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Long range, starting from scatch


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#1 Coach

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For starters, I'm about to take off on vacation for 2 weeks hitting S. Utah fishing mountain lakes, hiking slot canyons, etc. So I hate to drop such a technical question and then run off, but I'd really like to see what you guys think about this.

I'd really like a serious long range rifle, with a scope calibrated to use turretts, like you see on Best of the West, etc. So I have a couple of questions.

1) Starting with the action, is the Rem 700 the absolute best for this kind of setup?
2) Caliber: Sure it's gotta be on the large size, but is it 7mm, .300 or somewhere in between? (7mm STW, 200 WSM, all kinds of options).
3) Trigger: Savage came out a while back with the "accu-trigger" and my cheap Savage 110FP in 35-06 shoots clover leaves. Do you really need to spend big $$ on a custom trigger setup when OTC guns have such good triggers these days?
4) Scope - I want to have a turrett setup, where you just range the target and dial the scope in. I know you don't have to buy a Nightforce or Huskemaw to achieve this. From what I can gather, Leupold will tailor match turretts to your load.

You could go to the source of "long range hunting" and buy a nice setup, that's inevitably a Rem 700 action, Huskemaw scope, 7mm Rem Mag, all that, but for around 5K.

So, I'm wondering if a guy could pick up solid Savage 114 or Rem 700 CDL, build custom loads, and buy a Leupold scope with their turrett system and still get the kind of long range capabilities of the $5K rifles. I know it will take a lot of patience and practice, but I'd like to build one of these rifles, and not break the bank.

Thanks for the feedback, and sorry if I'm slow to repond to any questions. I won't be back at my computer desk until around the 17th of July.








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#2 deserthntr

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i dont know much about long range but i am in the process of what you are doin. i am getting a rem 700, but savage wise ive heard alot of good reports about the 111's. havents heard much of the 114's. alot of guys will tell you its just caliber preferance. i will be getting a vortex viper scope, and talk to matthewp45, he gave me alot of good tips. he suggest i true/blueprint the action, get a cerakote, float/bed the barrel... etc. and top your scope off with kenton industry turrets. but look on backpage for a gun. i looked and there are some great prices, thats where i found my gun i am getting. just look around and you can find some sweet deals

#3 youngbuck

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It all depends on exactly what you want to do and what kind of budget you have to work with. I dont have very deep pockets but I got the best bang for my buck.

Rem 700 in 300RUM, muzle break by Vanhorn and I installed the Timney trigger. I put a 6-18 1" swaro w/ the TDS reticle on top with Talley one piece rings. I threw on a harris bipod and thats it. I spent time and got a load that shot dead nuts. Ive got less then 2k in the total rifle.My Dad used it to take a 90" @ 728 yards this past year. It aslo shot 3 coues and one desert bighorn this year.

If I could do it all over again: I think the .30 cal are indepepensible here in Az, They shoot great in the wind and long ranges. It is a great caliber and I have to have one. I would go for .30 instead of 7mm, just IMHO. My RUM is a barrel burner and I dont shoot hundreds of rounds a year, so it works for me. With that said, if I were to go all out on a new rifle, having my 300 now, it would be a 338 edge. It is heavy to pack around but be ideal for the worst shot conditions. That round is SO predictable in how it flies. Swaro makes great glass! However I would like turrets on a new gun. I would also become very familiar with the mil dot /MOA sytem (more precise).The most Ive learned in my long range experience is I try to minimize error. For example choose high BC bullets, shoot velocity consistant loads (temp altitude humidity). Shoot prone whenever possible. Have a good spotter that can tell you exactly whats going on, it sounds kinda hokey but it helps so much. A good trigger is a must have. I would have the nightforce if I could afford it. I dont like Huskemaw, but probably for no good reason. I like leupold swaro(turrents unavailable) zeiss and vortex. Schmit and Bender would be nice too. Zeiss and vortex make affordable, good glass and turrets, look at those. Choose a good bullet that works well, flies great, and doesn't damage a lot of meat, they are out there. I like the 180 accubond, others like different ones.

People here on the forum are a great recource. send 308nut a pm, he is very helpfull. Everyone has different opinions and preferences, as mine above.

In short to answer your questions:

1: You will never regret a rem700 action.
2: .30s dont make things "too dead" and buck the wind better.
3: You have to have a good trigger, Timneys are less expensive and work well, I like a break between 2-3lbs
4. I like turrets, look at kenon industries. See what sciopes they will fit and see what you like. I think vortex is making some good stuff now for long range rifles. The better scopes really help when your buddy is talking you into the deer when your looking for his nose or ear or something.

Ive spent 2k on my go to rifle. To get marginal better use out of it, it would cost me a lot more money.

