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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am new to this forum. I am an avid elk hunter, I hunt in western WA. The area I hunt presents very long shots (400 to 600yds) unless you get in the very heavy brush/ timber. I have the rifles to take animals at 500 + and have. I started hunting the heavy thick timber because the animals can not be sniped. Well low and behold big elk are there.
I want to build a rifle to hunt Elk in the heavy brush/ timber. I want it to be quick handling with the option of a 200yd shot if it presents. I want open sights with a short barrel. I have an old 1903 Springfield (make in 1930, good action) in 30-06 that was sporterized in the 50’s. It is perfect, open sights with a rear peep. The only problem is the 24” barrel. I am planning on cutting it down and am wondering what you think for the length. Velocity is not that big of a factor, with the open sights I am thinking of 20”. If I was going with a low power scope I would take it down to 18”, but with open sights I feel the 20” will be better. What do you guys think of the plan? What would you do?

My build plan:
1903 action
20”, 30-06 barrel (plan on 180gr to 220gr bullets)
New Sporter stock (Boyd’s)
Open sights, rear peep
Some gun enamel coating for all the steel.
new springs

Thanks
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Since this fine rifle has already been sporterized, no harm in further modification.

The 20" bbl will certainly give you more muzzle flash and noise as compared to the present 24" one, but as you say, velocity loss won't be that big a deal to you (probably in the neighborhood of 125 fps) and as has been stated here on the board many times, the shorter, stiffer bbls seem to produce a bit better accuracy.

If the 180 or 220 gr bullets don't meet your accuracy expectations, try a good bonded or partition 165 gr. It will suffice for elk nicely. Of all the elk I've taken, the heaviest bullet ever was a 180 gr Hornady Light Magnum in a 24" bbl'd pre-war Mod 70. Usual was from 162's in 7mm to 165's in 30 caliber.
 

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I have an .30-06 Model 70 BOSS. The effective barrel length is about 19.5". Seems short, but the gun shoots very hard and accurate both with factory and handloads. I have never really fiddled with the BOSS much. I've killed a lot of game with it. No elk, but I would not be hesitant to try. Sure, 22" or 24" would be better. And I have such guns, but that Model 70 BOSS would do the job if need be.

So I am sure your 20" sporter would be fine too. Certainly that length barrel will be within the envelope of your sighting system - 300 yds and in. That is all the farther you need to be shooting an Elk with that gun anyway.

Sounds like a good project to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks,
With the open sites I just do not know, do you think 18” would be the about the same as the 20” for sighting? I am concerned that as the barrel gets shorter is will make the sighting system less efficient (if that makes sense). There has to be a sweet spot with barrel length and open sights, right? I know 2-4” is not that big of a deal, but it could be for me. I got very lucky this year and had to swing on a running elk at 20’ with a 300 mag/ 24” barrel/ scope on 2.5 power. I hit the animal and put it down but just happen to have the room to swing, I got really lucky. I am probably over thinking this, I just figure that this is the place to learn and ask questions. :)
 

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The '06 will not suffer as much from shortening the barrel to 20" as something like a 7Rem Mag. would, so if you think that is the length you will be able to carry and maneuver well, in dense cover, then I say go for it! You'll probably lose 100-200fps off factory ammo, but for shots of 200 yards, or less, you should be good. If it were me, I would definitely go with a 2x-7x scope, instead of the open sights, since that won't hamper you much on close shots at a moving elk, but the 7x could be very helpful if you just happen to spot one 250 yards away on the other side of a clear cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the info and time.

I think this will be really practical with open sights, and fun. I have my scoped rifle needs covered. So having the option and opportunity to hunt with open sights is something I am looking forward to. I also seem to get water, snow, mud, and tree stuff all over my scope in the thick stuff.
 

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Thanks for the info and time.

I think this will be really practical with open sights, and fun. I have my scoped rifle needs covered. So having the option and opportunity to hunt with open sights is something I am looking forward to. I also seem to get water, snow, mud, and tree stuff all over my scope in the thick stuff.
If you've got the eyes for shooting open-sights at 200 yards, then more power to you. I compare shooting open sights, instead of a scope, to shooting a traditional bow versus a modern compound: The more primitive methods offer the one advantage of being faster to get on-target with, but you have to practice a LOT more and will never be as accurate, at longer ranges, as the person who practices half as much with the compound bow or the scoped rifle. Also, I highly value the light-gathering ability of a scope, particularly when I'm stalking heavy cover where it seems like it's always "dark".

