Choosing your rifle (for me; others may feel differently) starts with the caliber. The most versatile round that I’ve found for both price and availability was the .308. The US Army preaches that the maximum effective range of the .308 is 800 yards, USMC says that it is in excess of 1000 yards and have confirmed hits over the 1000 yard range. It is a good and very consistent round and this is why I chose the .308.
Second, find a rifle that is comfortable to shoot. The only thing I can say is go pick up some guns. Go to your local gun shop and look at them, no one can tell you what will be a good rifle for your build and the way you will hold it. After you find at least a brand or two that is comfortable, do some research and find the right rifle for you.
For a long range rifle, the scope is hugely important (having not had professional training for shooting at long distances). I chose the Leopold VX-2 4-12x 40mm (paid $389 new). There are a lot of things to consider when buying a scope, but perhaps that is for a different review. This scope is clear; I mean, when I look through this scope everything looks better than I could see with the naked eye and perfect vision. Leopold is not the cheapest by any stretch but it withstands the test of holding true after hundreds of rounds and I have yet to find a scope with a better sight picture.
For long distance shooting a bi-pod is almost required. Not only does it look bad ass, it also gives you a consistent experience when shooting the rifle from any position. This was the area I wish I had done more research in before I bought a Shooters Ridge deluxe bi-pod ($150 MSRP), which was the only one available where I happened to buy my rifle. The only issue that I have with this is not a product issue. If I shoot from a seated position, the legs on my bi-pod are so long, even when fully retracted, that I usually wind up just resting my rifle on my bag.
All in all, my rifle is not fancy, flashy or a head-turner. But put me at 300 yards with my Remington SPS with some dirty, low-end ammo and Ill put out a 6-inch grouping all day long.
I love my rifle and will keep it for as long as I am shooting. It’s a solid rifle and in the end I spent around $1100 on it; which isn’t bad when taking into account all the things you need to start out shooting with a long range rifle.
UPDATE – Someone had requested info on the target shot posted on Facebook so I wanted to add an explination along with the photos. Distance was 300 Meters for both shots on different days, one target was shot with 168 grain boat tail hollow point, the other was shot sighting in my rifle with 150 grain so there are a few strays, these were taken quite a while ago. The smaller grouping was the 168 grain.