View Full Version : Only two rifles squirrel to bear

September 7, 2006, 08:51 PM
Hi folks new to the board and I have a question (or two). I've found myself in the enviable position of being able to spend most of my time hunting and fishing. Not really retired mind you but my situation does not require much income so I simply don't have to work alot. No credit cards or toys but quite a few rifles and fishing gear. I have an older conversion van which I've turned into a mobile hunting and fishing headquarters and plan to spend my time traveling about chasing game and fish where ever I happen to find myself.

That said I come to my dilema (as if I could have one with what I'll be doing lol) My quarters will be a little cramped so space being at a premium I'm going to sell off ten of the 14 rifles I own and try and do with two that will cover everything from squirrel to bear. I'll also be keeping an old (but in excellent shape) Winchester 97 12 gauge with two barrels. A short riot barrel (grouse and woodcock) and one someone modified into a 24 inch with a select choke on it so that should cover me for anything that would require a scatter gun.

The rifles I currently own are - Savage mod 25 pump 22 (octagonal barrel) no scope, Rossi 22 pump no scope, Ruger stainless synthetic 77 22 mag scoped, 30 carbine, 30-30 Winchester no scope, 444 Winchester w/ or w/o scope, 243 Winchester 70 featherweight - scoped, Remington 7600 30-06 no scope, Springfield 30-06 sportsterized scoped (very accurate), 300 Weatherby Vanguard Mag blued synthetic scoped - the interesting situation with this gun is I bought it about 5 years ago before they began separating out the real acurate ones and charging a premium for those.

This one has a three shot group from the factory at 100 yards - all bullet holes touching each other, mauser 98 in 270 scoped with a short barrel with a full stock (Mannlicher) with beautiful carving of oak leaves and acorns all over it - very accurate with Rem 130 at 75 three shots can be touching, a Russian (Bakial) 12 gauge double with external hammers with barrel inserts to turn it into a 45-70 rifle - short 20 inch barrels and it can be brought into hitting within a 3 inch circle (three shots from each barrel) at about 70 yards, Remington model 7 in 7mm-08 synthetic stainless you can carry that one all day at about 6 pounds, another mauser 98 in 8mm no scope tiny stock very light weight peep that will hold a less than two inch group at 100 yards.

OK folks here is the problem (way too many guns lol) two rifles out of the group that will take squirrel to elk. Some of my thoughts and I don't know if they are fesible or not - reduced loads in the 243 or 30 carbine to bring them down into the relm of a 22 long rifle. That would eliminate the need for a rimfire and still give me something that could (in the case of the 243) take everything up to coyote and deer. Another - with the advent of the leverevolution ammunition by Hornady the 444 becomes a moderate (250 yard) deer to elk and still would handle grizzly at 100 with custom (buffalo bore) loads. Are cast bullets available for the 243 for plinking at low velocity.

I do a very limited amount of handloading so I'm not up on all thats out there. I appreciate the time to those who read all the way through this long winded post and thanks for the comments in advance.

September 7, 2006, 09:09 PM
Easy keep your favorite .22lr and the Springfield .30-06. Take the money from the rifle sales buy bullets from 110-220 grain for the .30-06 with the wide variety of .308 bullets and spending a little time working up loads you have the two rifles that can do anything to compliment your shotgun. I'm interested in the .270 Mannlicher when you decide to part with it.:D

September 7, 2006, 09:17 PM
Just keep the Springfield 30-06, and be sure to take headshots on squirrel. ;)

September 7, 2006, 09:23 PM
Rossi pump, Remington 7600, you are done.

Dave Haven
September 7, 2006, 10:03 PM
To echo everyone else, .22LR and .30-'06.

September 8, 2006, 01:05 AM
.22lr and 30-06.

September 8, 2006, 01:36 AM
Great question. I'd have to agree with the others here and say that the .22lr / 30-06 combo is the logical choice.

Firearms, to me, are hardly logical though. It's a personal thing...it's what tugs at my heart...it's what I actually want to pull the trigger on.

Personally I'd go with the .22wmr over the .22lr. a LOT more versatility out of the WMR - albeit at a price (ammo cost). If you can stomach the price, I'd go with the WMR.

(reduced .243 loads are iffy at best...but a .30 carbine is actually quite a respectable alternative to the .22 wmr).

