Opinions on building a long range hunting rifle.


May 15, 2009
Okay, I have posted to this site one other time and you guys were great. So I am looking for more great opinions. I previously was looking to buy a long range rifle finished, but like many, the economy has took a beating to the wallet. After much debate I thought it would actually be more fun to build my own rifle. Have always felt the best way to learn anything is to jump right in. With that said this is what I am thinking. Since I have limited equipment and funds I am leaning towards a Savage rifle or action so I can do more of the work myself. So here is my initial plan. I want to shoot 600-900 yards for Mule Deer, Elk, Black Bear. I need the rifle to managable when it comes to weight. I like to hike a lot so it can't be a beast to carry.

Caliber: 300 ultra or 6.5-284
Rifle Action: Savage
Stock: Boyd not sure with a thumbhole or without.
Barrel: Shilens
Trigger. Timney or get the Savage AccuTrigger.
Scope: Still deciding, thinking a Vortex.

Let me know what you guys think.

If elk out to 900 yards is what you are wanting to do, I'd say stick with the 300 RUM.

I love the savage actions, and also the accutrigger. I'd look for a cheap savage that has the accutrigger on it already.

Shilens are great barrels, look at the mcgowens too. They also make a drop in savage barrel.

I dont know a ton about boyds stocks, but I'd look at Stockade stocks. You can buy money savers that you have to finish but they are very well priced for a custom stock. I have a Prairie Dog Special on my savage 300 winmag and I love it.

Vortex scopes are very well made scopes, especially for their price. Talk to Scott at liberty optics about them. They also currently have a $50 mail in rebate too.

Good luck!
Learning long range hunting and shootings is is like learning to walk is done in stages. One must shoot and the more the better. A 300 RUM is an excellent caliber but not for the beginer. A 308 win is anexcellent place to start. It is accurate and has a long rifle expectation with releatively inexpensive ammo.
I agree that a 308 would be an excellent rifle to shoot a lot and practice LR shooting, but it would not be a 600 - 900 yd deer, elk and bear rilfe. I have no problem shooting a 300 RUM all day using a slip-on recoil pad, but the RUM's barrel life is limited. My suggestion would be a 300 WSM. You can expect a barrel life of up to 4000 rounds and 600-900 yds is it's range. Mine loves RL17 and is only about 200-250 fps off the 300 RUM.

The 6.5 is a great caliber but not the best elk rifle and the 300 WSM barrel will out last it.

My $.02

I'm on board with Montana Rifleman. If you want to look at replacing the trigger, then look at a Stevens. It is still a Savage action for $100 or so less. Another route for a donor action would be the 12FV. Used rifles are good way to go also. I like MR like the 300WSM. I am currently getting good results using RL17 and Hornady 208grn A-Maxes. This set up can easily get me into the 600-900 range without breaking a sweat.

Another option for stocks would be the Hogue over molded, and the Choate folding stock. They are available for the Savage short action and will be nice for toting in the woods. Choate stocks are not that expensive and work very well IMHO.

Definitely talk to Scott Barrish at Liberty optics. The Vortex is at the top of my list for scopes to use. He is going to be the guy I buy one off of when I get a chance to get one.

Another thing to look at in a budget minded situation is your reloading cost. It seems that the 300WSM would fit what your wanting to do nicely and be cost effective to reload thus more trigger time. And if you are rock'n a Savage you can roll on a 300RUM and lay the smack down when needed.
I would build a 300WSM on a long action Savage with a moderate contour, heavy on the fluting in a light stock for a nice walking stick and for doing a lot of shooting on steel, then roll on a heavy, braked, long 300RUM and drop it in a more tactical style stock with a couple recoil reducers in the butt stock for when the long range heavy hitter is needed.
It's a Savage rock it how you need to :D
If you like the laminate stocks you should check our sharpshootersupply. Also I would go with the SSS trigger over what you have picked. Do you want a repeater or a single shot? 300 wsm sounds like a good plan, if you go with a shilen barrel get ahold of jerry the barrel man. He will save you a good $200 on your barrel over buying direct from shilen.
Thanks for everyone's help. I get a little confused. On this site and many other everyone recommends the Savage. If I go into a store or a custom gun shop they are all leading me back towards the Remington. My two main hunting rifles are Remington 700's 270 Mountain Rifle and a 22-250 ADL. I truly know very little about the technical side of things when it comes to guns. I mostly look at ballistic and go from there. I am all about hunting, I don't need a gun that is a perfect tac driver. If I can get a gun to consistently hit a milk jug at 600-800 yards I would be very happy. I don't need to impress any one with the looks or the make. It is only a tool to me. I just want the best practical rifle and caliber out there to make ethical and lethal kills. I worry that if I drop below a 700RUM it will not get the knock down power if I happen to make a poor shot.
There is really no such thing as knock down power. If you take out the CNS (which can be done with any cal), it will fall in it's tracks. Massive cavitation in the vitals will drop an animal quickly also. If you take out one of the legs, it doesn't matter what you hit it with, it will be headed for the next county. A larger bullet in the gut might help a little, but the name of the game is placement.
I agree with you totally. I guess I am concerned with hitting a bull elk on the tip of the shoulder and not being able to break him down. A gut shot is a poor shot even at close range the animal has a good chance of running off and making recovery difficult.
I think one of the main reasons for the 300WSM is that you can get many more rounds down the tube and that will go farther to preventing a poor hit in the first place. gun)
I just crunched some numbers. Using JBM, if I were to shoot an elk where I live right now at about 1000ft. above sea level the 300WSM would be adequate for an elk.

Here is the numbers:

My rifle: Savage Mod 12: 1:10 twist, 26" w/ muzzle break, Heavy Barrel
Muzzle Velocity 2950, 65.5grns RL17, 208grn Hornady A-Max

yrds drop MOA wind MOA Velocity Energy ft lbs
900 -374.7 -19.9 95.0 5.0 1763.9 1436.8

Is it ideal? If that is all you have then I would take the shot and be confident in its ability to take the animal down.

Now if you are hunting in a higher elevation as normal elk hunting would dictate, there will be plenty and then some to get your elk to the freezer. For instance if you go up to 2000ft you are now at 1800fps (prefered by most for suitable bullet performance) and 1497 ft. lbs. So the cartridge is going to be a good one IMHO.

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Thank you for all the feed back. I live in Utah at 7000 ft above sea level and elk hunt a 8-10000 ft. so I need to do some more research on the best caliber. I am not apposed to the 300 WSM. Just most of the guys around here have recommended the 300 RUM. I agree that practice with the rifle is the most critical component. Fortunately where I live, it is very easy to practice long range shots there is no one for miles.
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