#4 Red Rabbit

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Lots of great info here, if you have not spent hours reading it already.
http://www.longrange...ing.com/forums/

Have fun in UT, and don't forget to post some photos of the fish and slots.

#5 Coach

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Thanks all - more on this later. Heading up to Sunrise for the shoot, then Utah. RR, I'll take some pix, but don't expect them to look like yours! tongue.gif

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#6 pwrguy

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You didn't mention budget smile.gif That would effect a lot of the decision making. Hard to beat remington 700 actions, but there are some other customs out there for just a little more money. For me, I would look for a good stainless action, and then go from there as you can afford it. If it is a remington you want and you are on a budget, start with a used factory rifle and then spend the money as you can afford it. It is real easy to put 5 grand into a rifle, but it doesn't sting as much if you do it little at a time.

I'm still trying to decide myself on caliber, I'm going to stay away from barrell burners in the future. I like the bullet selection in 30 cal, but .284 is pretty good as well. I am interested in building a 280AI or a .308 I think for my next custom. Ask me about the.338 edge at the end of September, hopefully I will be using 308 nuts to put down a moose smile.gif

That's my 2 cents worth.
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#7 jeffro

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4) Scope - I want to have a turrett setup, where you just range the target and dial the scope in. I know you don't have to buy a Nightforce or Huskemaw to achieve this. From what I can gather, Leupold will tailor match turretts to your load.


I would stay away from these custom turrets. When you have one of these made, they are set for one altitude, and for one temp. As you shoot long you will want to be able to compensate for Hum, Bar, Alt, Press, and Temp. I have seen these turrets be way off as you start to shoot long. I know these are the new thing and are getting all the hype on BOTW. If you dont believe me, run the numbers through a balistic program and see how much these factors change your MOAs/MILs.

#8 joeybari

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QUOTE (jeffro @ Jul 1 2010, 12:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
4) Scope - I want to have a turrett setup, where you just range the target and dial the scope in. I know you don't have to buy a Nightforce or Huskemaw to achieve this. From what I can gather, Leupold will tailor match turretts to your load.


I would stay away from these custom turrets. When you have one of these made, they are set for one altitude, and for one temp. As you shoot long you will want to be able to compensate for Hum, Bar, Alt, Press, and Temp. I have seen these turrets be way off as you start to shoot long. I know these are the new thing and are getting all the hype on BOTW. If you dont believe me, run the numbers through a balistic program and see how much these factors change your MOAs.

he 100% right

Always think outside the box

#9 Whitesheep

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I am dealing with the same question. I have a .340 Weatherby I bought for a Sheep/Bear hunt in AK in '08. It is a fantastic long range gun, but it weighs over 10 lbs, isn't much fun to carry and really rings your bell when you pull the trigger. I really love Weatherbys and will by another, but this time I wanted to do something different with the following objective:

1. Keep costs down (2 kids in college)
2. Single shot to keep me honest
3. BDC scope with ~14 top power
4. Non magnum so I can shoot a lot and not burn up a barrel or the shooter (I believe long range shooting is NOT like riding a bike and you MUST practice regularly or lose the skill)
5. Keep costs down by reloading (I can't beat Weatherby Magnum factory ammunition so why reload for it?)

I decided on a Thompson Contender Pro Hunter in .280 Rem. Why? 28" barrel, inexpensive compared to Weatherby, thumb hole stock and ugly (IMHO). With the 28" barrel this gun is shorter than a 24" bolt. Weight is reasonable to carry, but heavy enough for a steady shot. Custom barrels in pretty much any caliber are ~$350 - ~$600 depending on what you want. (New Weatherby Ultra light weight in .280 is ~$1800).

Why .280 rem? Not a magnum; better ballistics than a 30-06 or .270; lots of bullet choices in 7mm; not a magnum (did I say that yet)

For a scope I debated Nikon, Burris, Zeiss, all with a BDC. However since I already have two Leupolds with their B&C reticle, I thought it best not to confuse my old brain with a different reticle. I also went with an AO just for fun since I have never owned one. VX3 4.5X14 AO B&C.

Total money in the gun with scope ~$1,500 and it is still ugly.

How does it work? I don't know yet as I am barely into the barrel break in part of the project. It looks promising if the shooter does his part. My desire is a MOA gun I can shoot across canyons in the Chiricahuas at 300 to 500 yards with confidence.

Since I got drawn for the Chiricahuas this year I have the motivation to get this project done in time for the late October hunt.

Wish me luck.



#10 dagmardog

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QUOTE (Coach @ Jun 30 2010, 11:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
For starters, I'm about to take off on vacation for 2 weeks hitting S. Utah fishing mountain lakes, hiking slot canyons, etc. So I hate to drop such a technical question and then run off, but I'd really like to see what you guys think about this.

I'd really like a serious long range rifle, with a scope calibrated to use turretts, like you see on Best of the West, etc. So I have a couple of questions.

