The quest for a lighter rifle

MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior MemberPosts: 4,479 Senior Member
Most say silly things like....work out more. Lose some stuff from your pack. Deal with it. These people have never followed me up a hill when I've hit the "go" switch. Now I did that last hunt, going up nearly half a mile in elevation in about the same distance horizontally, with a dang heavy rifle. Even JB and CHIRO agreed my Vanguard was a bit hefty. You can't really lose too much gear from the pack, we took out as many absolute non-essentials as possible and every day the packs still felt heavy. Plus, a pack is distributed on both shoulders evenly, rifle goes on one. Can't go up almost cliff faces, with one hand holding a rifle so it has to be slung. Plus at 11K and up, every single ounce starts growing. If you don't believe me, anyone is welcome to come out next year with me :jester: I think I want to hunt this area we shared some more, and its a wilderness area, so no 4x4's, ATV's, heck you can't bring anything with wheels on it (sign even specified no game carts) and you can't even bring ANY gasoline in. I don't own horses, so its just the two feet I was born with.

Now that we have a little back ground:

I'm torn between selling off a few rifles and scopes and buying something very light, or selling off less rifles and trying to put together something light with what I already have.

If I went with a McMillan EDGE stock for the M70 FWT, that'll shave off about 1 1/4lbs right there alone. Upgrade to a lighter, more compact scope I can shave off another few ounces. I'd have to check the weight on my current mounts vs something like Talley lightweights. Also have a spare 300 Win Mag barrel for this gun, and I'm looking into having that turned down to a much lighter profile and lopping off a few inches. Winchester barrels are hammer forged, which like cut rifling from what I gather, do well with turning down instead of being a crap shoot like button rifled barrels. Still no guarantee though.

OR, I just go into something like a Browning X-bolt Carbon, Kimber Montana or even ordering a barreled action from Montana Rifle.

Either way, after turning down the barrel, screwing that on, getting a new magazine box and opening up the bolt face + the Micky, or just outright buying a high quality lightweight gun, I'm going to come out to about the same cost difference, give or take a hundred here and there.

So what do you guys think? Give the current rifle a once over with some cool upgrades, or just spend that money on something off the shelf?
Wambli Ska wrote: »
Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
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Replies

  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,077 Senior Member
    Now you understand why I have wanted the Weatherby ultralight for so long. 6 pounds + Leopold ultralight 3-9 at 11 oz in light weight rings and you have a 7 pound complete package.
    Now you have me scared, if you are looking to lighten the load, the workout just might kill me:tissue:

    Sako
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    :tooth:
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,077 Senior Member
    I have also been paying close attention to Ernies posts and have been putting thought into an MOA maximum. 4lb 3oz in a 14" bbl plus scope and mount could be under 6 pounds.

    Sako
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,452 Senior Member
    MHS,

    What cartridge are you looking towards?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,452 Senior Member
    sakodude wrote: »
    I have also been paying close attention to Ernies posts and have been putting thought into an MOA maximum. 4lb 3oz in a 14" bbl plus scope and mount could be under 6 pounds.

    Sako

    I'm in love with mine. Handy little sucker that just screams "HUNT"!
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,077 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    I'm in love with mine. Handy little sucker that just screams "HUNT"!

    I really should have said Ernie and Zee's posts. Your last hunt really got the wheels turning.

    Sako
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    MHS,

    What cartridge are you looking towards?

    If new? A WSM most likely, not sure which one between the 3 of em. 300 Win if I turn down that extra barrel I have sitting around
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • horselipshorselips Senior Member Posts: 3,561 Senior Member
    If even ultra-light rifles are too heavy, Bwana can hire native bearers to carry his stuff, or step down to a high-powered handgun like a Contender. Even scoped, they are far lighter than rifles, and more challenging as well.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,452 Senior Member
    If I was to consider a WSM, it would be the 7mm version. Actually considered building one on my short action project. But, it would always be right behind the STW. So, I figured.......why?

