"Mountain rifles" for backpack hunting

Discussion in 'Backpack Hunting' started by Litehiker, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Litehiker

    Litehiker Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2012

    Well the consensus here is the we need to lighten our load and be in good hiking condition. As a backpacker I'm always training with a 30 lb. pack, whether it's hiking the mountains around Las Vegas or, in the hot 'Vegas summer, doing an hour on my treadmill at a hi angle while watching old reruns of Star Trek.


    My suggestion is that we find a way to carry our rifle so that we can use hiking poles in the mountains. Hiking poles are necessary tor stability and assisting our overtaxed legs. Plus they permit the use of your otherwise "unused" upper body for propulsion.

    So far I know of only two solutions.
    1. Eberlestock style packs with a rifle pouch between the back and pack.
    2. Kifaru "Gun Bearer" rifle carrier that puts the butt stock in a Hypalon pouch hanging from the pack or pants belt and a Quick Release forearm or gun barrel strap Velcroed around the pack's shoulder strap. The rifle rides vertically at your side.

    The Gun Bearer is faster, the Eberlestock pouch is more comfortable.

    In any case both permit the full use of hiking poles. We ain't getting' any younger and hiking poles really help the knees, especially on long descents and especially "packing our heavy". If you have never tried hiking poles ask Len what he thinks about them.

    BTW, when using hiking poles you absolutely must use the pole straps correctly to get the true benefit. They are used exactly the same way as XC ski pole straps. (GOOGLE it and find out.)

    Eric B.
  2. Blacktail

    Blacktail Well-Known Member

    May 12, 2006
    I use the kifaru rifle holder and love it. On pack in I swing rifle back a but and strap on the side of my pack. Then while hunting use it as designed.
  3. 86alaskan

    86alaskan Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2014
    The alst year or so I've been carrying my Tikka T3 Boar hunter in 300WM. its a 22" fluted heavy contour tikka barrel with open sights. I had a Silencerco ASR brake mounted on it and use my Omega anytime the gun comes out of the case. with a swaro z5 5-25, I'm in the 10lb range all in. I think it's just the right amount of shootable and light while still having pretty good punch. I load sierra 165 gamekings and it kills lights out. I'd love to have the budget for a custom mountain rifle, but if I had to go lighter I would get the Tikka T3 superlight and call it done.
  4. sp6x6

    sp6x6 Well-Known Member

    Dec 8, 2009
    My hunting bud has a Sako Finlight 300WM,w Swaro 5-25,shot his muley at 700 yrds and it took a elk at 600 plus also,light stainless package.
    Mike 338 likes this.
  5. Time Killer

    Time Killer Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2011

    10 pounds as she sits there. 300 RUM. I have lighter rifles, but this one shoots like a mofo. If I have done my part in the summer, not a problem to carry.
    Everyone will have a different opinion. Carry what is comfortable and you are confident shooting.

    One thing to note, I do have a pretty sweet 6.5 CM, but I only get to the mountains once a year (flatlander) so I want to be behind Big Booty Judy when it counts.

    Carry on.
  6. Timber338

    Timber338 Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2011
    Built my dream backpacking rifle a couple of years ago. Full custom 338 RUM weighs 7lbs 12oz bare and right at 9.75 lbs with the Vortex Razor AMG and Hawkins 25 MOA lightweight rings. For me it's the perfect balance in a backpacking rifle. Also have a Kifaru pack and gunbearer and love that setup to carry the rifle all through the mountains.

    Attached Files:

  7. 6point5x284

    6point5x284 Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2013
    Specs please!!! Nice stick. Looks very similar to my LR rig minus the barrel. I have thought I could get to about 10 lbs with a Proof barrel instead of my 28" Broughton.
  8. Time Killer

    Time Killer Well-Known Member

    Jan 26, 2011
    This one is a squared R700, Sendero Proof barrel, 26". Custom Brake, threaded for can. Manners EH1 stock. All metal Cerakoted $.01 cent rubber glove to keep rain out..haha.
    The boys at nwactionworks.com built this one for me.
    Running the Seekins rail and rings. (thinking of going to Hawkins LR hybrid rings to save .5 lb.) with a 5.5x22x56 NF NXS.
    Highly recommend the Proof barrel. Shoots like a dream..
  9. 1garyw

    1garyw Active Member

    Sep 29, 2016
    I just got my new cooper model 92 back country mountain rifle in august and I really like it. it weighs 5lbs 12ozs the leupold vx3i 4.5x14x40 mm scope and the talley one piece rings and bases bring it to 7 lbs 1oz. Its a pleasure to shoot with the muzzle break and very accurate.
  10. slowrunning

    slowrunning Well-Known Member

    Apr 5, 2012
    After a lot of hunting and a lot of money spent on rifles and gear, here are a few of my thoughts on the topic:

    My primary consideration is carrying a rifle that is capable of making the shots that I may want to take. For me, with the right conditions, that may be up to 1200 yards.

