Elk Rifle Advice... again....

NJDiverDan

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Apr 3, 2014
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Rigby, Idaho
Ok, so I am still trying to decide on the perfect mountain rifle for me, plus I kind of want to treat myself to a new rifle. It is primarily an Elk rifle, with occasional deer and antelope. I live in Idaho, so let's say shots up to 500 on game (although I need a ton of practice to get there, my personal limit now is 300).

First, I am trying to decide on a caliber. I have an older 7mm Rem Mag (savage 111) that I know is adequate for all the game I've mentioned above but to my first statement, I just want an upgrade / new rifle. So, I have been looking at 280 AI, 300 WSM and staying in 7 mm Rem Mag. Ballistically they all seem to be able to get it done. So, I am thinking it comes more down to rifle caliber availability on that one. I have seen the million posts that say go 300 win mag, but not convinced I need to go that heavy.

So the rifles I am looking at are:

Christensen Ridgeline. Comes in both 300 WSM at 6.5 lbs, 7mm Rem Mag or 280 AI both at 6.8 lbs.
Tikka Veil. Not available in 280 AI. 7mm Mag is 6.8 lbs, 300 WSM is 6.5 lbs (not confirmed weights but what I could find)
Savage Ultra light. Not available in 7 mm Mag. both 300 WSM and 280 AI coming in around 6 lbs. BUT only a 22" barrel.
Tikka Super lite. No 280 AI, 300 WSM is 5.9 lbs. No muzzle brake and not sure if one can be added with the thin barrel profile.

Kimber Mt ascent is also in the mix but the above are my top choices.


The big benefit of Tikka or even the savage other than cost is I can get a practice rifle in .223 that will have the exact same stock and trigger. I am not springing an extra 1800 for a practice Ridgeline, so the practice rifle would not be a perfect match. I can almost buy the 2 rifles for the cost of the single Ridgeline.

The last point is rifle availability. Christensen's are readily available (could pick one up today in local shop). The Savage Ultra lites seem like unicorns. I have handled one in 30-06 locally and do really like the feel. Tikka Veil would need to be ordered by can be here in a few days. Tikka Super lite are readily available, but I am thinking I would want the barrel threaded for a brake which I am assuming would take a couple weeks.


So I would love any advice from the Rokslide community on this. This is my second post, asking similar questions but I think I am narrowing down my decision and I was not looking at the 280 AI or 300 WSM previously.

Thank you!

-dan
 

PathFinder

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Manti Utah
Tikka in 7 RM or 300 WSM. It's a better rifle than the Ridgeline, and your idea of buying a trainer 223 is exactly what you want to be doing if 300 is your current max. Get both, do matching scopes or swap the same one back and forth. Shoot heavy bullets through the 223 and put 1k rounds through it a year minimum. Killing stuff with whatever caliber the bigger rifle is will be easy at that point.

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theleo91386

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Eastern Washington
I hate muzzle brakes and I'm not keen on having a shorter than 24" barrel with the cartridges you're looking at. The only option you listed that I like would be the Tikka in 7mm Rem.

For the money you'd be looking at throwing at the Ridgeline I'd think you'd be far better off getting a prefit barrel in 7mm Rem for your Savage from Proof research and an upgraded rifle stock from pretty much anyone.
 

LightFoot

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Feb 21, 2016
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Texas
300 WSM is a great option. Tons of factory ammo available as well as potential for reloading.

Most guns will shoot MOA or better with the right load. Plenty of options for a lightweight rifle. Assuming you budget is about $2K (based on you looking at a Ridgeline), you could get into really good mountain rifles that shoot. Tikka is ALWAYS a right answer. Kimber Mountain Ascent, Browning Pro, and several others are light and come with a threaded brake and thread protector.

Selection optics requires as much thought and focus as selecting the rifle. Also, practice practice practice and verify you "dope."

I have the Browning Pro 300WSM and I am really happy with it. Was thinking about adding another Pro to the stable, but the 300WSM does so much, a new Pro would be redundant.

My setup weight under 8 lbs fully loaded.


