I haven't worried about weight, but put together my elk gun a couple years ago. Savage long range hunter in 300 win topped with a Zeiss 4.5x14x44 with the rapid Z 800 reticle. I don't care for the cheek piece, if I bought again, I'd get the model 116, they have it in stainless also.
All in under $2000. Gun's around $900, Scope you can get $700-$800.
I do shoot barnes TSX out of it, it patterns it very well and is a devastating 180 grain round, but its like $2.5 every time it goes bang, range time can get expensive. The other thing I'll say about the savage break is its pleasant to shoot, kicks less than my M77 270 with 130 grain rem core lokts.
I've yet to have any issues out of the XCR I(s) that I whitetail hunt with...they see plenty of moisture. Would suggest the XCR II, but don't know many ppl who like that hideous green stock they've put on them. The ones I have all still hold .5 MOA @ 500yds...(the 7mag ran an extra $300 for load development though)
This may not be a problem for others, but I won't ever own another hunting rifle without either a 3 position or tang safety. I had a Colt Light Rifle (cheaper factory version of Forbes design made for a while) that shot and packed great. I really loved that gun but the 2 position safety was always rubbing off into the fire position on my pack when I carried the rifle slung over my left shoulder. I like to switch shoulders to carry the gun on a lot while hunting depending on terrain and fatigue. I had my gunsmith drill out the hole for the detent ball to go into a little bigger and put a stronger spring in but the safety still did it. Even without carrying a round in the chamber it allowed my bolt to open and exposed my action to debris. I ended up selling the rifle.
I have two custom M70's for my big game hunting, a classic stainless in 264 win mag that is my favorite rifle and has been a great interior decorator putting critters on my wall. Only downside of it is that it weighs 10.5lbs with glass, sling, and ammo, ready to hunt. Good for the flat ground and high winds of the plains, but a little much for steep country. For mountains I'm having Dad's old 270 rebuilt with a B&C lightweight aluminum bedded stock, #3 fluted Pac Nor barrel, and Pacific Tool and Gauge aluminum bottom metal. Weighing all the components my ready to hunt weight should be 8.3lbs. Still not ultralight, but I like heavier higher magnification glass that adds weight. I'm hoping to have it back any day now and have a box of 150gr accubond long range bullets ready to load.
Factory guns I'd consider would be the Browing A bolt or X bolt, I've owned two browning A bolts that shot really well. The A bolt SS in 300WSM with a B&C Alaskan stock, Talley rings, a trigger kit, and Vias removable muzzle break would fit in your budget with room left for a mid-range Vortex or Leupold scope. Savage rifles are great also but I don't think they make anything as light as the Browning in a magnum. Ruger is the same way I think. My research is a year or two old so I might be wrong. I have a Ruger American in 270 that is extremely accurate also, I don't think they can be beat for the money. The first handload I tried averages under .7" for 3 shot groups at 100yds, but the barrel heats up quick and the 4th and 5th begin to open the group. The Ruger also has a pretty flimsy stock that can contact the barrel using a sling or bipod and putting on a fair amount of pressure. I wish B&C or someone would make an aftermarket stiffer stock for this rifle, it performs above it's price.
Another option I've considered is building a Remington 700 and adding the PT&G 3 position safety. If you want to customize one for you anything made for a rifle is made for the 700.
Last edited by mcseal2; 08-17-2013 at 11:15 AM.
Thank you mcseal for such an in depth response on the subject.
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I'm starting to think that I should just take my current M70 .270 this yr if I get a chance to hunt mulies or elk due to how much I'm finding out the rest of the gear needed will cost.
Not a bad plan. The 270 with good bullets can handle either job. I'd lean toward the 140gr Accubond or 150gr accubond long range because I've had excellent accuracy and terminal performance from the accubonds. Nothing wrong with the 150gr Partition either, and there are lots of other premium bullets I've never tried. Accubonds work good enough for me I never had to. I went to Bergers in my 264 for my long range rig, but still use the accubonds in everything else.
I know exactly what you mean about gear adding up. I just got pretty well situated last year when I got my glass all upgraded. I spent 3 years watching for sales and demos getting things put together so I could afford them. It takes time and money. I ended up getting it all bought for about 1/3 of what it would have cost to just go to Cabelas or a similar store and walk out with it all. My camo doesn't all match, but it is all Core 4, Sitka, or Russel and works just fine.
One way to protect a pretty stock/gun is to carry it in an Eberlestock scabbard most of the time. Only the butt sticks out and it can be protected with one of the neoprene camo coverings. Keeps everything from getting scratched and scraped. All my rifles are using guns and I figure scars build character, but pretty guns are cool too.
Maybe take some of the Rem-oil wipes in a ziplock and a small bottle of G96 or other good cleaner for the places you can't reach. I know what you mean, I like stainless for a trip like you are considering. Is your wood stock stable in damp conditions? If it isn't that can also change your point of impact and screw up a trip. I'd think about getting a good light synthetic stock for the gun you have and just using that. I think you can keep ahead of rust with a little care and that would take care of the stability issue.