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Old November 18, 2013, 02:11 PM   #1
mohr308
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600-1000 yds

Currently I reload for all my calibers, now I want to venture into reloading for a new rifle. I haven't bought this new rifle yet, but it want to hear from anyone that's into long range shooting. What caliber do you prefer for long range target/hunting? I was looking at the Ruger M77 Hawkeye in a .338 win mag. I would like the reloading costs to be worth the time and effort, but I also need to be able to take down the occasional white tail deer.
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Old November 18, 2013, 02:19 PM   #2
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Purely from a "long range" perspective, two calibers standout 6.5-.284 and the 7mm mags (depends on your flavor choice) because the bullets are very successful at the longer ranges.
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Old November 18, 2013, 02:37 PM   #3
Bart B.
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6.5x.284 in a Savage rifle (without muzzle brake or detachable magazine) of your choice.
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Old November 18, 2013, 02:49 PM   #4
Jim Watson
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I would not want to shoot a light hunting rifle all day at the range, certainly not a .338 Win, which I consider a notably hard kicker.
I would not want to hump the typical target rifle through the woods hunting.

There used to be a lot of ink spilled on the all around rifle suitable for hunting anything that walks, crawls, or flies.
Now there are a lot of electrons circulated on dual personality rifles suitable for both target shooting and hunting.
I don't think there is one. A deer rifle need not cost much, and a dedicated target rifle will be a lot more effective and enjoyable.
6.5x284 is a fine LR round, but has a reputation as a barrel burner. Many target shooters will routinely install a new barrel every year.
Just for frotzing around, I would look at a .260 Rem (with Lapua brass).
But since my only LR shooting is F-T/R, I am pretty well stuck with a .308. Which is kind of a challenge at Long Range, but that is why it has its own competitive division.
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Old November 18, 2013, 04:07 PM   #5
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I hope that the OP is not trying to conjure up the "Holy Grail" of the perfect rifle that can do it all. My opinion is that "hunting" is done under 600 yards and target shooting can be at 600-1000 yards. (Excluding some military and tactical law enforcement uses)

Anything that is going to produce satisfactory 600-1000 yard target performance is going to weigh a "ton". Those Texas "Bean-Field" rifles in .25-06 weighed 8+ lbs with 26" barrels and looked very unappealing at the base of a 300' climb up one hill and then down another all day.

Then again, my 6 1/2 lb .257R deer rifle won't be real successful at a 600 yard match.
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Old November 18, 2013, 06:41 PM   #6
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A 6.5-pound 6.5x.284 can shoot just as accurate as a 12-pound one can. Rifle weight has little, if anything, to do with how accurate they can be as far as being able to put shots in a tiny group properly tested.

But heavier ones are easier to shoot accurately.
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Old November 19, 2013, 06:12 PM   #7
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Depends how good shooter you are... and how capable the rifle is, more so than the chambering, IMO.

Can you shoot well enough, to justify the lesser barrel life of the 6.5 x 284 over the .260, or 7-08?

Do you care about barrel life?

It's all a trade-off. Pushing more hot powder/gas through a smaller diameter throat is what erodes it. No free lunch here.

The general consensus I see these days, is that for most non-comp (and some comp as well) shooters, the .260 (or it's twin the 6.5 Creedmore) is pretty much "it", for a good compromise (although I choose 7-08)
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Old November 19, 2013, 10:15 PM   #8
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depending on what you are shooting might be the determining factor but I personally enjoy to shoot my .270 wsm with a 140 grain berger vld with 59.0 grains of RL-19 which is by far an outstanding long range caliber but if you want something a little bit larger than that I also shoot a .300 rum in a Remington sendero using 180 grain sierra gamekings which I have taken 4 elk with, the longest distance was 620 yards, and all four was with one shot.
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Old November 20, 2013, 01:05 AM   #9
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Yes I do care about barrel life! My main use for the rifle will be 50/50 target/hunting. When I first get a rifle I always target shoot with it for about a year, maybe once a month if I'm lucky twice. Once I'm comfortable with it I will hunt primarily with the occasional target practice. The longer the barrel life the better. I want to be able to take down a whitetail deer with my longest shot 600 yds if that's possible with the bullets ballistics. I would enjoy being able to punch paper out to 1000yds. I have access to land which would permit me to hit targets around 1/2 mile. Someone else personally suggested the .338 win mag, but that's pricy!
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Old November 20, 2013, 02:21 AM   #10
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.338 win mag isn't needed unless you plan to take big game at long ranges.
Even a .270 Winchester loaded with the right bullet can carry over 1000ft/lbs of energy out past 900yards with the right load. You can easily have loads that will stay supersonic past 1000 yards with high BC bullets.
For long range, anything between 6.5mm and 7mm can reach out to 1000yards easily with VLD bullets.
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Old November 20, 2013, 07:23 AM   #11
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Using a 6.5 for hunting only, I very much doubt you would burn the barrel out before your done hunting. Now put Target shooting into the picture and depending on how much,you could burn it in a year or 2. Barrels are cheap in the whole plan.So re barrel and have at it. Barrel life is a hard one to nail down.
I have a 6MMBR- 2500 rounds barrel life to say. I have over 3500 rounds down it now and Last Saturday I shot the best 5 shot group I have ever shot. 5 rounds,100 yards .151. If you are like most,hunting is once maybe twice a year, Target shooting is year around. Choose wisely so you don't catch yourself saying I wish.
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Old November 20, 2013, 07:38 AM   #12
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For whitetail deer and targets through 1000 yards, cartridges based on the .308 Win. case are suitable. Here's a synopsis of barrel life for best accuracy from best rifles with each:

