Long Action Target Caliber

Jan 1, 2018
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#1
Gentlemen,

Looking for some suggestions/feedback on a paper punching rifle that can be built in long action. I'm a lefty shooter and scored a great deal on a left handed manners with the DBM chassis in it, but it's in long action. Looking to drop a barreled action onto it, but trying to determine caliber to go with.

I've done some research and have the following calibers in mind:

6.5x284
260 Rem (I know it's a SA cartridge, but read online people were getting good results in a LA)
308 (Same as above, seating bullets long to maximize case volume)
6.5 PRC (See above)
26 Nosler (Probably burn up the barrel too quickly for my liking)
 
Jun 13, 2008
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#2
You're gonna get asked a lot more questchuns any minute now....

I recommend giving more background on what you think paper punching is, at what range, on what kinda paper. You have some great cartridges listed, but they span a WIDE swath of abilities.
 
Jan 1, 2018
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#3
Primarily paper and steel out to 1000 yards, in the prone. Not looking for a bench rest rifle, but something that will allow me to compete in a prs style match with targets from 200-1000 yards.
 
Apr 8, 2010
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#16
might be missing it but if your wiling to stay close to 1000 and seem to be wiling to shoot a 260 or 308 (not long action by pure definition) then just get a 6.5 creed, 260 twin more or less.
as we have read on this site for the past few years PRS guys love it, and it shoots those distances really well.
known distance or able to use LRF you dont need crazy ballistics (at cost of recoil and barrel life) just wind reading.

or go to my facorite LA round 300WM.
 

lash

Swamp Rat
Sep 28, 2012
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#17
might be missing it but if your wiling to stay close to 1000 and seem to be wiling to shoot a 260 or 308 (not long action by pure definition) then just get a 6.5 creed, 260 twin more or less.
as we have read on this site for the past few years PRS guys love it, and it shoots those distances really well.
known distance or able to use LRF you dont need crazy ballistics (at cost of recoil and barrel life) just wind reading.

or go to my facorite LA round 300WM.
Actually, in a long action, the balance between .260 and 6.5 Creed gets tipped more in favor of the .260. With the ability to chamber for a long throat and seat those projectiles longer in the .260, you can get more performance (speed) from it. Then, add the ability to bump it out to a .260 AI or SLR. Stuck in a short action, your case for 6.5 creed is relatively valid, even if your reasoning has nothing to do with performance and is all about what the PRS guys use. In a long action, it holds no water.
 
Apr 8, 2010
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#19
Lash, i didnt want to get into it that deep, i actually shoot a 260 instead so i can push it a bit more than the creed.
i dont mess around with AI'ing calibers i usually just move up to the next level in performance/ caliber, so that didnt even enter my mind.
so in a short action the are "IIIIIdentical" LOL.
love that movie
 
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Conrad

Gunny Sergeant
Apr 28, 2006
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#20
So if the stock is LA and already has an LA mini chassis in it, doesn’t that automatically limit you to the 5 round LA mags? Doable, but Not ideal for PRS where stages 8 to 12+ rounds. Someone correct me, otherwise.

If that is the case, the short 6.5s with long bullets still might be stretching too far to feed well, but the big 7s and 30s will, but now you’re taking on more recoil than necessary for PRS. Your set up is good for long range prone shooting at a casual pace, but not good for positional fast pace PRS shooting.
 

Sheldon N

Keeper of the Secrets
Sep 24, 2014
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#21
Primarily paper and steel out to 1000 yards, in the prone. Not looking for a bench rest rifle, but something that will allow me to compete in a prs style match with targets from 200-1000 yards.
If your goal is primarily paper punching at 1000 yards, I would say a 284 Win shooting 180's. Gonna be one of the best balances of accuracy and ability to fight the wind in a gun with manageable recoil. There's a good reason it is so popular in F-Class shooting (1000 yard prone paper shooting).

If your goal swings more strongly to the PRS style shooting, I like the 6.5x55 Sweed recommendation. Cheap Lapua brass is a nice thing. You could also get it in one of the Ackley variants if you were so inclined.
 

redneckbmxer24

Gunny Sergeant
Jan 15, 2005
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#22
You're going to be at a serious disadvantage with the 5rd long action mags if you are looking to shoot in PRS matches. Personally I'd pass on the LA chassis if you're serious, I'd bet you didn't get a good enough deal on it to justify building a rifle around it that isn't going to cut the mustard.

