Hiking Rifle cartridges

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by EDELWEISS, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    Lets talk about stalking rifle cartridges. Short action, Long action, Rimfire? Small game or large? How'bout suppressed? In another thread we debated "Stalking Rifles". I'm was clearly pushing the limits of the original Stalking Rifle definition, so I'm happy to be part of a new classification. Lets call these "new" rifles Hiking or Pursuit Rifles. For me that means a rifle you can carry all day over "rough" terrain (whatever that means to you--hills, thick brush, etc) and take quick shot on startled game as well as maybe taking "quiet" shots if a suppressor is an option to you. I'm picturing walking and also blind/stand hunting. The rifle can be whatever action type you prefer and/or are allowed. For "most" of my hunting that means no semi autos. I happen to be a huge fan of Single Shots, and theres nothing cooler in my mind than a full stocked bolt gun.

    I started this journey wanting a rifle to take on hikes; because I wanted to hike with a rifle, it just seems like something a man should do. I jumped on a Rem 700 heavy barrel in 223, figuring I could add a suppressor to the factory threaded heavy barrel if I wanted. I'm used to humping heavy rifles; but this one just seemed too heavy for this project with its Hogue over molded stock (and the heavy tactical scope I added). Once I realized my mistake, I went shopping again. This time I found the almost perfect rifle. It was another Rem 700 in 223; but much lighter with a slim sporter barrel, all I had to do was find a smith to trim the barrel back to 16 inches and add a lighter scope. I really love that rifle; but theres a lot I cant hunt with it, so I went looking for something else.

    I just got back from a range day with my new bride, whos also a new shooter. She took fast to handguns; but rifles are a slower learning curve for her. I think part of it is "learning" to use a scope and finding a good fitting rifle. She seems to really love my Remington/AAC Model 7, in 300 Blackout. They must have had her in mind when they designed the rifle.
    [​IMG]
    The rifle's proportions "fit" her and the adjustable cheek piece made a perfect fit. I use a Gemtech 300 suppressor. The already short rifle hardy feels out of place with the suppressor mounted. I was initially dubious of the cartridge. My first leap into it was at the height of the ammo shortage. Now that its a "Walmart" cartridge, I'm much happier using it for hunting 2 and 4 legged animals.... Its a great cartridge/rifle combo; but I think its limited for longer shots and bigger game.

    I'm also a new convert to 7mm08. I got into it by accident because of a deal to good to pass on a Rem 700 rifle. I had planned to turn it into a "Tactical" hunting rifle with a short barrel with a suppressor in a MagPul stock; but my bride likes it...

    Ive always wanted something in 6.5x55. I'm not sure what 6.5x55 will do that 7mm-08 wont; but who really needs an excuse to buy another rifle?

    There a few cartridges that Ive "always wanted". I'm not sure they fall into the Hiking Rifle category; but I'm willing to give'em a try. Ever since the Jeff Cooper Scout rifle days, Ive wanted something in 350 Remington Magnum. I also have an urge for 35 Whelen, and 9.3x62. I guess they would be "Heavy Hikers".

    So whats your Stalking Hiking Pursuit Carry all day rifle and cartridge?
     

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  2. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    For a while I had a Rem Model 7 in 7 SAUM. I went all out to lighten it and got it down to 6.75lb scoped. Really nic to carry and had the legs to stretch out to 600yds if needed. I had a muzzle brake to screw on for the long shots and loaded 140 accubonds for the close-up shots.
    Down here in NZ a suppressed short barrel (18") 284win seems to be the latest rage. Guys are getting 2700 with a 162 amax so easily a 5-600 yard rifle and handy in the tight bush too.
     

  3. colorado

    colorado AH Fanatic

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    Our Rem XCR II in 375 Weatherby weighs 7.25 lbs with a Leupold 2-7x scope on it, unloaded without sling. The spec sheet says they're heavier but ours came in under 6 1/2 lbs (weighed on a postal scale) naked. Lots of nice lightweight rifles and calibers to choose from ... I still hunt a lot, so I'll use anything from the XCR II, to our BDL in 270, but most often my 500 Jeffery just because I want to :)
     
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  4. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    I'd recommend a T/C Encore with synthetic stock in a 7mm-08, what didn't you just buy one of those. Too help keep the weight down use a "red dot" or holographic site, if you get a 16" barrel it will also be very short.
     
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  5. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    Yep I'm newly Encore addicted too. I have a 7mm08 Bargara barrel, 308 fluted and a 16"300Blkout from MGM.

