View Full Version : Increasing my rifle battery

February 29, 2012, 02:20 AM
Hello all, I've been more of a handgunner and just recently got into big game hunting. I live in Colorado so Mule Deer and Elk are the usual suspects. Recently I noticed some Weatherby Vanguards on sale for a good price. Currently, my only centerfire rifle is a Marlin 336 in 30-30. Its a handy good shooting rifle but would like something more powerful for longer ranges and Elk.

I saw a good deal on the Vanguard in 270, 30-06 and 300 Wby Mag. I'm torn between them. What would you choose to complement my 30-30 rifle for Rocky Mountain hunting or as a general purpose hunting rifle? I reload so I could get the most out of any of those choices. I've heard that reloading Weatherby cases can be tricky.

February 29, 2012, 03:26 AM
IMO its hard to beat a good 270win in a bolt gun & the Vanguard is a good rifle.The 270 is easy to load,easy on the shoulder,And plenty of power.
The 270Win is a great choice for a general purpose rifle.
good luck with your choice.;)

Irish B
February 29, 2012, 08:55 AM
To reach out a little further a 270 would be a great choice. Also the 06 would be great and more than powerful enough for any game we have here in Colorado including bear and moose.

February 29, 2012, 09:49 AM
I purchased a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 in 243 Winchester and I am very impressed with it so far. I have shot a number of sub MOA groups including a 1/4" group with it.

Given the choices you list I'd opt for the 30/06 as it gives you more bullet weights to choose from. Prior to purchasing though I'd inquire if I could get the same deal in a 7mm Remington Mag.

February 29, 2012, 10:14 AM
Vangards are good guns but I'd shy away from the long actions and get a 7mm-08 if they have one. Talked a buddy into one a few years ago and he couldn't be happier.


February 29, 2012, 10:16 AM
Ideally a 7mm would be nice. The thing is its the discontinued Vanguard series that has been replaced by the new Vanguard S2. All they have left in the original Vanguard series is 270, 30-06, 308, 300 Wby, 243 and 223.

I quickly narrowed it down to the 270, 30-06 and 300 Weatherby. Its hard to pass up a good rifle for $350. That is what really peaked my interest.

I've gotten extremely comfortable with my 30-30 and my handloads. I can get Hornady's 160 gr FTX loads to consistently group under 2" at 100 yards. I really would like to step up in power a bit.

I was thinking 270 or 300 Weatherby for the longer ranges and using the 30-30 as more of a deep timber gun. A 2.5" high zero at 100 yards with either of them still puts it close to dead on at 300 yards. However its hard to beat a good 30-06 given the huge variety of bullet weights. I'm awfully tempted by the 300 Weatherby but am concerned about the recoil as well as the odd style of case for reloading. If I got it I would load it down a bit but still equivalent to a very hot 30-06 load to start off with but would have the capability to move up in power as I get more comfortable with it. I think it would be all the gun I would ever need for North America.

Thanks for the responses folks.

Art Eatman
February 29, 2012, 11:49 AM
I'd get an '06 and load 150s for deer, 180s for elk. I happen to like the Sierras, having had very good success on deer with the 150s. Great sub-MOA accuracy.

Meddling around on my 500-yard range, I found that the trajectory of the Sierra 180-grain SPBT was quite near that of the 150-grain. Based on a comparison of "depth of dimple" on the steel plate, I'd expect excellent penetration by the 180 in an elk.

February 29, 2012, 12:19 PM
i have 3 weatherby vanguards in 300 win mag, 7mm rem mag and 243. all shoot xub moa. love em all.

February 29, 2012, 12:36 PM
My experience with the 300Wby is that its expensive even if you reload, heavish on recoil and muzzle blast and generally not needed unless you just want one. You can't go wrong with either the .270 or 30'06 anywhere in the country. I'd favor the 30'06 because of the broad options available in ammo selection, plus I'm a .284/7mm junkie and have no need for the .270.