Assuming you reload, For the second gun, I'd have to go with the .444 Marlin. Loaded down with 180gr cast leads for plinking...or load it hot as you can with 300+gr hardcasts for close range thick-skinners. Or go with a 240gr JHP - the versatility is amazing. A 180 gr bullet zipping along at 2400fps +

I'd not pick the venerable 30-06 for one main reason: close range stopping power on NA dangerous game such as bear. I wouldn't hesitate to trust a .30-06 at distance...but up close and personal I want a big, heavy, bone crushing bullet. Yes, the .444 really is limited to a 200 yard shot (trajectory limited)...but what it lacks in outright range it makes up for in maximal versatility.

So, my choices for a 2-gun rig would be .22wmr and .444.

Given an unlimited budget, I might say a .22 hornet in a Ruger and a .45-70 would be my choices instead.

September 8, 2006, 04:55 AM
I go with the flow; your favorite 22LR and which ever 30-06 you like or shoot best.

You compliment of rifles makes the choice somewhat difficult because I like the 22WMR possibility also as your current crop of 22LRs don't ring my chimes. Possibility is to sell all the 22's, and get a CZ which would work for all your 22 shooting from plinking to small game hunting.

On the rifle side, if you lean more toward long range or western US type hunting situations, I would lean toward the 300 Wby since you already have it. Ammo is always expensive though. Otherwise, one of your 30-06's should do the trick.

September 8, 2006, 09:13 AM
Too....Jealous....To.....Answer.....Right.....Now. :p

JK. (1) The Springfield (03?) in .30-06, since it's accurate for you, and (2) the .22 mag Ruger. I'm a fan of the .22mag for versatility. It can be pressed into service on animals the size of coyote/beaver/badger/wolverine, and even deer & antelope with head shots. But the .22lr is a close second place, and arguably a better choice, since it will destroy less meat on squirrels and such. You could also sub out the .444 Marlin for the .30-06, particularly if you like to get close to game before taking a shot - that's a close second place to one of the .30-06es.

I'm thinking that the .243 or .30 carbine with reduced loads thing is not gonna work too well, if you're on the road without your reloading equipment, and besides, you want to spend your time actually hunting and fishing, and not researching and working up and testing reduced loads. Besides, the point of impact is gonna change, so you'd have to move your sights or scope adjustment when switching.

September 8, 2006, 10:47 AM
I'm having difficulty deciding..........
it would either be .22lr and 30-06
or .22wmr and .444
or keep all 4 and have the .22lr, the .22wmr, 30-06 and .444 that would cover all areas of possible north american hunting scenarios. :)

September 8, 2006, 11:31 AM
Me2 :)

September 8, 2006, 11:56 AM
or keep all 4 and have the .22lr, the .22wmr, 30-06 and .444 that would cover all areas of possible north american hunting scenarios.

Cheater! :p But that's what I'd do, too, if I could fit them in the van

It's pretty interesting to have a "just 1/2/3/4/5 gun" discussion that is actually real, not purely hypothetical.

john in jax
September 8, 2006, 12:03 PM
Thinking outside the box - - sell off the lighter calibers, buy one of the handi-rifle combos:


There are several choices, but I think the 22LR / .243 / 20ga combo would be a SMALL neat package that would really complement the .300 Weatherby or .30-06 of your choice.

September 8, 2006, 12:18 PM
Another vote for a .22 lr and a .30-06.

I'd pick a Ruger 10/22 and a Remington 7600.

September 8, 2006, 11:12 PM
J-jax, thats a great idea.

Even better might be a nice German Drilling - a double shotgun and a single rifle barell all tied into one.

September 9, 2006, 03:45 AM
What about a .32ACP chamber adapter for the 30-06 to take small game too big for the 22LR, (as well as anything that requires centerfire in the game regs) and a 22LR for everything else?

For that matter, what about a break over 12ga, and a whole bunch of the assorted 12ga drop in adapters for various calibers? Several of them have 6-10" barrels that fit inside the shotgun's barrel, though I don't know how accurate they would be.

September 9, 2006, 07:03 AM
To paraphrase Talorce 1 If you find you have no need for the Savage .22 drop me a line at [email protected]

September 9, 2006, 08:19 PM
First I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and advise and for taking the time to post.

