View Full Version : Covering Hunting Calibers

June 25, 2009, 10:14 PM
I am on the lookout for my next rifle, its primary use being for hunting game larger than Kangaroos. Basically anything above 6mm in size for the projectile. I was looking at the .243, but I am wondering if it is not a big enough 'step up' from the 223.

The game in question would be goats, pigs and possibly deer, but goats and Pigs being the main ones.
I had considered the 30/30 but have heard the accuracy can be fairly poor on them (friends comment based on his personal experience using the Win 94 L\A with iron sights)
The .270 seems to be a good balance, but the .308 has better accuracy and a wider range of projectiles to choose from, apart from that, I really dont know what else fits into that criteria.

This is mainly directed Australian hunters, but any and all suggestions and input would be great.

June 25, 2009, 10:45 PM
There are a bunch of cartridges that would fill your needs.

The .243 would work, as well as the .270. So would the .308, 7mm-08, 30-06, .260 Rem, 7mm mauser, 25-06, and several others.

The .308 is not "more accurate" than the .270, since the individual rifle/load is the major varying factor in accuracy.

Choose one, learn it's capabilities and limitations, and use it accordingly. There are no wrong choices; it just depends on your wants, needs, and expectations.


June 26, 2009, 06:55 AM
The .243 would work, as well as the .270. So would the .308, 7mm-08, 30-06, .260 Rem, 7mm mauser, 25-06, and several others.

As the above post mentioned, a .243 would work find. Personally, I'd make a bigger jump though and take a hard look at a .270, a .308 or a 30.06.

June 26, 2009, 07:00 AM
i have and use both .270 and .308.... only favor the .308 for variety of bullet weights

June 26, 2009, 07:00 AM
Take a look at a Weatherby rifle in .240WBY Mag cal or .257WBY Mag both great calipers and pleanty of power to do the job on deer size or a little bigger animals.

June 26, 2009, 09:19 AM
The .270 seems to be a good balance, but the .308 has better accuracy and a wider range of projectiles to choose from

If you like the .270 Win get it, I'm not sold that the .308 Win has better accuracy. Yes it has a larger selection of bullets and is used in competition more than the .270 ever has been. However the .270 Win has long been known as an accurate hunting rifle and that is what you are looking for.

I'd buy the rifle that gives you the best ammunition availability. What about .303 British? That will do everything you are looking for in a rifle as well and I hear it is quite popular in AU.

1911 Shooter
June 26, 2009, 11:17 AM
what's the cheapest ammo / reloading setup ? that's what I would look at too. I have a 300 wby mag, beside the recoil, I couldn't afford the ammo. so I reload

June 26, 2009, 12:07 PM
Get the caliber that you can readily find ammo. .308 family is great and .30-06 family is great. My old, departed Brother-in-law used a M88 in .243 for years on deer and hogs with 100gr PowerPoints; however, with the advent of 100 gr Noslers in .264, the choice of .260 is easier.

June 26, 2009, 02:50 PM
Personally I've always loved the 7 Mauser (7x57). Ammo isn't as common as some calibers, but if you reload that shouldn't be a problem. It's a dream to shoot. Very little recoil, with ballistics similar to a .270. I dunno what it is about it exactly, but I really like the 7x57 and wouldn't mind getting another. :)

If not the 7x57, then I would suggest probably getting a .308. In the way of center-fire rifles its super cheap and easy to find. And it should have plenty of punch for anything you need.

Another option might be the 8mm Mauser. That's about as cheap as ammo comes and its got a nice strong kick to it.

June 26, 2009, 06:02 PM
I dont reload and probably wont for a some time, so its factory ammunition only. Which is a pity because I think projectiles like the 6.5 Swede seem to be ideal, except there is only one bullet weight and one type here, likewise for the .260

The .270 and the .243 seem to be the best contenders so far, factory ammo price is fairly similar and I had underestimated the penetration capability of the .243, especially on pigs. The browning BLR seems to fit well to this but I know very little about the rifle at the moment.

