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.375H&H/.458mag sniper/elephant guns?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by coosbaycreep, Mar 5, 2009.

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  1. coosbaycreep

    coosbaycreep Member

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    I've been planning on getting some kind of high powered rifle for quite awhile now, and assuming I don't find some sort of bling bling mall ninja tactical gun that grabs my interest first, I might buy one this week hopefully.

    I was originally wanting to get something like a .458WM/Lott, but I haven't found any of those for very cheap, other than a mauser conversion which I decided against. I've also been wanting to get another high power .30 cal rifle, because I don't have anything bigger than .30-06, and I wanted something more powerful that was capable of better long range accuracy. This got me thinking about the .375H&H mag.

    I've read a lot about how versatile and effective this caliber is, and how it's one of the best long range calibers as far as large calibers go, but just what kind of range are they talking about? With light bullets, how does a .375 compare to a .300WM? The main gun I'm looking at right now in .375 is the remington 700 SPS. They can be had for $625-$700 from what I've seen online.

    If I knew for sure that a .375 would satisfy my recoil addiction and be a reasonably adequate long range gun, then I wouldn't have to buy a .300WM too. The cheapest factory ammo for .375 is $30. 458WM/Lott is around $80, and hornady is basically the only manufacturer in that price range.

    Some of the hot 375 loads generate 5000 pounds of energy, compared to 5800lbs for the 458Lott, but the .458 does it with a bullet that weighs twice as much. I don't have a "need" for an "elephant" gun, but it's something I want. I haven't shot any rifle bigger than a .338WM, but my 3.5" 12ga with slugs has 4759lbs with a 600gr slug. I imagine the 375 would be fairly tolerable recoil wise. I think my shotgun is suppose to generate similar recoil to a .458WM, and although it's hardly pleasant, the cost of slugs is more of a reason I don't shoot it often than the recoil is.

    Although I want an accurate high powered rifle, I'm personally not capable of long range accuracy. I just want something that has the capabilities, so if hell ever freezes over and I can suddenly hit stuff past point blank range, at least I'll already have something capable of that.

    I don't hunt anything larger than jack rabbits, so that doesn't factor into caliber choice.

    I'd also prefer a bolt action over a single shot. The only .458Lott in my price range is a ruger no.1. The only factory rifle in .458 mag in my price range is basically the remington 798 (which has bad reviews from most of what I've read on it). I know remington 700s are pretty much the most popular bolt action rifle there is, so that's another reason I'm kinda leaning towards the .375H&H.

    So, if you were me, would you just buy the .375H&H, and then maybe get a scope for it, or a rifled barrel for my shotgun in case the 375 wasn't as powerful as you hoped for? Or would you just buy a .458, and get a cheap .300WM like a used savage 110 or something?

    I'm concerned that if I get the 375 that it won't be as powerful as I hoped for, and then I'm stuck with a gun that will be difficult to sell unless I take big loss on it money wise. Of course, if I get a .458 and it's not as awesomely powerful as I had hoped for, then I've got a gun that's not only difficult to sell without a big loss, but also much more expensive to shoot, and not nearly as versatile.

    For those of you that have shot these guns/calibers I'm interested in, how much difference in recoil is there? How does the recoil compare to a 12ga?

    thanks
     
  2. gga357

    gga357 Member

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    You should look at the .416 Barrett. Haven't shot one but it is very impresive on paper.
     
  3. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Here's the deal.

    Long-range is all about bullet BC, provided rifle accuracy and some "reasonable" muzzle velocity. Let's say for a good long-range setup you want a BC > 0.60 and MV > 2750 fps, to make sort of an arbitrary categorization.

    .375 Winchester pushes a 220 gr bullet at about 2200 fps (Hornady book). .375 HH does a 300gr (BC 0.460) @ 2500 fps. .458 WM is 500gr (BC 0.295) at 2150 fps. The BC's on these bullets are terrible.

    Note that to get a BC in the 0.6 range, you need approx these masses (and the proper bullet design) in these calibers:

    6mm: 115gr+
    6.5mm: 140gr+
    7mm: 162gr+
    .30: 210gr+
    .33: 250gr+
    .375: 322gr+ *
    .45: 460gr+ *
    .50: 650gr+

    * For .375 and .45 , I don't even know any conventional-construction bullets with this BC range.

    Here is my best advice for selecting a long-range cartridge

    D100_3368_img.jpg
    article | Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting, Part I - Rifle & Equipment extwh3.png

    So basically, it comes down to: do you want an actual long-range cartridge, or do you want what is a short-range thumper? The two categories of cartridges you've named as examples are pretty much one or the other.

