Which Rifle Caliber for Precision Shooting?

This is a discussion on Which Rifle Caliber for Precision Shooting? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Ok, so I'm thinking about a bolt-action rifle to get into some precision shooting. I'm looking at a Remington 700. The only question is what ...

View Poll Results: Which Rifle Caliber for Precision Distance Shooting?

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  • 7mm Remington Mag

    10 9.26%
  • 30-06

    17 15.74%
  • 300 Winchester Mag

    17 15.74%
  • .308

    64 59.26%
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Thread: Which Rifle Caliber for Precision Shooting?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    Which Rifle Caliber for Precision Shooting?

    Ok, so I'm thinking about a bolt-action rifle to get into some precision shooting. I'm looking at a Remington 700. The only question is what caliber? I want a very common caliber that is relatively inexpensive.

    Mel
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  3. #2
    Member Array wareagleky's Avatar
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    hard to go wrong with 30-06 or .308

  4. #3
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    While I like the 30-06 as a all around cartridge. I think I would go with .308 for precision shooting. Flat shooting and hard hitting.
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  5. #4
    Member Array Randy's Avatar
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    What does "precision shooting" mean to you? What kind of groups are you trying to obtain over what distances?

    "Inexpensive" and "presicion" often times to do not work well in the same sentence... except this one, of course. :)

    Randy

  6. #5
    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Well, I'd have to ask up to what distances, but you said you wanted a very common caliber that's relatively inexpensive. That's why I voted for the .308. Relatively easy to remember ballistics as well. In my reloads, my bullet weights span 110gr-175gr. I like accuracy, and I get most of my loads good to 300yds. Precision is a different story than just a sure, quick, clean kill if you're going out to 600yds or whatever. Reloading is going to be about the best option for you to get where you want to be, and the components for the .308 should be easier to get and afford in large lots. You'll also be weighing your cases, turning the necks for concentric uniformity and other painstaking measures to insure almost all manufacturing tolerances have been taken out of the equation. Also...you'll want to lap your bore if you remain with the factory barrel. You can fire lap the bore, or you can hand lap the bore. You're going to need a lot of tools and equipment to accomplish your goals, and if you plan to compete a lot, the .308 is going to be a bit easier on your chamber and barrel than the 300 win mag for sure and more than likely your wallet. I'm pretty much out of the thinking for precision or ultra long range shooting although I like the notion. Custom rifle parts, barrel changes, mitigating weather conditions, etc..... Lots to think about. I'm thinking the current rage among precision or distance shooters revolves around the 6-6.5mm chamberings in one form or another. Medium weight, fast, and low profile. Most wildcat cartridges have come out of the precision/long distance shooting scene for one purpose or another. Ever heard of David Tubb?
    DavidTubb.com.html
    He may not be on the cutting edge anymore, but he's good. His equipment is good. His ideas are good. I have a Tubb 'speedlock' firing pin assembly in my Remington 700 BDL/VLS 22-250. This cartridge is inherently accurate to begin with. If you can find some reading material by Tubb, that would be a plus in my book. Other than that. Look for material from Maj. John L. Plaster. A combination of both would be a real good start for you in my opinion. Put me on the .308 boat as the best on your list for what you want to do. It's a good start IMO.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array rolyat63's Avatar
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    I found my 7MM Weatherby Mag was a joy to shoot (for a little while at a time) and very accurate. It does cost to feed it's habit...

    Hope the data and table below help. I redacted some cartridges for brevity. Follow the link for the complete table.

    http://www.chuckhawks.com/rifle_trajectory_table.htm

    In order to hit a distant target a rifle must be correctly sighted-in, and to accomplish that the shooter must have some working knowledge of the bullet's trajectory. Sighting-in a hunting rifle to hit a certain number of inches high at 100 yards (or 100 meters) maximizes the point blank range of the rifle and cartridge and is superior to zeroing at a fixed distance like 200 yards. This system maximizes the distance in which no "hold over" is necessary. Of course, the actual distance the bullet should hit above the point of aim at 100 yards (or 100 meters, which is about 108 yards) varies with the individual caliber and load.

    The table below is designed to serve as a starting point from which a shooter can work. Used as such it can save a lot of trial and error experimentation. Of course, no trajectory table can possibly cover all loads for all calibers in all rifles. So after sighting-in, always check your individual rifle at various ranges to see how close its trajectory comes to the published data. (It may well vary.) This trajectory table can also serve as a comparative tool, allowing the reader to compare the trajectories of different cartridges or loads.

    The trajectories in the table below were calculated for a maximum bullet rise of 1.5 inches above the line of sight for all small game and varmint loads, and three inches above the line of sight for all big game loads. In ballistics catalogs the point of maximum bullet rise is often called the mid-range trajectory, or sometimes the maximum ordinate. In the table below I used the term "mid-range trajectory," abbreviated "MRT."

    A maximum bullet rise of 1.5 inches is appropriate for shooting small animals, as they present a small target, particularly if head shots are necessary. Allowing a greater mid-range trajectory might result in shooting over an animal at an intermediate distance.

    A maximum rise of 3 inches is appropriate for hunting the smaller species of big game, creatures from perhaps 75 pounds to 150 pounds on the hoof, which typically have a kill zone of about 8 inches from top to bottom. More mid-range rise can be accepted when hunting larger animals (a 4 inch MRT might be appropriate when hunting mule deer, for example), but if a mixed bag hunt for larger and smaller species is envisioned, then the 3 inch rise used for this table is probably safer. A 3 inch MRT also allows for a little bit of human error, which is probably a good thing when shooting in the field.

