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Old August 12, 2012, 05:02 AM   #26
impalacustom
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For deer and below I would agree the 243 is a great rifle. I don't think you would get a 115-117gr to stabilize in anything less than a 1:8 though, plus the overall length might exceed the magazine length so that could be another issue. For me my do all rifle is my 30-06, it is overkill on pretty much anything less than deer though to be honest. For a first rifle for long distance prairie dogs and deer at reasonable range, the 243 is the way to go.
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Old August 12, 2012, 06:20 AM   #27
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Frankenmauser...... the animal list incl..... something small as groundhogs...out to occas 300yds.....typical 200yds......up to deer incl occas antelope...(shorter range) but deer range open fields 250-300yds...and woods too...

Several posters nailed the heart of my question...."which caliber loads well from the light offering of bullets to the heavy"....243 seems the winner...so far...
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Old August 12, 2012, 07:05 AM   #28
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The answer to your most flexible caliber question can addressed better if you clue us into how flexible is your targets are.
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Old August 12, 2012, 03:01 PM   #29
FrankenMauser
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Those distances are the key.

My suggestions:
.243 Win (1:9" twist, 65-107 gr / 1:10" twist, 55-100 gr)
.250 Savage
.257 Roberts
.270 Win (1:10" twist, 100-150 gr / 1:12" twist, 90-130 gr)
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Old August 12, 2012, 03:12 PM   #30
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I'd go with .243 Winchester. Lighter bullets for varmints. Heavier bullets for deer.
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Old August 12, 2012, 03:20 PM   #31
Brian Pfleuger
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I have to mention that I used the 243Win primarily as a classic example more than "the answer". Although I think it's an excellent choice, being that this is the reloading forum and being that a custom rifle can be built for maybe $800 in any cartridge which might strike one's fancy, it pays to look at the other cartridges in the same size and performance class as the 243.

Personally, I recently finished researching this very question while looking to purchase a "Pre-fit" barrel for my Savage 11.

If I weren't a reloader, the choice would have been the 243Win, without question.

As a reloader, I opted for the 243AI. There really is no downside for a reloader. No extra work required, no custom dies needed, no special brass... just a "free" 100-300 fps over the 243Win.

So, yeah, the 243Win is an excellent choice, which is why I mentioned it specifically, but it's not the only choice in the neighborhood.
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Old August 12, 2012, 03:48 PM   #32
DoctorXring
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.

How much varmint whacking are you going to do ?

If not much, get the caliber you like most for game animals.
You can pop the now and then varmint with any rifle.

If you are going to be shooting a lot of varmints then you
need a rifle just for that.

Most people are looking for an excuse to get another rifle anyway.



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Old August 15, 2012, 03:23 PM   #33
anothernewb
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does it have to be a rifle? I looked through the posts but can't find anything specific that limits it to rifle.

If rifle then I'm on board with the .243 or a 6.5x55 swedish

if the field is more open - then I'd say a 12ga. enough to take down anything in north america, and small shot makes quick work of pests - although I will say you'd have to get awfully lucky or close to make much work of some of the shy varmints.
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Old August 15, 2012, 08:43 PM   #34
buck460XVR
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Quote:
does it have to be a rifle? I looked through the posts but can't find anything specific that limits it to rifle.

Same here. My vote goes for the .357 mag., in either handgun or carbine. Big enough for deer sized game, but also good for varmints and small game. Great personal defense caliber and also ideal for all-day range games and plinking.
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Old August 15, 2012, 08:48 PM   #35
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"What is the most "flexible" caliber...?"

.458 Win mag. It can take anything from ground squirrels to elephants.
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Old August 15, 2012, 09:06 PM   #36
old roper
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I've owned 243 since 1965 and lightest bullet I ever shot in that rifle was 75gr and max was 100gr.

I've shot few rock chucks,coyotes,deer with that rifle when I live in Calif and now it's kind of semi retire and I also own 243AI on Rem action.

I never judge a rifle by how many different bullet weight I can shoot in it because your never going to get the same level of accuracy with every bullet weight. Berger has 11 different bullet weights and 6 different barrel twist for the 6mm and the high low weight spread is 50/60grs.

Lot of other choice
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Old August 15, 2012, 09:26 PM   #37
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have to disagree withe the shotgun and .357mag posters. Yes both are good inside 150 yards, but past that, not so much. While something like a .243 is usable to 500 and beyond. And then even at 50 yards, the .357 may or may not take out a small varmint. Another point to the .243, just about anything its chambered in, especialy these days is going to shoot 1-2" or better at 100 yards, something you cant say about most shotguns or revolvers.....

A .458 win mag is powerful, but flexible? Well, thats the opposite of what your shoulder will be if you try and treat one as a varminter....

Also, the shotgun is cheating because if we allow switch barrels, then lets talk about the TC dimension if you want to talk flexible.....
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Old August 16, 2012, 01:31 PM   #38
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I have a little different take on it.

Regardless of cartridge(many will work fine,take your pick) more than the tool ,the skills you develop make it work.

