Looking for advise 280 AI or 308 Light Weight Rifle

Jaredpilot

Junior Member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
33
Location
Pacific Northwest
I have been hunting with a Remington 700 5R 308 for the past six years. Most of my hunting is high mountain Mule Deer in the Northwest. Yes, the Remington gun mentioned above is probably the worst choice ever with it's heavy bull barrel. It's an incredible rifle but clearly not meant for the style of hunting I generally do.

I have finally decided enough is enough and I am in the market for a new light weight hunting rifle. I do not want to much recoil since this rifle will be under 6 lbs and therefore feel the .308 or 280 AI is my best choice. I have narrowed down my choice to either a Tikka T3X lite in .308 or Kimber Montana or Subalpine in either 280 AI or .308. I am leaning toward a Kimber but all the research I can find on the 280 AI does not provide me much info. So I am asking those of you with more experience, what are the pros and cons of the 280 AI? Why would you choose the 280 AI over the .308?

I know finding factory ammo for the 280 AI is limited and I have only seen Nosler Trophy Bond in 150gr in the stores. Although I could reload, I probably will not do so for a few years. However, I do want to buy a rifle I will use for all big game for the foreseeable future (Deer, Elk, Bear) etc... I do not see myself buying another rifle anytime soon which is why I am leaning towards the quality of the Kimber.

Thanks for your input and advise.
 

JamesP

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Columbia, MO
Great choices on both. If your not planning to hand load go for the 308 in my opinion. If looking at a 308 consider a 7mm-08. Offered in most off the shelf lightweight rifles and easy to find factory ammo. Typically less recoil with better BC bullets of comparable size to the 308. I used one for deer and elk for several years and never felt under gunned out to 500 yards with good shot placement. Either way you can't go wrong with the two you mentioned.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

bpotter

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2013
Messages
153
I have an 8.5 # all up 280 ai on a model 70 action. Plenty for deer and elk and not bad on recoil.

Don't know if the kimber is twisted fast enough for 7mm 150 long range accubonds but should be fine with 140 grain accubond or 160 partitions. 308 in a kimber would be lighter because of shirt action but I think all the tikka use the same length action.

A 270 shooting a good 150 grain bullet would be a good choice too and easy to find ammo.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

handwerk

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2013
Messages
1,343
Location
N.E. Mn. / Mt.
I put together a custom on a pre 64 M70 action/mcm edge stock chambered in 280AI and I'm very happy with it. I handload 150 TTSX's @3050 fps, it's great NA do all round and the cases last for many loadings.
 
OP
Jaredpilot

Jaredpilot

Junior Member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
33
Location
Pacific Northwest
Thanks guys, I have also considered the 7mm-08 but was thinking the 280 AI would give me a bit more power for longer shots and more energy for larger game. The Kimbers all come in 24" barrels with 1-9.5" twist. I agree the .308 gives a slight advantage in weight over the 280 AI but it appears the 280 AI has an advantage in range.
 

hodgeman

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2012
Messages
1,297
Location
Delta Junction, AK
Keep in mind that the beauty of all of the common AI cartridges was that they were designed to fire the parent case as well as the "improved" case.

You can shoot any old 280REM you want out of it if you suddenly find yourself out of cartridges.... You'll have a fire formed AI case out of it should you reload later.

Truthfully, .308, 7-08, 280AI, 270.... most critters will never know the difference if you hit them right.
 

