ULD Update Part I

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.


  1. Back in ’67 I purchased a “bespoke” rifle from a firm in Azusa: 308 Norma Magnum; it’s the “exact same” cartridge as the Win Mag ±. I know you prefer not to, but I find reloading to be half the enjoyment of owning a gun, and I’ve been reloading this cartridge almost ’til the brass is screaming “uncle.”
    I’ve used a variety of primers, powders, projectiles and (reasonable) loadings and, over the years have never complained about the results.
    My only disappointment: I ordered the heavy target barrel, which I could carry for miles when I was 25. On the other hand, even though I’ve replaced the recoil pad a couple of times over the years, I’ve never bruised my shoulder (or cheek) when I take it to the range to see what the latest loadings are doing.
    I’d vote for the .300 Win Mag with a comfortable stock and enough weight to absorb the recoil.

  2. Things to think about, recoil – if you can handle the recoil the .300 Win Mag is the winner for long distance shooting, it has less time to get messed up by wind and stuff but that is a lot of recoil and noise. .308 is a great round in a heavy rifle and if you can do the math and read the wind it will do a good job, at 500 yards it takes me more than a few shots to dial it in because I am not that good at taking the time to figure out the shot but every month or so I try to make it work. My buddy shoots handmade bullets in a custom built precison rifle that has a big Vortex scope and he does great with .308. Good luck with your combination and for youngsters in their 60’s and younger the .300 Win Mag might be good, for us old guys in our 70’s the .308 probably makes more sense.

  3. For an OTS rifle, equipped as you have expressed a desire for, it would be hard to beat the Savage.

  4. Go with the Savage. If you’re buying new I just can’t trust Remington quality even though its supposed to be better than it was a few years back.

  5. It is also worth noting that Savage offers the capability to change barrels and bolt heads. I realize not everyone is into tinkering, but being able to change caliber and/or barrel contour while using the same stock, trigger, and optics offers much utility.

    Bolt head change (I would suggest having alternate bolt heads already completely assembled)–


    Barrel change–


  6. Have you looked at a Mauser M18? They look reasonably priced, some have a Minox scope package included as well.

  7. I have one 300 it is a mossberg laminate hunter with fluted barrel. It is a very good gun that can be had below 500. I have a bunch of 308’s. now all I need is time, which is harder to find than another gun.

  8. Kim,
    I have always appreciated your choice in rifles. That being said, may I suggest a rifle that is graced with a beautiful A-grade french Walnut hand-rubbed oil stock (20LPI checkering), both glass bedded and pillar-bedded, adjustable trigger, match grade chamber, 26″ barrel (1 in 10 RH twist), Mauser-style action, a proper 3-position wing style safety, and in my own experience extremely accurate~~~all in a traditional style platform. Like your son says, artistry matters. I am referring to the Kimber Classic in .300 Win Mag
    and although its MSRP is higher than you wish, one can competitively shop and get nearer to your price range. It is a proper ‘Murrican rifle built in the fashion that a rifleman appreciates.

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