Sensible Long Range Cartridges, by Tunnel Rabbit

I’m writing this article to follow up on a couple of comment threads that I’ve seen at SurvivalBlog: To have a substantive long range accuracy advantage over .308 Winchester, requires 6.5 Creedmoor to use the 140 grain bullets that have accurate loads that are more often then not, are typically at velocities of between 2,600 to 2,700 fps.  The low recoil advantage should not be underestimated. However this advantage is easily offset by the much longer barrel life of barrels chamber in .308 calibers.  However, exceed 2,900 fps (feet per second) in .308 diameter barrels, and  barrel wear is greatly accelerated.

Because in my area it is difficult to find 500 yard shots, and I had the old trusty 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser (SE) rifle, I duplicated the 7.62 NATO Match load trajectory of the 168 grain .308 bullet at 2,650 fps, with a very mild recoiling 123 grain 6.5 bullet at only 2,601 fps. Even with a worn barrel, this custom load for this barrel produces Minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy. As the barrel wears, the load will have to be changed.  Starting out with an MOA load, the old Swede will stay accurate enough for 500 meters for significant time. The ballistic coefficient of the 123 grain AMAX  and SST bullet is .510, a tad higher than the B.C. of the 168 grain .308 bullet that is usually around .475.  The result is a near perfect match in trajectory as determined by a ballistic calculator.

This was done to match the calibration of the BDC (ballistic drop compensator) military style ‘turret’ scope set up for this trajectory.  It has the markings on the external dials in meters, and can quickly be adjusted on the fly as targets may present themselves quickly at nearer, and farther distances. This is intended to be a poor man’s DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle), that really should be a semi auto, but this is what I got. The result is also a recoil that is so mild, roughly 11 lbs, and on par with the .243 Winchester, that the hit can be seen in the scope every time, eliminating the need for a spotter.  And therefore, the follow up shots are more accurate, as the shooter can see his misses and corrects his aim, and can get back on target quicker.

There are many advantages to 6.5 cartridges.  If I could afford to make the jump, I’d go the .260 Remington that uses .308 brass that is superior to the 6.5 CM, yet never gained the ‘popularity’.  I could also go for a the 6.5×55 SE in a modern action using modern European load data and exceeding the performance of both the 6.5CM, and the .260 Remington, and the newer wildcat, the 6.5 Timber Wolf that can be run in an AR-15 platforms at 6.5 CM speeds, and bullet weights.  That would be ideal!  There is now so much to choose from.

7.62mm NATO for Preppers

Even though there are advantages to these cartridges, the sensible choice is for most folks, as mentioned my earlier remarks, is sticking with 7.62mm NATO.  It can be purchased in bulk, and there are different factory produced ‘match loads’, that one can find in the ‘off the shelf’ ammunition that works best in their rifle.  Hopefully it is a load that shoots at least 1.5 MOA that is accurate for ranges not much further than 500 meters.  800 meters is about the limit for 7.62 NATO, but most folks should limit their expectations to 500 to 600 meters. It gets to tougher to hit beyond 400 meters with these loads, and very tough as we attempt 650 meters.  of course if the shot is ‘dialed in’ at the range, it’s not so hard.  I could also say the same about typical .30-06 loads, if you can buy it through CMP, or UN Ammo Company (UNAC), in Arizona.  Performance would be similar. However, ball ammunition is getting harder to find in .30-06, and it is much older production than 7.62 NATO that replaced the M1 Garand that uses .30-06.

7.62 NATO is shorter and lighter and was made to replace and duplicate the old standard M2 ball ammunition.  However,  the 30-06 in bolt action rifle does have performance advantages, and can better perform at extreme long ranges, or out to 1,000 meters with hand loads at an affordable price of about $1.  It will outperform either 7.62 NATO, or it’s slightly more powerful kin, .308 Winchester.  It might be interesting to note that .308-.312 military cartridges of comparable ability was first used in Mosin Nagants prior to 1900.  This level of performance on the battle field continues to prove itself as a sensible choice.  This class of cartridges, first using heavy bullets of between 170 to 200 grains has been thoroughly time tested, reviewed and reinvented in only slightly different form using lighter bullets, to be deployed yet again, over and over by different countries.  It has proven been found to be useful over a span of over 130 years.  Can we argue with success? The performance of  heavy .30 caliber bullets is hard to beat.

Using a 200 grain .308 bullet that has nearly the same ballistic coefficient (B.C.), and has similar speeds as the best 6.5 CM bullet for the job, say a 140 grain Amax. I would have the same trajectory and accuracy, or ability to ‘buck’ the wind.  However, the recoil is much more stout, but it does deliver a larger meplat (bullet frontal area) with much greater energy, and with more potential destructive force at the 1,000 meter line.  For example the 200 grain .30-06 Barnes X Long Range bullet with a ballistic coefficient of 0.546, launched with an ‘accuracy load’, as suggested by Nosler,  a max load of 56 grains of RL19 powder, generates 2,620 fps in their 24 inch ‘test’ barrel.  At 1,000 meters the energy on target would by my ballistics calculator, would be about 734 foot pounds of force (energy).

In comparison, the 6.5 Creedmoor, using one of best, and most comparable bullet for extreme long distances out to 1,000 meters, would be the 140 Amax that has a slightly higher B.C. of 0.585 than that of the 200 grain .30 caliber bullet.  This could be launched from the Creedmoor with an accurate load with at maximum pressures as determined by Nosler, that is 40.5 grains of H414 with a 140 grain bullet.  This load is not necessarily the most accurate load, yet it is comparable to the 200 grain load, and in fact has the ballistic advantage in this ‘race’ ,as it is launched at 2,672 fps.  Yet this best case 6.5 CM example, would deliver an smaller meplat with much less energy of about 546 foot pounds of force. A percentage difference of 25% less energy, or force of the 6.5 Creedmoor, should also be accompanied by the smaller meplat of the 6.5 bullet to make the analysis complete.

Even though the 6.5 CM load used in the comparison was the best case, or the load that would give the 6.5 CM it’s best performance, the .30-06 is still king.  Unfortunately the .06′ has a stout recoil.  Fortunately the recoil for this special purpose long range rifle can be made heavier to greatly dampen the recoil, or a muzzle break could be added instead of weight, or both.  At extreme long ranges, energy is significant as it is the function that cause the bullet to do it’s job, in terms of penetration and deformation. Given the same type of bullet construction, the .30-06 could do much more damage.  In the theater of the shooting range, versus the reality of the battlefield, especially at these great distance, IHMO, this factor is greatly underappreciated.

