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Thread: 6.5 STW or 8mm Rem Mag?

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    Default 6.5 STW or 8mm Rem Mag?

    Just got done with my first ever S.E. alaska goat hunt and loved it! Oppertunity to take a goat have to be capitalized on when they present them self and sometimes that means a shot 400-500 yards. I am planning to prepare for next years goat hunt with a custom lightweight than can be relied upon for longish shots. My first thought was I'll just get one in 6.5 STW butbut there was brown bear present in hunting area so maybe a 8mm Rem mag is needed? The thought of an ultralite in that caliber concerning recoil scares me! Is this power needed to defend my self from brown bear and how likely is an attack? (Live in Ketchikan, black bear only) Thanks for all replies.


    Tim J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballpowder View Post
    Just got done with my first ever S.E. alaska goat hunt and loved it! Oppertunity to take a goat have to be capitalized on when they present them self and sometimes that means a shot 400-500 yards. I am planning to prepare for next years goat hunt with a custom lightweight than can be relied upon for longish shots. My first thought was I'll just get one in 6.5 STW butbut there was brown bear present in hunting area so maybe a 8mm Rem mag is needed? The thought of an ultralite in that caliber concerning recoil scares me! Is this power needed to defend my self from brown bear and how likely is an attack? (Live in Ketchikan, black bear only) Thanks for all replies.

    Tim J.
    A "custom lightweight" means different things to different people, but I would not especially care to burn 80-90 grains of powder in a sub 7lb rifle. I certainly think that going to the 8mm RM is going in the wrong direction in a lightweight rifle. If I were contemplating a custom rifle and was focused on every last ounce of weight for the scenario you mentioned I'd strongly consider a 280 AI w/ a 23 inch barrel.

    A Weatherby Mk V Ultralight would be an excellent factory alternative in either 270, 280 or 30/06. If the bears really scare you, then the '06 might get my attention, otherwise I'd go 280 and call it good.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Aprox how light weight of a rifle are you talking about? there are a few nice light weight rifles currently available and may be a little more cost effective than a custom. Don't get me wrong I love a custom as much as the next guy but..... I was looking at a Tikka ultralight the other day in .300WSM. Heard alot of good reviews on these and the .300WSM may be an alternative for you. Those Billy's are heavy bodied tough as nails animals (my hunting partner got one this year). It took a 40 yard shot broadside with a .338WM shooting 200gr ballistic tips through the boiler room and then turned and came right at the shooter. Didn't go far though it didn't fall over either. I wouldn't recomend such a close shot (lost a little bit of meat) but like you said the opportunity was there. Having never fired a .300WSM I could not same how hard the recoil is though I am told it is fairly light. I am currently looking into a new .325WSM for next years hunt.

    Just an idea!
    John

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    Thanks for the replies guys. I should have mentioned that I have the weatherby "ultralight" in .270 Wby mag that I took on that trip. While that gun shoots dots with 130gr bullets I could not get comfortable with cold barrel perfomance with the 150-160gr partitions. I sat there at time watching billies thinking I wish I felt comfortable shooting at this distance or that distance. Also it is not as light as one would think; Light for a MK 5 yes, but ultralight, no. I also realized that a hunting rifle on a trip like this needs to make those now or never shots. All a rifle does is slow you down, does not feed you and will not keep you warm so it better shoot. Black tail hunting whole other story. Wanted to sell MK 5 to finance different rifle. JC, I have shot lightweight Browning in 300wsm and I can tolerate that recoil. Great AK cartridge!


    Tim J.

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    JC in AK: I'm pretty hung up on 325wsm myself. Wonder if it could handle 250gr Woodleigh Weldcores?


    Tim J.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballpowder View Post
    JC in AK: I'm pretty hung up on 325wsm myself. Wonder if it could handle 250gr Woodleigh Weldcores?


    Tim J.
    Since you are now using a 270 Weatherby, a 325 WSM is going in the wrong direction for 4-500 yard shooting & using Weldcores is even more so. If you were uncomfortable shooting 4-500 yards with the 270 Weatherby, then a change in external ballistics is not going to provide the range extension you are seeking. I'd look at other avenues to extend your maximum range capabilities.

    You could save a few dollars and rebarrel the Mk V to a 7mm RM? You could use a slim contour 24 inch barrel and have a finished rifle (rifle, scope & rings) under 7 pounds for around $500. You can load 160-175 grain bullets for the possible bear encounter if you feel the need.

    Of course you could contact MGA, NULA, or other builder ad infinitum and they will take another pound off a magnum rifle, but that will not make hitting a goat at 500 yards any easier IMO. I'd be tempted to have the 270 Weatherby shortened and recrowned to 23-24 inches and mount a 3-9 Leupold Ultralight scope in a lightweight mount. That would bring your present rifle into the 7-7.25 (rifle, scope & rings) range and I'd call it good enough. It would certainly be capable of 4-500 yard shooting on goats and such.
    Foolishness is a moral category, not an intellectual one.

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    Hey, 1cor15:19. I am interested in the 325wsm in general, not acually for this purpose. You did make som good points that I have considered though. The weatherby could be worked on as well. One of the least desirable things about it is its width. Its a handful with gloves. Been on quite a few adventures with that gun so don't think my decision to sell it will come easy! (sentimental fool)

    Tim J.

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    Also spoke to Mrs Webbernick at Rifles Inc and she said her muzzle breaked 4.5lb 300Wby kicks like a 270 win. Boy did I feel like a weener!


    Tim J.

