Hunting Rifle Purgatory

Vinootz

Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2019
Messages
24
Alright, I've done my work at home and convinced my wife that buying a new hunting rifle and scope is a great idea...she bit and I've got the green light to get what I want! Problem is, I'm not a huge "gun guy," as every firearm I have is a hand-me-down from my dad. I know, what a terrible problem to have...

I've been big game hunting most of my adult life and have really gotten in to western big game hunting since I moved to Colorado back in 2013. I've had amazing success with my Weatherby .270 and that rifle has put a lot of animals down, but I'm looking to up my game with respect to distance shooting. Now, let me be clear, I'm not interested in distance shooting just because, I considered myself to be extremely ethical when it comes to taking game and ensure a clean kill is top priority. That said, I want to be able to take an animal at 400-500 yards if the terrain forces the situation. I prefer to hunt open sage country for antelope, and more specifically mule deer, and taking longer shots is starting to creep in to my head as I get older and less sneaky. I'm comfortable shooting up to around 350 yards with my .270, but would like to get comfortable shooting a little further.

With all the said, I'm in the market for a new gun and am looking for recommendations on caliber, and whether or not now is the right time to buy a new gun to begin with. With respect to caliber, I already own the aforementioned .270, but I also have a .243 Winchester and .264 Winchester magnum. It's a good array of firearms, but I'm looking for that next step up caliber to effectively hunting mule deer, elk, caribou and larger animals, with more knock down power, in a flat shooting caliber, at long ranges. With recent research I've keyed in on the 6.5 Creedmoor and also the 28 Nosler, but I'd like your thoughts and recommendations.

Also, I'm having a really hard time telling myself that now is the best time to buy a new rifle given the ammo shortage and that I can't waste round after round practicing with my new firearm.

With respect to optics, again I don't consider myself a "gun guy," so your thoughts on easy to use scopes that help you adjust for distance are appreciated. I like the simplicity of the Leupold CDS system, but convince me there's something better our there and I'd love to take a look.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what you all think/recommend and feel free to send me any information/articles/etc. that you think I should check out to inform my decisions.

Happy hunting!

Mike
I had the same desires for the same exact reasons as you. So I bought a couple of wsm rifles. Currently I have LEUPOLD VX3s on them but will put LR duplex type scope which has BDC type reticle. Zero at 200 yards (high power setting)with a second focal plane scope and I’ll make it work. Prior to that I figured my 30-06,30-30,22lr,.223 and 12gauge had me covered for most situations planet earth could offer. Actually I still do. But folks often create some rationale to want to buy another rifle. Being you seem covered well in small bore the next thing is a 30cal. magnum to achieve what you want. The 28 Nosler rocks and will give you what you want.
Glad to hear you got the hard part done by getting the wife go along.
 
Last edited:

Horseman

New member
Joined
Feb 21, 2021
Messages
9
Alright, I've done my work at home and convinced my wife that buying a new hunting rifle and scope is a great idea...she bit and I've got the green light to get what I want! Problem is, I'm not a huge "gun guy," as every firearm I have is a hand-me-down from my dad. I know, what a terrible problem to have...

I've been big game hunting most of my adult life and have really gotten in to western big game hunting since I moved to Colorado back in 2013. I've had amazing success with my Weatherby .270 and that rifle has put a lot of animals down, but I'm looking to up my game with respect to distance shooting. Now, let me be clear, I'm not interested in distance shooting just because, I considered myself to be extremely ethical when it comes to taking game and ensure a clean kill is top priority. That said, I want to be able to take an animal at 400-500 yards if the terrain forces the situation. I prefer to hunt open sage country for antelope, and more specifically mule deer, and taking longer shots is starting to creep in to my head as I get older and less sneaky. I'm comfortable shooting up to around 350 yards with my .270, but would like to get comfortable shooting a little further.

With all the said, I'm in the market for a new gun and am looking for recommendations on caliber, and whether or not now is the right time to buy a new gun to begin with. With respect to caliber, I already own the aforementioned .270, but I also have a .243 Winchester and .264 Winchester magnum. It's a good array of firearms, but I'm looking for that next step up caliber to effectively hunting mule deer, elk, caribou and larger animals, with more knock down power, in a flat shooting caliber, at long ranges. With recent research I've keyed in on the 6.5 Creedmoor and also the 28 Nosler, but I'd like your thoughts and recommendations.