.303 I do definately want, but I dont see myself using it for hunting.

June 26, 2009, 09:05 PM
G'day Telgriff. The thing you have to take into account when hunting for deer in the eastern states is, from what I can gather, that the .243 is not legally allowed for deer above fallow size. Here in W.A. deer, where they exist, are regarded as vermin. Even so, the .243 isn't recommended for any but the smaller species.
I have a .308 which I haven't used much yet. But it's obviously a real versatile calibre. It's not a barrel burner either. 5000 rounds per tube is not unheard of. The .270, another very useful calibre in Oz is a hotter goer, also great for deer but a bit harder on barrels. Mind you, unless you're doing a lot of shooting, that may not be an issue.
I've run a .243 for a while now and love the thing. It's one of the most versatile calibres for medium game in Oz. Everything from foxes to pigs and goats fall before it no problem. It's about bullet selection. But if I was into deer I'd be thinking from .270 up. The .308 is a pretty accurate round and that barrel life issue is a factor if you plan on keeping the rifle for a long time.
I always think in terms of how common anything is before I buy. It's always easier to get bits for popular items. The popular older calibres like .243, .308, .270 etc etc are the way to go in Oz I reckon. You normally have no trouble getting ammo or components for them. They kill as dead as any other too in the hands of a competent shot.
I wouldn't go for the medium velocity types like the .30-30 unless you're a lever action nut and doing most of your shooting closer than about 150 metres.
I wouldn't sell the .223 either. Real economical for foxes, rabbits and dogs, you know, the ones the southern farmers all want blasted.

June 27, 2009, 01:34 AM
thanks for all the feedback, its appreciated.

After looking at my new home (hopefully), 150m shots and longer seem to be much more common (lots of wide open fields), so i think the want for a lever action can be put on the back burner, or just get a .22 lever instead for some fun and those closer in shots on the bunnies.

Definitely wont be selling my 223 Foxr, as you said, its a great cartridge for foxes, cats and bunnies and those will be a far more frequent occurrence. I'd be concerned that the 308 might be overkill/over penetration for hunting here , which is why the .270 and the .243 was a closer consideration.

June 28, 2009, 08:54 AM
I believe you would be quite pleased with the 25-06. Anyone who has or previously owned one will tell you that it is a very good cartiridge. It should do you well for anything down there except the buff. It is a very flat shooting and hard hitting round. You can use the light stuff for small game and varmits and the 100 and 120 grain for the roos and larger. Sight it in at 200m and it will be crosshair shooting at 100m and 300m. You will find the recoil to be mild too. Ammo is not difficult to come by and if you reload, you can use 30-06 brass by just reforming them in a full length sizing die.

You can even take elk sized game if you keep your range within 150m.

James R. Burke
June 28, 2009, 01:38 PM
I believe the .270, .30-08, and 30-06 wuld all work great. I myself favor the 30-06 you can buy just about anything grain wise for it, and it is even better when reloading. But I dont think you could go wrong with any of them even the .243win. My wife has a .243win and shot at her first two deer last season. She got them both. A nice buck double lung shot, and filled a doe tag with neck shot. Shot placement is key with the .243 or any rifle for that matter. A wounded animal is wounded no matter what you shot it with. Good luck, and have fun!

June 28, 2009, 02:11 PM
Unless your kangaroos are gigantic, the .243 should be fine. If you want a larger bullet the 6.5x55 or .260 would be worth a look.

T. O'Heir
June 28, 2009, 09:40 PM
"...heard the accuracy can be fairly poor on them..." It's not the cartridge. It's the rifles. Lever actions aren't terribly accurate. A bolt action .30-30 will astound you for accuracy.
The .243, with the right bullet, works just fine on Ontario's big deer. 200 plus pounds is not unusual. It'll drop an 85 kilo kangaroo with no fuss. 105 grain SP's are your friend. You need the right rifling twist though. Most commercial hunting rifles have the right twist.

