View Full Version : .25-06 as an all around hunting rifle?

T in VA
January 10, 2006, 09:48 PM
I am interested in a .25-06 for deer, coyotes, bobcats, and other mid size game. My question is this: Will the .25-06 be enough knock down power for the deer while not tearing the pelts of the others up?

January 10, 2006, 11:23 PM
It is among the most deadly medicine for deer that exists.

January 11, 2006, 07:07 PM
the Savage 250/3000 has always been one of my favorite Deer cartridges. The 25-06 will do anything my favorite can do, and more. Yes, its very well suited for deer hunting.

January 11, 2006, 11:12 PM
Beats the hell out of a .243... :cool:

The best of the 25's and 6mm's... :p

Please don't hunt elk and moose with it... :barf:

It is not a 30-06 and the .27-06 (.270) is already scary enough... :D

January 11, 2006, 11:21 PM
Yes, it's a very good all-around caliber. But I'd pick .243 or 6mm rem instead for an all-purpose gun. It can do 98% of what the .25-06 can do, for less noise, recoil, action length, ammo cost, etc. But if I lived in Wyoming instead, where long shots are the norm, I might pick .25-06 over the .243.

It is among the most deadly medicine for deer that exists.

Though I'd agree with that, quick story...last weekend at the gun show, I was trying to sell my rifle in .25-06. Guy asks me what caliber; I tell him. He proceeds to tell me how he doesn't like the caliber; not nearly enough power for deer it seems; he bases this on the 'fact' that this one guy on his hunting lease shot 3 deer in 3 years with a .25-06. All 3 times the guy telling the story and others helped the guy with the .25-06 track the deer all night. Each of the 3 times they never found the deer. The guy has a .30-06 and a .30-30, but doesn't like to shoot them because of the recoil. So they told him not to come back next year. :rolleyes: I'm *sure* it was the caliber, not the shooter, right?

January 11, 2006, 11:35 PM
The 25-06 is fine for medium sized game. It's niche is kind of shaky for an all around caliber. The 6MM/243's shoot flatter with varmint loads, and the 270 Winchester will best it on the other end. Even so, the 25-06 is plenty cartridge for deer, antelope and the like.

As has been said, you may want to rethink your option if you go for elk or moose, or really hone up on your stalking skills to get close enough.

Of course, all of that changes if you look at a 257 Weatherby or similar!

Art Eatman
January 11, 2006, 11:38 PM
The .25-'06 oughta do just fine. I wouldn't take a quartering shot on a large hog, though.

For coyotes, you must pick your shot. I'd guess use heavier bullets, so as not to splatter coyote pieces over a quarter-acre or so. My .243 is seriously ruinacious on coyote hides. :)


January 11, 2006, 11:48 PM
Art-have you considered using FMJ's? Didn't know if you were wanting to keep the hides, or just wanting to take out the pests.
I did not know that 243 was available in FMJ but we had some boy show up with that kind of ammo one year at the deer lease-couldn't figure out why bambi was not dropping at the 100 yard line. I saw him shoot the second one with my binos and it looked like a pretty good hit. Waited 30 minutes and tried to track it but hardly a speck of blood. I happened to look at his ammo and found the culprit. Loaned the kid my 308 and he got his first deer with it.

January 12, 2006, 08:14 AM
I have used a Winchester Model 70 push feed in the 25-06 caliber for better than 15 years. I no longer use it deer hunting as my wife has started to hunt and decided it was her gun. So I had to buy something else, it was a tough thing to do, but I managed.

I have dropped many large northern whitetails with it. Two of which dressed out over two hundred pounds. I whacked a few coyotes with it also.

IMO the 25-06 is the best whitetail cartridge provided, you use a high end bullet. I personally like the Barnes-X, but have used Nosler Partition bullets as well. This rifle of mine likes the X bullet better. I hunt in the woods, not much field hunting here. This rifle will put two in one hole at one hundred yards. A very accurate rifle is a plus in the woods as you may have to thread a bullet in between tree trunks and limbs.

If I were to hunt coyote for the fur I would also use a premium bullet. The exit hole will be less of a crater. In my experience most exit holes will have the hide there to sew up. I also put a stitch or two in the entry hole as well. In recent years the pelts were not very financially rewarding and I have stopped handling them for the fur market. If the coyote is in nice shape sell it in the round to your local taxidermist.

