Being with RB Bass Outdoors, viewers have come to know me, not just as a fisherman, and a hunter but also as a Shooter. I have been asked by many outdoorsmen in the last couple of years, because of my elk hunt pics and shooting pics, #1 which rifle I like to hunt deer and elk with, and #2 which rifle is my overall favorite, and #3 Which rifle that I have shot, I find to be the best long distance sniper rifle. Now Keep in mind I am old school, because ….well… I’m old, and I haven’t shot the newest of sniper rifles, other than the Barrett .416 back in 2006 but I sure would like to shoot the others.
I will start with #1. I shoot a Savage .270, with a 150 and a 130 grain bullet for deer. This weapon platform along with the 30.06, .257 Roberts, the 7.62 or .308 and 7mm and other similar weapons all have similar characteristics and coupled with the right ammo they are a fairly flat shooting weapons. Muzzle velocity is between 2850 fps and 3050 fps depending on the grain bullet. It’s been around since about 1925. Keep in mind that all ballistics differ depending on the grains of your bullet and grams of your powder, so this is generally speaking. I put a 4x16x40 scope on the Savage and out of the box it drove tacks at 800 yards, but my zero for that weapon and hunting is 200 yards. I know the ballistics for it, so holdovers and holdunders are easy for me, as I’ve taken deer at 650 yards with it. Awesome rifle. For a quick reference I put a cheat sheet on the bottom of the mag well for a fast reminder of ballistics and distances.(See pic with 3 rifles, top one is .270) Did I mention old…memory not what it used to be.
For elk I shoot the .375 H&H Mag. It’s been around since 1912 by England gunmaker Holland and Holland. Very well made. It shoots a 270 or a 300 grain bullet with a velocity of 2,625 fps, with knockdown power of 4,132 ft.lbs. With elk being huge, I like the idea of only taking the one shot to kill it. This weapon also has a cheat sheet on the mag well. (See above pic) In my opinion it’s a little overkill, as you can take these animals with a .270 or a 30.06, but it was my grandfather’s rifle and he got his elk with it, and my favorite uncle got his elk with it, and my dad got his elk with it. By the way, all three great hunters have passed on and I owe them everything I know about the outdoors. This weapon goes to my oldest son next. I have this weapon zeroed at 300 yards, though I know I can reach with it, it’s not needed, because every elk I’ve killed has been under that 300 yards. Hard work and stealth always pays off.
Now, which rifle of the ones I own or have shot is my overall favorite weapons platform? It’s a hard choice but It’s my M-21, with a 4x16x50 Millett illuminated reticle Mill Dot scope. I might try to explain Mil Dots in another article, but keep in mind that a Mil is 3.6 inches at 100 yards and 7.2 inches at 200 yards, etc. Now most of you would look at it and say it’s a standard M-14, but it’s not. The difference other than the above add ons is that the M-21 has National Match Grade parts, including the trigger and trigger assembly, the operating rod and spring, the gas operating system and barrel and iron sites. I took the barrel cover off and added a Picatinny Rail to adopt my Millet scope. I have made this weapon a standoff weapon, not one to be carrying, unless you are in great shape or slide it in a backpack to carry. The standard M-14 weighs 9.2 lbs empty and 10.7 loaded. The M-21 is 13.5 empty and 14.5 loaded. Not much difference but try carrying it for any length of time, muchless holding a target in the offhand. Both shoot a NATO 7.62x 51 or a civilian .308 round. They say effective range is 500 meters but I instructed out to 800 yards with iron sites and 1320 yards with my scope. It was developed back in the 50’s and shoots several grain bullets from 147 gr to 175 gr. These produce velocities 2850 fps and 2600 fps respectively. I reload my ammo of 164 grains. The M-21 is what I used in the Marines for sniping and instructing and I’m still infatuated with it. My longest kill with it was a coyote in Nevada at 1122 yards. Great story to tell on how but I won’t bore you with it. Be it known that the bullet dropped about 32 to 34 feet at that distance.
With all that said and done, I must say that I was lucky enough to be called on to go shoot the .416 weapons platform some 35 years after I was discharged. I believe it was Barrett. It was totally fun as it is a necked down .50 cal bullet and shooting the Ma Duce M2 is also a blast. This .416 is better for precision shooting and shoots a 452 grain MTAC bullet. My accuracy was 8 out of 10 hits, at center mass, ½ man target, at 1.1 miles, which is about 1,940 yards, though the other 2 rounds were on paper, I’ll blame my heartbeat got the best of me or the Coriolis Effect kicked in. Look it up, it’s hard to explain but has to do with the rotation of the earth, and in the northern hemisphere it bends to the right. All shots were taken first thing in the morning on an early summer day, before you got any heat rises or much wind. Keep in mind when this weapon platform is zeroed at 100 yards, 1.1 miles you have to dial in 100 feet of drop. At that distance the bullet still has about 1,272 fps of velocity and about 1,624 ft/lbs of knockdown power. BTW, my .17 cal for accuracy is a close second favorite. (See pics with 2 rifles, one on the left is the .50 cal and the right is the .416) and see bullet size comparison pic.
There ya have it. Hope this answers some of those questions you hunters and shooters had. Everyone has their own favorite weapon and the only way to find that out is to go shoot them. Accuracy and skill comes with application, just like fishing!
RB Bass Outdoor Angler, Shooter and Outdoorsmen