2 rifles..1 for practice 1 for matches?????

mustang-cars

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I have a question for some more experienced match shooters. I started with a Ruger Precision rifle for the first 2 years. I had a defiance built at the end of the year and it’s substantially smoother and the trigger tech trigger is light years better than the Timney in the RPR. My initial plan was to keep them both. use the RPR for the club matches/practice and use the Defiance for larger 2 day matches and RTC. Save the barrel life on the Defiance sort of thing.I used the RPR in a local match yesterday and it just wasn’t like shooting the Defiance. Kind of like going from a Cadillac to a Hyundai. Now I’m just toying with the idea of using the Defiance all of the time and just buying more barrels for that rifle. Or my second thought was to build another complete identical rifle to the Defiance but that somehow seems counter productive. Not sure why. Anyways what do you guys do? 2 rifles to manage or just more barrels for the 1 and shoot the snot out of it? Thanks for the help.
 

Colt1776

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I was in the same boat as you towards the end of last year. I had my trued Remington 700 I started with two years ago thought I could use this as a trainer and that’ll save barrel life. I should have just bought a really nice action from the start because Ive since upgraded to an Impact and I love it! And I am just going to switch barrels on it.

You’d be far better off just using one rifle with a really nice action, trigger, scope, and stock and all you’d have to do is replace barrels on it instead of switching back and forth between the lesser of the two rifles and also trying to come up with everything to make them two like each other which no matter what you do to the RPR it’ll still be the Hyundai in the end.

I don’t know what caliber you are running but with the barrel life of a 6.5 Creedmoor being around 2500 rounds It’ll last the better part of a year depending on how much you are shooting it.
 

Praeger

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There's no right or wrong answer here. For most, it's a matter of economy. If you budget allows, a clone training rifle keeps the wear and tear off your game day rifle. If budget is better spent on ammo, I'd recommend sticking with one rifle and have a second barrel ready to go. It'll be far less expensive, and from a training perspective, you eliminate even small differences between two rifles (although if they're truly clones - same optics - the difference will be very small if at all).

If you get both barrels cut and fitted at the same time, you'll only need an action wrench and barrel vise to change out barrels. Keep track of round count, especially if you're shooting a 6mm Creedmoor or other barrel burning cartridge. Plan mid-season barrel changes - give yourself time to confirm the original load still works in the new barrel. Or, be like the rest of us that make those changes right before a match.
 

Keyrock

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I think the most important thing is to do what works for you and go from there.

That being said, I think training should be as realistic as possible, so I practice with my match rifle. I have some barrels that I save for matches and I try not to burn them up, but I like to practice with as close a match setup as possible.

The goal of my training is to get as much relegated to the subconscious as possible and switching between two very different rifles doesn’t sound very appealing.
 

Sheldon N

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Anyways what do you guys do? 2 rifles to manage or just more barrels for the 1 and shoot the snot out of it? Thanks for the help.
I started out with the idea of swapping barrels back and forth on one rifle but ultimately settled on two identical rifles for convenience sake. Nice to have the trainer always ready to go out the door when you want to go practice, no swapping or prep needed. Also nice to not have the last minute pressure of one more range trip to change barrels, rezero and confirm just before a match - especially if I just want to do a bit of practice one or two days before the match with the trainer.
 
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mustang-cars

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I started out with the idea of swapping barrels back and forth on one rifle but ultimately settled on two identical rifles for convenience sake. Nice to have the trainer always ready to go out the door when you want to go practice, no swapping or prep needed. Also nice to not have the last minute pressure of one more range trip to change barrels, rezero and confirm just before a match - especially if I just want to do a bit of practice one or two days before the match with the trainer.
Yeah I definitely don’t want to switch barrels on the same rifle for practice/matches. I was just going to order 2 barrels at a time for the nicer rifle so when I shoot out the first one I’m ready to go with the second. I shoot a 6.5 CM but between local matches, practice, PRS/NRL matches, and riflemans team challenge matches I’ll have to change the barrel 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the season. I like to pull my barrels at 2500 rounds. No rhyme or reason why.
I could afford to do an exact replica of my match rifle. I already have the scope but it’ll still cost me 3k-3.5k to do the barreled action/chassis and I don’t know if the benefit is really there for that amount of money.
I appreciate the input so far and it kind of confirms my thoughts. I can see the point where training with the Ruger is kind of counter productive because it’s very different than the Defiance.
 
