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Old February 2, 2014, 10:46 PM   #1
dakota.potts
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Relatively cheap long range platforms

Just for future reference. I am happy to continue the struggle with my .22 for now but I know that it will not do everything I want it to do in the future.

What would I be looking at if I wanted a rifle that could take me between 100-300 yards really easily, stretch out to 600 when I get the chance, and maybe one day hit 800-1,000? It would also be what I used if/when I decided to hunt here in Florida. I'm told that our deer and hogs are not large here and don't require a monster caliber to be humane and efficient.

What kind of caliber would be appropriate? I know a .223 can reach to 300 yards, and I'm sure it can do 600 in the right hands, but can it do 800-1000? I'm looking for something with a little less thump on the user end than a .308 and not much more expensive/harder to find. I'm intrigued by the 6mm calibers like .270. The .270 is mainly what I'm gravitating towards now, but I'm curious about some of the 6.5mm rounds that are out there. How are they on ballistics at longer ranges? What about price and availability? How does that change if I get into reloading?

Are there platforms that could do this well at under $600 with a rifle and scope? $1,000? $1,200? What's the bottom line on a good performer that you would consider a quality (if not fancy) rifle and scope for this sort of thing? Also, what is there that you could easily add on to later if necessary? Things like headspacing, bedding the stock, trigger upgrades, etc.

Savage is something that has really captured my attention for a while. My .22 is a CZ and I would definitely be interested in a larger caliber CZ but from what I've seen they tend to run more expensive.

No pressing buys are behind this question, just curiosity and information gathering for the future.
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Old February 2, 2014, 11:16 PM   #2
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Well the .270 might be a 6.8MM but it isn't a 6MM. 6MM rifles like the .243 Win, 6XC, and 6MM BR would all be excellent choices if they come with the correct twist in the barrel to handle long heavy 95-105 grain or heavier bullets. You'll need at least a 1:9.25 twist and a 1:8 would be better to handle the heavier bullets.

In 6.5MM cartridges I'd look for a .260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, or 6.5X55 as your best choices for a long range cartridge, just find one with a 1:8.5 twist and you'll be golden. I'd avoid the .270 Win or other 6.8's all together, as the bullet selection isn't there and it isn't going to recoil less than a .308 in some cases. That's saying a lot since the .270 Win is about my all time favorite hunting cartridge.

You can shoot long range on a budget it will just take more compromises to get it done. I'd figure $1200 at a minimum for a decent rifle, scope, bipod, rings, and bases. Anything less than that and it'll be tough.
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:18 AM   #3
dakota.potts
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Thanks for your input.

I am sure that I could maybe handle a .308 with more time to get accustomed to it (I usually on get about 10 shots once a month as it is now) but I definitely wouldn't want, say, a .300 Win Mag or .338 Lapua or anything that's going to be an even bigger thumper for now.

That said, I will definitely consider some of the other cartridges you listed and do some research into each of them. In your experience, which of them are easy to find in stock at a big chain store/online? What budget-ish rifles do you like in the chambers you've listed?
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Old February 3, 2014, 03:57 AM   #4
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Taylor nailed it! 6.5 is fantastic a very BC! My x55 swede shoots in the sub .40 moa no prob! Underrated round! Get an old large or small ring Mauser. Rebarel it ( kreg) and shoot groups like never before!

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Old February 3, 2014, 12:28 PM   #5
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That said, I will definitely consider some of the other cartridges you listed and do some research into each of them. In your experience, which of them are easy to find in stock at a big chain store/online? What budget-ish rifles do you like in the chambers you've listed?
Well budget is all subjective but for around $1200 and you want a factory rifle I'd do it this way.

Savage 11/111 LRH in either .260 Rem or 6.5 Creedmoor. I linked the 6.5 Creedmoor but they make it in .260 Rem as well, but I found the 6.5 first. $850+ FFL Fees

Optics I'd go with a SWFA Super Sniper 10X42 Mil/Mil 30mm scope $325, or the Weaver Grand Slam Tactical 3.5-10X40 Mil/Mil 1" scope $300.

If you go with the 30mm SWFA scope then I'd use Talley LWT mounts to save some money $50.

If you go with the Weaver you'll need a canted base like the EGW 20 MOA base to get enough adjustment to reach past 800 yards. Then I'd pair it with some Weaver Tactical rings just to complete the look. $100 for rings and bases.

So I've actually have you around $1250-1300 you can go cheaper if buy a Savage 11/110 Trophy Hunter Package in .260 Rem. I'd replace the Nikon Prostaff quickly and sell it to help off set the cost of the new optics. That said I think the barreled action of the LRH is much more conducive for shooting long range, but I'd eventually replace both stocks on either rifle you might choose eventually. There are also other manufactures of the .260 and 6.5 out there so find what fits your budget.

As far as ammunition I'd stick with Match quality ammunition for the .260 Rem and 6.5 Creedmoor for best results.
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Old February 3, 2014, 12:47 PM   #6
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The best cartridge is probably a 6.5x.284 for hunting and when shot hand/held off ones shoulder. Proof's in what's used in long range prone matches winning and setting records.

