Skip to comments.**RIFLE VANITY** Long-Distance Shooting and Hunting
Posted on 12/17/2011 9:34:30 AM PST by rabidralph
I am looking to buy a rifle that would serve two purposes: primarily a long-distance shooter and secondarily a larger game taker downer :-)
I like to shoot beyond 600 yards and I want a rifle to suit that purpose. From info I've gathered, I should get a larger-calibered rifle, with at least a 24" barrel. I would like to keep the rifle below 10lbs because I also want to hunt with it some day. I am interested in hunting elk and moose, eventually. So I am thinking of a .308.
Yes, of course, but you have to add the stuff that’s in post 193, though. ;-) So glad you enjoyed it. (The OTTB mare buffs her fingernails proudly.)
It seems to me I’m missing something here; more could be said, but it’s late and I can’t remember.
I like to shoot beyond 600 yards"
Forget the rifle. You need to get the latest Earth imagery (4000X zoom lens) satellite, with a launch-able reentry missile.
Bambi will never know what hit him!
Sorry for the delay in answering, as I was helping my freind put the finishing touches on his rebuilt motorcycle motor.
Anyway, yes, 100% agreement there. The number of people out there who know how to chamber a round in their bolt guns, and can hit a pie plate at 600 yards, scares the bejeesus out of the powers that be.
This country will not slide into mud huts and dirt floors, because we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, namely, the right to self defense, and the where withall to enforce it.
You do not know how many times that brass you picked up was fired. each time the brass is extruded, becomes thinner and elongates, which necessitates trimming the case. Eventually it will rupture in the chamber, but you already know that. I once took it upon myself to weight the cases prior to reloading. There is sometimes 15-30 grains difference between cases of the same make!
If they are sized the same and weigh different, the difference is in the inside diameter, due to thicker or thinner walls, hence different muzzle velocity and different chamber pressures.
It does have an effect on consistency, minimally.
If you reload and are concerned about consistency, and therefore long range eye of the needle accuracy, use the same lot, use your own known history brass, and check each and every load for charge as well as case weight.
or, just cheat and buy a case of Federal premium 168 hpbt, or for flatter trajectory, try their 165g spbt, which has Vere good performance stats.
Prints 2 inches high at 300n yards.
Why thank you! Done...hope I did it to your satisfaction, oh, Brilliant One! :)
You make some very good points. But I’ve found that the range brass I pick up is 90% brand new stuff. People are basically really lazy and I use that fact to my advantage whenever I can.
Thanks for the advice! Once I figure out what I’ll be shooting, I’ll do so.
My sister wrote something similar on the multi-thousand post threads we have about relations between men and women. Now that was funny, I don't care who you are. I'm sure I plagiarized it and copied it on FR somewhere, but I can't find it, and she has no idea where it got to.
Sorry, I didn’t use a calculator. Calculator says at 600 yards, moa ia 6.283”. That is a radius. Means the diameter is 12.566”. Minute of angle accuracy at that distance will place your shot anywhere plus minus 6.283” from where you were aiming.
This does not take into account other variables such as windage, drop, your heartbeat and breathing, your inability to hold perfectly still, motion and speed of the animal, etc.
An M1, one of the Kimber Mauser's, a Brazilian military Mauser, and a low serial # Springfield that's never had a live round fired through it except when it was tested maybe.
My old man got the Springfield after WWII. They were handed out to veterans to be used for when they brought the bodies back for burial, so it only had blanks fired in it.
One of these days I might try a couple of rounds in it.
The unique twist ratio, I believe, is also available from custom barrel makers, like Hart, Douglas, etc. Douglas builds for the Military almost exclusively.
For the best .308 benchrester, I would cut the barrel to 19 & 1/4 inches, with a step-recessed crown. That would tighten my groups to under .250 center to center. Using fully accurized Bench Rest components, especially balanced and trued brass, a rifle like this is capable of competition standards of less than .100 accuracy for a 5 shot group.
Ralph, everything PSYCHO says is true.
I come from the gunsmith’s perspective, and I’m about to dish some dirt:
Once you invest that amount of money in blueprinting an action, hanging on a new barrel, bedding the action (or better yet, getting a proper synthetic stock with an aluminum bedding block in it to support the round Remington action), you’re most of the way to the cost of a custom rifle on a custom action.
