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I've been thinking about buying / building a rifle for long range accuracy and maybe long range hunting. This would be a present to myself for being just such a nice guy.

The problem is deciding the caliber. I'd like to stick with .308 caliber because of the abundance of bullets available. The problem is that I keep looking at my reloading manuals and not seeing much difference between any of them. I've got a 30-06 and I'm all set up with the reloading supplies I would need so I tend to lean towards a 30-06. I just don't see the difference between any of them. Last night just for giggles I looked up a 308 and tried comparing it to a 300 win mag and the difference is only 200 or 300 fps at the muzzle. So what's the big difference? The only .308 magnum that really has much difference in my mind is the 300 Ultra Magnum.

I have to admit that back in 2002 I bought a Remington BDL in 300 Ultra Mag because I was hoping to go elk hunting that year or one of the following. I never went and traded off the rifle, because the hunt fell through, it was inaccurate, and the recoil was way to much.

I know I'm opening a can of worms here but what's the best 30cal to go with?
 

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Some would consider 200 or 300 fps a significant difference.

Of the cartridges you mention, the 308 Winchester probably has the best inherent accuracy but the others can be very accurate as well. The 308 Winchester is the most efficient of the bunch.

The 30/06 doesn't really have a significant velocity advantage over the 308 Winchester in my mind until you start shooting bullets of 180 grains or greater in weight. Even then, the difference isn't that much.

For long range work, which you say you're interested in, the 300 Winchester Magnum does have an advantage. The extra velocity does make a difference. What I don't like about the 300 Win. Mag. cartridge is that, in my opinion, the neck is a little short. I know, however, that a lot of people love it.

In my opinion, the 300 Weatherby Magnum is the king of the 300 mags. If you compare the velocities obtained, the 300 RUM, 30-378 Weatherby and 300 Dakota don't do much better and use substantially more powder.

For some reason, the 300 WSM does absolutely nothing for me. The fatter cartridge means less room in the magazine and I don't think it's any better than some of the .308 caliber cartridges already available.
 

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teddy12b

Stick with the '06. For long range you will be shooting bullets of 175 gr or heavier. The '06 with 175 or 180 gr MKs when loaded to potential and used in a 26" barrel will shoot nicely to 14-1500 yards, if you can. With the '06 you will not get beat up by recoil (if you plan on a "match" type rifle) and you will have a much greater barrel life. Also with lazer range finders and adjustable scopes the '06 still has enough velocity/energy at 600 yards to kill efficiently if 180/190 gr SPBTs are pushed at 2750 - 2800+ fps. That velocity can be done quite safely in 26" barrels with the appropriate powder.

Larry Gibson
 

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I would agree that the short mags don't do anything for me just because they are short. Aside from being chambered in something I like for example 300RSAUM in an AR platform, I don't see the point in making the action shorter. I'd rather have more in the magazine.

I'd like to try my hand at longer range shooting and once I settle on what cartridge I'll be able to settle on what rifle to get. I know what will happen once I start practicing at longer ranges. If I can get good groups at 500, 600, 700 etc. yards I'll wonder if the bullet has got enough power left in it to take an elk at that range.

I've got an encore with a 26" 30-06 barrel on it and I'll have to start dialing in my handloads before I consider buying a different rifle. Keep in mind that with the encore I could easily get a 28" prohunter barrel of whatever caliber and just tailor the loads from there.
 

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The first loads I developed for my .300 Win Mag were .308 Win equivalents. If the RUM was too much for you it should have been possible to tailor your loads accordingly.

People complain about the short neck on the .300 WM's but the cartridge has won enough 1,000 yard matches that I don't give the issue much credence - other factors are usually more important.

If I was going for a long range rifle, designed with hunting in mind rather than pure range work, I'd get a .300 WM, WBY or RUM.
 

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If I was going for a long range rifle, designed with hunting in mind rather than pure range work, I'd get a .300 WM, WBY or RUM.
I would as well. Another thing to consider is that due to a smaller case capacity, it's easier to download the 300 Win. Mag. & 300 Weatherby Mag. (both in regards to powder charge and using lighter bullets) than the 300 RUM. As for recoil, one of the inertial type recoil dampers in the stock, a good pad or a muzzle brake can tame it considerably.
 

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teddy12b said:
The problem is that I keep looking at my reloading manuals and not seeing much difference between any of them.
Sounds like you have figured it out to me.
I would look at the rifles an find one that fits good and has the features you want.
Most will only be offered in one or two 300s.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I did have a limbsaver ground to fit on the 300RUM that I used to have. It helped a little but there's only so much you can do with a rifle like that.
 

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I'm not a fan of "inherent accuracy." If you buy a quality firearm in any caliber you can make a load for it that will reach out and touch something. The gun that will make the most energy will also be the least affected by gravity and wind. If you wanna go way out there... you have to have a big fast bullet... making the .300 RUM the best that has been mentioned. ... But really, how long are you talking about? I have hit lots of things pretty far out with my -06.... true, I have shot that rifle more than anything else I've owned.. but, with practice, and a good load.. you can hit very small things at very distances without much problem.
 

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Well since you mentioned maybe building one alot of good options. I own customs in 30-338mag 300WSM,300Wby and factory 300 Wby,300RUM,30-06.
I just sold my custom 300 mag and I'm having a 30-06 build should be ready spring of next year. Most of my shots hunting elk and deer is between 300/500yds. I like 180 gr bullets in the 300Wby and 200gr in the 300RUM in the 300WSM I'm shooting 168gr TSX one of the 30-338 mag I shoot 165gr other 180gr bullets. If I didn't like the 30-338 mag so much I might have kept the 300mag.

With some of the good 5C/5R barrels you can maybe get an extra 100/150fps more than a standard barrel. I just got the Rem 700 30-06 this year and chronographed some loads with 165gr bullets I average 2940fps with two different loads and 2858fps with another so I'm hoping for around 3000fps plus with a 5C barrel so if it pans out I may hunt elk next year with that rifle.

I think the 300 Wby is a good caliber and would recommend that over the others. Well good luck
 
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