Reading all the info you guys have given started things smoking upstairs (sometimes thats a bad thing!) and I came up with a new thought on this. First I want to say I really lean towards light weight guns. But I don;t spend a lot of time on the range or I'd probably be singing a different tune. I do spend a good deal of time roaming around the woods mostly in mountainous terrain and often times in heavy cover. So light weight, fast handling goes a long way for me. The suggestions on the wide range of 30-06 bullet weights got me to thinking. Probably the most popular caliber and while it has and I;m sure still will for quite sometime to come put down many many grizzlies I'd feel comfortable with something a tad bit more powerful. I'm thinking of selling off everything except for a 22 unless I can find a subsonic reload for the 243 and buying a 300 Winchester short mag. Takding about 3/4 of an inch off the stock and 2 inches off the barrel. Having the barrel fluted with the object of it and a scope coming in a bit less than or at around seven pounds. As I say being a stricktly a hunting gun I wouldn't have to worry about an over heated barrel or punishment at the shooting bench. A few heavy rounds to make sure it was "on" and then light weight ones for any practice. I realize that shortening the barrel a couple of inches would mean that 300 yards might be the best it would be capable of when accuracy and ftlbs are taken into consideration but I have rarely shot over 250 so that's not too much of a worry for me. Most of my hunting would be for smaller, lighter game - deer, coyotes and such but it would have the ability to go up to the big boys for the few times each year I get the chance at them. The rate of twist as far as I can research is identical in the 243, 30-06 and 300 wsm in most rifles that being 1 in 10 so I think it would stabalize the wide variety of bullets out there and if the sabots I intend to order and try out in one of the 30-06s work well it would make a fine varmint gun as well. This might just be the answer to what I'm looking for and thanks to you guys I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Just hope its not a train coming!

Thanks for your ideas and thoughts in advance

September 9, 2006, 08:28 PM
Please use me:

:) ;)

September 9, 2006, 09:56 PM
300 Weatherby Vanguard Mag blued synthetic scoped - the interesting situation with this gun is I bought it about 5 years ago before they began separating out the real acurate ones and charging a premium for those.

Is this rifle 300 Win or 300 Weatherby? I think you already have a better rifle than the 300 WSM if you want to lighten up the rifle as far as a powerhouse goes. You could also consider restocking your Springfield into a synthetic stock to get it light weight. The coolest little carbine I've seen lately was a Siamese mauser action with a Marlin guide gun .45-70 barrel threaded onto it and bedded in a Mannlicher stock, just an idea.:cool: :cool: :cool:

Arizona Fusilier
September 9, 2006, 11:38 PM
Your "epiphany" not withstanding, I'd like to respond to the original, and most intriguing, question.

I'd go with 22 WMR and 30-06, or a .243 and .444 combo, depending on whether squirrels or the large dangerous game prevails in your future.

It pains me not to recommend my favorite, .270 WIN, in this dilemna; arguably the best one gun solution. Your featherweight Winchester 70 is the single most versatile gun in your battery, from my standpoint.

Perhaps you could see it in your heart keep three rifles? Then the .22 WMR, .270,. and .444 solution would be quite ideal. One shotgun with a couple or three barrels would be all you need otherwise.

While your handle suggests New York, where will you actually be living this "ultimate lifestyle"; I think it would have great bearing on the issue.

September 10, 2006, 06:03 PM
.22lr for the little stuff
.30-06 for the big stuff

no more needs said

The Terminator
September 11, 2006, 06:27 PM
Nothing in my part of the country that you can't take care of with a 12 gage, a .22 and 30-06.

That is why I have 5 rifles and 3 shotguns.:confused: Best -

September 12, 2006, 07:28 PM
Hi folks

Taylor, I thought along those lines but that Vanguard is a real pig to lug around. In my eyes it is one of the ugliest guns I've owned. I feel like I'm pulling a small howitzer up when I bring it to my shoulder and the bolt throw is looong. But it is a real all around caliber and it was that fact that got me to thinking about the possibilities of the 300 wsm since it is so close the the 300 Wthby in balistics but comes in a more modifiable smaller rifle.