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    Build 6.5-284 and call it a day! I have one no lightwieght but a fine cartridge. Or just go the 338 rcm route the bc on 338 bullets is phenominal(sp)

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballpowder View Post
    Hey, 1cor15:19. I am interested in the 325wsm in general, not acually for this purpose. You did make som good points that I have considered though. The weatherby could be worked on as well. One of the least desirable things about it is its width. Its a handful with gloves. Been on quite a few adventures with that gun so don't think my decision to sell it will come easy! (sentimental fool)

    Tim J.
    Tim,
    Not sure about the weld cores though I know you can get 225 A-Frames. I'm not sure but I think winchester does not recomend anything larger than 225gr bullets in that round. I could be wrong though. I'm a big fan of Winchesters 200gr XP3 bullet in .325WSM and use Accubonds and Ballistic Silver Tips in my .338WM. I had a prior post when I was looking for some information on the .325WSM and recieved some excellent ballistic and real world information, including pictures or wound channels and recovered bullets! Check it out if you get a chance. One of the guys on there shoots a Browning in .325WSM and said that scope, sling and rifle come in at 7lbs. I'm sure your .270 Weatherby could put down a bear though shot placement is critical (right in your buddies knee). I just tend to feel a little more confident with something larger and don't have that much of an issue with recoil. IMHO a 500 yard shot seems a little excessive and extremely difficult to get the windage correct up there in that terrain. My buddie watched a guy shooting a .338 Lapua Mag try a 500 yard shot at a sheep and couldn't get the job done even though he was great at the range. I understand you may only get one chance but to me I would rather go home with nothing than try and track a wounded goat or sheep up there. Do you practice shooting at 500 yards often? Of course this is just my 2 cents. You may be completely capable and comfortable at these ranges.

    John

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    My goat/sheep answer was to have Mark Bansner make me a 7mm wsm with Swarovski Z3 3-9x36. It should go 6.75lbs scoped and loaded. I'll be shooting 150gr Swift Scirocco 2s. Should be here any day. Not saying it's the be all end all, but I think it's going to get it done.

    Brett

    PS. I chose the 7mm over a 6.5 due to better ballistics out to 400 yards and larger bullets/more umph for bear encounters. The WSM cartridges allow for a shorter action than either the 8mm rem mag or any of the STW cartridges. This means a lighter weight rifle.

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    I have a 8mm mag and really like it. I wouldn't want one in a super light hunting rifle. Recoil would be severe in a light weight rifle without a muzzle brake. I prefer to hunt with out a muzzle brake.

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    No muzzle brakes. I assume that, if you're considering taking game out past 300 yards, you are toting a laser rangefinder. Otherwise, you are gambling, regardless of your rifle's chambering.

    I wouldn't sweat the bear situation, but I've not hunted SE. I've done plenty in SC, with lots of griz around, and not had a problem.

    Track down a remington sporter or mountain rifle in 280, and swap it into a factory ADL remington titanium stock (available from Stocky's or on various forum classifieds). Top it with talley lightweights and a 6x leupold, feed it something that's cup/core and slippery, and go kill horned ungulates. Load it with partitions or monometals for the pack out, to deal with bears.

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    Ballpowder-

    I have a 6.5STW built on a Rem LA Titanium with a 26" Number 1 Lilja SS Barrel 1-8 twist. I am getting an honest 3200 fps with either the 140gr Nos AB or the 140gr Berger VLD and these are just below max in this gun.

    I also have a 264 WM built on a benchrest trued Colt Light Weight rifle (exactly the same as a New Ultra Light arms) with a 24" Number 1 Lilja SS Barrel 1-8 Twist. With this gun I am getting 3110 fps with the same bullets as the 6.5 STW, but I am burning almost 20grs less powder then the 6.5STW. There is huge differance in recoil and muzzle blast between the two rounds. Both these guns weigh 6lbs 7 oz with a Leupold 2.5-8 VXIII scope.

    If I had just one of these to chose from, no question it would be the 264 WM, not to mention the 2" less barrel it has. The 6.5STW would do a lot better with a 28" tube, but I feel that is a little long for a hunting rifle.

    For a long range rifle shooting at non-dangerous game, the 6.5 calibers are hard to beat. 1000 yard benchresters chose the 6.5's, and if you look at the numbers, they are superior to the 7mm and 30 caliber rifles.

    Recoil with the 264 WM is easily managable even in these light rifles.

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    A Weatherby Mk V Ultralight would be an excellent factory alternative in either 270, 280 or 30/06. If the bears really scare you, then the '06 might get my attention, otherwise I'd go 280 and call it good.
    That's what I have, and it is as lightweight as I want--7lbs 2oz with scope, sling, and 5 rounds. Keep in mind that the magnum calibers weight about a pound more. Mine will shoot 150 grain Core-lokts into less than an inch. I loved carrying mine last year on my sheep hunt versus the year before when I carried my full size Mark V Stainless in .300 Wby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sheephunteralaska View Post
    For a long range rifle shooting at non-dangerous game, the 6.5 calibers are hard to beat. 1000 yard benchresters chose the 6.5's, and if you look at the numbers, they are superior to the 7mm and 30 caliber rifles.
    Very true that the 6.5mm is a superior LONG range calibre. For bench rest....fine. For hunting.....maybe not that much better if at all in practical terms. What you really have to remember is that the fast 6.5s only outpace the fast 7mms past 400 yards. Up to 400 yards the fast 7mms are out doing them. So I guess my point is so what if the 6.5 is .5" or 1" or even 2" flatter at 500 yards?!?!?! because that's as far as I want to shoot and quite frankly as far as or farther than most people.......this forum included have any business shooting......Just a thought. Better at 600, 800, 1000 yards........so what?!?!?

    Brett

    PS. I guess my point is flatter shooting/better balistics may not be the best reason for a 6.5mm. Less recoil/more accurate shooting....OK. I can see that. That said you are also giving up larger bullet/better penetration/better bear medicine to the 7mm or 30cal.

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