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Bedrock Bob

Hunting rifles!

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It is time to start tuning in those rifles! I have two I will be getting ready to hunt with this season. It takes me a couple of weeks to get each one right. I thought I might post about the process and get some conversation going about rifles and reloading for the hunt.

I have a heavy varmint gun and an elk rifle that I hunt with. I will be getting some target practice, reloading ammunition and developing a theoretical drop chart. Then I will shoot at distance with the loads and get my actual drop in inches. Then I will convert that data into 1/4 min. clicks at given distances. At the end of the process I will have a dope sheet stuck to the rifle that gives me my corrections at distance and a box of shells that are custom made for each gun. 

If everything goes right I will have them both ready to rock in four weeks. During that time I hope to see some of your rifles and hear some of your stories too! So don't be bashful about posting your hunting rifle or asking questions. If there is interest in the thread I will update it once in a while as I go along.

The first rifle I will get ready is my varmint gun. It will be the easiest as I already have my loads developed for it. It is the least expensive and most pleasant to shoot. I will start small and work up!

This is my old standby. It has brought home many deer and javelina. It is a Remington 700 40X action chambered in .243 Win. It has an old school Remington target trigger group with a Schillen bull barrel. It has a Vortex 12-20x 50mm objective scope mounted on a La Rue rail. The action is mounted in a Hogue stock that is bedded and floated. I call it my "poor man's M40".

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I shoot several bullets through this rifle but I will focus on 75 grain Speer bullets. They are cheap, shoot fairly well and I have a bucket full of them. I use IMR 3031 powder in a Lapua case that is fireformed and neck sized to the rifle. It spits them out there at about 3200 fps and can pretty much keep all shots touching out to 200 yds or so as long as I do my job.

 

...Last year I had it down to paintballs and bottle caps at 150 yards. We will see how tight I can get it this year.

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This is the rifle I hunt deer and elk with. It was given to me by a good friend a couple of years ago and I love it. It is a Savage 110 in 30-06. It has a Leopold Varix-3 3.5-12 40mm scope mounted on a LaRue rail. It has a Hogue stock as well. It is light, easy to carry and hits hard. The 30-06 is a mighty formidable caliber and this rifle handles and shoots like a dream!

 

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I shoot several bullets in this versatile weapon but will need to develop a load for a heavy elk bullet this year. I will probably settle on the Nosler 175 partition. I shoot Lapua fireformed cases and generally load with IMR 4350 or 2700 powder.

This rifle is not quite as accurate as the Remington but it is still a very good shooter. It should be fun to shoot some big bullets and see how close I can get them to land to each other!

I will post data and some photos of the results as the project progresses.

Bob

 

 

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That 110 is the best factory hunting rifle to ever have been produced.  Very few factory rifles come close to being as capable without needing any post-purchase tweaking.  Savage got it right, and kept it right for many years.  I had one, also in 30-06, that I hunted with up north.  In 2001, after moving to the nether 48, I traded the Savage for yet another IH pickup when I was still collecting Cornbinders, and I've regretted letting that rifle go ever since.  I never scoped mine because 98.2% of my hunting was done in alder and willow thicket country, often in low light conditions, and most shots were under 100 yards.  Also, although I didn't hunt bear, I didn't like having a scope in the way if one took exception to me being in his thicket.  If I'd been after Dall sheep in the mountains instead of moose in the swamps, I'd have scoped that rifle for sure. 

Your .243 is also nice, and it sounds like you have it tuned to be a real tack driver.  

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Right now I have a Taurus Wizzard single shot. I hat a .223 barrel and a .270 barrel, the .223 is a coyote getter...

not used the .270 to hunt with yet. I will in time.

