The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Hunt

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 25, 2014, 10:00 AM   #1
CC268
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2013
Posts: 138
Big Game Rifle Caliber?

Sometime this year (hopefully over the summer) I am looking into getting a rifle for big game and some longer range target shooting. I currently have a Tikka T3 Lite .243 that I use for coyote and white tail deer. I figure it is time to get something for elk, mule deer, etc.

I would really like something that is versatile (like I said good for big game and some target shooting). I have shot everything from a .270 to a 7mm MAG, to a 300 Ultra Mag. I am open to suggestions but PLEASE NO ODD CALIBERS that are hard to find. Here are a list of calibers that come to mind that may be good?

308
30-06
300 Win Mag
300 Win Short Mag
7MM Mag
.270

I do plan on getting my own reloading equipment, but it may be a little while.

Thanks
CC268 is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 10:06 AM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
Staff
 
Join Date: June 25, 2008
Location: Central, Southern NY, USA
Posts: 18,791
You'd be better off to get into reloading first. Why worry about "hard to find"? When you reload, it's all the same. Free. Your. Mind.

Of course, right now factory ammo is easier to find than components, so.... but that's not typical.

Personally, I'd hunt elk and certainly mule deer with a .243 but I'm alos well familiar with the firestorm that opinion creates.

Any cartridge on your list will do the job same as any of the others. Pick the one you like, or roll dice, or throw darts at a chart.
__________________
Still happily answering to the call-sign Peetza.
---
The problem, as you so eloquently put it, is choice.
-The Architect
-----
He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose.
-Jim Eliott, paraphrasing Philip Henry.
Brian Pfleuger is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 10:10 AM   #3
cosh
Junior Member
 
Join Date: August 14, 2013
Posts: 8
During the late great ammo shortage, I have been seeing 300 Win Mag and .270 Win on shelves - mostly available during all the drought. 30-06 has been spotty at times but more limited for some reason. I haven't seen WSM or 7mm on shelves anywhere in a couple years.

You have the 243 already so any of the three (270 Win, 30-06 or 300 Win Mag) are good starting points. 30-06 can be handloaded for some bigger game. I don't see once-fired 300 Win Mag around but .270 Win and 30-06 are plentiful most of the time and lots of bullets and data for reloading. - cosh
cosh is online now  
Old April 25, 2014, 11:53 AM   #4
CC268
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2013
Posts: 138
Yea I am kind of thinking it is going to come down to:

300 Win Mag
30-06
7mm Mag

308 would be great for lots of target shooting practice, but I think the above would be better for hunting and long range shooting.
CC268 is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 12:19 PM   #5
Wyosmith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2010
Location: Shoshoni Wyoming
Posts: 1,241
"Big Game" is term with a very wide set of parameters.
In Wyoming we have antelope and we have buffalo. Both are considered big game. The doe antelope will run about 130 pound on the hoof. A big bill buffalo can go over a ton.
That’s only about a 1900 pound difference.

So when you ask for recommendations on a ‘big game rifle can you please name the game you have in mind? As well as the area you’ll hunt.

Elk in the dark woods can be hunted with a lever action 45-70 and you probably could not find a better are for that kind of elk hunting.
But if you are hunting elk in the open canyons of south Wyoming you may want to use a 30-06 or 300 mag to have a flatter trajectory.
Both are elk rifles, but the area of hunting is vastly different.
So as you can see, giving additional information is best to get accurate answers

Some rifles cover both bases very well. An example would be a Browning BAR in 30-06 or even 3300 Win mag or 338 Win Mag.

The last thing to consider is what you enjoy.
An example is hunting with a Bow and Arrow, or a flintlock.
Neither is the “best weapon” is killing the game is the only thing that is important.
But for many men the hunt itself is more important than the kill. I have hunted antelope deer elk and moose (successfully) with a 62 cal flint lock, and I have killed deer, one elk and one antelope with wood arrows.
That didn’t make the long bow the best weapon. But it sure did make the hunts special.

