The likelihood of taking a long shot while hunting increases the farther west you go, so your setup needs to be modified to go the distance. Whether shooting across a canyon or an open plain, the tools Eastern hunters use can get the job done, but they’re far from ideal when trying to hammer a deer at 300-plus yards.
The 3X-15X-50mm Burris Veracity riflescope provides great magnification for Western hunting. At 3X the scope won’t fill with fur if game steps out at 50 yards; at 15X, combined with a Ballistic Plex reticle, placing bullets at 400 yards is much easier. The scope’s 50mm objective lens permits plenty of light to reach the eye so hunts won’t be compromised near sunset. The company’s Signature HD 10x42 binocular provides a wide field of view, 314 feet at 1,000 yards. And thanks to index-matched, fully multi-coated HD lenses combined with BaK-4 prisms with phase-corrected dielectric coatings, objects at the 1,000-yard mark remain vivid. The bino is waterproof, too. All these features come in a package weighing 23.2 ounces, so it’s light enough to be carried all day, even at elevation. MSRP: $839 scope, $455 binocular; burrisoptics.com.
Swagger Hunter29 Bipod
Swagger’s Hunter29 bipod sports legs that extend from 6½-29 inches. Once they’re deployed, you can shoot from a rigid platform, or engage the Flex-legs to allow the rifle to twist and flex, providing the maneuverability to follow game on the move and shoot from any position in the field. MSRP: $199.99; swaggerbipods.com.
Winchester XPR Hunter Vias
Most importantly, Western hunting requires a flat-shooting round and an accurate rifle. The Winchester XPR Hunter Vias is a 2018 special edition with a long, fast-twist barrel optimized for magnum cartridges like the WSMs, the .300 or .338 Win. Mag. or the 7mm Rem. Mag, all of which minimize drop and buck wind. With its synthetic stock, Kuiu Vias camo and Permacote-gray metalwork, the rifle weighs 7 pounds in most magnum chamberings. MSRP: $599; winchesterguns.com.
Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range Ammo
Winchester Ammo’s 190-grain Expedition Big Game Long Range load in.300 WSM and .300 Win. Mag. produces more than 2,000 ft.-lbs. of energy at 500 yards. A 168-grain 7mm Rem. Mag. load hits with 2,000 ft.-lbs. of energy at 400 yards. What’s more, with a 200-yard zero, all three bullets drop only about a foot and a half at 400 yards, making them perfect choices for Western hunting. MSRP: $35-$45 per 20-rnd. box; winchester.com.