To get back to work working on guns, 7.62 NATO is plentiful in  military ball form that typically is not match grade in accuracy.  Yet the military ball supply in .30-06 is dwindling and aging.  In a comparison the cartridges in terms of the number and quantity of factory produced ‘match grade’ loads needed for extreme long range, I suspect it is about the same. And Federal has some of the best factory loads denoted by the term ‘match grade’ on their boxes. Speed and mass, or velocity is deciding factor for long range shots.  If comparing factory 180 grain loads of both .308 Winchester that is in fact a higher pressure load than the 7.62 NATO that designed for semi auto rifle use, the comparable 180 grain .30-06 factory load should run about 150 fps faster on average because the .308 Winchester has a higher maximum pressure limit as determined my SAAMI specification of 62,000 psi, a tad higher than the 60,000 psi for the .30-06 cartridge, because there are older .30-06 rifles still in circulation. Modern .30-06 rifles might be capable of 65,000 psi that the hand loader can make use of.

The difference in performance inside of 500 yards is not enough to justify switching to .30-06.  However, if more ambitious, if you can afford to step up to the premium and heavy for caliber loads in .30-06, it outclasses both the 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester, especially if one can reload.  For extreme long range you’ll have a hard time find factory ammunition capable of MOA, or less.  My old rifles are only capable of sub-MOA when fed my best reloads.  Modern .30-06 rifles, and modern rifle in general might be more forgiving, and it might be possible to find factory loads that are at least MOA.  Odds are, that if you are out for extreme long distance shooting, hand loading will likely be necessary, because precision ammunition in heavy for caliber bullets that have the necessary ballistic coefficients, would be hard to find.  With modern rifles built for extreme accuracy, finding MOA, or better ammunition, albeit, factory fodder in standard weights, might be found.

For Those Opting for .30-06

If one is serious about extreme long range shooting with the .30-06:

HSM Trophy Gold Ammunition .30-06 Springfield 210 Grain Berger Hunting VLD Hollow Point Boat Tail 2,524 fps, BC. .640, $2.45/rd

Remaining energy is 876 ft pounds at 1,000 meters. There is virtually no difference between the proposed 208 Amax load used in the comparison, and the HSM Trophy Gold ammunition in terms of external ballistics.

Even if one does not have a rifle and scope accurate enough for 1,000 meters, they can be a better choice for long range shooting in areas where strong cross wind are a common occurrence.  180 grain expanding bullet is good for most any target in most conditions.

Clearly the .30-06 suffers from disinterest.  Handloaders naturally have an advantage as they can create the loads the .30-06 needs to match and exceed the popular Creedmoor. It is now more understandable why Hornady’s brilliant marketing strategy was able to initiate the 6.5 Creedmoor’s raging popularity. There is distinct lack of competition, and they got the packaging just right. However, the 6.5 cartridges are not ubiquitous, they are not a “common caliber” cartridge.  If you need an extreme long range rifle, I would learn to handload, and I would use the .30-06.  The recoil is not that bad, and can be managed in variety of ways, again, by adding weight, a muzzle brake, or a Limb Saver, or all three if need be.  As few have the time to handload, I can certainly understand why the Creedmoor is so popular at the moment. It is the easiest way to get into the extreme long range game. All I have to do is load up my Swede with the same bullets, and I am in the Creedmoor class as well. But I would use the .30-06 first.  If you can afford the Creedmoor and lifetime supply of factory ammunition, then it would be the easiest way to get in that game. Like my Swede, it is a sweet shooter.  You’ll love it.

A small number of riflemen capable of accurate long distance fire, combined with tactics that take advantage of this kind of ‘fire superiority’, can easily wreak havoc on a larger force of attackers, or defend a barricade across a driveway or road, from as far away as one can shoot accurately. Long distance shooting is a huge ‘force multiplier’ that can also be used at night. If you already have a .30-06, there may be no need to run out and buy anything else now that you know what it is potentially capable of. It is probably as good, or better than .308 Winchester, or 6.5 Creedmoor for the ranges you and the rifle are capable of.

Most scoped rifles will be zeroed for 100 to 200 yards, and will have trouble returning accurate fire much further than 350 meters. Plan accordingly, and you will have fire superiority from 400 meters and beyond, especially if you know the range to target, and have zeroed your rifle accordingly. Try the Superformance 150 grain .30-06 at advertised speeds of 3,080 fps, or the Superformance 165 grain load at 2,960 fps — whatever shoots best for you. These are a very flat shooting round that allows the common 3×9-scoped .30-06, the ability to engage targets quickly without needing to gauge the range as accurately. I know of no other common caliber rifle with this advantage.

Of course a nice semi-auto might be better, but it would probably not be as accurate, and it would cost a lot more, especially to get an accurate one. With Superformance loads, if zeroed for 500 meters, these flat shooting rounds would be accurate enough that there would be a change in the point of impact of no more than 6 inches, from 460 to 535 meters, a 75 meter margin of error.  Anther way to look at it: There would be a 75 meter in diameter area that can be covered with 500 meter zero.  This is a significant improvement in the ability to hit your target, an edge that the attackers would likely not have, as the best they’ll likely have, would be a 7.62 NATO, and more likely, only an AR-15 rifle.  The old Ought Six just got a lot more interesting.




41 Comments

  1. Well thought out and well written article Sir. One can tell that you have had some real world experience that substantiates what others have concluded after being in the field as well. In 2005 I had the pleasure of shooting with “Boston T. Party” (pen name of course) who authored “Boston’s Gun Bible”. The man could walk the walk, not just talk the talk. He talks about the ballistic advantages of 6.5 caliber in a .308 size cartridege. It is essentially what the .308 should have been from the beggining. However reality is a somewhat stubborn thing, and many of us own very capable .308 battle rifles in .308. I have shot my .308 out to 1400 yards with decent results 10-20 inch groups (heavy bullet in a relatively fast twist). This made me very aware of the limitations of any non magnum cartridges at long rane. For example if you mis-estimate the range by a mere 5% at around 1000 yards, you will shoot completely over or under a man size target. Compare this with a .300 win mag and you have a 12% margin of error before you miss the target due to elevation from range finding errors, or environmental factors. You also bring up the point of barrel wear. I have shot out numerous match grade barrels in magnum cartridges, and understand the frustration. For those who want to know, chrome moly steel (not to be confused with chrome lined) that is not nitrided seems to get gradually worse in accuracy as the barrel wears, thus you seem to be continually chasing throat erosion and wear with your hand loads. Conversely stainless steel barrels will go from shooting very well to opening up within 25-75 rounds, and then the barrel is done unless you have enough shank to rechamber. I have had great success with Criterion barrels that are chrome lined, both in terms of accuracy and longevity. Chrome lining in and of itself doesn’t make a barrel less accurate. What makes chrome lining great is a manufacturer that has figured out how to uniformly deposit the chrome from both end to end, and 360 degrees around the bore. FN has figured it out, and so has Criterion. It would be awesome if some of the major manufacturers offered this in magnum barrels. My next rifle project is to find out the limits of nitriding in magnum rifle barrels, again from Criterion. Anyway, back to the points you made which were excellent. Most of us choose the .308 because it is still so commonly available, both in terms of weapon platform and ammunition availability. I don’t know if the dry up in imported surplus ammo was political in nature or us gun loving patriots bought it all up, but the days of very accurate Australian 147grn in sealed bubble packs for $130/case delivered are long gone. Boston makes the same point as you in his gun bible that .30-06 really is better than .308 for longer ranges and bigger game. If one can afford a silencer (gun trust) then that becomes a game changer, as they are almost as effective as a muzzle brake at reducing recoil, without the ferocious blast. The only disadvantage is that one must also use a cover to mitigate mirrage from the heat build up. I have come to love my suppressed .300 win mag for long range, the tax stamp was worth it. I have also reached a conclusion that simplicity has great beauty in the firearms world, especially when it comes to caliber selection and inventory. I am still thankfully in very good shape at the age of 43, despite being severly injured and having several surgeries. So I don’t mind packing a .308 with a few hundred rounds. I still love the lightweight and lots of ammo of the .223. But to boil it all down, practise is still the biggest single factor. I know several guys that refuse to humble themselves enough to go find out how bad their shooting abilities are by attending a simple Appleseed. These same guys have racks of guns that they have very little understanding of how to use, or what they are capable of. It makes me sad to hear of a brother patriot such as yourself even speak about not being able to afford something, as you are the kind of man who actually uses and appreciates a good weapon and will train to use it. Maybe we here can have a little cash drive to better arm you, or I can give you one of mine (seriously). Well written article brother. God speed, peace out.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. My aim was to help folks get up to speed in the least addressed area of their preps, that being defense. Please forgive me if I bore you with some elaboration. There is so much to be said on the topic, yet not enough time.

