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Old September 17, 2008, 08:28 AM   #1
300magman
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Total Rifle Weight and its effect

I hear a lot about people saying that some guns are heavy and therefor hard to carry or ridiculous to try to bring on hunts that require walking all day in the mountains. But is an extra pound or even two really that bad.

I can get a remington 700 sps that weighs 7lbs 10 ounces and a lightweight scope that weighs 15 ounces for a total rifle weight (unloaded) of 8lbs 9 ounces. (perhaps 8lbs 14 ounces with bases and rings) And most people would consider this pretty average.

Now I can get a Rem 700 Sendaro II weighing 8lbs 8ounces and a large scope weighing 21 ounces and have a total rifle weight of 9lbs 13 ounces (perhaps 10lbs 2 ounce with bases and rings)

Now is that REALLY much of a difference? Most people when they think of the Sendaro with a big scope think OMG that will be so heavy. But its only 1 1/4lbs....how much difference could that make considering the total overall weight already.
I know some people go by the theory that every ounce counts, but I just don't know...on anything but the mostly EXTREME of situations would I even notice.
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Old September 17, 2008, 08:55 AM   #2
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Well, for carrying slung, IMO if someone has trouble carrying even 9, 10, 1 pounds, they should deal with their health issues before worrying about what rifle to carry.

For shooting, balance is far more important than weight. Too butt-heavy, and it'll be squirrely. Too muzzle heavy and it'll be unmaneuverable.
Good example is I like to hunt with an M44 Mosin Nagant, which most people will say is too heavy at over 8.5 pounds. Yet the balance point is dead center between the hands. It's extremely well balanced and easy to shoot.

Arguing over a couple pounds just seems to be an indicator of how little actual physical exertion most people are accustomed to.
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Old September 17, 2008, 09:46 AM   #3
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I agree so far. My Savage 10FCP HS-Precision weighs about 17lbs (with scope, rings, bipod, sling, flux capacitor), and I only carry it on shorter trips around the farm. For walking around all day, I use the M&P15 with a 20rd mag. I'm thinking about picking up a Savage 11 in 223rem for all-day use (without the EBR look). Nothing at all wrong with a 10lb gun in my opinion. Of course I hunt the flat, open midwest. I might walk a few miles, but usually just find a nice high spot and see what I can see.
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Old September 17, 2008, 10:05 AM   #4
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Heavy rifles become a burden, but are not unmanageable as long as you are in decent shape. Balance is very important to shootability, and stock design has a tremendous effect on steadiness. My personal belief is that the weight of the rifle should be in line with the recoil it generates. Too light and it hurts to shoot it too much, too heavy and you get tired holding it to shoot. Either one is off the mark. Rifle-making really is an art, and many people that are making rifles are not artists.

My deer/elk/everything rifle is a medium weight 7X57 that weighs in at 7 lbs 13 oz with an old steel-tube Weaver V7 2-7X scope. I could take 5 oz or more off it with an aluminum scope, but why bother? For the chambering, it is a bit heavy, but not tremendously so, and it holds steady enough.
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Old September 17, 2008, 12:07 PM   #5
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I think it's also a function of how much OTHER gear you might be carrying.

If I hunt in a pretty tame part of AZ with good vehicle access everywhere, I may only carry my rifle and a minimal pack with water, first aid stuff and a game bag. I'll use the best rifle for the job at hand, regardless of weight. I've been known to hike around with my M14 at about 12 pounds scoped and loaded.

But, up in the White Mountains, way off the beaten path and trekking down into deep valleys, that M14 gets really heavy when I also include the other stuff I bring. I don't like being 40+ miles from the nearest help by helicopter (100+ miles by road/foot) without some better emergency gear just in case. So, my pack may weigh 15-20 pounds, especially since I consider the possibility of being caught out overnight in cold weather.

I'll hike from base camp several miles to a place to glass the hills or call, maybe hike around after daybreak, settle in somewhere else for dusk and then hike back to camp. A 12 pound rifle is vicious. I've done it, but this year I've decided that plenty of deer and elk have been killed with the .30-30 and I can leave the M14 in the safe. That's 6 pounds I save. It also balances much better for 1-handed carry.
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Old September 18, 2008, 03:28 PM   #6
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the last poster nailed it

sure, if you can't carry an 8# rifle when hiking 2-6 miles w/minimal gear you should be working on physical conditioning. But taking that same rifle along when you are backpack goat/sheep hunting is a different story. In this situation every single ounce does count.
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Old September 18, 2008, 07:27 PM   #7
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From my hunting experience, overall length is just as important as weight when roughing it on a hunting excursion.

Nothing worse than trying to move through thick underbrush with a 26 or 28 inch barrel. Seems like it catches everything, whereas a nice short barreled scout style rifle can be almost cradled completely in your arms, avoiding snagging and bending every twig and branch in your road.

