlier question.
The stock will be the weakness on that tikka. You need one that the barrel cannot touch or it will constantly shift ur poi.
But it certainly will let u stretch out and it’s good to use the tools you have.
May I suggest you buy a good scope and a good range finder. Without the range we r helpless at long range lol. I use a bushnell 1mile arc. Would buy a sig kilo 2200 now
Thanks Canhunter35. I went and had a look today at the 300wm 700 milspec you suggested. feels nice. A bit heavier than i'm used to with my tikka but i guess that wouldn't be such a bad thing for a dedicated long range rifle in a magnum caliber. I will still keep my tikka as my lightweight backpack hunting rifle.

As for the range finder, I got a leupold rx-1200i a couple months ago but haven't had a chance to use it yet.

I've started researching scopes in the last couple of days but, having done no real long range hunting yet, it's hard to know what features will be useful and what I don't need. I plan on spending quite a bit on this scope so I want to make an informed decision so I don't regret my choice of scope down the track.

My main points of confusion are;

* Ballistic reticles - do people actually use them for long range hunting? i.e. estimating range/size/drop for target. Wouldn't you just find the range with a range finder and adjust the elevation turret accordingly for drop? Maybe i'm missing something. I'd like to learn to use the mil reticle practically if it will help me but unless I'm not getting something it seems unnecessary. Can someone explain why I would need it?

* first focal plane vs second focal plane - how would anyone use a mil or MOA reticle in SFP it is only correct in one magnification setting? What do other long range deer hunters use and why? FFP or SFP?

* magnification - I want enough max magnification to hunt sambar as far as the 300wm is capable. I understand that my ability is not at that level yet and i don't plan on attempting shots that I'm not capable of but i'd like to know that my scope is as capable as my rifle. At the same time I don't want something with way more magnification than I need. I'm thinking 6-20 or something like that but is that excessive? Is it not enough?

Please excuse the novice questions but i'd rather ask some stupid questions than make a stupid purchase.
 

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