      .30-06 is almost forgotten, so these rifle tend to collect rust and dust. So I am attempting to drum up so interest. Yet the .30-06 is in the common caliber category. They out perform .308 by 150 to 250 fps at lower pressures. Lower pressure means, lower temperatures, and longer barrel life. With in 500 yards with well known loads, the difference is not much, but the heavy 200 grain will buck the wind like the 6.5 140 grain. And with hand loads, it will actually outperform even the 6.5 Creedmoor. With modern powders, the .30-06 is a light magnum with flat trajectories that is meaningful and comparable to .270 Winchester. For defensive work, this means range assessment is less of a problem. A battle field zero can be at 350 meters instead of 300 for the 7.62 NATO, when using my load of 63 grains in military brass of Superformance with a 150 grain at 3,080 fps. Hodgen lists the pressure for that load to be only 53,000 psi. Amazing. And it is an accurate load for many .30-06 rifles, in the same way 52 grains of IMR 4064 is with any 150 grain bullet. Federal Fusion 150 grain is good stuff too, and only .80 cents a round, but if you need the speed, try out the Factory Superformance that is the same I can load.

      Many folks should endeavor to dust off whatever high power deer rifle they got, and learn how to defend themselves from as far off as they can shoot accurately. Odds are it will a .30-06. Put out a barricade that is hopefully as far away from your property as you can get it, and hang a piece of steel near by. If some one shows up and indicates their intend to trespass, send them a message by hitting the gong. If they are too stupid to stop, they have been warned. Use a spotter with binoculars to help you. The mirage from the barrel will become a problem.

      Here is the factory 165 grain Superformance stuff that usually an accurate load for most rifles at ranges under 500 meters, perhaps further, and is it is better in the wind: https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1001690342?pid=194532

      If you live in a winder place, go with a heavy bullet as dealing with the wind is far more difficult than adjusting for trajectory. The widely available 180 grain bullet is a good all around bullet for the .30-06. If shooting down hill at a 45 degree angle, aim about 5 inches high at 300 yards, and aim 5 inches lower if shooting up hill. If the angle up or down is only 22.5 degrees, adjust the aim point by only half, or 2.5 inches.

      There are many different factory ammunition loads using 180 grain weights available for long distance ranges, especially in windy regions These are also suitable for large big game. Here are only two:

      Hornady Superformance SST Ammunition 30-06 Springfield 180 Grain SST, 2,829 fps, BC .480, $1.80/rd
      https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1001699660?pid=593637
      at,1,000 the remaining energy would only be 630 ft pounds

      Hornady Precision Hunter Ammunition 308 Winchester 178 Grain ELD-X, 2,750 fps, BC .535, $1.80/rd
      https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1016932117?pid=577731
      Remaining energy at 1,000 meters, 709 ft pounds

      There is no guarantee that the recommended factory loads will be the most accurate in your rifle. Test many boxes of different brands and see what work best for you. If you need a lower recoil load in your .30-06, try the Remington Managed Recoil, a 125 grain bullet at 2,600 fps. This will have noticeably less recoil than than even 7.62 Nato. It is only a bit more recoil than an intermediate cartridge such as 7.62 x 39, or about the same or less as a .30-30. It will be plenty good out to 300 to 400 meters. Most can’t shoot good without glass beyond 200 yards, and most deer rifles with scopes are sighted in at around 100 to 250 yards. You’ll sight your rifle in for whatever distance to the barricade that it is, and you’ll have the ‘home’ advantage. Few people have any understanding of tactics. Simply having a long range rifle that allows to stand off at a great distance, the distance you can actually hit with, is the best option for most. Put two people out there, and you can go 50%. That means one can relax or do what ever, and be a relief for the other on duty in the same fighting position. Both defenders would however, be available if needed and ‘stand to’. It is simple plan any one can put to use effectively.

      1. Hey Tunnel Rabbit, I love your down-home common sense.

        This comment has kept me in stitches all day: “Put out a barricade that is hopefully as far away from your property as you can get it, and hang a piece of steel near by. If some one shows up and indicates their intend to trespass, send them a message by hitting the gong. If they are too stupid to stop, they have been warned.” I’ve got that one written down and on my way back from town this week I’ll be stopping at the county recycle center to see what kind of steel I can rustle up for this project. They’re going to wonder what I’ve been smoking as I’m laughing to myself as I’m poking around.

        Your comments also left me feeling better about my old Springfield 03A3 with the scope. I’d have to sell a kidney to get anything better at this point but I’ll upgrade in another couple of years.

      2. Good article. You basically echo what I tell a lot of new shooters. Shoot what you have. You will learn more by shooting, observing and taking notes than However, the part about shooting at elevation (as per the article 45 deg up or down) is incorrect.

        Regardless of the angle, your impacts will be high if you shoot as to what your non-compensating range finder or your ranging reticle says. Gravity will only effect the bullet on the horizontal component of the right triangle. Bullet flight and line of sight is on the hypotenuse.

        Newer rangefinders have a compensator that will adjust for the angle. Really important for bow hunting from a stand.