That’s why there’s so many custom action makers out there, making clones of a Rem 700 action. If you could achieve the results you want more cheaply by buying a Rem700 and handing it over to a ‘smith, you wouldn’t see seven or nine (I’ve lost count) custom Rem700-compatible actions out there, made to exacting tolerances on high-dollar CNC machines.
The single most important piece of the overall issue is the barrel, by FAR. There are several very good barrel makers out there, and getting a high quality, lapped, air-gaged barrel is the ticket to the long range game. The most important operation that a ‘smith can perform to make a rifle shoot well is to accurately crown the muzzle. Recessed flat, 11 degree, rounded, whatever - those aren’t the true crown. The true crown is the cut made at the very end of the rifling on the bore to insure the bullet leaves all sides of the barrel at exactly the same time. The recess flat, 11 degree coned or rounded nose are there to protect that little cut made at the end of the rifling. The thing you should do to protect your crown is to learn how to clean your rifle properly. This means that you don’t saw a damn brush back and forth over the crown the way you’ll see some Bubba’s do at the range. I try to use a brush as little as possible on my bores. Oh, and invest in and use a bore guide for your rifle. Get a one-piece cleaning rod. Never, ever try to reverse the brush in the bore. Clean from the rear (breech) of the rifle. When you start putting scopes down barrels and looking at “why won’t it shoot?” you’d be surprised at how much brush damage one can see.
PSCYHO, I’m not disagreeing with anything you’ve said - I agree completely. I’m just saying that if you look at the final bill from a ‘smith these days for all you just laid out... and you look at the bill from a smith for a rifle based on a custom action and stock to accomplish the same thing... you’re not terribly far apart any more.
Back to Ralph:
Now, want to know the dirtier truth? You can accomplish much more for your accuracy and downrange energy delivery by choosing the best possible bullet and using the best possible reloading technique than you can by choosing the hottest cartridge. I’d rather have a very low-drag bullet with modest muzzle velocities (eg, 2600 to 2800 fps) than have a bullet with a lower ballistic coefficient and mach-a-million launch velocities. The 6.5 to 7mm bullets right now have some exceedingly slippery Bc’s in modest bullet weights.
Want to know the dirtiest secret of the “gun industry?” I’m going to be crucified by insiders for saying this, but I’m an honest guy. I don’t blow sunshine up people’s backsides.
Almost everything in the area of new cartridges is a marginal improvement over the 7x57 Mauser or the .30-06. About the only exceptions I’d accept as “substantial” improvement would be the .338LM, .408 CheyTac or something similar. Forget those. They’re horribly expensive all the way ‘round. If you want to become a good shot, you need to afford to shoot a LOT. Ammo that costs you $3+/round won’t get you there unless you have money to literally burn. Something like a .30-06 has finished ammo and components you can find cheaply, everywhere, all the time. For long range shooting, there are excellent .30 cal bullets in 168, 175 and higher weights. The heaviest bullets might require a tighter twist to your barrel.
If someone comes to me and wants a rifle that can “do it all?” My first recommendation is .30-06. Always. You can’t go wrong with a .30-06. You can improve upon it, in various ways by going to other rounds, but for a one-rifle-guy situation? It is very, very difficult to go “wrong” with a .30-06 for hunting power, bullet selection, energy, modest recoil, availability of ammo when you’re out in the field, long range performance etc. That’s something else that needs to be said: Recoil hurts shooting performance. These mental masturbation magnums (as I like to call them) can kick hard if you’ve got a light (eg, hunting weight, 9lbs total and under) rifle. If they kick you hard enough, you’re going to develop a flinch. If you flinch, you can’t shoot accurately. I have a .338 WinMag. After about 60 rounds, I’m a hurting pup. Sure, it will over-kill almost anything in sight in North America. I’m just about old enough I think I’m going to pull the barrel off and re-use the action for something else, because (quite frankly) I’ve had enough. If I wanted to suffer while I’m supposed to be “enjoying” my shooting, then why not just bring a ball pien hammer to the range and ask someone to tune me up? It would be far cheaper. A .30-06 has modest recoil that won’t beat the crap out of you. If you want to get as good as a guy like PSYCHO at long range shooting, you have to shoot as much. That’s thousands and thousands of rounds. BTW - another dirty little secret: The gun industry loves magnums... because they eat barrels. Barrel life for a hot, over-bored magnum round is anywhere from 1500 to 2500 rounds. Barrel life of a .30-06? 3000 to 6000 rounds. (I am so going to gunsmith hell for dishing all this information...)
