Mountain rifles

Good points. 200 gr. 8mm bullets at 3k fps is a great formula. When I run the ballistics on a 200 gr TSX, I see a PBR on 12" target as 300 yards (sighted in at 100) but carrying 2k fps to 500 yards.

Yep. I regularly shoot my .325 at 600. It is a truly capable combination. Interesting that the 8mm never really caught on here, but if you look at its success in Europe you see the utility.
 
Heck yeah, 74 gr. R-19 behind a 180 gr TSX, 3100 FPS
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Yep. I regularly shoot my .325 at 600. It is a truly capable combination. Interesting that the 8mm never really caught on here, but if you look at its success in Europe you see the utility.
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I’d consider your whole mountain kit first and decide if you can reduce some weight in the total kit.
I completely agree that some rifles can be too light. And thin barrels like to walk when they warm up.
Being judicious about what goes in your backpack can get the same results as a lighter rifle. A good rifle attachment for carrying on the backpack makes a huge difference. My r8 in 7 mag is only slightly heavier than my Kimber mountain ascent in 7 mag. It is an easy decision to carry the heavier rifle since I shoot it better.

Also, take a close look at the bipod setup you may use, those can add over 16 Oz.
 
Chili, the Mountain Ascent is a great option too. Even the Kimber Montana in 325wsm would work wonderfully and can lighten it up a decent amount, not quite to the Ascent but some. I picked up one in 280AI as a backup in 2017 when it looked like my GAP 6.5 SAUM wouldn't be completed in time. It did, was too heavy and replaced soon after with my Lane Precision, but the Ascent went unused for few years. In 2020, taking my ex on her dall hunt into the Tok area, she wanted to use the Ascent since it had a muzzle break. So I scoped it up and grabbed some factory loads to see how it did. Was a ragged hole gun in her hands. She was shooting sub .75 MOA out to 500 yards even with the federal factory ammo.

For a factory rifle that is both extremely light and accurate, Kimber got it right with the Mountain Ascent and the Adirondack. A buddy had an Adirondack re-barreled into a 338 Federal and bedded. Deadly accurate cool tiny lightweight rig...so much so it ended up coming my way. With a rugged ti Alaskan suppressor, it is what my 12yo will carry for moose this year.

I have a 325wsm in an HS precision that I used for moose for a few years. Super cool round and was relatively popular up here in Alaska for quite a while, think mostly because of the Kimber Montana's popularity. It is a pain to find brass and ammo for at times though. It is not what I would lean towards for a dedicated high elevation rifle if its primary use is sheep/goat. If it would see more use for moose, elk and in brown bear country, and only occasional use for sheep/goats, I wouldn't hesitate for a second in building a 325.

I have to quit talking about custom, long-range ultralight rifles as it gets me all excited and I come here to talk about big heavy, bulky bores with beautiful wood and even some color case hardening that I would never carry into the sheep mountings. LOL. But I love building up rifles and envy where you are sitting.

If I were similarly situated today, it would be easy for me as I have a 6.5 SAUM I love (so essentially where you are with your 6.5PRC), I would go with a top notch builder who is known to turn out light rifles, so Rifles Inc, or Lane Precision or the like. I would spin up a 7PRC on a Mack Bros ti action, or a Defiance An-ti or their new Ti action, a bartlein 2B barrel if I wanted fluted or carbon wrapped otherwise, cut to 21-22", (shorter if I wanted to run a suppressor), proper twist to shoot 175-185gr, bedded into a Manners MCS-EH3, and I would would either run a blind mag or Hawkins Oberndorf bottom metal. But there are so many really great options out there, and part of what makes building one so much damn fun.
 
They also come in laminated stock for weather related issues. Also one won't be conscious of stock geting dinged or scratched in mountain or rough terrain.
Krish
 
While I’m looking at my K95 barrel chart there is another obvious option; 300 win mag. I already load for that and it’s a good cartridge…180’s right at 3k fps. That’s a significant step up from 6.5 levels. I’m actually taking a 300 win mag for PG next week with 180 TTSX and the 416 Rigby with 400 TSX for buff. Another benefit is that factory 300 win mag is easy to find ammo for if needed while traveling. There’s also a lot less recoil, which can help on some of those extreme angle mountain shots.
 
I’ve got a 300WM option and have used it on Elk with much success. I ruled that rifle for a mountain sheep/goat hunt since it has to be pushing 9.5-10lbs and I’m reminded of the saying ounces = pounds and pounds = pain.

You might’ve just given me an excuse to do an Ultralite 300WM or PRC.
 
For my one and only Dall sheep hunt I took my Thompson/Center Encore in 30-06. A nice compact relatively light rifle most don't think about, but you may.

At this moment it has a walnut stock, factory 24" barrel and topped with a Leupold VX-2 Ultralight 3-9X 33mm. It weighs a grand total of 7 pounds, 7 ounces. Only difference from the hunt was I used the synthetic stock, which may be a bit lighter. I recently picked up another Encore, but with the newer heavier 28" 300 Win Mag barrel and a synthetic stock. Without a scope it weighs 7 pounds 13 ounces. Pretty reasonable for such a long and larger diameter barrel. If it had a 24" or 26" barrel it'd shave off a few ounces. The other bonus of the Encore is it's size. The left hand rifle is my Savage with a 22" barrel, middle is my Encore with a 24" barrel and right the 300 WM with a 28" barrel. You can have a shorter rifle with a full length barrel to get all a cartridge's potential.
As for caliber. All up to you. It's boring but there's nothing wrong with a 30-06 in a 24" barrel for sheep, goats or even a moose here in Alaska. For reaching out beyond 300 I might go with a 300 Win Mag and 26" barrel.

