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  1. #1

    Help Deciding on a New Rifle

    Hello,

    This will be longwinded, so thanks for reading, but there is a bit of information.

    I am deciding on a new rifle. The rifle’s use will not be super specific. It will mainly be used to hunt whitetail deer and black bear from a stand. The black bear will be from 350 lbs and up, probably more in the 400-500 lbs range. Shots may be pretty close, or out to around 500. Occasionally one could be further most will not. I may also use the rifle for some stalking or drives if we do any. I am not extremely concerned with weight, but am looking at less than 8.5 lbs without a scope, I would probably rather be in the sub 8 lbs range.


    I currently have the following rifles:

    338-300 UM - Built on a 700. It weighs around 13 lbs ready to go. This is more of a dedicated long range rifle.

    375 Ruger – I use this when specifically hunting bear. It may get used on a hunting trip elsewhere.

    6.5-284 – Built on a 700, it has a #4 or #5 Brux at 28”, not the lightest nor heaviest rifle. No specific use. I would prefer a larger caliber for bear though.

    30-06 – Factory 700, changed the stock, this is my first rifle, and I am going to keep it even though it doesn’t shoot amazingly. I may consider building on it in the future, but for now, it will stay as is.

    So, I have some criteria that I am looking for in a rifle. I want a composite stock, or for the rifle to have a B&C or HS stock available for it. I would like as long a magazine as possible without real machining. I would like as good of a trigger as possible, crisp without creep and over-travel are my preferences. I would like it to be as accurate as possible. I will most likely be hand-loading but factory ammunition is a plus. I have basically decided on a 300 WM or 300 WSM. I would consider the 300 PRC, but at SAAMI 3.7” length, it seems that very few rifles will be able to be chambered in it except perhaps some magazine fed Rugers to start. There is one scenario with a 338 WM I elaborate on later. I was looking to stick with heavy for caliber cup and core bullets particularly in the 30 cals. I have not had the best lucking getting other constructions to shoot as well.

    So my choices after research in no particular order are as follows, I will also list what I feel I would need to do/change, or what issues could be:

    Remington 700 5R. This would be in 300 WM. I would replace the trigger. I would skim bed it most likely. I would also bed a rail to the rifle. My worries with this rifle are the fact that it is a Remington. I have gotten a bad Sendero, so I know first-hand of Remington’s struggles. What makes this cheaper than the Sendero? Also, is the stock the same as the Sendero? I do not like the Sendero’s palm swell.

    Tikka T3x Lite, Laminate, or Hunter. I am not sure if the contours are the same, maybe someone can answer that? I would buy a Tikka in 300 WSM, I would then run the 300 WM magazine and sand the inside a little bit so that the 300 WSM worked well in the 300 WM magazine. This should leave more than enough room for any bullet in the 300 WSM. But, the rifle has an 11 twist. I know the 11 twist is far from ideal for any of the heavy bullets. Would I be relegated to using bullets more in the 180 class? I would most likely replace the stock with a B&C. But, I would consider using the laminate to see how I like it. Another completely different idea/strategy I could use is a Tikka 338 WM and plan on shooting the 230 ELD X being that it would seem to be relatively close to a 300 WM at the ranges I am talking. I would most likely use the Mountain Tactical bottom metal to use a longer AICS magazine. Also a 10 twist would be more than enough for the 230 ELD X. Would a 338 with 230 add a lot of recoil etc. compared to a 300 WM with a 215 or 212 or 230 for that matter? No matter what caliber, this rifle will not have a brake. I am not recoil adverse, and always try to use hearing protection, but I do not want a brake given the wide ranges of use this rifle may see.

    Howa HS Precision Rifle. This would be in 300 WM. It would be the semi heavy barrel version so I get 26” barrel. It seems that I would only replace the trigger on this. Magazine would be about the same length as Remington.

    Ruger Hawkeye FTW. This would be in 300 WM. I have had good luck with my 375 Ruger, but I think this would have a very short magazine. I am not sure on Ruger and accuracy standards. Nothing would be done to this rifle immediately, maybe an HS stock in the future.

    What would you recommend? I think when it is all said and done, cost will be about the same on any of them including the trigger or stock or bottom metal. From everything I have read the Tikka would be the way to go but the 11 twist worries me.

    Is there anything that I am overlooking? I do not like the plastic stocks of the Browning X Bolt, and I feel the McMillan stocked Hells Canyon is too expensive. Christensen and Fierce are more than I really want to spend. I know some of these other rifles MSRP are closer to a Mesa, but I do not pay all that close to MSRP.


    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    On the WSM vs WM debate, if your going to run 185 or lighter bullets the WSM is fine. If you want to run 200 plus bullets, don't mess with the WSM and go WM.

    Remington 700's or any action that shares that foot print, is going to give by far the most options for stocks, magazines, and trigger. It also drops your price on those items as well, due to supply and demand.

