the half mile shot

huntin_junkie

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Dec 19, 2009
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2
Im new to LRH and have a few questions.
1st. Is the 308 capable of reaching deer and smaller animals at a half mile? If not, what caliber should i look at? I want a caliber that isnt a barrel burner and ammo that is cheap and plentiful to shoot.

2nd. Barrel options. Should i stick with the stock stainless steel barrel? Or should i upgrade to a thick varmint barrel? And, muzzle brakes?

My gun of choice will be a Savage in left hand. Since i am new to this sport i want a gun that is cheap to purchase and cheap to shoot until i feel comfortable enough to upgrade.
 

MontanaRifleman

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May 21, 2008
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Hello Huntin Junkie and welcome to LRH,

The question of range is dependant on a lot of variables. The short answer to your question is that 880 yds (half a mile) is a bit far for a standard 308 shooting typical bullet/load combinations.

First thing to consider is bullet performance. Most "hunting" bullets expand down to a velocity of 1800 fps. Some a little higher and some a little lower. I dont tell anyone else how to hunt but I use the performance limitations of the bullet as my hunting range limitation in most cases, especially on larger game.

From there it is only a matter of running the numbers on a ballitics program. The main factors that will affect the range of the bullet are BC, velocity, elevation and temp. Temp can also affect velocity by affecting the burn rate fo the powder. Barrel length will also affect velocity and every rifle will shoot different than another.

So if we look at a typical 308 shooting a 165 Nosler AB with a BC of .475 and a generous MV of 2900 out of a 24" factory barrel @ 1000' elevation, you can get as far as about 630 yds with 1800 fps of velocity. If you use a 168 AMax, you can push that out a little becuase it opens at lower velocities, but with those weight bullets you are also running low on energy and momentum. If you jump up to 5000' you can stretch it out another 90 yds.

Some powders might get you a little more velocity, one of which is RL17 which works well in 308's and a lot of other cartridges. I have seen boosts of 200 fps using RL17 in a 300 WSM and a 25-06. So with the right bullet, in the right rifle (26" barrel or longer) and the right powder, you just might be albe to stretch to a half mile, but it all has to come together.

Being interested in LR, my choice in the 30 cal would be the 300 WSM. The rifle will cost the same for the same model. The differnce in reloading costs will be very minimal and you can shoot higher BC bullets faster. The difference in range will be about 200-300 yds. And the 300 WSM will last a long time.

The draw back is that it will have more recoil, but there are trade offs and costs to pay for performance.

I personally dont like brakes, but that's a personal choice. If you're looking for a carry rifle, you'll need to get your ear plugs in before shooting, so quick offhand shots will be very difficult.

Hope that helps and good shooting,

Mark
 

bwaites

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Jun 24, 2007
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480
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Central Washington
Im new to LRH and have a few questions.
1st. Is the 308 capable of reaching deer and smaller animals at a half mile? If not, what caliber should i look at? I want a caliber that isnt a barrel burner and ammo that is cheap and plentiful to shoot.

Wow! Don't we all want a caliber that isn't a barrel burner and ammo that is cheap and plentiful!!!

Capable of deer? With perfect shot placement, yes. BUT shooting a .308 out to 880 yards and expecting perfect shot placement...well, that's a stretch. NO WAY is a .308 a capable deer rifle at 1/2 mile in my book.

2nd. Barrel options. Should i stick with the stock stainless steel barrel? Or should i upgrade to a thick varmint barrel? And, muzzle brakes?

Personally, I like muzzle brakes, but practicing with them can be difficult, because some ranges don't like them. If it is a hunting rifle, carrying a thick varmint barrel around will be a pain for deer. They are fine for varmints, where you generally pick a spot and then stick with it.

My gun of choice will be a Savage in left hand. Since i am new to this sport i want a gun that is cheap to purchase and cheap to shoot until i feel comfortable enough to upgrade.

That new Savages are great guns for the price, and very accurate. They make a good choice for LRH, but make sure you pick a reasonable caliber if you intend on hunting at 880 yards or more! The .308 isn't it!
Bill 7mm WSM
 

trebark

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Jan 16, 2008
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Location
Falls Church, VA
308 on varmints...no problem. If you can see 'em, sling one at 'em. I've killed groundhogs with my 308 out to 810. http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f53/my-308-1k-rifle-evolution-continues-43510/

308 on deer...700 yards is going to be about the max.

For deer to 880...300wsm is a good suggestion.

This year I will start building what I consider to be a great three rifle battery....

260rem
280rem (have one of these already - http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f53/my-280-updated-32771/)
300wsm
 

Oliveralan

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Sep 15, 2009
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993
Location
SW MT or noVA
If you ignore shooter induced variables. say perfect weather conditions and rifle free-recoiling, take the shooter out of the equation. A .308 with 28-30" tube shooting 200gr sierra gamekings (expansion velocity >1500fps) using VV-N540 the .308 can maintain 1000ft/lbs of energy to 750yards. But a .308 is far from ideal for deer at that kind of range, as a do all starter gun, it works pretty well. A .308 was my first gun and i loved it, used it for deer, hogs, steel, and paper. The recoil isnt too punishing and reloading for it isnt all that expensive, meaning you can get out and shoot more.

BTW .280fan we seem to be posting on all the same threads XD i just looked over all the sub forums for threads that interested me and now im going through them posting. Your 3 gun setup sounds awsome! im planning on something like that. mine will be: custom .308 for f-class (being built right now), 7WSM, .284win or 7Dakota, and a 25-06 or 6.5-06 AI. Still a lot of opitions but im sure ill have decided long before i have the cash to make them a reality.
 

huntin_junkie

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Dec 19, 2009
Messages
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Now that you all have changed my mind about the 308. Would you recommend a 300 win mag with a stock 24" or 26" stainless steel barrel for the time being until i find some more dough to get a new barrel?
 

Oliveralan

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Sep 15, 2009
Messages
993
Location
SW MT or noVA
A 300wsm is a good choice. I personally like the 7mm calibers because of their very high bc's. A 7wsm can push a 180berger (bc: .659) to 3050fps with RL17. That will maintain 1000ft/lbs of energy to 1,125yards and supersonic to 1500yards. That will most probably be my next cartridge.
 

MontanaRifleman

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May 21, 2008
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6,194
Location
South of Canada and North of Wyoming
Now that you all have changed my mind about the 308. Would you recommend a 300 win mag with a stock 24" or 26" stainless steel barrel for the time being until i find some more dough to get a new barrel?
The 300 WM and 300 WSM are very close ballisitically. I would go with the WSM for a lot better barel life. If you go with the WM then get a 26" barrel. The barrel length isn't as important in the WSM, but longer will always get you more velocity.
 

trebark

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Jan 16, 2008
Messages
3,541
Location
Falls Church, VA
Now that you all have changed my mind about the 308. Would you recommend a 300 win mag with a stock 24" or 26" stainless steel barrel for the time being until i find some more dough to get a new barrel?

300WM can take deer at 1000 yards. Although my preference would be the 300WSM as it will take deer at 1000 yards also.

Since you plan to rebarrel, 24 or 26" factory barrel wouldn't be a big issue. When you have it rebarreled, I would consider 28 or 30".
 

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