Whether you will be using a bow, rifle or muzzleloader, there are many philosophies regarding the “best” one to use. I prefer moderate calibers and draw weights as they are easier on the shooter and are more reliable. You should be familiar with your firearm or bow. If you are using a muzzle brake, please be aware of your guide’s location before shooting, as they can cause serious hearing damage. You should bring a set of earplugs for your practice-shooting session in camp and on the mountain.
Your gun should be sighted in between 1.5 and 3 inches at 100 yards. If you go higher or lower than this, you will have to compensate too much with your hold. Sighting a gun in more than 2” high is for people experienced with long range shooting. If you fall into that category, then it is up to you. These days with Long range guns becoming more popular it may be a good way to go…but… Practice a lot. The gun may perform “Out of the Box” but it is necessary for you to become familiar with the set up and able to shoot a sub-minute group out to 500 yards.
Bullets should be premium type and accurate in your rifle.
You should bring a Laser Rangefinder if you like shooting long distances. The Leica 1200 is the best or the built in HDB one.
Regarding Magnums, I do not think they are necessary for killing animals. If you can shoot one well, great, but most people flinch with big guns. I prefer standard calibers for most game. The 7MM or 30’s are the best all around magnums. The .338 and .375 calibers are good for Moose and Grizzly Bear. If you hit where you aim, they all die the same. The best all around calibers and bullets for most hunting situations are the .257 -- (117 & 120gr.), .264/6.5mm -- (120 & 140 gr.), .270 -- (130 & 140 gr.), .280/7mm -- (160-168 gr.), 30’s (165, 180or 200 gr.), .322/8mm (200 or 225) and .338 -- (210 and 225).
Bring at least 1 box (20 rounds) but not more than 2 boxes (40 rounds) of ammunition. Bring only one rifle, but you may wish to bring an extra scope. Synthetic stocks, stainless steel barrels, Teflon coatings and synthetic (rubber or neoprene-coated nylon) slings will make for a more maintenance free firearm. I like the Quake Industries rubber coated nylon style.
Buy Premium Bullets. For long-range mountain shooting, pointed boat tails the best. I recommend Lost River Ballistics (Jensen), Nosler Acu Bonds & Hornady Inter bonds. I shoot Berger VLD 168 in my Gunwerks and seem to do a great job on sheep. For bigger or dangerous game and closer range shooting, I recommend bonded, partitioned or solid copper type bullets that have a high weight retention and deep penetration even if heavy bone is struck. Swift A-Frames, Winchester Fail safes, Trophy Bonded, Barnes X and Nosler Partitions work well. The higher the Ballistic Coefficient, the better the long-range performance will be (retained energy and velocity) and the flatter your rifle will shoot.
For scopes, a variable is nice, but a straight 4x or 6x would work. You will not need an over sized objective (larger than 42mm); besides, they get knocked out of alignment easier than a smaller scope because they stick out past the rifle. Good magnification ranges include 1.75-6x, 2.5-8x, 2-7x, 3-9x, 3-10x, 3.5-10x, 2.5-10x, 4-12x & 4.5-14x and a very common on long range is the 5-22x. Leupold, Nikon, Bushnell, Leica, Swarovski & Zeiss make the best, light weight hunting scopes. Two of my personal favorites include the 3.5-10x40 Leupold VX III & the 3-10x42 Swarovski. A 1” tube is all you need; 30-mm tubes are slightly stronger and sometimes brighter, but are heavier and more expensive. In general, stick with Steel rings/bases over aluminum, as they are stronger. If you want a lightweight, quality aluminum ring/base combo, go with the Talley’s.
Im using the Nightforce 5-22x on my gunwerks and like it a lot but is heavy and built for the purpose of longer shots. For horse hunts a smaller profile scope is best.
To help prevent rust, remove your rifle from the stock and cover the non-moving metal parts with gun grease or wax. The barrel, action and receiver can be coated with a spray-on Teflon type lube (Shooter’s Choice Rust Preventative aerosol, is the best). Tape the end of your barrel with electrical tape. About 12” from the end of your rifle’s barrel make 4 or 5 wraps with electrical tape. This is here for when you shoot and need to quickly re-cover the muzzle with electrical tape.
Bring a compact cleaning rod or cable, brush, patches and solvent to keep debris & rust out of your barrel. Tape your muzzle before you head out, Your rifle will thank you. The new Acu-Site, sold by Hunts Inc., is a great product I’d recommend. It is a laser bore sight, in the form of a cartridge case. They are very accurate and will tell you if your gun is sighted in should you take a fall or need a quick check. Purchase the .223 cartridge with Lazer, then purchase sleeves for your different calibers.
Pack your rifle in a high quality, aluminum or hard plastic case for the commercial flight. Starlight cases, Browning, Pelican and Tuff Packs are good, waterproof and strong plastic cases. ICC makes nice aluminum cases. If you do a lot of flying, I’d recommend their 4x14x36 (0.063thick) or 4x16x36 (0,080) thick cases and duffel combos. You can take your rifle apart from the stock and it will fit in a 36” case. This way, your rifle case doesn’t look like a rifle case and you can carry other things in the Cordura Duffel. Cabela’s sells most of these or you can go to their web site and order direct. You still have to let the airlines know that you are flying with a rifle.