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3 minutes ago, Saul R W said:

That 110 is the best factory hunting rifle to ever have been produced.  Very few factory rifles come close to being as capable without needing any post-purchase tweaking.  Savage got it right, and kept it right for many years.  I had one, also in 30-06, that I hunted with up north.  In 2001, after moving to the nether 48, I traded the Savage for yet another IH pickup when I was still collecting Cornbinders, and I've regretted letting that rifle go ever since.  I never scoped mine because 98.2% of my hunting was done in alder and willow thicket country, often in low light conditions, and most shots were under 100 yards.  Also, although I didn't hunt bear, I didn't like having a scope in the way if one took exception to me being in his thicket.  If I'd been after Dall sheep in the mountains instead of moose in the swamps, I'd have scoped that rifle for sure. 

Your .243 is also nice, and it sounds like you have it tuned to be a real tack driver.  

You said a mouthful there buddy!

I have 1500 frogskins into the Remington and it will really make you smile. It is boring to shoot because you hardly ever miss. But the Savage shoots almost as good, is half the weight and it cost me squat. I put a $120 stock and a sling on it and $500 in optics and mounts. So for my shooting dollar the Savage is the best darn rifle I have ever owned. It shoots as well as most rifles that cost exponentially more.

Lotsa guys go on about 7mm mags and 300 mags. They are more gun than the 30-06 (by a little) but they are WAY more expensive to shoot. And if you shoot them a lot like I do you are going to have to invest in barrels. The 30-06 will take 10K rounds down the tube and still shoot fine. But a 300 win or rem mag with a stainless barrel will be gone in a few years.

Same with the 22-250/.243 argument. I can push that 75 grain bullet ALMOST as fast as a 22-250. And I do a whole lot more down range. But my barrel will last a couple lifetimes and if I was shooting a 22-250 I would wear it out in a few years. That little bit of speed costs a lot in the long run and gets you very little down range. And the .243 is a lot more pleasant to shoot too. Especially after a few hundred rounds in a day of prairie dogging. That big heavy gun just does not move much when it goes off.

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, azdigger said:

Right now I have a Taurus Wizzard single shot. I hat a .223 barrel and a .270 barrel, the .223 is a coyote getter...

not used the .270 to hunt with yet. I will in time.

That is a neat gun setup and Taurus is a really great weapon. 

The .223 (not the 5.56 NATO) is one of the best calibers for varmint for sure. With a 45 grain bullet and BlC2 powder it will really drive tacks. Don't try to shoot 5.56 in it though and keep the bullets below 45 grains and that round is capable of some really great things. 

I have a TC Encore with a 50 cal muzzleloader barrel. I always wanted to get a .223 barrel for it but they are so darned expensive.

I have a buddy that shoots an H&R rifle with interchangeable barrels and he shoots .223 Rem and .270 too. Those two calibers are all a fellow needs. And those convertible rifles are way cool...I love them! 

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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I had a 1969 Savage 110-C (series H), 30-06 in 1971. We hunted goat and deer in the Bradshaws, north of lake Pleasant up the old Swilling trail, and up on the Rim, near Payson. When I came back from the service, I started hunting with a camera.

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Posted (edited)

Here is mine.

Remington 700 bdl in 30.06 :41:

I contacted Remington a few years ago and sent them pictures of all the barrel stampings, and they told me this rifle was born in 1967. The Redfield is of similar vintage. It still shoots straight and I've taken 3 moose and maybe a dozen caribou with it.

I don't really care for it's current plastic stock and am carving a new one out of a nice chunk of walnut.

Bob...it goes against the grain, but I've gotten very good performance out of 150g bullets. A little flatter trajectory and they still seem to have plenty of punch. My last two moose were both taken with 150's at around 150-200 yards. Both shots went through the shoulder and shredded internals. Neither critter went more than a few yards.

 

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Edited by ArcticDave
added last moose pic
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My last centerfire rifle was a Kimber Montana in .243...Barnes X bullets for big/edible critters and Nosler ballisic tips for the yotes....lightweight and light recoiling. 

