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Old August 15, 2005, 09:12 PM   #26
22-rimfire
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I have always believed that the 300 Win Mag is way over gunned for normal whitetail hunting. I don't know why anyone would want use it for deer hunting unless it was to give them more versatility as for elk or moose hunting. (A parallel is drawn below with the 243 discussion.) I feel that the 7mm mag is almost as over gunned, but I can sympathize with someone who simply likes that caliber (that's calibre to you Trxxx ). I think that choosing a 308 over a 30-06 is splitting hairs. Both are excellent on deer sized game.

When I was younger, shot placement was the absolute key and I used a 243 win for deer hunting as I also used it for wood chucks. It was not to keep the recoil down but to own and use a rifle that shoots well and is flexible in its capabilities. I now use a 270 win, but the 243 is just fine if you do sufficient shooting. Shot placement is still the key with any caliber.

I do also believe that there can be too much recoil for many shooters. Taking this to the extreme, I suspect I would flinch like crazy if I were shooting a 460 Weatherby Magnum. I can't imagine bench shooting with a gun like that as enjoyable... strictly business for dangerous very large game.

Trxxx: Interesting job. What do you and the other hunters do with all the meat? Is the hunting done for population control only? Why not simply allow more people to hunt these deer for sport?
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Old August 16, 2005, 10:22 AM   #27
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chemist308, if you are seeing what you describe, you have a Major League flinching problem. What you are describing is not normal.

Most, if not all, experienced shooters would barely notice the crosshairs moving off the bullseye. If you are having problems with recoil, it is most likely that you are not shouldering the gun properly or have an ill fitting scope arrangement causing you to get your cheek up off the stock, or both.

Yes, any rifle caliber starting with a "4" has noticeable recoil when shooting from the bench. However, it can be negated, if not ignored, by practice, just like catching a 95 mph fastball, your body will want to get out of the way, but you can teach yourself to override that and become a Catcher.

Get a snap cap and dry fire your rifle at a target about umpteen jillion times while sitting at home. Ask someone to critique your shooting positons, and make sure your scope isn't so high you have to lift your head up off the stock.

Good luck.
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Old August 16, 2005, 10:32 AM   #28
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Trxxx,

I don't doubt that a .243 would be ideal for CULLING deer in game management, but culling deer is not the same as hunting deer, at least in a lot of places.

A local butcher down the road from me has no doubt killed thousands of cattle weighing much more than deer with a .22 long rifle single shot. This does not mean the .22 is suitable for hunting animals weighing in excess of 600 pounds. It is the ideal firearm to use inside his slaughter pen, but it can't be extrapolated into anything else.

Butchering is not the same as culling, and culling is not the same as sport hunting.
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Old August 16, 2005, 11:06 AM   #29
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Artsmom -

Just so I can get a handle on how much of your argument is based on experience, how many deer have you personally shot with a .243? With other calibres?

That question is not intended as a slap down, I am genuinely interested.
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Old August 16, 2005, 11:55 AM   #30
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I say the .30-30. So many people I know look down their noses at it but It's taken more deer than probably any other bullet. Just my oppinion.

eta; sorry I thought this was the underrated thread. My brother shoots a .300 wsm and that's just too much for deer.
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Old August 16, 2005, 04:12 PM   #31
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I started the .243 debate, and I'll stand by it as being overrated, in the sense that older, experienced hunters love it, and many times suggest it for first timers because of the recoil, not realizing that the first timer is more likely to get a bad hit on a deer. A bad hit on a deer is bad with any caliber, but more so with a .243 than any of the magnums mentioned because you're probably not going to find that deer.

The .243 is indeed a great deer caliber, but in my opinion, only for those that know about shot placement and are willing to pass up on marginal shots.