AK Troutbum

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2012
Messages
6,350
Location
Chugiak, Alaska
You really can't go wrong with either the Kimber or Tikka (although there are significantly more folks out there that claim the Kimbers don't group well). I own both Kimbers (Montana .300wsm, Montana .280ai, and Mountain Ascent .270win.), and a Tikka T3 lite chambered in 7mm08. All are sub MOA shooters and all weigh right around 6-7 lbs. scoped (the Tikka is the heaviest at 7.2 lbs. and the MA is the lightest at 6.1 lbs.). The MA is for sure the most pleasant one to shoot, secondary to the fact that it has a muzzle break (I have a break on the .300 but, for obvious reasons, it still has more recoil than the .270). No two ways about it, I prefer the Kimber's over the Tikka. I've always been a big fan of model 70's (CRF and 3 position safety), which Kimber copied, but in a much lighter wt. rifle than my model 70's. I've never been a big fan of push feeds and I'm not really fond of the safety on the Tikka, oh, and the stock is cheesy as hell but all in all it functions, is a tack driving machine, and I bought it for my son so it will be staying in the safe. Now, as far as .308 vs. .280, there is a much wider range of factory ammo available for the .308 and it is much more readily available. For me, if I didn't reload, I'd lean heavily toward the .308. I've actually been considering selling my .280, simply because I have too many rifles and I think that the .270 MA will do everything that I ask of the .280 (I'm not big into long range shooting). Anyway, that's my opinion, if you think you might have any interest in the Montana .280ai, let me know, I also have dies, several boxes of once fired Nosler brass and probably around 8-10 boxes of factory, 140 and 150gr. Nosler ammo that would go with it.
 

Dromsky

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2014
Messages
180
Location
Central Ca
I own a Tikka t3 .270wsm and Kimber MA .308, I will normally carry the Kimber. Pare it with a ltwt scope like a leupold VX-2 3-9 with the CDS and you've got a nice lightweight gun capable to 400 yards+, you will not be dis-appointed.
 

pods8

1
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
3,168
Location
Thornton, CO
I'd likely be comparing 30-06 vs 280AI rather than 308 in this discussion. Unless you want the weight savings of a short action I don't really see much point in 308 personally as there are tons of loads for 30-06 as well and this isn't competitive shooting where price per round really stacks up (otherwise 280AI wouldn't be in the discussion).

I have a 280AI but I reload, it would be expensive to feed factory ammo through it. It takes some extra time forming brass (or costly to buy nosler). That said I'm pushing the 145LRX fairly fast at 3100+ fps and that has worked well for me on pronghorn through elk.

Per the above though for a non-reloader I'd likely run a 30-06 in the non-magnum world over 280AI and 308. I believe my next rifle will be a long action 300WSM though for some extra oomph down range w/o going into very large magnums.
 

elkguide

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2016
Messages
3,977
Location
Vermont
Having Kimber Montanas in .270WSM - 7mm08 - and .300WSM, I like them all. All shoot very well and are a light and easily point on target rifles for me. The .300 does have more recoil then the other two but I have never noticed it when shooting an animal with it. I don't use any of my light weight rifles off the bench other then to check point of impact before a hunt. So, while I'm a little guy, 5'9" @ 165#'s, I'd opt for the .300WSM or a .300 Win Mag if I were going to buy just one rifle. Either the Kimber of the Tikka would be a great rifle choice, whichever one fits you and feels the best in your hands. If you lived closer I'd have you come on over and handle and shoot a couple. See if you can find someone there that will let you handle and maybe even shoot one.
 
OP
Jaredpilot

Jaredpilot

Junior Member
Joined
May 23, 2016
Messages
33
Location
Pacific Northwest
Lots of great advice, I love reading all of it. Now you guys have me considering a larger caliber possibly. Lots of decisions to make!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

JamesP

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Columbia, MO
Thanks guys, I have also considered the 7mm-08 but was thinking the 280 AI would give me a bit more power for longer shots and more energy for larger game. The Kimbers all come in 24" barrels with 1-9.5" twist. I agree the .308 gives a slight advantage in weight over the 280 AI but it appears the 280 AI has an advantage in range.