I do not load multiple bullet weights for a given rifle.I pick one bullet weight,one velocity,and one BC.

From my 257 AI,its a 115 Ballistic tip,prairie dog to deer.

For a .308,I shoot 165-168 at anything.Now,Nosler offers a Match 168,a 165 Ballistic tip,and a 165 Accubond all with essentially the same BC.

A prairie dog will respond to a 165 Ballistic tip.

This way,the rifle has one sight in.No need to re-sight,oh,PD's this week,Antelope next month,then deer? What are we sighted in for? Then bullet inventory,keeping the right trajectory in my head,not for me.

One rifle,one trajectory.Each prairie dog ,tin can,rock,etc develops familiarity with that one trajectory.

Suits me,you have fun your way.
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Old August 16, 2012, 02:22 PM   #39
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HiBC, I've been slowly moving that direction with my own rifles, as well. However... I do like to entertain the "do everything" scenarios, on occasion.

The first rifle I bought was a .270 Win, that saw everything from 90 gr HPs to 160 gr Partitions. My first .243 Win saw everything from the 58 gr V-Max to 100 gr SPs. And, my .30-30 saw everything from 110 gr HPs to 220 gr RNs.

Now, the .270 gets 130 and 140 gr bullets.
The 6mm wildcat (consider it my new .243) gets 87-95 gr bullets.
The .30-30 is still burning up free components that came with it (primarily 150s).
And, my .30-06 normally gets stuffed with 165s/168s, with 180 gr bullets with a decent BC (Norma Oryx, Swift Scirocco II) being used for Elk.
(Norma's published BC of 0.288 for the 180 gr Oryx seems to be a misprint or something other than a G1 BC. It flies like a 0.450+ G1 bullet.)


There's still a noticeable difference in trajectory in some of those applications, but I tend to look at it as a MPBR shift, rather than a precise trajectory.

Except for the .270, each rifle is zeroed for a single load, and the scope stays there. (The .270 has a 'hybrid' zero, that is a 1/4 MoA compromise between two loads.) When using a load other than the one I'm zeroed for, I just think of the change in MPBR, rather than the precise trajectory shift.
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Old August 18, 2012, 05:33 PM   #40
ATPBULLETS
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Thanks for the comparison discussions... Just the
Kind of experience I was needing to hear and gain from ...
Had not considered the .357... Cool thinking....
That thing really carries ballistically in the carbine lengths .
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Old August 18, 2012, 06:52 PM   #41
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Am sure that someone will jump all over me, but my vote is for 30-06. Many bullets, many possible loads, etc.

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Old August 18, 2012, 07:46 PM   #42
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I am kinda on board with .243 Win. Being one of the most flexible, but I would never leave the house with it on a deer hunt. It's not that I don't think it's perfectly capable, I just only use my .243 for coyotes and targets. The 7 mag. Or .30-06 comes out for big-game hunting. If I had to give up all but one gun I would keep the 7 mag because it's my favorite of all my guns and the cartridge is versatile enough.

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Old August 18, 2012, 08:12 PM   #43
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.280 Ackley Improved gets my vote (if I only get one vote). A .458 may be a little too much for rabbit and squirrel hunting.
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Old August 19, 2012, 08:35 AM   #44
Rifleman1776
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You answered your own question.
30-06
The discussion begins and ends with 30-06 for North American all around big game rifle.
Same with reloading versatility. The most and the best.
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:05 AM   #45
Salmoneye
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Quote:
the 30-06 has common bullet weights 110gr to 200gr.....
Actually, I can load 45gr ,310"-.311" round ball 'cellar loads' up to 220gr bullets without looking more than a few minutes for 'published' data...

There are also cartridge adapters so you can fire .32 ACP through your 06...
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Old August 19, 2012, 10:11 AM   #46
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Not to beat this to death, but I think the 243 is your best bet. I have one and do use it often for varmints and deer. When I was toying with this idea a few years ago I also looked at the 257. Whatever you choose, pick a focus for it (such as deer) work up a load for that focus, and use the same load on varmints. Otherwise, you are constantly re-zeroing. (which can be fun, don't get me wrong)
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Old August 19, 2012, 07:00 PM   #47
David Bachelder
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My go to gun for deer,varmits and hogs?

Remington 788 in .243 Winchester

It's a tackdriver and it desn't dislocate your shoulder, sweet; very sweet.

Hornady 95 grain SST, seated .030 off lands
35 Grains Varget
Winchester LRP or CCI 200
I never did chrono it ... and I don't know why.

I hit golf balls at 100 yards, (most of the time ; ) I'm close all of the time, I can see em sweat.

I worked hard to come up with that reload ... my Remington loves it.

I guess I need to break the chrono out.
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Old August 19, 2012, 07:02 PM   #48
David Bachelder
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I also love the 30-06, been hunting with one for years.
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Old August 19, 2012, 07:14 PM   #49
William T. Watts
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257 Roberts, I have dies for the calibre but so far I haven't found the rifle. I would like to find a Winchester model 70 in this caliber.. William
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