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Thread: Have your expectations of your hunting rifles changed as you aged?

  1. #1
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    Default Have your expectations of your hunting rifles changed as you aged?

    I started reloading when I was 12 and am now 53. In my younger years, say under 40, I was extremely concerned with velocity and accuracy. I would spend many hours at the range with my chrono and test loads trying anything to get an extra 50 feet of velocity and a 1/4 inch shaved off my group size. I suppose all this range time did help my shooting abilities but I never did learn to become what I consider to be a good bench rest shooter.
    Anyhow this brings me up to the topic. Now a days when I pick up a new rifle I will rattle some peoples brains on a good starting load and maybe load up 12-20 test rounds with varying powder amounts underneath either a Partition or a Barnes XXX bullet. A trip to the range and if any combo gives me a consistent 1.5 moa group I call it quits and never even drag out the chrono anymore.
    The range trips are usually accompanied by a 22 rifle and a large caliber handgun for off hand practice as I wait for the barrel to cool down on my rifle.
    Do any of you finding you are just as pleased with "average" results in you big game hunting rifles instead of working for days or end trying to improve it? Looking back over the last ten years my records tell me I never shoot a moose over 30 yards away with the longest shots being on blacktail deer (200-220 yards). For all intents and purposes a rifle capable of shooting 3 moa is way more capable than me!
    The other area I have seen changes in myself over the years is that my rifle collection is slowly decreasing in numbers but the ones I have are much better quality.
    Just sort of rambling here now but post your opinion!
    Tennessee

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    At first I was obsessed with velocity. To the point of blowing up brass..
    Then I when to big calibers....

    Back when I had money (the happy times before the ex-wives drained my accounts)...I got into old Winchesters and old military collectable rifles....
    I eventaully had to sell them to pay the bills...Now I could never afford to buy them back...

    For the last few years I went to accuracy over power. I would rather have a 7 x 57mm that shoots a half inch group than a 338 Lapua that shoots a 1 inch group.

    I am still into novelty items such as old lever guns, black powder cartridges, and so-on...

    I noticed that I am more recoil sensitive the older I get. Must be all those shoulder and neck injuries...



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  3. #3

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    for me it is all about the accuracacy. I chrono to chart my ballistics. I would take a 1/2" group that is slower then a 1.5" group every day, just way easier to count on if you get a long or tight shot.

    That said, I have a penchant for big, light rifles....I love em'. I know the day will come when the recoil becomes too much for me to shoot a 6lb ultra mag but I will fall back on my .270 and ,257wby to get by on. I have friends who have shot the barrel out of 22-250's and hawks trying to achieve the fastest tighest load, me I have a gob of powders to choose from, I load up a bunch of different loads of 4 rounds each, head to the range and group through the chrony. I get a good feel for the speed and accuracy right off the bat and will fine tune a good start from there....might take me a total of 50 rds to get a pet load and I might pull 10-15 bullets if the pressues are up, speeds or accuracy are down. I hope for micro groups and in my varmint rig I require them, but my big game guns if I have an inch or less I feel confident to shoot way farther then I should.


    I am 100% with ya on quality over quanity in the rifles. I have quit buying off the shelf guns and now every rifle I buy is a custom or at least the top of the line factory gun.

    Glass has sure improved since my old tasco and bushnells......

    I found that I would easily spend 2 grand a year on guns but I would not spend that on a hunt, I recenly realized I can only take my memories with me so I am saving for trips and not so much on the guns.

  4. #4

    Default Hunting rifles

    As the years went buy I learned more about firearms. Along time ago I reached a point where I was not satisfied with off the shelf factory rifles. I am a die hard Winchester fan and I use them because I can't afford to buy Dakota's rifles. I also like Sako rifles. It is a curse. I know many stock factory rifles will kill anything I hunt and probably all of them will out shoot me. I spend more time shooting off hand when I am at the range then I did years ago. So I am not as impressed as I used to be with little 3 shot groups fired at 100 yards from a bench. But, when I ring that 12" plate at 200 and 300 yards from my hind legs and do it in a hurry I feel confident to go hunting.

  5. #5

    Talking

    When I started hunting big game, I used a 22-250 on everything from chucks, coyotes and all else up to and including elk(I've worn out two rifles), then I went to a big bore for bear (25-06) and used it on deer and elk and other various critters. When I got interested in the big bears like griz, I went to a 8mm-338 and used it on everything (deer, elk, moose, caribou, griz, muskox, antelope) as it was one of the most accurate rifles I own.I've used many other calibers through the years, but my main interest was flat shooting and accuracy. Now, I've reverted (a reverabate?) back to a slower rifle (47-70) with open sights. I wanted to put hunting back into the equasion, instead of just killing. Any animal out to 500yds with a good rest is dead, and now I have to get within range, mainly because of the open sights, and I have put back the element of enjoyment and it becomes more personal to me. Does this make any sense?