          1. talon99 is correct. Range to target must be based on the horizontal distance to the target regardless of whether you are aiming uphill or downhill. The way this is calculated is by multiplying the measured distance (say with a laser range finder) by the cosine of the angle. For example, say you measure 450 yds from you to your target while looking uphill (or downhill) at 10 degrees from horizontal. Cosine of 10 degrees is .9848. So, 450 yds ×.9848= 443.2 yds., which is what your scope should be adjusted for. Gravity only acts on the projectile over the horizontal distance. It is interesting to note that cosine of 0 degrees = 1 and cosine of 90 degrees = 0.

            I believe that Badger Ordinance sells an angle cosine indicator that attaches to your rifle from which you can directly read the cosine based on the angle your rifle is tipped up or down. They are expensive. A much more economical solution can be had with some card stock, a string, and a small weight. Use a calculator to figure the cosine for various angles and write those numbers on the card stock.

            Thank you tunnel rabbit for taking the time to write the article.

          2. I’ll explain using your example. If you are firing at a 45 deg. angle down, and you are 200 yds higher than the target, you would also be horizontally 200 yds away from the target, making the right angle. Your line of sight and bullet would follow the hypotenuse of the right triangle. If my Commonwealth of Kentucky public high school education serves me right, the hypotenuse (line of sight/ bullet path) would be 282 yds in this example. Gravity would only affect the bullet on the horizontal component (200 yds.) This would remain the same for shooting up as well. So you always tend to shoot high at elevation changes. Ryan Cleckner has a good explanation in his “Long Range Shooting Handbook”
            I enjoyed your article and look forward to reading more from you.

    2. Great article! I’ve been a fan of the 6.5X55 for 45 years, using it for Whitetail hunting from the mountains to the swamps and bean fields here in the south. All kills were one shot, never had one to go more than 20 yards (140gr.), most dropped in their tracks. As I aged (now late 60’s) I use one of my .06’s due to my eye sight and steady hand are not what they use to be. But I can assure you that a well tune 6.5X55 will make 500 yard hits all day long. As you know it is very difficult for the average person to make MOA hits at 200 yards. He must know his rifle well, again have it and his selected ammo “fine tune”.
      No need to reinvent the wheel as they say, the 6.5X55 and 30.06 will meet and exceed the need of their owner if they do their part.

    3. Very good discussions all around. That said, having been a Shooter and a Hunter in Wyoming for over 45 years. I have to say there is NO replacement whatever you are shooting that beats Trigger time,Trigger time,Trigger time, Period. Trigger time will get you
      where you want to be. With whatever you are shooting. I have extensive experiance using many calibers 220 Swift, .257 Roberts, 270Win. 300 savage, .308 win. 7MM rem mag. 30-06
      And the 6.5 CM. I have shot elk with all of these weapons. And the single most important factor in. One Shot One kill, is Shot Placement.Which boils down to Trigger time. Sending many rounds Down range will teach you to read wind and to know what each of your weapons and you are capable of. I also know that because of the new Optics that are available and affordable that shots(with old optics) that i could have but did not take are now taken with a confidance that seem at times like easy. Shots like 837 yard antelope,502 yard mule deer,485 yard Elk, Many 800 yard plus coyote shots. So for me the single most important component is Trigger time sending rounds Down Range…….And really great First Focal Plane Glass…….

  2. .308 is not a long range cartridge. It’s a mid-range cartridge. And to run heavy .308 bullets, you need to have the 1-10 twist or faster barrel, not 1-12 which is common on military rifles.

    Skip the entire .30-06 discussion (.308 does essentially the same thing as the historical .30-06 did previously due to powder improvements), and go straight to .300 win mag.
    And from there to .338 lapua. Personally, I look at .50 bmg as more of an anti-materiel cartridge than long range precision, but YMMV.

    6.5 creedmoor is lighter, with less recoil (can run in lighter gun), better ballistically, costs the same in premium cartridge loads, etc, vs .308.
    de minimis
    Again, .308 is not a long-range cartridge. It’s a solid option for use in battle rifle where you can run the cheap russian ammo and need greater range than 7.62×39 and more bullet mass than 5.56 provides.

    Telling folks to pursue less popular cartridges due to de minimis performance gains is shortsighted.

    Also, .308 less effective against body armor.

    Appreciate the article, but not many of the conclusions.

    1. But if all we got is a .30-06, a common caliber cartridge, we can spend money on more ammo and actually go out an get good enough. That is not short sighted. .30-06 is also about all the recoil the average person including myself can handle and still shoot straight. And it can out perform the 6.5 Creedmoor if you can hand load it and it will hit twice as hard at 1,000 meters. It is easy to make sub moa loads with simple equipment, even crude equipment. Weight your cases and power. Seat the bullet deep enough….. Please my previous comment that addresses your other points.

      1. One other huge advantage of .30-06 is that black tip armor piercing (AP) ammo (and pulled bullets, for handloaders) are widely available. This makes the .30-06 rifles in your home battery much more versatile. It may be a decade before we see any AP 6.5 Creedmoor ammo available.

          1. No way, no 6.5 AP for us! I hope to be loading M2 AP a tad hotter than the original 2,750 fps, because it’ll be out of a bolt gun and not the M1 Garand.

            Because of the long 165 grain AP bullet that is nearly the same in length as the 180 grain bullet, use 180 reloading data. Perhaps I would do an article on the topic in general. I would use Superformance to get all the velocity out of it as possible, because speed is the key to AP. Of course H4350 would be the no brainer choice. Either would get the AP up to a speed of about 2,800 fps. That would be good enough to punch through .5″ thick MIL-A-12560 Class 1 armor plate at maximum 75 yards, and still punch though 1.5″ of plywood. The Army believes that for any projectile to be effective, it must penetrate at least 0.75″ of plywood. According to the Hodgden Reload Data Center available on line, maximum speeds can be attained with common popular powder such as Superformance, H4350, IMR4350, or IMR4895 for .30-06 loadings that can attain 2,750+ fps with a max recommended loads, duplicating the original M2 AP in a bolt gun. If you still have that M1, use only IMR 4895, or IMR 4320, or IMR 4064 as alternatives, as both the 4350 powders, and the Superformance are too slow, and may damage the OP rod.

            When loading AP, pay extra attention to pressure signs. In your rifle staying below the maximum load recommended may be necessary, because the AP has either a tungsten, or molybdenum core, therefore the bullet is not as malleable as lead, and may fit tightly in some barrels causing higher pressures with lower charge amounts. My AP bullets are right at .3085 on average, but occasionally a .309 size is found. Typical reloading data was not developed with AP bullet construction in mind. Again, use 180 grain bullet load data just to be safe. The AP is actually 165 grains .

            Loaded ammunition is still available, but avoid the WW2 era M2 AP, or tear it down and put into fresh cases. Try to find the 1960’s production, the last of it was made in 1968, that would be ideal. Of course there was Korean War production as well, but we want as much time on it as possible and would like to avoid corrosive primers. At 70 to 80 years old, the power is starting to go bad, and it can ruin the cases as well.