>>>----JAKE----->
 

BjornF16

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Dec 12, 2019
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Texas
In what you've listed, I'd go Tikka over Savage. I'd add 7mm-08, 308 and 30-06 into the mix (maybe even 6.5 CM).

I've just bought Tikka T3Xs in 7mm-08 and .223 Rem, both stainless. I also have Barrett Fieldcraft in 6.5CM and a Kimber MA in 280AI.

Sako S20 would be one to look at as well...
 

lyle_destroys

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Do you reload? If not I would stay away from 280ai. Lots of factory options for 300wsm and even more for 7rm.
 

jfs82

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Jan 13, 2019
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461
For 500 and in that 22 inch barrel shouldnt worry you at all. As to cartridge... there's so many great bullets available that I'd feel fine with basically any caliber 6mm and up and just pick whatever interests you and you'll like shooting.
 
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Wanted to share my solution to your problem (plus some I had as well)...

Little background... I love guns and I build them. So when I decide that I want to figure out a "gun solution" I go figure it out.

I had been elk hunting for about 3 years, had carried a 30-06, 300 WM, and a 7 RM... All bolt guns. Killed elk with 2 of the 3 (didn't kill an elk with the 7). I was wanting to start moving to a mountain rifle (light, maneuverable) profile that I could backpack hunt with - but I also did not like the 3 and done of bolt rifles - in case I had to do the grizzly boogie (I hunt in the Yellowstone areas).

I also had a few other problems I wanted to solve which included:
- at the time I was flying in and sometimes I was carrying 2, or even 3 guns to cover the various hunting scenarios I wanted to cover
- I wanted something I could swap optic scenarios fast in case I needed to go from woods to open plains

There were a few other problems but my old brain forgets them.

So I developed GAKAK... Go Anywhere Kill Anything Kit.

I searched high and low and found the components to build sub 7 lb AR 10 profiles. I now have a single pelican case where I put 1 lower and 3 uppers in it. The uppers are 243 (smaller game -> antelope), 308 (shooting 178's which drop elk out to 500 like rocks), and 375 Raptor (which can kill cape buffalo). The entire thing with ammo, scopes, bipods, slings, etc less than 50 lbs so you can put it on a plane.

Works great!
 

ShortMountain91

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Tennessee
300 wsm is probably my favorite overall cartridge but you could do 300 win mag and get pretty much same performance with more factory options. I have the browning xbolt HC speed and am very happy with it. Need to weigh my full setup but it's plenty light. It shoots great and I only got a little over $1k in the total setup but got deals on both gun and glass. Of the rifles you listed the Ridgeline is sweet but a lot of coin. I'd throw the xbolt lineup in that mix also


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OP
NJDiverDan

NJDiverDan

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Rigby, Idaho
Thanks for all the responses. I do have the capability to reload, although I re-load to shoot, not shoot to re-load if that makes sense.

I am primarily an archery hunter, back pack style. But, wanting to treat myself and get more trigger time (which is why I have the 300 yard limit today, lack of trigger time).
 

Spoonbill

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Jan 15, 2020
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Since you mentioned that it will primarily be an elk rifle, I would suggest the 300 wsm in a tikka. Well built, accurate and affordable. I have s buddy who put a brake on his 300wsm t3 lite and it is a soft shooter.
 

elkguide

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Right up front.... .30 caliber fanboy here, especially if you are focusing on elk and are looking to stretch your range. Over the many years that I spent guiding and hunting elk, I have watched elk hit with calibers from .30-.30 to .243 to .44 mag all the way to the big Lazeroni calibers. Elk will die from any caliber if a bullet is put in the right place.

I am fortunate to have many rifles in many calibers, including 8 rifles in different .30 caliber variations. When my targeted animal is an elk, I always seem to grab a .300 Win Mag.

Of the rifles that you suggested, I would go with the Ridgeline in .300 WSM. Those rifles fit me well and I like the way they carry, balance, point and hit what I point at. (actually I would get a Ridgeline but in .300 Win Mag.)

Really need to put each of the rifles in your hands and see which one feels best to you. I've shot each of the rifles that you are looking at and they, like most rifles today, will do what most hunters are asking them to do. Now if you are looking to poke precise holes in paper, we need to have a different conversation). So have fun finding the "best" hunting rifle for you!
 

