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Best Caliber for 500+ yards?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by SolaScriptura139, Apr 17, 2006.

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  1. SolaScriptura139

    SolaScriptura139 Member

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    I'm looking to get into longer range rifle shooting in the future, and I've been looking a lot at browning rifles. But I'm willing to buy any rifle for the job. What is the best caliber for 500-800 yard shooting?
     
  2. MDG1976

    MDG1976 Member

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    Start with the .308 Win. 338 Lapua or .50 BMG would be better.
     
  3. rockstar.esq

    rockstar.esq Member

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    Well, I guess it comes down to how much challenge you want. A .308 Winchester can and will perform admirably however it has a max range of about 1000yds. The 50BMG makes 500 yard shots much easier to make due to the flatter trajectory and heavier projectile. The .338 Lapua magnum has made it's presence felt in the long range market by being smaller and lighter than the .50BMG without giving much up performance up to 1500yds.

    I have no idea how much shooting you intend to do. Not to mention how often you'll encounter an area with a safe downrange out to 800+yds. I shoot out in an open prarie where I have visibility for over 3/4 mile. Personally I'd second the recommendation for a .308 Winchester. Partly because you'll notice that this caliber is common in all "Long range Tactical" rifles aside from the purpose built 50BMG's. If you handload, I'd also mention that you should consider the 30-06 as this noble cartridge has .308 Win performance in standard off the shelf trim however it can be handloaded to perform on a .300 Win Mag level
     
  4. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Long-range shooting requires a combination of:

    * appropriate caliber (bullet and vleocity)
    * accurate (consistent) ammunition
    * accurate (consistent) rifle + sights (optics or irons)
    * homework (for drop and wind values)
    * shooter skill, to execute the shot and judge wind

    If we can assume rifle and ammo accuracy are sufficient, and the shooter has correct "drop" data for the distances, it comes down to shooter skill, both in executing the shot and judging wind. Wind is really the crux of long-range shooting, at least to 800-1000 yards.

    Because of this, I recommend a "decent" rifle and scope combination, and a caliber which is neither expensive nor unpleasant to shoot. This allows the shooter to develop his skills. I believe every LR shooter should have a 308, because it allows a high volume of practice, and it can "make it to" 1000 yards.

    After a year of shooting with the 308, re-evaluate what you want to accomplish, in what forums, with LR shooting, and make a decision then about what better LR cartridge to go to next.

    There are a lot of good LR cartridges, and the common thread is the ability to shoot high BC bullets (0.600 or higher) at 2850-2900 fps or higher. Some of them include 6XC, 243WIN with heavy bullets, 6.5-284, 260REM, 6-5.08AI, 7RM, 338 Lapua, 408 Cheytac, and 50BMG. The latter three are very expensive to shoot, but do perform well at ultra long range.
     
  5. SolaScriptura139

    SolaScriptura139 Member

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    7RM, is that 7mm Rem. Mag? Cause I already have a Savage III in 7mm Rem. Mag. If that is a good rifle for the job, I can just keep what I have. Something you would recommend?
     
  6. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Yes. 7mm Rem Mag is an excellent long range cartridge, because it can shoot 0.600+ BC bullets at 2950+.. Most guys I shot who use it for out to 1000 yards shoot the 168gr Berger VLD at about 2950-3000fps, using powders like H1000, H4831, or, I think, RL-22 (?).

    If you already have a rifle that shoots 1/2 - 3/4 MOA at 100 yards, and an appropriate scope (ie, external elevation adjustment knobs), then you can use that. I would recommend making some changes to reduce the recoil so you can shoot it more with less fatigue and not develop a flinch. A muzzle brake and a good stock and/or pad do wonders.

    (I didn't mention 300WM.. it is too a good long range cartridge, but 7RM is better due to bullet/BC selection.)

    -z
     
  7. SolaScriptura139

    SolaScriptura139 Member

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    Ok, I may have to get a better scope though, came with the Savage (Wal-Mart special). Someone recommended Hornady Heavy mags to shoot, you concur? Thanks for the help, by the way.
     
  8. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Reload using a Berger or Sierra match bullet heavier than 160gr.
     
  9. NORM

    NORM Member

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  10. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    7 WSM should be able to "almost" meet 7RM ballistics, depending on the particular barrels under comparison. It's only down a few water grains capacity.
     
  11. Geno
    • Contributing Member

    Geno Member

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    View the following video

    "The One Mile Shot".

    I believe he used a 26 caliber in a 284 cartridge.

    I placed a thread here sometime back about this video. Do a search for it.

    Good luck,

    Doc2005
     
  12. silicon wolverine

    silicon wolverine member

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    You cant dsicount bigger magnums like the .375H&H or .416 rigby or .416 dakota. I had a .416 Dakota when i was younger and made regular 750 yard shots with 400 Gr bullets. Shooting that far requires ALOT of practice and ammo expenditure. I shoot my MN91/30 at 600 yards regularly just to keep in practice shooting that far.

    SW
     
  13. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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    well most of the comp shooters are winning with the 6mm br or ppc. that is a specialty round. Also very expensiverifles. if you wanna go long range with a stock offering, i would go cz 550 in 6.5 swede. This is an excellent long range round, that just doesn't wanna move in the wind. plus you can get plenty of stock or milsurp rounds out there, and there are even more hadnload stuff out there than you can shake a stick at. If you wanna go out to 1000 yds, look for a 6.5 /284. same big bullets, with a huge case.
     