If you just want to build an informal LR rifle, my choice would be 6.5-284. If you want a PRS rifle, change your route.
 

W54/XM-388

Online Training Member
Oct 1, 2005
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#23
You could really do any number of cartridges including running what is normally short action cartridges.

If you would like long range and great barrel life, the 6.5x55 is a great option. You can get excellent brass & loaded rounds from Lapua for it. In addition, it will do everything the 6.5CM will do but even more, with about double the barrel life depending on your loads.

6.5-284 would be an excellent choice for long range and very accurate. The only downside is going to be probably a sub 2k barrel life

A lot will depend on the ranges that you want to shoot at and the specific competition style you go for.
 
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Feb 7, 2013
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The West
#24
Seems like your getting a lot of good answers from the better ELR choice to something balanced like @Sheldon N wrote and really nailed by @redneckbmxer24

For me the positional shooting thing, NRL or PRS whatever, has a lot of stuff going on. Managing the recoil is of course what some are recommending the smaller cartridges like the 260/6.5. But the real disadvantage of a long action is racking the bolt that can cause you to have to come off the scope and require a target. I promise that will mess with your head with all the other time management issues going on.

Lastly, if you choose a SA cartridge, how will they feed from that bottom metal?

If it were me, I'd either store the long action chasis for a later project, build an ELR gun, or sell it and get a SA that will certainly accomplish your goals with factory or hand loaded ammo... and it will get you 10 rounds reliable feed when needed.
 

redneckbmxer24

Gunny Sergeant
Jan 15, 2005
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#25
Yeah there’s always that too, short action rounds feed like shit out of long action mags.

I learned not to settle just because something was a good deal a long time ago. There’s stuff that works great and then there’s everything else.
 
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steve123

Lt. Colonel
Mar 16, 2008
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#26
I've done the long action thing using both a long action round, 7RM and 30-375R, and a short action round too, 6.5 Saum. I do have a 10 round AI mag which is about 20 feet long, lol. Only in certain matches with longer distances and being mostly prone off the bipod do these boomers become an advantage.

Just going 280R might not be a bad idea for mag feeding if you must stay with a LA??? Load down 150's for PRS matches and load up 180's for longer range.

The most advantageous thing to do is get into a short action in which case a 6mm flavor seems the most popular. 1000Y is no problem with the high BC bullets going fast and as far as positional, etc, it's favored because of low recoil. 10 round + mags of moderate length just makes the whole thing easy.
 
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mi223

Full Member
Feb 14, 2017
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#27
It depends on how you will use it. If you are wanting a true prs style rifle that you you can use as a range gun then i agree with the others, get a short action.

If this is just a range gun that you will shoot 1 or maybe 2 matches a year then i say go 284 or 260. Either way have it throated long to take advantage of the extra magazine space
 
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kabarNC

Learning..
Feb 11, 2017
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#28
20161224_170432.jpg

This was my first match rifle, Tikka long action .284Win shooting 180 Bergers in 10rd long action AI mags. Prone stages were ridiculously easy, i loved that caliber for that. But i gave up way too much performance on the positional shooting with the amount of recoil. I have since moved to a short action 6.5 Creed, and i dont feel hindered at all. I can now spot impacts and misses off of most positions with the reduced recoil. And i dont worry as much about losing brass lol. If i had to do it again, i would have forgot about my long action that i had in hand and started with something proven to work, instead of trying to shoehorn my long action into these style matches.
 

nfoley

Sergeant
Nov 15, 2010
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#29
I had a lefty 6.5x55 on a LA Bighorn and Chanlynn barrel, ended up selling to a friend. He reminds me frequently how crazy accurate that rifle is. Cheap lapua brass was a huge bonus. Making me think about doing another one...
 
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Fig

Janitor of the Hide
Mar 15, 2018
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#30
This is just my opinion, but I would stay away from any cartridge with a felt recoil that isn't under a .308 (that includes a brake or a can). Tactical Steel/positional shooting/PRS is a spot your own misses, recoil mitigation game. Unless you don't miss, the real disadvantage of most LA cartridges is recoil, and it's a HUGE one.

Ask yourself which of those cartridges would you feel comfortable rapidly free-recoil firing off a rickety, Viking barricade. Is it even possible to spot your misses assuming you don't end up with a black eye and the rifle didn't end up on the ground?

I don't shoot a 6x47L because I'm in love with it ballistically. I shoot it because with a brake or a can it has felt recoil like a .223, and I can spot my misses from 100-1,500 yards (it sucks past 1,300) even when free recoiling.

