Rifle weight. Is it worth it?

AK Shane

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I have a great shooting 338 wm that weighs in just over 9 lbs. Guess what, it hasn't been on a hunt in years. Its too dang heavy. My mountain rifles all weigh 7.25-7.5 lbs all scoped up. These have become my flat land rifles too because they are so much more comfortable to carry.

If you need that weight for stability on long range shooting then I understand a heavy rifle. But in the mountains I say 8 lbs is the max. Cut the weight if you can. On day 2 in the mountains you'll thank yourself.
 

jhm2023

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Delta Junction, AK.
Personally I like a mountain rifle to be in the 5.5 - 6.25 lb range bare. Scope must be under 20oz and mounted in a set of Talley lightweights. Sling must be durable, simple and very lightweight to prevent th pendulum effect when shooting quickly offhand, yet also not be bulky or stiff so it can be used properly to aid in stability in various shooting positions.

I've gotten to the point that I almost always grab a lightweight rifle when I'm headed out for a hunt and I only have one that is on the heavier side(still sub 9lbs) anymore, not counting family heirlooms. The heavier rifle only gets taken out for moose and the bigger bears as it's a 33 Nosler. At that point I don't mind the little bit of extra weight to dampen some of the recoil when I send 250gr bullets out of the barrel at 2,800fps.

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fatbacks

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I much prefer a rifle that comes in under 7 lbs. heavier than that it really gets heavy on a 10 day mountain hunt.

I’ve always carried a light rifle and there has been more than one occasion where other members of the party left their rifle at the tent and opted to use mine if the opportunity presented itself.

All that said, use what you’re confident in. Hard to beat confidence in a rifle when the time comes to seal the deal in less than optimal conditions.


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COwineguy

COwineguy

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What are people's opinions on the Weatherby Backcountry Ti? Starting to look at a rifle that could be set up lightweight and for sub ~400 yd shots. I talked to Travis about building a 22" 30Nosler but he would rather not do to loss of performance. I am a firm believer whether it is a chef with food or a rifle builder building a rifle that I want them as excited about the project as I am. Other options? I looked at both the tikka and bergara but the weight was 6.4 lbs and my current Nosler is 6.9
 
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There is a direct correlation between rifle weight and effective range. 7-8lb all up are fine out to 3-400yds for people that shoot a lot. Any shots taken beyond that should have more heft to the rifle.

I prefer to self spot impacts and follow up quickly. So I like a 8.5lb rifle with a low center of gravity ie light scope and heavier stock. If you are running a 7lb magnum there is absolutely no way you are spotting an impact or keeping that rifle anywhere near the animal.

Figure out your max range then decide on the rifle.
 
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madcalfe

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What kind of stock do you have on your custom? Does it have a break?
there’s other ways to loose weight than to down grade optics.
I just built a custom that weights 5.4lbs and am running a 2lbs scope on it. Finial weight with scope and bipod is 8lbs 2oz this is a .300wsm with 20" barrel. and recoils like a .243 with the pva ultralight jet blast brake. 3EA80410-D97E-4C79-9E40-80EB22BBB77C.jpeg
 
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WCB

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I chased Tahr and Chamois in NZ...My 7rem is right around 10lbs. Take a jog and drop a pound before the trip. If you shoot the rifle how you want to know and are in good physical shape I wouldn't change a thing.

Now if you are out of shape I'd try to get every advantage any way I could. When I guided hunts in MT guys rifle weights were the least of their worries. They usually have 5-10lbs of crap they don't need in their packs or about 30lbs around their waists.
 

tdot

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My personal max is 8lbs and prefer something around 7lb. Being able to handle the recoil and shoot consistently from a variety of mountain positions is very important. So fit and balance are ultimately as(more?) important then weight.

The vast majority of shots in the mountains are likely to be sub 500 yards, most guides that I've heard make it sound like 300 is a long shot. Maybe enquire with your guide. Realistically 10x magnification is all you will need. I'm a big fan of the 2.5-10NXS as a result. I personally wouldn't put a Z5 on my mountain rifle, too fragile IMO. I've personally had a failure and seen enough others to stay away. I only have one Z3 left on my rifles and it is on my sub 6lb rifle that is purely for still hunting or a backup rifle on a mountain hunt.

Also would recommend the Kifaru gun bearer or Stone Glacier rifle quick release. Both will put the weight of rifle onto your pack and make it easier to justify (hide) a little extra weight.
 

Nimrod62

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What kind of stock do you have on your custom? Does it have a break?
there’s other ways to loose weight than to down grade optics.
I just built a custom that weights 5.4lbs and am running a 2lbs scope on it. Finial weight with scope and bipod is 8lbs 2oz this is a .300wsm with 20" barrel. and recoils like a .243 with the pva ultralight jet blast brake. View attachment 274785
Super nice rifle! Thanks for sharing this.
 
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I’ll be the one to go against the grain here. I have my first sheep hunt this year so take what I say with a grain of salt- but I have spent my time in the mountains with a 12lb rifle on my back.

on a guided hunt my main job is to be the shooter. I invest my weight accordingly. A heavier rifle is a steadier rifle. Jack O’Connors “sheep rifles” , the old .270 winchesters that birthed modern sheep rifles, were around 8 lbs all done up. He seemed to think that was ideal. He also hunted sheep with 12lb guns. Jon Pynch, the rebounded PRS shooter, has done sheep hunts with 16lb guns! With all the technology out there today in regards to lighter packs, clothes, tents, ect. take what rifle you want. You will survive either way.
 

