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Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3206
Light rifle trend

I have been seeing a lot of people looking for rifles 6# and under who want them in some magnum or other. I don't understand the idea behind this. I suspect one way of getting a rifle that light is to shorten the barrel, I can't imagine a magnum in a 22" barrel but, I know a guy with a 300wsm he had the barrel sshortened to 20"! 

The lighter the rifle get's the more felt recoil there is going to be. The answer to that always to add on after market reciol reducers and once in awhile, down load the cartridge for reciol. When you start adding recoil devices to the rifle, you are adding some kind of weight and weight is what they want to avoid. Then most of these guy's add a scope adequate for star gazing on top of that.

What's the deal here? What iss it aabout these rifles that make them so appealing? I could see an under 6# rifle in something like a 250 Savage, maybe a 243, a 260Rem or a 7-08. Handy rifle with low recoil capabile of taking game out to 300yds easily.

Joined: 07/16/2009
Posts: 70
I understand...sorta

I am seriously looking at having a custom built rifle to similar specifications you mentioned! A hunting rifle that weighs 7 pounds with scope would be a dream, assuming it shot well. I think 26" barrels on hunting rifles is ludicrous - and the same with 20 power scopes. Have current gun manufactures ever climbed to 12,000 feet in 18 inches of snow, or tried to walk through woods with a 12 inches of steel barrel grabbing every branch above your head? And what's up with the fixed stocks? Gosh even the military has seen the advantage of an adjustable stock so the gun fits the shooter with various outer garments on. We sight our rifles in during the summer while wearing a T-shirt, adjust the eye relief on the scope as such and then expect the same rifle and scope to work out while wearing heavy flannel shirts, and coveralls during a November hunt. Hunting rifle manufacturers are way behind the times in terms of technology right now.

Back to the point, the "short magnum" cartridges from the 90's and on, were designed with shorter barrels in mind. No problem there. Gosh, I'd also give up 200fps with a 300winmag if it meant two pounds of weight savings. It would be the equivalent of a 30-06 which is good for just about any North American big game. Also, in the three decades or so I've been big game hunting, I'll bet I've shot the gun at game less than a few dozen times. I can deal with recoil when the frequency is so low, plus I'm usually wearing multiple layers of clothes.

Do I need a 7 pound rifle in a midwest tree stand - no. Do I need a 7 pound rifle on a Rocky Mountain Elk hunt - yes.

BikerRN's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Joined: 05/23/2011
Posts: 715
Passe Today

I tend to not follow the latest trend.

Not to worry, what is passé today will be the next new fad tomorrow. The current rifle I'm working up loads for, upcoming rough country deer hunt, weighs over twelve pounds and has no recoil reducing noisemaker on the end of it. I'm looking for accuracy first and foremost.

I'll cut my weight in other places, like a fanny pack instead of a backpack, for an overnight bivy hunt. The fanny pack will hold my Jetboil, three dehydrated meals, and an emergency blanket to sleep with, 5 liters of water, and my optics.

Give me the heavy and accurate rifle that I like to shoot instead of a lightweight rifle that causes a flinch in the magnum calibers.

exbiologist's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 09/19/2008
Posts: 2397
Just looking for an edge

I think most of it boils down to guys just wanting every possible edge they can dream up. I'd really like a Kimber or Forbes, but haven't swung that cash yet. They are a joy to carry, especially those short action cartridges... But, you sure increase recoil.

hunter25's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3040
It's all in what's important

It's all in what's important to you. My main rifle is probably 10+ pounds, 27" barrel with 6x18 Leupold.

I've carried it at 13,000 ft and also in the thick brush. I've taken game at as close as 10 yards and over 500. I know it, trust it, and it works for me.

My short tube hunting rifle is 23" lol

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4422
I think that light rifles are

I think that light rifles are just the new trend right now in hunting. Everyone out there wants to trim a little bit of weight off of what ever they can and since the rifle is the heaviest of them then that is what gets cut down. It is a lot like the short magnums that are out there right now, or the belted magnums of years past.

Personally I like a rifle with a little bit of heft in in. It never has bothered me to have to pack a 11 lb rifle into wherever I plan to hunt and have done so quite often, but then I was bit by the magnum bug years ago and if you wanted a big bore magnum then you had to have a heavy rifle. I also think that it is a lot like the difference between a short and long action. The old excuse for the short action is that they were quicker on follow up shots, but I could never figure that one out when you are only talking of a inch or so.

But today with the modern powders that can give you the same velocity in a short fatter case as compared to a longer case I'm all for it. But then I doubt that I'll ever buy another rifle since I have a battery that will take care of anything I want to hunt.

