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Old February 13, 2014, 11:28 AM   #26
Lt. Skrumpledonk Ret
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Some tree stands accomodate heavy rifles quite well. My dad uses a tripod with a spinning seat. The retaining bar is about an arm-length in front of him and just below shoulder level. It holds his rifle to his shoulder; he doesn't need to use his hands to keep it all but ready to fire. I use a ladder stand and the retaining bar cannot be used as a rest for the rifle.



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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 always speculated that the less distance I had to walk to the tree stand - the better. I'd park my truck right under my tree stand thinking that a deer won't be AS alarmed by the smell of a truck than the smell I'd leave by touching knee-high brush or tree branches as I walk 200 yards through thick woods. I feel this way because I've seen a deer change behavior as it walked up to a trail I had traversed several hours before. I think it could smell my trail.
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Old February 13, 2014, 12:02 PM   #27
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As you get older you have to think about when it's time to quit and I decide I'll quit when I can hunt the way I want. I drive my wife crazy before current season ends I'm planning next year's hunt.

I tried light rifle few years ago and really didn't like it not enough that I want to make a change. I like to my hunting rifles 9 to 9.5 lbs.

At 72 my time coming and I'm not going to make any changes and I'm still able to walk in and pack out.
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Old February 13, 2014, 12:39 PM   #28
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not just the rifle

If your 9 lb rifle isn't bothering you, you're not carrying it in your hands very far, or....just wait a few years. Heck, I can hump a rifle slung a long way, but put it in your hands and hunt...not so much.

Thing is, nobody still hunts much in the classic sense anyhow...me included. In my twenties, I'd hike to the highest, thickest spots on the SGL in my area, and not think much about it. Spend all day on top, on foot, and hike down at dark. Can't imagine hunting like that now, for a week or so at a clip.

'Round here, its the same deal...most guys walk no more than a 1/4 mile, some a whole lot less, to a ROW or shooting house, where they wait for deer to appear. And the advent of near everybody owning some type of ATV just makes it worse. The lease I'm in, most guys ride within 100 yds of all the established stands and shooting houses. Set ups like that, a big rifle and scope doesn't hinder.

Consider though that not everybody hunts that way. I don't cover ground like I used to, but I still pack a climbing stand, usually in and out, on all of my bow hunts, and not a few of my rifle hunts. The state WMA where I spend most of my hunt time, does not allow off road travel, though it does have a good two track net work. And my shots, for the most part, are all under 100 yds, for that I don't need big caliber, big scope, or wobble fighting weight that a heavy rifle offers.

In fact this year, I did not carry a rifle with a tube longer than 20". I found it lighter and easier to carry with a stand on my back, easy in and out of the Bronco, and if I was in a shoot house, easy out the window.

Lot depends on your age and condition. My Dad's deer rifles tended to get short and light as he aged, and I find mine do to. My knee and hip remind me I do not own an ATV, and I actually am beginning to ponder one. Biggest asset to get game in and out. Bamaboy and I have rolled my last two out together on my deer cart, and I was glad I had the help.
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Old February 13, 2014, 12:51 PM   #29
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If I were hunting those 50lb Alabama do... uh.. deer from under 100 yards, I'd probably be using a 5.5lb Kimber 84M Montana chambered in .223Rem
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Old February 13, 2014, 01:46 PM   #30
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If I were still actively hunting locally, Mule deer and Elk, I would desire that Kimber in the 84L in 280AI, at 6.2lb still light and a local industry to boot.
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Old February 13, 2014, 05:55 PM   #31
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Quote:
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.
Most, perhaps. But, not all.

I have been known to paddle a canoe many miles a day, hike up beyond tree line, and also miles away from the take out, with the longest resulting in four days to pack out one moose with two guys. This is Alaska. And for me, this is another outing in the backyard; I have a really big backyard!

Yes, I have grown to like lighter hunting rifles as the years continue rolling along.
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Old February 13, 2014, 06:09 PM   #32
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Wow ah! Somebody call the Marine Corp! This thread proves light rifles are just as accurate as heavy ones!

