Which one, or another option

Brinky72

Beginner
Jan 25, 2019
171
31
I’m settled on three calibers for my permanent stable. A 6.5 Creedmoor T3 superlite SS (on it’s way and replacing my Savage 6.5) This will be my primary deer hunting rifle and will handle my lighter duties as Michigan allows .269” and smaller for night hunting coyotes. I’m having an ‘81 vintage Rem 700 BDL in 270 rebarreled to 35 Whelen possibly AI. That’ll be my thumper. Currently my third is a Ruger Hawkeye that wears a E.R. Shaw 24” 280AI barrel. I love it and it shoots and the 280AI is everything I’d want and need . It works well as a primary or backup deer rifle to my 6.5. Only bitch is it’s not as light as I like. Fully done up with four in it and five on the carrier it’s a smidge under ten pounds. I’m in decent shape and take care of myself at 6’2”/215 but I would like to go lighter weight in the same caliber.
So my three replacement options I have to consider are; Kimber Mountain Ascent at 5lbs 10 oz. Montana X3 at 6 lbs 15oz or a Nosler 48 Liberty at a whopping 7.5 lbs. Still lighter ! Looking to keep it at around $2k give or take. How do these compare as far as accuracy,reliability, etc. The important stuff. Not that just under ten is heavy to hunt with in a blind or even still hunt with but I averaged 6 miles a day last year and knocked over one about three miles back. You feel the extra weight when you’re dragging and extra 200 lbs. behind you.



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mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,264
25
I mostly like your caliber choices.

The only suggestion, and maybe you noodled it, is swap out the 35 whelan for a 338-06. A lot more bullet choices and easier availability. That said, maybe you should have four... add the 338-06.

A 45/70 makes a nice thumper too.



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gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
10
I like your choices. The 6.5 Creedmoor in a Tikka will be a very nice gun to carry and shoot. The 35 Whelen is one of my favorites and you will be pleased with it I'm sure. the 35 Whelen AI won't really offer you much more speed over the standard but it is of course good too if you go that route. Plenty of good 35 cal bullets out there these days. The 280 AI is a solid choice, I don't know enough about the rifles you are considering to offer an opinion on them. Those 3 rounds are excellent choices and will cover off any game in North America easily.
 

Slimfinn

Handloader
Nov 28, 2018
688
346
If you are looking for a backup for deer hunting could be a 270Win not a huge difference from the 6.5 but, eurooptic has a Sako 85 black synthetic at an amazing deal, basically a blued finnlight 6.5 pounds 22" barrel, for the price of a tikka. So really if you wanted you could even change the barrel out and still meet your budget.
I just got one in the -06 and its so nice, shoots great like a Sako should, and if i didn't have a couple 260s I'd seriously think about it, tho i am kinda thinking about it anyway, wife said something about getting her own rifle, i should help her along :lol: :idea:
 

Elkman

Handloader
Apr 4, 2010
4,551
1
For Christmas I received a Kimber alpine lite in 280 AI. I is a beautiful rifle and is a joy to carry. I am working on loads for in now, and have not yet found one that meets my accuracy criteria. I would leave the Whelen alone, they are great the way they are. I once tried to reduce my herd to only 3 and failed miserably. Good luck.
 

cloverleaf

Handloader
Sep 10, 2006
3,885
207
If you enjoy the 280AI so much can you find a lighter stock for the hawkeye? Just a thought....CL
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Honestly...I'd hold off on buying another rifle. After you start dropping critters in the dirt with your 6.5, you might find your needs suddenly shift.

Basically, mine replaced everything south of the .300WSM for me.
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
21,858
1,244
I bought my wife a Kimber M84 Hunter in 6.5 Creedmoor for Christmas. The rifle weighs 5.5 lbs. Mounted a VX-6 3-18x44mm so she can shoot out to 800 yards. Quick trip to the range to get a zero with a load using the 129 gr ABLR went .665" at 100 yards.
Her first shot with the new rig was on a big 3.5 yr old doe.
6xUGL6K.jpg

JD338
 

270elk

Beginner
Aug 14, 2017
74
0
I have the SAKO 85 synthetic in a 30-06; it weighs 7lbs 11oz fully loaded (scope, full mag, and sling). I purchased mine from euro-optics at a great price. It is a real shooter when I do my part. I think the SAKO's are as good a factory rifle as you can get.
 

bdbrown66

Handloader
May 16, 2016
713
105
If I were you, I'd leave the rifles alone and find a new spot to deer hunt! Ain't no way I'm dragging a deer 3 miles. That's called a heart attack, brother.
 

truck driver

Ammo Smith
Mar 11, 2013
6,908
240
JD338":33wh3bst said:
An option for your Ruger Hawkeye 280 AI would be a HS Precision Hunter stock.
https://www.hsprecision.com/shop2/ruger ... ent-stock/
At 2.3 lbs, it would lighten up your rifle and make it tough as nails.