It's kind of funny....when I was a kid I was always wanting a "bigger" caliber (up to .338 WM)....as I've aged, I've gone down in caliber and actually spent about ten years deer hunting with a Remington model 7 stainless in .223 with the solid copper "X" bullets....took a few deer with the .257 Wby. (a real hammer) then settled on the .243.....when I sold the house and moved into the motorhome, I got rid of all my guns except for a .22 handgun and a 12 ga. 870.....Since I hadn't used the 870 in years, I sold it to fund the purchase of my new "old school" Remington 550-1 .22 and I've got to say that this .22 has given me more fun shooting than I've had in many many years.

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Dave,

The 150 is the ideal bullet for the 30-06 for sure. You can run out of gun pretty quickly though if you are hunting elk and get a shot at any distance. I love the 168 Sierra and the 175 Nosler simply because it carries a little extra energy with it downrange. No doubt the 150 is plenty in most situations and it is debatable if a heavier bullet does any good at all. I have a few boxes of Remington Core-Lokt 150 gr. bullets and I may use those to economize a bit. They will certainly get the job done. The broad, round noses really expand even at lower velocities and they perform fine.

I generally don't shoot over 200 yards and 350 is my outside limit on elk. So bullets are a bit of an exercise in details. Anything from a 150 on up will work just fine in most situations. 

I hunt deer with 125 grain Noslers. They are really quick and have a BUNCH of shock. They seem to make up for weight with speed. And they retain weight and penetrate well too. So if that bullet is constructed properly you can pretty much throw out the book that says you need a heavy bullet with a heavy animal. And with 30-06 you certainly don't need to shoot 200 grain round noses to get it done. I have knocked down three little mule deer with them so far and have been impressed.

I am not the guy that thinks the gun is going to do it all. I hunt them as close as I can and often blow it trying to get another 50 yard shaved off the shot. Before the hunt starts I am all about the rifle but as soon as the sky gets light on opening day I could be hunting with a sharp stick. I do my level best to hunt them close. I will only take a long shot if the bull is awesome and he is standing still presenting a good shot. 

Get yourself one of those Hogue stocks Dave! They are really nice, fit perfectly and feel great in your hands. They are light too. The cheap one is just $120 and is a bit flexy but is perfect for hunting. If you drop your rifle it bounces! The more expensive one is about $200 (like I have on the .243) and it has a full aluminum bedding block and a forend rail to prevent flex. It is almost as good as a Bell and Carlson and quieter. So check them out! By the time you can carve and bed a wooden stock you can get one of these Hogues to work for less. You will spend $20 on duro 1000 epoxy just to get a wood stock to fit the action right. These stocks are a perfect fit and a coat of fingernail polish will take up any slack that exists. You can get the stock to fit perfectly in 15 minutes. Weather will not affect them, they will not scratch even if you drag them over lava rock and you can grip them even if your hands are covered in slick blood. The best damned stock on the market and you can find one for just over a hundred bucks. I swear by them!

See ya Dave!

 

Bob

 

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I shot this one at 130 yds with a 125 gr. Nosler. It went through both lungs and exited without hitting bone so it was hardly a test. It did flip this 220# deer over in a cartwheel and turn his chest cavity to liquid as it passed through. No meat damage at all and an instant kill. It probably would have done the same thing at 350 yards. Plenty of bullet and an excess of speed if you ask me.

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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, middleforkminer2 said:

My last centerfire rifle was a Kimber Montana in .243...Barnes X bullets for big/edible critters and Nosler ballisic tips for the yotes....lightweight and light recoiling. 

It's kind of funny....when I was a kid I was always wanting a "bigger" caliber (up to .338 WM)....as I've aged, I've gone down in caliber and actually spent about ten years deer hunting with a Remington model 7 stainless in .223 with the solid copper "X" bullets....took a few deer with the .257 Wby. (a real hammer) then settled on the .243.....when I sold the house and moved into the motorhome, I got rid of all my guns except for a .22 handgun and a 12 ga. 870.....Since I hadn't used the 870 in years, I sold it to fund the purchase of my new "old school" Remington 550-1 .22 and I've got to say that this .22 has given me more fun shooting than I've had in many many years.

