I am with the guys taking a heavy rifle. I hunt with a Remington Sendero 7MM RUM that wieghs just a little over 13 pounds and I put on the miles. I would never trade the accuracy of the rifle for a lighter one. Just my .02 !
While I don't understand the light rifle deal, I wouldn't care for a heavy one either. For myself 7lbs is about a perfect weight. It's heavy enough to hold steady well and enough barrel to shoot well. I was looking at a light weight a freind has. 257 AI built by a gunsmith in Pendleton, can't recall his name. Didn't weight it but it had a short very thin barrel, fluted bolt and the left side of the action was cut way out. Beautiful job but I woiuld noty want it myself.
between the very light with whippy barrels and the heavier like the sendero the accuracy difference for 90%+ of big game hunting needs, accuracy is more than adequate. a hunting rifle need not be a 1/2" rifle and 1 1/2" is acceptable. There's a lot of room there. My last 660 Rem was a 308 and very very accurate. Fence post for a stock but relatively light and balance was right between my hands. I think a key to it's accuracy had to be the barrel itself. It was only 20" but a heavier contor, stubby looking beu excellent handling and very accurate. I had wanted to put a replacement stock on it some day. It followed my son home before i got it done! My heaviest rifle right now is a sporterised Springfield 03. Great job, beautiful rifle, work of art. But it does weight 8# with a 2 3/4x redfield scope on it. That's about all the weight I'd want to carry. Wait, my 6.5x06 weight's 9# with a 4 1/2x14x Nikon scope. I don't hunt much with it, set it up mostly for shooting target's. I think carrying it around all day would wear me out.
My favorite rifle to carry now is a mod 70 featherweight in 6.5x55. The cartridge keep's recoil well down and it's is more than accurate enough. With the 2-7x Redfield scope on it, it weight's 6 1/2#. It is a wood stock as most of mine are. I don't care for plastic stocks. Another thing i really like about it is the barrel length, 22". The 6.5x55 works very well with a 22" barrel and a modern action. It push's the 6.5x06 pretty hard in the velocity area with the same weight bullet. Most light rifle's I'm hearing about are the new short mags and they have 20"-22" barrels. Why take a high velocity cartridge like that and ham string it with a short barrel?
Of course none of this really matter's if you enjoy what you have but it still confuse's me.
All other variables equal, short barrels are stiffer than long barrels. Stiffer barrels are generally more accurate. The "short" magnums were designed with shorter barrels in mind. Shorter being 20-22". Recoil has never been an issue when wearing six layers of fall hunting clothes. I also don't understand the velocity issue. Unless you are shooting 1000yds and are worried about the bullet going subsonic and being unstable as it passes the sonic barrier, modern bullets will perform on big game. A two to three inch shorter barrel makes a world of difference when carrying the rifle through brush and lightens the load. Granted the weight difference is measured in ounces, but every ounce counts at very high altitudes. I just wish collapsable stocks would be an option on a hunting rifle. It must be that only military personal have different body sizes and wear different layers (thickness) of clothes.
Everyone has different ideas about trophy pictures. Looks around and you will see "long armers," "set behinders," "big cheesers," and "blood covered brutes." I have a few tips to keep your trophy pictures from being laughers or worse yet just plain gross.
#1 Clean it up. Try to avoid bullet holes, gut pile, mass amounts of blood, and the tongue sticking out. You don't want your big buck to look like a angry 1st grader with his tongue out or a MMA fighter during the 3 round.
#2 Long arming...