            Reloading M2 AP is into .308 Winchester cases is not legal in some states because there are pistols made for the cartridge. Also given the heavier bullet, the .308 Winchester can only spit them out at a slower speed than the M2AP was found to useful at. Load data for the 180 grain bullet in .308 Winchester shows the fastest load to be 43 grains of IMR 4064 at 2,600 fps. This not acceptable as to penetrate .5” of Class 1 amour plate, would require the plate to be near the muzzle to penetrate. That would be entirely too close for comfort. To effectively use M2AP, .30-06 is the minimum, .300 Win Mag much better, and .300 Weatherby Magnum would be the best. M60 is the AP ammunition for 7.62 NATO, and it is very hard to find. So if you think you’l like to take on the Terminator, or other nasty armed robot, I would keep an Ought 6 around.

          1. Stockpiles are dwindling, and prices are up considerably. The last Kalispell Gunshow did not have any M2AP loaded, or pulled bullets for sale. It can still be found on line. Try to find late 1950’s or 1960’s production.

            It is actually best to reload it into newer cases, as there is the risk of that the 80 year old powder eroded the inside of the case. If you put original ammo through a chronograph and see erratic speeds, it is a sign that the powder is going bad. It is not difficult to reload. If you do, be willing to give up accuracy for speed. AP needs as much speed as you can give to do it’s job. It is not intended to necessarily to be long range ammo, but to penetrate trees, amour, cement and other inside of 200 yards. It may actually be less expensive to purchase the pulled bullets and reload, and if shot from a bolt gun, you may see 2,850 fps, rather than 2,700 to 2,750 fps, because of the powder choice. H4350, or Superformance would give the highest speeds and the best accuracy. The extra 100 fps is significant and the bullet can penetrate thicker plate, or plate at angles better, or penetrate at a greater distance. Stay in side of 75 yards, and hit the target directly on, or perpendicular to a flat surface.

            Use reloading data for 180 grain bullet as a starting point, but push it a bit until you see pressure signs, and back off a half grain. If you use military brass, reduce the load recommended by the book by 1 grain. Military cases are heavier. They have thicker walls and less space in the case.

          2. Hi TominAlaska,

            Something happened to my earilier responce that had important details, yet this will have to suffice. Perhaps the post will show up latter. The internet is up and down.

            Supply is drying up, and prices are going up. No AP at the Kalispell Montana Show. Look on line. Try to buy the latest production you can find. It is actually much better and cheaper to reload the bullets. Old loaded ammo can corrode the brass cases and might cause the case to rupture. If you run old ammo through a chrono, and see wide variations, that means the powder is deteriorating. Once it begins to deteriorate, the process speeds and the ammo goes bad quickly. If buying loaded ammo, run it through a chrono, and hope it stays stable for a few more years, if it tests good.

            Reloading is easy, especially if one is not trying to make sub moa ammo. Reloaded AP, if run through a bolt gun, will give you an extra and a significant 100 fps at maximum pressures. Speed is the key with AP. Use 180 grain load data. H4350 and Superformance will give the fastest and most accurate at top speeds. 4 MOA is fine. AP is only useful for thick amour inside of 100 yards if hit square on.

          3. Ma And Pa Rawles have been very busy at the ranch today trying to get the new business up and ready to launch, and other activities. We two are the only ones to field, approve and post most of the comments. We haven’t been checking on them as often as we should, to post them, today. Apologies to all.

            Lily

  3. Nice article, Tunnel Rabbit. Your thoughts here are sure to spur some discussions.

    The only point that I would argue is how distances are defined. In today’s shooting sports, range distances are generally defined as follows:

    • Jiu Jitsu – 0 yards.
    • Close quarters – 1 to 25 yards.
    • Intermediate – 25 to 300 yards.
    • Medium range – 300 to 600 yards.
    • Long range – 600 to 1000 yards.
    • Extreme long range – beyond 1000 yards.

    .308 is indeed a long range cartridge, RSR.

    How people define accuracy is going to be different for different people depending on their goals and abilities. An F-class XTC shooter is going define accuracy differently from a benchrest shooter, who will also define accuracy different than a hobbyist, or a prepper who generally focuses on self defense.

    For me, I just enjoy being around people who are safe and enjoy spending time at the range. I don’t personally care what caliber people use.

    Oh, Big Mike, there is a reason competition shooters do not use chrome lined barrels. They are less accurate.

    1. Good point about defining our terms. For some folks 200 yards is ‘long distance’, and it is really not about the cartridge. Yet there is a distinct advantage to owninge has a common caliber cartridge rifle. Around these parts, .30-06 is still common as we got big critters. In a long term collapse, .30-06 will be easier to find than 6.5 Creedmoor. .308 Winchester is every where around here. The bullets and powder is inter changeable, and I can make .308 Winchester brass, and many other cartridge brass with .30-06 brass. Many already have a .30-06, and they are inexpensive to buy used as they are not as popular. I picked up a Springfield 03A3 recently for next to nothing in a trade. I would rather run that, a rifle designed for battle, than a minty modern rifle, that cannot take the heat and dirt. If a person can afford better, please do.

  4. Tunnel rabbit makes great points. All though we differ in that I use the best gear money can buy. I would rather have one great rifle than a few older pieces that are more than likely inferior.

    In response to RSR, It depends on what you truly consider long range and what is doable?

    If you believe you can go out and fire off rounds at 1000 yards without a sighter or are ok with a wounding shot then snipe away. If you desire to square off on a target and put one in the size of an egg, with only one shot on a cold bore then your range on any caliber becomes much less. 308 can engage targets at longer ranges and wound with no problem just as well as a win mag. but more than likely you will need to dial it in, just as other calibers. Check out a 308 bear magnum. Close to 4000 FPS.

    I use 308 at longer distances and have had many problems, I use upper end custom built rifles using kregor barrels and surgeon 591 actions. I hunt with these. I have lots of problems once the yardage gets to around 350 yards. It is very hard to locate game and were it was standing once you get out to these distances, some times the bullets don’t create a good wound channel. It is hard to find the blood trail and track.

    I have moved from a 18″ suppressed barrel to a 29″ suppressed barrel. To make a reliable hit out hopefully to 420 yards. I have tried different ammo and I prefer Winchester black talon also called sst for reliable controlled expansion but I have not been able to find great a moa load.

    Federal gold metal match 175 work better than 168 but it will prick in and out some time with no blood trail at all. And unless it is a brain shot they will run off every time. It seems the better the bullets hunting abilities the worse it shoots.

    I have used hornandy vmax, sst and most recently factory tap. All shot mostly straight but I have lost game with no expansion or a poor hit. If your target distance changes quickly or you are presented with a short shot window as in a few seconds with not enough time to lase and dial it in, it is a challenge.