    Not gonna happen without practice and training, and those aren't gonna happen very effectively if every time you pull the trigger it's like getting punched in the face.
     
  4. gvnwst

    gvnwst Member

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    Lutz Moller makes some*, but they are very expensive, as they are made to order. Actually, they run something like 1.4 BC, so it almost makes up for the price.

    *not conventional construction though.
    :)

    Other than that, Zak pretty much summed it up. If you want a "big game" rifle that can also shoot LR, and you don't mind recoil, then the .338 lapua mag (or .338/378wby mag) or the .416 barrett should do. Or the .460 steyr if they are even sold in the states? My favorite caliber of all time is the 7mm rem mag, you can hunt large, non "dangerous", game with it, and it is a VERY good LR caliber.
     
  5. jbech123

    jbech123 Member

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    Dude you are all over the map.
    First, you seem hung up on rifle and ammo price. Nothing wrong with being thrifty, but if that is the case then "elephant guns" may not be the game for you. There are a few exceptions, but generally the guns and the ammo are pricey. There are a few 375h&h offereings that are reasonable, but generally not a cheap hobby.
    Although both can be powerful, a sniper "type" rifle and an elephant gun are apples and oranges. A 458 winmag, while a fantastic dangerous game round, is a ballistic embarrasment past 200 yards or so. The 375 does offer a decent compromise to 400yds, but you have to define "long range". Go to a match at a local range for any type of long range shooting- I doubt you will see a 375 there. Way too much recoil for not very good long range performance.
    If a 375 h&h is not powerful enough for you, a shotgun certainly won't be.
    As far as the 375 h&h, if you don't hunt, it is not the round for you. What the 375 brings to the table is enough thump to take down the biggest animals on earth, but still 308-ish trajectory to 400 yards or so to make them not a horrible choice for a deer/elk/moose rifle for a guy that desires "one gun for everything"(a horrible concept, but that would be a whole new discussion).
    A 375 without a muzzle break is slightly more than a 12 ga with 3 inch slugs, I don't have a 3.5" 12 ga but that would probably be close to a 375. the various 416's and 458's go up from there. Shooting them off of a bench increases discomfort considerably. I have a 375 and while I don't shoot 40 rounds in a row off the bench or anything, I don't find it horribly uncomfortable to shoot. I am not a big guy at 5'9"/160lbs, so there is a point of reference for you.
    I hate to sound rude, but I have to be honest with you, it seems like you just want a elephant gun so you can impress people that don't know much that you have an elephant gun. You say you don't hunt anything bigger than a jackrabbit. If that is the case, you don't need an african cartridge. In the grand scheme of your other budgetary concerns, if what you really like is the heavy recoil sensation, shoot your 3.5" slugs from a sandbag 20 times in a row. If that is not enough punishment, maybe rifle shooting is not what you are after at all...maybe you are into S&M.
    A 30-06 is actually a much better long range round than a 375. Not so much nowadays, but many a 1000yd match has been won with a 30-06.
    If you are interested in long range shooting, read Zakk's article referenced above, dude knows his stuff and brings a common sense, factual approach to an industry that is filled with hype. What you will find is that for long range shooting, especially for targets, something like a 260 remington will be far superior to a 375 h&h, and the good old 308 is a decent choice for someone just getting into the long range game. I heard someone once say "For long range, buy a factory heavy barrel 308, when you have shot the first barrel out, you will have enough experience to have an opinion on what you really need".
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  6. Semmerling

    Semmerling Member

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    jbeck +1

    To buy these calibers, for the reason stated, and then end with "I'm interested in, how much difference in recoil is there?"

    Mr. Smith is so darn right, full stop.
     
  7. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    gvnwst,

    I didn't want to get into the .375, .408, .416 specialized long-range cartridges because the guns are extremely expensive and the ammo is the same or more expensive than .50BMG to shoot.

    To the OP,

    SAKO makes or used to make the TRG-S in .338 Lapua. It was like a 8# gun and was apparently meant for moose hunting or something. It has an action very similar to the TRG-42. I personally would not want to fire this without a muzzle brake or suppressor. (I have shot my 18# AI 338 without the brake-. twice.)

    However, I guess it would satisfy the need for brutal recoil and actual long-range ability that the OP seems to want. When he gets tired of the senseless punishment, he can add 4# of lead to the stock and add the TRG brake.

    For a big bore for grins at the range that you aren't going to shoot a whole lot, you can probably get a CZ or Remington factory rifle in one of the big hunting calibers and a few boxes of ammo for less than $1000. You wouldn't even need a scope, just conventional rifle sights, for range fun.
     