As much as I like bull barreled rifles, try shooting two hundred yards offhand with one after hours of pushing through the brush and muck. Good luck with that.
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Old September 18, 2008, 10:46 PM   #8
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I'm comfortable with a 10 pound rifle, but I sit on my butt and wait for bambi to come to me. If I still was stalking I'd go for something lighter.

A lighter rifle is easier to bring to your shoulder for a snap shot. That's more true if you've been toting the thing for a few hours.
The trade off is that a rifle that's too light will have recoil problems.

As far as total weight, the magic number is iirc 48 pounds. A healthy person should be able to pack 48 pounds at 3kph almost indefinitely. But that's in a back pack not carried in your hands.
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Old September 18, 2008, 10:57 PM   #9
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It really depends on how and where you hunt. I have no use for anything over 8 lbs scoped and ready to hunt. I have a couple of rifles that are closer to 7lbs than 8. I shoot them fine but conceed that much lighter may hurt my ability to shoot them well.

As buzzcook said it is not just about carrying, but shootability. I hunt mostly on public land and often end up 5 or more miles from the truck. Hopefully bringing some meat out as well as my rifle makes every ounce count.
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Old September 18, 2008, 11:07 PM   #10
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Just curious, if you can't get 10,20 lbs. IN, how do you figure on getting your game OUT?
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Old September 19, 2008, 03:16 AM   #11
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Although an 8-10 pound rifle gets heavy towards the end of a long days hunt, It does remain steadier with off hand shots.
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Old September 19, 2008, 04:18 AM   #12
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I don't mind carrying a rifle or shotgun that a little heavy, as long as it balances well, the weight distributed between both arms. I carried my Ruger Mini30 hunting a good bit last fall after I had installed an aftermarket nylon stock on it. The Mini30 is a fairly light little rifle. However, the stock made the rifle barrel-heavy which was really unpleasant for my left arm and shoulder (I have some tendonitis or something, getting old I guess). I tried putting a chunk of lead in the butt, but that made the rifle weigh probably 9 pounds. I ended up putting the original wooden stock back onto it, selling the nylon stock.

This comes from a guy who carries a 12 pound Sharps replica during our "Primitive Weapons" season here in Mississippi. It balances well, even with a 32" heavy barrel. Go figgure!
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Old September 19, 2008, 07:01 AM   #13
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while an extra pound doesnt seem like much and it isnt, but it is enough to be noticable especially carrying it around all day hunting, I would much rather carry a lighter 7-8 lb rifle versus even a slightly heavier 9-10 lb rifle, just makes the hunt more enjoyable in my opinion. but guess you use whatever you have, either one will work, but I think anyone would notice the difference even if its just 1-2 lbs after hunting with both.
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Old September 19, 2008, 07:28 AM   #14
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I have an Anschutz 64 and a Kimber 82G, both of which weigh in excess of 10 lbs. They are very steady. However, they have their purpose, which is not slugging around in the field.

Arguments about field rifle weight, especially when they get into ounces, remind me of similar debates in backpacking. One the one hand, you have the ultralight hikers, who cut the excess handle lengths off of their toothbrushes to save weight. Then you have the hikers slinging old external frame surplus ALICE packs that weigh as much as the total gear carried by some of the extreme ultralight hikers. At the end of the day, there are ultralight hikers who are happy and those who are miserable, and likewise there are 'beast of burden' hikers who are happy and those who are miserable. Most people are somewhere in the middle.

I once went on a four day solo hike on the AT and decided not to bring my small fuel stove, thinking that since it's summer I really don't need to cook, and I can survive for four days without coffee. Given a choice, I will never do that again. The extra weight is an easy sacrifice in comparison with going without coffee for four days! :-)

The point being - you have to find what is useful for you in the context in which you choose to use the equipment.
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Old September 19, 2008, 09:51 AM   #15
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It's always seemed to me that the big difference in the perception of "too heavy" vs. "just right" is a function of the style of hunting--as some have mentioned, above.

I've done a bunch of 10- to 15-mile walking hunts with a 9.5-pound rifle. I gotta admit that the idea of doing that for the third or fourth day in a row got ever less attractive. You get a serious case of shoulder-sag after a bunch of hours.

For a short hike to a sitting spot, though, I don't see where weight matters.

My legs went and got old on me, so now I'm happy with a 6.5-pound Ti. And I don't walk a lot, either.

