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Old February 17, 2011, 03:19 AM   #1
sneasle
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'Low' recoil deer caliber recommendation?

I really hate to stir up this kind of 'this round is better then that round' debate, but I'm looking to buy something higher power then my .22lr's for hunting and need some input.

My original thought was leaning toward .243 as I am a small guy and would really love to not blow out my shoulder. Yes, that's an exaggeration, but I've many of my Dad's rifles and I just can't handle more then 5 rounds out of a 30-06 before I've had enough. Maybe I'm just spoiled on being able to put 1000 rounds of .22 downrange in a single outing without having a bruised shoulder when I get home.

That being said, I started thinking about .243, but then I starting drifting toward something .270 ish and then up to 30-06 before coming back to .243 and now I'm getting fed up thinking it over and would like some other opinions.

What would I be hunting? I'm down in the South East and the only thing I really have interest in is deer. That being said, I do have family up North and out West and would love to have something that I could use if I go visit and get told, "Hey, bring your rifle, we'll go hunt xxxx while you're here!"


So, based on that, is there a lower powered round that you would recommend for me? I'd also prefer something that isn't exotic, I don't want to have to special order every time I want to go to the range, and would love for said round to be cheap enough that I can PRACTICE enough with it that shot placement becomes second nature.
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Old February 17, 2011, 03:42 AM   #2
trooper3385
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I think your right on track with the 243. If the 30-06 is uncomfortable for you to shoot, then the 270 isn't going to be much different. With 150 and 165 gr bullets out of the 06 is not going to be much different than 130 gr bullets out the 270. There's not a deer alive that the 243 can handle cleanly. Another choice would be the 25-06. It's hotter than a 243, but not too much more recoil. Although I don't like to get into ammo availability arguments, the 243 will be somewhat easier to find than the 25-06.
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Old February 17, 2011, 04:49 AM   #3
Win_94
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My Howa 30-06 has a Hogue OverMolded stock and the recoil pad on that is so soft I can't see it ever hurting my shoulder. Maybe a padded shooting jacket and/or recoil pad is in order?
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Old February 17, 2011, 05:59 AM   #4
phil mcwilliam
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Go get your 243 & learn to shoot it accurately. Its the perfect step up from a 22 & will sort you from varmits to deer. The 243 is flat shooting & hard hitting with little recoil & I remember when it was considered a good all round caliber(excepting dangerous game), before the arrival of a multitude of "new" calibers.
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:30 AM   #5
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If you can't handle recoil, I guess the .243 is your best avenue.
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:40 AM   #6
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Low recoil deer caliber? Well.

.243, .260, 7mm-08, .30-30, .250 Savage, the list goes on and on. Make sure you invest in a good recoil pad. I like Limbsaver or Pacmyr Decelerator. The newer pads are really good at soaking up recoil.

Seriously, I put a Limbsaver on my .30-06 and where I could only fire about 10 shots without feeling the pain, now I'm good for 40 or 50.
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:50 AM   #7
Brian Pfleuger
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.243 is perfectly adequate for deer, even elk if you know it's (and your) limits. Me, I would look toward the .25-06 and 7mm-08. The 25-06 in particular offers worthwhile energy and ballistics advantages over the .243 without much extra recoil. The 7-08 does the same again over the 25-06, but it is a fair bit more recoil than the .243 and the .25-06, though still substantially less than a 30-06.


If you don't reload your own ammo, cost of shooting may be the primary factor. Ammo for the 243 is going to be substantially cheaper than the 25-06 or 7mm-08.
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:55 AM   #8
Stillhunter
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243, yes your on the right track. My first jump from 22lr was a 270,then a couple days later found a great deal on a Savage in a 30-06.Big mistake!! I developed bad habits to this day that still haunt me.I finally broke down and got some professional help.I had developed the infamous mini flinch.I was told that is usually happens when you make too big of a jump from rimfire.Also don,t buy cheap optics. As discussed on this forum hundreds of time,You Get What You Paid For. Bring yourself along the right way.Just trying to help..
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:59 AM   #9
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6.5x55 and 7-08 .
However the "small guy" may be very significant.If the stock does not fit you properly then any recoil will be accentuated !! It may be much better if you have a 'youth stock ' with shorter length of pull .Or you could cut one to size . Work on that first ,that's more important than fancy buttpads.
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Old February 17, 2011, 08:59 AM   #10
Rifleman1776
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.243
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Old February 17, 2011, 09:19 AM   #11
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.243 no question about it.
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Old February 17, 2011, 09:19 AM   #12
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I'm going to agree with the rest of the posts so far. Get yourself a .243. I am a big supporter of that round because it has a wide range of uses.
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Old February 17, 2011, 09:50 AM   #13
JerryM
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I have killed deer with 300 Wby Mag, 7 MM Rem Mag, .270 WCF, and the .243.
Longest shots with .243 on deer were within 250 yards, However I have killed several antelope with the .243 out to 525 yards.

