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Old February 12, 2014, 11:41 PM   #1
Clevinger
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Why not use a heavy rifle for typical deer hunting?

Heavy rifles, say 8-10 pounds, tend to have less recoil. They also tend to have better accuracy in the field, correct?

The marketing in rifles seems to be focused on being light, as if all hunters were hiking several days into the wilderness.

I live in Minnesota, and frankly it seems like most people don't want to walk 100 yards beyond their trucks. I see some guys parking their vehicles immediately below their stands even. I tend to go far beyond that, walking 1-2 miles regularly, but carrying a 9-10 lb rifle is still realistic. Soldiers used to march with M1 Garands that weighed 9.5 pounds.

Thus, from an accuracy and recoil standpoint, wouldn't the heavier rifles be better for your average stand hunter? If you don't have to carry a rifle a long ways, wouldn't there be advantages to a heavier rifle?
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Old February 12, 2014, 11:56 PM   #2
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Depends on the perspective I guess.....when I was a young man, I carried my Rem 700, 7 mag everywhere, all day...it is about 9.5# ready to roll.....however about age 60 my perspective changed a bit!! Now it is my Titanium 700, 7-08, weighing in a tad less than 6#!!....or the 280, a Rem 700 Mtn rifle, a tad less than 7#!!! I am past 70 now so I guess it is all I can do just carry my a$$ where it needs to go!!!
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Old February 13, 2014, 12:05 AM   #3
JD0x0
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Most hunters want light rifles these days, they don't mind giving up barrel length and velocity, while increasing recoil, because they don't want to carry around the weight of 2'' of 'extra' barrel. That's why you rarely see factory barrels over 24'' (and even those aren't that common compared to 22'' and shorter barrels) even though there are significant velocity gains with longer barrels.
I say give me a 9lb .270 with a 26'' barrel. The weight doesn't bother me in the mountains.
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Old February 13, 2014, 12:21 AM   #4
MJFlores
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PFFFfffffff...you young kids and your fancy light weight rifles. For the past 20 years I've carried a 10 pound Winchester model 70 chambered in .30/06. Killed many a deer with it.
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Old February 13, 2014, 12:37 AM   #5
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I like to long distance pistol hunt. The xp100 action custom built in 7mm Dakota is my next project. 4 lbs and has taken elk out past 600 yrds. With the brake, it jumps about 5 inches up and sets back down on the bipod. It's quite a bit cheaper than a custom rifle at around 1700.00 with scope.
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Old February 13, 2014, 01:15 AM   #6
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Why a lightweight rifle to hunt with? Heavy rifles absorb recoil true, but how many shots does a typical hunter make in a hunt? I can put up with the extra smack of a lightweight rifle that I may have to carry a lot, but shoot little.
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Old February 13, 2014, 01:27 AM   #7
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Most of us tend to shoot a heavy rifle more accurately than a light rifle for two reasons: (1) the felt recoil from a heavy rifle will be lower, and (2) we know about reason (1) so we don't expect much recoil. Nevertheless, I prefer a very light synthetic stock .270 for hunting because it does not wear me out carrying it in mountains, vast prairies or dense forests, and I developed very accurate handloads for terrific Nosler BT and Partition bullets for my .270 many years ago.

My stock is a Brown Precision.
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Old February 13, 2014, 02:05 AM   #8
Sure Shot Mc Gee
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What one carry's a field to hunt game with is by choice. Unlike the Service. As far as a heavy weapon being more accurate perhaps if the game is standing perfectly still. But under most hunting situations one can't count on a game animal standing perfectly still for its hunter to make his/her best shot. So to be best equipped for those either situation. A lighter weight rifle is usually preferred. You have to remember those who shoot for recreation or otherwise long distance's. Are shooting at a distant target that's stationary with their weapon being supported in some fashion. Shooting at moving target with some degree of accuracy is much more difficult to accomplish. And requires more than just a heavy accurate rifle. It requires instinctive eye to hand coordination. Since you live in MN. Try climbing to the top of one of those big Ore Dumps seen outside of Hibbing Virginia or Grand Rapids city limits with a heavy rifle. Perhaps then you'll come to know why so many prefer a lighter weapon in the field. I would say the climb is much more difficult to accomplish than a 1 or 2 mile stroll thru the woods.

Quote:
If you don't have to carry a rifle a long ways, wouldn't there be advantages to a heavier rifle?
Absolutely not. But there are those who feel differently and are quite willing to comment their scenario why there is a need too.

