View Full Version : Which caliber for my needs?

Steve Smith
August 22, 2001, 10:01 AM
Ok, first off, let me say that I really don't like bolt actions. Every one I've owned, I've sold. That being said, you pretty much need one for hunting in Colorado, as they're lighter than semi-autos. I will purchase another both rifle this year, for hunting again. In the past I've used .300 and .338 Win mags. That's pretty much the standard around here. Frankly, I don't like shooting the magnums, so that's probably why they're expendable for me. I'm thinking about using a .308 this year. Those of you who hunt in Colorado or Wyoming know what the terrain is like. Do you thnk I'll be hindering myself with a .308? BTW, I shoot NRA Highpower and while I'm not a High Master, I do pretty well...I can keep all my shots in the black at 600 yards with open sights. I wouldn't dream of taking a 600 yard shot on an animal, so that's out anyway.

I have been thinking about getting one of the Savage 10 FPs so I could have some fun with it during the off season, maybe eventually getting a match rifle stock and use it for HP Match Rifle division. Of couse, I don't plan on doing that until I go Distinguished with a Service Rifle first (year away).

Your comments are welcomed.

August 22, 2001, 10:19 AM
I'm assuming the .300/.338 reference indicates elk hunting.

Depends on the type hunting you do. I primarily use a Rem M7 (bolt) in .308, short barrel & have never felt the "lack." Mostly hunt the dark timber though & in all actuality, a 12 ga would probably work as well. Just like the handy nature of my 7. It's trajectory is nothing to write home about, but still has the umph out past 250 yards or so.

If I do the sit/galss/stalk bit with chances of much longer shots, I''ll switch to a 700 in .30-06

Nothing at all the matter with bigger calibers. I don't have any & haven't been "undergunned" yet. May gain an extra 50 yards or so with a magnum over an '06 ....

Far as actions types - used a pump for a while, but the slide makes noise I don't care for in the closeness of dark timber. Nice enough for more open areas.

Single-shot may be your best bet since you don't like bolts. Strong enough action ('course, so are the others) & plenty accurate.

Steve Smith
August 22, 2001, 01:59 PM
Yup, I forgot that part, :) Thanks.

Art Eatman
August 22, 2001, 06:18 PM
Steve, from previous threads on this subject, a fair number of folks claim to do just fine with the .308 on elk. They're common-sensically just not overly ambitious or optimistic on distance.

Purely an opinion, but this fairly new Federal Premium High Energy ammo seems to be neat stuff. An emailer from Australia sez he's getting 200 ft/sec or more over "regular" ammo, on his chronograph.

I checked some in my '06, and it's quite accurate. (Think I'll get myself a chronograph for Christmas. Ain't Christmas around September? )


August 22, 2001, 06:53 PM
my preference would be a 338/06. great ballistics , high speed and energy and milder recoil than the belted mags.
just my .02

Al Thompson
August 22, 2001, 07:53 PM
One question I would have for you regards scopes - do you want to use one or are you an iron sight sort of guy?


Steve Smith
August 23, 2001, 07:33 PM
Considering that I shoot NRA Highpower (200, 300, 600 yardsopen sights) , I'm quite the iron sight kinda guy...apature sights, that is. I have been known to have my right eye in the vacinity of a scope, though.

The answer: I'll more than likely use a scope so as not to be laughed off the mountain. I can hear it now, "You're shooting a .308?!!! Har! Har! Har! And where's your scope?!!! HAR HAR HAR!!! Although, IMHO, if the light isn't incredibly low (as it can be while hunting) scopes are for lazy folks.

I WILL have a good set of irons on the rifle, though.

Al Thompson
August 23, 2001, 08:35 PM
Couple of thoughts come to mind. One, obviously, is an M1A with a scope. The other is a flat-top AR-10. Both heavier than you would like. An M1 would work, but the scope is a problem on those.

Remington Pump in .308 or .30-07 is a nice rifle. The free floated barrel shoots much better than most folks realize.

A nice Ruger #1 would fill your reqirements and has a classic style to boot..


August 23, 2001, 09:00 PM
We did just fine last year in Colorado elk hunting with a Rem 700 ADL SY in 308 Win with Williams FP peep sights. Nobody laughed us off the mountain, cause we were dragging an elk.

