How HEAVY is toooo, HEAVY

Smitty of the North

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Seems like everyone wants a Light-Weight rifle. (Something like a 5lb 300 Mag. or perhaps a 338 of some sort, with the barrel chopped to 16.5".)

Rather than talk about how light a rifle "could" be, and assuming that the lighter the betterER, what about the issues involved with how HEAVY, it "should" or should not, be?

Obviously, there are plenty of heavies out there. (Full size, some even with 26" barrels.

How heavy is too heavy? The answer may depend somewhat on how, how much, and where, you PACK it. Surely, when it comes to SHOOTING, light weight is of less importance. If all you do is carry it, to and from your tree stand, you might not have time to notice the weight.

If you're climbing up a mountain, or stomping through the swamps and alders/willows, bending and turning around over and under, and attempting to get your rifle through, without damage it's a different story.

My heaviest rifle, a 7mm WM, weighs 10 lbs. with scope, Sling and 3 in the magazine. No doubt, that is way too much for most of you, but hear me out. (Your rifle probably weighs more than you think it does.) It didn't seem to be heavy, until I weighed it on a Food Scale. I've used it more than any other rifle in later years, and it hasn't been a problem, but then, I haven't used it the same way, use a much lighter rifle, in olden days.

I'm sayin IMO, such as it is, that this is bout max, and if I hadda 375 H&H, I'd might want even more weight. I read something long ago about the beeg banger, and the writer said, IIRC, they might, should be 12lbs or more.

It's hard to pin down what the average successful rifle weight choice is, given that the manufacturer weights given, are for a particular factory rifle, and without scope, rings, sling and ammo in the magazine. There is considerable variance.

So, would you carry a 12 lb. 458, or 416? Even with your wheeler for a gun bearer?

Could you respond to a fast bear, fast enough to get him down before he gets you down if your rifle weighed that much?

How much do the those Sniper rifles, weigh all set up? And, are they too heavy to be practical for normal shooting, or just for long range?

Again, I'll go with 10 lbs. because that's been my experience. I've not really tried more weight, but I'm sure a little more wouldn't be a tragedy.

Smitty of the North
 

iofthetaiga

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I don't own a digital scale, and can't quote the weight of any of my rifles. I reckon none of them is too heavy. :)
 

GrassLakeRon

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I own rifles from 5.5 pounds to 11 pounds. To be honest, when I hunt I don't even mind the weight. I try to drop a few pounds before season and keep a bit more in shape (rather then the round shape I am now). I dragged an 11 pound 375 up a mountain in Colorado and never even knew it, but then again my pack was 55 pounds. When hunting in thick brush, it never leaves my hands. I carry in a M4 style close to my chest. When in open country it is over my shoulder. It is always a pleasure to hold my rifle. I picked it out after looking at it in the store for 4 months. My 30-06 was a gift from my folks when I graduated college and when I hold it, it reminds me of them, not what it weighs. Each gun has a story, and each gun is like an ole friend I'm glad to see when season rolls around....... It's like asking a good friend " Did you put on weight this year?" or do you say "It's sure good to see you!"
 

elmerkeithclone

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A lot has to do with how far your shooting Smitty. Most of my shooting isn't that far. You fellers shooting goats from one hill top to another need more horsepower than I will ever need. I really like my 20 inch Weatherby Vanguards and they are both 8lbs plus with scope and shells. They sure do come to the shoulder nice and they line me up on a coyotie better any "Black Gun".
 

BrownBear

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My heaviest is an accurate recreation of an original Hawken. It's a 58 caliber, its 36" barrel tapered from 1 1/8" at the breech to 1" at the muzzle, and the stock is a really nice, dense hunk-o-wood with lots of figure. It tips the scale at an honest 12 1/2#. Harking back to the originals that were carried mostly across a saddle, there's no sling.

That sucker is a joy to look at and shoot, and I've lugged it up and over many a mountain. In my youth.... I have several other 58 caliber muzzleloaders, all less than 10#. In recent years that glorious Hawken has turned into a range queen, while its lighter cousins do all the hunting. Gotta say I also have a cute little 50 caliber shorty that doesn't even make 7# on the scale. That one is getting a LOT of hill time in recent years.

The kicker in the deal with that 12.5# Hawken is that lack of sling. I'd probably still carry it if it had a sling. I have a number of centerfire rifles that top 10#, and they get their fair share of time in the hills. But they all have slings. Gimme another 5 or 10 years of body wear, and those might be staying home, too.
 

elmerkeithclone

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"Heavy" is a relative term............ If I think it`s heavy, it must be.

Ha Ha you nailed it! I have a homemade 8lb splitting maul that I used to just love. That heavy ox sits in the corner of the shed now-a-day!
 

Alaska_Lanche

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Just depends on what I am doing. Every year I hunt with my 5.5 pound scoped 308 and my 9.5 pound 338 wm. Just depends mostly what type of hunt it is and where I am going . Did drag the 9.5 pound rifle on my first goat hunt and promptly bought a lighter weight 300 wm tikka after that hunt. More often I find I prefer the lighter rifles for carrying around when hunting. But heck I plan to bring a 12ish pound 260 rem to the field this year to so I guess it just depends when I feel like hauling the 9.5-12 pound rifles or the 5.5 pound one. They all kill so I guess I just enjoy options so long as I can shoot them accurately enough.
 

gbflyer

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I am a poor hunter and a bad shot so the lighter the better. Probably do just as well to leave it at home and carry a stick.
 