I got a Lee hand press that will accept their dies so I can reload on the go and since I'll only be loading up for hunting rather than extended sessions on the range I won;t be spending much time besides a day or two as the fishing winds down just before the start of hunting in the fall and I should be good for the season.

Arizona I couldn't agree with you more. I grew up in the era of Jack O'Conner. My first center fire was a Winchester 70 in 270. I always wondered why they didn't make a bullet in the true varmint class. Even with reloading the lightest one I'm aware of is a 90 grain. What a true anything anywhere caliber it would be. If I follow all the way through with this it's going to be hard to part with the 270 I have. I like your thinking. The 243 and 444 are good choices and if I could find a really slow reload for the 243 that makes it approximate the 22 mag that sounds like a real bulls eye.

I've made several trips out west and a few to Alaska and I think I'll start off in Idaho and just follow the herds (lol) I've spent time guiding in both the Adirondacks here in NY and on the rivers going into Lake Ontario during the spawning runs. I even spent a couple of winters trapping for a living back in the 70's when fur prices sky rocketed. So, out west to a large degree but I could never walk completely away from the Adirondacks. Besides my kids live here in NY so I'd have to be spending a good amount of time here since they all have kids in their plans.

wondering if anyone has any experience with the 300 wsm?

Again, thanks for all of your suggestions and viewpoints.

The Terminator
September 12, 2006, 07:39 PM
I have a friend who switched from the 300 Mag to the 300WSM, and he swears by it. Down here in GA, a 300 is never needed, though my long range rifle is a 300 Win. Mag. If you are going to be hunting grizzle, and I'm no expert as I have never hunted them, but, I would think that a 300 anything would be too light. Why not keep the '06, and get a 45-70 guide gun for when in griz. country? I have a 45-70, and, with BuffaloBore bullets, it will easily kill anything on the planet. Here is a link. www.buffalobore.com

One more rifle shouldn't take up too much room. Or maybe, just a thought, sell all the centerfires and get a 375 H&H mag. It will kill any animal, has practically the same trajectory as the -06. I sold mine because I personally could not take the recoil of shooting heavy loads with it. Best - Ted

Jack O'Conner
September 12, 2006, 08:57 PM
I traded off my 22 rifles and bought a Ruger 96 lever action carbine in 17 HMR for $270. A new carbine discounted from a shop in Michigan that I found thru GunsAmerica.com. This 17 will shoot into a dime sized group at 75 yards. No kidding!

This 17 has knocked off several dozen prairie dogs. None got away. We don't have the big grey tree squirrels of Illinois or Iowa here in the Black Hills. But I'm certain this 17 would knock 'em out of a tree at longer distances better than the average 22 LR.

Years ago, I was stationed at Chanute AFB, ILL. Abundant tree squirrels along the banks of the Sangamon River and they fell to low base 16 gauge shells with ease. Seems like shotgun is the way to go when leaves are still sticken' to the trees.

September 13, 2006, 02:41 PM
Most accurate .22LR w/ scope (mine is a Marlin 60)

.270 which will take anything you like, with good shot placement)---30-06 a VERY close second. With lighter bullets the .270 can be pressed into service as a "varmint" gun.

If I only had these (plus the 12 gauge) I could do everything I'd ever need to do.

September 13, 2006, 08:13 PM
Springfield 06 and Ruger 77-22. Happy trials....I mean trails.

September 18, 2006, 06:17 PM
If you reload, .22Hornet and .30-06.....

September 29, 2006, 06:15 PM
keep the guns and get the wife a 2nd job, then buy what ya really want:D

October 4, 2006, 06:43 PM
My vote goes with the .22mag and either a .30-06 or .300Weatherby mag.

You're not gonna want to do a bunch of load changes and/or re-sighting if your goal is hunting, fishing and travel. If you vary your .444 loads as much as folks suggest, you will be spending a lot of time at ranges.

Find a good, multipurpose bullet in .30 caliber (165 or 180gr Remington CoreLokts come to mind... cheap, reliable, available and good) and use only that load. If you want everything from elk to deer to black bear, I'd say .30-06 with 180's. I'm going elk hunting at the end of the month with a .308 with 180gr loads. My brother's going on his first hunting trip with me, and he's carrying my old 30-30 with 170gr loads.

Sounds like a good retirement plan though. Good luck with that!