With a bolt gun in .30-06, you can use bullets of over 200gr weight in premium bullets that will put down any of the big game on North America, and most game in Africa. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You don’t need some ferocious magnum nonsense to do the job. You DO need a premium hunting bullet (Nosler Partition is the starting point, IMO, and you can improve from there - eg, the Barnes TSX is a bullet I’m recently very impressed with). You can find factory ammo from Federal loaded with Partitions.
My second choice of caliber, if a person is willing to really become a reloader to obtain the best possible performance, would be a .280 Remington, which is a .30-06 necked down to .284 caliber, or 7mm. There are some new outstanding bullets being developed in .284 for long range shooting. There are bullets available in 7mm with high sectional densities, wonderful Bc’s and enough weight for hunting most anything.
Third choice, if you want to hunt only and get a different rifle for long range target shooting? .35 Whelen. Excellent hunting round. Not a target round. Best “bang for buck” in a hunting round for North America if you’re willing to reload. Based on a .30-06 case, necked up to .35. Next choice would be .338-06.
Notice something about my choices? All of them are based on a .30-06 case. There’s a reason for that. Cost. When you get into a belted magnum round, you need a different bolt face, you’re often into a different action length or magazine feeding parameter. This means more money. That’s why the gun industry is constantly trying to convince shooters their old .30-06 is “insufficient.” You need more, more, MORE POWER! You need the Ultimate Magnum, which will be so powerful that you’ll only need point your rifle in the game’s general direction and pull the trigger! They’ll die from the shock wave of a bullet that passes them at mach-infinity 50 yards behind them! You NEED THIS! NOW!
Sorry, I just can’t hold onto that revival-tent preacher buzz for very long....
Thanks for taking the time to reply. Lots of info to digest. I appreciate your advice and I will use it when making my decision.
This one just became available. Just Email me your credit card # and I'll make sure you get a slot!
LOL! Credit Card info is on the way! Stand by!
Or you could invest in high-quality brass from the start, eg, Lapua or Norma.
High bucks, too.
But if you get six to eight high-accuracy loads out of it, then perhaps it is worth it.
My time at Storm Mountain: http://donath.org/Rants/StormMountain/
Thanks so much for the link. I will read up on it!
I get at least four loads from the federal brass, it is very good quality. I could probably squeeze more out, but 4 is good. Using the same lot, the brass is very close to perfect between cases. With care can keep the muzzle velocity at 2600 fps + - 10 consistantly.
Right now, the sun is out, and it is a waste if I don't go out and put at least 50 -100 miles on the MC.
Well, you almost got it right. One MOA at 600 yards is a group within a circle of 6.23”. Not a radius.
+/- 10fps is very, very good. I’ve only heard of guys getting down to +/- 8 as the very best.
Back when mil surp 5.56 Lake City was dirt cheap I picked up a few thousand rounds of green tip because I wanted the brass. From what I’ve read the Military demands some tight tolerances on it.
Yea, it’s a pain to knock that primer crimp out. But can you tell me if my information is correct or not? Thanks.
What, the tolerances? Dunno what the tolerances are. I’ve heard all manner of things, much of it non-verifiable. I might have a chance in the near future to pose this question to a guy who used to be a gunsmith for the US AMU and I’ll ask him about LC tolerances.
I doubt that they’re as tight as Lapua or Norma, but then you’re paying oh-so-much less for it. I’m sure the snipers and long-range shooters are getting special brass. They’re not using off-the-rack rifles, why would they feed a hand-built rifle with mass-production ammo?
That said, I’ve never had a bad batch of LC brass. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but whenever I can get LC brass cheaply, I get it. My wife asks “Have you used up all of the old brass?”
“Why no, dear...”
“Well, why do you need more?”
“Because. Just because.”
“sigh.” (and you know what THAT means...)
Never had a complaint other than “I can’t get it as cheaply as I used to!” (the common wailing refrain of shooters these days). I’ve never exhaustively weighed LC brass because once I got done prepping it, it always worked well for me. I worry first about the weight of charges and bullets, then the size of the flash holes. I’ll still turn the necks on all of them to make sure the bullet is concentric with the bore. Weighing cases isn’t high on my priority list, frankly. It certainly hurts nothing to do it, but IMO, my first worry in cases is whether they’re in good condition, whether they show signs of impending case failure (that bright ring forward of the rear extraction groove), whether the primer pocket will hold a primer, etc.
