Monday, February 12, 2007

I'm Back

Score, Coyotes 3, Giraffe 0.

The coyotes were not too plentiful this year. Had fun anyway.

So I am catching up on blogs. Erik posted at Nate's

I've been waiting for this post to ask this question.

Looking into long range target shooting. What would be a good rifle? Models, not just rounds. I am assuming y'all are gonna say the .308

I missed the discussion, but I will post here anyway.

Define Long Range. Some use a .308 for 1000 yard shooting. A .300 mag would do better for that far. I assume you are a beginner. If that is the case, I don't think I would jump right in and start shooting a big magnum. They kick. A lot. Unless you have a muzzle brake. Then they are extremely loud. Both recoil and blast contribute to flinching, which will ruin your shooting. For a beginner, a .308 is just fine. Or a .30-06. Most shooters won't get good enough to use the extra performance that a magnum brings. Either cartridge will be easier on the shoulder, and both will work at to 1000 yards. The .270 was mentioned. It is a fine hunting cartridge, but it isn't the best choice for long range shooting. There are very few match grade bullets made in that caliber. I suggest finding somone who will let you shoot a rifle before you buy it. If you find the recoil to be harsh, a .260 remington would be an excellent choice. Ammo will cost more for this unless you reload. There are many match bullets for this caliber. The 1000 yard becnhrest crowd is into the .260 (6.5mm) caliber. They generally use the 6.5-284, a wildcat round. That means you can't buy factory ammo for it. Another choice is the .223 remington. As a military round, ammo is cheap and plentiful. It is not a long range round, though, just a good choice to introduce one to rifle shooting. You can get a dedicated long range rifle later if you want. I figure you can't have too many guns.

As for models, don't let Nate fool you. The Remington 700 is a fine choice. As is a savage. The savage will be cheaper. Both have excellent accuracy. I should note, that firearms are individuals, and there is no guarantee that a particular brand or model will always be accurate. Even two guns that come off the same manufacturing equiment can be different. The Remington 700 and the Savage models are known for accuracy. In a particular shooting organization I belong to, the Remington 700 and Savage models win nearly everything in the stock rifle class. No other brand or madels have much of a presence. If you get a remington 700 that doesn't shoot well, a gunsmith can usually correct it easily. Stay away from the Remington 710. They are a Bic throwaway.

Tikka is also a good rifle. It has a very slick bolt, and Tikkas are also known for accuracy. I have nothing against Winchester or Browning, but no experience with them either. I am intrigued by the new Icon made by Thompson Center. This is their first bolt action gun, and they consulted with a lot of gun people on the design.

If money is tight, I recommend the Stevens 200. It is basically a Savage, without the better stock and trigger. If you can afford the savage, get it. The accu-triger is pretty good.

Don't forget to budget for a quality scope. I would plan on spending as much or more for the scope as on the rifle. Good scopes include the Leupold VX II or VX III, Nikon Monarch, and Monarch Gold, Bushnell Elite 3200 or 4200, Sightron S1 or S2, Weaver Grand Slam, or a Burris Signature Series. There are better scopes, but you start talking thousands instead of hundreds. A cheaper alternative might be A Leupold VX1 or a Nikon Buckmaster, or a Burris Fullfield 2. Avoid cheap scopes like Tasco, Barska, Simmons and BSA unless you can't afford a good scope right away.

More scope magnification is better, but you start losing field of view when you get too high. Mirage will also affect you more at higher power.

A heavy barreled rifle is generally more accurate, but it is also heavy. If you plan to carry the rifle much, in a hunting situation, then a heavy barrel may be a detriment. You carry a rifle a lot more than you shoot it when hunting. For shooting at a range, the heavy barrel might be preferred.

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