rifle weight, is it a valid a concern when selecting your rifle?

Discussion in 'rifle related' started by Grumpy, Sep 18, 2016.

  1. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    honestly. I get a bit amused at times when some one brings this up as if its a make or break decision, when selecting a hunting rifle!
    Id say you need to think about your rational physical limits, and if adding one or two extra lbs to your rifle weight is going to prevent you from scouting out that next ridge, or exploring that box canyon, its not the rifle, its your physical condition that's limiting you!
    I can assure you after 40 plus elk hunts, its rarely the rifle you select or most reasonably decent equipment, its the skill and persistence of the person holding that rifle that matter the most not the rifle you select or the head stamp on the cartridge case.
    I've seen several guys successfully use 44 mag revolvers on elk, so darn near any decent quality big game rifle has more power and range and better accuracy past 150 yards,than an iron sight revolver.
    now admittedly, if your very selective you can find a few (mostly exorbitantly expensive) hunting rifles in effective big game calibers that weight under 6.5 lbs complete with scope , scope mounts and a loaded magazine holding 3-4 cartridges, which compared to your realistic average rifle combo that generally falls in the 8.5-10 lb weight range is obviously lighter and easier to carry all day.
    theres no disputing those facts, but I have to laugh a bit because the same guys that brag constantly about how light weight the rifle is with carefully selected mounds, and a less than cheap scope are generally the same guys that bitch about recoil levels and noise levels, and how limited their cartridge choices are.
    Now don,t for a second think I'm not both familiar with the benefits of a light weight rifle and ,someone who occasionally hunts with a fairly light rifle.
    Ive used a RUGER 270 win single shot on several hunting trips.
    Ive used about all the common rifle calibers from 257 roberts, 257 wby, up to 458 lott , and pistols from 357mag to 500 S&W, on local deer here in florida at one time or another,
    and buffybr has a point, almost any caliber with a heavy for its bore diameter projectile properly placed is lethal in the hands of a skilled hunter
    animals are far from armor plated even a 357 mag or 10mm will drop an elk with a well placed shot.
    I have total confidence in the rifles I've selected once I know they are correctly sighted in, and while I tend to prefer the 35-45 calibers ,
    you can't ignore physics and a heavy bullet of high sectional density tends to get much better penetration and carries energy well.
    personally I prefer the 340 wby, and 375 H&H for big game, my late hunting partner used nothing but a 358 win BLR and referred to my rifles as cannons.
    one of the guys I hunted with for years used a 257 roberts....we were all successful...
    theres too many guys with a long list of successful kills using other cartridges to think that theres a magic upper or lower limit ,that must be adhered too on the weapons power to get it too work.
    howard hill killed elephants with archery equipment, there have been record size grizzly's killed with a 22lr, eskimos have killed dozens of polar bear and huge walrus with a 243 win.
    find what your comfortable using, use a quality bullet heavy for bore diameter, and learn how to shoot well from field positions and you'll have very few problems.
    you need to be 100% confident in your choice, and know exactly your limitations, yes you do give up some potential range and penetration with some smaller calibers...
    if you use those, just understand you need to get a bit closer and be a bit more precise, with shot placement,
    power does NOT make up for bad shot placement, but it does allow you some extra latitude in making racking angle shots, at longer ranges, that you should not attempt with lesser calibers at longer ranges.
    but I'd also point out that in almost 50 years of hunting , I'd bet 90% of the game Ive shot or seen shot was killed at well under 300 yards.
    heres a recoil calculatorn some extended back pack trips into steep canyons Ive carried a ruger single shot with receiver sites to minimize weight
    http://www.ruger.com/products/no1LightS ... odels.html

    on other hunts I carried a Remington 7600 in 35 whelen caliber, its heavier but its also extremely effective on elk!