It's a game, and the rifles are largely purpose built for it. At least that's the way I look at it.

My match rifle is just that, and pretty much nothing else.
 

fdkay

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 27, 2009
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#32
The .280 AI has brass available from Nosler.
You can shoot the 162 ELD-M bullets at an easy 2900 fps (can go hotter).
Or, the 6.5-06 a-square (again, nosler makes brass), the 143's at an easy 2900 FPS

The 6.5x55 is an awesome cartridge, but is quite tapered and the 55 mm length gives up considerable boiler room to the '06 at 63 mm with less taper.

This is without hot-rodding.
The 6.5 and 7mm SAUM are also worthy of consideration.

The advantage of the x55 and '06 based cartridges are the p-mags for AICS compatible bottom metal that are designed around the '06 cartridge
https://www.magpul.com/products/pmag-5-ac-l-standard-aics-long-action
 
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W54/XM-388

Online Training Member
Oct 1, 2005
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#33
Using the 06 cartridge based sub calibers is interesting, I guess how many sources can you get that brass from.
6.5x55 brass and 6.5-284 brass are both widely available & ready to go.
Also loaded rounds for both are easily purchased if you can't reload some right then.
If you are going up to a 6.5/06 would it be about the same as just going with 6.5-284? How is the barrel life on the 6.5/06 chamberings?
 

fdkay

Gunny Sergeant
Nov 27, 2009
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#35
Using the 06 cartridge based sub calibers is interesting, I guess how many sources can you get that brass from.
6.5x55 brass and 6.5-284 brass are both widely available & ready to go.
Also loaded rounds for both are easily purchased if you can't reload some right then.
If you are going up to a 6.5/06 would it be about the same as just going with 6.5-284? How is the barrel life on the 6.5/06 chamberings?
The great thing is, most of them can be sourced from .270 brass then fireformed, but both Hornady and Nosler make the .280 AI brass.
 
Nov 10, 2009
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#36
Another 6.5x55 vote here.

I just built a 28 Nosler hunting rifle and wanted to get a different barrel to target shoot with in the off season so I didn't burn the barrel out. Wanted something to hit steel out to 1000, cheap to shoot, and good barrel life. My final two choices were the 284 and 6.5x55. settled on the swede.

I have seen varied reports on velocity, I haven't gotten mine completely finished yet, but you should see 2900+fps with a 26" barrel with 140 gr. My 24" 6.5 creed does 2730 fps with 140's and I have no issue out to 1000 with it. The swede should be even better.

But you're going to get good life out of the barrel, and it's really cheap to shoot compared to other long action calibers. It's probably the cheapest brass Lapua makes, and you're gonna use around 50 grains of powder per bullet.
 
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Jan 1, 2018
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#39
You're going to be at a serious disadvantage with the 5rd long action mags if you are looking to shoot in PRS matches. Personally I'd pass on the LA chassis if you're serious, I'd bet you didn't get a good enough deal on it to justify building a rifle around it that isn't going to cut the mustard.

If you just want to build an informal LR rifle, my choice would be 6.5-284. If you want a PRS rifle, change your route.
Chassis accepts 10 round AI mags, which are built for the LA
 
Jan 1, 2018
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#40
Really appreciate all the input. Based on recommendations and feedback, it seems like having a long action would be best for a range gun that's punching paper/steel NOT running PRS style matches.

I've also got a 28 Nosler hunting rifle being built similar to @jda2631 so I think the 6.5x55 Swede will be my end choice. I can practice hitting the long range shots with a rifle similar to my hunting rig without firing 5 bucks down range every trigger pull.

Does the 6.5x55 need to be throated anything other than SAAMI spec to take advantage of the 140's?

Thanks for all the help and input.
 
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Apr 18, 2001
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#41
Unless you don't plan on shooting a lot, stay away from stuff like the 260 Nosler, 264 mag, and 6.5 X 284 barrel burners. And I say that as a 6.5 X 284 match rifle owner. Likewise wildcats like the 6.5 SAUM and 6.5-06. Typically less than 1,000 rounds of match accuracy.

6.5 Swede is a good choice, Lapua brass is available as are a variety of match grade bullets. .260 is fine too in a long action you can seat the 140s way longer than you can in a short action mag . The creedmore makes sense in a short action, less so in a long action.