    I have staked and marked yardage to help but becomes hard to hit at range accurately when the distance is off 10 yards. A cold bore, fog, yardage, ammo, etc all open the group up. I supposedly use a 1/4 moa rifle but I currently do not feel great about fast shots at the 315 / 350 / 400 yard range.

    When you need a kill shot quickly and you want to make sure it is a kill shot, 300 + yards and you better know what you doing or you will be thinking about what could have been or cleaning guts out of your meat… or tracking for hours with most likely a lost animal.

    308 will hands down out preform 223 / 7.62x39mm at any range aimed. But a head shot with any round will preform the job every time. For me I don’t want to add any more calibers and 308 has the best balance. The military has more money than us all and after years of testing. They picked it for a reason. It has a better barrel life than a lot of the others.

    I would prefer 2900 fps out of a win mag but the larger bores are also hard on thermal and nvgs and they just are not as fun to shoot 100 times.

    1. It’s about is about making do with the best you got, not what you could get. Highly accurate rifles and scopes can be had now for less than $1,000. The game is changing. But I cannot afford that, but I can make old rifles shoot like new rifles by hand loading. Of course my old rifles are bedded and have free floated barrels, and a decent trigger. One of my survival skills has been recently honed late in life, and I can get it done for next to nothing. But if a person can afford the ‘best’, go for it.

      I would try a heavy Amax , or Sierra Game King. The Amax construction is soft lead with a thin jacket, and so performs well on game at long ranges. The 6.5mm 140 Amax does well on deer beyond 500 yards. I imagine it would be good in .308 bullet s too.

  5. since the most successful squads will have several shooters with different roles why not have one of each. Our arsenal has an ‘.06 bolt gun, M1A, long range .308 with heavy bbl, 6.5 x 55 Swede, AR’s, .22 single shots and 12 ga. pumps.

    If one is on foot and can only carry one long gun carry what works best for you. My go to gun is a Winchester model 70 in .270 with a Lawson thumbhole stock. Got it dialed in to hit the center at 250 yards out of a cold bore. I’ve never shot game past 300 yards.

    Spine shots anchor the deer and elk so my old body doesn’t have to track them down.

    1. That is a nice arsenal to have. Love the M1A. We might want all the clubs we can get into the bag, and you got them. I recently added a big club to my bag. Fixed up a Norinco AK-47 RPK styled AKM. The trigger was honed, and made light and crisp that it easy to fire rapidly. It will run through a drum quickly, and the old finger does not get tired. Sweeet trigger, accurate AK. Made a tripod for it last night that will be superior to a bipod, as it can allow for accurate aimed, and rapid fire. Almost no ‘felt’ recoil when on the tripod, smooth and well anchored movement, means one can put a 3 round burst on target. The barrel is next to the heaviest made for the AK, and 21 inches long. Low flash, at 2,550 pfs, it is faster bullet, and it soaks up the heat a bit better, but it did cause the leather sling to catch fire. It can quickly be detached from the homemade tripod and be moved. Also attached a modern and light bipod on it, like the new Russian AK-16 light machine gun. It’ll do a similar job.

  6. Great article Rabbit! Thanks for the dissertation of all your research. I’ve been running calculations of various calibers with Sierra ballistic software for about 2 years, and I concur, the .30/06 is tough to beat for an all around performer, especially for handloaders. Carlos Hathcock loaded his 30/06 with a 168 grain Sierra for his famous 975 yard shot on the NVA officer. The software Ted Almgren wrote in 1968 for the government is the basis of Sierra software today. Gunny Hathcock used a Winchester model 70 with an 8 power Unertl scope. All with 1960’s equipment. It’s all about your capability and knowing what your tools can do.
    And the best money I spent on my two ought six builds, were the removable threaded muzzle breaks, they save my worn out shoulder from the pounding.

    1. IMHO, the .30-06 is the best choice cartridge within the common caliber class of cartridges. .308 is probably more ”sensible”, but the .30-06 can outperform the 6.5 Creedmoor if I ever get a chance to shoot at 1000. I’ll share some more homework. Using a 208 grain Amax .308 bullet that has that has a very high ballistic coefficient, and very high sectional density, and has the slower speed as the best 6.5 CM bullet for the job, say a 140 grain Amax, it would have a similar trajectory and accuracy, or ability to ‘buck’ the cross winds. However, the recoil is much stouter, but it does deliver a larger meplat (bullet frontal area) with much greater energy, and therefore destructive force at the 1000 meter line. And that is the point of shooting at stuff, is to destroy it. For example the inexpensive 208 grain Hornady Amax bullet with a ballistic coefficient of 0.648, launched with an ‘accuracy load’, as determined and suggested by Nosler, a charge of 55.5 grains of RL22 powder, generates 2,562 fps in their 24 inch ‘test’ barrel. At 1,000 meters the energy on target, would be by my ballistics calculator, about 892 foot pounds of force (energy) when it arrives at a 1,000 meter target. In comparison, the 6.5 Creedmoor, using one of best, and most comparable bullets for extreme long distances out to 1,000 meters, the 140 Amax, it has a slightly lower ballistic coefficient of 0.585 than that of the 208 grain .30 caliber bullet. This could be launched from the Creedmoor with an accurate load at maximum pressures as determined by Nosler, that is generated by 40.5 grains of H414 for a 140 grain bullet. This load is not necessarily the most accurate load, yet it is best bullet choice comparable to the 208 grain .30-06 load. And in this ‘horse race’, it is launched at an optimistic 2,672 fps. Yet this best case 6.5 CM example, would deliver a smaller meplat with much less energy of about 546 foot pounds of force. As a bench mark for a minimum amount of energy that is generally considered to be needed to take a
      deer humanely, the minimum is considered to be at least 900 foot pounds of energy.

      892 ft lbs, verses 546 ft lbs of the 6.5CM is a percentage difference of 39% less energy than the .03-06. We should also consider the smaller meplat of the 6.5 bullet, and that the shaft of the .30-06 bullet is also much longer and larger in diameter, and it has greater sectional density. Not to mention that it is 68 grains heavier. The .30-06 will do much more damage, and punch through concealment, or cover much better than the 6.5CM. No contest. Shot placement, along with accuracy, is number one, but having the destructive force to go with it, is the point of it all, and that, the .30-06 does much better. At 1,300 meters, where both the .30-06 and 6.5 Creedmoor, the difference is even more important.

      Even though the 6.5 CM load used in the comparison was the best case, or the load that would give the 6.5 CM it’s best performance, the .30-06 is still king, because of the increased damage it can do. Unfortunately the .06′ has a relatively stout recoil. Fortunately the recoil for this rifle can be reduced by making it heavier, using a muzzle brake as you have, or Limb Saver to greatly dampen the recoil, however most folks can handle the recoil without altering the rifle. But can also add ‘stabilizing’ wieght. One old trick to reduce recoil, and what I plan to do, is to remove the butt place, using a 1/2” wood bit, drill deep into the stock, and fill 3/4’s of the hole with fine shot. The shot will shift with the recoil.