    But, it would make a great WSM choice.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,388 Senior Member
    I think I'd work on the one that you have. You love the rifle, the chambering is "meh" but you have a barrel to fix that. Swap the barrel, sell the stock, and go forward. It's easier to do it bits at a time, and you'd still have a rifle all the while.

    Or, work out more :tooth:

    Hey, I didn't have any trouble carrying my 9lb RUM!
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    sakodude wrote: »
    I have also been paying close attention to Ernies posts and have been putting thought into an MOA maximum. 4lb 3oz in a 14" bbl plus scope and mount could be under 6 pounds.

    Sako

    I also have read with great interest his posts and pics. But I just don't know that those things would work for me. I've studied this light rifle issue for years. Starting out I used to even cut the handle off my toothbrush, for just one example to cut weight.
    Then you graduate to either hauling stock out there or renting from Sendero Ranch when you get there. Just to haul a nice camp out into the Wilderness areas. And haul your game out when you connect.
    But you still hike those hills everyday with that rifle.
    Having never used them, can you still throw up one of those SPs for a snap shot?. I dunno, there are just so many variables in hunting out West and what kinda shot might present itself. For most of us it's either a once in a lifetime or at least once a year and just for a few days hunt. So we want to eliminate any variables we can. It's expensive too.

    Anyway, back to the OP's thing on rifles. I used to read articles and look into things like, "Light Rifles inc." and soforth. If I get to go back out West again and could lay hands on a 6.5 lb .300 WM all inclusive I'd be on it like white on rice.
    One of the guys I used to go out there with every year used a BLR in 7mag. Don't know what scope he used but something like that with a fixed 4X might work. But I don't know what a BLR weighs.
    The reason I keep mentioning the magnums is because it's public land. So if they run off very much you're liable to hear a second shot and shouts of joy from another pilgrim who claims your elk.

    I guess ideally it would be a synthetic stocked, short action, short barreled magnum caliber with a light weight fixed power scope. Some sort of WSM in Scout configuration comes to mind.
    Just thinking out loud here.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    jbohio wrote: »
    I think I'd work on the one that you have. You love the rifle, the chambering is "meh" but you have a barrel to fix that. Swap the barrel, sell the stock, and go forward. It's easier to do it bits at a time, and you'd still have a rifle all the while.

    Or, work out more :tooth:

    Hey, I didn't have any trouble carrying my 9lb RUM!

    You carried it for like an hour lol
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    Razor I'm right there with ya buddy! People hem and haw about using itty bitty bullets on elk, and that is fine, when you are hunting local ground, with large populations, few hunters and plenty of time. But, this is Colorado, in modern time. Elk herds have vanished from Idaho. Elk numbers are falling in Montana. Wyoming isn't fairing much better. To top it off, all those states have raised prices, and lowered the amount of tags, for non-residents. Colorado is the last OTC elk state. It has an extremely large amount of public land. Math is easy, elk dry up, tags get too expensive, people head where the pickins are a bit easier. That would be here. I'm not as worried about someone shooting my wounded animal, as I am about just plain more people in the woods. More pressure makes elk spooky. Sure elk aren't any stronger, and they haven't invested in armor plating, but fact of the matter is elk hunting will continue to get harder on public lands with more pressure. What that all means, is shots are going to be more and more few and far between. Passing up that 375 yard shot because you are pushing the limits of your cartridge, might mean passing up your only chance, period. Use a mag, put the animal DOWN ASAP.

