Rifle Weight

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by husb0023, Jul 13, 2009.

  1. husb0023

    husb0023 AH Senior Member

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    I am trying to choose a .338 Win Mag right now but can't decide if I want a heavier rifle or a light one.

    Does anyone have preference for weight in the heavier calibers. I am thinking about a 7 3/4 pound model. This almost seems too heavy to me for doing a lot of walking, spot and stalk hunting. Then I look at models around 6 1/2 pounds and they almost seem too light for the recoil.

    I am leaning towards 6.5 pounds... the trade off in weight and recoil seems worth it to me.

    Any opinions?
     

  2. BangFlop

    BangFlop AH Senior Member

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    For what it's worth .... for me, the only time I would worry about rifle weight is if I were going to do some hunting in extreme environments - like mountian goat hunting above the tree line, Bongo hunting in the thick jess of CAR, etc. I generally hunt on public land, which means I have to hike in several miles to get away from everyone else. I have rifles that weigh in at just under 8 pounds when fully loaded and others that weigh over 10. I personally don't seem to notice much difference, but that is just me. My recommendation is find one you can shoot well, and don't worry too much about a few ounces ....
     
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  3. Big5

    Big5 AH Fanatic

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    When I first became aware of the effort to drastically reduce the weight of rifles it was primarily by custom rifle makers to accommodate those individuals who were into ‘mountain hunting’. Many hunts for mountain species such as sheep, goats, ibex, etc., can be three steps forward in the shale only to then slide two steps back. It is therefore advantageous to have your pack and all other gear as light as possible. However, as time passed the trend seems to have become the manufacture of super lightweight rifles for all occasions and hunts of all types.

    As a matter of personal choice I don’t care for the light weight rifles, nor do I like the ear shattering muzzle brakes so commonly used to reduce their recoil. Although I imagine a removable brake wouldn’t be so bad to sight in with on the bench and then remove it for the field.

    In any event, I much prefer the heft of a traditional sporting rifle (no brake) for general hunting purposes and I’ve never found the extra pound or two to be an undue strain to carry.

    Like ‘BangFlop’ said; “find one you can shoot well, and don't worry too much about a few ounces ....”
     
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  4. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    I agree with the last two posts completely. I guided for sheep and goat for a lot of years and honestly, I think much of this light weight rifle hype is just in peoples heads due to a lot of press about it. Sure no one wants to pack a 12 pound rifle around all day in steep terrain, but really...........if packing a 6 1/2 pound rifle is going to make that much difference to me over an 8 pound rifle, well I probably shouldn't be clambering around in the rocks and shale in the first place....................but that is just my take on it and many will disagree.

    Like Big5 I prefer a rifle of normal heft and I abhor muzzle brakes. I have seen some of the ultra light weight rifles with their short, pencil barrels and Star Wars stocks and they leave me cold. But hey, maybe it is just old guy syndrome setting in.:D
     
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  5. husb0023

    husb0023 AH Senior Member

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    Honestly, it has been around 12 years since I purchased a rifle. I just could not figure out why some rifles were weighing in at 6 pounds and others at 10. Didn't have this problem when I bought my 7mm in 1997 :rolleyes:
     

  6. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    All tricked out with scope, ammunition, and sling my 24 inch .338 weighs 10 1/4 pounds. It holds rock steady over the sticks; is no problem at all in a typical plains game environment; and if I head off for mountain goat or dall sheep, I'll be carrying a different caliber. You will absolutely hate a light .338 from the bench, and it is hard to forget you hate it when you are trying to line up on the trophy of a life time 250 meters across the thorn. I don't think you will find the heavier rifle a problem at all.
     
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  7. richteb

    richteb AH Enthusiast

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    I use a Browning A Bolt to hunt Sambar Deer in fairly hilly country. All up this rifle probably comes in over 9 lbs. I find that this is an advantage when I am breathing hard following a climb and therefore can hold much more steady on a target then with a light rifle. Obviously all this depends on your body size and strength.
     

  8. siutis

    siutis AH Senior Member

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    I have a 338 Win mag that tips the scale at 6.5. It has a rail for quick detach scope and a great set of express sights. Mine is the limited run Tikka boar hunter. The barrel is 21.25. This is a great all around rifle.

    I think this would be a good fit for you.
     

  9. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I would keep a 338 WM dressed out between 9-1/2 to 10-1/2 pounds. At this weight they are a pleasure to shoot. A 6.5 pound 338 would be one of those rifles that would be nice to carry but you would end up anticipating recoil and would find excuses not to practice with it as diligently as one should to make repeated ethical shots on game.
     
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  10. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    IMO, it all depends on where/how you hunt, age, condition, experience. Me, I’m 70 at 155 lbs and in the top 10% of my age group in health. I elk hunt near 10,000 ft. Walk all day up and down constantly climbing over deadfall. Me, I carry a light weight rifle, Tikka T3 Lite in 300WM. You have to train yourself how to shoot a light rifle because it is somewhat different than a heavy gun you just lay over a daypack. You should plan on the first shot out of a cold bore being all it should take, but slam a second round and if it’s an elk, keep firing until it’s on the ground. Just my opinion derived from my experiences. Others obviously may/can differ.

    Bottom line, pick what you can shoot well. Suffer through either carrying it, or the recoil. Pull the trigger a lot and you’ll adjust to it.
     

  11. siutis

    siutis AH Senior Member

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    Ditto
     

  12. siutis

    siutis AH Senior Member

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    Everyone's physical fitness and pain threshold is different. I taught myself how to master my collection of light weight big bore handguns and rifles over a period of six years. My lightest hardest hitting rifle is a Nosler M 48 Outfitter chambered in 458 win mag. It sports a 22 inch barrel and weighs 7.5 lbs. All of my rifles are custom fit to my LOP.
     