So good advice on rifles and calibers as well as correct bullet to use is a good thing to ask for but in the end the hunting is about the fun of the hunt, so you should look at a weapon that you believe you will ENJOY as much as how it performs technically.
Wyosmith is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 01:36 PM   #6
CC268
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2013
Posts: 138
Big Game: Elk, Antelope, Mule Deer, (maybe Bear but I doubt it).
CC268 is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 02:09 PM   #7
Roadkill2228
Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2014
Location: Nipawin, Saskatchewan
Posts: 98
I own 3 big game rifles, a .243, a .270, and a .300 win mag. Wouldn't change a thing, they each seem to be the next real noteworthy step up. If you don't plan on getting more rifles down the road I'd vote either .30-06 or .300 win mag. 3006 is cheaper, really all you need...but I love my .300 and it is a more capable round. You decide
Roadkill2228 is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 02:31 PM   #8
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 6,855
Quote:
Big Game: Elk, Antelope, Mule Deer, (maybe Bear but I doubt it).
We can offer general recommendations, but they may not be ideal for your situation. I have to join Wyosmith and ask....
Where?


We can discuss the cartridges and different rifle applications a bit, but it doesn't really do any good unless we have more details about the intended use.

You can't really "go wrong" with any of the options. But if you want us to consider which would be most ideal for you, we'll need more information.



I started with a .270, and it's still my go-to rifle. It's heavy and annoying to carry in nasty terrain, but I can always count on it and it is at least 'adequate' for anything I hunt.

But, over the years, I also started adding other rifles and cartridges to fill my desires for narrower applications.
There's a scoped .444 Marlin for patchy timber work.
There's a Marlin .30-30 for "dark timber".
There's an iron-sight .444 Marlin being built for a little more power in dark timber.
There's a 7.62x54R Mosin M38 for "scrub" work.
There used to be an 1895 Krag (.30-40) for iron-sight patchy timber.
There's a ".243" for Antelope, Deer, and varmints.
There's soon to be a 6x45mm for varmints and Antelope (maybe Deer).
There's a light weight '06 for 'canyon country'.
There's an AR pistol for dumb animals that wander into camp while I'm making lunch.
And the list goes on....


I envy the guys that can be happy with one rifle. But I'm not going to sell mine, just to give it a try.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 02:47 PM   #9
Water-Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 23, 2008
Location: N. Georgia
Posts: 1,573
Since you already have a .243, I'd go to a .300 Mag.
__________________
PROUD TO BE A VETERAN
Water-Man is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 07:31 PM   #10
6.5swedeforelk
Member
 
Join Date: April 14, 2014
Location: N. Canada
Posts: 61
Quote:
I started with a .270, and it's still my go-to rifle. It's heavy and annoying to carry in nasty terrain, but I can always count on it and it is at least 'adequate' for anything I hunt.But, over the years, I also started adding other rifles and cartridges to fill my desires for narrower applications.There's a scoped .444 Marlin for patchy timber work.There's a Marlin .30-30 for "dark timber".There's an iron-sight .444 Marlin being built for a little more power in dark timber.There's a 7.62x54R Mosin M38 for "scrub" work.There used to be an 1895 Krag (.30-40) for iron-sight patchy timber.
FrankenM, you must totally wear yourself out tearing back to camp/vehicle to exchange rifles as you progress thru the terrain!

Seriously, I could never figure how one shuffled all his "pigeonholed" rifles in impenetrable bedding area, open meadows, dark timber, and river breaks- all in one hunt.
6.5swedeforelk is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 07:57 PM   #11
joshobrien77
Member
 
Join Date: June 30, 2012
Posts: 38
I got my Model 70 with the new action in .270 as my multi use gun. I hunt coyote in ohio with it using 90gr handloads, hunt Wyoming for antelope with 130gr factory and plan on using it on hog and elk as well.

What I love about it is that while it has some punch recoil wise it's not unmanagable. Also even with 150gr hunting loads it is super flat shooting out to 500yds. My first time on a range of more than 200yds I hit the vital plate we were sighting on repeatedly at 500yds and that was with the first shot and the scope zerod at 100yds. Dead simple hold over. Round also seems to buck wind well.

