|Purveyor of Death |
Im looking at getting into long range shooting. Which would you go with and why?
ETA: I have two Aero precision SR25 pattern rifles. A 16" and 20" both in 308. I'm tempted to just swap the barrel in the 20" to 6.5CM.
The primary reason, IMO, for having an autoloading rifle for long range shooting is to permit faster follow-up shots. A military or law enforcement sniper might need that, but based on my viewing countless videos of precision rifle matches, it doesn’t seem that civilian competitors feel the need even when shooting on the clock.
I don’t consider myself to be an authority on the subject, but when I was researching the same question some time ago, it seemed to me that autoloaders capable of the same precision were generally more expensive than comparable quality bolt action rifles. Semi-autos can sometimes be more finicky about loads for reliable functioning like the 308 Seekins I once had, and the occasional use of a suppressor adds a layer of complication to that mix. I appreciate that a bolt action is easier to clean, and if one is a reloader there’s also the practical issue of what happens to the fired brass.
Some people will lecture us about how a good autoloader is capable of the same precision as bolt action rifles, and therefore there’s no reason to not to chose one over the bolt gun, but I don’t recall seeing a self-loader being used in any of the precision rifle competitions I’ve viewed.
Of course, your situation is different from most people’s. A barrel swap would allow you to see how you liked the idea without the expense of a complete rifle. I considered having the Seekins converted to 6.5 Creedmoor when I had so much trouble getting it to be reliable with all the 308 loads I wanted to use. Ultimately, though, I feared I might have the same problems with the new cartridge and just sold the rifle. I am perfectly content with my Tikka 6.5 now.
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
It can be challenging to determine which equipment will work best for you. Much depends on the types of shooting you wish to do, and you may be a bit uncertain about targets/distances/accuracy at this point.
6.5CM is easier than 308 to shoot accurately. Less recoil, flatter trajectory, less wind drift. On the downside, expect barrel life with the 6.5CM to be half that of 308 Win.
Bolt action rifles are easier to shoot accurately than AR10s. There's metal and gas moving around in the recoil cycle that you won't get with a bolt rifle. Triggers are generally crisper and faster with bolt actions, too. A very accurate AR10 rifle won't be cheap, and a good barrel is necessary. But an AR10 upper will almost certainly cost less than a complete bolt action rifle. In your case, it's just purchasing and installing a new 6.5CM barrel to one of your AR10 uppers. You also can use existing magazines.
I have precision 6.5CM rifles in both AR10 and bolt action platforms. I enjoy shooting both platforms. In its limits, the bolt action rifle is more accurate. I am consistently more accurate on the bolt action. I can have a so-so technique day with the bolt action and still shoot pretty well. A so-so technique day with the AR10 results in some pretty wild flyers. I'm more willing to shoot the bolt action at really long distances (1,000 yards & beyond) than the AR10.
Some things for you to consider:
- Do you need consistent 1/2 MOA accuracy, especially at longer distances? Don't expect that from an AR10. Not so much from the limits of the rifle, but rather from your own technique. AR10s quickly reveal faux pas with trigger control and natural point of aim.
- Do you expect to shoot regularly at 800-1000 yards & maybe beyond? If so, lean towards the bolt action.
- Do you expect to engage multiple targets with fairly rapid shots? If so, lean towards the AR10.
- Can you shoot your existing 308 AR10s very accurately? If not, lean towards the bolt action.
I shoot suppressed on both types of rifles. My AR10 is over gassed, but it really doesn't seem to be an issue.
|Purveyor of Death |
Thanks for the help guys. I think I've decided on a bolt gun.
Have you considered a budget?
Are you looking at factory rifle offerings, or are you considering building up from components?
What about optics?
Factory ammo or handloads?
Preferred rifle weight?
Stock configuration -- traditional or the newer modular types?
What type of shooting -- from prone & bench, or multiple positions?
My first choice in a Bolt action would be one in the AI line. The AIAT at the low end or the AIAX on the high end.
If you're shooting targets and not game I'd go with 6 Creed over 6.5. Or 6 Dasher or one of the other popular 6mms now.
My hovercraft is full of eels.
I shot both with Colorado Precision Rifle at Blue Steel Ranch for two weeks. I second the idea that you will be much happier with a 6.5 bolt unless you need to use a gas .308 (e.g. .mil/.gov work) or cost is a major factor.
do you have a budget in mind?
“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
Mine would be an ARC Nucleus. $2500 for a complete rifle that to build from the same company would cost almost double. I have one, and it is an excellent shooter. The chassis and receiver alone account for the majority of the cost if you were building it. I've heard a lot of good things about the Archimedes, but never laid hands on one.
"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
First, we need to know what "long range" means in Missouri.
My impressions were formed in F class where Long Range means "over 600 yards on a square range." Where bolt actions rule. I have an AR that is amply accurate to 600 yards but not much beyond.
Lower case "long range" means different things to different people. I can imagine a wannabe Designated Marksman exercise where an accurate automatic would be an advantage.
In your position, I would do some shooting with the .308 barrel and see if I liked it before chasing cartridges.
This is great advice. If you talk to Brian Whelen at Colorado Precision Rifle, he will tell you exactly this. He set me up with two classes in San Jon, NM with a loaner JP .308. I like the idea of being capable of shooting DMR to 600-700, shooting the white buffalo at Raton, NM or trying to fling lead past 1000 to be less interesting. Saved me a ton of money and effort chasing down something that wasn’t my jam.
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