Can’t say that I’ve noticed anything better or worse in LC brass in that department. It does seem to be longer-lived brass if you don’t hot-rock it and anneal the case necks every third loading, from my experience. You can see where the LC boys did this in factory brass - see that “stain” from the shoulder to the mouth? That’s where the brass was annealed at the factory during the necking-down stage of brass formation.
That said, NB that the LC NATO brass is a bit thicker and if you charge the round to the same level as commercial .223 brass, the smaller case capacity of the 5.56 LC brass will result in higher pressures. As always, start low, work up. Don’t start with the max charge in the reloading manual, but you know that already.
Also NB that the leade on 5.56 chambers allows for more freebore than in SAAMI .223 chambers (by something like 0.083” if memory serves). Ergo, putting 5.56 NATO-spec ammo (especially with heavier) into a SAAMI chamber “could” result in the bullet being pushed into the lands from the get-go, which can result in very high pressures, whereas putting SAAMI .223 ammo into a 5.56 chamber just results in larger freebore and possible loss of accuracy.
>>...Yes, I’ve been on FR since 2000 and I’m a troll. LOL!...<<
My point still stands: your post (as I said - and you ignored) was naive enough to be suspect as a troll. If the shoe fits, it don’t matter how long you’ve been a member. Your responses will tend to verify if you were trolling or not. All *I* said was it sure smelled trollish. By all means, prove me wrong.
Just remembered and checked my notes: The case capacity issue is mostly for 7.62 LC brass. It’s almost a non-issue for 5.56 LC brass, from my notes. Like, oh, less than 0.3 gr diff between SAMMI cases and LC cases in 5.56/.223. I’d still start low and work up, of course.
In .308/7.62 — there’s a bit more that needs to be taken into account.
Sadly, I have very little -06 LC brass. Seems as tho none of the old timers I shoot with will part with it. They open a bolt and they move pretty quick for 75+ years old when jumping after their brass.
>>...Excuse me but your reply to rabidralph shows that you are the naive one. 30-06 and 308 have been dropping Elk and Moose for years...<<
You’re excused! And I wouldn’t put the 30-06 in the same terminal-ballistic class as the 308. I’d also wager those hunters were *quite* experienced, competent stalkers and/or ambushers who made their shots count. Or else they didn’t give a hoot how long their blood-trails were or if they recovered what they shot.
>>...CAN I CALL ‘EM OR NOT?! WHAT DID I SAY? ...<<
Well, I merely said he was suspicious. His reply(s) would tend to confirm that suspicion or not. There’s nothing between him and that confirmation but air and opportunity. But, the *MOST* important thing is that you’ve found something that makes you feel good about yourself! Isn’t it? Glad to help!
Really well done!
By the way, here’s a good intro to exterior (in flight) bullet ballistics for you, including some mathematically background on the subject:
One of the things I like to point new hunters to is the “point blank range” comparison in this article between the .300WM and the .308:
See how little difference there is in the real world, on a real animal (eg, deer)?
The deer won’t know the difference. Your wallet, however, will.
yeah, + / - 10 is good. zero is what we stive for.
Each case is weighed, each charge is weighed, each final cartridge is measured for exact seating and length. The bullet tips are smoked with candle to allow for marks at the throat of the barrel, to see exactly how far they can be seated and just touch the lands and grooves. The cartridges loaded and chambered one at a time, to prevent rattling in the magazine during recoil, which may cause them to be shortened, and therefore have to jump from the chamber to the rifling at an unpredictable distance. I am not decided if hand priming or bench priming is better, as both show fair results. Have realized the powder charge variation is less of an impact than the weight of the case and the total length of the cartridge.
.Cold barrel shots only (unless competition at sanctionbed matches of ten shot strings).
All together, it is a thrill to launch a projectile, and have it hit what was being looked at at the moment the lock mechanism fired.
I think men, and some women, have it in their dna to launch projectiles, weather a rock, a catapult, a mortar, artillery round or a rocket, and have it hit the intended target.
ps, Merry christmas to you and yours.
Thanks so much. We all did enjoy it.
Thanks! That will be a big help. I was at Nosler looking up their load info and trying to get a handle on some things. I appreciate your help.