C'mon. YMMV, but IIRC, a heavy 12-15lb rig in my hands shoots much better prone, from an improvised rest or even standing... The weight dampens vibrations, heartbeats and instabilities. In general, all accuracy sports have a max weight rule because weight IS such a huge advantage.

Wait...don't they prove this at Camp Perry annually??
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Old February 13, 2014, 06:45 PM   #33
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I had a Kimber Mountain Ascent .308 that weight 4lbs with a 8oz Leupold VX-3 on it..... Best hunting rifle ever. I don't see the point using a heavier gun when light ones can shoot sub MOA these days.

As far as barrel length.. your not gaining a whole lot in that extra 2''
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Old February 13, 2014, 09:09 PM   #34
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I don't hunt deer any more,but do log some miles for yotes. I carry a heavy barrel 223 all the time. Never a issue and I am a old fart. I have even seen post's were some people say the scope adds to much weight?. Umm, Ahh. Ok to that.
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Old February 13, 2014, 09:17 PM   #35
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I weighed my rifle by standing on weihh scale and deducting my weight and found it weighs 8 lbs.... I must have carried (and got used to) heavier rifles during deer season. I could have sworn my Savage in synthetic stock weighed less than 8 lbs..
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Old February 14, 2014, 08:28 AM   #36
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Kinda the same reason track stars don't wear Timberlands in the 500 meter. We are all human and looking for a edge. Lighter rifles make it easier to go farther and harder with less lower back pain at the end of the day.

Accuracy is equal between a mid weight and fly weight gun providing you are using a high quality rifles.. Its the shooter that makes the difference. As mentioned, you only are going to shoot 1 or 2 shots so even a ultra lightweight barrel doesn't matter with heat. I have carried ALOT of rifles over the rough stuff but setting up a fly weight mountain gun that shoots accurate is about as good as it gets. Engineering and better build materials has given us light weight rifles that can do it all. That wasn't the case even 20 years ago.

This is my "no compromise" fly weight rig. Serious glass included and still at the 6lbs weight. Shoots 1/4" moa with factory 308 ammo.
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Old February 14, 2014, 10:38 AM   #37
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I'm a tree stand hunter and all my rifles are considered heavy. Some have bull barrels and some don't. All have flat bottom actions which are heavier than round. A fully alum bedded aftermarket stock will add a good bit of weight to a rifle, and I've swapped out factory stocks many times. I do feel the weight in handling the gun to the stand, but all my rifles are excellent shooters (far better than me) at the bench and none have detrimental recoil. I would think this creates less stress on the optics as well.
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Old February 14, 2014, 11:13 AM   #38
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Now, Nathan. It's common that light barrels are very much adequately accurate to hit within an inch of the intended Bit of Bambi. How much more is needed?

In some forty years of messing with Bambi, I had one occasion to be where I could have gone prone. I didn't. Grass burrs and stickers and such.

The vast majority of all deer are killed within 200 yards. Anything which groups tighter than two MOA is adequate. (Like most of us, I don't settle for "adequate". ) So, in the immortal words of Hillary Clinton, "What difference does it make?"
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Old February 14, 2014, 11:21 AM   #39
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Quote:
Wow ah! Somebody call the Marine Corp! This thread proves light rifles are just as accurate as heavy ones!

C'mon. YMMV, but IIRC, a heavy 12-15lb rig in my hands shoots much better prone, from an improvised rest or even standing... The weight dampens vibrations, heartbeats and instabilities. In general, all accuracy sports have a max weight rule because weight IS such a huge advantage.

