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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all, I am looking into my first "long range" rifle ever and Im looking for some advice. I don't really plan on hunting, I just started reloading this month, and I mostly just plan to shoot steel but a p-dog hunt with relative in Texas isn't out of the realm of possibility. I own a few rifles but all are chambered in 200 yard max cartridges, 44mag, 22lr, 22mag, 7.62x39, so I am looking to get a rifle I can stretch out to 600-800 yards. I would love to be able to shoot out to 1000 but I have no idea where I would do that around here (longest "local" range is 850 and its a 2 hour drive to get there). So Im not looking for a ton of power, just something fun to shoot and fun to develop/ tinker loads for. I have looked at 260 rem, 22-250 with a fast twist, 243 win, 6mm br/norma, and given some brief thought to 223 rem, 7mm-08, 6.5mm swiss. I would prefer that I be able to find at least some ammo on store shelves if I should forget mine or run out without my press, but its not a complete deal breaker. I would also prefer the brass not be outrageously expensive unless Im looking at 10+ reloads per case, I would like the brass to be easily available in factory form (don't know enough about fire forming, etc.. to be comfortable doing it).

I have looked mostly at savage rifles, the LRP, LRPV, and Long Range Hunter, but I am open to most anything up to that price point. I am not looking to go past 1250 at all. I will still need a scope, mounts, brass, bullets, and powder before I can even pull the trigger so all those 2k + rifles are out.

What do you guys suggest? Anyone own one of the rifles in question?
 

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Hello all, I am looking into my first "long range" rifle ever and Im looking for some advice. I don't really plan on hunting, I just started reloading this month, and I mostly just plan to shoot steel but a p-dog hunt with relative in Texas isn't out of the realm of possibility. I own a few rifles but all are chambered in 200 yard max cartridges, 44mag, 22lr, 22mag, 7.62x39, so I am looking to get a rifle I can stretch out to 600-800 yards. I would love to be able to shoot out to 1000 but I have no idea where I would do that around here (longest "local" range is 850 and its a 2 hour drive to get there). So Im not looking for a ton of power, just something fun to shoot and fun to develop/ tinker loads for. I have looked at 260 rem, 22-250 with a fast twist, 243 win, 6mm br/norma, and given some brief thought to 223 rem, 7mm-08, 6.5mm swiss. I would prefer that I be able to find at least some ammo on store shelves if I should forget mine or run out without my press, but its not a complete deal breaker. I would also prefer the brass not be outrageously expensive unless Im looking at 10+ reloads per case, I would like the brass to be easily available in factory form (don't know enough about fire forming, etc.. to be comfortable doing it).

I have looked mostly at savage rifles, the LRP, LRPV, and Long Range Hunter, but I am open to most anything up to that price point. I am not looking to go past 1250 at all. I will still need a scope, mounts, brass, bullets, and powder before I can even pull the trigger so all those 2k + rifles are out.

What do you guys suggest? Anyone own one of the rifles in question?
Every one that you stated will get the job done---seems your keyboard can't figure, though, as the 7 is right next to the 6 (7.5 Swiss,---not 6.5). As to a rifle,---I believe that dollar for dollar,---the best bargain in a quality rifle, at the present time, is the Howa line from Japan.
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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I've been shooting and Frankenstein-ing savages for a very long time. They have always had & still do suffer, from being able to let some ABSOLUTE trash leave the factory. Provided that isn't the case, as long as you don't mind having to tinker with them sometimes, they are fine for what you want.

Honestly for the "as cheap as possible" with ammo at any drugstore, stay with current military cartridges. Either 223, or the 308. Several of us here have easily kept the 77 SMK & 75gr Amax stable with the factory 9-twist. The 223 can be much more challenging in wind, if that happens where you live. Not the best choice for learning while at long distance (can be frustrating), but the will shoot well past 1k accurately.

Painless is my 308. It's a 10fp, with a modified choate ultimate sniper stock, and a Weaver #800363 on it. I shoot it to a mile quite frequently.

If the 308 doesn't float your boat, or kicks you to hard; take a really hard look at a Creedmoor. Personally I would go Ruger over Savage, but tomato/tomahto.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Carroll, I actually don't know anything about a 7.5 swiss? The cartridge I was looking at is the 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser. How are the Howa rifles? I don't see many of them around these parts?

