View Full Version : Two more calibers...

December 5, 2008, 02:24 AM
I am coming back to the states next week, and have some money to spend on rifles. I want to round out the collection so that I can have most bases covered when it comes to hunting. Right now the collection consists of a .22 and a 7.62x39. I am looking at a .223 and a .308 because of the NATO part, but for the amount of shots it will probably make in the next five years (getting married to a Japanese girl in Japan), I don't know if cost of ammo should be replaced with appropriateness of the gun. I don't see myself having another chance to spend money on guns, at least in the near future, so I am asking what I should be looking at. Will be shooting in Texas, but would like to be able to humanely kill most things on this side of the world. Any suggestions are warranted, and will be considered. Probably the main animals would be deer and hogs.

December 5, 2008, 05:13 AM
Your choiced mentioned so far sound pretty decent. A guy ought to have a small bore centerfire for shooting coyotes and such, and a larger caliber for bigger stuff.

The 30-06 would extend the range of the .308 a bit, and give you just a bit more punch on larger critters when using larger bullets.

My "big gun" that gets used the most is a 7mm rem mag, but any of these will do the job if you know it's potential and limitations. I've killed stuff from coues deer and antelope to elk and buffalo with no trouble using 145 gr bullets from a 7mm mag.


Art Eatman
December 5, 2008, 09:09 AM
Probably the most practical pair would be the .223 and the .308. Cost, performance, all the usual reasons. Lots of other stuff that's "as good as", but there's nothing out there so much better that it really matters beyond the fun of argument. :)

December 5, 2008, 09:45 AM
Arguments are fine. I was wondering about the 30-06, and the 300 wm as well as the 7mm. Don't know what to do. Looking at an AR-15 for the 223 and a Rem.700/Sav. 10FP/Stevens 200/. FN PBR for the 308, unless someone can sell me a $1000 308 AR

December 6, 2008, 07:20 AM
Seems as if the 223 cal. is settled. You won't make A better choice than the 308 cal. You have A wide choice of cart. and it will do the job on any game in North America.

Art Eatman
December 6, 2008, 11:18 AM
I'll toss in a whole bunch of personal opinion, here: My father was 99% an '06 afficianado. He and my uncle got me into the '06 business in 1950, with my uncle appreciating free child labor with me doing his and my reloading. :D

Now, I sorta like the aesthetics of rifles with longer barrels, which suits the '06 just fine. I can handload for my 26" favorite pet and get around 300 ft/sec more muzzle velocity than can folks with regular store-bought .308s.

Now, I'm fully aware that Bambi can't tell the difference between 3,100 ft/sec and 2,800 ft/sec, and he's equally ruined from either. And I'm also aware that 90+% of all deer are shot within some 200 yards. IOW, if you don't handload, a .308 is as good as an '06 for most deer hunters.

So for me, there's a good bit of emotional tie to the old '06. That first 1917 Enfield, and hunting with the folks. Throw in some of the history of the cartridge and the guns. The fun I've had over a whole bunch of years. And the good eating from all those deer.

:), Art

Ole 5 hole group
December 6, 2008, 11:22 AM
Let me just throw out a little "food" for thought. First off, the choices of the 223 and 308 are great choices. If you currently have X amount of dollars you will be spending on firearms now that you're single and won't have any spare change after getting married I can understand that dilemma - the food for thought is this: If you can live without an auto loaded and enjoy bolt actions look into getting two custom actions built from scratch. You will have to decide which caliber you will be mainly shooting and order the proper action with different bolt faces. Here’s an example – order a short action with two bolts. One bolt face will be standard that will fit 308 cartridge types (308/300 savage/358 win/7-08/243/22-250/257 Roberts and more wildcats than you can shake a stick at.) the other bolt face will be small that will fit the 222/223 family types. The other action will be the standard/Short Magnum with two bolts. One bolt face will be fit the 30-06 family (25-06/270/30-06/35 Whelen etc) and the other bolt face will accommodate 7mm/ 300 win/338 mag/458 mag. Etc. You initially will only need three barrels – a 223, 308 and whatever “heavy” caliber you want, two scopes and possibly two open sight designs if you want, two stocks of your choice and you’re set up. If you ever feel the need for another caliber then just get a barrel of your choice chambered to your choice of caliber and have it fitted on the appropriate action and you have a new “custom” rifle at minimum costs and it will be a shooter right out of the box. If you know you’ll never want a larger caliber than a 308 than you’ll be able to get by with just the short action. There are a lot of possibilities out there if you just want to build a couple custom “switch” barrel rifles.