About the magnums........generally, I'd say they are overkill for many situations. However, they are big in South Texas, for good reason. First, many shots can be long. Second, if you're spending lots of $$ to shoot a big buck, the last thing you want to do is chase him through miles of mesquite and cactus only to lose him. You want him to go DOWN. Many times, you go 20 yds off the road, you're lost, because there is no horizon, and the brush is so thick a rabbit can't get through. In situations like that, you don't want to play around with a .243, or even a 25-06 in many cases, because even on a perfect hit, the deer can run 100 yds. 100 yds in that country might as well be 10 miles. For this reason, the .300 mags reign supreme in that part of the country on deer. Just my 2 cents.
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Old August 16, 2005, 10:42 PM   #32
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Ok guys, I'm not new to firearms, but I'll be going on my first deer hunt this October. I have .30.30's .30'06 and .308. I am leaning towards using the .30.30 levergun with iron sights, because it seems more challenging and more old school, ya know? If I can take a deer like my grandfathers did, without the scopes, I'd feel better about it. Then again, some here feel .30.30 isn't quite up to the job. So that makes me think I should use my '06(scoped) because I don't want to loose the deer (assuming I even find one). Or my M1A. I will be hunting in the southern Sierra's moderately forested, fairly steep terrain. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old August 16, 2005, 11:13 PM   #33
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Most overrated deer caliber, or - - -

- - - Caliber most often MISUSED for deer?

In either case, I'll pick the 7.62x39mm. There are a huge number of rifles and carbines in use today, chambered for this decent little antipersonnel cartridge. A great many of the owners think that, just because it's "A thirty-caliber," it must be okay for deer. Also, there's a mistaken idea that, "Well, the 7.62 by 39 is ballistically identical to the .30-30." Or, more properly, "is ballistically similar to the .30-30." Well, not really. The vast majority of the .30 Russian Short ammo sold has bullets totally unsuitable for hunting medium game - - A very hard 129 gr. bullet which doesn't expand properly, hollow point or not. Velocity is somewhat similar, but most .30-30 cartridges have a 150 or 170 gr. bullet that performs pretty darn well for it's shape and velocity.

Many deer ARE killed every year with the 7.62x39, true, but this is like it used to be with the .30 US Carbine cartridge. There are a lot of 'em in use, and many people have the good fortune to be presented with a clear, short range, standing-still shot. Is such circumstances, it'll do the job. So will a .32-20 or a short .357 revolver. But if one doesn't have the discipline to NOT take a shot beyond 50 yards or so, or if one cannot place the shot with surgical precision, it is not showing the game animal much respect.

How about, "Well, it'll do fine on a 150 pound man, so it should be fine on a 120 pound deer?" (Often heard about both the .30 short and the .30 USC.) For incapacitating an enemy soldier, any solid hit between the knees and the top of the head will do just fine. He's no longer an effective fighting unit, and he'll probably lie down and worry about getting to the aid station alive. The body of a deer is a good deal shorter, up and down, and a poorly shot game animal can escape with a lot of physical damage. Sure, he'll probably die sometime, but this is not a sporting matter.

Certainly, there are those who carefully mount a 'scope sight on their SKS or Ruger Mini 30, and choose proper sporting ammo. And, if they practice a bit, then the little cartridge is a 100 to 150 yard proposition.

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Old August 17, 2005, 09:04 AM   #34
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Hamhawk96R, it's not that the .30-30 is not up to the task of deer hunting-- it clearly is. Yet it is one of the more overrated deer cartridges. As a standard for a deer rifle cartridge, it's about the baseline. It's taken probably more deer than any other metallic cartridge, because it comes in such handly little repeater rifles. If you can MAKE yourself keep your shots to under 150 yards, and use good ammo, you can do fine with the .30-30. Your likelyhood of success will go way up if you'll replace the crummy factory notch or semi-buckhorn (or worse: full buckhorn) sights with a decent receiver peep sight. You'll do even better if you'll plunk down $35 or so and have a trigger job done on it. Stick a sling on it and learn how to use it, and a M'94 or a 336 .30-30 can be a VERY useful deer stick. But don't kid yourself that it has the knockdown, the wind-bucking, or the flat-shooting that an '06 has. For terrain that offers closer shots, the 170g is great, but for all-around use, the 150g loading is a little bit flatter.


