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Old July 9, 2013, 03:48 PM   #1
CC268
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Choosing first rifle...caliber help?

Alright so I am not new to shooting by any means, I shoot a lot of sporting clays (I have a Beretta A400 Xcel Sporting) and I have shot quite a few rifles (.223, .243, .270, .22-250) and I am looking to get a rifle in the next 6 months.

I will mostly be doing target shooting, but would like something that is capable of coyote and possibly deer every once in a while.

I am thinking of either a .243, .270, or .308 as ammo isn't too expensive for them and is fairly easy to find. I am worried the .308 will have way to much recoil for target shooting though, but I have never shot one. Also...wouldn't that be too much gun for coyote? I do like the ability of long range target shooting that the .308 gives though. Otherwise I am leaning towards the .243

Any suggestions, info, etc?

Last edited by CC268; July 9, 2013 at 03:54 PM.
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Old July 9, 2013, 03:58 PM   #2
allaroundhunter
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Re: Choosing first rifle...caliber help?

The .243 is exactly what you are wanting. Exactly.
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Old July 9, 2013, 04:16 PM   #3
CC268
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Yea that is what I figured. As far as gun models I am thinking of the Savage Arms 11/111 FCNS or the 14/114 American Classic. Tikka is also another consideration.

I noticed I couldn't seem to find the 11/111 FCNS in a .243 anywhere though.

Also...what does 11/111 or 14/114 mean? I notice the guns online when I find them are listed as Savage Arms 11 FCNS or 111 or 14 or 114, but never are listed as 11/111 or 14/114 together??

Any recommendations?
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Old July 9, 2013, 04:31 PM   #4
dylanf55
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ya i would say the .243 is probably what your after but if you were going to be hunting deer more than anything with it i would suggest the .270. Good luck!!
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Old July 9, 2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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Re: Choosing first rifle...caliber help?

The two digit models denote short action, while the 3 digit models are long action. You will be looking for a two digit model if you go with Savage.

This is why you won't see any gun listed as a model 11/111 (you can't have a gun that is both short and long action).
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Old July 9, 2013, 04:46 PM   #6
AllenJ
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Any of the cartridges you picked are going to do fine for targets, coyote, and deer, and there is no such thing as being over gunned for yotes

A 308 Winchesters recoil is very comparable to the 270 Winchester, so don't let that influence your decision.
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Old July 9, 2013, 05:01 PM   #7
4runnerman
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having both i will take my 308 over the 243 any time. I love my 243 but there is just something about the 308. But as others have posted both are good.
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Old July 9, 2013, 06:11 PM   #8
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The deer thing pushes it to the clearly obvious choice which is .243. Barring that you could have gotten away with a .223.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old July 9, 2013, 06:50 PM   #9
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I prefer the .308 but in your case, a .243 would be a very sound choice.
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Old July 9, 2013, 09:17 PM   #10
AL45
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I have a .308 H & R single shot which my son used to kill his first deer with with when he was 15. He practiced with it from several different positions and never complained about recoil. I use A PAST shoulder pad and recoil isn't bad at all. I think the .308 is very versatile, accurate and ammunition is readily available. I reload it and it is easy to find components. (That is before everyone went ammunition crazy).
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Old July 9, 2013, 09:30 PM   #11
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compromise

I don't like compromise. You should buy two rifles. One for target which shoots cheap ammo. One that will take deer responsiblely.
I would suggest a .223 and a .270(or 280 remington).
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Old July 9, 2013, 10:01 PM   #12
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With your stated goals, I would also go with the .243. Do a little research on it's capabilities...you might be surprised.

For target shooting, I like to shoot 40-50 rds through my .270 Win so the .243 won't likely beat your shoulder up as much as the other calibers. In addition, at least where I live, .243 ammo is a bit cheaper.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:37 AM   #13
CC268
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Hmm...guess it is a battle between the .243 and .308

I just know that I shot my friends Savage .270 and that thing killed my shoulder pretty quickly, so I am assuming the .308 would do the same. 95% of my shooting will be target shooting. Like I said a little coyote here and there and maybe some deer every once in a while. I feel like the .308 would be too much for a coyote?