You touched on a great point! The 5.56 NATO round makes a good deer rifle (not so much the .223) but it is almost impossible to find bullets intended to kill animals. I found one Speer 62 grain designed for the 22-250 that was a hunting bullet. Solid coppers from Barnes or any other manufacturer will work great but they are really expensive and usually you need to special order.

There is a lot of mystery and BS around bullets and most fellows think that "varmint" or FMJ bullets are designed to kill. And a lot of guys (and police) are carrying 5.56 NATO rifles with bullets that are going to get them in big trouble if they ever have to use that weapon in a fight. 99.99% of all .223 caliber projectiles made for the 5.56 are not suitable for killing anything bigger than a coyote and will fail in a defensive situation. 

The .223 and the 5.56 are two completely different cartridges even though the external dimensions are the same. They are definitely not interchangeable even though they will go "bang" in either weapon. They shoot a completely different weight range of bullets. Finding a bullet designed to expand and kill for the 5.56 is not impossible but requires a lot of searching. FMJ, varmint bullets, "zombie" bullets and the myriad of projectiles designed for 5.56 rifles will simply not cut it. For hunting or defense a fellow needs to use good bullets and that is something that most ammo manufacturers simply do not make for the 5.56. 

The .243 is plenty for deer, even big deer, if you hunt them within 250 yards. It is little but kills very efficiently. You mentioned the .257 and I will add  the 6mm Rem to that list. All of these calibers are really capable weapons. IMHO the AR10 platform with the .243 chambering is every bit as good and possibly better in some ways than the .308 as an offensive weapon. And any bolt action chambered similarly will be an ideal hunting rifle. The only real advantage to the .243 is that it is built on the 30-06 cartridge and you can make the brass from almost any caliber based on 30-06 brass. So this might make the .243 a more logical and economical choice in some cases. 

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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I'm of the same mind Bob. I try and get as close as I possibly can. We hunted alpine tundra right at and above treeline. As you can see in that moose pic, there is plenty of cover from all the low brush. If you sneak along and stay downwind, long shots really weren't needed.

I didn't even know they made 125's! I will have to look for some :thumbsupanim

I will check out the Hogue. I'm open to a synthetic stock, but I really don't like the plastic remington stock it's wearing now.

I think the date on that moose picture was the last time I shot the dang thing.  :th:

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Bob....IIRC, the .223 is the civilian version of the 5.56....the only difference being that the 5.56 is generally loaded with a heavier bullet at higher pressure with a deeper throat and longer leade.  Also the heavier bullets some times will have a hard time stabilizing in "slow twist" sporting barrels...I also think you're mistaken about the .243 being based on the 30-06 case....again, IIRC, it's based on the .308:kap:

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Posted (edited)

The .223 has a much bigger internal case capacity and slower barrel twist. It is designed to shoot at lower pressures with a much lighter bullet. The 5.56 has a vastly different internal case configuration, shoots at higher pressures and starts at a bullet weight about 10 grains higher than the max .223 projectile. A .223 rifle has a twist of about 1/12. A 5.56 rifle starts about 1/9 and can go as tight as 1/7 depending on what projectile you intend to shoot. The rifle and projectile must be matched to get the intended performance. This is why .223 rem and 5.56 are not designed to be interchangeable.

The .243 AND the .308 are based off the 30-06 case. It is just shorter and necked down. Yeah the .243 was based on the .308, but the .308 was based on the 30-06. So it is sorta like the chicken and the egg argument. You can definitely make a .243 (or a myriad of other cases) from a 30-06 case. They all start with the same brass. Thus my point.

.223 Remington barrels aren't "slow twist". They are designed for the .223 Rem cartridge that shoots a max of 45 grain bullet. They will not stabilize bullets intended for the 5.56 well, and the 5.56 will overstabilize a bullet designed for the .223 (It will land nose up at range and fail to expand properly).

