One new rifle or two?

Lightnin08

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Oct 30, 2021
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Georgia
I have a need for a new rifle and I’d like help determining if one rifle would fit my needs or two? I know I need a light weight rifle to take on mountain hunts. I also would like an additional rifle to bring to the range with one mile being my max range. Can this be the same rifle or better to get two?

Here’s my situation and uses.

I currently have a Bergara HMR pro in 6.5 creedmoor that I love. I live in the South and have access to shoot 500 yards at home or up to a mile within a 3 hour drive. So I don’t really have any business trying to spec out a rifle for more than a mile.

The HMR is a little heavy for a hunting rifle to carry and hike with, but works fine for deer hunting from a stand or short walks. I enjoy shooting metal targets with it, but can see how having a second range rifle would be fun. Maybe something higher powered or just different to focus more on the 800-1800 yard distances?

I have a hunt lined up next year for moose in Alaska. The guide is telling me to be ready for 300-500 yard shots. Thinking .30 cal and up? We’ll be hunting from a Sherp but with some hiking up ridges being possible. I only plan on moose hunting once, so maybe I can get away with a heavier rifle for one hunt? Elk is a more normal game target for me, and that requires quite a bit more hiking and I’d want something light.

I’m younger, but I’ve had 3 shoulder surgeries, so unfortunately recoil does matter. For reference, I have a .300 Weatherby mag that doesn’t have a muzzle break that I’ve shot elk with, but don’t enjoy it for target practice. Will a lightweight rifle in .30 cal or bigger be fun to shoot at the range? Or will it be necessary to have a large caliber for hunting moose, but too much recoil in a light weight rifle to enjoy target shooting up to a mile as well?

Currently I’m considering the .300 PRC, .300 WSM, .30 Nosler, .300 WM, or .33 Nosler. Or maybe something 7mm or .28 Nosler if it’s meant for target or game (elk and smaller). I’m newer to this, so I appreciate any advice the community has! If you have specific recommendations, please give them. Sorry for the long post, just trying to be thorough.
 
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Erich Lep

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Awesome. What time next year is your hunt? That might decide wether or not you can build or just buy factory.
 

lancetkenyon

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A single gun is going to be a compromise for both hunting moose and shooting long range steel.
For shooting a lot, I would want a light recoiling heavyweight rifle. Even though they might be light for 1 mile, a medium size 6mm, .257, or 6.5mm cartridge. Low recoil, good barrel life.
For hunting moose and elk, I would want a lightweight bigger caliber rifle. Like a faster 7mm or .308. 7RM, .280AI, 7SAUM, .300WM, .30 Nosler, etc.
 

Lightnin08

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Georgia
Awesome. What time next year is your hunt? That might decide wether or not you can build or just buy factory.
September. And the other posters were saying what kind of a guide would have you do 300-500 yards. He’s more of a friend than a guide, and that’s just what he told me to be ready for on the far end. I think they typically get closer, but it’s more of a local connection. I would be sure to check my cartridge and ballistics to have enough stopping power, and that would be the envelope I would be comfortable with taking a shot.
 

Erich Lep

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September. And the other posters were saying what kind of a guide would have you do 300-500 yards. He’s more of a friend than a guide, and that’s just what he told me to be ready for on the far end. I think they typically get closer, but it’s more of a local connection. I would be sure to check my cartridge and ballistics to have enough stopping power, and that would be the envelope I would be comfortable with taking a shot.
Are you ok with muzzle brakes?
 

Lightnin08

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I am. I don’t have one on my 6.5 creedmoor, but I shot a friends 28 and 30 noslers and they had brakes. Didn’t mind the recoil either. It may just be that one 300 wby mag I have, but it kicks like a mule.
 

Jon Bischof

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Paragould, AR
Sounds like you have two very different purposes in mind. You will be better served by two rifles.
I suggest you get the hunting rifle first and continue to enjoy your Creedmoor until you know what you really want.
For hunting, I cannot praise the Sauer 100/Mauser M18 rifles enough. Either will shoot as well as many customs, leaving you more money for really good glass.
 

Jud96

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I would recommend a .30cal for hunting. If you don’t reload the 300 PRC is a no brainer. It has great factory ammunition and was designed from the ground up for long range hunting and shooting. We build a lot of them and customers love them. They all seem to shoot and work really well. With a good muzzlebrake, a scoped ready to hunt .300 PRC around 10lbs wouldn’t be horrible to shoot or to carry. You can go lighter, but the lighter you go the less forgiving and harder the big magnums are to shoot.

Your 6.5 Creedmoor would be great for plinking at longer ranges and won’t beat you up. The Bergara’s are good factory rifles and you can always have it rebarreled with a match grade barrel that’s heavier and equipped with a brake. That would be very fun and tame to shoot.
 

SDPlinker

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JMHO Any guide worth their salt is not going to ask for you to be ready for a 300-500 yard shot on Moose, they will also advise for a .338 WM to .375 H&H for Moose. Neither caliber for the faint hearted!
 

Lightnin08

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And are you going to shoot factory or reload?
At this point I’m shooting factory ammo. My grandfather left me some of his reloading stuff, but I never learned how to use it. I’d like to learn at some point though. I have heard there are companies that can make reloads for you at about the price of factory ammo, so that might help in the short term.
 

matt_3479

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Well with the fact you don’t reload I’d say 300 prc is the winner without a doubt for both the 1 mile shots. For hunting there’s plenty good calibers.

If you were reloading I’d probably do a 300 Norma mag
 
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