Ross

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Partial to the 7mm and that is what everyone had in camp......I chose the tikka 7mm and 223 practice rifle you noted...in 2003 at just over 7.5 pds with a vx3 currently on it never have had a need to upgrade or change..it has taken a beating and has performed very well..hit the elk where they breath and they are yours👍
 

PA Hunter

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Fierce CT Edge .300 RUM 26 in barrel 6 lbs and no kick, awesome trigger can do anything anywhere rifle in case you expand your hunting in the future. Absolute dream to carry this rifle the older I got and shoots everything very accurate.
 

Txhunter85

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Dallas Tx
I am in the same boat as your are in trying to figure out the ideal mountain rifle/caliber. I am looking at one gun to hunt elk/mule deer out west as I live in Texas.

Now my first rifle was a savage 110 in 270, second was a savage model 10 in 6.5 creedmoor, I bought my wife a savage 111 in 270 for her first rifle as well. Now all 3 of those rifles shoot under 1/2 inch with the 6.5 being one ragged hole at 100 yards. Savages shoot great but have crappy stocks. I upgraded my 110 to a bell and Carlson but it’s a little heavy, and upgraded the 6.5 to a manners T2A and it is way to heavy. But both guns were built for my texas “hunts” were we sit in a box blind or tripod. I am drawn to savage as the accuracy I get out of them is phenomenal for such a cheap gun.

I am like you, I could use either of the two 270’s to get the job done but kind of just want a new rifle. The Tikka actions are awesome, but I find myself drawn to the Christensen Ridgeline a lot. But I’ve never owned a Tikka and might give that a shot as well. Hard call. I was leaning heavily towards a 7mm and still might get one but am starting to go the way of a 300wm or 300wsm with the 300wm being the top choice of those two only downside being recoil that I can see. Just my take.

I’m following along as I was about to start a thread asking the same question as you did. Really what I’m learning is that all will do the job; just comes down to preference and money.


Throw in a fierce as well, I hear they are a great gun for the money too. And there’s a good deal in the classified section a 7mm.
 

brsnow

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Apr 28, 2019
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If you want a light mountain rifle, they are out there and very effective on elk. Once you scope and load they rifles mentioned, they are no longer “light”. If you are not concerned with weight, your choices are limitless.
 
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jfs82

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Jan 13, 2019
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For elk capable, lighter options (shorter actions) I'd personally look at 6.5 prc and 7 saum.
 

thinhorn_AK

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I am in the same boat as your are in trying to figure out the ideal mountain rifle/caliber. I am looking at one gun to hunt elk/mule deer out west as I live in Texas.

Now my first rifle was a savage 110 in 270, second was a savage model 10 in 6.5 creedmoor, I bought my wife a savage 111 in 270 for her first rifle as well. Now all 3 of those rifles shoot under 1/2 inch with the 6.5 being one ragged hole at 100 yards. Savages shoot great but have crappy stocks. I upgraded my 110 to a bell and Carlson but it’s a little heavy, and upgraded the 6.5 to a manners T2A and it is way to heavy. But both guns were built for my texas “hunts” were we sit in a box blind or tripod. I am drawn to savage as the accuracy I get out of them is phenomenal for such a cheap gun.

I am like you, I could use either of the two 270’s to get the job done but kind of just want a new rifle. The Tikka actions are awesome, but I find myself drawn to the Christensen Ridgeline a lot. But I’ve never owned a Tikka and might give that a shot as well. Hard call. I was leaning heavily towards a 7mm and still might get one but am starting to go the way of a 300wm or 300wsm with the 300wm being the top choice of those two only downside being recoil that I can see. Just my take.

I’m following along as I was about to start a thread asking the same question as you did. Really what I’m learning is that all will do the job; just comes down to preference and money.


Throw in a fierce as well, I hear they are a great gun for the money too. And there’s a good deal in the classified section a 7mm.
back when I was trying to figure out the ultimate rifle I settled on a kimber Montana 308, I love that gun. It’s taken moose, caribou and blacktail, I’d use it on an elk without hesitation.
 
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