Also, I'm having a really hard time telling myself that now is the best time to buy a new rifle given the ammo shortage and that I can't waste round after round practicing with my new firearm.

With respect to optics, again I don't consider myself a "gun guy," so your thoughts on easy to use scopes that help you adjust for distance are appreciated. I like the simplicity of the Leupold CDS system, but convince me there's something better our there and I'd love to take a look.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what you all think/recommend and feel free to send me any information/articles/etc. that you think I should check out to inform my decisions.

Happy hunting!

Mike
Id take the 2 grand that you are planning on buying a new rifle and scope with and spend it on one of your current rifles at a good riflesmith’s shop. Whatever is left over, spend on reloading equipment. Furthermore, without gunsmith intervention, if u had reloading equipment that 264wm would probably be pretty badass at long range pokes and you’d never concern yourself with ammo shortages again. I reload- my favorite rifle is a 7rem mag. It is a factory Remington 700 action in a McMillan hunter stock with a 27” shilen barrel and a Leopold 3-9 on top. With this rifle and my hand loads, 3 shot 100 yd groups are always less than .5 moa, sometimes less than a .25moa. I used to shoot a lot, now I definitely shoot less than 20 center fire rifle rounds a year and handloading my own ammo still serves me very well. Factory ammo is incredibly expensive and INCREDIBLY inaccurate. If I was on a search to find factory ammo that matched my hand loads in terms of accuracy I’d probably end up spending close to $500 in boxes of factory ammo and still wouldn’t find anything that could consistently group less than 1moa. Since I reload all I had to do was pick the bullet I wanted to use, prep decent old brass and shoot a ladder test on powder charges then on bullet seating depths. In less than 30 rounds I had broken in the shilen barrel and worked up the load that I still shoot today. I had this rifle built 5 years ago and it’s been shot less than 75 times. I kill an elk cleanly every year with it, usually a deer or two and 2 antelope. I just pull it out of the safe a week or two before rifle opener and shoot a group for confidence. It always shoots where it was the year before-even after a horse rolled over it. This is what you need in a rifle for hunting public land big game. Accurate. Simple. Durable
 

ILbowhntr

Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2021
Messages
62
I am also not much of a "gun guy" but I do have a 30-06, and a .270 in my gun safe that I shoot only a few times per year. I have a friend and hunting buddy who is a real "gun guy" and he has fun "shopping" for (and rationalizing) the next rifle I need to buy.

All that aside, I really like the idea of spending the money on a current rifle as described above. I was considering that with my -06, but it's a pre 64 model that was my Dad's and I didn't want to make a bunch of mod's to it. I've just resolved to not shoot anything over 300yds based on my confidence with the current set-up and ammo.

Also, not being a "gun guy", I don't know a good gunsmith in my area well enough to trust them with such a project. There are some folks who claim to be gunsmiths, but (in my limited experience) very, very few who really know what they are doing. Make sure you choose carefully and get multiple references from someone who is a real "gun guy" and who knows the difference between high quality work and someone who just does it for a hobby. I don't know enough to determine the difference between a top notch guy who also understands the dynamics of long-range shooting and someone who just likes to tinker.

For me, I'd spend some time shooting longer ranges with what I have to learn the limits of the rifle as it sits today (and my own limits maybe as well) before doing all the work on the gun. The "before and after" perspective could be really interesting and could make you feel very good about the investment in time and money having the work done and new scope mounted.

Looking forward to hearing your decision.
 

ThunderNocked

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Messages
373
Location
North Pole, Alaska
Going off what the two guys above said - my situation was also different as my guns weren't really worth reworking - but the reason I picked the guy I did is because he is a hunter. He has over a dozen Alaska Dall Sheep on his wall, he is a part time guide and has successfully harvested everything in Alaska with a rifle. He started building rifles to minimize weight and maximize accuracy/performance. Talk to local people, listen around and ask some questions. Find a guy who maybe 'tinkers' with guns but is absolutely just knocking it out every year. That's how I found the guy here in North Pole, AK.

I said this in a different thread but there are alot of guys who talk about ballistics, long range accuracy, etc but if you look they don't ever have anything to show for it. They never seem to be out there. I'd rather take a guy who is happy shooting 1" at 100 yards but kills a Dall Sheep, Moose, 2 Caribou, Black Bear, Mountain Goat every year plus some Brown/Grizzly then a guy shooting .25" at 100 and has 1 Deer in 3-5 years. But that is my $.02.
 
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