Also...most my target shooting is going to be 100-300 yards, although it would be nice to have something that is capable of something that can go beyond that.
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Old July 10, 2013, 08:23 AM   #14
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Re: Choosing first rifle...caliber help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CC268 View Post
Hmm...guess it is a battle between the .243 and .308

I just know that I shot my friends Savage .270 and that thing killed my shoulder pretty quickly, so I am assuming the .308 would do the same. 95% of my shooting will be target shooting. Like I said a little coyote here and there and maybe some deer every once in a while. I feel like the .308 would be too much for a coyote?

Also...most my target shooting is going to be 100-300 yards, although it would be nice to have something that is capable of something that can go beyond that.
The .243 is a very capable 750+ yard cartridge so going out to 300 yards is not testing it. The main difference between the .243 and .308 for target shooting is that it is near impossible to find factory match ammo for the .243. If you handload (a great thing to get into) then you can make the .243 do everything that you want, and do it cheaper than with the .308 while also hurting your shoulder less. Now, for only shooting out to 300 yards you really don't need match ammo. Just find some factory ammo that your gun likes and go with it.

Is the .308 too much for coyotes? In my opinion yes, unless you handload. You can handload light, 110 gr v-max loads to handle varmints with the .308, but I haven't seen such a factory load.

The .243 on the other hand, has both factory varmint and deer loads readily available.


I do own both a .308 and a .243, and if I wanted to do what you are then my .308 would never come out of my safe.
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Old July 10, 2013, 08:31 AM   #15
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The 243 will burn a barrel out much faster then a 308 if you do alot of target shooting. I have owned a few hard kickers over the years, the 308 is by no means a hard recoiling rifle, get a reasonable weight rifle with a good recoil pad and you will be quite alright. Mine is Winchester 70 featherweight only 6lbs 10oz and I can shoot it all day.
A Savage 12 or 10 law enforcement series (9-10lbs) would be a great rifle to train with.
Tikka makes a helluva featherweight hunting rifle, mine weighs 6.25lbs and will drive tacks like nothing I have ever seen before. It is not a heavy barreled target gun but for the first thee shots it will hang with any rifle I have ever shot including military sniper rifles, I cannot tell you how well it shoots on a hot barrel I won't go over three in a string. Tikkas are not as comfortable to shoot as my other rifles the recoil pad SUCKS it is almost as hard as the stock.
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Old July 10, 2013, 12:46 PM   #16
Striker1
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Quote:
The 243 will burn a barrel out much faster then a 308 if you do alot of target shooting.

I think it would be helpful to the OP is you quantified this statement...how many rounds is "much faster"?
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Old July 10, 2013, 01:47 PM   #17
CC268
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Haha well thanks for all the help guys, I guess everyone has their own opinions...when I go target shooting I usually shoot 20-40 rounds and then shoot some clays with my shotgun and then finish off with some hand gun shooting.

I guess I should mention I am a college student so I don't have a ton of money or anything. Not sure how much reloading stuff is as I have never done it. I will get a second rifle down the road, but for now I just wanted something to do some target shooting and something capable of coyotes and once in a blue moon some deer.

At this point I love target shooting and like I have said a million times it is what I will be doing the majority of the time.