JD338
Plus one on the H&S stock They really make a nice stock and they will help improve the accuracy with the aluminum chassis bedding block.
I like them better then the B&C Medalist but then they are almost twice the price.
 

Brinky72

Beginner
Jan 25, 2019
171
31
truck driver":30cx1lnr said:
JD338":30cx1lnr said:
An option for your Ruger Hawkeye 280 AI would be a HS Precision Hunter stock.
https://www.hsprecision.com/shop2/ruger ... ent-stock/
At 2.3 lbs, it would lighten up your rifle and make it tough as nails.

JD338
Plus one on the H&S stock They really make a nice stock and they will help improve the accuracy with the aluminum chassis bedding block.
I like them better then the B&C Medalist but then they are almost twice the price.

Truck Driver/JD I may go that route with the stock. Put a Hogue pillar bedde stock on it to replace the wood without checking out the weight and didn’t improve squat. My frugality got me again. And, I will likely stay SAAMI spec on the Whelen as the AI is only a consideration for headspace issues which I’m finding are a nonissue. It will be my bear gun and I like the big bullets to keep the hounds happy. But, a new, lighter 280AI is awful tempting. I always hear some rumbles about quirks with the Kimber and Montana’s but nothing bad about Nosler.
 

Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,929
410
You did not mention what scope you have mounted on your 280AI...
A lighter stock and a lighter scope (if you have a fairly heavy scope) can help you solve some of the weight issue. You said it shoots, so I take it you are not unhappy with its performance accuracy wise.
But if you just aren't overly impressed and are wanting a new rifle, then that is a good enough reason to get one.

Another option for you could be to rebarrel the Ruger to 35 Whelen, and rebarrel the Remington to 280AI, and use a lighter aftermarket stock, lighter scope and mounts to get it into the weight range you are looking for. Far more options for reducing weight on a Remington, than a Ruger. Just athought. (My own heavier cartridges are on Rugers and lighter ones are on Remingtons)

Your choice of cartridges for your 3 rifle battery are good ones, and capable of all game in north america, with a range of bullets weighing from 100 to over 250 grains.
 

Brinky72

Beginner
Jan 25, 2019
171
31
bdbrown66":2f56fyny said:
If I were you, I'd leave the rifles alone and find a new spot to deer hunt! Ain't no way I'm dragging a deer 3 miles. That's called a heart attack, brother.

Oh trust me. He was over two miles back but I didn’t drag him two miles. I did drag him over a quarter mile over fairly rough terrain to the nearest passable skidder trail. Then my dads Yamaha Viking got involved. A winch and four low helped. Had I gone much further on foot I would have quartered him up and took him out in pieces. Back straps first.


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IdahoCTD

Handloader
Nov 4, 2004
2,499
86
bdbrown66":3b94mu2o said:
If I were you, I'd leave the rifles alone and find a new spot to deer hunt! Ain't no way I'm dragging a deer 3 miles. That's called a heart attack, brother.

You must not elk hunt. I've carried a lot of elk 3+ miles out and made multiple trips doing it.
 

IdahoCTD

Handloader
Nov 4, 2004
2,499
86
For around 2k I'd see if Christensen makes a rifle chambered in 280AI or Seekins. Personally I'd suck it up and have one built to the specs you want though.
 

salmonchaser

Handloader
Dec 13, 2013
3,441
777
My worst pack out was in the snake river unit (Hells Canyon wilderness) had to drop 1,000 feet first 3/4 mile then up 2,000 feet over the next 2 miles. Lot of elk on that ridge, never went back after I got all my meat out.


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Blkram

Handloader
Nov 25, 2013
1,929
410
Some of those tough pack outs are great learning experiences we only need to do once!
Glad I am in the crowd getting wiser as we get older! LOL
On the plus side, it does add to our experience and character!
 
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