    Also right there with ya on the 6.5lbs 300 Win Mag....currently my set up weighs 7lbs according to Winchester (I'll bust out the scale later) for just the rifle. Featherweight wood stock is probably about 2-2.5lbs. I find some other ways to shave off weight I might be able to have that rifle up and running at its currently rifle-only state.
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • wildgenewildgene Senior Member Posts: 1,036 Senior Member
    ...an A-Bolt Stalker would be lighter, a Tikka T3 Lite even a few oz. less. My T3 w/ a 4.5X14 VX-3 is 7lbs. (+/- an oz. or 2). Either one would be less cost & my experience w/ both rifles has been very good. Two T3's & 4 A-Bolts have all been sub-MOA out of the box. The .300 WSM T3 has a bit of a bite, but nothing unbearable...
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 9,818 Senior Member
    You carried it for like an hour lol

    You got that right:jester:.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 9,818 Senior Member
    My Savage was noticeably lighter than you Featherweight, not going to break the bank either on the used rack, but, I would just restock the Featherweight and see where that gets you. Have you tried the Light Magnum ammo in the Winchester?
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,569 Senior Member
    sakodude wrote: »
    Now you understand why I have wanted the Weatherby ultralight for so long. 6 pounds + Leopold ultralight 3-9 at 11 oz in light weight rings and you have a 7 pound complete package.
    Now you have me scared, if you are looking to lighten the load, the workout just might kill me:tissue:

    Sako


    Do you want me to find you one ?...Again...LOL
  • WeatherbyWeatherby Senior Member Posts: 4,569 Senior Member
    So what do you guys think? Give the current rifle a once over with some cool upgrades, or just spend that money on something off the shelf?

    Would a lever action work for where your hunting ?

    or this they even have it in something you like

    http://www.cz-usa.com/products/view/cz-550-fs/
  • sakodudesakodude Senior Member Posts: 3,077 Senior Member
    Weatherby wrote: »
    Do you want me to find you one ?...Again...LOL

    Those kind of deals seem to always show up when the gun fund is dry:bang: I keep looking but only find full price units lately. Someday the stars will line up just right.

    Sako
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,661 Senior Member
    First, get an Eberlestock backpack with a built-in rifle scabbard. I'm telling ya, the things are freaking magic when it comes to making a heavy load seem like less. Even though you'll want to carry the rifle in your hands or over your shoulder when actually hunting, the scabbard comes in very handy when you're lugging out the carcass or climbing something REALLY stupid - plus, it's a good place to cram extra stuff you need fast access to.

    For the rifle. . .I ended up going with a 700 XCR II - primarily because I wanted a rust-proof gun, but it did have the added benefit of giving me a package about two pounds lighter than my CZ-550. This is about a 7 1/3# rifle when naked. I don't know that you can go much lighter and still have a barrel profile that lets you efficiently use a belted magnum's powder charge. There is the 6.5# 700 Mountain SS if you're OK dropping to a 22" .30-06/.280/.270 platform.

    For the scope. . .the Leupold 2.5-8x36 had always been my default recommendation for my customers who were buying trim little short action sporters, and this would probably still be my recommendation for a guy who's in the process of shaving ounces. For standard-length action cartridges, though, I still think I'd prefer the 3.5-10x40 or 4.5-14x40. Balance the power of your scope against that of your binos and/or spotting scope (if you carry one). I roll with 10X binos and a 4.5-14x scope, which gives a nice range of capablities.

    Mounts and rings. . .aluminum is a line I WILL NOT cross, especially not on an up/down, hot/cold, bump and drag kind of rifle. I'll deliberately ADD ounces here in the interest of rock-solid redundancy. My nice light XCR II got a chunky set of U.S. Marine-resistant MK4 mounts and rings because I figure I'm only able to carry one rifle, I'll probably be carrying it a long way, and I don't want that long hike rendered pointless by a wandering zero or worse. Four torqued screws to the receiver, two big torqued hex bolts to the bases, and four torqued screws holding each ring together. . .if I break THAT, and I'm still holding onto the rifle, I'm probably more concerned about a helicopter ride to a hospital than shooting an elk.

    Shave the weight where you can, but don't get fanatical about it - at least with the rifle. Figuring that the rifle is the REASON for the hike, you should only compromise on it so far.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,667 Senior Member
    $4000.00 and you can have someone do it for you...

    http://www.newultralight.com/HTML/custom-rifles.html

    Craig Boddington reviews...

    http://archives.gunsandammo.com/content/high-performance-low-poundage

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,452 Senior Member
    The best lightweight Mountain Gun for elk I've ever seen or had.........was my Tikka T3 Lite Stainless in .338 Win Mag.