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Yoteski

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I'll tell you the point which I arrived at, which may or may not be helpful. I tend to think we overthink the game when it comes to training rifles. I have found that whether I'm shooting my match gun, or a milspec AR, my fundamentals should be the same. I say this because some of the best training(IMHO) I found by accident. I had a buddy who lent me a completely stock AR-15 with a Vortex HS scope on it. I had a bunch of M855 lying around, so I hit the prairie dog town with it. It was not shooting great groups by any means with the crap ammo. At this particular prairie dog town where I shoot there is an old barn where I sneak into, stick a gamechanger on a slat where some siding has blown off, and shoot. Works really well to conceal myself. Long story short, the more I shot, the more I focused on that terrible 8 lb trigger pull, the more hits I started getting and at some very respectable distances for the setup.
The next time I took my match gun out, I couldn't believe how much better I was shooting. Positional shooting seemed waaaay easier and a nice crisp trigger was heavenly. I felt that crappy AR really improved my shooting. It made me think that an AR is really a great trainer because it makes you follow through. Any mistake is magnified exponentially. Just my 2 cents so take it for what worth.
 

Rugster

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I have 2 completely identical rifles aside from chambering. One chambered in 6xc for 2 day matches, and 1 chambered in .223 for club matches and practice. Both are MPA chassis, Kelbly Actions, Triggertech Diamonds, MTU profile bartlein barrels, MPA weight kits, NF ATACR 7-35x mil xt, and cans. I load for the 223 on my Dillon and it hammers. I highly recommend having a trainer rifle and having it identical to your match rifle is icing on the cake but building 2 customs can stretch some folks budgets.
 
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Raptor005

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When I think of a training rifle, two things come to mind:
1) cost savings (cost per round, barrel life, wear and tear, etc)
2) build fundamentals (train with a caliber that exploits fundamental more)

Figure out what benefits you're looking for. If it makes sense, then go for it!
 
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Dthomas3523

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I’d only use two totally different rifles if you could absolutely not even afford barrels for the main rifle.

If your budget doesn’t allow for a complete clone build, swap barrels. If your budget allows, build a complete clone.

Sell the RPR or use it as a backup/loaner rifle.
 

Alpine 338

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Commonality. My 22LR trainer is a Rem 40X repeater. I also have 308, 6.5x47, 7SAUM, etc. All in McMillan A5 stocks, all feel and balance the same.

You can either have dedicated rifles, or swap barreled actions between stocks or chassis systems, but swapping barrels I believe would be cumbersome unless you have an AI or WTO quick change capability.
 
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morganlamprecht

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T-Payne has done this for a while...last I talked with him in Alabama in ‘17 he was running 2 identical builds...one stayed ready and verified for big matches and the other got used in practice...said he was a big fan of that game plan and felt like it helped him
 
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Hollywood 6mm

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I have a trainer in 223 and my match rig in 6 Creedmoor. While they're not identical, they are very similar. I definitely feel like the 223 has been a useful training tool without having to deal with the shorter barrel life of the 6 Creedmoor on multiple rifles, and the 223 is cheaper on ammo, too.
 

Subwrx300

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Personally, I still think you will be further ahead (short term - first year or two) by simply having spare barrel(s) cut/prechambered for your action. You can usually swap them pretty easy. Putting 3-4000 rounds through a barrel is not something most shooters do unless they have tons of national 200+ round matches or they put 100+ rounds down range every weekend between matches all year long.

If buying second rifle as backup or match gun, you still need to learn your backup rifle and match rifle by shooting it: verify dope, check speeds, develop best load possible for your needs, etc. The problem with second rifle can be time: it takes extra time to keep two barrels up to date and shooting well.

I started by burning the piss out of my stock barrel (2500 rounds). Bought another barrel and bought separate rifle at same so I could practice with the other while installing new barrel on match rifle.