  8. mr.trooper

    mr.trooper Member

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    .375 H&H is your best bet for a dual purpose long range / dangerous game rifle.

    But you will need to reload if you want long range ballistics. The 375 H&H can push a 300 grain bullet at roughly the same velocity as a 300 WIN MAG will push a 200 grain bullet, and it will do so with an additional 1,400 ft-lbs of energy.

    the only hurdle is bullet selection. most .375 bullets are heavy round nosed bullets for close range dangerous game. BUT, if you look, you will find boat tails and spitzers from major manufacturers with some decent ballistic coefficients:

    * Hornady 300gr BTSP, BC of .460
    * Combined technology 300gr Fail Safes, BC = .441
    * Nosler 260gr Accubond, BC of .473
    * Nosler 300gr Accubond, BC of .485

    The 300 grain Accubond can safely be pushed up to 2,600 fps. With a 100 yard zero, it will arrive at the 1,000 yard line with a little over 900 foot pounds, and drop 40 minutes of angle.

    the 300 win mag will push a 200 grain bullet at around 2,700 fps. With a 100 yard zero, it will arrive at the 1,000 yard line with a little less than 700 foot pounds, and drop 36 minutes of angle.

    The 300 mag is the flatter shooter at exceedingly long distances, but as you can see the 375 hits harder, and can still be made competitive with off the shelf conventional bullets.
     
  9. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    I shoot a .375H&H I use Barnes 270 gr bullets for "long" range work. BC on the old Barnes is just at .500 the TSX is in the .450 range. My muzzle velocity is @ 2700 FPS +. Max listed load out of a 24" pipe is 2820FPS with a 270 gr bullet. I shoot a short barreled .375 so I can't get that.

    Could some one please explain to me how a .30-06 is a better "long range" gun on large game animals such as elk and moose? I understand the argument if we are talking punching holes in paper. But a cross canyon moose or brown bear is another thing entirely.

    Heck lets bring the .338 win into the discussion. You'll find that on paper the .338 has very slight edge over the .375H&H at range. You'll find that in the field the H&H is the uncontested middle weight champion of the world.;)

    As for the OP If it's recoil you want buy a CZ 550 in a .500 Jeffery or a .505 Gibbs. That will cure your need I can assure you from personal experience. But if you want an honest to god no kidding multipurpose usable big game rifle the .375H&H is the way to go.
     
  10. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    For reference, the 375HH shooting the 300gr Accubonds at 2600 fps that mr.trooper referred to has trajectory/wind performance just worse than the normal factory 175 SMK load in .308. (For grins, I threw in the 300gr .338LM load.)
    Code:
    _Bullet_           _BC_ _MV_         0     250     500     750    1000 | YARDS
    175 SMK           0.51* 2650 >    0.00    4.44   19.33   47.82   93.43 | wind (inches)
    375HH/300         0.485 2600 >    0.00    4.67   20.42   50.51   98.15 | wind (inches)
    338LM 300SMK      0.77* 2750 >    0.00    2.64   11.13   26.52   50.08 | wind (inches)
    
    175 SMK           0.51* 2650 >   -0.00    3.16   11.23   22.03   36.43 | drop (moa)
    375HH/300         0.485 2600 >   -0.00    3.34   11.85   23.29   38.61 | drop (moa)
    338LM 300SMK      0.77* 2750 >   -0.00    2.64    9.14   17.00   26.36 | drop (moa)
    
    175 SMK           0.51* 2650 >    2650    2235    1863    1529    1261 | velocity (fps)
    375HH/300         0.485 2600 >    2600    2182    1806    1481    1225 | velocity (fps)
    338LM 300SMK      0.77* 2750 >    2750    2471    2209    1963    1734 | velocity (fps)
    
    This is to say nothing of terminal performance, but it provides a point of reference for how easy or hard it will be - at best - to make hits at long range. If you miss the terminal performance is moot.
     
  11. jbech123

    jbech123 Member

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    I implied, but did not say, for target use. No doubt for hunting the 375's energy would be required for a long shot on an elk/moose/bear. Sorry for not being clear.
    I have shot a brown bear with a 375 at 200+ yards. Flattened it. Did not even take one step. Penetration - Quartering toward me, hit in seam of shoulder, came out opposite hip. Remington Factory load, 300 gr. swift A-frame.
    So bottom line for longer range big game work, 375 is awesome. But looking at Zakk's numbers:
    for target work the 375 would be a horrible choice...way more recoil than a 308 for slightly worse trajectory. OP said he does not intend to use for hunting, hence I'd steer him away from a 375 H&H, since he would not be exploiting the advantages it brings to the table.
     
