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Thread: Sheep Rifle Calibers

  1. #1

    Default Sheep Rifle Calibers

    I am in the begining stages of building a moutain rifle. I took a look at what places like Wild West have to offer and for $3,500 I think I could build 2-3 rifles! I figure it should be pretty easy to stay under $1,000 as I already have rings and scope.

    Anyway, looking to start with a Remington Model 700 stainless action and go from there. My real debate is around caliber. The rest is pretty easy.

    I want a light weight rifle that is accurate at 300-400 yards. In other words I want a nice flat distance shooter with low recoil. I also want some what of a common caliber in case I need to buy ammo rather then reload.

    Calibers I have considered: .260, .308, .280, 7mm, .30-06. Would be interested to hear what others use & suggest.

    I know that no matter what caliber I choose I REALLY need to spend some time becoming intimate with the rifle. It will only shoot as well as the operator! I just want a good tool where errors are operator based, not equipment based.

    Understand caliber is an often debated topic, but enjoy the discussion and look forward to hearing from others.

  2. #2
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    Default

    If it were my money I would choose the .270 WSM. This round will send a 130 grain bullet out at about 3,300 feet per second. Since it also requires a shorter action the finished rifle will weigh approximately 4-6 ounces less than a round requiring a standard size action.
    Purchase a short action Remmington, add a #3 barrel and finish it off with a light syn stock. I am partial to McMillan's Edge but there are a lot to pick from. Add a lightweight Leupold 2x7 or 3x9.
    As always, this is just my opinion. I am sure others here have other choices to recommend.
    Tennessee

  3. #3

    Default Good Luck

    staying under $1000. A good barrel, stock, and trigger will set you back that much, then you have to find a good gunsmith. No gunsmith worth a darn build you a rifle and stay under $1000 with parts included. I am assuming you already have the action? Do it right or do it cheap, it's up to you.
    "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything."

  4. #4
    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Default my choice

    I had one built in 308 for all the reasons you listed. Short action but in a common caliber in case I had to get ammo somewhere. 30/06 was my first choice (hands down) but the guy building said the 308 saved many ounces on receiver. Not a gunbuilder, but there's my .02.

    PS Part of my wish list was a .30 cal for larger critters. Otherwise a 270 would work. I love the rifle by the way!
    Last edited by AK-HUNT; 11-07-2007 at 10:23. Reason: forgot to finish

  5. #5

    Default 300wsm

    300WSM. Just like the ballistics and it's a .30 cal. cranked so it'll push a heavier bullet at a bear if you need to do that in a pinch. 308 or .06 will do the same just not as fast or flat. Whatever you pick just spend the time at the range so you can put the bullet where it needs to be.

  6. #6
    Member OKElkHunter's Avatar
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    Default 7mm or .30TC

    For a mountain rifle I would probably go with a 7mm/08. It performs like a 30/06 but in a short action which will save a little weight. The 308 is a proven cartrige as well and you get a little bigger bullet. I have gone to a TC Encore for my rifles, but single shot is probably not what you are looking for, but for $1000 or less you probably won't find a more accurate rifle.
    It is light weight and even with a 28 inch barrel it weighs less and is shorter overall length than any bolt action with a 20 inch barrel.
    Have you looked into the new .30TC built by Thompson Center? Hornady developed the cartrige which is a short action .30 cartrige with 30/06 ballistics. Ammo availability may be an issue but great reviews. Check out http://www.huntingmag.com/hunting_ge...07/index2.html
    and
    http://www.gunsandammomag.com/gun_columns/notes/0703/
    and
    http://www.gunsandhunting.com/NewAge.html

    Just my .02

  7. #7

    Default

    I'm with OKElkhunter, I like the 7mm-08 but I also like the 270. I would look at either a Kimber Montana or a Remington Ti in those calibers, both are ready to hunt with in Alaska and shouldn't need much in the way of gunsmithing.

  8. #8
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    Default

    I would vote for .300WSM as well. I would want something that will work on bears as well as sheep. Take a look at the ballistics tables for the calibers you are considering. This will give you a good idea of how flat it shoots. Keep in mind the lighter weight calibers will drift a little more. You are more likely to encounter wind where the sheep are at.