The advantage of second rifle is that you have ability to work on one (change barrel, tune, tweak, etc) and still shoot your matches/practice without second rifle. I use it backup in 223, 224V and 6.5CM for various practice types.

If I knew what I know today and I had to do it over and budget was no object, I'd buy two identical rifles in two calibers. After learning which one I liked more or performed better for matches/needs, I'd keep running that rifle for matches and use other as practice/backup.
 

Rob01

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I have been using two almost identical rifles since around 2004. I use a .308 for practice and a 6.5 or 6mm for matches. Have them set up with the same scope, trigger pull and stock so they feel the same. I get the pro of longer barrel life with the .308 and don't waste barrel life practicing so I have a more actual in match time with the 6/6.5.
 

Dthomas3523

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I have been using two almost identical rifles since around 2004. I use a .308 for practice and a 6.5 or 6mm for matches. Have them set up with the same scope, trigger pull and stock so they feel the same. I get the pro of longer barrel life with the .308 and don't waste barrel life practicing so I have a more actual in match time with the 6/6.5.
Rob,

Nowadays with the 6mm’s taking over, would you still recommend .308 for a trainer, or do you see 6.5 morphing into the new training round?

Having a .308 spun up for AI, as I want the extra recoil to exploit any weak points in my position.

But I had an interesting conversation will a top local shooter a few weeks ago. He prefers 6.5 trainer so he knows it was definitely him breaking a bad shot and not just some screwy with the wind.

He’s at a point where his positions are mostly solid, so he wants to eliminate another possibility of a missed shot during practice.
 

Rob01

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Rob,

Nowadays with the 6mm’s taking over, would you still recommend .308 for a trainer, or do you see 6.5 morphing into the new training round?

Having a .308 spun up for AI, as I want the extra recoil to exploit any weak points in my position.

But I had an interesting conversation will a top local shooter a few weeks ago. He prefers 6.5 trainer so he knows it was definitely him breaking a bad shot and not just some screwy with the wind.

He’s at a point where his positions are mostly solid, so he wants to eliminate another possibility of a missed shot during practice.
6mms have been used for years in these matches. That is what I started using in 2004 when the .308 moved to practice. The 6mm is not new in these matches.

I will continue to use my .308 as with a brake the recoil is not that much worse and I see no downside to it. I would rather get 8000+ rounds through a barrel than 2500 in a 6.5. You will be spending 3 barrels to get the same as the 1 .308 barrel.

As for the wind, it's part of the game. When practicing you need to practice everything and a wind call is part of that. That said most of the practice from positional/obstacles etc is inside 500 yards so wind won't be much of an issue with a good call.

Your local guy can do as he likes but I feel a .308 is a very good practice round and it's like swinging a weighted bat before going to bat. Makes the littler rounds feel like nothing in a match.
 

acudaowner

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not sure if this fits but a long time ago i was told if you want to learn to drive don't do it in a nice car with power steering and an automatic transmission use the old truck with out any modern anything like no floor in spots, nothing like sweating your but off in a truck without power steering when you had to fight just to make a turn, and you could only pray for a cool breeze in the summer since the old truck windows did not open. nor did it have mirrors. It did not even have side windows. A manual trans shifting on a big hill in a city with way too many people and things that you could hit. learn the hard way makes newer cars a breeze to park anywhere or drive. He wanted a ride to the liqueur store he was just too drunk to drive himself and its fun to watch people struggle and then learn . i love the 308 its not great for buckin the wind and pitters out quick but you can learn how to over come that to a degree then move up to bigger n better things. sorry i rambled a bit .
 

woolin

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I have a match rifle and a .223 trainer. The .223 is cheap to shoot and I am over 5000 rounds for barrel life. Not to mention if you want to practice windy conditions it adds to the challange.
 

squib

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I have been using two almost identical rifles since around 2004. I use a .308 for practice and a 6.5 or 6mm for matches. Have them set up with the same scope, trigger pull and stock so they feel the same. I get the pro of longer barrel life with the .308 and don't waste barrel life practicing so I have a more actual in match time with the 6/6.5.
I'm in the same camp with 2 identical rifles. .308 for club matches and .260 for others.