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Old August 10, 2012, 07:04 PM   #1
ATPBULLETS
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What is the most "flexible" caliber...?

What one caliber is the most reloadable from the light bullets to heavy bullets..for the given caliber....that will take at least deer size game...on down to smaller varmints...?
ie.... the 30-06 has common bullet weights 110gr to 200gr.....
what one caliber is the most flexible that reloads well light to heavy bullets...?
thanks,
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Old August 10, 2012, 07:07 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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There are many, but the venerable 243Win has got to be high on the list.

55gr varmint bullets at 3,900+ up to 105/107gr at 3,000 fps.

Woodchucks to Elk, at least.

(243AI, even better for us handloaders)
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Old August 10, 2012, 07:20 PM   #3
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agreed. If you are looking to take any game from critter to deer, .243/6mm is the king (OK, not king, but certainly as good as any, and better than most). at first I was going to say ,270, but if you are drawing the line at deer I would prefer the former. if you bump that up to elk or moose then I would go with the latter.
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Old August 10, 2012, 08:14 PM   #4
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Probably more 30 caliber bullets made than any other. You are limited by barrel twist more than bullets in all calibers.
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Old August 10, 2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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this is true impalacustom (I love me some impalas by the way) but there are not many applications for using a 30 cal on small varmits. Sure, it will work, as would a 12 gauge, but its a bit overkill, dont you think?
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Old August 10, 2012, 08:20 PM   #6
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Hands down the 243, if I could have only one rifle it would be the 243.
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Old August 10, 2012, 08:22 PM   #7
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I'm really fond of .284 Winchester... really excellent ballistics.

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C
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Old August 10, 2012, 08:44 PM   #8
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I bought my M70 in .270 for this specific purpose. Took a nice Antelope last year with a 130gr at 300yds. Was able to hit a steel vital plate on a 500 yd range and I am reloading most of my brass with 90gr sierra HP for varmit here in Ohio. If you want anything under 120gr loads you will have to reload.

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Old August 10, 2012, 08:53 PM   #9
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If you HAD to go one gun, a .243 is certainly a good pick. On the other hand, you would be MUCH better off with two.... You know what they say, jack of all trades, master of none.....

A .243 can take an elk, but its not as forgiving as, say, a .308 or 30-06. A .243 makes an OK varmint getter as well, but not as good as a .204 ruger.....

As well, its a rare gun thats a laser beam with both light and heavy bullets... most seem to shoot either really well with light and just OK with heavy, or the other way around.... at least, thats my experience....
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Old August 10, 2012, 09:24 PM   #10
ATPBULLETS
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That's exactly what I'm wondering.... Is there a
Great caliber that reloads great light thru heavy..?
On at least deer down to varmint....?
Not match accuracy .... But.... Accurate to each critter...
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Old August 10, 2012, 09:41 PM   #11
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My .270 does. Dig into info about the .270 and you will find it is very handy and shoots flat even with heavys.

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Old August 11, 2012, 12:07 AM   #12
dacaur
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That's exactly what I'm wondering.... Is there a
Great caliber that reloads great light thru heavy..?
On at least deer down to varmint....?
Not match accuracy .... But.... Accurate to each critter...

well, if a caliber shot really well with everything from lights to heavies, we wouldn't need things like .243 (a necked down .308) and .270 win (a necked down 30-06)..... right? The problem is the lighter bullets tend to get short and fat, while the heavier tend to get too long, so there is only so much range you can have in a specific caliber....

You really need to decide which you will be doing more, hunting deer, or hunting varmints..... You can have a great varminter that will also take deer if needed, or a great deer rifle that will also take varmints in a pinch.... The best of both worlds really doesnt exist.

Since varmints are a smaller target, IMO you will be best served getting something smaller like a .243. A .270 is a lot of gun for varmints, even with 130 gr bullets its more recoil than I like. Plus, a 58gr .243 has a flatter trajectory than a 110gr .270.....

Thinking about it, a 25-06 might just be a better choice than either of the two above..... a 75gr out of a 25-06 has about the same trajectory as a 58gr out of a .243, but with more energy.... I would still take the .243 though....
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Old August 11, 2012, 02:03 AM   #13
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I consider the most flexible calibers to be the following, since they can be used in rifles or handguns and have a wide range of bullets and cartridges available:
22 - everything from 28 gr bullets to 90+ gr bullets
30 - everything from 44 gr round balls to 250+ gr bullets
35 - everything from 65 gr round balls to 300+ gr bullets
50 - everything from 180 gr round balls to 800+ gr bullets

As far as cartridges are concerned, I would base my preferences around the intended uses more than just the flexibility of a particular cartridge.
"Varminting" means different things to different people. To some people, it means popping gophers in the garden at ten feet. To others, it means picking off sod poodles at 600 yards. Each does best with a very different cartridge.
"Deer Hunting" is the same: We hunt different species, in different terrain, in different weather, with different methods, with different ideas of how to "best" kill the things. My answer is likely to be 180 degrees out from the next.

For one person, a .30-30 might be perfectly suitable as the 'ultimate' cartridge for varmints to deer. Yet, another person mind find the need to justify something like 6mm-06 or .270-284.