    The Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR), which is shown in the last column of the table below, is the distance at which the bullet falls 3 inches below the line of sight. Thus between the muzzle and the distance given as the MPBR, the bullet never strays more than 3 inches above or below the line of sight (1.5 inches for varmint loads).

    Most of the loads below are similar to popular factory loads for the selected cartridges. All trajectories were calculated for a rifle with a low mounted telescopic sight of moderate size whose line of sight is 1.5 inches above the bore axis of the barrel. If your scope is not 1.5 inches over the bore, and most scopes with oversize objectives require higher mounts, your trajectory will vary from those given below. All trajectory figures are rounded off to one decimal place. While environmental factors such as altitude and ambient air temperature affect trajectory, their effect is relatively minor. For the record, this table was calculated for an air temperature of 60 degrees F and an altitude of 1000 feet. The following data was taken from various sources including reloading manuals and the online Ballistics Calculator provided by BigGameInfo.

    To save space, the following abbreviations are used in the table below: Wb = Weight of bullet (in grains); MV = Muzzle Velocity (in feet per second); BC = Ballistic Coefficient; MRT = Mid-Range Trajectory; yards = yds.; inches = "; MPBR = Maximum Point Blank Range; BT = Ballistic Tip; FP = Flat Point, HP = Hollow Point; RN = Round Nose; Sp = Spitzer; SP = Spire Point; SSp = Semi-Spitzer.


    Cartridge (Wb@MV) Bullet BC 100 yds. 200 yds. MRT@yds. MPBR (yds.)

    7mm Rem. Mag. (150 Sp at 3110) .456 +2.5" +2.3" 3"@150 305
    7mm Wby. Mag. (154 SP at 3260) .433 +2.4" +2.5" 3"@150 317
    7mm Ultra Mag (160 Sp at 3200) .475 +2.4" +2.5" 3"@150 314
    .300 Sav. (150 BT at 2630) .435 +2.8" +1.2" 3"@125 259
    .308 Win. (150 BT at 2800) .435 +2.7" +1.7" 3"@135 275
    .308 Win. (180 Sp at 2610) .483 +2.8" +1.2" 3"@125 259
    .30-06 (150 BT at 2910) .435 +2.6" +2.0" 3"@145 287
    .30-06 (180 Sp at 2700) .483 +2.7" +1.5" 3"@125 269
    .300 SAUM (165 Sp at 3075) .410 +2.5" +2.3" 3"@145 300
    .300 WSM (180 Sp at 2970) .483 +2.6" +2.2" 3"@150 294
    .300 Win. Mag. (180 Sp at 3070) .483 +2.5" +2.3" 3"@150 303
    .300 Wby. Mag. (180 Sp at 3250) .483 +2.4" +2.6" 3"@155 320
    .300 Ultra Mag (180 Sp at 3250) .483 +2.4" +2.6" 3"@155 320
    7.62x39 (123 Sp at 2365) .292 +2.9" -0.5" 3"@110 225
    .303 Br. (150 Sp at 2723) .411 +2.8" +1.5" 3"@130 267
    .460 Wby. Mag. (500 RN at 2600) .295 +2.8" +0.6" 3"@116 246
    rolyat63
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  8. #7
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    800 years or less,go with the .308

    800 or more, go with the .300.

    the good ole ought six uses more powder in a longer case for not much gain.

    The .30 cal bullet has a better ballistic coefficent than the 7mm and is more versatile because of the availability of everything from 110 to 220 grain bullets.

    The .300 is good, but unless you really need the extra oomph, there is no sense punishing yourself if the .308 will do it.
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Array agentmel's Avatar
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    I guess the ability to shoot a couple inch group at 500 yds or better would be good.

    mel
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  10. #9
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    800 years or less,go with the .308...
    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    While I like the 30-06 as a all around cartridge. I think I would go with .308 for precision shooting. Flat shooting and hard hitting.
    +1. Depending on range.

  11. #10
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    I guess the ability to shoot a couple inch group at 500 yds or better would be good.
    Actually, a couple of inches at 500 yards would put you in the world class shooter territory.

    5-6 inches is more realistic for a factory gun. Four would be outstanding.. If you are trying for that though, you will need to spend as much or more for a good quality target scope than you will for the rifle.
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  12. #11
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    I voted .308, but 30.06 is just as good as far as I'm concerned.
    Rick

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  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array sniper58's Avatar
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    I've not tested my .30-06 past 300 yards (target). With the 165 grain SST load, I'm getting 1.2" at 300 yards (MV=2900 fps); and the 180 grain IB prints 2.4" at 300 (MV=2670 fps). I've not hung a target at 400 yards, but consistently hit a 4" gong.
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  14. #13
    Senior Member Array adaman04's Avatar
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    Relatively inexpensive is subjective. .308 is cheapest of the list. I would choose it.

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    I chose the .300 mag as you can change its ballistics from how you load the round. You can make it behave like almost all the choices in the poll. OMO. If you aren't handloading, I would probably pick the .308. Marine Corps and US Army snipers use the .308 for their sniper rifles, IIRC. It doesn't get much more precision than that, IMO.
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  16. #15
    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Actually, a couple of inches at 500 yards would put you in the world class shooter territory.

    5-6 inches is more realistic for a factory gun. Four would be outstanding.. If you are trying for that though, you will need to spend as much or more for a good quality target scope than you will for the rifle.
    +1. A 2 or 3 inch group at 500 yards? Sub-MOA? Wow. Even a 4 inch group would be sub-MOA.
    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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