The same may be said of the .243 as a highly overrated deer cartridge. Will it get the job done? Heck YES. As a matter of fact, I've got a Pre-'64 M70 in .243 that I plan to use to kill my very next deer. But I'll do that with an awareness of its limitations.
It is not a .30-06.
It is not .270.
It is not a .25-'06.
It isn't even a .257 Roberts (though it's getting close).
It's a fine caliber, but it's just a little less than those. But because it will do the job and often does the job flawlessly, time after time, some folks will convince themselves that it possesses the same capabilities as the bigger, louder, more powerful cartridges that have more recoil. Sorry. TANSTAAFL. You have to pay the piper for more power.
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Old August 17, 2005, 09:25 AM   #35
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Hamhawk96R, all the guns you mention will do the job. The question is are you up to the task? If this is your first hunt, maybe you do not need a challenge yet. I assume you are proficient with all the rifles you have, and I am not trying to slight you in any way. If it was me, I'd use the scoped gun for my 1st outting (aim small...miss small). There is so much more to hunting than hitting what you are aming at. I'm not talking about tactics and techniques, I refer to anatomy. Gain a working knowlege deer anatomy and how to place a bullet through that volley ball sized area, reguardless of the position in is in. And most importantly, learn when not to shoot. Shoot often and shoot with the ammo you intend to hunt with...I'm sure you have heard it all before.
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Old August 17, 2005, 10:11 AM   #36
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+1 on Zeisloft's comment about using a scope on the first hunt. I would use a scoped rifle to shoot a couple of deer and gain some experience before I took on the additional challenge of iron sights.
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Old August 17, 2005, 10:47 AM   #37
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Trxxx,

I really don't know how many deer I have shot. Maybe 50? I shot three opening day last year. I shot two right away, and was going to be done until I had those two gutted and hauled up to where a pickup could get them. I then went back to the river bank, shot a third one. (hunting next to a big piece of public land is like having someone put on a deer drive for you) My brother and nephew came to help me drag deer, and they shot a fourth. One 6.5 Swede bullet in the neck, one .243 slug behind the shoulder.

It is easier to tag a deer here in this state than it is to shoot a pheasant.

I also hunt with my brothers, nephews, cousins, uncle, and now even a son. One brother has probably shot maybe 80 deer, as the high scorer in the group. I think I have helped skin, butcher and wrap all but a very few of these, so I see where the bullet(s) went and what they did or didn't do. I have watched quite a few of these deer killed by these other hunters, as I have been right next to them when they shot their first and second (or 29th) deer.

I myself have used a 6mm Remington, two different .30-06 Springfields, a Savage 99 in .308, a couple or three different 7mm Remington Magnums, a couple of different .270s, a .300 Winchester Magnum for sure, but I know I am missing some. Littlest caliber I have witnessed personally was a .22 Hornet, biggest was a .50 caliber muzzleloader, most powerful was a .338 Winchester Magnum.

I am using my experience with a 6mm Remington to stand in for the .243, and my brother's usage, who has taken maybe 25 deer with his, including some nice bucks. It is absolutely great rifle for those who aren't make too many poorly placed shots. A 6mm bullet has a hard time going through a big bodied deer at an angle when the path includes a shoulder or ham. It has no problems with a broadside shot through the ribs, it is boringly lethal on any sized deer with this shot. It doesn't have a margin for error as does a .30-06, which will usually find a way to exit a deer regardless of point and angle of entry, and an exit wound is crucial on a poorly placed shot.

Arguing calibers for deer hunting is mostly an exercise in splitting hairs. I would take a .243 with a good trigger over a 7mm Remington Magnum with a bad one, I would take a 6mm Remington with a quality scope over a .30-06 with a cheap one. I would feel better about a new guy going out with a .243 with a heavy trigger and a cheap scope who had practiced than I would with a first timer going out with my best rifle in 7mm Remington Magnum and no practice.