February 29, 2012, 05:20 PM
From your three choices I agree with Art 150 for deer 180 for elk in the 06'

February 29, 2012, 05:31 PM
I have to disagree with ART on one thing. The 30-06 is a supurb all around rifle, great for deer and elk, but after guiding for elk and deer here in Colorado, most guides like myself absolutely detest Sierra bullets. We referred to them as hand grenades in green boxes. Very little penatration before the bullet came apart. When a hunter showed up with Sierra's were knew we could be in for a long tracking job and a possible lost animal. Nosler partions have always treated me well and have for multitudes of elk hunters.

February 29, 2012, 09:24 PM
The Weatherby Magnum calibers look very, very enticing, although if you shoot a lot, you'll have to be prepared to deal with rarity. I personally don't mind oddball calibers thanks to this thing called the internet and of course there is also reloading.

I'd probably favor .270 Wby Mag for what you're describing. The Vanguards represent incredible values when used. :cool:

March 2, 2012, 08:20 PM
I ended up getting the 30-06. Thanks for helping me decide. I brought a bore-lite with me and picked out the best looking barrel. The one I got looks like a custom job. Hopefully she's a shooter. What sold me on the '06 is the fact that I wanted more of a dedicated Elk gun.

March 2, 2012, 09:02 PM

To which Sierra bullets are you referring? Sierra states that their Match King bullets are not to be used as a hunting bullet, but unfortunately many do not take the advise of Sierra. The Game Kings have a reputation for being a good hunting bullet that performs well.

March 2, 2012, 09:36 PM
You will like the 30/06 more and more over time, especially when it comes time to buy ammo.

March 3, 2012, 09:29 AM
If it were me, I think the 30-06 springfield, would be my choice, and that Weatherby Vanguard is a nice rifle, very accurate, and a decent price also.
Mine is a 7mm Rem. Mag, and it shoots well, I like it over some of the higher priced rifles.....

March 3, 2012, 03:33 PM
DISCERN, the Sierra's mainly used were game kings. There were so many failures I dont know where to start. First it is a boat tail design, totally worthless in the hunting field. This design reduces friction grap on the jacket. Once the jacket and core seperate, penatration is dramatically reduced. Just one example as I dont want this to result in another, mines better than yours, debate. I shot a cow elk at @300 yards using a 338 Win Mag and 250 Sierra game kings. The shot took the elk in the neck. The elk dropped at the shot, as I was walking to it, she got up and started to run. A broadside lung shot put her down. Again she got up and another lung shot finished her. On skinning her the remains of the neck shot bullet was just schrapnel and had failed to break the neck. The 2 lung shots failed to even make a mark on the off side rib cage. They simply exploded after entry on wasnt capable of penatrating even the light lung tissue. Just a note of comparason, I shot a cow in the lungs with a 22 handgun and the bullet made it through both sides of the lung cavity and was recovered under the skin on the offside. These shots were taken over 20 years ago, maybe things have improved but from what I have seen of their design nothing has changed.

March 4, 2012, 01:27 AM
Everything I have read regarding the Game King is they perform well. Sorry to hear you had a bad experience. It could be that you got a batch that was mislabeled or a batch that was not up to par. How fast was your load at the muzzle?

I use to do hand loads for a person I know, and I used Sierra Game King bullets as they grouped the best. Multiple whitetail deer (bucks and does) were shot, and every deer shot was DRT. It did not matter if the deer was standing still or running away. Distances were from very close to about 200 yards. It helped that this hunter always had good shot placement. This person moved away so I no longer do loads for them.

Deja vu
March 4, 2012, 05:07 PM
I like the 30-06 of the choices you picked.

March 4, 2012, 07:37 PM
DISCERN, the elk incadent load had a cronographed muzzle velocity of 2700 fps, and an estimated impact velocity of @2400 fps. I have had a number of other failures as well. The mule deer here are fairly large and elk a way bigger than whitetails. I cant say I had failures on antelope sized game using the 338 and 250 grain game kings. Of course they are so small that even if they did come apart, the rib cage has so little resistence.