Darkker, I haven't given up on the idea of a 223. Truth be told I've been trying to talk myself into one. 22 cal bullets are plentiful and so is the brass. I just didn't know how capable the cartridge would be on a windy day. I had considered the 6.5 creedmoor and originally its what I was after, but then I discovered I couldn't find a single box locally and Hornady seems to be the only manufacture of ammo and brass at present correct? The creed is actually what lead me to the 260. Its interesting that you prefer Rugers, what is it that you like about them? I am genuinely curious, I haven't seen Ruger pop up on many of the long range forums (seems to always be a Rem700 or a Savage LRP). I love all the Rugers I own so I wouldn't be opposed to that option at all if thats a good route to go.

Cheap as possible ammo isn't a huge concern, just plentiful components and a few boxes on the shelf. I figure by the time Im rolling my own most of the cost will tend to come out fairly even.
 

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I could be wrong but I think Howa did/does a lot of contract work for the likes of Browning and Winchester and even Weatherby at one time. I see them on gunbroker sometimes, very nice looking rifles.

I sold my .308 a few months ago but if you don't mind the kick and your going to hand load that may be the way to go. You can load some pretty small bullets if you want.

I think if I was in your position I would look real hard at the 243, I always wanted one for some reason even though I don't hunt. Like the 308 you of course have a wide range of bullets available but a little less kick, and with the right bullet you could still use it on deer size game.

One thing to consider is the action length. If you really get bitten by long distance shooting and start looking at some odd wildcats having a long action may be helpful, but you could still put a medium cartridge through it.

When I was looking for a nice 223 for target shooting I looked at the Savage real close but ended up with a Kimber long Master Classic. I think if I bought another 223 (unless used) I would buy one of those newer Savages with the left loading port and right ejection. Rugers are very nice weapons, I had a 77 in 17HRM for a few years but hated shoving a cleaning rod down that skinny barrel,
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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Revolver,
The 223 is very capable,
#1 77gr Custom Comp, launched at an easy 2600fps. 1,000 ele, 30% humidity


#2 is my Creed, 140gr CC launched at 2680fps, same conditions.


Not much difference with a small 5mph wind. That program I screenshot is "Shooter" by Sean Kennedy, updates his info as soon as Litz comes up with something.
Here may be an interesting read for you also:
Shooting A 223 Rifle To A Mile Accurately

Winchester sells Creedmoor ammo that I have seen also.

Ruger for several reasons. 1 is the receiver strength, if you do hunt or throw it in the back of the truck the receiver won't get dinged and scratched. Also have seen a squib get dislodged by firing a regular load (not on purpose). Very strong stuff!

Next is the barrel, these hammer forged things they have been churning out are fantastic! They don't copper foul, and are extremely accurate. Most people can't figure out how to tighten the front action screw, and then think it the rifles fault.
Here I used a WAG hold-over because the scope ran out of adjustment, was a favorite load of mine, I shoved into MZ5's sporter. Also shows things don't have to be screaming for long range.
http://www.shootersforum.com/rifles-rifle-cartridges/88314-meanwhile-valley-sun.html

My third reason is Ruger's 2-stage trigger, found in the Predator and there target guns. Absolutely without a shadow of a doubt the best factory trigger available, frankly it's better than many aftermarket stuff also.

Cheers

PS, don't bent about glass, most people haven't done side by side comparisons, nor could they explain SFP vs. FFP. I shoot to a mile with a $239 Primary Arms. Better glass quality than a SWFA 3-15X.
 

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Severall good ones in that price range.

Single shot Ruger #1's & H&R varmintmaster (with a little work and while they last) come to mind, the H&R would even leave enough $ for a very decent scope. For me an older (1980's ish) Remington Sendero or Ruger 77V in s/s & 26" bull bbl's with benchrest stocks are big and heavy but good shooters. A 25-06 while likely NOT a #1 pick by many is efficient in burning less powder without much recoil, (The same goes for the 243 & 308 brass.) AT ALL in a 10-12 lb gun, will launch a 75 gr- 87 gr bullet at an app 3600 fps, with the right handload, also the parent case is the proven 30-06 that IMO NEVER had a stinker no matter what caliber is stuffed into it necked up, or down. If interested in H&R PM me. Be prepared for some sticker shock when it comes to quality glass for long distance benchrest. The 243 is a short action, while the 25-06 is a long action if that matters. Both are popular calibers available widely over the counter, and once fired brass is easy enough to pick up at the range, or buy once fired.
 

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FWIW, Just a nice heavy barrel benchrest type Savage in .308 would be a good start. Fellow range member bought such a rifle for shooting on our private club's 400 & 600 yd range, maybe a year ago. Shot such a darn nice 600 yd group after finding what load shot best in his rifle that he sent a photo of his group to Savage. He got a personal reply from C.E.O. of Savage saying he'd posted the photo on the bulletin board of his manufacturing plant for their workers to see, thanking them for building such accurate rifles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Lots of really good helpful information here. Thanks guys!