    Have fun with the new rifle. Hopefully you'll post some pictures when you are done.

  9. #9
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm no ballistics expert, but I've always used a 7mm-Mag. I love my wife's 7mm-08, but I think the magnum reaches out there a little farther and shoots a little flatter. It's worth the extra weight for me (though all but one of my sheep have been within 50 yards).

  10. #10

    Default

    How does the 300WSM kick vs. the 308 or 30-06?

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 1911-MW View Post
    How does the 300WSM kick vs. the 308 or 30-06?
    More.


    Gotta place another vote for the Kimber Montana, mine has become my go to gun for everything, though it was originally intended to be for mountain hunting (sheep/goats). The biggest problem I have now is that I pick up guns of mine that weigh more and I am like....Nah, I'll just take the Kimber. Couldn't ask for a better lightweight rig for hunting Alaska if weight is a priority. I went with the 300 WSM for Alaska versatiliy and killed all my animals this year with a 165 TSX and it killed nicely.Oh and mine shoots pretty good too.

    Factory Federal 165 TSX's for 3 @100 yards


  12. #12

    Default

    I have heard bad things about Kimber's customer service of late. Your thoughts? How much does your Kimber 300WSM weigh?

  13. #13
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    Default .257 wby

    I built up a custom .257 wby on a mod 70 action with a match-grade lilja #4 stainless barrel specifically for sheep and deer (sitka and mule) Killed a monster mulie this year at 391 yards with a 115 grain ballistic tip. (0.5 moa @ 100 on bench)

    9.25 lbs. total weight is about right for taking 400 yard shots. I would not want a long-range rifle any lighter than that and expect to be able to steady the crosshairs enough for a shot beyond 300 yards. Trust me. been there done that with an ultralight .270 win. and currently with a Kimber Montana 7-08. Nice light rifle, but do not expect to be able to make consistent hits from field shooting positions beyond 300 yds. or so. Both were accurate at the range from a bench at 100 yards, but steadying those dancing crosshairs to make a clean hit from a field rest is a tall order from a lightweight rifle.

    Also, sheep are not hard to kill, if you hit them where they are supposed to be hit. I met a hard core sheep hunter in the AK range this year while guiding that uses a .243 win. with custom berger bullets. Uses this combo in a 9 lb rifle because he practices a lot and knows he can hit at 600 yards with this rifle/bullet/caliber combo.

    Don't buy into the argument that you need a big mangle-um caliber for a sheep rifle because the grizzlies are out to get you either. ;-)

    My next "custom" rifle for sheep would be .270 win, because of bullet & ammo choice and more than adequate ballistics and killing power, remington ss action, and a Lilja #4 stainless barrel. Have Vince with Precision arms true up the bolt face and lugs, as well as thread and chamber the barrel once you get it from Lilja.

    Whatever you choose to make, it will be a one-of-a-kind made for you rifle, and you can take some pride in that.

    Have fun!

    -Chris

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 1911-MW View Post
    I have heard bad things about Kimber's customer service of late. Your thoughts? How much does your Kimber 300WSM weigh?
    I hear bad things about all guns. I bought a Ruger (which I happen to like) in 270 WSM last year that had a marred chamber and it would not eject a fired shell unless I beat the bolt with a 2x4, returned it and got my money back. My experience with Kimber Montanas has been great. Mine shoots better than any gun I have ever owned, and Perry (Snyd here a forum moderator) has one in 325 WSM that shoots great too. The rest is internet speculation to me. Till I see one of these so called 4" group @ 100 yards guns that you read about on the forums my opinion stays the same. Dont have the best scale but mines close to 7.25 lbs all up.

  15. #15

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sheepshape365 View Post
    I built up a custom .257 wby on a mod 70 action with a match-grade lilja #4 stainless barrel specifically for sheep and deer (sitka and mule) Killed a monster mulie this year at 391 yards with a 115 grain ballistic tip. (0.5 moa @ 100 on bench)

    9.25 lbs. total weight is about right for taking 400 yard shots. I would not want a long-range rifle any lighter than that and expect to be able to steady the crosshairs enough for a shot beyond 300 yards. Trust me. been there done that with an ultralight .270 win. and currently with a Kimber Montana 7-08. Nice light rifle, but do not expect to be able to make consistent hits from field shooting positions beyond 300 yds. or so. Both were accurate at the range from a bench at 100 yards, but steadying those dancing crosshairs to make a clean hit from a field rest is a tall order from a lightweight rifle.