    I'm an idiot for selling that one. Pure stupidity.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 8,700 Senior Member
    Why use a whippy 20''-22'' barrel that starts to wander after a shot or two, when you can carry a 26'' bull barrel for the same weight???

    pix439392405.jpg
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,452 Senior Member
    See, I'm not tracking on the whole carbon fiber thing. Somebody explain it to me. I mean, for all intents and purposes, it's a pencil thin barrel. Just happens to be surrounded by air and then carbon fiber. But, it's still a pencil barrel.
    What advantage does it have? Other than looks, of course.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 8,700 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    See, I'm not tracking on the whole carbon fiber thing. Somebody explain it to me. I mean, for all intents and purposes, it's a pencil thin barrel. Just happens to be surrounded by air and then carbon fiber. But, it's still a pencil barrel.
    What advantage does it have? Other than looks, of course.

    Weight= You can still have <6# rifle with 24'' and 26'' barrel length for full velocity with big magnum cases (.300RUM seems to be the most abundant chambering)

    Stiff= Shoots like a bull barrel..... except the weight. Carbon fiber in the proper weave is stiffer than steel

    Heat= Carbon fiber is barely affected by heat. I've shot over 100 rounds in 5 minutes in my .22 with no POI movement and groups stay the same hot or cold (I know not necessary for hunting, but helpful for checking multiple reloads)

    One thing I agreed with Lazzeroni on, if you pay $$$$$ to go on a once in a life time hunt, best to have a rifle/chambering/practice to take the once in a life time buck/bull from a long distance. Christensen guarantees 1'' which isn't common on the super UL pencil thin barrels.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 8,700 Senior Member
    It's like carrying this....

    23768-DEFAULT-L.jpg

    and shooting this......

    426-84M-LongMaster-VT-main.jpg
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 19,452 Senior Member
    Maybe I just need to look into the construction of the barrel. My understanding is that it's still a pencil thin steel barrel. Just has a shroud of carbon fiber around it at bull barrel dimensions.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • snake284-1snake284-1 Senior Member Posts: 2,500 Senior Member
    If you can find one in good condition without the barrel shot out, the 64+ Winchesters are pretty light. That's the reason I keep telling you all about mine having such recoil in .270 Win. But it shoots very well and it's actually a stronger design than the pre-64. If you could find one in .300 Win Mag, I think you'd be where you want with a wood stock.
    I'm Just a Radical Right Wing Nutt Job, Trying to Help Save My Country!
  • MileHighShooterMileHighShooter Senior Member Posts: 4,479 Senior Member
    No wood, and no bluen this one. Function over looks. Last week we had variations of temp from 68 down to -6. Humidity from 15% to 40%. We had rain, snow, and dry/hot all in the span of 5 days. Pretty much the exact conditions change that as/synthetic rifles were created
    Wambli Ska wrote: »
    Once again, please refrain from cutting short any baseless totally emotional arguments with facts. It leads to boring, completely objective conversations well beyond the comprehension ability of many.
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 6,722 Senior Member
    I have never lost a shot opportunity in the hills because I was using a SP.
    I also don't feel at a disadvantage using a single-shot.
    Snap-shots? How far? How winded?
    I have made several off-hand shots on game with no sling-support. You would need to practice to see your limits. Fast as a rifle? NO!

    In a short action, the 7mm SAUM may be the diamond in the rough if you are using a magazine, since it is shorter than the WSM. You will basically get the same performance as well.

    I also have read with great interest his posts and pics. But I just don't know that those things would work for me.
    Having never used them, can you still throw up one of those SPs for a snap shot?.
    I dunno, there are just so many variables in hunting out West and what kinda shot might present itself. For most of us it's either a once in a lifetime or at least once a year and just for a few days hunt. So we want to eliminate any variables we can. It's expensive too.
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
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