Last edited by CC268; July 10, 2013 at 02:13 PM.
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Old July 10, 2013, 02:51 PM   #18
Paul B.
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Currently I have two rifles in .243 and probably five in .308. Just my persosnal oinion, and it doesn't quite agree with most people but I'm not all that fond of the .243 for deer sized game. I've used it for coyote with tailored handloads so as tonot tear up the hides. Back in the winter 1978/79 prome coyote hides were selling for as much as $105 for really prime skins. Big holes in the hides brought in little money.
I've never shot a deer with the .243 but in the late 1970's I guided several kids on their first derr hunts. The used my .243 with my handloads. Load was a stiff charge of IMR4831 and the 100 gr. Hornady Spire points. Not sure is they were Interlocks back then. I taught the kids to shoot from hunting positions and coached then when they shot their deer. One deer was a drop dead DRT on the spot. Neat bang flop, didn't even kick. The other five deer ran off after the hit and dropped anywhere from 25 yards to one over 250 yards after the bullet's impact. All deer upon autopsy, such as it was were well hit in the chest, lungs tore uo, a couple had the heart shredded by the bullet. Still haven't figured out how that one deer could cover so much ground without a heart. The good news is we were hunting on a private ranch I had access to and we were the only hunters on the place. Terrain was mostly open with dry water courses lined with willows. We could see exactly where each deer went until it dropped. Good thing too as there was very little blood trail from some of those deer.
I've taken a few deer and an antelope with the .270 and it's a fine round for deer. It will make on hell of a mess out od a coyote though with full power loads.
The .308 is a fine round and with the exception of the 30-06, I've probably taken more deer with the .308 than the .270.
I have to ask; did the .270 that hurt you have a recoil pad or a plastic buttplate? You take a .308 or .270 and have a Pachmeyr Decelerator recoil pad put on the gun and I'll lay odds it won't hurt you.
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Old July 10, 2013, 03:21 PM   #19
CC268
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I imagine it had to do with the stock pad on the .270...however what is the point of getting the .308 when I will mostly be doing target shooting 100-300 yards and coyote? As I have stated this is not going to be a pure hunting rifle. In fact I want more of a target rifle that is capable of hunting coyote ONCE in a while and deer every once in a while.

I guess 243 doesn't really have any target ammo, where .308 does

Last edited by CC268; July 10, 2013 at 03:54 PM.
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Old July 10, 2013, 03:35 PM   #20
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FWIW I've seen deer run off a good ways after taking a lung hit from a 7 Mag.
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Old July 10, 2013, 04:12 PM   #21
CC268
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Still worried the .308 will be too much recoil since 95% of my shooting will be targets. Like I said, I haven't shot one, but maybe a good recoil pad would take away that problem? .243 still sounds good for me, but not sure what I would use for target ammo. Tough decision I guess

Last edited by CC268; July 10, 2013 at 04:18 PM.
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Old July 10, 2013, 04:21 PM   #22
allaroundhunter
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Re: Choosing first rifle...caliber help?

Cc, for target shooting you don't need match ammo. You will shoot well enough with other factory ammo, and it will still be cheaper than most .308 match (and other) ammo.

If you get the .308 and can't handle the recoil, then even with the best of ammo for it you won't be able to outshoot a .243 using average ammo.

I can take my .243 out with ammo that is 30 years old and outshoot most college guys there who are shooting their .308s and .300 win mags. Why? Because they got "the powerful gun that snipers use" but have never learned proper fundamentals and can't handle the recoil.

You would be doing yourself a huge favor going with the .243. Not that it means much, but I am also a college student so I understand the financial part.
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Old July 10, 2013, 04:32 PM   #23
CC268
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Yea...I think the .243 is the way to go. If I want a .308 I will buy one down the road. Like I said its going to be really a target rifle that I want to shoot 100-300 yards...further if I get the chance. It will be good for coyote and can handle deer if I ever go.

As far as the rifle goes. I am thinking of either a Tikka T3 Hunter or Savage Arms Hunter 11/111 FCNS. What do you guys think?
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Old July 10, 2013, 05:00 PM   #24
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Re: Choosing first rifle...caliber help?

I don't think you can go wrong with either, but the Savage has a better reputation for out of the box accuracy. I would go with the Savage, I have one chambered in .270 WSM that shoots lights out with factory ammo and I trust their other offerings to do the same.
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Old July 10, 2013, 05:12 PM   #25
CC268
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Alright so you think the Savage Hunter 11 would be the best bet then? Any other models of the Savage I should consider?
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