    I have a buddy who swears by his Browning BLRs. Hes left eye dominant and has a messed up right shoulder. Hes forced to shoot lefty so the BLR works for him and being mag fed he can use pointy bullets.
     

  6. Art Lambart II

    Art Lambart II AH Fanatic

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    I onw and use one of your so called "Heavy Hiker's" its a Encore in 35 Whelen, it's my go to rifle for all my hunting. Its light but not to light, easy to carry all day, shoots straight and hits hard. I have a 270 and 300 WM barrels as well but the whelen has replaced them both. DSC_0027.JPG
     

  7. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I did a slot similar project for the same reasons. I wanted a light weight rifle I could easily carry on a back pack that still had the accuracy and enough punch to be effective. I had a win 70, push feed, short action in .243 as a donor to start with.

    I had it rebarrled into .338 Federal with a 20" stainless Douglas XX barrel. Ceracoted the barrel and action flat black (armor black is the correct name) put a HS Precision Kevlar stock on it. Topped it with a Leupold Vari-X II 3-9 with a Leupold Dot reticle, and Talley light weight 1 piece rings. And a Browning adjustable sling.
    Ready to hunt fully loaded with 5+1 it's just barely over 7lbs.

    Like I said I intended to just use it as a backpack gun. But, since I started hunting with it, I love it! It's extremely accurate, hits like a hammer, is easy to carry and I shoot it well. In the three years I have been using it, I have taken a boat load of Sitka black tail deer, a Kodiak Brown Bear, and just got back from South Africa with it, where I shot a Kudu (the one who n my avatar) a blue wildebeest, black wildebeest, Impala, springbok, and a Jackel. I never felt "undergunned". It's not a 500 yard "across the canyon" rifle, but I can't see more than 300 anymore anyway.
    So I really like the .338 federal cartridge. The only downside is that Federal is not making ammo readily available. So I bought about 400 empty cases and just handload for it. With all the .338 diameter bullets available it makes handloading easy.

    Next is to have the barrel threaded and get a suppressor for it before I go back to Africa next time... right after I finish paying for my last trip.:sneaky:

    Anyway, you have a cool project going so keep us updated on the progress as you go. Lots of fun to build a truly custom rifle. (y)
     
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  8. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Veteran

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    [​IMG]

    And then the Encore in 375 H&H Magnum. Light, easy to carry all day and a heavy hitter.

    [​IMG]

    Or you can go even lighter. Another Encore in 375 H&H Magnum.
     

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  9. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I am a traditionalist at heart so the old style stalking rifle is where my preference lies so I would have to say that the 6.5x57 I just built would be my ideal as far as weight and ease of all day carry (for here in NZ) is concerned for medium game with the 140gn PP bullet to 2800fps or the 120gn TTSX to near 3000fps .
    6lb 9oz with the scope carried in the scope bag it would be my choice for everything up to the large deer sized game.
    Going into country with heavier game I would think that a similar styled rifle in 318 WR, 338-06 or 9.3x62 would fill the bill admirably. Probably only have the aperture sight on that one though.

    As far as a suppressor goes I have them for my lighter rifles where rabbit and hare is the main target (22LR and 20 VarTarg) and they do help with multiple shots on these little animals where many may be encountered in the same area but where I can carry 25-30 field dressed rabbits in my pack on a days hunt, that does not hold true for the larger animals. I did have one on my 6.5 GM for a while but it didn't make any difference to the number of animals I was able to shoot so took it off for the balance and weight factor and have not suffered any lack of sucess without it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  10. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    My "walking" varmint rifle is a Kimber Montana in 243. It wears a QD adapter for a YHM suppressor. The suppressor requires a 5" hold over at 100 yards, or sighted in for it. Usually has a Harris bipod.
    We don't have any dangerous game in Colorado that a well placed shot from a 243 can't handle. Only mountain lion which are pretty fragile and black bear which a 95 gr Nosler Partition does OK.
    Seems like for maximum versatility, as in what ever shows up, a drilling or Cape gun would be good.
    JMO
     

  11. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    I bought a couple of "compact" versions of the Ruger American in .308 a couple of years back, specifically to fill the "hiking rifle" void for me and the wife..

    They are affordable (didn't want to spend a fortune on something I knew I was going to be humping all over the Appalachian mountains, banging into trees, laying on the ground while camping, etc.. etc..), reliable, accurate, short (OAL 36"), and lightweight (6lbs)..