December 9, 2008, 09:20 AM
For a small caliber able to do a lot of things....THE 22-250 is the answer instead of the .223. I have both and if I had to choose between the two there really is no choice, it is the 22-250.

And the other one would be the 7mm Mag. It would allow you to hunt anything in the lower 48 humanely. The 06 would as well but I am a bit more partial to the 7MAG!

December 9, 2008, 11:55 PM
Ole 5 hole group, good idea but there is a cheaper way.

If someone buys a good Savage rifle, go-nogo gauges and some simple tools then takes the time to learn the techniques they can have a quick change rifle without the cost of custom actions. My preference would be a 30-06 with barrels for .270 and .35 Whelen but another possibility would be a .308 with barrels for 7mm-08 and .243.

Ole 5 hole group
December 10, 2008, 10:08 AM
MeekAndMild – what you said is correct but it’s just about as costly when you consider all the options. To make a switch barrel from one factory rifle you only have the option of calibers that fit that particular bolt face. The custom action gives you two bolts that perfectly fit one action. That is a great option to have and that’s where the costs start getting closer. Your suggestion for one factory rifle is indeed cost effective and the way to go if you know you’ll stay within one family of cartridges. I went your suggested way a couple decades ago with an abused Rem 700 BDL short action chambered for a 308 that I found in a pawn shop. I’m not a tool & die maker or a machinist so I paid a skilled gunsmith good money to perform his trade and had the action squared up, lapped the bolt lugs and squared up the bolt face and then had match 308, 6BRL and a 22BRL barrels chambered for it. Later on I wished I had a small bolt face for the 223 and that’s when I decided custom actions were the way to go if one could afford the initial cost. The BRL is a wildcat as I made them out of 300 Savage brass trimmed down to 1.75 inches and then just reduced the neck to 6mm and 22 just like you would make a 250 Savage from a 30-06 case. I tight necked the BRL’s because if I had to form the brass anyway why not due one extra step to increase brass longevity and accuracy? The 22BRL is capable of a little more velocity than the 22-250 (factory loads). My 22BRL barrel is a 1-14 twist and shoots 52 grain bullets very well at 3,754fps while the 6BRL barrel with a 1-14 twist shoots a 65 and 68 grain bullet very well. I can push the 52 grain bullet 4,000fps in the 22BRL but the accuracy is poor and the barrel throat probably won't last very long.

December 10, 2008, 10:43 AM
You can argue there are better choices than the .308, but it really comes down to splitting hairs. The .308 is a fine round that will certainly handle deer and hogs with ease.

December 10, 2008, 01:00 PM
The disadvantage you'll find with the .308 Win is in shooting the larger bullets for larger game. It doesn't really have enough powder capacity to push the larger bullets as well as the 30-06.

That said, I'm not really sure that most folks would ever need the heavier bullets. They're more of an option for larger and/or dangerous game with the 30-06 though, since it utilizes them better.

Here's a picture of a buddy of mine with a buffalo that he shot last February. He used a 1917 Enfield (30-06) with ammo purchased back in the 1950's. These items were given to him by a friend who didn't need or want them any more. I think he used 150 grain bullets.

It really is hard to make a bad choice with the cartridges available today. A lot of it depends on personal preference and experiences, but they're all pretty decent.