Quote:
frankly it seems like most people don't want to walk 100 yards beyond their trucks. I see some guys parking their vehicles immediately below their stands even.
I wish I could too. But I have to drive my ATV 4-wheeler to my stand instead in the cold and rain occasionally.
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Old February 13, 2014, 02:26 AM   #9
Brotherbadger
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Quote:
Why a lightweight rifle to hunt with? Heavy rifles absorb recoil true, but how many shots does a typical hunter make in a hunt? I can put up with the extra smack of a lightweight rifle that I may have to carry a lot, but shoot little.
Not to mention, felt recoil seems to be pretty much nonexistant while hunting. I never worry about recoil in a hunting rifle, since i never feel it while hunting anyways.
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Old February 13, 2014, 03:47 AM   #10
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It all comes down to the style hunting you do and your preference. Typically my hunting is quite similar though I usually like the walk so its typically 250-400 yards. But for moderate distances such as this I don't worry about weight . In a mountain elk hunt that I lay down 4-6 miles in a day in thin air lightening your load is crucial.
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Old February 13, 2014, 04:06 AM   #11
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When the only offerings on the rack from manufacturers had 24" barrels and weighed 9lbs hunters did not go looking for a 12lb rifle with 28" barrel.

Most hunters want a rifle that's accurate and light weight... and when they hit those same racks, they sold pretty well... it just took the makers awhile to figure that out and start offering them.
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Old February 13, 2014, 04:13 AM   #12
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Come hunt at 7000+ feet ASL, and walk 10+ miles a day and then you'll realize heavy rifles suck.
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Old February 13, 2014, 06:57 AM   #13
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I have hunting rifles weighing from 7 lbs. to 9.3 lbs. The rifle used most for deer weighs about 8 lbs., but when out for a walk behind the house when it's not deer season, guess which rifle goes with me?
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Old February 13, 2014, 07:02 AM   #14
jmr40
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Quote:
Heavy rifles, say 8-10 pounds, tend to have less recoil.
Most lightweights tend to be made in calibers that recoil less. My 6 lb 308 has exactly the same recoil as my much heavier 30-06 and gives me 97% of its velocity.

Quote:
They also tend to have better accuracy in the field, correct?
A heavy rifle is easier for a shooter to use. If someone puts in some practice time there is no difference.

Quote:
Soldiers used to march with M1 Garands that weighed 9.5 pounds.
And they complained bitterly. The military has constantly been looking for ways to lighten the rifles. Less rifle weight means more ammo and other gear can be carried.

I'm one of those who does hunt miles from the road, and usually in mountains. For me it has been worth the expense to spend the money for lightweight stocks on some of my hunting rifles and to even spend the money for a truly lightweight Kimber.

But even for those guys who do not there is no reason not to choose lighter options. I've found that as long as you keep the ready to hunt weight between 7-8 lbs no one has any trouble shooting the gun, and recoil just isn't a problem. Around 7.5 lbs scoped is about perfect for an all around rifle. Going lighter can cause problems. My Kimber is stilla bit under 6 lbs scoped, some guys just can't master a rifle that light, but it will shoot just fine if you do. Going heavier than 7.5 lbs is just about as helpful as taping a brick to your barrel. Even if you don't walk more than 10' from your ATV to your stand.




And yes a lightweight can have fine accuracy.



With my goal of a 7- 7.5 lb all up rifle a shooter does not have to spend any extra money. Just make choices. There are lots of budget rifles now, Ruger American, Tikka, as well as a couple of Savage rifles that weigh right at 6 lbs. By making careful choices with the scope, mounts and a carry strap finished weight can come in well under 7.5 lbs while spending very little money. If you want to go lighter it will get expensive, but few people really need to.
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Old February 13, 2014, 07:10 AM   #15
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My deer rifle cant weigh 7.5 lbs, its not too heavy to carry up and down these Missouri hills. I dont usually shoot more than once or twice where I hunt.
The model 70 I picked up hasn't been weighed yet, but it feels nice but that rifle will be for hunting out west for bigger deer spieces and elk.
I was on my National Guard units Match Rifle team where we shot the rem 40x .22 rimfire, man that was a heavy rifle. I couldnt by no means want to pack a rifle around anywhere that weighed over 7 lbs, and physically I'm not in too bad shape but huffin and puffin isnt my idea of a fun hunt.....plus my rifle shoots as well as any heavy rifles .
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Old February 13, 2014, 07:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Come hunt at 7000+ feet ASL, and walk 10+ miles a day and then you'll realize heavy rifles suck.
The rifle is effectively the same weight regardless of the elevation or distance walked. The only one sucking is the hunter - air.

