View Full Version : Same Caliber for Back-Up Deer Rifle?

March 3, 2007, 10:08 PM
If a hunter wants to buy a back-up rifle for deer, should it be the same caliber as the primary rifle? Or just have two common calibers (.308 &
.30-06, for example).

March 3, 2007, 10:28 PM
If going far from home both the same might be nice. If not, another caliber might be nice to have, especially if you reload. Having both .30 caliber you could try different loads in both rifles with much less cost. Myself and family members I reload for have 30-06 or 308 using the same 150 grain cor-locs for deer etc.

March 3, 2007, 10:39 PM
Yes, mine is a 54 T/C Hawkins Caplock(musket cap's) and its status is to back up my 54 Hawkins flinter if i flash the pan more than 1 or 2 times. who knows, depends on whatever??

March 3, 2007, 10:44 PM
I use my .45-70 lever action as a backup to my .270 but there are times when I carry it as primary, like still hunting in timber areas. I like to have the choice.

March 3, 2007, 10:52 PM
Mine are the same -06, but only because my back-up was my primary but I hate it (Rem 7400, never feeds correctly but works as single shot), so I got a Rem 700 for my primary. At some point I will ditch the 7400 and maybe go with something smaller as a primary varmit/secondary deer. I am highly interested in .25 cal (Roberts .257 or 25-06).

March 3, 2007, 11:14 PM
I was just thinking that having the same caliber might be good because if you need the back up rifle, you know you have ammo from the primary rifle....

March 3, 2007, 11:29 PM
Another reason to stay the same caliber is if you were to use it as a loaner. Both can use the same ammo. If planning on using it as a loaner don't get a spendy one. My experience is guys don't treat your rifle like you will. I think every gun I ever loaned came home with new dings .

March 4, 2007, 03:54 AM
I bring a properly zeroed backup scope in detachable mounts AND backup ammo. If I am shipping anything to the hunting area, I put ammo in the package. I also carry ammo in two different areas of my hunting gear. So I would carry the same caliber if I carried a backup rifle.
For most hunting trips, a cheap backup would work fine in any adequate caliber.

March 4, 2007, 08:36 AM
Personally, I don't see the point in having similar calibers, much less two guns in the same caliber. I understand everyone's point and I see the logic in it but I don't tend to go that route. (I do however, have multiple shotguns in the same gauge but all the duplicates are hand-me-downs and they have become the backup/loaners)

My primary deer rifle is a 7mm-08 Rem. 700 Mtn rifle. My loaner/backup is a 700ADL in 30-06. If I ever get to hunt Elk, I'm all set. I also have a Knight Disc rifle and T/C White Mtn. carbine in .50 cal. that serve as primary and backup muzzle loaders. They, of course, could serve as loaner/backup during the regular season if I needed them to.

March 4, 2007, 09:52 AM
It would be pretty cool to ask, "can I borrow a rifle", and have a .50 caliber handed to you....:D :D

March 6, 2007, 12:46 AM
I would say that if you can afford to have two different deer rifles you should have two purpose-suited rifles.

A .270 for open longer range areas loaded with fast 130s and a 3-9X40

And a .30-06 carbine semi-auto/pump for woods hunting with open sights.

Long Path
March 10, 2007, 06:07 AM
I've always gone different, usually in an interesting variety.

When I went elk hunting with a .300 WinMag, my backup was a No 5 Jungle Carbine in .303, with handloads of 180g Sierra GameKings. I ended up carrying that Jungle Carbine a fair amount in the thick timber of the mountains, and thought that would be quite cool to take a close elk with it.

Why not have it become a little adventurous, if the fates have frowned upon you enough to trash your original rifle? :)

Art Eatman
March 10, 2007, 12:12 PM
Back when I was regularly hunting on a lease some 170 miles from home, I almost always took two rifles "in case of in case": My '06 and my .243. What I used on any given hunt-session depended on where on the ranch I'd hunt and the likely type of shot I might get.

So far, in the last 45 years, "backup" has never been any sort of actual need.


March 10, 2007, 03:34 PM
Just another thought I just had on backup. If I can on hunting rifles I sight em in with the iron sights if I can and them Leave them on the gun. That way if a scope did happen to get broke I can remove it and still hunt. I can't on one 700 but the other 700 the Winchester, and Savage still has their iron sights along with the scope.

Jack O'Conner
March 17, 2007, 06:24 AM
We have two 30-30's on the rack. But usually both in use at the same time.


March 17, 2007, 02:29 PM
Guided in B.C. a few years. One doctor from Ohio brought matched Weatherby's. Only once did he need to swicth after he fell and hossed the scope. His reasoning - and I will not argue - stay the same make/model so you have nothing new to learn. On several long trips I carried two and have never had to take the second rifle out of the case. :p
Now at ATA I have used spare triggers, gas seals, firing pins, yadda, yadda. But we are talking 100s of rounds versus a very few. One trip to the Yukon I fired three shots, from one of two 7MMMs, at Ptarmigan to sweeten the freeze dried fare. Won the Club trophy for the member "who went further, spent most and shot least!" Won it the next year, too, but the trips were great!