My final statement is that this was my gateway into reloading. There are so many options when u reload .270 that at first I was overwhelmed but once I decided what I wanted I was cranking out accurate rounds with little effort.
joshobrien77 is online now  
Old April 25, 2014, 08:44 PM   #12
Wyosmith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2010
Location: Shoshoni Wyoming
Posts: 1,241
joshobrien77, I am also a fan of the old 270.
I have one that is the first rifle I ever built. It's on its 3rd barrel now.
I have used a lot of other rounds in the last 49 years and I have to say none have impressed me more than the 270 Winchester when you look at how well it works compared to how little it kicks. As a gunsmith all calibers cost me about the same amount to own. (not to shoot, but making my own guns the cost is all about equal when it comes to the guns) I have experimented and built a lot of different gun in the last half century and as yet I have not found anything shy of a 375H&H that I feel covers more bases much better than a good 270. Yes, I have owned and shot (a lot) of 300 magnums. I own several 30-06s and I also love the 338-06. I have used the hot 7mms, and the 6.5s too. I have used the 338 mag and the 8mm mags.
I have had good luck with most of them.
But to be honest, when it comes to killing animals up to about 800 pounds I can not see much difference between a good load in a 270 and the best of the 300s and 338s I have shot. (and yes, I have killed plenty of game at long range)

I would never try to talk anyone out of a 7 mag, 300 mag, 8mm mag or 338. Or for that matter a 308, 6.5 Swede, 260, 25-06 and anything else. Use what you like. I am not a worshiper of any round. I don’t care when others use. I do have some things to say about bullet construction, but that’s another topic.

But I can be dogmatic when I say the 270 will do what you need it to do if you shoot the right bullet.
Wyosmith is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 08:52 PM   #13
Savage99
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2004
Posts: 383
CC268,

You mention target shooting.

Go to a match near you and see what they are using. Match shooters are very friendly and will show you their rifles and gear.

Here is a site to find matches: http://http://compete.nra.org
Savage99 is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 09:03 PM   #14
Deja vu
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 14, 2010
Location: Border of Idaho & Montana
Posts: 2,140
I love the 45-70 Govt. It is a fun round to shoot. It has more then enough powder for any thing in North America.
__________________
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 25 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple
Deja vu is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 09:29 PM   #15
jmr40
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 15, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 6,023
All of your suggestions would work fine.

The 308 would be a great choice as long as you have no illusions of long range shots at elk. It is a 350-400 yard elk gun in my opinion. Some use it farther, but I wouldn't. Advantages include less recoil, cheap ammo and extreme accuracy. There are lots of very good lightweight rifles available for carrying miles at altitude. A very important consideration. The 270 is a close 2nd here for me too, and for all the same reasons.

There is nothing wrong with a 30-06. If you already owned one I'd probably just say use it. But if buying new from scratch I'd pass. And I've used one for 40 years as my primary hunting rifle. With todays loads I'd just as soon use a 308. I feel you give up about 50 yards of effective range with a 308. Well worth the reduced recoil, lighter rifle weight, and better accuracy. A 308 is still effective farther away than I'm likely to shoot.

If you feel the need for more power a 300 WSM is my choice. It will give you 99% of a 300 WM's velocity, in a 308 sized rifle with recoil that splits the difference between 30-06 and 300 WM. Anyone who can tolerate 30-06 recoil will never notice the difference when they shoot a 300 WSM. It is a legitimate 600 yard elk rifle. The problem is that few hunters are 600 yard shooters.

While the 30-06 is a great round it is now stuck in between 2 better rounds. The 308 with modern loads will now all but match it with less recoil. The 300 WSM beats it by a considerable margin with only slightly more recoil. The very slight gains in the other 300 mags speed are simply not worth the greater recoil and the larger heavier rifles they are chambered in to me.
jmr40 is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 09:44 PM   #16
Bultaco
Member
 
Join Date: September 25, 2013
Location: Western Co.
Posts: 64
Living in Co. I have used a .270, 7 mag. & a .340 wby. for antelope , mule deer & elk. The first 2 listed are very easy to find ammo & have light recoil. My first few elk were shot with the .270 and they are just as dead as the ones I used the .340 on. I only went to the .340 when I started hunting very open sagebrush terrain and the shots got longer. (out to about 450 yds.)
Bultaco is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 10:23 PM   #17
CC268
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2013
Posts: 138
Alright so I live in Arizona so it would be hunting here in AZ. All sorts of terrain here...deer hunting can be in wide open or in the pine trees, elk can be in relatively wide open areas with some cedar trees to thick pine trees. Hills, flats, cliffs, all sorts of terrain.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Looks like 300 Win Mag (WSM is definitely a contender too) might be a good way to go. The 308 is enticing, but I have heard some people say it isn't "enough" for elk, although it would be great for target shooting and I could get a lot more shooting time in (and make me a better shot!). 30-06 is king of in the middle I guess...7 mag would be nice for the reduced recoil...tough choice
CC268 is offline  
Old April 25, 2014, 10:28 PM   #18
guruatbol
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2009
Location: Utah
Posts: 243
I saw a 30-06 take a 2000# Bison with one shot at 100 yards.