1) Starting with the action, is the Rem 700 the absolute best for this kind of setup?
2) Caliber: Sure it's gotta be on the large size, but is it 7mm, .300 or somewhere in between? (7mm STW, 200 WSM, all kinds of options).
3) Trigger: Savage came out a while back with the "accu-trigger" and my cheap Savage 110FP in 35-06 shoots clover leaves. Do you really need to spend big $$ on a custom trigger setup when OTC guns have such good triggers these days?
4) Scope - I want to have a turrett setup, where you just range the target and dial the scope in. I know you don't have to buy a Nightforce or Huskemaw to achieve this. From what I can gather, Leupold will tailor match turretts to your load.

You could go to the source of "long range hunting" and buy a nice setup, that's inevitably a Rem 700 action, Huskemaw scope, 7mm Rem Mag, all that, but for around 5K.

So, I'm wondering if a guy could pick up solid Savage 114 or Rem 700 CDL, build custom loads, and buy a Leupold scope with their turrett system and still get the kind of long range capabilities of the $5K rifles. I know it will take a lot of patience and practice, but I'd like to build one of these rifles, and not break the bank.

Thanks for the feedback, and sorry if I'm slow to repond to any questions. I won't be back at my computer desk until around the 17th of July.


#11 Whitesheep

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Update on the T/C Pro Hunter .280

I have a load worked up and identified a quality factory loading. 140 grain Sierra Game Kings netted me 1.5" five shot group at 100 yards using RE-15. This isn't the most powerful loading for this bullet, but it appears to be the most accurate in my gun. It leaves muzzle at 2800 fps and still has 1500 lbs of energy at 300 yards with a 10" drop. I think it will get the job done I have guns that shoot better, but this is good enough and maybe it would shoot better if the shooter could shoot better. wink.gif

Now to push it out to 200 and beyond to get a handle on how to use the BDC in the field.

#12 jeffro

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Isnt RL-15 a little to fast for a 280. I shoot RL-15 in 308s. We shoot a much slower powder in all the 280s I have messed with. IMR4350 H4831SC RL-22

But hey, if it shoots great, thats all that matters right.

#13 roninflag

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besides " budget " also what is " long range" is not stated. some of my observations are : sporter weight guns may shoot a good group at 100 yards , say less than an inch. but i have not been able to get them to shoot as well as the heavier barrels at distance. even heavy barrel rifles with a krieger barrel may shoot a 1/2 inch group at 100 that does not translate to a 2 inch group at 400 and a 3 inch group at 600. it is not linear. the whole rifle, barrel , tigger , ammo , scope, shooter is a system . getting a 5 inch group at 500 yards or a 6 inch group requires a lot of really good stuff to achieve. a sendero or a savage long range hunter or weatherby accumark is a way to quickly get a rifle that is more accurate; there is no wait for gunsmithing and a barrel to come from krieger. i have a kenton knobb on one of my rifles it is very accurate ; i have fired it out to 759 yards. if you bought a remington 700 CDL ( which i think is an atractive rifle) adjusted the trigger or replaced it with a shilen or a timmney or a jewel ; put a leupold scope (6.5-20) would you be able to shoot a 6 inch group at 600 yards? maybe. the weak points would be the bedding ( wood stock) and the barrel ( factory $31.29) . if you got a sendero, the stock is rigid it has a metal bedding block; added a barrel ( krieger barrel 300 plus 150 to install) i would say probably. the 30-06 is an accurate ( see riflemans journal) and very effective round . if your savage shoots clover leafs try it at distance. i fire mine regularly at 600 yards. roninflag

#14 AZkiller

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If you don't wan't to spend a ton, start with a 700. You can get one used for around $400. A barrel is around $280. I like Lilja. I have a Lilja, kreiger, bartline and douglass. The Lilja cleans the best, then the Bartline. Gunsmiths work mostly with a 700 style action, so it is the cheapest route to build. Bob Brackney is a good one. Mini blueprint around 200, fit and chamber 175 and muzzle brake installed 225. McMillan stock is a must, don't underestimate a great stock, it's just as important as a great barrel. That is going to run you $400 or so and another 150 or so for bedding. Even if you buy a Jewel trigger, it's $220 at best, but I have Timney's on my hunters and they work great at $125. A decelerator butt pad installed is another $80. Obviusly other options would bring the cost up like a Harris bi-pod, fluting, or coatings and of course a scope. I think it's real tough to spend 5K on a great long range set-up. What I have listed will run you just over $2000 W/O a scope. More than likely it will be better than any 5K gun that you could buy with the help of the right gunsmith and the time you put in to work up a load.
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#15 Somerumbum

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You could also buy a used Sendero for under $900 and have a new Krieger barrel installed and save some of that money.




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