Sounds to me like your talking yourself into a 280ai, nothing wrong with that at all. It will for sure have an advantage over a 7mm-08 but keep in mind most of the stuff you read about guys getting crazy velocities are using longer barrels and hand loading. My smith told me to get the full performance out of that cartridge you really needed to go with a 26 in barrel otherwise you might as well go with a straight 280. I decided on the 7mm-08 and was shocked how well it performed. I hand loaded for it and found some great loads and it was extremely accurate, it had all the punch I needed well past 500 yards with a good bullet. Taking shots at game past that point is tough and you better be sure of your skills or you could end up tracking a wounded animal for miles and that's just not anything I'm interested in doing. Light rifles are great until you start getting into the larger cartridges then you might want to consider a muzzle brake.
 

pods8

1
Rokslide Sponsor
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
3,168
Location
Thornton, CO
You could always get a 7mm-08 Kimber and AI that.

He doesn't reload (yet) so no point in that one as he'd never reap the rewards of reloading the fire formed brass.

Sounds to me like your talking yourself into a 280ai, nothing wrong with that at all. It will for sure have an advantage over a 7mm-08 but keep in mind most of the stuff you read about guys getting crazy velocities are using longer barrels and hand loading. My smith told me to get the full performance out of that cartridge you really needed to go with a 26 in barrel otherwise you might as well go with a straight 280. I decided on the 7mm-08 and was shocked how well it performed. I hand loaded for it and found some great loads and it was extremely accurate, it had all the punch I needed well past 500 yards with a good bullet. Taking shots at game past that point is tough and you better be sure of your skills or you could end up tracking a wounded animal for miles and that's just not anything I'm interested in doing. Light rifles are great until you start getting into the larger cartridges then you might want to consider a muzzle brake.

Not sure on your loads but I wouldn't be using my 7-08 (yes have one of those too) at 500yd on elk ideally as the energy is dipping below the typical recommendation of 1500ftlb around 350yds for my load/altitude. Great easy shooter for elk closer in and smaller critters further out though.
 

luke moffat

Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
22
Nothing wrong with a plain ol 30-06 or 270 on a long action or a 7-08 or a 308 on the short action.

I have both Kimbers and Tikkas both work just fine. I would shy away from magnums in the lightweight rifle realm. Gernally magnums are 3+1 vs 4+1 of non magnums in the magazines.

Plus a 30-06 will bring the heat just fine for anything I would want to hunt. All that said I have a 4 pound 14 oz 338-06 Kimber and I like it a lot. How much are you looking to spend? Honestly rifle weight is the last place I would cut weight out of my pack as its generally one of the most expensive $/oz ratio to cut weight.

I'll say it first so 16bore doesn't have to....just get a 270 and shoot factory loads. :) I agree though I'd pick either the 308 or 30-06.
 

pacific-23

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2013
Messages
199
Location
Sitka
I own a kimber Montana in 280 AI because all the cool kids had one. Buy the 308and don't look back. Reloading is entertaining but also a PITA and extra cost. I love my rifle but would get a standard chambering next time for ease of buying ammo/brass. Everything I've shot with my 280 has been dead but any more dead than my 270? The 308 is nice for the ability to load heavy and hunt anything on the continent if you want to
 

JamesP

Senior Member
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
428
Location
Columbia, MO
He doesn't reload (yet) so no point in that one as he'd never reap the rewards of reloading the fire formed brass.



Not sure on your loads but I wouldn't be using my 7-08 (yes have one of those too) at 500yd on elk ideally as the energy is dipping below the typical recommendation of 1500ftlb around 350yds for my load/altitude. Great easy shooter for elk closer in and smaller critters further out though.

145lrx with varget out of a 24 in barrel. Running velocities just over 2875 I had plenty of energy at 500 yards.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 

6mm Remington

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
1,499
Location
Western Montana
I have a 30-06 and a 280 AI and if it were me I would consider one of those two cartridges. There is no dust on the 30-06 and it is a performer on game. Same to be said for my 280 AI. I used to have a 280 Remington and loved that cartridge. The 280 AI is just a bit more potent. Both are great.

Nosler does make really good brass for the 280 AI.
 
Top