This is the final install­ment in a series of arti­cles designed to intro­duce a new or novice firearm own­er to the weapons they should have and be com­fort­able using for a SHTF sce­nario.  The oth­er install­ments cov­ered car­bine, shot­gun, hand­gun, and plink­er platforms…and now with pre­ci­sion rifle, we fin­ish out the five guns that should be in every prep­pers arse­nal.  Of the 5 plat­forms, I would con­sid­er this one (as I sug­gest it be set up) option­al… part­ly because it will be expen­sive and part­ly because its more gun than most peo­ple can ever use.  At the very min­i­mum, every prep­per should have a bolt action, hunt­ing cal­iber rifle… but if you’re curi­ous what I mean by a pre­ci­sion rifle, read on. As with the oth­er arti­cles, what you are about to read is by no means com­pre­hen­sive, it is writ­ten as an intro­duc­tion and I encour­age fur­ther research, test fir­ing, and pro­fes­sion­al train­ing.

What is a Pre­ci­sion Rifle?

For a pre­ci­sion rifle, I pre­fer bolt action firearms and will dis­cuss those exclu­sive­ly here.  But bear in mind a bolt action can be cham­bered in many cal­ibers and oth­er action types can be cham­bered in the spe­cif­ic cal­ibers I will be talk­ing about. The type of rifle this arti­cle will dis­cuss is a bolt action, scoped rifle capa­ble of lethal hits on large game as far away as 600 yards. I hes­i­tate to use a term such as sniper rifle, but in some cir­cles that term would be used to describe the type of rifle I’m talk­ing about (I will not debate the use of the term sniper here, just under­stand I avoid using it for any­one who is not mil­i­tary or law enforce­ment). A bolt gun with 600 yard accu­ra­cy does not need to be a cus­tom-made firearm, they can be pur­chased at many sport­ing goods stores across the nation.  Below you will find desire­able char­ac­ter­is­tics and a few rec­om­mend­ed firearms as well as oth­er acces­sories you should use

The per­fect off the rack pre­ci­sion rifle…

  1. Has a heavy bar­rel. Most hunt­ing rifles are equipped with a feath­er­weight bar­rel, and for accu­ra­cy to 300 yards that type of bar­rel is ade­quate. For accu­ra­cy at long range how­ev­er a heav­ier bar­rel (or bull bar­rel) is required. A bull bar­rel dis­si­pates heat dif­fer­ent­ly, it oscil­lates dif­fer­ent­ly dur­ing fir­ing, and dimin­ish­es felt recoil dif­fer­ent­ly than a feath­er­weight bar­rel. While a heavy bar­rel increas­es weight of the rifle, it is neg­li­gi­ble since it is nor­mal­ly fired from a fixed posi­tion, not shot from an off­hand or hasty posi­tion. Bar­rel length depends upon the cham­ber­ing of the rifle but also is a mat­ter of pref­er­ence for the shoot­er. A bar­rel in the 20 inch range is a good match for most appli­ca­tions.
  2. Has a qual­i­ty scope. A scope should cost as much, if not more, then the rifle itself. For most hunt­ing appli­ca­tions, a vari­able pow­er 3 –9 x 40 mm scope is a per­fect addi­tion to a rifle. But for reach­ing ranges past 300 yards, a 075scope should have a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion fac­tor of at least 12 and a 50 mm objec­tive lens (and prefer­ably a mil dot ret­i­cle but use of a mil dot or oth­er range find­ing ret­i­cle requires spe­cial train­ing). The greater mag­ni­fi­ca­tion fac­tor allows for bet­ter tar­get iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, and the larg­er mil­lime­ter objec­tive lens allows for more light gath­er­ing. Choose a qual­i­ty man­u­fac­tur­er like Leupold, Zeiss, or Night­force. What­ev­er scope you choose should be mount­ed solid­ly to the rifle with qual­i­ty scope rings and mounts… with lock­tite to keep it in place.
  3. Has a qual­i­ty trig­ger. The trig­ger on a shot­gun or hand­gun or even most car­bines should have a very dif­fer­ent feel than a pre­ci­sion rifle. A pre­ci­sion rifle trig­ger should be crisp with no slack and not so heavy that press­ing it could force the oper­a­tor to move the rifle off line. Most pro­duc­tion trig­gers are fine and well matched to the rifle but bear in mind there is a rea­son many com­pe­ti­tion shoot­ers change from a stock trig­ger to an after­mar­ket trig­ger. Every shoot­er is dif­fer­ent and has a pref­er­ence for trig­ger pull… but most will agree a pre­ci­sion rifle should have a trig­ger pull some­where around 4 pounds. If pos­si­ble buy a rifle with an adjustable trig­ger so you can fine tune the trig­ger for the pound pull that is most com­fort­able and safe for you. I do not advise home gun­smithing for begin­ning shoot­er, if you desire to have your trig­ger changed or adjust­ed in any way, con­sult a gun­smith at your local gun shop.
  4. Is cham­bered with a round capa­ble of killing large game. The debate about the per­fect hunt­ing round has raged for years and I will not rehash it here. I will sim­ply state that com­mon rounds such as .308 (or 7.62 NATO), 30 – 06, 7 mm mag, and 300 Win mag have proven to be very effec­tive at tak­ing large game at long distances…they are also wide­ly avail­able. I would advise buy­ing a rifle cham­bered in one of those four rounds… although some will argue the virtue of oth­er cal­ibers. Small rounds such as .243, .223, .270, etc and larg­er rounds such as the 45 – 70, .338 lapua, .375, etc. have either poor ter­mi­nal bal­lis­tics past 300 yards, high­ly priced or hard to find ammu­ni­tion, exces­sive recoil, or poor tra­jec­to­ry so they are less desir­able for this type of weapon. My favorite is the 30–06 but if you talk to five dif­fer­ent expe­ri­enced shoot­ers, you may get five dif­fer­ent answers, as with any­thing it’s a mat­ter of opin­ion. Try to find a gun and cal­iber com­bi­na­tion that has good exte­ri­or bal­lis­tics (what the bul­let does after it leaves the bar­rel) and ter­mi­nal bal­lis­tics (what the bul­let does when it hits its tar­get) for shots to 600 yards with­out cre­at­ing exces­sive recoil.

