That is an excellent rifle and caliber choice. The 30-06 shoots flat with the 150 grain bullets, and hits hard with the 180 grain bullets. Folks I know with X-bolts rave about accuracy. The 165 grain offerings (especially the accubond) are tough to beat all-around, but don't overlook 150s in a "hard" bullet like the Barnes X-bullet. Barnes and Cor-Bon both load X-bullets in factory ammo. I would recommend finding a few boxes from different manufacturers, and finding which one your rifle shoots the best.
Thanks for the info Bitterroot! I also want to thank you for the scope info on the other thread. I'm really considering a vortex if i don't go with the old faithful Leupold. I will mos def take your advice on getting different bullets to see which shoot better!
Good deal, jay!
I would love to see a pic when you get it all set up. I own and have owned several Leupolds of different lines from an old vari-x II to a newer Mark 4, and they make solid scopes, but I assure you, that you get more for your money with the Vortex Viper series. The Vortex Diamondback is also a nice scope (think Leupy VX-2), but the Vortex Crossfire series riflescopes are not really up to par.
Nothing against the .270win or the 30-06, but "western" means long shots are a possibility, and "all around" means big game (elk, moose, bear, etc) are on the hit list. For long shots AND/OR big game, you'd be better equipped with a magnum in the .277, .284, or .308 calibers. I'd put the WSMs at the top of the list with the 7mm Rem mag, the 300 Win Mag, the Ultra Mags, and the Weatherbys as close runners up. You couldn't go wrong with any of those choices. I have all of them, and shoot them regularly, and my favorite is the Remington 700 CDL-SF in 270WSM accurized by Hill Country Rifles. It puts a 130 E-Tip in .5 MOA at 3343fps.
Hope that helps.
Were I accorded a life do-over, I'd buy a Sako AV in .280 Rem and never look back, nor would I need another rifle.
I do not own a .280 Rem. My primary rifle is a 7MM Rem Mag. One could make argument that the 7MM Rem Mag is the best cartridge for North American hunting. Others could make arguments for many other cartridges as well. It's hard to counter success, and the 100+ years old '06 is as great today as it was when it was introduced.
I hunt exclusively Rocky Mountain states. I am hoping to be drawn for limited entry elk in Utah in '14. Lots of B&C bulls are coming out of Utah. If I'm drawn, I will hunt with a rifle I bought when I was sixteen: a Remington 700 in .270 Winchester. Some decades ago I was talked in to (more accurately, I allowed myself to be talked in to) buying a 7MM Rem Mag for western big game hunting. Make no mistake, the 7MM Rem Mag is an excellent cartridge. But the reality is just about any big game cartridge will kill any big game animal were a hunter to put bullets where they're most effective. Nothing can live w/o its heart or lungs. What destroys them is immaterial. That they no longer work is.
I haven't bought a big game rifle since I bought my 7MM Rem Mag, so I'm not up-to-speed on current production rifles. Sako rifles are hard to beat. Computer aided manufacturing has resulted in astounding off-the-shelf accuracy of most factory rifles. Based solely upon what I've read, Savage rifles are extremely accurate. Then again, so are most rifles.
One final point: big cartridges = big recoil. Big recoil = big misses. I have fired some pretty big rifles over the years. From that experience I've earned that the 7MM Rem Mag is the biggest that I want to shoot off a bench. I've fired a Marlin .45/70 with heavy hand loads. That rifle about knocked me back to the last Ice Age. Bench shooting develops accuracy. Accuracy builds confidence. Confidence leads to success. I watched a studly dude sight in his brand new .300 Win Mag last year. He had a solid 6" group. After about a box of empty cases and no group shrinkage he told me that his shoulder hurt too much to try to get his rifle zeroed in. To my way of looking at hunting, I could never be confident hunting with a rifle that I couldn't zero.
I've been chasing the holy grail of hunting rifles for 40 years now. Once upon a time I would have went to knuckling if someone bashed my beloved 338 Win Mag. I still firmly believe it to be the finest all round North American chambering. Standard length action. Bullets from 165 to 300gr. Decent velocity. Approaching two tons of muzzle energy. What's not to like? I went through the various 300 magnums. Heck I worked up loads for a 458 Win Mag just for fun to help a fella out one time. The harder it kicked,the better I liked it. The 300 Ultra is just plain impressive. With my advanced years comes a different outlook on it all. Under protest too I might add. Seems I'm developing some neck problems. Old Arthur Itis is coming to roost. So,the big hammers are being phased out of my safe. I have to agree with SansSouci here. I have come over to the 7mm Remmy Mag. Years ago,when testosterone and pride ruled the roost I laughed at the Remington Seven. Barely a magnum. No where near 50 or 60 ft lbs of recoil. Doesn't burn 100gr of Retumbo either. Silly little thing. Out to 300 yds,the 30/06 doesn't give up a dang thing to it with a 180gr bullet and a stiff charge of RL22. BUT! The 7 Remington is a JOY to shoot. Shoots well with just about any well thought out handload. Can move 140gr bullets out quite smartly for deer,and 175 grainers with authority for the Bugle Bucks. My favorite is the 160gr A-Bond over 66gr of 7828. (Could be hot in some rigs!) All this and it doesn't leave me with a stiff neck and a headache for 3 days like the Ultras and such do. I guess it's the 7mm Remington Magnum for me now. My little T3 will bug hole 160s and treats me well on the back end. With age comes wisdom. Even if it is under protest.
270, 280, or 30-06 I have killed deer, antelope, and elk with all three and can't tell the difference between them. I do prefer heavier bullets in all of these fine cartridges. 150gr Partition (270), 160gr Accubond (280), and 180 Accubond (30-06), all of these loads are moving about the same speed 2700-2750 fps (Choreographed). Which ever you pick you can't go wrong. the key is to practice, practice, and practice some more. I have killed deer and antelope past 500 yards with all of these loads so don't let the velocity folks convince you that you need 3000+ fps to get the job done. This year I am hunting with my 280, just because it was closest to the safe door.
I'm sorry Buck8541, but what dance are those bullets doing?
I have a .338 Win Mag. I've had it for about 30 years. It is is an excellent cartridge.
I use 150 grain Ballistic Tips atop 63 grains of IMR 4350 (Nosler load). It chrono's better than 3200 FPS out of my Sako 7MM Rem Mag with a 24" barrel. It is deadly on mule deer. This load will group a half-inch or better at 100 yards.
I use 160 grain Partitions atop 67 grains of H4831. It chrono's at just over 3100 FPS. This is an old load. It would be listed as too hot in modern loading manuals. This load shoots fine in my rifle with no signs of excessive pressure. This load will group under an inch.
If I ever use all of my Ballistic Tips, I might just use 160 grain Partitions for everything. They do work as advertised. And I might experiment using IMR 4350 powder. It does seem to give me excellent velocity and even better accuracy.
I have a friend who hunts with 175 grain factory loads. He uses it on everything he hunts, including mule deer. I first hunted with him about forty years ago. He has always used 175 grain factory loads.
I am with you with that wisdom thing. After all my years afield, I've learned that my .270 will kill big game animals just as dead as will my 7MM Rem Mag. But I do love my 7MM Rem Mag.
I know that you'll be an extremely happy hunter holding your 7MM Rem Mag in your hands. And it will not punish when shooting off a bench.
BTW, I choron'd a few old Remington 150 grain Core-Lokts at better than 3200 FPS. I doubt if Remington still loads to that velocity.
Best of luck,
Sorry Bitterroot, I meant Chronographed, stupid auto correct.