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MGM Ironman long range: Bolt or gas gun? (rookie question)


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Most of the people I saw shoot the bonus targets at my first ironman last year used about as much time as they gained.

I am concerned that I would land in that category.

I'd rather engage targets and hit them for no gain than pussy out and not shoot them at all. To me it's about shooting and I go to matches to shoot targets not pass them up.

Doug

Doug, you're killing me. That was very funny. I do see your point. I've got time to consider how to approach this match. Which division is actually the current issue on my mind.

I like carrying all of my stuff on my back, so...... :devil:

So sign up to shoot Trooper like I did this year!

Doug

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I am not saying to not shoot them if you have the rifle or access to one, but I don't think I would revolve my preparation for the match around them. I went one for one on stage 4 on them and gained time. But I had access to a great rifle. If I had to travel a long ways for the match especially by flying I don't know if I would worry about them unless I could borrow a rifle.

I don't have anything that would be suitable for the longer range targets. That's what motivated my original question. I wanted some thoughts on what to buy/build/borrow.

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Most of the people I saw shoot the bonus targets at my first ironman last year used about as much time as they gained.

I am concerned that I would land in that category.

I'd rather engage targets and hit them for no gain than pussy out and not shoot them at all. To me it's about shooting and I go to matches to shoot targets not pass them up.

Doug

Doug, you're killing me. That was very funny. I do see your point. I've got time to consider how to approach this match. Which division is actually the current issue on my mind.

I like carrying all of my stuff on my back, so...... :devil:

So sign up to shoot Trooper like I did this year!

Doug

That poses its own special blend of new challenges and gear ideas. But, I have been kicking that idea around for a few weeks. It is a daunting concept.

I hope you will share your preparation, gear choices, and match feedback after you are finished this year.

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I used a 308 AR with a 22 inch barrel. My load was 155 grain berger hybrids going 2800 fps. The berger 155 has the same BC as the 175 Sierra. I would recommend a gas gun because accuracy is not the critical the targets are huge even for the range that are at. I am sure you could hit them with a longer barreled ar15 if you knew the RO could call the hits.

I think getting your hits called fast is a factor to look at.

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Some excellent info here for anyone considering trooper.

http://sinistralrifleman.com/trooper-class/

I agree. I have been going over those posts in recent weeks.

I used a 308 AR with a 22 inch barrel. My load was 155 grain berger hybrids going 2800 fps. The berger 155 has the same BC as the 175 Sierra. I would recommend a gas gun because accuracy is not the critical the targets are huge even for the range that are at. I am sure you could hit them with a longer barreled ar15 if you knew the RO could call the hits.

I think getting your hits called fast is a factor to look at.

Good information. I've been trying to see what loads could be workable for longer ranges in 308. Berger and Sierra TMK seem like ones to consider. Thanks.

In trooper I think having a semi auto .308 that you can shoot everything past 100 yards with is a viable strategy as long as you have a PCC to use for all the close range stages.

http://sinistralrifleman.com/category/ironman-3-gun/

That was along the lines of my thinking. PCC and then something beyond 223 on the true rifle side of the equation. 308, some form of 6.5mm, etc.

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After considering all of my gear and guns, I decided that a 308 platform would be the best compromise for different larger caliber or longer range needs. I'd like to have a 308 so I could dabble in Heavy Metal once in a while. I've already got the 45 and the pump gun.

Whether or not I do Trooper or Open in 2016 is still a debate topic (but only those two choices). Regardless, I'll need to have a good 308 load for long range. If I do Trooper then I also would need a nice shorter-range load for it. Between these concerns and a desire to have a 300blk carbine, I'm planning to begin reloading in the next couple of months.

Doug, I'll shoot at everything!! No whimping out, I promise. :D

Edited by michael1778
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After considering all of my gear and guns, I decided that a 308 platform would be the best compromise for different larger caliber or longer range needs. I'd like to have a 308 so I could dabble in Heavy Metal once in a while. I've already got the 45 and the pump gun.

Whether or not I do Trooper or Open in 2016 is still a debate topic (but only those two choices). Regardless, I'll need to have a good 308 load for long range. If I do Trooper then I also would need a nice shorter-range load for it. Between these concerns and a desire to have a 300blk carbine, I'm planning to begin reloading in the next couple of months.

Doug, I'll shoot at everything!! No whimping out, I promise. :D

Years ago I was discussing passing some long targets at a match in Cali. because they looked difficult to me at the time. One of my more experienced shooting buddies asked me if I thought I could hit the targets if time was not a factor. I told him yes. He said (and I will paraphrase for the kiddies) "then shoot the freaking targets or pick up your stuff and go home!" I've been shooting at all the targets ever since.