    In .308 there is nothing east of the Mississippi river too big for it to handle.. and knowing I was typically going to be in deep forest.. it would be a rarity that I would ever see a shot past 200 yards (may get a shot across a field or a ravine.. but that's about it.. most of the time I'd be looking at 50-100 yards tops..)...

    I've got nicer rifles.. but.. for their intended purpose, the rugers are about perfect "hiking" rifles for the areas that I frequent...
     
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  12. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    If I'm just out for a walk in the woods, not looking for anything to shoot, but don't wasn't to be uncomfortable by not having some means of protection with me, For years- since I was 14, I've had a Remington M700 ADL 308 Win, 20" barrel. Williams foolproof aperture sight and Burris Patridge front post. I've hunted From Alaska to California to Georgia to Maine with it and had no complaints- one time for a few years the powers that be took it away from me but replaced it with a 308 that weighed a lot more, the magazines were detachable and held five time as many bullets as my four round closed box. they showed me that it was a labor saving rifle since I didn't have to work the bolt by hand, somehow the guns had gas to operate it, but we never did go to a gas station to get them filled, And biggest of all, they said there was this toggle switch at the rear of the action and if I turned it180 degrees so that the little bump was at the opposite side, then it was even more labor saving because all that I had to do was press the trigger and didn't have to let up and press again for each shot. I could just press and hold and the rifle would shoot until the magazine was empty. But I was glad when they sent me home and I got my old familiar labor intensive bolt action rifle to be by my side as I wondered the woods.
     
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  13. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Stalking rifles: the OP mentioned some great calibers for light guns: 7mm-08, 6.5x55, 7x57.

    With light weight you need short barrels. Single shots are 4" shorter at the action so you get away with 23" barrels.

    Next is a tang or model 70 safety, something you can operate instantly while lifting the gun.

    That leaves you with Dakota 10s and ruger 1s as optimal for this kind of work. A Kurz Mauser action built by @Von Gruff would also be great.

    It's all about light weight and rapid acquisition. Great thread you put out there!
     

  14. EDELWEISS

    EDELWEISS AH Enthusiast

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    Hahahaha Now I have two Mauser actions to build. Im still liking the idea of a Full Stock on the Small ring in either 7x57 or 6.5x55 with a 18 inch barrel and using a WW2 Swept Back scope mount with a Zf4 scope for a sorta "post war" build look. For the other Im thinking a short stock with short handguard and long barrel 24" or maybe 26". Im also thinking about a tapered octagonal barrel with the top flat matte and the rest polished blue. This one might use the same cartridge as the Full Stock or the other one (OR something else) Maybe another WW2 scope (perhaps a ZF39)?
     

  15. siutis

    siutis AH Senior Member

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    My hiking rifle is my Nosler M-48 outfitter chambered in 458 win mag. It weighs 7 lbs.

    I hate lugging around heavyweight firearms. That's why I taught and disciplined myself over a period of six years to master my lightweight big bore handguns and rifles.
     
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  16. 7x57Joe

    7x57Joe AH Veteran

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    The one that fills the bill for me is a Husqvarna 4100 in .30'06. Light and accurate, there's nothing in my hunting area it can't handle. BTW, this is probably the ugliest coyote ever taken!

    [​IMG]
     

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  17. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com AH ENABLER FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    Check out: What is Mange?.
     

  18. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    When I set about rebuilding my 308 Norma Mag I wanted it maximize the usefulness of the cartridge and be able to carry it around all day. I wanted a heavy contour to support long range accuracy, but with lighter weight to allow me to climb a mountain with it. I was thinking sheep and goats. But I would also use it to wander around marshes looking for moose or bears, and plains game in Africa.

    The solution I settled on is a spiral fluted stainless steel Benchmark barrel. IMG_3059-3.jpg

    To my surprise I found the spiral fluting drops the weight a lot actually. It has a walnut stock because wood inspires me, and will be pillar bedded. Cerakote type coating. The action is not ideal for a hiking rifle - zkk 600 - but I wanted it to function the same as a large bore rifle I have in my future on a zkk 602 action. The work is paused for now but soon I think these two rifles will make a really nice set.
     

  19. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    Off topic, but, does it matter if the spirals run parallel or perpendicular with the rifling, or have a different rate of twist?
     

  20. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I was told the spirals trimmed more weight than parallel. Other than that I wasn't told they made any difference
     

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