Wait...don't they prove this at Camp Perry annually??
When you are in a target shooting situation, or military sniper taking 1,000 yard shots the difference between a .2 MOA 15 lb rifle, and a .3 MOA 6 lb rifle makes a difference. For a deer hunter @ under 500 yards the extra .1 MOA is not worth the weight. In fact from typical hunting shooting positions you can't really take advantage of anything much less than 1 MOA.
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Old February 14, 2014, 11:24 AM   #40
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Tease a little, but don't pick on. Okay?
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Old February 14, 2014, 11:25 AM   #41
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My Marlin 45-70SBL with sling and scope is about 8.5 pounds. Add the 2 LBS suppressor on the end of the barrel and its now a 10.5 pound gun. Im old and fat but I still carry it. Then again I dont walk as far as I use to.
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Old February 14, 2014, 12:00 PM   #42
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That is a factor to consider....Weight is relative to what you are use to. The magazines have broken them down to "lite weight" and "Fly weight" rifles. Fly weights are bare rifles under 5.5lbs. Lite weights are bare rifles under 7lbs. I dont know how in-stone these are but it seems like most publications are following this rule of classifications.
Some may consider a Winchester Feather weight with scope a lite weight at about 8.75-9lbs out the door. All of my hunting rifles from Sako to Winchester were about that and I was happy with that as a all around rifle. It wasn't till I picked up a sub 7lbs rifle that got me excited. The trouble is quality light weight rifles are still expensive. They are coming down and you can see there is a huge interest in them. Savage is now making a one at a affordable price. Remington has one with the Remington Seven. I think all manufactures will eventually have them in their catalog.
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Old February 14, 2014, 12:04 PM   #43
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Because lighter is better, *IF* you're going quite a ways. Accuracy is equal on that *first, cold-bore* shot, if the rifle is quality. But yeah, point taken - if you're like 90% of hunters in the east and midwest, you ain't going 100-200 yards from the pickup, most likely.

I'm moving to a rocky mountain state in just over a year, so I'm starting to focus more on light rifles. I plan to walk in a mile or 3 on occasion, to find the bigger deer, elk, sheep, etc.

I'm leaning more and more toward lighter as I get older. You just naturally get weaker, even if you work out. Which is why I went to 60 and 65 lb bows a couple years ago, instead of 70 lb bows. I hope to hit the gym more and get back to 70s, if my shoulder heals up, but until then, I can hold a 60 for much longer. When I hit my 60s or 70s (age), I'm sure I'll use a 50lb or less compound bow then, if not solely using crossbows.

I already built one ultra-light, by taking a Wby Mk 5 "Ultra Lighweight", and further customizing it (it's in .280). Now I'm considering possibly building the *ultimate* hunter for all NA big game, short of bison, yak, coastal brownies, and polar bears, by trying to get my hands on a Browning Ti short action, slapping a Proof Research 26" or 27" carbon fiber bbl on it (in .260 rem AI), and having Proof or Manners or someone build the stock I want, with some carbon fiber fill in it. It could come in under 5.5 lbs even with a 27" bbl in this config. But can't afford that at the moment. However, while dreaming here, if I make this rifle, it will be in "scout" or "pseudo-scout" config, meaning forward-mounted scope, and a stripper clip guide (but fixed mag w/floorplate; no detachables), with an actual pistol grip stock - but lightweight (not a "tactical" heavy one like from Manners). Scope would probably be the Nikon Omega / Turkey Pro / Slugmaster 1.65-5x36, but I'll have to have Nikon put in a heavy duplex reticle for me; get rid of that crap ballistic reticle in there. Probably run with Nosler Accubond LR 129s, or Nosler E-tip 120s, so I'd need about an 8.5 or 9 twist, I think.

Oh, by the way, my comments only apply if you shoot *ONLY* rested, not standing/freehand. It is certainly true that some weight helps with freehand shooting. Fact is, I NEVER shoot that way when hunting, ever. I'm always rested. I usually have a tripod. Even if I'm stalking, which I do a lot, I won't shoot until I can get over to a tree and rest my rifle against the side of a tree, and push in against it with the support hand. So, YMMV if you hunt freehand. I could see maybe wanting something a bit heavier then.

Quote:
Fly weights are bare rifles under 5.5lbs. Lite weights are bare rifles under 7lbs.
Hmmm, I'd buy that if it said: "Fly weights are bare rifles under 5.5lbs. Lite weights are bare rifles under 6.5lbs." Once you start getting up around 7 bare, I'd call them "medium-lights" or "mediums", not lights, personally... Add scope, rings, sling, ammo; it all adds up.