  6. #6
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    My preferences, have sure changed. I usta like light weight rifles, and short barrels. Now, it's just the opposite.
    Smitty of the North

  7. #7

    Default Rifles

    When I was younger, I used to work in a gun shop and shot a little more than I do now. I would have a custom varmint rifle built each year and one of my others rebarreled ( it being shot out). This gave me a battery of 5 or 6 very accurate rifles to shoot praire dogs. I still have a three in my safe capable of consistantly hitting a coke can past 500 yds. But you ain't carring them very far. At this time I usally hunted deer with a 6mm BR. Today only 3 praire dog rifles are in my safe the rest have been replaced by heavier calibers. I only have one off the rack rifle and it is a Savage 116 in 338 wm. I enjoy the reasearch and construction of a custom rifle almost as much as taking it to the woods. I like accurate rifles.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

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  8. #8
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    I still find myself lusting after pinpoint accuracy & precision, but sometimes I stop and think about what it is that I'm hunting most of the time. Usually a moose that's less than 100 yards away and looks as big as a barn door through the scope. The 1/2" moa groups just don't seem important to me after that.
    The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945)

  9. #9
    Member RainGull's Avatar
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    When I was a kid I was just as happy as a lark with comfort and limited success. When I was a pre-teen it was all a confusing mess trying to figure out all of the bragging and find my place in it all. (I remember a debate in second grade about whether a 44 or 45 was more powerfull.) I didn't figure out the majority of the operating principles and/or pro's and cons of all the various firearms until my early twenties.

    I actually am currently putting together an article about this topic (more or less).

    For me it has been a circle.

    The more experience and understanding I gained, the more I could see how good we really have it today. (Remingtons disposible bolt gun not withstanding) It is difficult to buy a bad rifle these days. Factory ammo is pretty danged good too!

    Now I am just as happy as a meadowlark to have comfort and limited success.

    To that end though the number of firearms has diminished drastically and the quality gone up. I am a lot more stubborn with some criteria, and less so with most others. It is much easier to appreciate firearms for what they are.

  10. #10
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    In 1966 I traded in my customized 303 British for a Winchester 70 in 300 wm. Being a college student and unable to afford factory loads, I purchased a Lee Hand loader. 110 gr. bullets with max. load, fire spitting out the end, I thought I was the baddest boy in townl. I think I was approaching 4,000+ fps. but the point was it was fast, loud, belching fire. (goes to show one doesn't learn everything in college). Over the years I've had several of my sentimental favorite, the 300 wm. Have bought a couple of 338 wm. in Winchester 70, and Savage and really felt confident with the power. Excellent guns and calibers all.
    I have just turned 60. For the past couple of years, the 338 wm. has been parked progressively more. I still highly respect the 338 cal. but don't feel it feels the same towards me as it used to.
    So, this past fall, after lots of research for my needs (older age) I bought a shinny new Tikka SS. with Limbsaver in the new 338 Federal. Quess what? Bullets are slower and not as flat shooting(no kidding!), not as loud, no fire breathing(44 gr. Reloader 15, vs. 8888 gr. of cannon ball nitro). I'm like a kid in a candy store. I look forward to going to the range. The kick back still lets me know I'm shooting a mean motor scooter, but not a butt kicking hard tail chopper. Still have good accuracy, but it takes a whole 1/2500000 sec. longer to get there (joking, sort of). I have every confidence to 250 yards, which if plenty far for me as over the past 45 years of hunting I can count on 2-3 fingers the number of animals I've taken barely beyond that distance. (bow hunting over the years made me hunt better/better hunter, in that I learned how to get closer, not to just sit on my a_ _ . Now days, I don't particullary trust my eye sight beyone that distance.
    Anyway, when I hear the guy telling about: My bullet came out at 13,453 f/s, and the critter was at 11,000 yd. It was a white out huricane during a 9.1 earthquake. I had just fallen(due to the earthquake) after 3,200 foot verticle climb, in 24 minutes, and was dangling from the handle of my ice pick with one hand. The animal was at a full run between the tree, so I swung my rifle around with the other hand. I locked onto him and WHAM, knocked him end over end, dead before he hit the ground. My thoughts:
    "Good for you!"
    Yes, I know recoil is relevant to each shooter, conditions, weight of gun, , physics equations, etc., etc. I am also aware nothing has changed with the guns/calabers I have used in the past, but I have changed. What has bothered me the most about this has been my diminished enthusiasm. My hunts are shorter, my stories longer, and I have a renewed enjoyment in shootin/hunting.

  11. #11
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    Shooter338:

    I understand.

    The more we handload and shoot, the less apt we are to accept all the Bool, floating around.
    Smitty of the North

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