By the same token there are various twists for the 5.56 to stabilize the ever widening range of 5.56 bullets. A 77 gr. military 5.56 round is a world away from a 50 gr. 5.56 round and is an entirely different animal than a .223 with a 35 gr. projectile. So while there are some striking similarities they are NOT interchangeable and a .223 is NOT a civilian version of the 5.56... It may have started out that way but because of the evolution of the 5.56 it is no longer the same stuff. It is a vastly different round using a bullet that is nearly twice as heavy as the .223 Rem, a much smaller case capacity that operates at higher pressures, and a vastly different barrel twist.

Yeah, they are the same external dimensions and both will go "bang". They are not the same cartridge nor are they designed to be interchangeable. That was the point I was driving at.

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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Dave.....check out Barnes bullets....the "TTSX" in made in 165....along with the other "X" bullets, I've used them exclusively for the last 20 years or so....perfect expansion and nearly 100% weight retention (when you can recover them) but they generally will pass completely through the animal....tis why I started using the .223 on deer.....never lost one and the internal damage to organs while not causing an excess damage to meat is something that has to be seen to be appreciated....

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3 minutes ago, middleforkminer2 said:

Dave.....check out Barnes bullets....the "TTSX" in made in 165....along with the other "X" bullets, I've used them exclusively for the last 20 years or so....perfect expansion and nearly 100% weight retention (when you can recover them) but they generally will pass completely through the animal....tis why I started using the .223 on deer.....never lost one and the internal damage to organs while not causing an excess damage to meat is something that has to be seen to be appreciated....

Barnes bullets are no doubt the best and this solid copper was the divine answer to the .223 projectile conundrum. Since they are super long they need a tighter twist to stabilize them though. Even more twist than a lead bullet of the same weight (Greenheck Formula). So it is hit and miss on accuracy depending on your barrel.

Lots of hunting rifles now days chambered in 5.56 designed to stabilize the 70 grain bullets. If you match one of these rifles with a bullet like this it will have great accuracy and be plenty for deer as long as you know your velocity decay. If you hit one with a solid copper bullet and your bullet is going too slow you are right back to a FMJ projectile that is just going to poke holes. So hunting with tiny, light projectiles affords a narrow window that might be difficult to stay within unless everything is perfect. Shooting a solid copper takes care of this problem but only as long as you retain enough velocity to make it work.

The ONLY criticism I have of Barnes is the cost. Man they are spendy! No doubt if you need the extra edge that they will give you that. But you are going to have to PAY for those rascals. 

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20 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

The .223 has a much bigger internal case capacity and slower barrel twist. It is designed to shoot at lower pressures with a much lighter bullet.

 Actually the best thing one can do if they have an action with the .223 bolt face, is to replace the barrel with a 1-9 twist and a "AI" chamber....then you get the best of both worlds....higher case capacity, higher velocity and you can chose the bullet weight/configuration that works best for any particular application...oh yeah...case life is also greatly extended...especially if you take the time to anneal the necks....:)

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11 minutes ago, Bedrock Bob said:

The ONLY criticism I have of Barnes is the cost. Man they are spendy! No doubt if you need the extra edge that they will give you that. But you are going to have to PAY for those rascals. 

 Before long, "sporting bullets" containing lead will be a distant memory...it's only a matter of time,

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I have the model 110 in both the .243(for deer) and 7mm(for elk). Need to find an all copper bullet for the .243 next year as CA has outlawed lead.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, middleforkminer2 said:

 Actually the best thing one can do if they have an action with the .223 bolt face, is to replace the barrel with a 1-9 twist and a "AI" chamber....then you get the best of both worlds....higher case capacity, higher velocity and you can chose the bullet weight/configuration that works best for any particular application...oh yeah...case life is also greatly extended...especially if you take the time to anneal the necks....:)

Sure, with custom mods you can make a .223 Rem shoot 5.56 ammo. Or just buy a bolt rifle with a 5.56 Wilde chamber and the twist for the bullet you intend to shoot. But you can't stuff 5.56 ammo in a .223 Rem and expect it to perform well. Nor is the inverse possible. The rounds are vastly different, even if it not apparent by looking at the outside of the case.