We were in heavy timber and the shot was around 75 yards. My 14 year old put a 180 gr handloaded Partition right through his shoulder. It blew a 2" hole through his shoulder, and he ran less than 50 yards.

IMO, you dont NEED anything more than a 308-180 gr. for anything in Colorado, or probably North America for that matter.

August 24, 2001, 10:22 PM
You don't REALLY have to use a Magnum for Elk.

I suggest the Savage 10 you mentioned in 30-06, .270 Winchester or 7MM Remington Magnum.

The only thing about the Savage is that the recoil pad needs replacing with a decelerator pad.

All 3 of those calibers will do well for anything in Colorado.

The Savage 10 also has the added advantage of annoying owners of more expensive rifles with its performance! ;)

Keith Rogan
August 26, 2001, 02:24 PM
Look at this picture and see if you still think a .308 is big enough for anything N. America!

August 26, 2001, 03:53 PM
Nice. Scary but nice. Perhaps I should've added "In a pinch"
I never ran into anything like that yet!

Dave R
August 26, 2001, 10:43 PM
Keith, you make a very persuasive argument for a bigger caliber...

But that's an Alaska bear, right? I don't think you'll find something that big in the lower 48. 'Cept maybe grizzley is Glacier Nat'l park or Yellowstone area.

Keith Rogan
August 27, 2001, 12:21 AM
Yeah, that bear was shot two years ago here on Kodiak. Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's a spring bear. The same animal would be 50% larger in the fall!

August 27, 2001, 10:32 AM
....guess that's the only place they get that size.

August 27, 2001, 06:52 PM
I use a savage 116 in 30-06 and ive killed a LOT of game with it. the only disadvantage to the fp series is most don't come with iron sights, and the triggers are a bit stiff.

I've hunted with a Savage in Colorado for .. say 15 years? First with a 110b model, now with a 116.

As for pump guns the remington 760 has been my dad's choice for 20 years, its light, its accurate and its deadly. His is a carbine, handles JUST LIKE an 870.

Myself, my brother and my dad all use the same handloaded 30-06 ammo with a sierra gameking 165gr bullet. its good for elk, dear, bear, antelope etc. great 'all around" cartridge, the 308 can be laoded with the same bullet. Its plenty of gun.

As for iron sights I've hunted with a 12 guage with iron sights in Colorado.. now THAT gets you some funny looks (esp when you throw your leather GI snpier sling on it, but hey thats the only sling I have), but plenty of elk hunters are carrying lever action 45-70's these days, complete with "arn sytes".

And for the record, speaking of LEVER guns i hunted for years with a marlin 30-30, but if i wanted a NEW lever gun, I'd get a Winchester 1895 model in 30-06 or, if I could find one a Winchester model 88 in 308, nice compact brush gun.

Not all Colorado hunters use the big magnums for elk. In my camp (8 or 9 guys) you may see a 270, a 45-70 or 2, a 300 winchester, a 7mm mag, (3) 30-06's, several 454 casulls, lots of 44 magnums, maybe even a 500 linebaugh and the occasional wildcat TC encore or skunkworks XP (I have a lot of handgun hunter buddies). Oh and yeah, i hunt in black powder season once in a while too. So iron sites and odd guns.. well its not as rare as you think.

Colorado terrain varies greatly depending on which part of the state you are in. NW of Fort Collins in the front range areas 8 and 191 have a lot of dark timber with occasional meadows and 'possible' long shots. On the western slope there are far more open grassland meadows with stands of pine and aspen. In THAT scenario I'd go with a 300 mag (better long range punch) but i still don't feel undergunned with an 06. Still most elk I 've seen or shot at or seen shot, its been at 100 yards or less, more likely 30 yards.

August 28, 2001, 02:27 PM
If your going to use a .308 on Elk just keep the range down on your shots. Use Federal H.E.180 grain Noslers and keep your shots inside 300 yds you shouldn't have any problems. As far as using Iron sights over a scope. If your profecient withs iron sights then by all means use them. If you find some body Who "Laughs you off the mountain" for using iorn sights chances are that person ain't as much of a hunter as he is a gun store commando.

August 28, 2001, 02:29 PM
Oh yeah and by the way have a great time and good luck thats what this hunting stuff is supposed to be all about anyway.