I guess the next stage is to sit next to a jeep trail, with a NAA derringer.
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Old September 19, 2008, 12:47 PM   #16
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All you guys talking about rifles that weigh only 8lbs OR EVEN 7lbs scoped...my god, where are you getting such light centerfire rifles. You must be paying ungodly prices for special light weight editions like the Remington 700 TI. Right there you're dropping over $1000 to save 1lb perhaps 1.5lbs over the same rifle at a regular weight.....I'll be SOME old, and some rich before a thought like that enteres my mind. If you can afford it and you want it, great for you, your choice...but its hard to imagine for a lot of people I'm sure.
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Old September 19, 2008, 01:31 PM   #17
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+1 Leif

My friends call me a weight Nazi, but I don't care too much about the extra weight they choose to pack so long as they don't slow us down.
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Old September 19, 2008, 02:53 PM   #18
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Quote:
All you guys talking about rifles that weigh only 8lbs OR EVEN 7lbs scoped...my god, where are you getting such light centerfire rifles.
Mine is a Ruger 77 in a Lee Six fiberglass-Kevlar stock. Nothing all that special about it except the stock. It's so beat up that folks think it's just ugly, but it cost as much as the barreled action, and it's the best part of the rifle. I'll just have to get another can of Testor's paint one of these days . . .
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Old September 19, 2008, 05:03 PM   #19
bejay
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most of the synthetic stocked savage centerfire bolt action rifles are under 7 lbs so its not to hard to add a scope and still be within that range,but its not a remington, some synthetic stocks are quite heavy and some are light not sure what the advantage is of using the heavier synthetic is over some wood stocks.
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Old September 19, 2008, 09:44 PM   #20
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Just thought I'd toss out that most people seem to be talking about bolt action deer rifles. The .30-30 Winchester 94 weighs in at 7 pounds and I don't think I've ever heard anyone complain about them being too heavy or too light. I also don't think you need $1000 to find a working example.
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Old September 19, 2008, 10:07 PM   #21
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My Ruger .308 with factory synthetic stock weighs 8 lbs. even with a Leupold 2-7X scope. Cost was $350 used. My stainless/synthetic Remington model 7 in .308 with Leupold 2.5-8X weighs 6 7/8 lb scoped. Cost was $400 used. The stainless/synthetic Tikka 30-06 weighs slightly under 7 with a Leupold 2.5-8X scope. Cost was $600 new.

The Tikka and Ruger both shoot 1 1/2" groups at 200 yards. The model 7 will do that but only at 100 yards. The key to keeping weight down is in carefully choosing scopes and mounts.
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Old September 19, 2008, 10:44 PM   #22
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Swampghost

Q- "Just curious, if you can't get 10,20 lbs. IN, how do you figure on getting your game OUT?"

A- This isn't the point... Every # you pack in will sap your energy a bit more w/every step (esp. on really tough hunts), making it that much harder to pack out the meat, head and cape. It isn't a matter of being able to carry the extra poundage, it's a question a "Why should I?", a mountain rifle is carried way more than it is shot (along w/other still hunt rifles). I personally don't carry a heavy rifle while backpack hunting in the high country for the same reason I take a good hard look at everything else I bring; I have to carry all this crap up to where?! Plus if the hunt goes well I'll be coming back down a whole lot heavier.
When hiking only a few miles from mechanized transportation of some variety it's a different story, my 10# .338 gets to go along.
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Old September 19, 2008, 11:11 PM   #23
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In a nutshell, NO.

Consider this: I went to the doctor and weighed in. The nurse and I had a friendly argument about the weight of clothes. My flip-flops, shorts and T-shirt weighed 3.5 lbs. I haven't weighed myself in hunting gear but it has to be more.

On a typical stalk hunt (all day) I'll carry up to a gallon of water, binocs, minor first aid kit, 1 oz. bug spray, extra ammo, pistol, call(s), knife, lighter, flashlight, sometimes a cane knife and a few other items.

A pound or two of extra rifle weight isn't going to affect me very much. For many years I hunted hogs with a 1903A3 and that's not a lightweight.
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Old September 19, 2008, 11:18 PM   #24
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Quote:
All you guys talking about rifles that weigh only 8lbs OR EVEN 7lbs scoped...my god, where are you getting such light centerfire rifles.
My Tikka T3 Lite in 300WM weighs just a hair over 7lbs scoped and my two Howa M1500 (308 and 30-06) are only about 1/2lb more scoped. Only my benchrest and varmint rifles top 10lbs.
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Old September 19, 2008, 11:54 PM   #25
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+1 to Art on the hunting style point.

Most of my hunting here in PA is close range “brush gun” stuff, and I draw the line at what I can carry “hands on”... all day long. My sweet hearts are a 5.5 lb NEF, 6 lb Marlin 1894 and a 6 lb Win ‘94 (Ram Line stock) that all scope out well under 7. (all have fixed 2.75 or 4x scopes in the 6-8oz range) None of those are ever on my shoulder at the wrong time.

Sure I can sling an 8 or 10 pound outfit on my shoulder, but that doesn’t cut it when it comes to quick shots at fast movers. . My observation has been that folks with heavies slung over their shoulder often miss the chance to take a fast shot, or that the clean kill/excuse ratio gets worse as their arms tire in the afternoon.
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