      At extreme long ranges, the kinetic energy stored in the bullet is important, as it is the function and force that causes the bullet to do it’s job, in terms of penetration and deformation. Because of the staged theater of the shooting range, verses the reality of the battle field, especially at these great distances, IHMO, this factor is greatly under appreciated. Any you can do to reduce the recoil to your .30-06 may improve the shooter’s accuracy.

  7. Go to your local VFW and you may in fact run into some surviving, grumpy oldsters that will testify the 30-06 will in fact perfom as advertised. Battlefield proven!

  8. It seems like the gist of your article is to get folks to go out and shoot what they have.
    There is such a variety of rifles and cartridges that not everybody is going own the same thing. Dance with the one you have. Some people are practiced rifle shooters and others are not. Abilities and experience vary.
    There are lots of variables as to living location and range presence.
    Encourage others to practice with what they have.

  9. After the Normandy invasion by American forces in WWll, there was an American soldier observed by a rep from Springfield arms, that consistently shot Germans at 600 yards or more with his M1 Garand. He would snap shoot them and had practiced in England daily before the Normandy invasion. So, if you have an M1 Garand and know how to shoot it, with iron sights you can be deadly with it out to 1000 yards!

  10. R T,,,,,good write up ,,,,,,agree with you ,,,if I may add some things I have learned from 68 years of shooting high power ,,yes that’s correct 68 years ,a good part in alaska ,still have my win mod 70 pre64s ,06,,264m bought new were backup gun for celeb hunts ,
    I have switched to 6.5 cred. Why ? Recoil!!, I recommend new shooters to it ,nothing will ruin a causal shooter faster than recoil , oh how many times did a client show up with a super boomer and was scared to pull the trigger ,I made it a point to hand them a empty rifle to ‘shoot’ that tells The tale ,i have been given rifles that a party could not shoot 375hh,,300why,,after loaning one they could shoot and teaching folks to shoot and saving The hunt ,
    The 140g will do the job every time done right ,I think the 6.5cred fills that need for the person that shoots half a dozen times a year , my go to is now a ruger American for day to day use
    Inexpensive not cheap.

    1. Totally agree. I even down loaded my 6.5×55 to 6.5 Grendel speeds with a Grendel bullet for inside of 500. Felt recoil for the 6.5CM in an average 8 pound rifle might be 14lbs with a 140 grain bullet at 2,650fps. My 123 grain load has an estimated recoil of approximately 11 pounds, about the same as .243 Win. 6.5 Grendel is even better than 6.5 CM for defensive work and thin skin game under 250 pounds. It is an ideal cartridge combination that would make the DMR job more efficient, or ‘productive.’ If I could have a AR in 6.5 Grendel, I would for that job, and more. All I need to make that jump is an upper, and a pile of Grendel brass. Yet as a long term strategy, common calibers make more sense. Think logistics, logistics, logistics. Add temporary weight to the rifle if the recoil of a 7.62 Nato load is too stout. 7.62 Nato loads are softer recoiling than full power .308 Winchester. In a semi auto, the ‘felt’ recoil is further reduced, and really quite mild, IHMO. As the shooter gains trigger time, reduce the weight of the rifle. Also a new shooter would be better served with long barrel length that reduces muzzle blast. Muzzle blast may be a bigger contributor to the ‘felt’ recoil, and flinch development.

      For long range precision for tight wads, here is a video detailing the ”ultimate budget rifle”, a 6.5CM rifle and turret scope for under $1,000. I highly recommend the wild and wacky Christian patriot genius, TiborsaurusRex for all your long distance shooting training on line, and for free.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDxpj1E_JvI&t=386s

  11. I am humbled. Thank you all for your input on the benefits, the pros and the cons of the various calibers and the various loads. Over the decades, until recently, I seem to have often found myself in firearm unfriendly locations. My nephew has been pushing me to start shooting 6.5CM this past year… I simply must dust my rifles off and get back to the range.

    Thank you for the inspiration. Cheers!

  12. I have read through all of the comments. I believe old rifles are crap as well as basic rifles are crap. If you want to be effective day and night, you will need a threaded barrel, nvg, thermal, suppressor, and a high performance optic along with a range finding binocular. If you decide to go out against a flir armed man, you will be seen long before you see your adversary. China is making them by the 1000s now and shipping them to IRAN. A modern made platform to attach said devices to is required. Grand pa’s wood stock does not cut the mustard…

    A grand ,or model 70, or etc stands no chance because it was not designed to carry and work with these things. It must have major work done to it. A performance remingtion action cost a chunk of money to have worked up. A man is truly better off with 1 ONE well made rifle that he knows how to shoot well than a house full of old junk. Most factory barrels and bed jobs are crap. Factory triggers are crap.

    Here is a teaser question anyone here used a Mannlicher set trigger 3006? Did you like it?

    Any one here use trigger tech trigger?
    Is it good to have the scope rail and action built as one unit?
    Will an older barrel will out shoot a fine hand lapped stainless barrel?
    Does rust effect your bore when you get it wet and cant clean it?

    As far as a custom rifle jamming…my rifle does not jamb, it can not. It is loaded one round at a time by my hand.. Although it does have a 10 round mag.

    My custom rifle with a trigger tech ball bearing trigger will work in the dirt and mud and let a round loose at 1.5 lb or a 3 lb pull every time. They adjust easy and are quite amazing, they cost $225.00 each

    Who goes out in the dark and the rain..

    Try hunting when the lights are out… when is the last time you sat with a flir unit for hours on end. Could you place a bullet in a 3″ rectangle 300′ yards away in the dark off a tripod standing? What about using a subsonic round, what grain?

    With the right gear…

    A 308 will do all you need.. It is cheap easy to build does not ruin optics due to recoil and you can also have a LMG that runs the same round. It uses a short action that is easy to work and use and ammo is every where..

    A 3006 is a slighty better round but the bullets are bigger, it kicks more, and an 8mm will outperform it for AP rounds..

    You can carry more 308 than 3006. If I were hunting bears it would be a least a 338 win mag and it would rule out both. But if I could have one rifle, that shoots targets, hunts and I must live with it a 308 is great. It is easy and cheap to get great fire formed 308 brass and have something that will put a hole in hole with for less cost and work.

    I would never want to go back to a factory made rifle… Not after having one made the way I want it made.. And yes it will hit at 1000 yards but I don’t shoot at pie plates I shoot at eggs.

