I'm looking to buy my first hunting rifle
and would like some input on which cartridge might suit me best.
A few things of relevance first.
- I'm in the South East (Alabama) and do not intend on hunting outside the area, but should I get offered a job outside the region when I graduate in May I may end up in a region were the deer are different enough to matter. Most of the hunting areas in my area are heavily wooded, but there are plenty of open meadows and power line cutouts where a longer shot would be necessary.
- I am a new shooter. I've been shooting .22's for a few years now (CZ bolt action) and recently acquired a Mosin-Nagant 91/30 (7.62x54R for any not familiar with it). I don't own any rifles outside of these currently.
- I am recoil sensitive. I am only good for about 5-10 shots out of the 91/30 before I am done. I don't really like this as when I go to the range on a Saturday I am there for 8hrs. One afternoon a gentleman showed up with his own CZ as well as a custom Remmy 700 in .308. We traded rifles around, after 4-5 shots in that .308 I had had enough. To be fair to the .308, it was on its way to being a long range target rifle and didn't even have a rubber butt pad. The biggest issue I had with it was almost taking the scope to the eye on every shot, I think my shoulder would have adjusted eventually.
- I do not have a range longer then 100yards to practice at. I've been searching but I haven't found anywhere where I can safely/legally take a shot beyond 100yards yet.
- I do not reload. I do not have the time or the room currently, although I would like to get into it in the future. I mail order most of my ammo on sales, but I do not particular like the idea of shooting an exotic cartridge that I HAVE to mail order. If I can't find a good hunting and a good range round locally, I don't really have an interest in it.
- Price is an issue. I'm a big proponent of proper shot placement and I will burn at least 50rds every time I go to the range to ensure that I am one with my rifle.
- I have not picked out a rifle yet. This is heavily determinant based on the cartridge chosen, all though it will be a bolt action (unless I choose 30-30) and most likely it will be an 'entry' level rifle that I won't feel bad about abusing. Unless I decide to cave and buy a CZ 550 if I choose .243 or .270 that is...
Cartridges I am considering:
All that said, any thoughts on these (or any other cartridge you would like to recommend) would be appreciated.