Here are sev­er­al rifles that are a good start­ing point.

Rem­ing­ton 700

The Rem­ing­ton 700 has been the “go to” rifle for mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment snipers for years.  It has great out of the pr1box accu­ra­cy and has many after­mar­ket acces­sories avail­able. The most com­mon cham­ber you’ll find off the rack is .308 but oth­ers are avail­able from the fac­to­ry (no cus­tomiza­tion nec­es­sary). The 700 is bal­anced well because of a well made and well matched stock. Admit­ted­ly, Remington’s qual­i­ty con­trol has gone down­hill in recent years but the 700 remains one of the best-sell­ing pre­ci­sion rifles in the nation. At under $1000 it wont break the bank either.

Sav­age 110

The Sav­age 110 was at one time one of the most under­rat­ed rifles on the mar­ket. Sav­age his­tor­i­cal­ly has not been known for their qual­i­ty prod­ucts, but when their accu­tirg­ger hit the mar­ket about 10 years ago that rep­u­ta­tion change. The Accu trig­ger is by far the best pro­duc­tion trig­ger on the mar­ket and cou­pled with the unique bar­rel nut sys­tem pr2Sav­age pio­neered, Sav­age rifles sud­den­ly became a sought-after item. As a result many after­mar­ket parts are on the mar­ket, which is a good thing because many Sav­age fac­to­ry stocks are atro­cious (with the excep­tion of the high­er end 110AB mod­els).  The stock is made of light mate­r­i­al and when cou­pled with a heavy bar­rel, it sim­ply is not bal­ance well (I actu­al­ly loaded my stock with almost a pound of lead bal­ance it and absorb recoil). Despite the stock design, I have used my Sav­age 110 cham­bered and 30–06 to make thou­sand yard hits on man hole sized steel plates in prac­tice and rou­tine­ly make 600+ yard cold bore hits on steel sil­hou­ettes. Sav­age gen­er­al­ly is priced com­pa­ra­ble to Rem­ing­ton and come in under $1000.

Tik­ka t3

Tik­ka is not known for their tac­ti­cal rifles but are very well known for their accu­ra­cy and reli­a­bil­i­ty in the hunt­ing pr 3world. They have very good fac­to­ry trig­gers, qual­i­ty bar­rels, and strong smooth actions. Their tac­ti­cal mod­els are avail­able with adjustable cheek rests and detach­able box mag­a­zines from the fac­to­ry. They tend to be of a high­er qual­i­ty than both Rem­ing­ton and Sav­age but the accu­ra­cy gains over either are min­i­mal. Because they are well-known man­u­fac­tur­er and a sought-after gun by hunters there are many after­mar­ket parts avail­able. The T3 tends to be priced around $1500 for a fac­to­ry rifle with­out a scope.


Hope­ful­ly the infor­ma­tion above includ­ing the rec­om­mend­ed rifles has helped some firearm chal­lenged read­ers look in the right direc­tion for a pre­ci­sion rifle. In clos­ing I would like to add a few thoughts… 1. Oth­er items that should be part of a pre­ci­sion rifle are a bipod, a sling, and an adjustable cheek rest. All three items, if used prop­er­ly, increase the accu­ra­cy of the rifle. 2. I advised try­ing sev­er­al dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers and grain weight of ammu­ni­tion to find what your par­tic­u­lar rifle shoots best.  Rifles of the same make will shoot dif­fer­ent­ly and there is no hard and fast rule for ammu­ni­tion choice….trial and error is the best method. 3. Get pro­fes­sion­al­ly trained and prac­tice with your rifle often and at long range.  If you have any ques­tions, sound off in the com­ments and I will be glad to answer them.

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