.308 Win, 3000 rounds.

7mm-08, 2500 rounds.

.260 Rem, 2000 rounds.

.243 Win., 1500 rounds.

For comparison with larger cartridges such as those with cases of the 7mm Rem Mag size or modern rimless equals, here's their numbers:

.308 Norma Mag, 1200 rounds.

7mm Rem Mag, 900 rounds

.264 Win Mag, 600 rounds

Barrel life numbers are based on a rifle starting out with sub MOA accuracy at 1000 yards then degrading to 1/3rd larger test groups.

Note that the more recoil a rifle has, the harder it is to shoot accurately holding it against ones shoulder. Which is why long range competitors shooting slung up in prone have switched from the large 30 caliber magnums with heavy bullets to smaller cases in 26 and 28 caliber ones with lighter bullets. But that didn't happen until very accurate, long heavy bullets were able to be made in 26 and 28 caliber.
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Old November 20, 2013, 08:41 AM   #13
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Sounds to me like you're wanting something like this:

http://savagearms.com/firearms/model/11LONGRANGEHUNTER

or this:

http://savagearms.com/firearms/model/16BH
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Old November 20, 2013, 09:01 AM   #14
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I'd look pretty seriously at the .260 Rem and the 7mm-08. Both are sufficient for deer sized game out to 600 yards if you do your homework and practice. Both are sufficient for target shooting out past 1000 yards if you know what you are doing as well.

When you say 50/50 hunting/target, does that mean 4 or 5 rounds a year? Or are we talking 1 or 2 rounds hunting and 1000 rounds a year target shooting?

Shooting past 400 yards, heck for most, past 200 yards, does take some practice, knowledge and patience. I put over 1000 rounds downrange from my .260 before I would used it hunting planning on shooting past 500 yards. With 30+ years of hunting and well over 100 head of big game, it is a whole different ballgame requiring skills few people are willing to master, and master them you must to be ethical.

You can easily double Barts numbers for reasonable loads. I have a .308 with over 10K on it that still shoot 1/2 MOA and my .260 is well past 3K with no change at all. Shoot max loads, sure, the barrel life suffers. I've been able to re crown and re chamber barrels and get another pass out of them
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Old November 20, 2013, 09:38 AM   #15
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25-06 Rem. Good gun. with good ballistic charts. Kills deer but won't kill your shoulder
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Old November 20, 2013, 09:41 AM   #16
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@bartb.... where did you get those numbers?
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Old November 20, 2013, 10:21 AM   #17
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boondocker, those barrel life numbers come from my own barrels in .308 Win, 30 caliber magnums and .264 Win Mag used in competition. And from others producing best scores and groups with 24 through 30 caliber barrels winning matches and setting records. Also, from Sierra Bullets' ballistic techs on the barrel life of the ones they used testing their stuff for accuracy. These are with normal, max safe SAAMI pressures.

That aside, if ones stuff shoots about 1/2 MOA at 100 (as opposed to 1/4 MOA or better with the best match rifles), there'll be about twice the number of rounds for barrel life. An average factory rifle starting out at 1 MOA will often get four times those numbers by average shooters.

I wish I'd save the link (seen months ago) to an ammo company (Black Hills?) test of their .308 Win. match ammo they used to wear out a barrel testing it for accuracy. It started out shooting 1/4 MOA, but for every 500 rounds later, accuracy degraded about 10%. Some 4000 rounds were used in the test.