    Also, sheep are not hard to kill, if you hit them where they are supposed to be hit. I met a hard core sheep hunter in the AK range this year while guiding that uses a .243 win. with custom berger bullets. Uses this combo in a 9 lb rifle because he practices a lot and knows he can hit at 600 yards with this rifle/bullet/caliber combo.

    Don't buy into the argument that you need a big mangle-um caliber for a sheep rifle because the grizzlies are out to get you either. ;-)

    My next "custom" rifle for sheep would be .270 win, because of bullet & ammo choice and more than adequate ballistics and killing power, remington ss action, and a Lilja #4 stainless barrel. Have Vince with Precision arms true up the bolt face and lugs, as well as thread and chamber the barrel once you get it from Lilja.

    Whatever you choose to make, it will be a one-of-a-kind made for you rifle, and you can take some pride in that.

    Have fun!

    -Chris
    Who's Vince, where is precision arms, and would you flute the barrel or do anything like that to reduce the weight? Also standard twist??

    Thanks!

  16. #16
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    Default I'll second the .243

    I was told by a Sheep guide that a .243 is a great gun for sheep. It doesn't take much to put one down if you can place your shot. Recoil is light so shooting a couple of boxes at the range doesn't leave you with a black and blue shoulder. Plus if you predator hunt all winter with your .243 you can get tons of practice shooting in the field. Get a trappers license and use good shot placement you can make a buck or two.

    If your worried about bears carry a .44. Its easier to wield in a tent anyhow.

    my .02

  17. #17
    Member AK Tubes's Avatar
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    Default .300RUM for me

    I like my Winchester Model 70 in the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. Throws 180gr. bullet out at around 3300fps and zeros between 250-300yds, and only drops about an inch at 400...so it will definately reach out there. Winchester doesn't make the .300RUM any more, but I've looked at the new Remington 700 and their new stainless technology looks tough. I bought mine with a zeiss conquest 3-9x40 & rings for around $1100.

    my .02

  18. #18
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    Default Follow-up on sheep rifle

    1911,
    Vince is the owner of Precision Arms here in Anchorage, across form Wendler Junior High. Works out of his garage. Funny, his number is in my cell phone. It is 279-5755.

    Look up Lilja barrels on-line. They have a recommended rate of twist for caliber and bullet weight. I picked the twist rate for the heaviest bullets in .257 caliber, since I would be using it for "big" game. Yes, I would go up a barrel diameter and then have it fluted. My .257 wby barrel is a #4 fluted, and weighs about the same as a magnum contour rem/win barrel. I think you have to go up to a #5 contour if you are 30 caliber and above.

    In my opinion the barrel (and a good trigger or trigger job) is the most important aspect of customizing a rifle for the best accuracy.

    I think I spent around 450 for the barrel, $350 for chambering, truing, threading, cutting and crowning. Had the action glass bedded and the trigger worked over. Other than that the rifle began life as a standard win Mod 70 SS classic in .300 win mag!

    Hope you enjoy your creation, no matter what rifle/caliber/barrel combo you choose.

    -Chris

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AK Tubes View Post
    I like my Winchester Model 70 in the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum. Throws 180gr. bullet out at around 3300fps and zeros between 250-300yds, and only drops about an inch at 400...so it will definately reach out there. Winchester doesn't make the .300RUM any more, but I've looked at the new Remington 700 and their new stainless technology looks tough. I bought mine with a zeiss conquest 3-9x40 & rings for around $1100.

    my .02

    Man whats that baby weigh? I am thinking my Kimber and my tent weigh less than that gun does. <grin>

  20. #20

    Default

    Used Remington's site and did some ballistic research. I really like the 280... 243 seems to lose some punch, but probably would still do the trick. The 300WSM was nice as well. Its fun to have options!! : )

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