  13. I think we have created some requirements for ourselves that really don’t relate to most situations. There are very few places where 1,000 yard shooting is even possible. It is very difficult to even identify a person at 600 yards. What is it that anyone can be doing a third of a mile away to justify taking their lives? We’re not Marines in Korea, 1952. We’re not facing half inch AR500 armor plate. And if you are, you’ve got bigger problems because there are guns ridding on whatever has that 1/2 inch armor you don’t want to mess with. My guess is that most defensive confrontations will occur at shouting distances, so the differences between ’06 and 7.62 NATO are largely irrelevant for most of us. What the thirties give us is power and penetration far superior to the woodchuck rifle.
    What TR is trying to do is get owners of rusty .30-06 rifles to get them oiled up and on the range to develop some skills and experiment with what they have now. i’m all for it!
    The US Army and Marine Corps has had no trouble training snipers to hit reliably out to 1,000 yards with the M21 or M40 7.62. But we’re not operating under military rules of engagement.
    It is interesting to study the winners of the Wimbledon Cup 1,000 yard match. Sometimes the magnums win. Sometimes the .30-06 driver wins. And…sometimes the 7.62 guy wins. It’s the indian, not the arrow.
    My old Speer Number Nine reloading manual listed claimed velocities versus actual velocities of a good number of factory loads. And you know what? Factory .30-06 frequently proved slower than factory .308 loads in 180 grain bullets. Yes. The claimed 2700 fps .30-06 almost always never broke 2600 fps. Some were in the 2500s. But if Uncle Bob thought it was better, that’s OK. His deer never knew the difference.
    I have property in a rural area. There are some places you can shoot 800 yards. But most areas, 50 to 100 yards is as far as you can see for the trees. And if you want to reach me, you’ll be in the trees. And that’s where the thirties shine.
    Many of us think we know what our fight (if it ever comes) will look like. Truth is, we have no idea. So we get tangled up in all these numbers. And I suppose it’s all good because we sell more guns and ammo. I really hope I die of old age never having hurt anyone.
    I can do the long range thing, but it’s not my whole life. I probably shoot long range in the desert with friends more often than 75% of the readers here. But I think damned few of us, if we are decent people, will take a man’s life just because we can see him way out there.
    In hard times, hospitals will be few and far away. Treating gunshot wounds, even a .22 LR wound, is going to be a disaster in itself for most. The family that cares for a wounded father, husband, brother, uncle….is probably going to watch him die. And they’re not going to shrug that off. They’re going to be very angry, and that’s not going to end well for you if you were involved. Just wanted to get that out there. Let’s all try very hard to get along and not turn North America into No Man’s Land.
    .30-06, 8mm, 7mm, 6.5mm, .224….if it makes a leak in your gut at 1200 yards you won’t really care which one it was. You have a leak in your gut and your buddy is probably not a thoracic surgeon. You’re probably going to leave the building, if not today, in the next week unless you reach first-world medical care. Good luck with that during hard times.
    For most of us, the real threat is going to be starvation, thirst, waterborne disease, exposure, and in-your-face predation. Lord above, if I could get dads to spend half as much on providing an alternative water and energy source for their families as they do on weapons we’d be the most prepared nation on the planet.
    I guess I’m not focused on calibers right now with the new Corona virus emerging as a potential game changer. If it isn’t this one, it will be some other bug that can really cause a societal train wreck. I know a lot of shooters who have tons of ordnance. And I’m fine with that. But when I ask them what their plan is if water and food stop coming, I get the blank stare. Let’s look after our families and look after our neighbor. But keep your hatchet scoured and powder dry.

    1. In NW Montana, we got a lot of trees, and 200 yards a long way, yet away from the ‘homestead’, there are long stretches of road where multiple fields of fire can be up to 800 yards, excellent opportunities to defend at a distance. I would only fire on someone at that range, and would probably miss if not inside of 500, if their intent to do harm is well established by their aggressive action after being warned, and in the context of WROL event where the robbers and gangs run by war lords roamed the country side knocking over place after place, growing stronger and bigger with each success.

      They might become a mortal threat that few can stop. I personally know of a potential gang leader who is extremely well armed and trained, yet has little food stored. Their plan is to “live off the land”, and you and me if need be. I doubt any one can stop these guys if they ‘go bad’. Few know basic infantry tactics, and fewer can use tactics to defeat an ever growing and hungrier pirate mob that could raid the self sufficient with growing impunity and savageness. As they are successful, more join their ranks and become fodder in their next attack. A long range defense may be the only method to repel such an organized and practiced raiders by regular folks. We should strive to defend from as far from the homestead as possible, so we can install and use layers of defense as they close the gap. We must look for, and develop such opportunities. And we can only use that vital technique to the distance that we shoot accurately, be it only 200 yards, or 500 yards. This is a critical advantage to have, even if 200 yards is this is best we can do. If one has an opportunity to defend from 400 yards, develop proficiency at 500 yards. But if the best you and your rifle can do is 300 yards, you have a long range defense in you repertoire that should be used first, as up close an personal, is not your game.

      This advantage can be set up and used in variety of ways. In the example where a gong was use to warn aggressors, this only one way. If the community wishes to screen travelers at a check point, a ‘long range’ rifle can provide overwatch. If the guard is attacked, the ‘long range’ rifle might be only 100 yards away, but he can make a precision shot, and end the confrontation. Learn basic infantry tactics and adapt the tactics to your skill and manpower level. Few can pull it off, yet many can learn how to shoot with precision at 200 to 500 yards. An old man like me can do far more damage with an old rifle from 300 than he could otherwise, and he might be good enough to stop the attack before others must risk their lives in a running battle that they are not equipped or trained for. The average ‘long range’ shooter can be a huge force multiplier. At the very least they can delay and disorganize the attacking force at a barricade, while others get set up for the next ambush.

      Here is another great video from an excellent instructor. Whatever rifle you can afford or care to shoot, get one and train. You only have to be better than the next guy who does not train:

      Lightweight 1-MOA Rifle for $300 – Mossberg Patriot 6.5mm Creedmoor ~ Rex Reviews

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uehJEdNrZs

  14. Hi TR,
    I don’t disagree with much of what you say, although I’m not sure I’d react in a friendly way if someone shot at me from a distance and splattered shrapnel all over me. We have to find a better way to talk to strangers who may mean no harm and yet deal with dangerous predators. A couple of overwatch assets at a gate might be the ticket. Your situation will have to be worked out by you.
    Bad guys, or a person filled with righteous anger would simply flank the sniper and take care of business.
    I tend to believe that desperate, sick, starving people will probably be too weak to offer much of a fight, and the exceptions will not be line infantry willing to die for victory. As mentioned, medical care will be a thing of the past so getting seriously injured is a death sentence. You won’t have to shoot too many to help them lose interest. Just depends on the people involved. Hopefully, you won’t have to fire a shot. I can’t imagine a more dangerous activity than snooping around other people’s stuff, especially during emergencies.
    Most in the cities will stick with what they know until it is too late to leave. Most don’t have a full tank of gas in the car, and roaming adventures through the countryside isn’t practical or productive. Montana, ID, fantastic places with wide open areas….can’t imagine a better place to be when things get tough. I take travel through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming very seriously in winter when the lights are on. It would be daunting indeed without functioning infrastructure and all those guns out.

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