  14. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

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  15. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    I second Zak's (better informed than mine) notion of the 7mm rem mag. It is an outstanding cartridge. Super high BCs, high velocities, flat shooting out to 400, predictable and slow-falling out farther.

    Below 50 bmg, there really arent any commonly available cartrdiges that come close IMO. The bullet selection alone is a huge selling point.

    My 7mm is a tikka with a cheap-ass leuopold scope (excellent quality, but has a lame hunting recitcle and only goes up to 9x). I should upgrade the glass and shoot it more often, but getting to a 200+ yard range in my current living situation is difficult. It makes ragged holes all day long at 100 yards, which is kind of boring.
     
  16. Lancer

    Lancer Member

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    [​IMG]

    .30-06 168 grain Sierra Match King BTHP
     
  17. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    .300 Winchester Magnum is hard to beat for extreme range if you can tolerate the recoil.
    The .300 H%H Magnum is a close second and a bit milder but getting harder and harder to find because the new .30/06 cartridge designs have made it all but obsolete.

    .30/06 would be my choice if you want a long range rifle with acceptable level of long string recoil.
    The .270 Winchester could be my second choice but I feel that you will not realize the level of precision groupability with this cartridge as you will find in the .30/06.
     
  18. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    500 yards really isn't very far with modern barrels and bullets and you don't need a magnum or monster magnum.
    I tried to make a Long Range rifle out of a .223. Not a complete success, but it is fine at 600 and probably ok at 800, though not 1000.

    That 7mm RM will do fine, IF you handload for it with high BC bullets and IF you don't mind getting kicked.

    If you DON'T handload, the only rifle you can readily buy factory target ammunition for is .308. Skip the 168 and buy 175 gr Black Hills or Federal.

    A Long Range shooting friend of mine took some hunters and casual shooters out on the 600 yard range with their medium to nice sporting rifles and common factory hunting loads. They did great at 200 yards and fair at 300 but after that they kind of fell apart. Their rifles, ammo, scopes and experience were not up to the job.
     
  19. USSR

    USSR Member

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    Ditto. What you get after you have your .308 is up to you. Personally, I went with a 6.5x55 and the venerable .30-06.

    Don
     
  20. SolaScriptura139

    SolaScriptura139 Member

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    Winchester currently offers 175 grain Super-X Powerpoints, and Remington offers 175 grain Express Core-Lokt PSP rounds. I do not currently reload, would any of these be considered worthy of the task? Or do you recommend a different factory load?
     
  21. Freddymac

    Freddymac Member

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    Take a look at the 300 RUM

    D L sports makes a wicked long range rifle in 300RUM. It may be a bit much for your needs, though. Have you thought about the 300 win mag. The Army and Marines markmanship teams use the 300 win in Rem 700 actoins.

    just a thought

    Fred
     
  22. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    The Remington 150 gr Accu-tip or Winchester 150 gr Ballistic Silvertip will shoot a good deal flatter and closer to the wind than the 175s.

    Assuming they give equal or better accuracy on target.

    If the 175s are more accurate or cheaper or easier to find, etc. get some of both (all) and let the rifle tell you which it likes. They will not do any better than a .308 and with more kick, but since you already have the rifle, best to get your feet wet and find out if you like long range or even Long Range before spending a lot of money.
     
  23. stealthgoat

    stealthgoat Member

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    I am certainly not an expert (just started shooting NRA Highpower) but I think barrel life is a factor, too.

    I have heard of 300winmag and 6.5x284 barrels shooting out in a little over 1k rounds using hot loads. I expect to get maybe 5k rounds out of a good 308 barrel, at least 3.5k rounds out of my 6.5x08 (260), and I havn't shot out a 6.5x55 swede so not sure how long it will last but a long time.

    My opinion it's not just the expense of a rebarrel, but the time the action is off at your 'smith and then developing new load for that new barrel.
     
  24. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    As has been said, any cartridge that will puch high BC bullets at ~ 3000 FPS is a capable LR round. This generally limits calibers to 6.5mm, 7mm, .308, .338 and .50 with a couple exceptions. Reason being, nearly all available projectiles in .224, .244, .257, .277, .323, .358, .375, .416 and .458 caliber don't have B.C.'s higher than .500. Some custom bullet makers have begun to change this recently, but most LR shooters are sticking to the traditional stuff because it is tried and true. I would have to say that for 500-800 yard bench shooting, the 7mm RM, 7mm RUM, .308 win., .30-06, .300 WM and .300 RUM are probably going to be the best bet. If I had to choose one, it would be the .300 RUM. Reason being, it will push the heaviest .30 cal projectiles a good clip faster than the .300 WM and a bit faster still than the .300 Weatherby. But our government has used the 7mm RM, .308, .30-06 and .300 WM for many years as sniper and counter sniper weapons with good success. European military snipers have been using the .338 Lapua for a long time as well, but it is more punishment and more cost than is necesary for >800 yds.
     
  25. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    .300 Winchester Magnums barrels do indeed burn out their precision accuracy potential faster than .300 H&H, .30/06, and .308 rifles but the rate is more like 4000 rounds as opposed to 7000 rounds for the other .30 calibers.

    7mm Magnums, pick one, Rem. RUM, or Weatherby, they all burn their precision accuracy potential at about the 2800 round mark.
     
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