I like my 300 WM.

Mel
guruatbol is offline  
Old April 26, 2014, 12:04 AM   #19
kilimanjaro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 23, 2009
Posts: 1,939
.30/06 is fine for a big elk if you can hit it, same with .308

.270 is a good flat shooting round and just as good as the .30/06 in open country offering longer ranges.

The three are good 350-450 yard calibers given a decent telescope and a good shooter.

The Magnums are alright, but you'll have costlier ammunition, and it's just going to wound animals at longer ranges, most folks can't shoot well enough to take advantage of the capabilities.

If you want a good heavy caliber, go right up to the .375 and be done with it.

Recoil is recoil, learn to expect it and to manage it, you'll be better off with selecting the cartridge for what you need rather than recoil.
kilimanjaro is offline  
Old April 26, 2014, 12:19 AM   #20
FrankenMauser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2008
Location: 1B ID
Posts: 6,855
Quote:
FrankenM, you must totally wear yourself out tearing back to camp/vehicle to exchange rifles as you progress thru the terrain!

Seriously, I could never figure how one shuffled all his "pigeonholed" rifles in impenetrable bedding area, open meadows, dark timber, and river breaks- all in one hunt.
Nah. I have all year to stash the rifles in the area I'm going to hunt.


Just kidding.
I decide which two rifles I'm taking, before I leave for the hunt, based on where I'm going. (And then I usually throw in the .270, too, incase the other two crap out on me. )
Once I'm there, I decide where I'm going for the day (or until lunch), and that's the rifle I'm "stuck with" until I get back to the truck.
__________________
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
FrankenMauser is offline  
Old April 26, 2014, 07:10 AM   #21
hooligan1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2010
Location: Independence Missouri
Posts: 3,342
With the growing selection of quality bullets, the 7 mm rem mag would be one to look at hunting that state of Arizona, if it were me, I wouldnt choose a caliber that would just "do", I would select a caliber that would "do nicely", and the 7 mag would be nice.
__________________
Thanks for coming!
hooligan1 is offline  
Old April 26, 2014, 08:49 AM   #22
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,540
Factory rifles and factory ammo? .308 = .30-'06 = .270, near as makes no nevermind. Nothing wrong with maggies, but they're not really necessities for clean kills to 400 or 500 yards.
__________________
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is offline  
Old April 26, 2014, 09:17 AM   #23
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,094
Since you have a 243 for light duty purposes. Perhaps something in the Weatherby calibers for those times calling for a muscled cartridge. 7mm Weatherby Mag or 300 Weatherby Mag. Problem is you won't find Weatherby shells sold at the corner gas station or Woolworth's Five & Ten. If that's not a bothersome problem. You'd be buying a top of the line quality made weapon having a impeccable reputation. A manufacture that doesn't cancel its cartridge making or limit there making of. At company whim. Frankly I can't say the same for Remington or Winchester.
__________________
Heartland of gun country. Fishing too.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Old April 26, 2014, 09:41 AM   #24
Savage99
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2004
Posts: 383
McGee,

Your shill for Weatherby products is not believable.

The Weathery co. has the reputation for loud, heavy recoiling guns made in japan (they started and lost ww2) with freebore (pre-worn throats) and expensive ammo.

The inlays they put in their garish guns smack of white wall tires on kids toys.



Savage99 is offline  
Old April 26, 2014, 12:52 PM   #25
Sure Shot Mc Gee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 2, 2012
Posts: 2,094
Savage99

Oh you so you don't believe my spiel. Well honestly Sir I don't own a Wearherby or ever have. I just wanted to offer info a little different than those other commentor's is all. But anytime {those I believe} pictured in your thread Weatherby's are up for sale. Give me shout. I need another or two Bad Boy rifles here._
__________________
Heartland of gun country. Fishing too.
Sure Shot Mc Gee is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:35 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14361 seconds with 7 queries