AK Bearcat

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Most of our 'hunting' rifles all weigh in between 8.5lbs to 10lbs. My 338 WM Model 70 is one of the heaviest that we have and it has gone many places for the 40+ years that I have owned it. While it does get 'heavy' at times, it is a nice rifle to shoot. We have one 308 Winchester that weighs in at 5.5lbs with scope and three rounds of ammo. It is nice to have for sheep hunting, but not one that I shoot much. We have another 308 Winchester that weighs in at 11lbs with scope and ammo. This one is set up for long shots, is fun to shoot, but not one that I would be carrying in the mountains much. I does get used for caribou hunting and gets to ride on the four wheeler much of the time. Several years ago, the weight of my rifles was not too much of an issue, but as I get older, I look for ways to cut the weight down or not walk so far with one of the heavier rifles.
A saying that I heard many years ago was 'go big or go home'!
 

Akheloce

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For the first 10 years of my youth hunting life, I carried an Eddystone M1917 30-06 in the mountains of West Virginia. I had no idea it was heavy (about 10 lbs), I just didn't know any better.

That being said, as an adult, with more options, given the choice between an M1917 and either my Kimber Montana or M77, I'll choose the latter. Maybe I was just tougher then, or maybe I'm lazier now. The terrain I hunt in now is not significantly rougher than West Virginia. I also used to drive an old Ford Courier pickup. Now, given the choice, I'll drive my new(er) F-150. It just comes down to wanting comfort more when it can be had.
 

abreitzm

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Weight is just one factor. Balance is also important. If it doesn't balance well it will feel heavier when carrying
 

Paul H

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I never weighed my 350 Rigby, guessing 10+ pounds scoped and loaded, but after a week long deer hunt carrying it up and down hills and through thick brush I realized it was too heavy.

Traditional "wisdom" holds that heavier rifles are easier to shoot accurately, especially off hand. One day I decided to test that by shooting off hand at 100 yds with my wife's ruger ultralight .308, my 350 Rigby and my 458 Lott. My best groups were shot with the ultralight .308. I can also shoot sub moa off the bench with the rifle and it's favorite loads.

So I've yet to see a downside to a light rifle.
 

ADfields

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I never weighed my 350 Rigby, guessing 10+ pounds scoped and loaded, but after a week long deer hunt carrying it up and down hills and through thick brush I realized it was too heavy.

Traditional "wisdom" holds that heavier rifles are easier to shoot accurately, especially off hand. One day I decided to test that by shooting off hand at 100 yds with my wife's ruger ultralight .308, my 350 Rigby and my 458 Lott. My best groups were shot with the ultralight .308. I can also shoot sub moa off the bench with the rifle and it's favorite loads.

So I've yet to see a downside to a light rifle.
That is likely just because 308 is one of the most inherently accurate rounds there is, not fair to pit it against 35s and 45s in an accuracy test . . . I'll tell ya I found I'm more accurate in the field with a lighter rife than I am with my arms all mushy and weak from packing some heavy lump around all day.

Smittys 7mag sure don't feel heavy to me ether. I know the gun well, shot it often on Wednesday nights and won many matches with it. It's just an older M700 with a 3X9 on it, I'd pack such a rifle all over (and I have) and never know it was ten pounds.
 

Catch It

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I've got a 338 that pushes 9 lbs, and that's with four inches of barrel cut off to 20" It's a great gun and handles well, I don't mind it until I'm hiking up for deer, then I have been more and more carrying my model 94 30 30, easy to carry and lite and shoots as far as I can normally see where I hunt. I like the lighter gun when it's time to go vertical, or cover ground period. On hill hunts I have come to resent my 338 on my back, and that's not fair to it, so I diversify.
 
S

shphtr

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Once you hunt with a really accurate light weight rifle, most people never go back to a "heavyweight". Since I pretty much only hunt mountain game most of my rifles are between 6.5 and 7.5 lbs (including scope and rings, bases, sling, full magazine and 3 to four rounds on the stock). I especially favor a light weight rifle after carrying it for 10 - 14 days and only firing one shot. If someone wants to tote a heavier rifle I don't have a problem with that ... only it is not my cup of tea. My avitar was shot with a 5.5 lb rifle (rifle only) in 300 RUM.
 

ADUKHNT

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I vote with the it's too heavy if you think it is crowd. I have killed many whitetails with a Remington 700 Police Sniper model, yep 12lbs and a heavy barrel, I love that rifle, its a tack driver. I have a Remington 700 Stainless Fluted in 22-250 that weighs about the same and yep, another 12 lb rifle. Both of them are awesome but I would not want to hike up after goats with either one. I dialed in my daughters .243 youth model 6 lb rifle yesterday and maybe I'm getting old but there is awesomeness in that compact lightweight little shooter....dad might be using it some next year:topjob:
 

Paul H

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That is likely just because 308 is one of the most inherently accurate rounds there is, not fair to pit it against 35s and 45s in an accuracy test . . . I'll tell ya I found I'm more accurate in the field with a lighter rife than I am with my arms all mushy and weak from packing some heavy lump around all day.

Groups shot with the 35 from the bench

382101655_49542BBF7666F93D008372E4744A5A53.JPG


982101655_CA001CBF5548559D7F8E8DB57CD601D0.JPG


So I wasn't comparing apples to oranges in accuracy ability of the rifles. I don't have any pictures of groups from the 45, but with irons I was grouping 1 1/2" from the bench which IMHO isn't too shabby with a 458 lott.

My point is that the mantra that heavier rifles shoot better off hand simply doesn't pass muster when you actually try shooting them offhand at the range. The certainly feel more stable in your hands, but the target doesn't lie.
 

gunbugs

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I have observed over the years, that it is not so critical what the rifle weighs. If you are in shape and physically fit, you can carry any rifle. If you are out of shape, and the heaviest thing you exercise with is a beer, then no rifle is light enough. If you are out of wind climbing a flight of stairs, looking for a featherwieght rifle is not going to help.
 
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