    With all of your requirements I would personally be looking into building your own rifle. Here's my suggestions and thoughts...
    • Remington 700 Long Action - You can pick up a bare action and bolt combo from Bud's or Gun Broker for about $350-$400. The long action will let you run whatever cartridge you want without worry about length. Remington's issues are not with their actions.
    • Timney or Trigger Tech - Remington triggers do suck. I ran mine for years, then went to a Timney and saw the light. You can pick up either a Timney or TT for about $120 shipped if you look or wait for sales.
    • McGowen Remage Barrel - If you never heard of it, you can get a barrel cut for the Rem action, but with a Savage style barrel nut. This allows the barrel to be installed without the need of machining. You do either need the tools to perform the job $150ish or see if you can find a smith that will do it for less. (my dad had his local smith assemble everything for $50) The barrel and nut system will run you about $400. This gets you a much better cut chamber than Remington (thats their biggest issue), a non factory mass produced barrel in the profile, length, and twist that you want. The barrel is the heart of the build, this is really the reason why you go with custom over factory. Being able to get a barrel for your needs/wants.
    • Stocks - Well as you know there is the Bell and Carlson for $400, but one stock not that well known is Stocky Stocks LRC. Stocky's(R) Long Range Composite Stock (LRC™ Accublock(R)) - Remington 700™ - NEW Premium Finishes For $220 its one of the best values out there. My dad has one and it is very well made and comfortable. The only down fall is you may need to build up some type of cheek riser if mount a larger scope.
    • Then if you don't buy a action with one, you'll want the BDL bottom metal. Long/Standard ADL/BDL Kit : BROWNELLS 700 LONG ACTION ADL-TO-BDL KITS | Brownells


    So that puts you into a rifle for $1200 +/- a bit. IF your going to buy a $800 rifle, then replace the trigger, stock, and other parts, you might as well by everything you want from the start and build the rifle. If the long run it will cost you less.

  3. #3
    Thank you for the reply and idea. I will consider it, however, I was looking to stay a bit closer to a factory rifle. If I more fully build something I would do a custom. I just figured I didnt need to go to that extent to shoot basically under 500 yards.

  4. #4

    Help Deciding on a New Rifle

    Quote Originally Posted by Timeless61 View Post
    Thank you for the reply and idea. I will consider it, however, I was looking to stay a bit closer to a factory rifle. If I more fully build something I would do a custom. I just figured I didnt need to go to that extent to shoot basically under 500 yards.
    You don’t buy a custom so you can shoot further, you buy a custom to remove all doubt of flyers or missed shots. Custom cut chambers and barrels by far are way more forgiving to load variances.

    That said, if I was going to buy a factory rifle in the price range your listing, the Tikka would be it.

    1:11 twist isn’t ideal, but I also think it would fine. Google Berger twist rate calculator. You can get a real good idea using that if your barrel will work for your intended purpose.
    Last edited by NorCal_In_AZ; 01-12-2019 at 12:38.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Get a Christensen arms ridgeline in 300 win or 30 nosler. Great rifles, they are nice to handle with a 26" barrel because the carbon fiber barrel is so light that its not front heavy like medium contours in a steel barrel. If you want to run a brake, it comes threaded and ready to go with a brake, and a thread protector in case you don't want to use the brake. The brake is also very effective because the large barrel diameter allows for a bigger diameter brake to be used without looking like a plum bob. larger diameter brakes in general reduce more recoil. The ridgeline also runs a 10 twist which is better than an 11 even thou I with they would switch to a 9.

    I know there is a bit of hype around the ridgeline but I think it is deserved. All the ones I have shot are very accurate and once you handle one its hard not to appreciate how well balanced they are. They just look good as well.

  6. #6
    LRO Owner ~ Review Editor ~ Long Range Hunting Specialist Broz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BClrh View Post
    Get a Christensen arms ridgeline in 300 win or 30 nosler. Great rifles, they are nice to handle with a 26" barrel because the carbon fiber barrel is so light that its not front heavy like medium contours in a steel barrel. If you want to run a brake, it comes threaded and ready to go with a brake, and a thread protector in case you don't want to use the brake. The brake is also very effective because the large barrel diameter allows for a bigger diameter brake to be used without looking like a plum bob. larger diameter brakes in general reduce more recoil. The ridgeline also runs a 10 twist which is better than an 11 even thou I with they would switch to a 9.

    I know there is a bit of hype around the ridgeline but I think it is deserved. All the ones I have shot are very accurate and once you handle one its hard not to appreciate how well balanced they are. They just look good as well.
    There may be another option released soon too. More on this Monday.

    Jeff

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chippewa's Avatar
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    New option with Christensen Arms? Very interesting...

  8. #8
    I am curious.....


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Is it Monday yet?

  10. #10

    Definitely in the .300 Win Mag camp here. You already have a good start on a nice selection of rifles and calibers. I definitely would consider a build or a Christensen Arms rifle to do what you are asking for in a rifle. If you want to spend more, there are so many great options out there from Cooper to Seekins and on and on. Good luck.

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