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Rifle Cal Decisions

16 Sep 2011
@ 09:07 pm (GMT)

Paul Stronach

Nathan I have to say I have never seen a site like yours, all others concentrate on making the distance with the latest fang-dangle piece off must have shit while looking gucci, not the end result or how it was achieved, well done....You have certainly opened my eyes and given me a dilemma.

Back ground, I hunt mostly sambar, fallow, red deer, goats and pigs, (looking at Thar and Chammy) in W.A, Vic and N.Z, currently out to ranges of no more that 300mtrs but would like to have the ability to go out to 700mtrs. I own a Kimber Montana in 243 which I hardly shoot, a 270 Kimber LT and a Win 7WSM. I would like to have a three gun battery if I can as my primary hunting tools for light to medium game and an all up weight of approximately 8-8.5lb for the L.R shooter?

Before I found your site I was going to re-barrel the 7mm to 325, my hard hitter and 270 to 280AI for long range but now I'm fucking confused. After reading your site a dozen times I think that I'm better of keeping the 270 the way she is, but the 7mm I have no idea. I do like the 7mm but think it's only adequate for sambar and red deer hence the move to 325, I might add that I’m using 140gr Woodleighs in the 7mm. What I thought I would get was a hard hitter for the bigger stuff but in doing so have lost my long range capability (due to limited bullets in 325) hence the 280AI. Your site doesn’t go over the 7mm mark that much to make a good decision, so I was wondering what your views are and if you could point me in the right direction please.


17 Sep 2011
@ 09:19 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Rifle Cal Decisions
Hi Paul, thanks, glad you are enjoying the site. Its going to be a little while before I have the full range of cartridge articles edited and uploaded, still have another four .30's to go, then on to the .312's and so forth.

The short answer to your question is that everything could be achieved with a .30-06. This would allow you to achieve your goal of a light weight long range carry rifle, a high volume goat rifle, a clean killing Sambar rifle, a perfect Red deer and pig rifle. So thats one option.

As power is increased, such as with a .300 or .338 magnum for example, you'll have great power for Sambar, but if the goal is to build light, the rifle will have to be fitted with a brake, the brake will have to be designed in such a way that it doesn't throw crap in your eyes as spiral ports do or due to concussion, slap your face into next week. If you hunt with a pointer dog, you would need a brake with forwards angled (dual port) ports for a partial rather than full recoil reduction, to keep the noise out in front. Also, if you go very light, barrel heat can be a bit severe if taking multiple shots, such as tackling a whole mob of goats at 700 yards. So there are a few things to consider. However, a magnum may just be the ticket, its just a matter of working it all out.

The 8mm's are OK but the step up in bore diameter from .30 cal to 8mm isn't really wide enough or heavy enough to justify the drop in bullet choice. If you had obtained a classic 8x68s or an 8x57, you would enjoy the mixture of performance and nostalgia. But to build a new 8mm and try to get it shooting long, much more difficult, though it was once a possibility with Norma's 200gr BTHP frangible bullet.

There really are a lot of options. A two gun battery for you could consist of the .308 for a hack rifle (practice/culling), a .300 Win Mag for a hard hitting long range rifle. The Tikka T3 in .308 is about ideal as a light weight hack, extremely accurate out to as far as you can direct a .308 projectile at this velocity.

If you go wider still, the .338's are ideal for Sambar, but its a lot of recoil to tame for general work so again, a well designed brake goes a long way to preventing flinch. A .338 paired with a .280 Rem /.280 AI or your current 7mmWSM would make a good two gun battery.

For a 3 gun battery, the .308Win, a 7mm Rem Mag and .338 magnum would cover your needs. However, we have to remember, all of this can be achieved with the .30-06, this 3 gun battery example is just an idea to be, one idea out of so many options for you to enjoy.

So to some extent, your desired rifle weight and decisions regarding muzzle brakes are primary factors in the consideration of how much power you can adopt. The .30-06 and 7mm Rem Mag are about as much power as can be tamed in an unbraked lightweight platform, requiring a high degree of attention to technique if used for precision long range shooting.

As rifle weight is increased to 10 to 10.5lb (such as the Sendero), cartridges such as the .300 Win Mag can be used comfortably without a brake and the fatter the barrel, the more the rifle can be shot in one string. If you fire a dozen shots a week- every week, a .300 Win Mag barrel will last approximately 2 years.

As you go wider in bore diameter, particularly regarding the .338's,these can be shot with great accuracy from unbraked platforms, but generally speaking, it does pay to fit a brake to prevent the development of flinch and the brake helps overcome any lapse in technique from long periods away from the field.