  12. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    And if you actually wanted to flatten something at 1000 yards, you have a lot better chance to actually hit it with 338LM (12% more recoil) than with the 375HH.
     
  13. usmc1371

    usmc1371 Member

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    I have a cz550 375 and it kicks but it ain't no 458lott. I don't mind shooting the 375 from the bench for a few rounds and I am 5'11 and 155 pounds so not alot of meat on me. The most un fun gun I have shot is 338-378 weatherby with NO muzzle brake, only did that twice befor a very expensive scope punched me in the eye. The problem with big rounds is they cost alot to shoot. If you wan't to make pink mist out of jack rabbits get you a 7mm mag and shoot light bullets or if you want even more mist find you a 7mm stw :). The 7mm's shoot flat, most don't kick any worse than your 06 but they shoot flatter and are fun and you can afford to shoot them. Shoot a few slugs off the bench befor you shoot the 7mm to soften your shoulder up a tad and you are set.
     
  14. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    The .375H&H is not a 1000 yard game round. Nor should anybody be shooting at game at 1000 yards unless they are trained and capable, and not ever on dangerous game. It is a fantastic intermediate sized dangerous game round and it is a seriously underrated large non dangerous game rifle out to any and all practical hunting ranges.



    Zak run these numbers on your ballistics table. 270 gr Barnes B.C. @ .502 MV 2820.

    I've killed several elk at over 400 yards with the .375H&H.

    A prime example of how versatile this round is was last hunting season. I started the year off killing several dozen feral hogs in Texas at ranges from mere feet to several hundred yards. I then took my .375 H&H to Africa where I started the hunt off in South Africa on a friends ranch. I drew first blood on a gemsbok bull that needed to be culled @ 209 yards with a 300 gr Rhino solid shank. That was a one shot kill on a forward quartering bull breaking the on shoulder and exiting behind the offside ribs. The next day I smoked a pair of baboons at over 200 yards the second one was making steam for safer ground when he met Mr. 300 gr rhino!:D I am not trying to brag just making the point that those would have been very difficult shots with a .458 win/Lott.

    I then flew up to the Zambezi valley in Zimbabwe and hunted cape buffalo in extremely thick jesse bush with the same rifle. My not so trusty Montana actioned .458 Lott died on this trip so I was using my back up rifle which was my .375H&H. On day three of the hunt I made a snap shot on a large buff bull at under 25 yards also killing it with one shot. The buffalo was quartering away the 300 gr TSX entered behind the on shoulder took out the heart,broke the off shoulder and was found just under the hide on the off side. That bull went less than 30 yards before kicking the bucket.

    I then flew back to the US and killed a couple more dozen hogs over the summer. Then killed a running cow elk at about 150 yards in the aspens this season in Colorado with the same rifle. Could you have done all of this with one of the .338's sure theoretically except that they aren't legal to use on dangerous game in Zimabawe or South Africa. So the .375H&H wins in my book by default as the most versatile dangerous game legal, long range capable hunting round.

    And as you can tell from my handle I am a bit biased when it comes to the H&H. I love this round!:)
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2009
  15. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Here's the 270gr Barnes thrown into the mix
    Code:
    _Bullet_           _BC_ _MV_         0     250     500     750    1000 | YARDS
    175 SMK           0.51* 2650 >    0.00    4.44   19.33   47.82   93.43 | wind (inches)
    375HH/300         0.485 2600 >    0.00    4.67   20.42   50.51   98.15 | wind (inches)
    338LM 300SMK      0.77* 2750 >    0.00    2.64   11.13   26.52   50.08 | wind (inches)
    270 BRNS          0.502 2820 >    0.00    4.00   17.40   42.79   83.43 | wind (inches)
    
    175 SMK           0.51* 2650 >   -0.00    3.16   11.23   22.03   36.43 | drop (moa)
    375HH/300         0.485 2600 >   -0.00    3.34   11.85   23.29   38.61 | drop (moa)
    338LM 300SMK      0.77* 2750 >   -0.00    2.64    9.14   17.00   26.36 | drop (moa)
    270 BRNS          0.502 2820 >   -0.00    2.65    9.64   18.92   31.15 | drop (moa)
    
    175 SMK           0.51* 2650 >    2650    2235    1863    1529    1261 | velocity (fps)
    375HH/300         0.485 2600 >    2600    2182    1806    1481    1225 | velocity (fps)
    338LM 300SMK      0.77* 2750 >    2750    2471    2209    1963    1734 | velocity (fps)
    270 BRNS          0.502 2820 >    2820    2394    2009    1664    1374 | velocity (fps)
    
    I do agree about "practical hunting ranges", however, there has been a lot of talk about long-range shooting and references to long-range hunting in this thread.
     
