Heavy rifles for big game hunting


PDA






Jason_W
December 2, 2012, 02:06 PM
I understand the logic of having a light weight rifle for styles of hiking that involve a lot of hiking. However, when hunting from a blind or stand, is there any real drawback to having the kind of heavy, thick-barreled rifle usually touted for target, varmint, and tactical applications?

If you don't have to lug it around all day, I would think the recoil mitigation offered by 9-10 pound gun could actually be a benefit.

If you enjoyed reading about "Heavy rifles for big game hunting" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Art Eatman
December 2, 2012, 02:18 PM
Unless some lightweight gun has caused you to develop a flinch, I don't see what difference it makes when in a stand. It's only going to be maybe one shot or at most two.

In the FWIW department, I spent decades doing ten- and twelve-mile walking hunts with a 9.5-pound '06 sporter--and sat in a stand or on a hillside with my 7-pound 243. :)

No reason not to use a heavy rifle to hold down on felt recoil, if the walk to a stand isn't all that far. But no big deal, one way or the other...

Jason_W
December 2, 2012, 02:27 PM
In the FWIW department, I spent decades doing ten- and twelve-mile walking hunts with a 9.5-pound '06 sporter

You must have been in some pretty good shape at the end of a season.

NWcityguy2
December 2, 2012, 02:53 PM
I find it much harder to aim a heavy rifle without some support up front. Thats a problem that is easily fixed though.

CraigC
December 2, 2012, 03:03 PM
I used to buy into all the short-barreled, lightweight rifle nonsense. Then I started hunting with a 9lb muzzleloader with a 33" barrel and realized it was never a big deal to start with. I'm more picky about a rifle's balance and feel than overall weight. I also seem to have an issue with a rifle weighing more than it should. For instance, I loathe a heavy barrel 10/22 for field use. I have no problem with a 9lb Winchester 1873 but hold its weight against a Henry Big Boy. All personal preference, I reckon.

Reloadron
December 2, 2012, 03:37 PM
I understand the logic of having a light weight rifle for styles of hiking that involve a lot of hiking. However, when hunting from a blind or stand, is there any real drawback to having the kind of heavy, thick-barreled rifle usually touted for target, varmint, and tactical applications?

If you don't have to lug it around all day, I would think the recoil mitigation offered by 9-10 pound gun could actually be a benefit.
There is a distinct difference between running 50 or 100 rounds through a light weight rifle or a heavy rifle at the range. The light weight will beat you up a little more than the heavier rifle.

While I don't hunt traveling miles of woods anymore I really do not see a difference. When hunting it was always more a matter of getting me and the rifle where I was going. A rifle weight difference of say 5 Lbs for my hunting situations really mattered not. I would seldom see game to take a shot while walking.

Anticipated recoil also mattered not as we are talking one or two shots when the opportunity arises unlike that 50 or 100 shots at the range.

Overall I guess it really depends on terrain and the individual hunting. For me it mattered not what the rifle weight was. Your mileage may vary.

Ron

jmr40
December 2, 2012, 04:09 PM
For the places I hunt the lighter the better. It does take more skill on the shooters part to shoot a light rifle, but once mastered they are as accurate as the heavier guns.

But to be honest the way most people hunt a heavier rifle will work just fine. They are much more forgiving of less than perfect shooting form and most people find they shoot them more accurately.

MCgunner
December 2, 2012, 04:16 PM
If you don't have to lug it around all day, I would think the recoil mitigation offered by 9-10 pound gun could actually be a benefit.

Wow, 9-10 lbs? Whadda pig! I have one rifle that heavy, actually about 11 lbs, a Egyptian Hakim. I have no intention of ever hunting with that thing. Fun to shoot, though, and impresses the ninja types at the range. :D

I do not find the recoil of my .308 in a 6 lb rifle bothersome, nor my .257 Roberts in a 7 lb rifle, nor my 7 mag in an 8 lb rifle. Oh, when i shoot the 7 at the range, put some rounds out of it, I have a past recoil shield, but that's just to alleviate soreness later on. In the field, shooting at game, I don't even notice recoil. I sorta enjoy a sore shoulder after a good goose hunt with the 10 gauge. :D Reminds me of good times!

TexasPatriot.308
December 2, 2012, 05:43 PM
when I hunt my box blinds, a couple of my favorite rifles are Ruger No. 1 Varmint with bull barrels in .25-06 and .22-250. rest em on shooting bags, both are tack drivers.

urbaneruralite
December 2, 2012, 06:22 PM
There is some crossover. It depends on your specific uses. If its too long, doesn't handle as quickly and is so heavy it makes you quiver when holding it for a few minutes offhand it has drawbacks.

Robert
December 2, 2012, 11:44 PM
I hunt the mountains here in CO with a 10lbs rifle and walk all day, and no I am not in amazing shape. Heck I even have mild asthema.

The weight of the rifle helps with recoil and a good sling makes carrying a breeze. Now to my way of thinking I could never understand why any sane person would want a super light 300wm or 338 Ultra.

If I were in a stand I guess it would not really matter as long as I can make the shot count. Use what works best for you.

Savage99
December 3, 2012, 12:17 AM
While I am no longer young or strong I still use some of my heavier rifles when I am near the car.