Any rifle that I have with a slender hunting barrel is only required to put two in a group. I do not think much of a three shot group. If you want to check out a rifle then use a 10 shot group. For a hunting rifle in these big woods to get two rapid shots is a minor miracle.

Art Eatman
January 12, 2006, 04:02 PM
No, never looked for FMJs in .243. I just call up the occasional coyote for the heck of it. Hold down the numbers, some, for the benefit of my quail. :)


January 14, 2006, 07:56 PM
My brother in law on hunts with a 25.06 in the model 700 Remington. I have seen several deer that he has shot with it. I am convinced that it is more than enough gun to put deer sized game down . He has dropped several deer in their tracks with good shot placement. He uses the 117 or 120 grain bullets for dear and lighter bullets under 100 grains for varmit control.

January 15, 2006, 11:39 AM
Yes, it's funny how the .257 roberts and .250-3000 savage were considered among the top quintessential dedicated whitetail rifles for years and years, and now the .25-06, which is the same thing with just a tad more velocity, is somehow inadequate for deer.

January 15, 2006, 01:03 PM

The biggest deer I've ever shot or helped haul out... barely weighed 225 on the hoof!

You've had a couple that were 200lbs AFTER you dressed them out...
How I envy you such opportunities. :D :D

January 17, 2006, 09:58 PM
It has got to do with the natural selection that takes place in this land of the big snow. I personally have been on a five year nice buck drought. It will end and I will get a chance at another one of these years. I usually get one encounter with a mature buck per year. No chance at all this year. The bucks have been coming out on top. I have taken bucks, just the easy eaters.

I envy the man that lives in the mountains and can hunt elk or lives in the valleys and hunts moose.

Jack O'Conner
January 24, 2006, 10:20 AM
Last October we hunted pronghorns near the Wyoming line west of Belle. My partner had his trusty Ruger 77 in 25-06 featuring the heavy varmint barrel. We separated and snuck around buttes and glassed wide basins.

I was observing a lone buck through my field glasses when he suddenly lurched sideways and fell over. After a pause, I heard the crack of my friend's 25-06.
I climbed a little knoll and spotted my buddy way out there waving at me. Shooting from a bipod, he'd made a shot that was well beyond 300 yards!

He handloads 117 grain Sierra Pro Hunter bullets. 25-06 is a keeper!

Long Path
January 24, 2006, 11:39 AM
I'm very fond of the Sierra offerings for .257, but I'm surprised that your friend went with the 117 Pro-Hunter, which is flat-based, when the same weight bullet is available in Game King, which is boat tailed. The difference is a .410 (GameKing) ballistic coefficient, versus a .388 BC. At distance, that matters.

January 24, 2006, 12:58 PM
Well, it's *possible*, though not likely, that the 117s are just on the edge of what the twist rate of the barrel's rifling can stabilize, and the 120s are starting to cross the line, giving poor accuracy. Not so much from the 3 grains of weight difference, but because the flat-based bullet has more bearing surface on the rifling, compared to the boattail design; this fact combined with the weight being toward the upper end of the spectrum for bullet weights for standard rifling twist rates. This is mostly speculation, but it seems an educated guess.

Jack O'Conner
January 24, 2006, 09:11 PM
My buddy prefers the pinpoint accurasy of the flat base Pro Hunter. As simple as that. Not every rifle does its best with boat tails, perhaps due to amount of surface exposed to initial combustion. Just a guess.

For tree stand hunting mulies, my friend loads the 100 grain Pro Hunter down to replicate 250 Savage performance. He uses a filler within the case. Recoil with this heavy barrel is quite light and pleasant shooting. Yet quite lethal. Couple years ago, he nailed a large bodied 3X4 that weighed in 248 lbs. after field dressing!

January 25, 2006, 04:35 AM
I find favor with the Barnes X 100 grain loads. My rifle likes them, too. Whitetails don't. I still have some of the old style Barnes X that I keep for hunting only. They had a square hole broached in the tip, not a drilled hole with nicks, and do they open up fast. I have taken several nice bucks and they all fall down.