What length barrel do you run Darkker? I see the Ruger target comes in a 28inch for 6.5 and a 26inch for 223. I was also curious how you felt about Howa? I get the impression you've been at this a while from your posts.

The plan I was pondering on at work, before getting a chance to check the posts here, was buying a Howa varmint barreled action in 308 or 243 and dropping it into a bell carlson medalist varmint/ tactical stock. I figured that would set me back about 750, then if the trigger is as bad as I hear a Timney or Rifle Basix would cost me around 125. I have a brand new Nikon 2.5-10 mil dot sitting on a 10/22 right now that I could easily swap over and that would have me shooting for around 900. Then I could always re-barrel it for 260 later on down the road if I felt it necessary and use the same action and bolt.

The street price on a ruger is about 750, a h-s precision stock is 400. That puts me at 1150, not over my budget by any means, but certainly more than 900. What twist rates do you prefer on the 223, 6.5 creed, and 308?
 

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would highly recommend the 260 or the 308. Not custom rounds, just the best for the 6-800 yds game. I have one of each; lots of 7mm cartridges, like the 7-08 are fine also. for long range some people like the heavier magnum, if recoil is not their issue, then the 300 and 338 mags have considerable advantage; got a 300 RUM with a heavy sniper stock that works nice.



Wind is such a big consideration in long range shooting, I'd never suggest starting with any 22 centerfire cartridge. Yep, a 22 centerfire at long range is a challenge...but I'd not start that challenge until you master the other factors/challenges along the way.

Getting a used worn M700 rem, them rebarrelling it with a top quality barrel is a great way to get a good shooter.

let us know what you decide.
 

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The Shadow (Super Mod)
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Revolver,
Painless (308) is 24", my Creedmoor has a 26" Shaw. MZ5's Ruger Predator in Creed is 24, that 308 from the video is a 22" pencil barrel. Barrel length to me really isn't important, I'm good with shooting anything I have; velocity is really a side note to accuracy.

Howa is a Rem 700 pattern rifle, and feels (bolt smoothness/lock-up) like it. Howa also labels some production as a Weatherby Vanguard. Shot quite a few of them, but don't currently own one. Got nothing against them, just not my preference.

Twist rates: in the 223 I'm really torn. if it will only ever be long range target work, then 7-8 maybe. If it could be used for varmints, then 9 twist and be mindful of it. For me and my circles, the VERY long 75gr Amax stabilizes with a 9 twist without needing nuclear speeds; not everyone has that same result. Trouble with a fast twist, is spinning light bullets apart. Personally for volume varmint work, I really like Midsouth's varmint nightmare bullets. But a 9-twist will easily go above their RPM limit.
Creed, I have only ever used the standard 8-twist. For the 308 I like 175-208gr bullets, so the 10-twist. If you were to shoot with the 175SMK as your heavy weight, I would probably go to the 12 twist.

A side note about that scope.
I certainly understand not spending if it isn't needed.
I REALLY suggest you get a FFP scope with matching turrets & reticle. Having a mil-dot recticle with 1/4moa clicks adds another layer of complexity that isn't necessary. Throw-in another layer with that scope being SFP, and having to remember the adjustments are only correct on one power setting..

Once I finally changed to FFP, mil/mil; I'm honestly a little upset I waited so long.
This little nugget is currently my personal favorite, in the dollar for dollar category.
https://www.primaryarms.com/Primary_Arms_4_14X44_FFP_Scope_p/pa4-14xffp.htm
I have about 800 rounds with it and my creed this year. Did a comparison head-to-head with a SWFA 3-15, the SWFA got embarrassed, and it's over twice the price as the PA.

Keep us updated on your build and your progress, whatever direction you go.
 

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Rev.

It looks like you've narrowed your issues down to money, wind, & ammo/brass/avail. for a 1,000yd shooter. If you want to avoid getting blown off the range after a 2hr drive, I'd suggest a 10-14 pound 7mm Rem Mag. Good Luck, it will be interesting to see how you end up going on this project.
 

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Howas are much superior to the Remington 700, they are a knock-off of an older Sako bolt rifle design. The Remington is cheap junk compared to the Howa.

The Weatherby Vanguard uses a Howa action, but the barrel and stock on the Weatherbys is a step up from the Howa.