To begin with, perhaps focus on the .30's for a while, even just a few days, have a play with ideas, potential bullet weights and styles, mull it all over, how things would fit with your goals.
29 Sep 2011
@ 04:30 pm (GMT)

Paul Stronach

Re: Rifle Cal Decisions
Well I've mulled over it for a week or so now and have chosen to go with the 30.06, I think you are right, it will suit me for what I hunt and is very versatile.
Rifles, I was going to rebarrel my kimber but I'm leaning towards........what for it....a Blaser R93 in semi wieght barrel configuration, accuracy is very good even in the light wieght models, breaks down for traveling and is fast on cycling. Wight is 3.2kg/ 7lb, scope either a Vortex pst 4-16x42 or a march tactical 2.5-24x42 both 30mm tubes illuminated and ffp.
Real expensive and will have to sell most of my guns to pay for it but it is a class product.
I've come to two loads that would suit, the 178gr Amax for up to 150kg out to 900m and the 180gr Partition for the sambar, red and Wap out to 600.
I didn't go lower because the bullets wont hold together at short ranges hence the 178 at the longer ranges and up to 90 for bush work. There's a pretty big gap in wieght for my list of animals between the 100-150kg, meaning that I don't realy hunt anything in that range.

178gr 180gr
Pigs Red
Goats Sambar
Cham Wap

What do you think?.
29 Sep 2011
@ 04:35 pm (GMT)

Paul Stronach

Re: Rifle Cal Decisions
Ohhh I forgot to add next time I'm in NZ I'll book you for your course as well, hoping March-April next year if all goes to plan.
30 Sep 2011
@ 04:24 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Rifle Cal Decisions
Hi Paul, Ok, sounds like you are making some headway. You have worked out your game weights and ranges, then selected a cartridge based on this. Excellent.

One thing I want you to keep in mind is that sometimes, price does not reflect quality. Consider modern art. A couple of years ago, I saw a poor man on the side of the street in the city, selling oil paintings that he had made himself. The paintings featured NZ wilderness scenes and would have taken weeks to produce a single canvas. The price on his paintings ranged from $250 TO $400 NZ. Now, at the same time, a lady was selling a single piece of art work she had produced, it took an evening, something to do with being angry, things were thrown at the canvas. The price tag on this work was $10,000 NZ and someone snapped it up pretty quick.

My point is, people give value to things for different reasons, in ways which are not necessarily the same as how you or I might think. One engineer may spend huge amounts of time making a rifle, charging a fee that reflects labour content and choice of materials, trying to achieve a competitive price, another engineer may simply believe that no matter what he does and what materials he uses, his rifles are the best and worth a great deal more than anybody else’s simply because it was his idea, demanding the highest possible return. Some engineers may place a great deal of time in the artistry of the rifle, some simply look for function and accuracy etc.

So, to this end, please read the now very old but still valid article- ‘factory rifles of 2008’ which can be found under archived articles at the bottom of the knowledge base menu. Will leave it at that for now.
03 Oct 2011
@ 03:49 pm (GMT)

Paul Stronach

Re: Rifle Cal Decisions
Read your comments, done some research on the net mostly U.K forums (for what it's worth) and found no cases of what you have found, not to say that it doesn't exist, just haven't found any yet. Am going to Melbourne next week for work then up into the hills on a guided hunt. I think the guide uses a r93, if he does will ask some questions. Will drop into the shop that sells them and see if I can find some info on them.

Most people seem to rave about there accuracy??? Have added this guys you-tube channel ( for you to have a look at.

I've always wanted something that I could take-down for plane travel with repeatable accuracy. I also like the fact that I can take the scope off and set the open sights up for even heavier pills in the thick stuff. Yeh I know that I can do that with any gun but the whole modular system is rather appealing to me, as long as the accuracy does not suffer.

I haven't written it off yet but will keep looking till I'm happy.
Thanks for the objective questioning, it helps.
03 Oct 2011
@ 05:43 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Rifle Cal Decisions
Well, I think your approach is good. You have taken what I have said on board but are keen to go ahead, eyes wide open. If you buy from a reputable and supportive dealer, you will be able to work through any potential challenges and achieve your goals. The rifle can be treated like any other brand of rifle.

One of the most difficult aspects of looking for rifle reviews is that more often than not, guys with in-accurate rifles tend to blame themselves for having less than desirable technique (which may well be the case in many instances) and are too shy to come forwards about a problem rifle, especially if others are giving rave reviews. Guys become even more shy about problems when the rifle is an expensive rig that 'should' be better than anything else on the market. In these situations, the chances of a guy blaming himself where in fact there might be a problem within the rifle, are much higher. These sorts of things result in very unbalanced information.

By the same token, I have to guard myself. I have people send me in-accurate Tikka T3 rifles regularly. I have one here right now that is grouping 2.5" at 100 yards and is about to be given a Birthday. If you were to follow everything I have said about Tikka on these Forums in a skim read, generalized manner, a reader hanging on my words could easily make the assumption that this is the worst brands on the market. In reality, the T3 is a high selling rifle, there are a lot out there and the majority don't just shoot well, they shoot like match rifles. But who is going to send me an accurate rifle for accurizing- I deal with the trouble rifles. As a percentage, the in-accurate T3 rifles I work on probably represent 1% of whats out there, even 5% is small. But what I see- is 98% of Tikka's are in-accurate when they arrive here. So like I say, I have to be careful about my own assumptions.

I have a custom Remington M700 take down rifle, the modifications are relatively straight forwards. This type of set up won't however have the same chunky open sights featured on the R93.


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