One rifle, a 30-06 weighs almost 9 pounds scoped but it's very accurate and easy to aim and shoot well.

For the hills I have lightweights.

Here is the 30-06 custom. I really like this rifle!

http://imageshack.us/a/img571/5471/1000031n.jpg

Art Eatman
December 3, 2012, 12:40 AM
For holding steady when shooting offhand, my opinion is that balance is rather more important than weight. I like a bit of a muzzle-heavy balance; nothing extreme, mind you, but "some". Muzzle-light tends to allow the wobblies. :)

I've no idea about physical condition. By late in a typical deer season, I could slow-run about a half-mile with mild-weather winter clothing (no parka-type stuff) and finish up with a hundred yard sprint up the hill to the house. My pulse would be down to around 72 within a couple of minutes.

But that was forty years ago. Nowadays? Hah! I can sit real good, though. :D

MachIVshooter
December 3, 2012, 03:13 AM
If you only walk as far as is needed to get to your spot and then sit, a 9, 10, 11 lb gun is not that bad.

When you'll put on 10+ miles over rough terrain, there is a noticeable difference between a 7.5 and 9.5 lb gun. It's not that the extra 2 lbs is such an added load; It's a pittance compared to what many of us carry in packs on our backs or around the waist. The difference is how the rifle is carried. Slung over your shoulder and constantly pulling down on it, trying to slip off, upsetting your balance. A couple pounds there does matter. My hunting rifles are all in the 7.5-8 lb range with glass, add a little more for the bipod. No way I'd want to start out with a gun that weighed nearly 10 lbs and then add another 1-1.5.

I hunt all along the rockies on both sides, usually not below 9,000 ft. I live at 6,800 ft, so acclimatizing is a non-issue, but the increase in altitude lowers temperatures, and the terrain can be very challenging. Haven't been on many hunts that didn't involve negotiating steep, rocky terrian with ice and snow. I usually use large hip packs to try to keep my center of gravity low. I do not want a pig of a rifle throwing my balance off.

Sure, you can sling it across your chest to mitigate that strain-but then what do you do if you jump an animal?

Boxhead
December 3, 2012, 04:00 AM
I won't own a heavy rifle as I see no benefit to the additional weight.

ttheel
December 3, 2012, 07:28 PM
I myself prefer lightweight rifles. I for one have never felt recoil when in the field actually shooting at a deer. I guess adrenaline takes over and mutes recoil. When bench shooting magnum caliber rifles I just use a good shoulder pad such as a Past and I do not notice recoil at all. The pad helps keep from developing a flinch. As I said earlier, when in the field there is no need for such pad as adrenaline takes care of it.

natman
December 4, 2012, 03:29 PM
I understand the logic of having a light weight rifle for styles of hiking that involve a lot of hiking. However, when hunting from a blind or stand, is there any real drawback to having the kind of heavy, thick-barreled rifle usually touted for target, varmint, and tactical applications?

If you don't have to lug it around all day, I would think the recoil mitigation offered by 9-10 pound gun could actually be a benefit.

To answer the question the OP actually asked:

Yes, if you don't have to carry it around all day and you're shooting from a stand, a 9-10 lb rifle isn't a major problem and the extra weight will mitigate the recoil.

sage5907
December 4, 2012, 04:02 PM
Quote: "I hunt the mountains here in CO with a 10lbs rifle and walk all day"

I agree with Robert, I hunt with a 10 pound 30-06 rifle and hunt all day. I'm 69 years old and walk as many as 4 miles without thinking anything about the weight of the rifle. I do have featherweight rifles that weigh 2 pounds less but I really like a 10 pound rifle due to their stability for long range shooting. About a pound of that extra weight is in my Leupold M3 scope. Shooter

elktrout
December 4, 2012, 11:13 PM
In a stand, it shouldn't be a big difference between the lighter or heavier rifle. The problem is hiking/walking over any substantial distance and then possibly having to shoot while heaving for breath, such as after having climbed a steep and lengthy grade. Then, the heavier rifle helps in settling the sights for the shot.

In the final analysis, it is a matter of personal preference. I have lugged a heavy rifle up and down some steep mountains in Colorado for a number of years. At the end of the day, it was a great relief to get it off my shoulder.

What I found more important to consider is the TOTAL load you carry when hunting. In the big mountains, far back from the road, you are fool to hunt without a pack containing water, food, basic survival gear, etc. Even going with the lightest load possible, the rifle just seems to add exponentially to that load when you carry it all day long.

30Cal
December 4, 2012, 11:45 PM
The weight is a downside when you change your mind and decide it'd be better to still hunt.

tahoe2
December 5, 2012, 12:50 AM
Most of mine are 8 to 10 lbs scoped, it can be tough lugging them around all day, but when it comes time to shoot out of breath(with the heart beating like crazy) they hold nice and steady.
My non-scoped rifles weigh 6-7 lbs and are ready for the fast action of western Washington's coastal woods. You just have to practice and become proficient at different shooting techniques.

Clipper
December 5, 2012, 01:14 AM
I use the lightest rifle I can get because I don't use a sling...Hand carrying a 8 lb rifle all day gets old. My latest M-N (full-stock) sporter weighs 6.5 lbs and I like it, but still wish it was lighter.

If you enjoyed reading about "Heavy rifles for big game hunting" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!