Caliber is way down on my list of importance, but that doesn't mean I don't have opinions, even when it gets down to splitting hairs.
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Old August 17, 2005, 12:06 PM   #38
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Artsmom.

Thanks for that, you are obviously an experienced hunter. I agree with your comments on .243 as they reflect my experience with the calibre too. I've been fortunate enough to have been able to shoot several hundred deer with the .243, and it is as lethal as it needs to be if the bullet is put in the right place. The one thing it doesn't always do, especially in fat deer and depending on the angle of the shot, is to leave a very big exit wound, if it exits at all. The sectional density of the 100 grain .243 bullet is surprisingly good, but exit wounds do still tend to be smaller than with a slightly larger calibre. The impact of the .243 bullet on deer always makes me think "sting" rather than "thump".

I agree with your hair-splitting comment - with different factory loadings, and favourite handloads, there is often more difference within a calibre than between calibres - in other words, there is a a lot of overlap between many very effective calibres and loadings.

For myself, as well as the .243 I've shot several hundred deer with each of .270, .308, and 7x57, and the best part of a thousand with my current favourite, the 6.5x55. They are all great rounds, and if someone picked one out at random and forced me to use only that for all my future deer shooting I know I would do just fine. Having said that, the 6.5x55 has a combination of shootability, effectiveness, accuracy and efficiency which is hard to beat, and I reach for that rifle first. Not claiming it is perfect, because nothing is, but it is pretty close to ideal for what I do.

My opinions on magnums are, I freely agree, totally subjective. Most of the really good deer hunters I know tend to favour medium power calibres, and shoot them well. Some of the poorest field shots I know seem to gravitate towards magnums in an attempt to compensate for bad shooting, and I am quite convinced they would be much better advised to drop down to something less powerful and learn to shoot it properly. At the end of the day, we owe it to the animals we hunt to shoot them as humanely as possible. I purely hate to see magnum-sized wounds in the wrong parts of deer because someone is trying to compensate for lack of skill with excessive power.

In the right hands, and even for particularly specialised types of deer hunting in the UK, magnums have their place. But I will take some convincing that they are ideal all-round deer calibres.
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Old August 17, 2005, 12:16 PM   #39
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I know I sorta hijacked the thread a little, but thanks for the advice all. I think I'll use my scoped '06. One more question. How's 45.70 for hunting? I know its a big bruiser, but that might not mean much in the field. I forgot I have a Marlin 45.70 cowboy w/ 26 inch barrel I'd like to try sometime. Off subject - isn't it cool when your collection is extensive enough that you 'forget' you have something?
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Old August 17, 2005, 12:19 PM   #40
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I think the 30-30 is both overated and underated deer riflle of all time. Overated by those with little knowledge of ballistics and underrated by those who have brainwashed by Hype, advertising and so forth...... I purchased a new 788 for 56.00, in 30-30 at Munden's Discount in 1967 or 68. Huge purchase for an Airman with a wife and two children living on 180.00 a month. ......Served me well and I knew what it was and it's limatations were. Twenty-five years I listened to a N.H. Warden cuss the 30-30 to death as the biggest wounder of deer since the spear. What he didn't recognize were shot at with iron sights, not sighted in, and at God knows what ranges. It's the HUNTER, not the gun...........Essex
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Old August 17, 2005, 01:41 PM   #41
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The final word

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At the end of the day, we owe it to the animals we hunt to shoot them as humanely as possible.
Trxxx--I think you have said the final word on this. One uses what will most humanely kill the quarry, in one's own hands. If one is a sportsman, he will have practiced sufficient, and have sufficient anatomical knowledge, that the caliber of his rifle is of quite secondary importance.
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Old August 17, 2005, 04:56 PM   #42
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IMHO:

7mm Mag is the most overrated.