What are your accuracy expectations at 800 to 1000 yards?

Note that to shoot at some accuracy level afield after game, your rifle and ammo will have to shoot about one-third that level. The best shooters with a 6.5x284 that tests about 6 inches at 1000 yards will keep all record shots inside 20 inches in good wind conditions with good handloads in a well built match rifle.
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:16 PM   #7
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6.5x.284 would be a little stout on the wallet, correct? Are there inexpensive, but accurate factory rifles available? I don't own one, but's it's my understanding they're hard on barrel. I assume reloading is required to get suitable ammo at a decent price. Just thinking out loud; like I said I don't own one.
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Old February 3, 2014, 01:55 PM   #8
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6.5x.284 would be a little stout on the wallet, correct?*
There all going to be expensive, the .308 Win would be the most affordable from an ammunition standpoint.
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Old February 3, 2014, 05:57 PM   #9
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Check out a 243. I love mine. Hardly any recoil. I bought a Savage Axis for $300, a scope for $125(scope, rings, and base)and i also bought the lighter trigger spring for $10. Great gun for deer. Only had a chance to run 60 rounds through it so far but got a nice 1 inch group at 100yds. My friend i shoot with shot my gun and he shot a 1/2 inch group at 100. For under $450 you cannot beat this rifle and caliber, my opinion.
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Old February 3, 2014, 06:38 PM   #10
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The 6.5x284 and the .243 are awesome long range calibers, the downside is that all that speed burns barrels pretty fast.

If you want to be budget conscious the .308 is the way to go.

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Old February 3, 2014, 07:01 PM   #11
dakota.potts
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I've done a little bit of reading since I've asked the question, and I keep coming back to two cartridges:

The .243 Winchester and the 6.5X55 Swede. I have heard that both are good on paper out to 1000 yards (which is probably farther than I'll even ever get the chance to shoot), but that the 6.5 Swede will more likely convince an animal to go down.

I would really love a CZ in 6.5, but it seems the rifle is more expensive, and that the ammo is more expensive and harder to find.

The wide variety of rifles chambered in .243 and relative availability is making that an attractive round for me.
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Old February 3, 2014, 07:45 PM   #12
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Look also at 6.5 x 284. These are very accurate rifles and will shoot 1000 yards with ease. They are not the barrel burners as some would lead you to believe. The 308 is by far the easiest to load for,but brass for almost any other caliber is easier to find right now. I did the 6MMBR myself and could not be happier. Not a carry rifle for sure. Savage is ( IMHO ) the only way to go. I also have a 243 and like it very much. Very accurate rifle.
Recoil is a null point really. With a good pad it is un important. It's just with the 308 and the 6.5 your powder charge will burn through a LB of powder real fast. As for 1000 yard shots. The 243 is good depending on your twist. Wind will be your biggest factor.
With a 308 you can pump a 175 gn and buck the wind better. The 243 as I said depending on your twist maybe 80 to 105 gn bullet.
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Old February 3, 2014, 07:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
4runnerman said: Savage is ( IMHO ) the only way to go.
+1 Here
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Old February 3, 2014, 08:39 PM   #14
dakota.potts
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Other question:

I am left eye dominant and have trained myself to shoot left handed. Now right handed feels very strange with rifles.

Is it worth getting the left handed rifle? I actually really enjoy right handed rifles from a bench as it allows me to cycle the weapon with my right hand without moving my shooting hand, but from any other position it's incredibly uncomfortable.
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Old February 3, 2014, 09:01 PM   #15
Bart B.
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Accurate barrel life for 1000 yards starting out at 6 inches then slowly opening up to 9 inches from precision match rifle and handloads:

.308 Win; 2000 rounds pristine, 1000 acceptable.

6.5x284; 500 rounds terrific, 250 acceptable.

.243 Win; 1000 rounds great, 500 acceptable.

Factory rifle and ammo at 1000 yards starting out at 15 inches the opening up to 25 inches, double the above barrel life numbers.
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Old February 3, 2014, 09:39 PM   #16
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Have you ever thought 7mm-08???

Just a thought. Fairly light recoil, plentiful ammo supply, easy to find guns/reloading equipment.
Plus better long range ballistics than .308.
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Old February 3, 2014, 09:55 PM   #17
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Bart- Those numbers are a so-so I believe.. As you know I shoot long range.

My 223- 16000 plus rounds, Still shoots the primer out of a 9MM case at 100 yards
6MMBR- 3500 plus rounds- Still shoots 1/4 MOA ( all done this year alone )
308- around 4000 rounds- still holds 1/2 to 3/4 MOA
I do treat my barrels after the first 200 rounds, I also do not shoot hot loads.
I was leary about the 6MMBR before I got it,due to hearing the same story ( maybe 2500 rounds ) I have found that to be not true at all. My last match proved it ( with your help ). I do believe they wear out but not as fast as most say they do. Now I am just shooting stock Savage barrels, so I can not say abot the big boys. I know most of the guys I shoot with DO change barrels after x amount of rounds. I am not that good yet or rich enough to do it. I did get a new barrel for the BR,but that was to get into a 6 groove barrel, and had it chambered for VLD's ( hoping that will help me move up the ladder next year). Now I have never had any one go down the barrel with a bore scope,so I can not say what it looks like, but I can say what they still shoot like.
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Old February 3, 2014, 11:01 PM   #18
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Reference was made to the 270. It would be as hard or harder recoil as the 308.

