View Full Version : Ideal calibre? New to rifles and reloading.

Pond, James Pond
July 8, 2012, 12:31 PM
I recently asked for input on whehter to get a bolt action or a semi.

For what I want, I think a bolt action is best. Where I live, brands, models and calibres are quite limited.

I want to learn to shoot long range.
Locally, I can shoot out to 300m, but west of where I live is a range where you can shoot out to 1000m!!

Much too far for me now, but as I get better at least I have a place to stretch my wings.

Ammo is quite expensive here, so I will no doubt reload after I've put a few through a new rifle.

So calibres:

.270 I have discounted as it's nigh on impossible to find the reloading components here. 30-06 is a possible, .308 is most common, but 7mm Rem Mag is also a candidate. If the rifle is not exhorbitantly priced the 7mm could be interesting due to it's superior range over the other two.

So for a relative novice, who already has a 22LR to learn the absolute basics on, is there any reason to remove one of those calibres from my list, or are they all viable?

July 8, 2012, 02:03 PM
Well since you are already knowing that you will have to reload that's a good start. All three rounds will do 1000 yards, there is the Palma shooting that uses .308 out to 1000 yards, which is short of 1000m but still pretty dang far.

Here is another post from a few years ago which goes in to detail about calibers for 1000M shooting Optimum 1000M Cartridge? (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=387648)

July 8, 2012, 06:26 PM
Depending upon your overall requirements, I'd pick a cartridge that is known to be capable of 1000 meter accuracy, then go for the one that is the most efficient to shoot. I'm assuming that finances are a factor in your shooting.
I'd go with the .308, or with one of the wildcat 6.5's that seem to be finding favor with the long range crowd, such as the 6.5/.284. It might be difficult to find brass for one of those, however, and .308 brass is available nearly everywhere. Bullet selection is greater in .30 caliber as well.

I'm not a long range shooter (and I don't play one on TV) but that would be the line of thought I'd pursue.

Good luck with it..

Jim Watson
July 8, 2012, 10:16 PM
Maybe if you listed off what was reasonably available there in the way of rifles and calibers we could eliminate some that just sound good.

A 6.5x55 in a modern rifle that you can load more heavily than an 1896 Swedish Mauser will do very well, for example.

July 8, 2012, 10:54 PM
Depending on how much you are going to shoot. 7MM is sweet,butttt
Very costley to load and barrel life with good accuracy is around 1000 to 1500 rounds. Not an ideal rifle for target shooting,great for 1000 yards though. 308 on the other hand--3000 to 5000 plus barrel life,very easy to get 1000 yards. as you said components are easy to find. 270?. I know it will do 1000 yards easy,but i do not know much about them. Would cost more than 308 to load for sure. 6MMBR ???. You could order the brass and bullets and just buy your powder local if it's feasable. Bolt is the only way to go for target shooting.

July 8, 2012, 11:50 PM
Since you are from the Baltic region how hard would it be to pick up a Fin target Mosin? 7.62x54r should be easy to find components for. As mentioned earlier the 6.5x55 would be another excellent option as well.

July 9, 2012, 12:21 AM
Given your location, a 6.5 Swedish Mauser would be a good, inexpensive starter, no?

Pond, James Pond
July 9, 2012, 02:04 AM
Thanks for the replies so far.

Some further input from me, then after getting a few questions from the floor...

Firstly, my choices are heavily dictated by cost. Either now, when buying the gun, or later when either buying factory loads or reloading equipment.

Maybe if you listed off what was reasonably available there in the way of rifles and calibers we could eliminate some that just sound good.

Reloading options. I can get components for the more typical calibres. .270 is not one of them though (although the bullets are around....!!)

One site I have found has 222, 223, 308, 30-06, 6.5x55 and 7mmRM in cases. Bullets are more abundant in sizes, but that means buying facotry rounds and then reloading those: that could be more costly and more limiting. However they have .22, 6.5, 7, 30 cal etc

Over the counter, I can buy: all of the above as well as 8x57, 8x64S, 8x68S 9.3x62, , 9x74R, 375 HH, 338, 7x57R, 7x65R, 7x54, 300WM...

However, those last few can be up to €3-5 per round, making buying over the counter too expensive. The rifles are also more expensive. Much more.

how hard would it be to pick up a Fin target Mosin?

a 6.5 Swedish Mauser would be a good, inexpensive starter, no?

Firstly, older guns are not automatically cheaper guns. These were not bought en masse, and shipped over as they were in the states. In fact more of them are over there now, meaning they are relatively rare here.

I've seen both a Gustav 6.5 and a Finnish Mosin on sale. They were €650 and €420 respectively. In .308 a new Zastava is €650, a new CZ 550 is €610, a new Savage Apex XP is €575 and a new Marlin XL7 is €590.

So you see it is cheaper to buy new, aside from the Mosin, and then there is still the issue of being able to get optic mounts for it, spares for any breakages/failures etc.... I was tempted initially by an old classic, but now the practicalities have set in...

Sorry for the long post, but I hope that illustrates some of the limitations, and why .308 has been the strongest contender...

Art Eatman
July 9, 2012, 07:58 AM
What is the availability of once-fired cases? Any chance of "pick up" brass at a shooting range?

If your military uses the 7.62 NATO, what do they do with the spent cases after training? Any possibility of purchase? If so, that would make the .308 desirable.

Jim Watson
July 9, 2012, 08:47 AM
You wish to TARGET shoot, right? I hope this is not to be one of those dual purpose hunting-target rifles we read about so often on the Internet, similar to the "all around gun" of 40 years ago. Your .44 magnum will suffice against wildlife while hiking or camping.