    don,t skip reading the linked threads







    we all find favorites,
    and ever choice is a compromise in rifle weight, flat trajectory, acceptable recoil, useful, bullet mass and potential impact energy and penetration.
    from what Ive seen Id suggest the 270 win with a premium 150 gain bullet, or a 30/06 with a 180 grain makes a dependable choice, if recoils an issue.
    everyone will compromise in some area and find what they are comfortable using.
    if your looking for a reasonable compromise in rifle weight and recoil yet still having a rifle that works rather well on both deer and elk.
    personally I am very willing to carry a bit more rifle weight, and accept a significantly increased level of recoil and I prefer the 340 wby & 375 H&H,
    yes Im very well aware I'm in the minority, but no one I hunt with disputes the results,
    I have total confidence in the rifles based on decades of almost exclusively, one shot kills their objections to owning one are always, centered on ammo and rifle cost,
    on the rifle weight and recoil,
    no one disputes the lethality, trajectory or penetration.
    my rebuttal, is that if 2 extra lbs of rifle weight, or a bit of extra recoil in a rifle you might shoot only a once or couple times on a hunt,
    keeps you from comfortably exploring the next canyon, with some old geezer like me, you probably need to eat better and exercise more often.
    and the cost of the rifle amortized over the 45 plus years is negligible, hand-loading puts the ammo price in a reasonable range.
    Im now 70 years old slower than I was, but more persistent and far more skilled and knowledgeable, it may take me longer, to get in and out of the canyons but I know what I'm doing and where to look, and I can still shoot accurately.
    but Id point out most of the lighter weight rifles , generally have shorter barrels of noticeably smaller diameter as the rifle barrel itself is generally where you save the most weight.
    now you can debate caliber effectiveness endlessly, but I doubt anyone considers the fairly common 308 win, 25/06, 270 win or 30.06 and similar calibers to be less than effective for most hunting done in the continental U.S.A. and ALL of those calibers loose noticeable velocity if the barrel length is cut to less than 18"-20" and most do rather well when matched too at least a 22"-24" barrel length.
    you can play with the recoil calculator, and ballistic chart calculator, above , but consider you,ll loose 30-50 fps for every inch of barrel less than 24".
    now consider what your giving up in accuracy, ballistic efficiency and its all to reduce the rifle weight a few lbs (if your lucky) but in many cases its ounces or less than a LB.
    now consider how inconsequential that minimal weight saving is compared to the 60 lb-80 lb back pack full of meat, once you have a deer or elk dressed out when your successful?
    personally Ive found that my favorite rifles all weight in the 9-10 lb range , they may be heavy but they are very consistent, very accurate and I personally would rather carry a few extra pounds in rifle weight than worry a bit if I can hit and knock the crap out of some elk at 300 yards on my first and probably only shot Ill get at a legal elk each year!
    these are my five favorite elk cartridges, in approximately the order I prefer them,, you may or may not agree with my choices, but I can assure you they work very effectively, now a 270 win or a 30/06 will kill any elk stone dead , but these medium calibers , with the 250grain-to-300 grain projectiles in the mid 2000 fps velocity range do an excellent job of hammering an elk in skilled hands, where they easily penetrate deeply thru organs from all reasonable angles, and don,t fragment nearly as badly as the smaller caliber and higher velocity bullets from the faster and lighter calibers seem too.
    Ive used a 340 wby and 375 H&H on most ELK HUNTS
    340 wby 250 grain hornady at 2875 fps
    375H&H, 300 grain hornady at 2600 fps
    338 win-250 grain hornady at 2600 fps
    35 whelen-250 grain speer at 2450 fps
    358 win -250 grain speer at 2300 fps
    9.3mm x 62mm 286 grain hornady at 2380 fps

    canyon country is frequently inter-spaced between slopes thus youll generally be forced to cross a few of these rapidly flowing streams , some are easily forded, some a respectable barrier, and you can bet your last dollar the elk will know where few hunters will bother to access.

    this is what much of elk hunting areas look like
    this is what THE FAIRLY RARE OPEN AREAS of elk hunting canyons look like, logging road access to some previous clear cuts ??

    I've also noticed several friends that have seemed to be rather obsessed over weight, and while its obviously a factor to be considered ,if your in decent physical condition you'll carry the gear required without any issues,, its not as critical as most guys seem too think,I've carried a 10lb plus 340wby synthetic stock with a 2.5 x 10x scope with a tall Harris bi-pod on most elk hunts, walking several miles a day is expected, and the loads increase noticeably if your successful. if you think the rifles heavy what are you going to do with a back pack with a elk ham or 80lbs of elk steak, in it when your down in some canyon 3-4 miles from camp,for most of us a couple months of exercise , could more that compensate if we lost some of the fat we accumulate not working out regularly