June 28, 2009, 11:42 PM
.223 is enough for the grey roos here, and the big Red's arent anywhere near me so I dont need to be too concerned about them.

As it is, I think the 6.5 SE seems to fit perfectly for power, penetration and ammo cost for game size in my area. Only issue being that there is almost no factory stuff for the 6.5 except the 140gr SP, but that seems to be a good mid-high range projectile for my needs at least for now until I can get the confidence to start reloading.

The .260 is rather expensive here ($63 for 20 rounds of accutip) compared to the 6.5 SE which is $24 for 20 rounds.

Next step is finding a rifle to match the 6.5 SE to. Not too many manufactures chamber for it, so far it seems sako, tikka, CZ and I think Weatherby? are the main ones.

June 29, 2009, 12:48 AM
I use a 243 and it works great for shots up to 100 yards. Might do a little tracking on a deer. But for closer than that 45-70 stops most anything dead in its tracks, But thats a 500 gr bullet also. Like shooting a brick at a deer:D None the less works very well even out to 100 yards. Im sure more experenced shooters could do better. But I like to feel good about every shot. and make em count....:p

June 29, 2009, 10:47 PM
Telgriff, it's not so much the confidence you need to start reloading, but the bucks to buy the gear. And then go out and buy a good book on the subject and follow the instructions implicitely. It is time consuming but it isn't difficult or dangerous as long as you have the equipment and do it right. You can't go wrong with ol' Uncle Nick's book (Nick Harvey's Practical Reloading Manual). There are other good ones out there too. Just be aware that some loads given may be for rifles with a different barrel length than yours, and you would have to adjust a little accordingly. Then you have to make the time to work with the loads on the range to find a good one for your rifle. Absolutely every rifle is different. Accuracy doesn't necessarily mean hot loads so you're not likely to blow your head off trying to get it.
Accuracy is the main thing in the field.
The real trouble with reloading is that you can let yourself get bogged down trying all sorts of combinations when you perhaps should stick to a discovered effective load/pill, and go hunting!
Some folks just love the detail and it becomes a hobby in itself. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm with the guy here who says he just wants to hear the thwack of the bullet.

Incidentally, in Australia, reloading doesn't save you as much as it might in the U.S. Components, and especially powder aren't cheap.

I nearly bought a beautiful old ex Swedish service 6.5x55 in top order a few years back. But the guy changed his mind and decided not to sell. He saved me because it would have had to be sporterised to be a good hunting arm and that would have been sacrilege.
It is a fine hunting calibre (Oz spelling:D) But I stand by my comments about .270. Bit more versatile. Popular=wider choice of ammo/components.

June 29, 2009, 10:59 PM
I really like a Model 99 in .300 Savage for the above mentioned

June 30, 2009, 12:52 AM
Foxrr: I agree, the setup costs for some decent reloading gear seems rather expensive. But it would be more for the lack of factory ammunition than my desire to find a 'perfect' load for the 6.5 SE.

The .270 is still under serious consideration, especially as its Ballistics are pretty close to the swede. I think my concern would be for its rather heavy recoil being an issue for semi-regular range practice (i need to maintain practice or my accuracy starts to slide), though field positions it may not be anywhere as severe as if I fired prone or off a bench.
Also, what sort of barrel life do you get from a .270?

June 30, 2009, 01:08 AM
Nothing wrong with a 270 for sure. For some reason though I have always favored a 243 and 308 and they are good. So good that I am now searching for a good deal on a 7 mm-08. I figure it will be a good in between round compared to my two favorite rifles so far. It's pretty darned close to a 270 though in terms of realistic performance. I just prefer a BLR in a shorter throw.

My best shooting buddy though is an absolute fanatic about the 6.5 Sweede. And he has shot pretty much everything that regular Americans are supposed to shoot. If a guy from Nebraska likes it so much, it seems like a reasonable choice for Australia because there are some similarities in the shooting opportunities.