7mm-08 is the best (for NE at least).

and... 7.62x39 is adequate
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Old August 18, 2005, 10:19 AM   #43
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For me, the 7mm Magnum and .300 Winchester Magnum serve one very useful purpose: Wind cheating.

It is said that many Eastern and Woods hunters have a problem judging ranges if and when they come out to the more open Western part of the United States. If that is so, then add a Great Plains gusty 20-25 mph wind chasing up and down and swirling. Your sub MOA groups off a bench on a crisp, quiet morning don't mean squat now. Big slippery bullets moving fast are more accurate in the wind then little slippery bullets moving slower when humans launch them. Why?

Well, can you judge the difference between a steady 15 mph wind coming off your four o'clock as compared to one at 23 mph. at your 3 o'clock? Me neither. Now let it gust, swirl, and chase up and down the hills. How are you doing now? Those shiny bullets look pretty puny to be throwing across the field during an Alberta Clipper.

Federal's best .243 bullet for deer (95 grain Nosler Ballistip) will move 7.6" in a 10 mph straight crossing wind at 300 yards. The best 7mm mag. will move 5.1". The .243 drifts about 50% more. If we are talking a 20 mph wind, then you can (I think) double these figures.

If we go to a more moderate 200 yards, then we are talking a difference of only 2" of accuracy you are giving up. Would you rebarrel a rifle to gain a couple of inches of accuracy off the bench? Yes? Then why wouldn't you pick a different caliber to gain some accuracy inches in the field?

If you don't live where you have to deal with longer range shooting in the wind, and never plan to go where you might, then disregard all of this. The bigger magnums ARE more than adequate there. But they aren't too big when you are going up against a wind as big as several Western states.

BTW, I see the word "overkill" used a lot in this thread. What does an "overkilled" deer look like compared to just a plain old "killed" deer? A .338" bullet between the ribs looks a lot like a .277" bullet through the ribs. The lungs and heart look the same. (Unfortunately, because deer heart is great eating). Both bullets are ghastly angling through a hindquarter and into the paunch. If a wind bucking 7mm Magnum keeps the bullet in the ribs and away from the quarters, while the .243 might drift back that ways due to the wind, then guess which one I am taking antelope hunting.
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Old August 18, 2005, 12:38 PM   #44
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ditto on the wind the TX panhandle aint too forgiving either. And the lack of trees makes for some good long shots. 190 and 220 grainers moving around 3,000 fps does cut the drift.
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Old August 18, 2005, 07:51 PM   #45
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I know in advance I'm going to get flamed for this - but my vote for the most over-rated deer calibre is the 7mm Remington Magnum.
The only flameworthy thing here is that this is a thread spoiler. Its just not fair to give the only answer in the opening post of the thread.

My sentiments exactly about the 7mmRM. You see a whole lot of these at Wally World, then you see a whole lot of them in the newspaper or being carried around gun shows about halfway through the hunting season. Too much bang, too much fire, too much kick, too much throat erosion, too much target penetration, too much of everything.

Maybe for elk or African antelope if your .270 or 7mm08 gets lost in the airline baggage.
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Old August 19, 2005, 10:03 AM   #46
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Too much bang, too much kick--You need to shoot more, if the 7mm Rem Mag bothers you. My son is a sack of potatoes shy of breaking 100 pounds, and the 7mm Remington Magnum is what he used to take his deer. (He actually was more interested in the good scope and excellent trigger pull, to be honest) If you can shoot a shotgun, then you can handle a 7mm Magnum.

Too much throat erosion-We are talking deer, not prairie dogs, right? I refuse to believe that a 7mm Remington Magnum could be shot enough in the field to wear out the barrel, including practice.

Too much target penetration-You can't penetrate a deer too much. The bullet HAS to go all the way through. If there is something behind the deer you don't want to hit, then you dang well better not be shooting ANY caliber at the deer.