WesternHunter's picture
Joined: 05/05/2006
Posts: 2374
light rifles

Quite honestly I think non-magnum light rifles are the most practical for the average western hunter or anyone hunting on foot over terrain.  I don't think light rifles in general are so much a trend.  I agree that the light short barreled magnum chambered rifles are becoming the fad and I think as others have said, you loose a lot of performance going to a short barrel in a magnum caliber if using traditional powders.  I understand that some newer technology has allowed the manufacture of high nitro content allowing higher energy without pressure spikes in some newer powders being introduced today.

We're seeing the same trend with the conceal carry market in pistols, you lose and awful lot of performance with normally effective calibers from small short barreled compact guns.  But some newer ammo is being specially made to maintain those normal velocities in shorter barrels.

I'm more concerened and floored by a lot of other recent trends in the ourdoor sporting world. I'm talking stuff like all this tacticool stuff making it's way into hunting, backpacking, and camping field.  I have to wonder about the use of picatinny rails on hunting rifles, tactical slings, tactical serrated knives, etc.  Packs with more loops, straps and MOLLE compatable stuff that I'm amazed some of these guys don't get permamenty stuck and tangled up in all the trees and bushes in the field wearing those things.  I see some of these new hunting shows and wonder why a grouse hunter needs to be wearing and burdening himself with a full sized framed backpack while hunting birds?  I take a look at some the optics being marketed to hunters today and I really have to chuckle.  Built-in bubble levels  on a rifle scope?  You've got to be kidding!!  I guess that's a whole other subject.


Joined: 03/13/2010
Posts: 329
I just puchases a Tikka T3

I just puchases a Tikka T3 super lite with a fluted barrel 300 win mag..  It is just over 6 pounds with a scope on it.  I wanted something light for High elevation hunting.  I was worried about the recoil from what everyone was telling me.

I finally got a chance to sight it in this past weekend. I took off the factory butt plate and added a SIMS recoil pad.  It did kick more than my 270 but overall it wasnt overly bad.  I was able to shoot 1" groups at 100 yards off a back pack.  For me thats decent.

In 2 weeks I will be shooting out to 300 yards so we will see what happens.

Joined: 03/31/2009
Posts: 219
Very interesting topic don. I

Very interesting topic don. I have always wondered about this too. If you knock off a few inches of barrel you are losing ounces NOT POUNDS but you also have trade off with velocity then. I myself have a 338WIN MAG in Sako TRG-S with a 24 3/8 inch barrel,scoped, that weighs in at about 12 LBS with a full magazine. To get this rifle down to a 6 LB gun is not possible at all and if it was the recoil factor would be greatly increased so I would have to put on aftermarket accessories to reduce recoil thus adding back weight. So what are the gains in the end ??

Personally I am not sold on the short fat cartridges yet at all, just more hype and type from the gun writers in the magazines on the shelf and marketing ploys from gun companies to increase sales.
Just my 2 cents

Location: north idaho
Joined: 06/11/2004
Posts: 610
don some people hunt the


some people hunt the mountains and have to carry there rifle. some people just benchrest shoot. If you hunt the mountains and have to walk everywhere, you would want a light rifle. The light rifles are not rifles to take to the range and test a bunch of handloads thru all day. they are meant to be carried to the far reaches and put that first bullet where you want.

I am bummed that my gunsmith weighted my rifle down. I took the rifle into get some extension on my stock. I am not a short person. he than told me he filled the hollow portion of the stock with foam. Big bummer, another pound I have to hump all day. I want to take it back and have him take the foam out, but just haven't done it. So light weight is nice when you have to carry your rifle. the atv hunter\road hunter, this is not an issue.

Critter's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4422
Tim, I doubt that adding any

Tim, I doubt that adding any type of foam to open recesses in a rifle is going to add a pound of weight. If it did it would have to be some real dense foam and something that I haven't seen.

It has been interesting to me to see those who want a light rifle to pack into the areas off of the roads. Usually the first thing that some of the hunters do is strap on a 3-4 lb hand gun along with extra ammo for it before they grab that lighter rifle. Then they throw on their pack that has more useless items in it to add more weight along with their boots that they have on their feet that weigh a few pounds more than they should for their adventure. There are all kinds of ways to unload excess weight and when I start to do it I don't even consider my rifle.

I know that one day I weighed my day pack and it came in at just under 40 lbs. I quickly trimmed that down to less than 15 lbs. For boots it all depends on what the weather is going to be like, bad weather I'll take my heavy ones, good weather the ones that I take are a couple of pounds lighter. So if a hunter is really serious about trimming weight there are a lot of things that he can look at besides his rifle.