    A few years ago, I thought ultralight was the way to go with rifles and bought a Kimber mountain ascent in 280AI and put a fairly light weight VX-3 on top. It was about a .8 - 1 MOA gun but I had very little success shooting it at longer ranges. I attribute a lot of that to the lack of weight and optics. Cool gun, but no where near enough confidence to carry it and take long shots on game. Sold it.

    This past year I had a fairly heavy 28 nosler built and put a heavy ass Vortex Razor on it. About 17lbs with scope and bipod. The gun is boringly accurate. After spotting a bull at 680 yards this year, I had no doubt I was tagging out. I work hard enough to find elk and get a shot, when I finally have it, the confidence in being able to make the shot is well worth the extra few pounds.

    I suspect that a lighter weight, but large, rifle may be the ticket. Something similar to a Christensen ELR or BA Tactical. I say that because you have the light weight that everyone seems to want but I also think you would get a lot of stability from the size of the rifle (similar in theory to a really long stabilizer on a bow).

    Another thought is that if 5-10 pounds is that significant, are you really prepared to pack out 300 or so pounds of animal after the shot? Gotta be realistic about where you are and how prepared you are physically for what comes after the shot. I've seen hunts ruined after shooting an animal.

    Also, an eberlestock pack is probably the best $230 I've ever spent.....!
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
    Mike 338 likes this.
  11. stonehands1

    stonehands1 Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2015
    My buddy has an a bolt in 270wsm that feels like it's about half the weight of my Sako/Warbird.
    When we hunt together the only time I feel jealous of his lighter rifle is when I'm out of shape. When I take the time to get my body ready for the hunt I never even think about it.
    I'm a construction worker and stay in pretty good shape just from working everyday. That being said physical fitness can be measured many different ways. For example in my early thirties I used to race pedal bikes and do triathlon. My training included 3-400 miles a week for endurance training. This type of training over a couple years made riding at 24-25 mile per hour for a 100 miles feel pretty easy. In this kind of racing aerodynamics were the key factor for the bike not lightweight.

    A different kind of racing is closed course racing. It would normally be about 1 to 1.5 mile course in town somewhere on city streets. Races usually where 10-15 laps. While not a lot of miles it was a completely different kind of effort and I sucked the first time I did a race like that. For this kind of racing a really stiff framed bike is most important.
    For both kinds of racing great overall cardio is very beneficial just as it would be for any kind of hiking. But with mountain hiking while carrying weight a person must do the kind of workout that will enhance this particular kind of fitness. As I stated before I'm a construction worker and do a lot of shoveling/raking type work. Over the years my muscles have become very efficient at that kind of work and I've worked with lots of young bucks who thought they were in good shape that couldn't keep up with me.
    Point being you can treadmill 45 mins a day and that will train your muscles to recover from efforts more quickly and allow you to hike more miles per day but by adding cross training and altitude training with extra weight you'll train your muscles and lungs for the specific conditions that your muscles will experience while hunting and make your high country hunt 10 times easier and more enjoyable. Wasting money on a superlight rifle that is uncomfortable and most likely less accurate is just a lazy man's way of making himself feel better about being lazy.
  12. coyote591

    coyote591 New Member

    Sep 12, 2011
    The light WSM is a great platform. been very pleased with this little guy. A word of warning though, it has a tendency to put animals in harms way and execute with extreme prejudice. Do not use unless you don't mind intended game to never breath agin...you have been warned.

    Attached Files:

  13. zeroforhire

    zeroforhire Member

    Aug 31, 2016
    I'm in the process of building a 6.5 grendel bolt gun off the Howa mini action. Pretty light already.
  14. Jerry M

    Jerry M Well-Known Member

    Aug 20, 2006
    I would not use 6.5 grendel in a place like the mountains of Montana where Elk, Mule and White Tail Deer and Black Bear and on the license and Grizzly Bears, Cougars, and Wolves can be found. I want something with a lot more horsepower.

    The only Elk killed between two camps of 11 hunters when I was there was at 450+- yards across a draw. Guy used the guides 338 RUM and anchored the Bull with one shot. It was however not a 'lightweight' rifle but a standard sporter with a muzzle break the guide uses as a loaner.

    Another hunter showed up with a .25-06 and a .260 Rem and the guide convinced him also to use a loaner rifle as he felt both of these were too light for Elk at the ranges where they were being seen.

    Good luck

    Mike 338 likes this.