The other nice thing about an Encore is changing a barrel is easy, and there's a few companies making custom barrels in all sorts of calibers.

Now the downside. While barrels are around Smith & Wesson bought Thompson/Center and proceeded to cease production of their rifles. So if this interests you grab a rifle or at least the frame off of Gunbroker, the classified like I did or the local gun shop if you see one there.
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When it comes to a mountain rifle. Don't over look a 7PRC. It might not be a "classic cartridge" it is one of the more fitting for the application.

High BC bullet that buck the wind is your friend. Canyon, Draws, updrafts, down drafts, ect. Are at play in the mountains, give yourself every advantage to make the best shot. My .02
 
I have a Tikka in a CF stick with a CF wrapped barrel that comes in pretty light with Leupold 3.5-10 on it.
It’s chambered in .280a.i things fell in place to build it on a reasonable budget and I like 7mm cartridges.

That’s what I have and you are also looking for ideas.

Can you rebate the 6.5prc to a 7prc and use it as a switch barrel? It might only cost a fraction of a whole new build if you want to save some money otherwise there are plenty of options if you want to build a custom rifle to your requirements.
 
If you do much hunting in higher elevation for goats, sheep, etc, what is your rifle setup like? I've done a little bit of this hunting but want to do more before the mountains get too steep! I've owned Gunwerks and various carbon barreled guns but have never built one purposely for mountain hunts.

It all depends on your definition on mountain hunting. For me, it could be a mixed species hunt in BC where you might have a big black bear or moose opportunity while glassing for goats. That's a wide range of target weights and sizes and goats are notoriously tough to begin with. For that reason, I'm thinking bigger than my lightweight 6.5 PRC. That's a little lighter bullet than I would prefer for moose. Yes, you can kill moose with little bullets but you might only get an angle that needs as much bullet as you can put on it.

So I have a Christensen Arms 6.5 PRC that is light and accurate but again, the bullet weight is a little marginal for larger animals. I have a Gunwerks 300 PRC Nexus but the weight is 9.5# scoped. That's a little heavy for busting through nasty alders, etc. I'm thinking of something lighter in that 7mm to .300 caliber range and in a 20-22" barrel.

What are you using or what would you build for this application?
I live and hunt at some elevation: my village is at 1175 m a.s.l. and chamois seldom come lower than 1500 m. However, while we haven't moose neither elk, bears are strictly protected, as well as wolves.
It sound (and it is) absurd but the laws are clear and strict.
Anyway, my "mountain gun" (actually, ages ago, I was a 2nd Lt. in mountain artillery) is a Weatherby Vanguard Sub Moa in 7 mm Rem. Mag. It is more accurate than declared by Weatherby (3 shots in 22-40 mm at 200 m) and, thanks to muzzle brake and recoil pad doesn't kick. The heaviest bullet I used was a Barnes LRX 145 grs.
The scope is a Zeiss Conquest 4,5-14 x 44.
Before the arrival of recent accurate ammo like the 6 mm Creedmore (to mention one), chamois hunter in this area used flat shooting cartridges like mine, and:
-6,5x68 now almost abandoned because the long cartridge involves an extra long action, either specially made (very expensive) or obtained after receiver "surgery and welding" of a surplus Mauser 98; sometimes the operation was successful, sometimes not so much;
-.270 Wby and other Weatherby calibers (no, not the .460)
-the 300s (Winchester, Weatherby, H&H)
-the 7mm STW
-the 22-250, provided that the weather isn't (better, wasn't) too windy
-.25-06 not very very common, however 3 hunters upon 25 in my village hunt with it.
Our New Zealand colleagues, having chamois, tahr (heavier) and elk on their mountains could be a useful source of info.
 
Good question and good discussion. I can vouch for Paradigm Carbon rifles. Barrier-breaking carbon tech in the stock and barrels solves temperature fluctuations between the range and minute by minute on the mountain. Zero once. Then go hunting up or down, in heat or cold, rain or shine, and they shoot where they were zeroed at the range. Very light in weight and yet less recoil. And because precision is fast, they build them with benchmark speed.
 
I took my Dall ram with my go to rifle…Blaser R8 in 30/06 with a 1 to 6 scope. 180 grain Nosler partitions were used.

My NZ rifle these days is a Sako 85 Finlight in 308Win with a 4x scope. Usually use Sako 150 grain.


I’d happily hunt anything with the R8…..but I guess if I wanted a new rifle for alpine hunting then I’d probably go with a Blaser K95 in either 308 or 300 win Mag. I’ve shot thar and chamois with 300 win, 30/06 and 308. For me the 308 ideal, but obviously not as classy is the ‘06.

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I took my Dall ram with my go to rifle…Blaser R8 in 30/06 with a 1 to 6 scope. 180 grain Nosler partitions were used.

My NZ rifle these days is a Sako 85 Finlight in 308Win with a 4x scope. Usually use Sako 150 grain.


I’d happily hunt anything with the R8…..but I guess if I wanted a new rifle for alpine hunting then I’d probably go with a Blaser K95 in either 308 or 300 win Mag. I’ve shot thar and chamois with 300 win, 30/06 and 308. For me the 308 ideal, but obviously not as classy is the ‘06.
Those are great pics my man
 

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