I think the discussion is a very important one. Lots of men are confused about this and have no idea about it. They think .223 = 5.56 and that is simply not the case at all. And lots of guys have a 5.56 with a 1/9 twist and can't figure out why .223 bullets tumble and 77 gr. 5.56 are so inaccurate. That is because the guns and the ammo simply don't match nor were they designed to be used together.

Another point you touched upon was case life. The .223 rifles will hardly grow at all and you can use a neck sizer. Brass lasts forever. 5.56 need to be full length sized and constantly trimmed for a semi auto platform. They grow BIG TIME with each shot. The military brass is thicker and as it grows the neck tension increases as the brass gets thicker. You rapidly loose concentricity as the thick brass is drawn forward. Even if you trim, after a few shots you will jam the brass into the chamber and cause a dangerous high pressure situation. They need to be reamed after a few shots. Not so with the .223 brass in a sporting rifle which is soft, thin and does not stretch so much.

If you chamber a bolt gun for 5.56 then the brass does not need to be FL sized, stops growing and is capable of more velocity and pushing a much larger bullet. So you really get the full advantage of the 5.56.

BUT... If you load a 5.56 with a 70 grain bullet at maximum load for the AR platform and stuff that in a .223 Rem sporting rifle it is not a good scene. The .223 rifle is not designed for the pressure or the bullet weight. It will not shoot well. And although it may work a million times you are exceeding the intended specs of the rifle and causing premature erosion in the leade. Your efficiency, accuracy and reliability are taking a huge hit and you are getting a big fat plum for it.

When they started trying to make a hot rod out of the little .223 they created a lot of technical obstacles to overcome. When reloading these particular rounds a lot can happen. It makes great discussion for guys who are learning about rifles, reloading and such. 

Edited by Bedrock Bob
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19 minutes ago, middleforkminer2 said:

 Before long, "sporting bullets" containing lead will be a distant memory...it's only a matter of time,

Bismuth.

Cheap, virtually the same as lead from a physical perspective and plenty of it. 

I don't see lead bullets going away any time soon. I think that is more a political thing in certain places. Not really a trend. I might be wrong though. Only time will tell. I will be shooting lead for the rest of my life no matter what the law says  so it really does not matter much to me one way or the other. 

I have some solid copper Horandy bullets in .308 dia. I might load a few up and do  a test with them. If I have time  will do that and post some comparative results.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, LipCa said:

I have the model 110 in both the .243(for deer) and 7mm(for elk). Need to find an all copper bullet for the .243 next year as CA has outlawed lead.

Do you have stainless barrels or chrome moly? I know it is tough to find a Savage in 7mm now days without the stainless.

Edited by Bedrock Bob

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I haven't checked but I think my 7mm Model 110 is from maybe the 80's ... Whatever that barrel would be? It's blued.

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3 minutes ago, LipCa said:

I haven't checked but I think my 7mm Model 110 is from maybe the 80's ... Whatever that barrel would be? It's blued.

It is probably chrome moly. It isn't stainless if it blued. The new ones are almost all stainless and fluted. Just wondered which barrel you had.

I like the older rifles with the blued barrels. Lots of guys want the stainless and it is tough to find a blued barrel on the shelf sometimes. I guess there are good arguments on both sides. Either way the Savage rifle is the best bang for the buck and the 7mm is a great hunting round. You can't go wrong with a rifle like that. 

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Posted (edited)

I looked it up. It was made in 1965, not in the 80's

Edited by LipCa
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Wow! That is an old timer!

I am not sure when that chambering came out but it must have been right about that time. The 7mm is not a very old cartridge.

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