260 Rem seems like a middle or the road choice with a reputation (from what I read, no experience) of good barrel life.

All the calibers 308 and under can be had with heavier barrels though you might have to cross gun lines.
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Old February 3, 2014, 11:15 PM   #19
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Left-handed

I also shoot left-handed. I have only tried to shoot a left-handed rifle once. It felt awkward to me. The lefties are a lot more expensive and harder to find it seems like. It might be a little slower with the right handed bolt getting the sight picture back because I move my head to move the bolt back. One time I got some buck fever and clocked myself in the nose trying to get another round in, but other than that I haven't had any problems from any position. I think its just another practice thing. Shooting sticks help hold up the gun and everything for standing, kneeling, so you can pretty much keep on target while cycling the bolt. I generally prefer prone if at all possible. I am not a crack shot. 400 yards is about as long as I go, and that is pushing it for me, so that is all I know.

I was looking into 7mm-08 and I have heard some good things about them from others folks, especially as a beginning type rifle.

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Old February 4, 2014, 07:11 AM   #20
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4runnerman, test those rifles at 800 to 1000 yards in pristine conditions then let me know what their largest 10-shot groups are.

Eppie, bullet velocity doesn't wear out barrels. It's the powder burning. A .308 shooting bullets at 3000 fps has 4 times the barrel life as a. 6.5x284 with bullets leaving at 3000. And 3 times the life as a .300 magnum's bullets going out that fast.

It's been a good "rule of thumb" for decades that with normal, max loads, when 1 grain of powder's used for each square millimeter of the bore's cross sectional area, the barrel lasts about 3000 rounds of excellent accuracy. With 40% more powder in the same bore size, barrel life gets cut in half. Double that amount of powder and it goes down to one-fourth the round count.
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Old February 5, 2014, 07:36 AM   #21
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I would go with the left hand version. I also shoot lefty and the axis 243 is my first left handed gun. I have always shot right handed guns and shot them well but having a gun for me(lefty) is soooo much more comfortable. Lefty guns are not more expensive than rightys its just that most gun stores dont stock them because the demand is so much less, so you have to special order them and wait. I was lucky where i bought my axis had 2-4 in each caliber with 1 or 2 being a lefty in each caliber. All were same price.
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Old February 5, 2014, 06:56 PM   #22
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If you don't want to start handloading, .308 win is the way to go.

If you do take up handloading, 6.5x284 is a good option and also take a look at 6.5 creedmoor, as already stated. Savage makes relatively inexpensive rifles in both these chamberings.

Just keep in mind, a good hunting rifle doesn't make a good target rifle, and vice-versa. If you get serious enough to start shooting 1000 yards, you're going to want purpose-built equipment. Trust me. Such as a rifle with a heavy barrel, heavy stock with a beaver-tail forend, high magnification scope, and a super-light trigger. All those things aren't so great on a hunting rifle. Try walking through the woods and climbing up in your stand with a 15lb+ rifle with a 28" barrel. Or being competitive at a 1000 yard target competition with a hunting rifle with a sporter barrel, 3-5 pound trigger, 3-9x40 scope and light stock.

Getting two rifles, one built for hunting and one for targets, in the same chambering, makes a lot more sense to me. A decent hunting rifle and scope can be had for $400. A decent long range target rifle will be at least three times that.
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Old February 5, 2014, 07:22 PM   #23
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4runnerman, test those rifles at 800 to 1000 yards in pristine conditions then let me know what their largest 10-shot groups are.

I will do that Bart. I like getting your in put always. First match is Memorial Day.
Sure do wish it was sooner. This Winter cold no shooting Bites
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Old February 5, 2014, 07:43 PM   #24
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I’ve done some research for the same thing, and I keep flip flopping between the .243 and .308. I have shot the .243 and don’t remember recoil being a factor, but that was probably 30 years ago when I sold that gun. I’ve never shot a .308. For long distance shooting with a scope, I think I would be better off with the lower recoil of the .243. Both should be capable of 800 yards in the right hands.

The Savage 10 Series is what I’m looking at. Shooting the calibers we are interested in would be the best option, but it’s not like you can go down to the local range and rent them.
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Old February 7, 2014, 07:15 AM   #25
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As has been explained above, it's a compromise on barrel life.
Push more burning powder/gas through a smaller bore, it erodes faster.

The .260/6.5 Creedmore are great "compromise" chamberings, as is the 7-08; I use both (as well as the .308).

While it's easy to say "barrels are like tires, just replace them", the mechanism to have this done, and in a timely fashion if need be, should be considered.

Gunsmith waiting times can be months, to many months...

This is why a lot of us like the Savage platform (and the same can be done with the 700 platform) because of the DIY barrel change ability.
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