Letter Re: Counter-Sniper Rifle Advice

Shalom, Jim:
I am interested in purchasing a rifle for sniper and other long-range purposes. I was looking at a Savage Model 12 chambered in .308, with the varmint, long-range barrel. I have several questions for you if you don’t mind:
1.) Can a rifle chambered in .308 also shoot 7.62 NATO rounds?

2.) What make and model of rifle do you recommend for this type of shooting?

3.) Do you currently have a weapon that you would use for sniper purposes, if necessary? Or is a long-range, sniper rifle even a necessity for a retreat scenario?

Thanx for your input! Baruch HaShem Yahweh (Blessed is the Name of Yahweh) – Dr. Sidney Zweibel

JWR Replies: In answer to your questions:

1.) Yes, as already discussed in SurvivalBlog, it is perfectly safe to shoot 7.62mm NATO in a bolt action rifle that is chambered for .308 Winchester. (Although the reverse is not always safe, since .308 Winchester commercial loads typically have higher chamber pressure than military 7.62mm NATO FMJ loads.)

2.) The Savage is a fine choice. I prefer the models with the pillar-bedded synthetic stocks. Dollar-for-dollar, they are in my opinion the best buy in very accurate centerfire rifles. For roughly half the price of a Steyr SSG, you can buy a rifle that is just as accurate. (They consistently shoot 1/2″ groups at 100 yards with Federal .308 Match ammo.)

3.) We have a Savage Model 10FP-LE2 Tactical bolt action here at the Rawles Ranch that is chambered in .308 Winchester, and we shoot it regularly. It is a bit heavy for hunting, but great for its intended purpose. It is it topped with Trijicon 3-9X Trophy Point scope. (With a tritium-lit reticle.) It is also equipped with a medium height Harris bipod and a Holland’s cheek piece/zippered stock pouch. Ours is essentially a “stock” rifle, except that I had Holland’s thread the muzzle with 1/2 x 28 threads. (The same threading used on AR-15s and AR-10s.) Like all of the rest of our centerfire bolt actions, it normally wears a Holland’s of Oregon muzzle brake, but we also have Smith Enterprise Vortex flash hiders for them, in case of TEOTWAWKI.

Is having a counter-sniper rifle in your battery a necessity? In open country, yes, definitely. There could come a “worst case” day when muy malo hombres try sniping at retreats, to thin out the defenders before attempting a stealth blitz or a frontal assault. So you need to be prepared to defend yourself at long distance. You must be able to at least match your opponents in long range shooting capability, and preferably out-class them. (Both in terms of training/proficiency and equipment.) A long distance-capable rifle can be both a defensive and offensive asset. And speaking of training, I highly recommend that at least one member of each retreat group take a rifle course at Front Sight or at one of the other major shooting schools like Gunsite or Thunder Ranch. That individual can then come home and share that expertise.