The Boomershoot Ultra-Long Distance Rifle project continues apace. From what I can see of the entry numbers so far, I should be able to spend about a grand on the rifle, and about the same on the scope, which will have a maximum magnification of 20x, and 25x preferably. (I’ll talk more about the scope when I’ve made a decision on the rifle, but I have a short list of about a half-dozen.)
Here’s what I’ve decided so far:
1) Caliber: I’ve looked at quite a few, both in terms of field performance, cost and so on. Joe Huffman recommends a .3x cartridge, based on his observations over the years. I’ve shot several of those, and a few lighter ones like the 6.5x55mm Swede and .243 Win, and the .3x is definitely a better choice. So I’ve decided on either:
- .308 Win — endless choices of types, weights, manufacturers and so on, also cheap to shoot
- .300 Win Mag — more expensive to shoot, but handles wind a lot better than the .308 (and the wind always blows at Boomershoot).
I’m very comfortable with both cartridges, although with the .300 Win Mag I think a heavy rifle is mandatory — shooting a couple/three rounds at a deer on a hunt is one thing, shooting a few dozen a day at exploding targets is another thing altogether. Which leads us to the choice of
2) Rifle: Today I’ll look at the .300 Win Mag offerings first, because that’s the direction I’m leaning. Here are the guns I think will work best, under the budget constraints. All fall into the $900 – $1,100 range. The pics are not to the same scale.
For what it’s worth, I think I could pretty much play “spin the bottle” with these bad boys, and be very comfortable with whichever one the bottle pointed towards. (As an aside, the reviews made by reputable distance shooters on all these guns recommend a heavier bullet — such as 180-200gr — which makes for more recoil punishment, but much greater placement consistency. I’ll test that hypothesis for myself, assuming I choose the .300 Win Mag.) Also, if the rifles don’t come with a muzzle brake (like the Savage and Ruger do), I’ll get one. Muzzle brakes attenuate recoil almost as well as moderators, but I’m not going to do the latter because Gummint.
There is another aspect to the choice facing me, however. All the above rifles are pretty much “bench” guns, obviously. But the .300 Win Mag is a fantastic hunting cartridge too, so just to make my life more difficult, I’ve shortlisted two “hunting’ rifles in the same price bracket as well. (Note: they are also on the heavy side, but their stocks make them more convenient to carry.)
Just know that once you’ve added a Harris bipod to these guns, their weight will be very close to the bench guns. (I am not interested in shooting a lightweight gun like the Tikka T3 or Winchester Mod 70 in this chambering. BTDT on several occasions before, and all you’re doing is wasting ammo and putting an owie on yer shoulder.) The only thing that might pull me towards one of these two is if there’s an unbeatable price deal involved, and even then… probably not.
All comments are welcome, of course; but please don’t suggest some kind of custom-built thing, or even extensive modifications like Shilen barrels and Timney triggers. I’ve looked at it, it’s too expensive, and I don’t have the time to do it anyway. One of the deciding factors in my choice is how well the gun shoots out of the box, after a brief shooting-in session. According to many shooters’ ratings, all four of the bench guns are exceptional choices, which was a major factor in them making the cut.
For what it’s worth, I’m leading towards the Savage 110FCP (because adjustable AccuTrigger), if I decide on the .300 Win Mag.
Next up: the .308 rifles.