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  2. rlphvac

    rlphvac reliable source of info

    I just broke in the barrel & sighted in my 300 Win mag. Tikka after 25 rounds I was happy for the first time out it didn't hurt until the next day and it was a little sore but not hurting. I need to modify my shooting rest I'm getting muzzle jump I still had a 4 inch group at 100 yds.
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    Id strongly suggest you find a good place to shoot from field positions like sitting with a rifle sling, not just shoot off a bench rest , at the range!, theres ZERO chance youll have a great rifle range bench rest while your out hunting, but with practice you can be remarkably accurate using your back pack as a rest, or using a high quality bi-pod from a sitting position,
    and, to help find out if its your ammo, the rifle or the operators input ,thats screwing up the 100 yard group size, .... have a buddy randomly load a cartridge in the rifles chamber or just cock it while its chamber is empty , and let you shoot it, Id bet youll rather quickly find your flinching or moving the rifle in anticipation of the recoil!
    the cure is correct use of a rifle sling, sewing a thick magnum rifle pad into your hunting vest and lots of practice until your buddy can hand you that rifle randomly loaded or not and theres ZERO change in the cross hairs on the target when you sqeeze off a shot






    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  4. rlphvac

    rlphvac reliable source of info

    I agree with the flinching part I caught myself doing that as far as shooting from a prone position I do practice that with other guns but havn't had a chance with my 2 new deer rifles 300 Win mag & 44 mag but I don't think I'll ever need the prone position for hunting unless I fell out of my treestand & I do have a rifle rest around it
  5. rlphvac

    rlphvac reliable source of info

    BTW Grumpy I wasn't trying to be a smart ass but I only hunt on private property & have several tree stands that I hunt out of 99% of the time and have had very good luck year to year so I don't change it up much. This year I'm worried about though because I've not seen 1 deer all summer on the property the coyotes got them all
  6. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    we ALL need constant practice to use a rifle well, I know I can see the loss in my skills if I miss a few months practice!

    as too the deer only time and close inspection of the property will tell for sure
  7. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    I spent an hour or so at a local out-door 100 yard range yesterday, and basically for grins/giggles ,
    I brought my 378 wby and 375 H&H rifles and re-sighted them in.
    I rather enjoy my bigger bore rifles, but like picking a girl friend ,
    what I like may be a hell of a lot different that what you find enticing,
    and useful, or pleasing, and confidence in your choice is important.
    that does not make your or my choices wrong, as we all hold rather different values.
    while there I struck up a short conversation with the guy on the next bench rest , and he had a BAR in cal 270 win,
    I complemented him on what looked too be a well cared for older BAR.
    He stated his dad had purchased it in the late 1970s with the intention,
    of going out on an elk hunt that just never happened,
    and he was sighting the rifle in , because he had booked a mule deer/elk combo hunt in WYO. for next year.
    he looked at my rifles and asked what I was hunting, with them!
    I said, mostly Ive used those rifles too hunt elk,
    and yes I'm all too well aware I don,t need any where near that power level.
    I personally preferred the larger bore rifles but I can absolutely assure him that a 270 win is all thats required,
    he asked me if the extra rifle weight and recoil was a potential issue and I said,
    Ive been on at least 30 out of state elk/deer hunts and so far, over the last 48 years,
    I've never found my rifle choice too be any concern, or handi-cap.
    he seemed to think that was rather odd, as he was convinced the extra 2 lbs my rifle weight and yes,
    the significantly increased recoil, must be a huge handicap.
    I've never felt a couple extra lbs in a rifle were, not warranted, as the weight tends to steady the rifle and reduce effective recoil,
    and a heavier barrel at times helps increase consistency and to some extent improves accuracy in some cases.
    if an additional 2 lbs will make or break your ability too look over the next ridge,
    or scout the far canyon slope,and that stand of timber.
    well, you have far more problems in your physical condition and lack of persistence that the rifle weight, you did or did not select causes.
    I told him Id started with a 30/06 bolt action, and while I was not impressed, with it's performance,
    yes, the rifle did the job rather well, and looking back, the improvement,
    I got from the up-grade in power, I found too be noticeable,
    but from a pragmatic angle both killed with a single well placed hit.
    power is not the problem, on the vast majority of hunts as most game is killed,
    at well under 300 yards , and its not the rifle or caliber,
    but the skill, persistence, and experience of the guy holding it that maters!
    Ive never understood the reason so many people seem to be concerned with OTHER PEOPLES choice in rifles or cartridges.
    I'm also sure he will tell all his buddies about the rather eccentric old geezer with the elephant rifle he was sighting into next too.:D:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
  8. T-Test

    T-Test Well-Known Member

    To each his own, but to others it's all they own. It's not the punch but rather the placement of the shot that gets the job done. All weapons are lethal-- you just have to know the right place on the target. Even a 22 caliber rifle will bring down the largest of animals if your aim/shot placement is true.

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