I do some shooting with open sights at 100 yards, but I guess when you're used to MOA accuracy from 25 years of shooting scoped rifles, 3-4" groups just don't make me happy. Put a 2.5x fixed-power scope on the same gun and I can (predictably) cut the groups to 2", or under...seems like an easy decision, to me. But, that's what makes this country, and this forum, so great; we all get to choose what works for ourselves! :)
 

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Ziptie, I would go with variable (that started at 1.5x or 2x and went to 5x or 7x or whatever as well. However, if you are good with the peep sight system, it is fine for what you are hunting out to 300 yds. Low light and when you need to pick a path through the brush at a distance is when scopes really make the difference. A lot of it, as broom says has to do with your eyesight. Wearing glasses, with peep sights, I struggle a bit with 300 meter pop-up targets on M-4/M-16 qual ranges. That is because my sight picture has the target and the post/peep all aligned with the corner of my glasses and things can get distorted. With a scope or Red-dot, I do much better. I've seen several soldiers who can drill that 300 meter target nearly every time with peeps. So if you practice with that system, you'll be fine.

I would go with the 20" barrel myself.
 

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Open & Bolt

I do not have allot of experience with a bolt action AND open sights. I do have a short,light bolt gun that has a 2-7x scope on it,and have practiced with the scope dialed to 2X at some "out further" distances. It has worked out pretty good for me.

To your "problem/fix",the old Springfield with a short bbl,with the excellent chambering,and the unstoppable action,should make and superb brush gun. Personally,I would not go shorter than a 20" bbl for the sight radius thang. A rear ghost ring coupled with the "perfect" front blade should do the trick. Especially if they both were the glow in the dark style. This would surely help during the times of early AM and late PM. Also for the thick,dark,timber.

The old '06 was always a viable elk gun but with the newer loads(light magnum)coupled with some of the newer high tech bullets,and the elks kill zone darn near the size of a beach ball,for younger eyes,I say......why not.

Good Shootin' -----pruhdlr
 

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To your "problem/fix",the old Springfield with a short bbl,with the excellent chambering,and the unstoppable action,should make and superb brush gun. Personally,I would not go shorter than a 20" bbl for the sight radius thang. A rear ghost ring coupled with the "perfect" front blade should do the trick. Especially if they both were the glow in the dark style. This would surely help during the times of early AM and late PM. Also for the thick,dark,timber.

Good Shootin' -----pruhdlr
Pruhdlr,

I have fiber-optic sights on a 50 cal ML and one would THINK they would help during low-light conditions, but I have actually found them to be a problem! I had 2 does tip-toe past my stand at o'dark:30 one morning and when I pulled my gun up, I could see those bright colored dots just fine, but they actually made it pretty tough to see the deer! I wound up waiting for them to move a bit further to my right, where the sun was coming up, to get a better silhouette and I was able to make the shot. To be honest, I hit 3-4" further back than I would normally aim (~40 yard shot) but it didn't matter much as she only went about 70 yards.

I put a cheap 2x-7x scope on the gun and if I'd had it that morning, I would made the shot sooner and been more precise with the placement. I'm a little lucky it didn't cost me the chance at a shot and that it was good enough to do the job.
 

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Thanks,
With the open sites I just do not know, do you think 18” would be the about the same as the 20” for sighting? I am concerned that as the barrel gets shorter is will make the sighting system less efficient (if that makes sense). There has to be a sweet spot with barrel length and open sights, right? I know 2-4” is not that big of a deal, but it could be for me. I got very lucky this year and had to swing on a running elk at 20’ with a 300 mag/ 24” barrel/ scope on 2.5 power. I hit the animal and put it down but just happen to have the room to swing, I got really lucky. I am probably over thinking this, I just figure that this is the place to learn and ask questions. :)
I think your plan of cutting to 20" is sound. It will be easy to cut it further if you decide you want to -- much easier than adding 2" if you cut to 18 and then decide it's too short!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the info!

I have a Savage 99 in 308 with a 3-9, a Ruger ultra light in 308 with a 2-7, and a 300 with a 2.5-8. I do completely agree with you about the scope bringing in more light. If I do scope this rifle it will be a 1-4, but I think I will keep the open sights and get good with them.

I find that very interesting about the fiber optic sight. That was my plan for the front sight. I might have to go with a gold bead instead…..

Also I plan on using a bake on gun enamel of some sort to cover the steel. I have a target Ruger with a gray coating and really like it, I am hoping I get a finish as durable as it. I have never used this stuff before, what do you guys recommend? Midway has some different brands. What have you used?

As for adding barrel back I have a welder…. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Might have to make a scout rifle. I could set the scope (1-4 power) up with removable re-zeroing rings. I could then jump back and forth between iron and the scope…. With a good 180gr bullet I could hunt open country and then pull the scope and put in my pack for the heavy timber/ brush….
 

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Might have to make a scout rifle. I could set the scope (1-4 power) up with removable re-zeroing rings. I could then jump back and forth between iron and the scope…. With a good 180gr bullet I could hunt open country and then pull the scope and put in my pack for the heavy timber/ brush….
That would be an interesting option. I haven't got mine done yet, but here's a picture of it after I refinished the stock.
 

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