There are a lot of different reamers in regards to the amount of freebore for the Swede. You could call one of the reamer makers, they've pretty much seen it all. You could get a couple of cases and bullets and make up a couple of dummy rounds with the bullets seated out of the powder and into the neck, see if the fit the magazine and send them to a reamer maker to see if something off the shelf fits or if a custom grind would work better.

The 284 would be a choice too. Everything I said about the Swede pretty much applies to the 284. Recoil will be heavier.

Both take a standard .473" bolt face.
 
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Greg Langelius *

Resident Elder Fart
Aug 10, 2001
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#43
Plain Jane .280 Rem. No special brass, no overbore issues, excellent bullets, and up to 168gr shoots fine in the typical 1:9" barrel. H-4350/H-4831, basic .473" bolt face, it's built on the .30-'06 footprint, so actions and magazines are no big deal.

It's kinda too easy to overthink this question.

I had the loan of a Varmint Barrel Ruger M-77 MK I, and did accuracy testing with 120, 140, and 150gr bullets. Accuracy was easy to find, recoil was acceptable for me (and I have skeletal issues with recoil), and brass is available relatively easily.

IMHO, .280 Rem is the ideal L/A LR target cartridge; it picks up where the .260 leaves off. AKA 7mm Express, it is to the .30-'06 case what the 7mm-08 is to the .308 case. It already has an extended shoulder over the '06 case.

Greg
 
Mar 16, 2008
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#44
Unless you don't plan on shooting a lot, stay away from stuff like the 260 Nosler, 264 mag, and 6.5 X 284 barrel burners. And I say that as a 6.5 X 284 match rifle owner. Likewise wildcats like the 6.5 SAUM and 6.5-06. Typically less than 1,000 rounds of match accuracy.

6.5 Swede is a good choice, Lapua brass is available as are a variety of match grade bullets. .260 is fine too in a long action you can seat the 140s way longer than you can in a short action mag . The creedmore makes sense in a short action, less so in a long action.

There are a lot of different reamers in regards to the amount of freebore for the Swede. You could call one of the reamer makers, they've pretty much seen it all. You could get a couple of cases and bullets and make up a couple of dummy rounds with the bullets seated out of the powder and into the neck, see if the fit the magazine and send them to a reamer maker to see if something off the shelf fits or if a custom grind would work better.

The 284 would be a choice too. Everything I said about the Swede pretty much applies to the 284. Recoil will be heavier.

Both take a standard .473" bolt face.
My first serious long range rifle was a 6.5-284, slowed down it might get halfway decent barrel life/1500??? but loaded like a 6.5-284 usually is it gets pretty bad barrel life. Mine needed a set back by 800 rounds because groups had opened to moa, 400 rounds later it was moa again. I got the high score at our 1000Y paper match shortly after I developed a load for it but I personally won't use that cartridge again.

Then I went to 6x47L, the worst barrel was done by 1500 rounds but the best lasted to 2400 rounds. I like the cartridge enough I have stayed with it, but the big benefit has been unbelievable brass life.

284W or 280R medium loads should last near 2000 rounds from what I've read.

6.5-4s caught my attention shortly after it came to be for 1#, it's power and fantastic ballistics and #2, it's good barrel life with H1000 loaded to 55,000 psi or a little less. IIRC, the designer of it won a big match with this cartridge with a 2000 round set back and more than 4000 rounds on that barrel. 130's at an easy 3150 fps doesn't recoil too much on a braked rifle in the 15lb range. When I shoot mine I see is a definite advantage in the wind and drop compared to most other cartridges. It's a cartridge I don't think I'll ever part with, it's been that good!
 

proximo

No, I'm not entertained
Oct 1, 2014
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#48
There's a bunch of 6.5x55 load data in the Reloading Depot

For my Tikka T3 in a Manners stock with LA bottom metal and a 24" Chanlynn barrel, my best load is 45.9gr AA4350 in Lapua brass with with CCI BR-2 primers and a 142g Sierra Matchking seated .070" off the lands. 2786fps. SD of 5.2 and ES of 12. Very accurate and safe in my rifle. YMMV.
 
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beetroot

New Hide Member
Apr 10, 2018
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#49
284win. Its a very powder efficient cartridge, meaning cheaper reloads, less recoil and longer barrel life without sacrificing much in performance to larger 7mm or 30cal cartridges.

Has advantage of being a standard bolt face, so should you decide its too much cartridge a 260, 6.5/6mm creedmoor or 6.5x55 would be a barrel change only.
 
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