June 30, 2009, 05:36 PM
The .270's ballistics really do surprise me. Comparing just a 150gr BoatTail SoftPoint with a similar but heavier .308 165gr projectile, the .270 gets there faster, hits harder and with better penetration.

June 30, 2009, 06:40 PM
Also, what sort of barrel life do you get from a .270?

Found this answer in Field and Stream June '09.

According to Petzal and one of his gunsmith friends a .270Win will get about 3,000 rounds through the barrel.

For some comparison he offers up these other figures:

.223 3-4K
22/250 2.5K
7mm Rem Mag 1.5K
30/06 4-5K
.300WSM 2K
.300Weatherby 1-1.5K
.338Win Mag 2.5-3K
30/30 estimated at 6K+ [gunsmith had never seen a barrel shot out]

James R. Burke
July 1, 2009, 07:52 PM
My all time favorite is the old 30-06 you can not go wrong with it. You can use it for almost anything, and you can get a wide range of ammo about anywhere. If you reload that is a added bonus. The .308 would be second, the .270 third, and the .243 fourth. That is just my thoughts. They are all great calibers, and I have owned them all at one time.

July 1, 2009, 08:59 PM
What was your reason for choosing the 308 over the 270?

July 1, 2009, 09:32 PM
Just a short comment on felt recoil. You can adjust to it in time ..up to a point. Probably depends on your build as well as attitude/tolerance. But if it's a bit on the heavier side, say, from 20 ft/pounds on up it can be annoying on the bench. I'm not a big built bloke so I have my limits.
I bought my .308 Ruger second-hand. It came with the infamous 'paddle' stock with its nasty hard buttpad. In .308, yep, it did annoy me. Chucked the buttpad and fitted a Pachmayr slip-on.
End of problem!

July 1, 2009, 11:16 PM
Recoil seems to be a very specific thing for me. I find a 12g shotgun recoil 'fun' but a heavy recoiling rifle is unpleasant.
I agree that I can probably take a substantial amount of the uncomfortable portion of recoil out with a good limbsaver and of course a proper fitting stock.

July 1, 2009, 11:16 PM
For the animals described the .243 should be perfect. It's also fun to shoot, you can practice for hours.

July 2, 2009, 05:22 AM
Hi telgriff, well I currently own a .270 & 6.5x55 & they are both great calibres.
The 6.5 has considerable less recoil than the .270 for around the same bullet weights, on the down side there are alot less decent factory rounds in 6.5.available is aussie.
The .270 is basically a necked down 30-06 so althought it generally has less bullet weight it does travel faster so if your not shooting big elk as in usa then to me .270 is more suited to pigs/goats/deer here in aussie! Good luck!

July 2, 2009, 07:08 AM
I do not see this caliber mentioned...

This is a magnificent caliber and would work beautifully for what you are looking for. It carries great knockdown power. It will allow you to load for varmit type game as well as Elk size game and do the job on anything in between.

The only thing that could be a drawback is ammo. You most likely would need to load your on ammo.

Good luck with your choice.

As you can guess I did not scroll all the way down...I see where in the post above this caliber was mentioned....

July 2, 2009, 12:33 PM
If the Swede is hard to find you might want to look at the 7x57 Mauser. I understand it's pretty common outside the US.

July 2, 2009, 05:47 PM
Hadnt even considered 7mm projectiles... have wandered into new territory.. 7mm-08 seems very good indeed.

thanks for the suggestion Buzzcook

July 2, 2009, 06:41 PM
I've found it easier to pick the rifle and then choose the chamber. I had selected 7-08 just to find it wasn't available in my rifle choice. I got it's ballistic twin, so I'm very satisfied.

You can pick any (with very few exceptions) of the commercially available chambers from the 25 class to the 30 class and go hunting without ever pushing the limits of a cartridge. It doesn't have to be this difficult. Select a chamber based on your recoil comfort level first. If you are not comfortable shooting a heavy recoiling rifle you will struggle to shoot well.