The 7mm Remington Magnum wasn't dreamed up by some guys in a marketing bull session, but by Western hunters who hunted a lot of game in a lot of places, and knew what they wanted to fulfill a need. Thes are some of the guys behind the cartridge:

"There was Warren Page who had many friends at Remington and who sang the praises of a wildcat called 7mm Mashburn Super Magnum in many of his hunting articles. There was Les Bowman who also had many friends at Remington and who necked up the .264 Winchester Magnum case to 7mm and had a rifle built in what he called .280 Remington Magnum. Jack O'Connor's name probably should be on this list since his gift of a rifle in .275 H&H Magnum is what sparked Bowman's interest in a 7mm magnum cartridge."

Okay, they screwed up by not leaving off the ridiculous belt.
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Old August 20, 2005, 07:25 AM   #47
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Any magnum is overrated for most deer in the east anyway, most factory loaded magnum bullets also have jackets that are too heavy for deer. I feel the 30-06 is not overrated but over used. The 06 will put a deer down fast but in my 30+ deer kills no faster than the 257Roberts, 30-30, 270, 280 and even the 243 with the right bullet. Like anything else its all about bullet placement and not over extending your range. I have seen deer shot 3-4 times with a 7mm magnum and yet the hunter never recovered the animal due to poor hits. I can see the use of a Magnum in the vast open plains as longshots aren't uncommon, but bullet selection is still critical. The gun looses velocity and a heavy jacket will not expand properly.

One of the fastest demises I ever saw outside of headshots was a 120lb dressed buck I hit in the boiler room with a 30-30 130gr speer FN, the deer went down like someone hit a switch. I have hit deer in the same place with a 06, 280, 270, 308 and none dropped like this one. The damage was massive in the internal organs. I think due to the velocity and the bullet being designed for 30-30 velocity all the enrgy was deposited in the animal and expansion was textbook. The bullet has to be matched to the game and to the velocity range of impact. Most boattails are more for long range shooting and I have seen some including 30cal. explode at close range impact on deer sized game. I use only flatbase bullets as in N.H. 90% of the shots are under 100yds, out of 30+ deer I have taken only 3 have exceeded 100yds.

I find more young hunters using too much gun due to being influenced by some gunwriters and more so idiot gun salesman who never shot a deer in their life! Walmart for one comes to mind lol. It kind of reminds me of the newbie who has a footlong knife to field dress a deer, they also need a 300 winchester magnum to drop the beast!!!
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Old August 20, 2005, 08:51 PM   #48
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.30s

the .308 Winchester. every time i hear people talk about how wonderful the .308 is i just roll my eyes and walk away.

any modern .30 is too big for deer and the .308 is too small for moose and elk. stop kidding yourself and either buy a .30-06 or a .270
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Old August 22, 2005, 10:09 PM   #49
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I wasn't going to jump into this fray BUT, here I am. I have been at this game for 55yrs. I have killed my share of game animals from the caribou to the moose, from the whitetail to the black bear AND I have seen all of them taken with the 243 win. Check the inuits and see what they pack for heat and money goes it's a 243 win. I have taken Eastern whitetails to 240lbs with a 243 one shot. A 380lb black fell to a 100grs of 243. And I saw a native American alaskan kill a bull moose that went 1400 if he weighed a once with a 100 gr hornady handload with one shot to the neck. So if you please, a little respect for a great little rifle LOL My Two Cents Trapperl
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Old August 23, 2005, 08:46 AM   #50
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From Remington's Ballistic Table, 150 grn. soft-point Core-Lokt round:

ENERGY (ft-lbs) .270, .308, .30-06
Muzzle 100 200 300 400 500
.270 Remington Express 150 SP CL 2705 2087 1587 1185 872 639
.308 Remington Express 150 PSP CL 2648 2137 1705 1344 1048 810
.30-06 Remington Express 150 PSP CL 2820 2281 1827 1445 1131 876

As you can see, the .308 is really close to the other calibers in foot pounds of energy. I hope that it will not be "too big" for deer, and if the .308 can't kill elk or moose, then it looks like the .270 and the .30-06 will be insufficient, too.
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