Thoughts on rifle weight and hunting

newmexkid

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When I lived in Wyoming I used to use a sling that was/is called Safari Sling. I think I bought it from Cabela's many moons ago. It was made to carry your rifle across your body in a position suited to my needs. It was perfect in my mind. It allowed for the rifle to be brought up instantly. Also, when we used the ATV's the rifle rested slightly across my lap and never got in the way.
 

MS660Magnum

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How does one who is 5'7" and 160 loose "30 pounds off their middle"? I'm 76 and go to the gym six days a week and still use a 7 lb rifle. When I was younger up to about 60 I used an 11 lb rifle.
I am speaking in general numbers of course... Specially applicable to nobody in particular, however the principal is applicable to everyone. Start with self improvement, then look to improve your gear. It sounds like you’re definitely doing your part.

In my case I’m still in my 30’s and a wildland firefighter by trade, so a 14# rifle is very manageable for me. The weight question is extremely subjective for each individual. I can only hope that I’m still able to hike around at 70+, and I’ll almost certainly have a lighter rifle then.
 

oldpilot

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Gilbert Arizona
All my rifles but three are over 11 #s; 222, 270, and 7mm BAR, have short barrels....the others 26" barrels, 6.5 x 20/50 or 56mm scopes and pretty wood stocks changed to synthetic for hunting. Even on horseback all carried on shoulder. I take a light, cheap backpack, water, a book, space blankets, jerky and 30 feet of 1 inch mule tape, and my blow torch lighter...never finished a book before my animal comes along. My usual is 7mm WBY w140 gr or 300 WBY w150 gr ammo...been doing this for 66 years.
 

Hand Skills

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I think there is a big difference between packing a rifle and carrying a rifle.

Whenever this question comes up I feel out of place and it comes as a reminder that I'm not as commited as some to being a long range hunter. I have hunted with rifles as little as 6 and up to about 12lb. Maybe I'm just unlucky, but often when I'm out the wind is blowing and the snow is falling - it seems most of my opportunities have come up close, compared to relatively few at 500+yd with good wind conditions and a safe background.

Based on a couple decades of experience, my carry rifles seldom have a sling. I have found 7.5lb to be the best compromise between carry-ability and shootability for me.
 

doubledoc

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Feb 10, 2015
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Just moved to Maine
Doing most of my hunting in Florida the past few years, and looking for an accurate replacement for my 700 Classic in .257 Roberts, I bought a Kimber Hunter in .257. With VXIII 2.5-8, it weight just under 7lbs. I enjoyed carrying and shooting it so much, I've switched another couple of 9 lb rifles for light-wt. versions, and I couldn't be happier. 90% of the time, carry wt. looms larger than any difference in "shootability" in MOST hunting situations I've encountered. (Not arguing 1000 yrd. range work).... Makes hunting so much more fun on foot!
 

FEENIX

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A wise man once pointed out to me the irony that people will spend an extra couple thousand dollars to shed some ounces off of their rifle, but won’t spend an hour a day in the gym to lose 30 pounds off their middle. 🤨
Agreed! Physical conditioning all year round is often overlooked. I do at least half an hour in cardio and another half an hour in weights, mostly toning 3X in the weekdays. Also, do 3-5 mile hikes with my dog on weekends. My goal is not to die up in the mountain (at least not yet 😇 ) because I am out shape for the activity. Sadly, some people never prepare for this.
 

villagelightsmith

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May 16, 2013
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When I was 34 and weighed 115 (all bone and muscle, btw) I discovered a Husky lightweight aftermarket Mauser and safed my daddy's guns. Now that I'm 72 and 180#, (1/3 lard, BTW) I wouldn't dream of going back. Every step I take lifts that 7 1/2# combination an inch or two. And all the vertical real-estate where I like to hunt adds more foot-pounds of energy consumed, leaving me less net energy at the end of my day. Nope; I like 'em light. I've just got to be more careful about still set-ups. I know that a magnum caliber is gonna pound the livin' snot out of me so I use an old '06. It has a well designed stock that has been modified to my liking and a nice thick trap-gun sissy pad. It works for me. If you like to carry rocks in your pack to weigh you down, by all means do so. i like to reach the end of the trail having carried nothing more than what I really used, plus a very few ounces for "just-in-case."
 

jpndave

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Jan 12, 2006
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So maybe to look at it a little differently. Basically for hunting rifle weight we have two things - what can you carry? What can you reliably shoot? It is possible to shoot a lightweight rifle very accurately. I would say it is a lot more difficult to accurately shoot a lightweight rifle than a heavier one. So where do we find that balance of enough without too much?

IMO, the Kifaru Gun Bearer buys you 2-5lbs of more rifle weight. Am I carrying my 16lb+ chassis with it to hunt in the mountains - no way. I would say that I can carry my 10lb PRC 26" the same or even easier than a 6lb 20" rifle without it. I am also certain that I can shoot that 10lb rifle a lot more accurately than the 6lb rifle.

For example, I have seen groups shot posted by Joel Russo with his lightweight Terminus action/rifles that are amazing. It is possible. I would also suspect that even he would agree it is easier with more weight/rifle.
 

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