Doug

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  • 2 weeks later...

my first year at the Ironman, I took my .308 bolt gun, its an older Remington 700 PSS with the standard 4 round non-drop free magazine. I didn't know what to expect, but had my dope sorted out to 800 before showing up. What I didn't expect was staging the gun empty and loading on the clock initially. It took me a very long time to click ammo into the ejection port before engaging the 550 yard targets. Got my hits fine, but when I had to load after hitting the 2nd target once, I realized I was at a huge disadvantage with my current setup. I didn't make it past the 550 yard targets, shooting them 3x each before my time ran out. I didn't manage to setup another gun for the next year, so I didn't even take it.

Even with a box mag bolt gun, you are still only going to have 10 rds in each mag and will need at least 15 if you don't miss, meaning that you will still have to reload on the clock. The only way to have enough ammo in the gun, is to have a platform that will give you at least 20 rds to start. That means you need a semi-auto. Your follow up shots will be 2x as fast to boot. I plan on building another LR gun someday for that match and will probably go with .308, if for nothing else, because its likely you will leave the brass behind. .308 brass is pretty much a no cost to me, but 6.5 CM are expensive to throw away. Besides, a .308 will do everything you need out of a semi out to 900, even with a shorter barrel.

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my first year at the Ironman, I took my .308 bolt gun, its an older Remington 700 PSS with the standard 4 round non-drop free magazine. I didn't know what to expect, but had my dope sorted out to 800 before showing up. What I didn't expect was staging the gun empty and loading on the clock initially. It took me a very long time to click ammo into the ejection port before engaging the 550 yard targets. Got my hits fine, but when I had to load after hitting the 2nd target once, I realized I was at a huge disadvantage with my current setup. I didn't make it past the 550 yard targets, shooting them 3x each before my time ran out. I didn't manage to setup another gun for the next year, so I didn't even take it.

Even with a box mag bolt gun, you are still only going to have 10 rds in each mag and will need at least 15 if you don't miss, meaning that you will still have to reload on the clock. The only way to have enough ammo in the gun, is to have a platform that will give you at least 20 rds to start. That means you need a semi-auto. Your follow up shots will be 2x as fast to boot. I plan on building another LR gun someday for that match and will probably go with .308, if for nothing else, because its likely you will leave the brass behind. .308 brass is pretty much a no cost to me, but 6.5 CM are expensive to throw away. Besides, a .308 will do everything you need out of a semi out to 900, even with a shorter barrel.

I disagree that you only have a max of 10 rounds, I just had a 20 round mag made for my bolt gun by Higher Capacity. I do agree that a gas gun is better for follow up shots and speed. You just stay in the scope and keep plugging. I've shot Ironman with a bolt gun (twice) and a gas gun (twice) and I really enjoy the gas gun. Got all the bonus targets this year and one of my squad mates calculated the benefit vs the time I spent and he said I benefited by about 65 seconds. If you are a first class bolt gun shooter it may not make that much difference, but for the average guy like me gas is the way to go.

Doug

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Almost certainly, I will be building a 6.5 Creedmoor semi-auto. I'm hoping to get either 130 grain Berger OTM AR Hybrids or 130 grain JLKs running properly out of it. I may still have a bolt gun for other uses in the same caliber, but not for use at Ironman.

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My JP 6.5 Creedmoor with a 22" barrel runs really well. I was skeptical, because of all the issues you hear about, but mine runs factory Hornady 140gr ammo really well. I'm super impressed with it. It's also a medium contour barrel so the weight is down and it is still balanced and not to nose heavy. If I shoot IM next year it's definitely coming with me.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have ran an 18" 308 SASS for the last two years at the Ironman without issues. I've always come out pretty well ahead from the time perspective. The hits aren't difficult. The transition can be slow with the 900 yard target low in the valley to the right, then the 720 high on the hillside left, with the 550 medium height middle. But the shots themselves aren't too tough.

The three bonus targets on stage 7 are usually the same yardage strung in a row. I think they were 690 this year.

I don't see why a mag fed bolt gun wouldn't be effective as well. Plug in a round and close the bolt, then feed the mag. 11 rounds is plenty to get 9 hits. If you go dry before you're done it's only 5 seconds to reload and get back to shooting. I'm strongly considering using my PRS rifle in next year's Ironman. It's far easier to be accurate with a bolt gun.

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