  13. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Good job. Most people I have been around can’t handle a 7.5 pound 458, nor have 6 years to condition themselves or the desire to put that much effort into learning to handle it. But that is just my limited experience with the couple guns I have been around.
     
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  14. wesheltonj

    wesheltonj AH Elite

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    I would suggest that if you are going to put up with the recoil a 338 just get a 375 H&H, about 10lbs, gun, scope & sling.
     
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  15. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Better advice was never given. A properly fitted .375H&H shot OFF OF STICKS is much more pleasurable than shooting a 30-06 off of a bench. Two light days of pain sighting in a .375HH from a bench is all it needs for life, then you're shooting free hand, off sticks, off a cradle, or leaning against a tree and they are an absolute pleasure to deal with. A .375HH at 9lbs scoped is about 38lbs of recoil, and it is slow push recoil. A 20gauge 3" slug from an 8lb gun is like 68lbs by comparison. There is no accident why the .375HH is the greatest medium bore ever made. I cannot fathom the idea of shooting .300WM and .338s at the range at a bench...pure agony.

    I love low recoil and I love my .375HHs for that reason.
     
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  16. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

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    Personally I like heavy guns. The bigger the caliber the heavier I want the gun. Can't stand recoil and a heavy rifle mitigates it nicely. If you are mountain hunting chances are you aren't hunting game that requires a heavy bullet just one that shoots flat without drift, 6.5 creed would fit the bill. If you are in Africa you can always get your PH or the trackers to help with carrying the rifle.
     

  17. Areaonereal

    Areaonereal AH Enthusiast

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    My concern would be accuracy...light rifles are nice to carry, but if you are recoil sensitive the weight is a moot point, if you can not put that bullet where it belongs then a feather duster would be the same value as a lightweight rifle...worthless. Rifles are designed to put that bullet where it belongs, not to ease the hunters effort to carry. I was told many years ago regarding rifle weight, take a rifle that will shoot regardless of weight, cut back on ammo, only need one shot, less water in the canteen or better yet...the hunter drops ten pounds and all is well. Scope and ammo total at least 8.5 lbs...I have shot a 338 win mag, so,give me the weight, if I need to walk that much give me a 30 06. Either will "killem' dead".
     

  18. rnovi

    rnovi AH Enthusiast

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    On my first African Safari I packed a Pre-64 .300 H&H in a wonderful Bastogne stock. .75" groups with 180gr. TSX's were the norm. It tipped 10.5#, 11 with a sling. That rifle wore me the heck down. I had an aching shoulder 3 days in and a crick in my neck 7 days in.

    On my second Safari I packed a Merkel K1 in 7mm Rem Mag. 6.5# scoped with a Leupold FX6x42 with the LR Dot Duplex. .5-.75" groups at 100 yards with 150gr. E-Tips at 3,000 fps, tailored to the dot-drops on the scope. We humped our asses off on that hunt. Up hills, over dales, 10+ miles a day up and down the hills. Granted, I was in better physical shape for that hunt but the truth was that rifle was an absolute DREAM to carry.

    My PH (Craig Done) took a shot with that rifle at a rock exactly 500 yards away (Lasered). Of course he dead centered the rock. He looked up at me and stated with a very sly grin "She's a little Bitch!". The recoil was stout to say the least. Accuracy, however, was as good as the shooter.

    I love carrying that K1. No Sling needed. Just hand carry it. It's a perfect joy. The real answer is practice practice practice shooting off sticks. Get stable as heck, squeeze. For me, my left hand is the culprit. I have to shoot with the rifle "free" (unsupported) off the sticks. My left hand just dangles there at my waist. That's what works for me...

    As an aside, my preferred scoped weight is right at 8#. At 8#, I'm a fair bit more stable. But it all depends on the hunt. If I know I'm going to be humping my butt all over the Karoo, the K1 gets a very, very serious look. If it's a shorter hunt (say, 5 miles a day) then i'm good with the 8# gun.

    As an aside, my .375 H&H (Montana 1999, 20" bbl, B&C stock I think, Leupold VX6 1-6x in Talley Lightweights) weighs in at exactly 8# empty. That particular stock fits me so well and sucks up the recoil so nicely that the weight is not even a bother. It's also the ugliest gun I own. Some day it's going on a perfect buffalo hunt. :)

    In other, completely related news: I had a chance to fire my Alaskan PH's NULA .416 Rem-Mag. Something like 6.5# with Irons sights. I was convinced I would be pounded into the ground by that gun. Imagine my surprise that the recoil was shockingly "pleasant". I can't describe it other than being hit by a high speed whiffle ball. I mean, it was a superfast slap...but it wasn't punishing on the bones. It was just fast and over so fast I didn't know it happened. I chalk it up to stock-fit. If the rifle fits, you are good to go!
     

  19. Ray B

    Ray B AH Elite

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    Since the question was asked 9 years ago, I'm guessing that husb0023 has made a decision; but for anyone that may also be considering the same issue, I have a Win M70 Alaskan that has had a significant rebuild to the stock, along with nearly a pound on lead poured into the fore end then glassed. Rifle, scope, sling & ammo I'm guessing it goes slightly over 10 pounds. I don't mind the extra few pounds on the carry and really appreciate them when trying to hold it steady. I do see other hunters that have light-weight rifles, but often the rifle weight is offset by their extra weight hanging over their belt. An extra ten or twenty pounds added to someones body seems a lot more stressful than three pounds difference in rifle weight.
     

  20. 1dirthawker

    1dirthawker AH Enthusiast

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    first,

    rifle weight is relative to caliber and ones tolerance for recoil. as you can tell from the difference of opinion above, there are no absolutes.

    second,

    "bang flop" damn i love your call sign!(y)
     

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