The Weartherby Vanguard is perhaps the best quality rifle for the money available at this time.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Heres a completely different direction question. How do y'all feel about semi auto bench guns? I know I would be giving up some accuracy, but I won't ever compete with it anyway. I will only ever use it to shoot steel, paper, birds on the fish ponds, and perhaps prairie dogs one every decade or so. Im really just building a bench gun because I think it will be fun to learn how to load for and shoot a rifle like that.

It occurred to me that by the time I build a bolt action bench rifle I could have done something Ive always wanted to do, send one of my mini 14s to accuracy systems to have it bedded, re chambered, re barreled, and a trigger job. I know it won't be quite as accurate but Im just curious how you guys felt about such systems?
 

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Carroll, I actually don't know anything about a 7.5 swiss? The cartridge I was looking at is the 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser. How are the Howa rifles? I don't see many of them around these parts?

Darkker, I haven't given up on the idea of a 223. Truth be told I've been trying to talk myself into one. 22 cal bullets are plentiful and so is the brass. I just didn't know how capable the cartridge would be on a windy day. I had considered the 6.5 creedmoor and originally its what I was after, but then I discovered I couldn't find a single box locally and Hornady seems to be the only manufacture of ammo and brass at present correct? The creed is actually what lead me to the 260. Its interesting that you prefer Rugers, what is it that you like about them? I am genuinely curious, I haven't seen Ruger pop up on many of the long range forums (seems to always be a Rem700 or a Savage LRP). I love all the Rugers I own so I wouldn't be opposed to that option at all if thats a good route to go.

Cheap as possible ammo isn't a huge concern, just plentiful components and a few boxes on the shelf. I figure by the time Im rolling my own most of the cost will tend to come out fairly even.
For a long time I had a Weatherby Vanguard 30-06 (howa 1500 rebranded) and I loved it. It was a great rifle and very accurate for the first 3k rounds. :D I Also have a 6.5x55 and IMO the howa 1500 matched with a 6.5x55 would be a great combo. I load Prvi Partizan brass and my current batch is about to hit 10 loadings with no signs of any issues. My worst loads in the 6.5 have grouped around 2 inches at 100 for 5 shots and I have brought it out to 400 yards with Hornady 140 gr interlocks (only 300 with 140 gr SMKs). I cant tell you groups, but I was popping a 20lb propane tank at that distance. It also ignores wind better then I would have expected. And it is very economical on poweder, some loads give me =/- 180 loads to a pound (vs something like 120 with a 30-06).

My 30-06 did well enough (about 12 in groups at 600 yards with the factory barrel) with 210 gr SMKS in front of 52 gr RL 22 with fed brass and 210m primers. It was a pretty mild load, at least recoil wide, but did real well at longer ranges.

I honestly have to agree with Charles B. The howas, are in my opinion, the best (or one of the best) rifles in their price range.

EDIT: my personal feelings on semi auto bench guns, is that they are better for Varminting, but cheap accuracy a bolt gun is better. If you were going to go the semi auto route an AR 10 in .260 rem or 6.5 creedmore (basically the exact same round I belive) would be great, but thats just an opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
My problem with going with a black gun is that I hate them. I built up a varmint rifle ar 15 once, lewis machine and tool lower, sop mod stock, jp internals, bcm upper, bcm stainless 20 inch barrel with a 1/9 twist. It loved silver state 77 grains, I shot it maybe 3 times. I just couldn't stand it. I was very very accurate, ragged holes at 200 yards, I just loathed shooting it. I can't explain it, I have no logical reasoning, it just wasn't my thing. It was like having an old car door slam right next to my ear every time I shot it, I also think they're butt ugly. Typically I can get over petty things with any gun that shoots good enough, I just can't with ARs. Im all for people enjoying them and shooting them, its just not my bag.
 

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Another nod here for the Howas as a good option. I have owned two and both shoot lights out. There is no finer push feed action currently available IMO. I own two Savages and two Winchester bolt guns as well and each shoots MOA assuming a proper trigger pull and the right load. A .260, 7-08, and .308 would all three be good options for your first longer range caliber IMO.
 

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Please explain.

Shooting birds on fishponds? What kind of birds & what do you plan on doing with them? I'm NO PITA MEMBER, but using "harmless/non edible" live animals for target practice rubs me the wrong way, NOT TO MENTION shooting high power rifles into water being a safety no-no. A bullet can skip like a stone, go a LONG ways and hit something totally unplanned on. I KNOW because when young & dumb I did it and ventilated an ice fishing hut that thankfully was empty.
 

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Cheeez, you were lucky...no one got hurt

kinda reminds me of hearing about :) hitting porta-potties with a sling-shot & marbles :D

you can outrun the bear but not the roar..
 
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