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Old February 14, 2014, 12:56 PM   #44
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Wow, what a serious thread for such a personal choice!

</start old man rant>
Back when I was a kid.... (don't you love old farts that start every story that way)...

My first deer rifle was a Enfield No4 that my uncle had some how acquired...

AS I REMEMBER IT it sill had the 4 foot bayonet on it from the great war. And as a 7 year old the darn thing was taller than I was AS I REMEMBER IT... we did however get to drive to the trail head (the end of the hay fields at the base of the mountains) to start the 40 mile forced march, up hill, in the winter, dodging grizzly bears...

And I swore that after two seasons of that set up I would go to school - get a good paying job - and buy my uncle and myself a reasonably sized rifle!!!

I think this was a ploy of my uncle's to instill what he considered "character building" in a young fatherless "kid" from the city...

So... true to myself I did go and get better, smaller, lighter, easier rifles to hunt with... and I even eventually bought my uncle a "good" hunting rifle which he did use... And I never forgot the forced marches and dragging of elk and all the other parts of hunting with that battle rifle.

But the last time I was able to go out shooting with this guy - We took out the Enfield just for old time's sake... He wasn't able to hunt then... and as we were setting up the rifles on the bench he said "I sure don't remember that rifle being so darn heavy" and then he gave me a wink...
</end old man rant>

The moral of the story? Old farts say “darn” a lot...
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Old February 14, 2014, 01:02 PM   #45
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I have been able to handle a number of older, that is, 60's and earlier, hunting rifles, and on the average they are lighter than today's average rifle.

I believe the difference is that everyone carried their equipment and now, hardly anyone walks. Driving all terrain vehicles to your spot, or close to your spot, is the norm.
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Old February 15, 2014, 12:16 AM   #46
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I had been hunting for ten years with a 30/30 when someone suggested that I needed a bolt gun with a scope to be a good hunter. Bought one, a Remington 700, but never really liked it. It was 3 lbs. heavier than my Winchester Mdl. 94 and deer, elk and antelope didn't fall down any quicker. . . .I sold it. Hunted another 5 years or so with the 30/30 levergun before I bought another bolt gun. This time it was a Ruger Compact in .308 with a fixed 4x scope. It is handy, accurate and only a pound and a half heavier than my 30/30. What's not to like? There is no need to haul around a heavy rifle. Hunting is about fun, not work.
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Old February 15, 2014, 12:38 AM   #47
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Quote:
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?
In Minnesota and many places back east, there's not much of a reason to argue that a 10 lb rifle is perfectly fine for a great number of hunters.

But, when I hunt deer, I often cover 12-15 miles in a day. Some days, I might cover 20+ miles. ...and that's not gentle-rolling-hills-through-bean-fields mileage, that's Rocky Mountain mileage, though nasty forests that haven't been logged in 80+ years (if ever). So the forest floor, mid-mountain mind you, is covered in an interlaced pile of rotting logs, precariously perched logs, and sharp, broken limbs that are just waiting to impale you. It takes its toll on you.

For Elk, the mileage is the same, or even a little lower, but it's in rougher terrain. And, just when you think you're going to get a break from the blow-down timber, you end up in tight, nasty scrub, on a mountain face that's covered in loose shale.

Lugging a 10 lb rifle around is irritating and tiring. So, the question becomes: Why carry a 10 lb rifle, when you can use one that weighs 6.5 lbs?
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Old February 15, 2014, 08:35 AM   #48
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Quote:
Why not use a heavy rifle for typical deer hunting?
Cause I'm old and lazy.
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Old February 15, 2014, 09:18 AM   #49
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It pretty much comes down to where and how you hunt. As tahunuaoo1 put it, the trouble starts when you have one on the ground.
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Old February 15, 2014, 11:29 AM   #50
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Gunplummer, thats exactly why I take my kids hunting, they dont mind carting out dads deer....
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