I have had a higher percentage of in the tracks kills with the .243 than any of the others. The bulets for the .243 are designed for deer size animals, and my handloads chrono at 315o for the 100 gr bullets. It is easy to shoot also, and that helps to hit where you aim.

I don't think you would ever regret going with the .243. I have a couple of friends who only use the .243 and 6MM Rem 9With factory loads). They have killed dozens of deer including large mulies. Neither has seen any reason to go to a larger cartridge. Personally I think I could kill as many deer and as quickly with a .243 as a 30-06.

If you hit them in the lung/heart area they will go down quickly.

Regards,
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Old February 17, 2011, 10:17 AM   #14
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I would vote for the 243, it's a great caliber. I've used it for both deer and coyote hunting.
If you are recoil sensitive I would stay away from the ultra light rifles.

I would advise against the 270, all the 270 rifles I've shot had a worse kick then the 30-06 rifles I've shot.
The kick from the 270 rifles felt more like a sharp punch while the 30-06 felt more like a push.

Also synthectic stocked rifles with a good recoil pad seem to have less felt recoil.

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Old February 17, 2011, 10:36 AM   #15
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243 and 7mm-08 are very popular here in mississippi....
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Old February 17, 2011, 10:39 AM   #16
Art Eatman
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I've tagged a couple of dozen bucks via my .243. So, yeah, I'll chime in and give it a thumbs up vote.

As far as recoil in general, note that shooting from most any field position causes less pain than shooting from the benchrest. Your body gives more, rather than being pretty-much fixed in position.

My first '06 was an old 1917 Enfield, steel butt plate and all. Misery at the bench, but Lord knows how many shots I took out in the pasture; hundreds. I was 5-11, 125 pounds when all that happiness began. Skinny kid with a big grin.

Regardless of what you do, go ahead and spend some extra bucks for one of these new, modern butt pads. They're far superior to even the best of the old-days Pachmyrs.
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Old February 17, 2011, 11:23 AM   #17
JerryM
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Second Art's advice on a good recoil pad. I have them on all my centerfire rifles. Hard butt plates are uncomfortable for me on any rifle or shotgun.
I admit to being recoil sensitive, so I do what I can to offset it.

I remember when I shot skeet, and some guy would say "Recoil doesn't bother me." Then if he had a squib load or a misfire he would nerly jump off the station. I would tell him that "For someone who isn't bothered by recoil you sure do have a bad flinch."

Best,
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Old February 17, 2011, 11:30 AM   #18
sneasle
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Thanks guys, I do appreciate the input.

Someone mentioned stock size at one point and I want to address that. Yes, I'm a small guy but my upper body/arms are rather long, so I 'fit' must full stocks pretty well. That being said, I was originally looking at a Remington Model 7 in .243 for this as I through it to be a good fit.


My big thing is practice time. When I go to the range I'm typically there all day, which I love as I don't wear out with my pea shooters. I want to be able to work with the rifle so I know it and my round well.

Yes, I will invest in good glass, but thanks for the reminder.

Most of what I've shot of my Dad's stuff hasn't been on the bench. Mostly off hand or off the back of a bed of a truck out at the farm, that kind of thing. If I have shot it off a rest, it's been years and I don't remember.

Yes, a good recoil pad is always in order.
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Old February 17, 2011, 11:33 AM   #19
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.243 or 7m-08. will get the job done, but i like .308 and it doesnt hardly recoil at all, but i do have a mcmillian stock and it helps.
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Old February 17, 2011, 12:31 PM   #20
Alan Duke
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Why not try the recoil pad on your dads 30-06 first and go from there?

Just my 2 cents, but other than that I say .243 also.
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Old February 17, 2011, 12:59 PM   #21
sneasle
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I'm not local to my dad anymore, don't have access to it. If I go visit at some point before I decide to buy, I'll do that though. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old February 17, 2011, 02:57 PM   #22
FrankenMauser
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.243 Win should do nearly anything you want.

I would avoid using it on Elk, should the occasion ever arise - unless you have enough experience to make the proper ammunition and shot selection choices.

If you think Elk or Moose could be a possibility in the near future, I would step up to .308 Win or .270 Win. (You would still need proper bullet and shot selection, of course.)

You'll be better off in the long run, if you learn to soak up the recoil of larger cartridges, anyway.
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Old February 17, 2011, 03:31 PM   #23
davlandrum
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+1 on a new recoil pad for the 30-06

And try out the managed recoil 30-06 ammo. My son and I shot up a couple of boxes and it is very nice to shoot. It is very nice, as my reloads are sighted a 2" high at 100 yds, and using the managed recoil puts it dead on at 100 yds for him, so I don't have to monkey around re-sighting everything.

Never mind, just figure out you don't have a 30-06.....
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Old February 17, 2011, 10:14 PM   #24
Catfishman
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.243

not a 30-30
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Old February 17, 2011, 10:31 PM   #25
sneasle
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Not a fan of the 30-30 eh?

I'm kinda fond of lever guns so I figure I'll end up with a 30-30 eventually.
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