So buy a TARGET rifle. One with a heavy "bull" barrel and a rather full figured stock. Recoil would be uncomfortable in long sessions on a target range with a light handy sporting rifle. Also heating of its thin barrel would be detrimental to accuracy and barrel life. It will cost more than a typical sporter but will do a better job.

You plan to shoot routinely at 300 m with excursions to 1000.
If only 300, I would recommend the RIGHT .223, but even the best would be at a disadvantage at 1000. I know, I have tried.

I recommend .308 for which there are mountains of components and data.
The 6.5x55 is good but does best in a modern rifle which can be loaded more heavily than a Swedish Mauser as made 1896-1938. That might be more adventurous handloading than you want to try now because laboratory tested "recipes" are not common.

Pond, James Pond
July 9, 2012, 10:21 AM
So buy a TARGET rifle. One with a heavy "bull" barrel and a rather full figured stock. Recoil would be uncomfortable in long sessions on a target range with a light handy sporting rifle. Also heating of its thin barrel would be detrimental to accuracy and barrel life. It will cost more than a typical sporter but will do a better job.

I would LOVE to buy a dedicated target rifle, what I'd loosely call sniper rifles such as the CZ 750 S1 or the Steyr SSG 04-A1: they look fantastic, but the CZ, Steyr and Remington models that are available in that form are staggeringly expensive at €2500 and above!!

I'm having difficulty convincing myself of buying a €500 Zastava!! The next best would be a Varmint model CZ with the thick barrel, but they too are getting on a bit at €900!!

I am really restricted in what is realistic for me to buy with my budget, espeically as I hope to get a half decent scope. A Burris XTR, at a knock-down clearance price has been priced at £450. That is more than the rifle!!

I agree, though.
.308 seems to be the way forward, on all fronts: ammo choice, ammo component choice, reloading info, weapon choice, barrel longevity, cost, etc....

July 9, 2012, 11:10 AM
cool to see so much love for the good ol 6´5x55:)

I shot that before I shot a .22

my dad has gotten everything including boar and bear with it over the years, i've got my share of roedeer and birds with it

don't you have loads of hogs in the baltic states? or is it just that the common man can't hunt because the hunts are sold to the richer nordic people? but maybe I am a bit prejudice now? i've been to tallin a bunch of times and the material standard wasn't really below Sweden, is it worse in the suburbs/countryside?

If you go for the carl gustaf get one before 1970, after that they were put together by another company with spare parts and then later in italy which didn't have the same quality control,

the husqvarna models with the best reputation is the 1640 (modified mauser actions) these were handbuilt mostly, the 1900 models are more machine built (or atleast the parts)

models above 2000 are carl gustaf rifles only by name, Sauer made them so still not bad or cheap but mass produced.

one name to look out for is a Varberg, that is a custom builder working on the 1640 model but with great quality, still hasn't been produced since the 70s, but my local dealer/gunsmith bought the remanding:D spare parts

there are talks about downgrading its status from class 1 cartridge (legal to hunt moose, boar, bear, deer etc) because it doesn't pack the same punch as .308 and most hunting rounds have a lead core so maybe you get lucky and a bunch of rifles will shortly be avaible, and as you are a eu member you can buy from Sweden. don't think you'd have to pay any taxes either, just apply for a license of sorts beforehand but I believe it is not too much hassle really

July 9, 2012, 11:15 AM
500 euro will get you plenty of rifle and scope for a 6'5x55 in Sweden!

most euro makers make rifles chamberd in 6.5x55 and even the most common us ones here, or tikkas great guns btw. well below 500 used and you could use the rest of the budget to accurize it(spelling?)

Pond, James Pond
July 9, 2012, 01:46 PM

thanks for the input, but I'm afraid buying in Sweden is not so ecenomical. I am not an Estonian citizen and so if I buy an import licence I don't pay the standard €6, I pay €60!! Then add on the travel costs and suddenly a Swedish purchase is not so cheap!! :(

As for hunting, there seems to be quite a bit of interest amongst locals, although there always seems to be a healthy flow of Finns in the hunting stores. I find it hard to believe stuff is cheaper here!!!

I am curious about 6.5x55 SE. I have found quite a few supplies for reloading.

What might the barrel life be in such a calibre?
Better or worse than .308?

July 9, 2012, 02:12 PM
About the same as .308.

July 9, 2012, 02:28 PM
I dunno about x-amount of bullets but my 6.5 which I got from my pops is from the 40s/50s, sporterized swedish mauser (m96) and it still shoots straight,

i dunno if it has seen military duty.

me and my brother shared it when we competed and it worked well even after repeated firings

the closing of the bolt (which makes it hot) is a bitch thou

the round is soft on barrels me thinks sure has a soft recoil

July 9, 2012, 05:43 PM
I think a good Swedish mauser would outlast you and your children. It's a fairly (compared to the magnums) mild mannered cartridge. I load mine with a 140gr Hornady at about 2650 fps, and it will shoot right at an inch all day long at 100 yds. Recoil is not bad at all, it's just a joy to shoot.
Most of the "standard" bullets for the 6.5 are long for caliber, which gives it better sectional density and ballistic co-efficient.

July 9, 2012, 11:38 PM
If you only intend on shooting targets then 223 is definitely worth a look.
You can't get much cheaper when it comes to reloading or factory ammo,
brass life is great, and easy on the shoulder.

With the right bullet selection 500/600yards will be no sweat, and these days with the new bullets coming out 1000yards is do able.

I'd go with 223, if I were you.