Deerhunter6250

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I am a firm believer in lighter is better for all gear. Of course the older I get the more I believe this. I would rather carry extra food to give me energy to get to the animal I'm hunting rather than extra gear weight. If you can't get to the animal because your gear is to heavy and your getting worn out more each day as the hunt goes on. Your chances of success will decline. I also feel comfortable shooting any gun and havve confidence in all my light weight gear.
 

recurveman

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Jun 24, 2019
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Here is my two pennies. I've shot really light guns and I haven't had one shoot accurate enough for my liking. Seems like a 7# gun is about as light as I can go and still have good accuracy. I shoot quite a bit and reload and I feel that my Tikka is a 600 yard gun at 7#. It isn't easy to shoot but it can be done with practice.

I shoot the Z5 swaro scope and it is an incredible scope. Lightweight, great in low light and plenty durable. I've had my gun attached to my pack for many weeks and taken more than a few spills and the gun is still at its original zero. I've got the custom turret on my scope for the elevation I hunt at and it is a very simple and reliable system for me.

I can't tell you how important practice in real life situations is. Practice, practice, practice. light guns are far more challenging to shoot past a couple hundred yards in the field.
 

gretch6364

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I am really curious what peoples 100% all in rifle weights actually are. I am finishing up a 280ai build now and 100% fully in (except for a sling) with silencer, ammo, sling rings, glass, scope rings, scope level, scope caps....I am just under 167 ounces.

I cold have gone with a lighter scope (at 26.3oz actual with caps), no aluminum chassis in the stock, no arca rail or bipod pic (at 32.2 oz) and a 22" barrel instead of 24", lower profile non-carbon barrel, a different caliber, etc.
 

cbeard64

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My all-in rifle weight today is 7 1/2 lbs.

I took my 40 year old Sako .270 on a desert sheep hunt in 2014. It was a little over 10 lbs all in. I never made that mistake again. Rifle weight is different than pack weight (or even body weight). Very different.
 
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I am really curious what peoples 100% all in rifle weights actually are. I am finishing up a 280ai build now and 100% fully in (except for a sling) with silencer, ammo, sling rings, glass, scope rings, scope level, scope caps....I am just under 167 ounces.

I cold have gone with a lighter scope (at 26.3oz actual with caps), no aluminum chassis in the stock, no arca rail or bipod pic (at 32.2 oz) and a 22" barrel instead of 24", lower profile non-carbon barrel, a different caliber, etc.


Weatherby Backcountry Ti, Talley Rings, Leupold VX3HD 4.5-14x40, custom webbing sling. 96 ounces
 

gretch6364

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Looks like after assembling everything, I was a bit off. I am at 9.05 lbs without my level.

I would certainly put together a lighter gun if I draw my goat or sheep tag. I think this one will be good for most elk hunts and in the sage brush.

I pour my pts into archery tags for elk, so if I have a rifle in hand, it is just late season cow.
 
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I’ll be the one to go against the grain here. I have my first sheep hunt this year so take what I say with a grain of salt- but I have spent my time in the mountains with a 12lb rifle on my back.

on a guided hunt my main job is to be the shooter. I invest my weight accordingly. A heavier rifle is a steadier rifle. Jack O’Connors “sheep rifles” , the old .270 winchesters that birthed modern sheep rifles, were around 8 lbs all done up. He seemed to think that was ideal. He also hunted sheep with 12lb guns. Jon Pynch, the rebounded PRS shooter, has done sheep hunts with 16lb guns! With all the technology out there today in regards to lighter packs, clothes, tents, ect. take what rifle you want. You will survive either way.
Good to see this thread pop up again. Since this post I have done two sheep hunts, a 10 day dall sheep hunt and a blue sheep hunt in Nepal.


IMG_3983.jpeg

5.5kg x 2.2 = 12.1 lbs

IMG_1805.jpeg

With 12 days of food, all the back packing equipment, a tripod, this rifle, my kifaru pack weighed 63 lbs on day one of my hunt.

IMG_1529.jpeg

Tagged a ram on day 8 of the hunt. the pack was a little heavier on the way out, but what a feeling!


IMG_0703.jpeg

Do to poor financial decisions and a very supportive wife, a year an a half later I found myself at 16,000feet with the same rifle.

IMG_1021.jpeg

To be fair, the packers did a lot of the heavy lifting on this trip, but I did carry my pack and rifle enough to solidify my rifle choice for the trip.

I can see where a 10lb rifle may get cumbersome if being handled all day by a 1” sling. Strapped to the side of the pack I don’t notice the extra couple pounds when hunting. However, when putting the crosshairs on a ram when my heart is pounding through my ears the extra heft is appreciated.
 

mtwarden

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I am really curious what peoples 100% all in rifle weights actually are. I am finishing up a 280ai build now and 100% fully in (except for a sling) with silencer, ammo, sling rings, glass, scope rings, scope level, scope caps....I am just under 167 ounces.

I cold have gone with a lighter scope (at 26.3oz actual with caps), no aluminum chassis in the stock, no arca rail or bipod pic (at 32.2 oz) and a 22" barrel instead of 24", lower profile non-carbon barrel, a different caliber, etc.

Mine (Kimber Hunter w/ 2-7 Leupold) is 5lbs 11 oz; worked just fine w/ a relatively long shot (410 yds). On our trips in the bush plane they wanted rifles in a soft case, when my guided handed up the rifle to me he asked "are you sure your rifle is in there?" :ROFLMAO:

zKIzSrQ.jpg

ZCqu9Jx.jpg
 

gretch6364

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Thin barrels and small scopes definitely appear to be the way to save weight. Pretty tough to put a light weight rifle together that you can take to the range and shoot without melting the barrel.
 
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