All barrels' accuracy degrades a bit for every hundred rounds fired. Whether or not its owner can observe that happening is another issue altogether.
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Last edited by Bart B.; November 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM.
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Old November 20, 2013, 10:29 AM   #18
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At a recent 1000 yard match, I was talking barrel life with a gentleman. He had a 6.5-284 which after 900 rounds would not hold shoot within 5 inches at 100 yards.

Some cartridges eat barrels fast.
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Old November 20, 2013, 12:46 PM   #19
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This is so hard to decide. I was looking thru my reloading manual at different ammo, I really like how the 300 RUM performs! In theory, if a 300 rum with its lightest bullet was zeroed in @ 300 yds you would have about a 40 inch drop at 600 yds. But on the other hand, your shoulder would forever feel it and your pocket also! ill just keep reading everyone's input as the thread gets longer.

I forgot, during hunting season(s) which also includes those pesky woodchucks, I might drop 30 rounds a year and if I target shoot once a month that might be another 10-20 rounds per outing.
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Old November 20, 2013, 12:58 PM   #20
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At 250 to 300 rounds a year, you have at least 10 years in any suitable caliber, more like 30 to 40 if you avoid magnums and use ballistics charts/dial as opposed to "laser beam" cartridges.
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Old November 20, 2013, 01:22 PM   #21
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If you want barrel life less overbore is better, but this also usually means that you're not pushing heavy for caliber bullets as fast, which means a less flat trajectory. Not really a big deal since it's easily compensated for with optics adjustments.

Personally, I'd be looking at the .280 Remington if I was hand loading. 7mm has good, high BC bullet choices, brass is fairly easy to find, and you can push heavy bullets at reasonable velocities without sacrificing too much barrel life. Based on Bart B's barrel life posting, a .280 Rem will likely have a barrel life somewhere between 2200-2400 rounds. If you want less recoil and more barrel life, the 7mm-08 is a good choice but you will be sacrificing some velocity.
It's also worth mentioning that slower moving bullets tend to stay in the wind for longer periods which equates to more wind drift, on top of having a less flat trajectory. To give you an idea... Pushing a 175 grain .284 cal bullet, with a G1 BC of .606 @ 2600fps at sea level in 65 degree temps gives you roughly 74.64'' wind drift in a 10mph crosswind at 1000 yards. In these same conditions with a MV of 2800 there's about 67.11'' of wind drift.
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Old November 20, 2013, 06:12 PM   #22
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Quote:
I might drop 30 rounds a year and if I target shoot once a month that might be another 10-20 rounds per outing.
10-20 rounds, to learn to shoot long range?
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Old November 20, 2013, 08:18 PM   #23
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Tobnpr

No not 10-20 rounds to learn how to shoot long range, that is a general statement for my normal habits. Of course I will burn more rounds than normal at first with a long range rifle. But once I've learned, it wouldn't be a normal thing.
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Old November 21, 2013, 10:45 AM   #24
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I have been target practicing at long range every year for a few weeks before I start hunting.

I have never got good at shooting past 500 yards.

If there is a kill zone of 12" and I want to be certain I can hit it on the first shot, with no wind, a bipod, rear bag, range finder, and elevation turret on the scope.... some years with some rifles, I am only certain out to 400 yards.

The 7mmRemMag seems to make it the easiest, but it still takes work.
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Old November 21, 2013, 11:13 AM   #25
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Speaking of a 12" zone, it's always been interesting to me watching the best long range competitors on this planet taking their first shot at a 1000 yard target. On the next day, after previously getting excellent zeros on their rifles for the ammo used the day before, they'll check the wind then make a well educated guess as to what correction's needed on the sight to compensate for it. Then they'll do everything they can to shoot the first shot get aimed dead center on target when the round fires. And it does much to their pleasure. 1.5 seconds later, the target gets pulled down in the pits for scoring.

10 seconds later, the target comes up. The spotter's just off the 10-ring at 1 o'clock; 7 inches away up and to the right from dead center. 1 inch outside that 12 inch zone. The shooter's estatic as the other 29 top ranked shooters on the line missed the target's dead center by a lot more than that and in all directions, too.

That's the typical situation on the 1000-yard line in long range matches. Fewer than 10% of the very best of them put their first shot within 6 inches of dead center. But they see where it went then adjust their sight to correct for it.
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