Thank you. That is fascinating. Makes me more satisfied with my old 30.06. This is exactly the sort of fabulous information I love to get on FR when someone starts a thread like this.
Good point on the .300 vs. .308.
I enjoyed reading your journal of your training classes. Very intense instruction. Not to mention all the variables you have to confront and overcome with equipment and weather and just being human. Thanks for posting.
A friend of mine and I got access to the local FBI range a while back and volunteered to “clean up” after. We grabbed every 5.56, 7.62, and .40 cal case we could lay our hands on.
We had to clean them in a small rented cement mixer. LOL
I think we got the better end of that deal.
I wouldn’t put the 06 in the same class as the .308 either, it is a much better round, higher velocity, less efficient maybe, but a better round altogether. As for people who know how to hunt and shoot, killing an Elk or Moose with a 30 caliber, such as the .308 and the 06, is no big deal. As a matter of fact, year after year people kill Elk with .50 caliber muzzle loaders, a round far less lethal than either the 06 or .308. The 30-30 is also capable as long as the ranges are short. As for Naive, you still take the prize, and add a little dumbsh** in there also.
What I found most striking: it wasn’t that hard. Six focused days, 500 rounds, just work the basics. Rod Ryan & co avoided the popular distractions, walked students thru the steps, and thousand-yard shots just happen.
BTW: another FReeper was one of my instructors, memorable because he cured me of a bad shooting habit by threatening to beat me with a rock. It worked because he indeed looked like he sincerely would if I screwed up again.
Yeah, I read that rock part. Pretty funny. Did you go full 8- or 10-hour days for the classes and was it all on the range or did you have indoor or classroom-type instruction as well?
Each day started in the classroom, but not for long.
>>...As for people who know how to hunt and shoot...<<
Well, you might think yourself “Daniel Boone” in the woods but the OP didn’t write anything to indicate he knew what he was doing and was seeking anonymous advice on the web. If you think he sounded like an experienced, competent hunter who should be encouraged to try a Moose with a 308, then you might want to reconsider how you assess naivety. Seriously.
You have been nothing but rude to everyone you’ve encountered on this thread and you have added nothing of value to anybody’s (specifically, my) firearms education. There are several calibers that can do the job I want, and what I shoot and how I shoot it are none of your concern. I’m a very good shot but I want to get better, so I’ve set a couple of goals to challenge myself and I truly appreciate the range of opinions and competent advice I’m receiving from everyone except you. I’m sure your Obama mannequin is ready for delivery so buzz off.
>>..You have been nothing but rude to everyone youve encountered on this thread and you have added nothing of value to anybodys (specifically, my) firearms education... ...Im sure your Obama mannequin is ready for delivery so buzz off...<<
I’d say I’ve been direct and blunt, but not nearly as rude as you just demonstrated. No idea why you would resort to injecting a childish political insult into your (supposed) “serious” hunting thread — unless you actually *are* trolling for flames. Apologies, but I won’t engage you in a flame war *IF* that’s what you are seeking. At this point, I truly can not tell.
Regardless of how good a shot you are, accuracy is only part of the equation. You may, or may not, already know that. Best of luck trying a Moose with a .308 at your implied skill level. I hope you *don’t* end up witnessing your animal disappearing for good over the hill or into the woods with one of your rounds in it. In that regard, I am *quite* serious.
600 yards and you want to humanely bring down a moose? Where I live in Alaska that is ridiculus.
But I know some guys that use a 50bmg with a .375 sabot and they take down bears at that range.
The retained kinetic energy needed to bring down large game at that distance is so far gone that on a thick hide it will just make the amnimal suffer. Small game sure, but not big game.
Fabulous post but like an idiot, I can’t help but comment on one thing.
I don’t think the barrel life of magnums is a big deal. I inferred from your post that it was a ploy to get people to buy more barrels with the shorter life of magnum cartridges. Maybe, maybe not a ploy. But you well know that very few people put even 1500 rounds down a given gun, and gun nuts tend to own multiple guns, and as you said, Magnums have stout recoil. Add it all up, and I doubt that the short barrel life of Magnum rifles has added very much to the coffers of the firearms industry, for the reason that 99% of people will never shoot out a barrel and probably aren’t capable of shooting accurately enough to know they shot out a barrel.
Just my personal observations.
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