"Mountain rifles" for backpack hunting

.280AI built by Axisworks
R700 trued, fluted bolt, alloy bolt shroud, carbon fiber knob, alloy bottom metal
26" 1:9" Proof Research Sendero Light plus Hawkins 3 port brake
Manners EH1 bedded
Shilen Match trigger @ 1.5#
Seekins alloy 20MOA Picatinny Rail
Seekins alloy 34mm medium rings
Flatline Ops level
March F 3-24×52 w. FML-1
TacOps cheek pad
8lbs 12oz all in. Not the absolute lightest rifle, but still has enough weight to make the long shots possible.
Last edited:
You guys are either rich enough to afford truly light rifles or tough enough to carry a heavy rifle and scope. My first light rifle was a TC Contender Carbine in 7-30 Waters. With a Leupold Ultra light scope and homemade safari sling, it weighed just over 6 lbs.
Not an elk rifle, but I killed 4 Barbary Sheep with it. It was limited on range. Then I purchased a Browning A Bolt Mountain Ti in 7mm WSM. 5.5 lbs bare. My longest shots have been 340 yards on elk, and both dropped practically in their tracks (Berger 168 gr. bullets loaded to 2750 fps). I handled a 6.5 Creedmoor at the store one day made by Savage. It was as light as my Browning, and about 1/2 the price. I believe it was a youth model. I'm 64, and a light rifle makes all the difference. I don't give up anything except weight and maybe a little in optics. I stay in shape with the US Forest Service Pack Test. Nothing better for preparing for mountains. Just because I can pack out 70 lbs. of de-boned elk at a time, doesn't mean I want to carry a heavy rifle.

I'll bite. What's the USFS pack test?
I'll bite. What's the USFS pack test?
I'll bite. What's the USFS pack test?
It’s a 3 mile walk with 45 pounds in 45 minutes or less. Wildland fire fighters have to pass it every year. It’s nothing compared to some of the steep, long hikes that occur on fires and during PT. But it is a measurable test that can be duplicated at every federal fire facility.
Just picked up a cooper 92, putting on a Leupold VX5HD.
Cooper is in .300 win mag. 121 ounces unloaded including sling and rings.

That is a great combo, similar to what I was considering before I purchased my mountain rifle. The VX5 is a fantastic “no frills” scope for weight and price.
tagged for more info on a gun build i am going to do on a Savage action. Looking at a 260, lighter stock and possibly a prefit savage carbon barrel. Already have a Leupold VX-2 4-12x40 scope ready to go. Nothing special but more of an economy mountain gun if i can find a decent deal on a barrel
I didn't read every response so my apologizes if it's already been suggested. I didn't see where you listed your budget, but for a rifle that costs well below $1K and weighs under 6.5lbs I do not see how you can POSSIBLY best a Tikka T3 Light. I have one in 300 WSM and are satisfied BEYOND measure. All I did was install a Simms Labs Limb Saver Air tech recoil pad (and yes no BS it REALLY does reduce felt recoil very well) left the trigger set at 4lbs from the factory and it has given my very good accuracy with every reload I have fed it so far and in the case of IMR4831 and 4451 excellent accuracy as the pic I'm posting shows. And this is not the targets I have using heavier charges of IMR4831 that shot just as well at about 70fps MV more.
Just my 2 pennies worth.
View attachment 84255
Yup, I too, have a Tikka T3 stain Lite but, in .270 WSM and with, a 4.5X14 Burris on top, it weighs 7.5 pounds with, a Voodoo Tactical, cheek rest for, good scope alignment.
I'm getting 3,140 FPS with, 65 grains of, IMR 7828 W/ 140 AccuBond's and 1.25 inch groups at,..200 yards!. Bullets are still going 2,000 FPS at, 700 Yards! My "perfect" Mountain "Elk rifle", done,.. CHEAPLY !
I’m late to the game, and I know this is an old thread. But did anyone mention the kifaru rambling rifle?? This is the ULTIMATE lightweight rig!! It’s got interchangeable barrels as well. Super cool concept. I would get one on the coolness factor alone. Price is pretty step I think $4k?

But anyway I’m not a weakling so all my rifles are over 10lbs. These cute little sheep rifles don’t tickle my fancy. Good day gentlemen. ;):):D

Last edited by a moderator:

Find an used Kimber Montana in 300 wsm or WM, get it bedded and put a brake on it, put a Leupold VX3 2.5-8x36 or 3.5-10x40 on it and never look back, very light, Best mountain rifle you can buy for the money, CRF Action, excellent adjustable trigger, Kevlar Carbon fiber stock that can be altered to your liking.
700PSS rebarrel to Proof carbon 20" 6.5 Creed, Howa magazine, and CAT700 carbon stock. If i need a hard hitter i take T3 super lite in 7mm


  • 20180410_111206.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 351
Tikka T3 superlight is a great lightweight rifle and shoots really good with factory ammo. If you want to load them long though, the Tikka mag will prohibit the long heavies. I have the Cabelas Superlight model in 7mm rem that I use when I am hunting limited distance of 600yds. I have a 10.25 Lb finished 28 Nosler that I love, but to be honest the Tikka is the one I carry the most.
Warning! This thread is more than 5 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.