Of course by those criteria, all weight sucks.
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Old February 13, 2014, 08:44 AM   #17
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My deer stand rifle weighs about 10.5lbs, I carry it a 1000yds at most to the stand and back out. Doesn't bother me to do it either but I'm not a weakling nor bothered by 10lbs of weight on my shoulder for that short distance. Were I going to snoop and stalk through the hill country all day, I'd opt for something lighter and in stainless.
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Old February 13, 2014, 09:50 AM   #18
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I am 75 years old. Until recent years I did not mind carrying my flintlock Jaeger muzzle loader while hunting. No problem with weight. It is about a 9 pounder. With age, my problem has been dragging a dead deer back out of the woods. And, in the Ozarks "out" is always uphill. The rifle does not have a sling, by choice. This is more work than I am willing to do any longer. Bottom line, use what rifle you want but be prepared for the entire hunt.
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Old February 13, 2014, 09:52 AM   #19
Clevinger
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Quote:
Depends on the perspective I guess.....when I was a young man, I carried my Rem 700, 7 mag everywhere, all day...it is about 9.5# ready to roll.....however about age 60 my perspective changed a bit!! Now it is my Titanium 700, 7-08, weighing in a tad less than 6#!!....or the 280, a Rem 700 Mtn rifle, a tad less than 7#!!! I am past 70 now so I guess it is all I can do just carry my a$$ where it needs to go!!!
Awesome post! Much respect.
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Old February 13, 2014, 09:54 AM   #20
Clevinger
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Gentlemen,

I wasn't trying to step on any toes with this thread.

I just submit, despite the marketing for light rifles, most stand/blind deer hunters would be better off with a heavy rifle.
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Old February 13, 2014, 09:55 AM   #21
tahunua001
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accuracy, no
recoil yes.

accuracy has little to do with the weight of the rifle and everything to do with quality of the barrel and harmonics. you can have a 14 pound rifle and it'll still shoot no better than 4 MOA if it's got a sewer pipe for a barrel and the barrel is being tweaked 3 different directions from the mounting hardware for the stock. now yes, heavier gun means lighter recoil however I've found that toting a heavy rifle does not personally bother me too much...until I'm stuck dragging an elk off a mountain side, then I find myself wondering why I didn't go with the lightest rifle I have.
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Old February 13, 2014, 10:17 AM   #22
Art Eatman
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My #2 Pet is a little Sako Forester .243. 19" barrel. Seven pounds, "fully dressed". Regularly and reliably, five-shot groups of 5/8 to 3/4 MOA.

I used it in a culling program, way back when, and through the years tagged a couple of dozen bucks.

I will say that after a walking hunt of three to five miles, it wasn't nearly as tiring as my #1 Pet, a 9.5-pound '06.

If all you do is sit in a stand, weight is pretty much irrelevant. Just realize that from a Bambi-need standpoint, there's no advantage to a heavy barrel over a light sporter: The key is the consistency for point of impact of the first shot. If you have that, a "buggy whip" barrel is plenty good.

Nowadays, though, since my legs went and got old, my preference is my 700 Ti in 7mm08. 6.5 pounds, fully dressed.
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Old February 13, 2014, 10:46 AM   #23
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I usually hunt with a Mod 70 hvy barrel Coyotee.
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Old February 13, 2014, 10:47 AM   #24
Brian Pfleuger
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My deer gun weighs 9.5lbs. Considering that I'm often wearing 20lbs of clothes/gear, plus carrying a 25lb climbing stand and I'm only walking a few hundred yards at most, there's no difference to me between a 6.5lb gun and a 9.5lb gun, except recoil. No, we don't care about recoil when we're hunting but we default to our worst training. If you flinch in practice, you flinch by habit when you shoot deer.
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Old February 13, 2014, 11:16 AM   #25
pbcaster45
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I always get busted on about the heavy rifles I hunt with (bean field rifles?) My 7mm RM probably weighs 12 - 13 lbs. but it’s a laser beam! It's a pretty short walk to most of our stands (always in darkness) and it's not a problem carrying a heavy rifle. They laugh... but they still call me "One Shot Johnny"!

If I have to do any walking I just switch to my backup rifle - a Tikka T3 in .308 Winchester.

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