March 4, 2012, 08:42 PM
Get the 30.06 and be happy.......:)

March 4, 2012, 09:06 PM
cje1980 already picked up the 30-06 as posted in #13 which IMO was a good choice from his choices.

Not sure how this thread went from which caliber of the three choices to a pro and cons of Sierra bullets :confused:
fwiw I mainly use Nosler :D

March 4, 2012, 11:32 PM
I got a good deal on some Leupold STD bases and rings and have ordered a Leupold VX-1 in 31-9x40. That is the new version that just came out. I got $20 off and free shipping from Cabelas. Hopefully I can give her a try by the end of the month.

I'm planning on using 165 gr Nosler Accubonds or Hornady Interbonds over a healthy dose of H4350. I might be using it on some combination Deer/Elk hunts so I think that would be a versatile loading that packs some good punch but also reaches out very well. It will be an Elk gun for the most part.

Thanks again folks.

March 5, 2012, 12:01 AM
First it is a boat tail design, totally worthless in the hunting field.

1. 95% the deer I've killed in the last decade would dispute that, if they could ...but they can't: they are dead.

2. If you want penetration (ELK!), then don't use a standard lead core and jacket bullet. Nosler Accubonds, Hornady Interbond, Swift Scirrocco,etc, etc, will give you the high BC of the boat tail design, and the jacket and core won't separate...... right tool for the right job, McFly.

March 5, 2012, 12:04 AM
Let us know how it works out for you. The 30-06 is also my deer cartridge. My nephew uses a .270.

March 5, 2012, 06:57 AM
You will find the Vanguard to be a very well made rifle that will last you more than a lifetime.

March 5, 2012, 09:00 PM
JIMBOB86, I should have stated my comment better concerning boattail hunting bullets. The CONCEPT of a boattail bullet is to reduce drag at extended ranges. Inside 400 yards the difference between a flatbased bullet and boattail is so little it have very little if any advantage, except on very small game. Boattail designed bullet kill scads of big game yearly. However the disavantage of cup and core bullets with boattail bullets far outweigh any advantage.

March 6, 2012, 08:45 PM
However the disavantage of cup and core bullets with boattail bullets far outweigh any advantage.

I have yet to see a deer that can take a 150 grain SGK, launched at 2900 f/sec, to the chest at any range form 20 feet to a measured 460 yards (and one a bit further than that, though we had no range finder that day) and not die in very short order..... on most of the hits under 75 yards, the bullet did come apart. This was a feature, not a bug, on frontal shots- a more solid bullet would have made a mess of things- as it happened, none of the frontal shots penetrated beyond the diaphram .... dead deer, no crappy mess.

The boat-tailed bullets extend my effective range out a bit- not an improtant factor for most situations in the Eastern US ..... out West, shots can be longer. You may not need that extra 100 yards, but it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

March 6, 2012, 11:39 PM
cje1980, congrats on your purchase, I am sure you are going to be very pleased with the rifle and I look forward to hearing a report on how it shoots. Have you thought about using one of the all copper bullets (Barnes TSX, Nosler E-Tip, or Hornady GMX)? Nothing against the Accubond, I'm just a huge fan of the all coppers and since they retain so much weight the 165 grain is considered excellent elk material.

March 8, 2012, 01:25 PM
Thanks Allen. I've given some thought to the lead-free variety like the Barnes, E-Tip, and GMX. My thoughts are that the 30-06 doesn't produce enough velocity with the heavier 165 and 180 to warrant them.

I'm trying to decide between a bonded bullet in the 165-180 gr class. The new Speer Deep Curl line looks enticing since they are a bonded bullet priced in the standard cup and core class.

Hopefully I can get a chance to shoot this rifle next weekend. I should have my scope mounted by then.