Quote:
...and .270 win (a necked down 30-06)...
I know that nearly every gun writer over the last 75 years, every expert on internet forums, and nearly every reloading manual in existence continues to state that the .270 Win is based on .30-06. But... if you neck .30-06 down to .270, you end up with a wildcat, the .270-06. It can't be a .270 Winchester, because the case is about 0.040" too short. A suitable substitute, yes. But, not a .270 Winchester.

Winchester based the .270 on the .30-03's case length (2.540"), for reasons that have never really been made clear (though some people have theorized that it was for case capacity, since 06-length magazines and short .277" bullets meant the bullets could be seated out farther).

The .30-03 family of factory cartridges: .270 Win, .280 Rem, .35 Whelen*, .30-06 (optional).
The .30-06 family of factory cartridges: .25-06, .338-06.

*Although the SAAMI standard for .35 Whelen calls for the 06's 2.494" case length, you must start with .30-03-length brass (2.540") to achieve that finished length if forming from a smaller neck diameter (such as 30 caliber). Remington is reported to draw their .35 Whelen brass with dies identical to .280 Rem draw dies, except for the bunter (imprinting the head stamp) and final forming. Hence, the thinner-than-standard neck walls.
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Old August 11, 2012, 08:32 AM   #14
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I'm not sure why people think you can't "have it all" in the range of animals specified by the OP.

He's not asking for squirrels to grizzly bear. He's asking for varmints to deer.

There are any number of cartridges that are EXCELLENT at both ends of that question.

The 243Win, as I mentioned above. I know people who have bought one specifically for woodchucks, coyote and deer. The 243 and other similar cartridges are FANTASTIC across that entire range.

It's not underpowered or marginal for deer. It's not overpowered or too high recoil for a day shooting varmints.

Woman in particular and others with an aversion to recoil hunt elk with the 243. It's not ideal for it but it is indisputably effective.

243Win, 243AI, 6mmRem and many others, absolutely ideal for the OPs question.
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Old August 11, 2012, 10:39 AM   #15
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Agree, based on O/P criteria, .243, which is a beautiful thing.
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Old August 11, 2012, 10:56 AM   #16
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"I'm not sure why people think you can't "have it all" in the range of animals specified by the OP"
I am not sure why someone would want one rifle to do it all. As had been said, we need differnt twist rates in order to stabilize differnt sized bullets. If the OP wants a justification for which rilfle to get first, select the one most suted to the game most hunted. For me, it was the .270 Win, but when I wanted a varmit rifle, I got a triple deuce, and when I wanted to shoot bigger critters it was the .338 Win Mag. Would'nt want to give up any of them. Just sayin.
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:05 AM   #17
Brian Pfleuger
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Good thing it's a fee country, eh?

The twist rate issue isn't really a problem with the 243. A 1:9 twist is fast enough for heavy bullets and works fine for even the lightest. Even 1:8 would be ok on the low side and 1:10 would probably still work for all of them. You wouldn't really want to be outside that range with any bullet.

Having 3 or 4 (or 50) guns is great, we'd probably all love to have them but sometimes we can't afford it.

Trying to go too crazy, such as squirrels to moose, raises too many compromises but "varmints to deer" isn't even a compromise, IMHO. It's where the 243 and similar cartridges EXCEL.
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Old August 11, 2012, 06:41 PM   #18
xxxleafybugxxx
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Id like to think the. 308 is pretty versatile. Just look at its uses on a battle field. Sniper, light mg, assault rifles. Pretty versatile if you ask me.
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Old August 11, 2012, 07:17 PM   #19
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I'll go with the 260.
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:11 PM   #20
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flexible

Either the 243 or 308 will do what you want. I kinda lean towards the 243 87grn hdy v-max is the bomb for groundhogs and almost any quality bullet 95 or 100grn will take deer quite well. If ranges are 200yds or less look at hornadys 100grn round nose bullet its VERY satisfactory for deer sized game and even elk with good shot placement. 308 with 110grn blitzkings or v-maxes will decisively stop a pack of marauding woodchucks and any quality big game bullit.... well its a 308 'nuff said
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:41 PM   #21
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My vote would go to either the 260 or the 257 Roberts AI. Or maybe the 25-06. I own a 260 and a 270, so I have no plans to get a 257 AI, though I've always been interested in that cartridge. Certainly the 243 would do, but that's not the round that I'd pick. I personally think that it's a bit light for big deer. So Yup, the 257 AI.....
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Old August 11, 2012, 09:43 PM   #22
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Any 308Win or one of it's necked down siblings with an agreeable twist rate.

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Old August 11, 2012, 10:55 PM   #23
Ethan.G
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How is 12ga not on the top of this list?? you can get rifled barres and sabot slugs for smaller bullets or a large slug can take out something as big as a bear with good range, buck shot for medium game and bird shot for small varmint. also you can load up rock salt and other less lethals or other improvised shot in that plastic shell, almost anything is possible
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Old August 12, 2012, 12:41 AM   #24
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The .243 (6 mm) and .257 calibers are the best dual varmint/deer class calibers. 243 Winchester, 257 Roberts, 6 mm Remington, 25-06 Remington are all perfectly suited for varmints to deer. If you want to add elk, then the 25-06 is the best of the bunch, with heavier bullets and more case capacity.
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Old August 12, 2012, 01:33 AM   #25
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I still want to see what ATPBULLETS has in mind for varmint and deer use (range, terrain, species, etc), before offering a suggestion.
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