  16. coosbaycreep

    coosbaycreep Member

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    My definition of long range and your definition of long range is completely different, but yeah, I agree, it's pretty stupid trying to find a gun that would qualify as an "elephant" gun and a long range gun too.

    My local bi-mart can get a ruger no.1 in .458Lott for $819, and $847 for the stainless model. I'm going to a gun show and a lot of shops next week, so there's still a good chance that I'll end up with something different, but I don't think anything short of a massively bruised shoulder or a detached retina is going to kill my fascination with big guns, so I'm probably going to get a .458.

    I was watching videos of people shooting .458Lotts on youtube earlier, and about half the people had "issues" with the recoil, and the rest of them made it look as easy as shooting a shotgun. Since I'll have to order ammo for it anyway (if that's what I get), I'll order a recoil pad at the same time just in case.
     
  17. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    That is a really good idea.
     
  18. mr.trooper

    mr.trooper Member

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    Thank you Zak.

    Now we see that the 375 H&H is capable of bettering the 175gr 308 load with factory bullets. I think with some special purpose bullets, the 375 could make a wonderful long range gun, as well as an intermediate hunting round.
     
  19. jbech123

    jbech123 Member

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    Still a lot of recoil for target shooting though.
     
  20. sernv99

    sernv99 Member

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    I had asked a similar question a few months ago. I was told the "big game" calibers' trajectory is an arc rather than shooting flat, hence why the African big game calibers weren't used for long range shooting.
     
  21. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Right, but of course that comment groups all of the African big game cartridges into the same category. African big game hunting cartridges are very diverse just like American hunting cartridges.

    You simply can not say "African big game cartridge", compare the trajectory of a .600 Nitro Express firing a 900 gr bullet @ 1900 FPS and a .375H&H firing a 270 gr bullet @ nearly 2800 FPS. They are both African big game rounds and they are vastly different in their range capability.

    That's like saying since the .30-30 is a lousy "long range" rifle that all American hunting rounds are lousy long range rifles.:)

    Pretty silly when you think about it, huh?
     
  22. sernv99

    sernv99 Member

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    don't know, I was just told that I should look at a flatter shooting caliber rather than one that arcs ;) I have a .308 bolt gun so I'm set.
     
  23. ForneyRider

    ForneyRider Member

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    375H&H and 458 Lott!!!

    My dad's 375H&H is about 9.5lbs empty. It is a Win mdl 70. it actually isn't that bad with the 300gr loads. I loaded some 225gr Hornady's at 2500fps that don't kick bad at all.

    Bullet selection goes way down above 30 caliber. Not sure anyone makes a match bullet in either caliber. Heck does anyone make a spitzer for .458?

    Lots of solids, Woodleighs though in .375 and .448 Caliber. Love to put a couple of solids into something.

    If a 900$ CZ 550 sounds expensive, way till you buy ammo. 20 rounds of premium ammo in these cartridges is 80$. Reloading is not much better, some of the bullets are $1 a piece.

    Remington KS model at $2k is amazing. Awesome kevlar stock.

    As far as sniper, the trajectory on these heavy weights is not conducive to flat shooting.
     
  24. Gaiudo

    Gaiudo Member

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    Here's a five shot group from my .375 HH, in a Win Mod-70, at 100 yards. I got excited and flinched on that last one (dangit). I've duplicated groups like that consistently with that gun, shooting 270grain TSX over a mid-range load of R15.

    IMG_0002-1.jpg

    With the same load, H&HHunter and I were busting a six inch steel plate at 500 yards with boring consistency (but then again, he was busting it with a 470 NE from an open sighted double rifle).

    There is absolutely no chance that you can get a .375HH to perform like a 260 rem. However, it is capable of great "long-range" shooting (though even that term that's pretty relative, given some of the shooters on this board) on a practical level. Trajectory is similar to a .308, which has been used quite a bit in "sniper" roles. Just don't try and compete with Zak and his AI 260. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  25. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    That's great shooting all around. Good job!

    I've tossed around the idea of a "Practical Magnum Rifle Match", where you engage "practical" hunting-size steel targets within a typical point-blank range (ie, not a long-range match by any means) and the minimum power factor is 700+.

    But maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to buy one. ;)
     
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