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Tack driver lightweight hunting rifle?

1878 Views 35 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sks_hunter
I've always been a person to want his cake and eat it too.

I just purchased a Savage 10FP-LE2, which I'm slowly going to build into a precision rifle.

While I do that (which could take months), I'd like to have a good, lightweight hunting rifle that is light enough to take deer hunting, and yet its accuracy is about MOA out of the box with good factory ammo. I've considered another Savage 10FP, with maybe the 20 inch barrel this time (instead of the 26-inch of the LE2), but this may still be too heavy for a "hunting" rifle.

I'm pretty much "married" to .308; I don't like to own multiple, similar calibers. I have a horror of getting 40 miles into the boonies only to find I've brought the wrong ammo!

Is there a lightweight, current production hunting bolt-action rifle you know of that fills the bill of good hunter and tack-driver?

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SangRun Hunter said:
Here's an idea for you guys that like the C&R thing.

It might seem a little sacreligious, but you have to consider these guns both had counter bored barrels with terrible accuracy.

This is now an extremley accurate light weight rifle now from what was once a rifle that shot 12 inch groups at 35 yards. It now hits 2 inch groups at 125 yards with milsurp ammo.

Hmmmm... is this "counter-bored barrel" something that a person could have seen before buying the rifle? Can you describe ( or better yet, show a photo) of what the inaccurate barrel looked like before you fixed it? I've often looked over Moisin Nagants at gun shows, but now you've got me wondering how to spot an inaccurate "counter-bored barrel."
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So what you're basically saying is that if you look at a rifle's muzzle and you can't see the muzzle crown at the tip of the muzzle, then if you buy that rifle you may have to have it recrowned or even rebarreled?
Sounds like it's a good thing I passed on those $79.95 Nagants at Big 5 Sporting Goods. Could be they were shot out, too (I didn't look that closely at them).
I hate to think I'm leaning toward Savage again, but DANG it!--I just LOVE that verdammt Accutrigger! I fondled a Ruger or two at a local gun shop and you almost had to stick your whole arm through the trigger guard to fire the thing--typical lawyer-proofing!

I wanted maybe a Winchester Model 70 in pre '64 Mauser extractor configuration, but nobody locally seems to carry them so I can try out the trigger!

Decisions, decisions!
Yes, and I'm wanting to stick to one caliber in my heavy-barrel target rifles and my hunting rifle. This is to avoid the grab the right rifle but the wrong ammo fiasco. Plus, I don't have either a lot of money or a lot of room in my safe, so one caliber has to do for a number of jobs. Three-Oh-Eight will ding nearly any animal in North America. I know it's a little too much for coyotes, and not enough for grizzlies and maybe elk, but I probably won't hunt either grizzlies or elk anytime soon.

One of my shooting "wants" is to practice .308 enough that I get a "feel" for it. Right now I can hit steel ram targets at 300 yards with a 7.62x39 AK with iron sights just because I have a "feel" for how that round acts. I don't want to confuse the issue with a .22-250 for coyotes, a .270 for deer, a .300 Win Mag for elk, etc.; I would just rather have a caliber that is versatile for a multitude of game. Like someone above said, you can reload .308 to lighter bullets if you wish.

Well, earlier today I tried to have the local gun shop order a Savage 11FNS, just because I'm already hooked on that Accutrigger. No dice, so far. The shop's distributors carry only .22-250, .223, and if I remember right, .204 Ruger.

So, right now I'm in a dilemma again.
Belayer, your points are well taken, but both my Dad and some of his varmint-hunting friends have had trouble with .223 just not having the knockdown power of .308. Both of them have had coyotes run off after solid hits with .223. To be perfectly candid, one of my Dad's friends stated flat out, "Forget rifles for coyotes. As close as they come you can hunt them with a shotgun."

Part of the fun of this whole thing is "wind-doping." I've shot .223 enough to know how flat-shooting it is. It's more fun to me to pick a caliber that requires a little bit of a learning curve to master. I've been shooting 7.62x39 AK's for the past 12 years, and to me it's just part of the fun to know that there are a lot of variables to consider every time the trigger is pulled.

Sheesh--what started my interest in long-range shooting and coyote hunting is that after 12 years I'd go to the range with my AK and some plinker targets (aluminum cans, etc.), and 100 rounds of ammo. After hitting the first five targets with the first five shots, I'd ask myself, "Well, do I want to do that 95 more times, or am I just wasting ammo?" These days I'd rather take my time and fire one really good, difficult shot. To me that's more satisfying than launching a flat-shooting caliber knowing that it didn't take much planning to make that shot land where I wanted it.

Plus, I know .308 is a little potent for little Wily Coyote. I'll give you that. But as I've said before, one rifle may have to suffice for everything from coyotes on up, and I just KNOW I don't want to face a cougar with a .223.

On top of that, my shooting club has been known to shoot matches with distances to 1,000 yards. Nobody is going to say this is easy with a .308 (a 10-mile per hour wind can throw the bullet path off by 40 inches), but in a way, the more difficult it is, the more FUN it is.

So, Three-Oh-Eight it is. :sniper2:

Should things change down the road and I have more room in the safe or more money to play with, then maybe I'll get a .223 or .22-250.

Anyway, earlier today my dealer finally found a Savage 11FNS in .308, so I'm gonna mount an SWFA Super Sniper scope and Harris bipod on it. Then I can tell Wily there's a new sheriff in town!

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belayer said:
The 223 AR-15's have been kicking 308 butt at the 600 yd range of Service Rifle matchs for a decade now, did you know that? They group 6" at that range, and are a lot cheaper to set up and use than an M1A is. The Army Marksmanship unit gave up on the M14 and the 308 as match gear, 5 years or so ago.
Not to beat a dead horse, but the M14/M1A is notorious for being a constant battle by an armorer to maintain its accuracy.

Any match shooter with .308 knows that the only way to go is either a bolt gun, because of the rigidity, or, I believe the .308 AR-15 based guns can be incredibly accurate as well.


I recently read an article in a national gun magazine about one of the new Savage hunting rifles with the Accutrigger, and the author was getting rougly 1 MOA groups with his gun, even though it wasn't a heavy target barrel. I've read that some of the heavier-barreled rifles actually shoot a lot tighter groups with match ammo.

Your original premise that a lightweight tackdriver and .308 are "not sensible" is probably true for a heck of a lot of weapons out there. A lot of manufacturers offer cheap bolt guns to once-a-year deer hunters who could care less as long as the animal goes down. But Savages are well-known for their exceptional accuracy for the price. I used to hate the spongy triggers they put on their bolt guns, but the new Accutrigger is a work of art.

Another lightweight tackdriver is Tikka's T3. So, they're out there; you just can't expect to buy any old bolt gun and expect it to be a tackdriver in .308. You DO have to shop carefully, and you may have to do some tweaking--but it's DO-able! :rockin:
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sks_hunter said:
I've shot coyotes to bits with 125gr nosler ballistic tips out to 250+yds...
Now you're talking! How do you set things up so that you see the coyotes at that range?

People around here complain that they call the coyotes and the coyotes either jump over them in their hide, or come so close they can dispatch them with a shotgun. I want them to keep their distance, as much because one can be rabid as anything else. Is there a way to call a coyote and yet nail him before he gets closer than say 100 yards?
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