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Old December 4, 2016, 01:59 PM   #1
tahunua001
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minimum VS maximum cartridge idealogy

I thought this might be better than jumping 5 pages in to the other thread.

some people don't understand the current trend when it comes to shooters attempting to justify the use of certain cartridges for certain hunting applications. there are two main ideologies which tend to conflict in this regard: Bring enough gun VS shot placement is king. I have heard both arguments again and again and for the record, I follow the second Ideology, but I would like to explain my interpretation of both and hopefully give an impartial opinion for those who really do want to understand why the other side thinks the way they do and not just continue to justify their own beliefs without ever changing anyone else's mind.

first for bring enough gun. this is the opinion that you need to have a large enough cartridge to cleanly, and humanely kill what you are hunting. this is the most basic tenant of hunting, don't make the animal suffer. these are the guys who generally hunt with the venerable military surplus cartridges like 30-06, 303 brit, 8mm mauser, etc. all of these are more than enough for deer and many consider them enough for elk, though not all do. these are the people that have been taking deer for decades and rarely experience complications in the process, and therefore, by their personal observations, the cartridge of their choice, must be highly effective for the task at hand. there is nothing wrong with this and there is no reason to change a good setup as long as you are having a good time and putting meat on the table or horns on the wall. these guys also believe that the claims of lost meat due to too much power are myths, however I have been in the interesting position of taking part in two hunts in the same year where two deer were hit in the exact same location at the same angle. the first deer was shot with a 9mm, and you could cut nearly right up to the wound channel, almost zero lost meat. however the second deer was shot at much greater range by a 30-06, 4 inches of meat in all directions was completely bloodshot and useless, which amounted for a great deal of lost meat. these myths are not myths, they are personally observed truths. I've also taken special note of 7mm rem mags, 44 mags, 45/70s, 223, 243s, 30-30s, the faster the bullet is, the more meat you lose, diameter plays a small role.

however there are abuses and zealots in this regard. for those on the outside looking in, for every two guys advocating 30-06 or 270 for deer, there is also another advocating 300 win mag and 338 lapua mag for the same application. these are the guys that take the bring enough gun mentality to the extreme, and I remember growing up with my 243 win and being ridiculed by the next door neighbors kid because I wasn't using a 300 win mag which he claimed was the most perfect whitetail caliber ever invented. these are the guys who claim that shot placement is not as important because as long as you hit it in the middle you just have to find the two halves when it's all done. this is highly irresponsible and a dangerous frame of mind to get into, as I will illustrate later in this post.

now for the shot placement is king opinion. these are the guys that want just as little power as possible to do the job effectively. one of the usual side effects of a lighter recoiling cartridge is also having a lighter rifle(although the increasing popularity of the AR15 as a hunting rifle has made this statement a little less true in recent years). they also have a lower report which can be useful for both preserving hearing, and for not drawing a lot of attention to yourself. I personally have chosen what others call "marginal for the task" cartridges because I was looking for challenges. anyone who has taken a hunters safety course should be familiar with the 5 stages of a hunter, where at different points in a hunter's life, they tend to expect different things out of hunting, such as larger trophies, more animals, etc. during the method stage, the equipment choice and method of hunt become more important than the actual game being pursued or the possibility of an unsuccessful hunt. this stage is all about the challenge, and as many of the guys using 300 win mag for blacktails may be aware, there is little challenge in this method of hunting. so, in order to gain a challenge, I chose to use cartridges that would force me to give up long shots in favor of a greater challenge. I chose to use a small arisaka carbine(6.5x50mm) at 100 yards with open sights(my first and only open sighted hunt) for blackbear, a 9mm carbine for white tail(which I used successfully at 50 yards), and an ar15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel for elk(which I used successfully at 20 yards). these were all challenge hunts for me, not because I truly believed that these were the best cartridge for the job. I have plenty of 30-06(which I've loaned to my brother for elk hunts), 300 weatherby mag(which I've successfully used for elk in the past), 303 brits, 7.7 japanese, 7.62x54R, the list of more effective cartridges goes on and on, but they don't offer a challenge for me, which is one reason why they are rarely used anymore.

now because I saw these mentioned as childrens training cartridges in the other thread, I'm about to talk about tahunua001 when he was just a youngun. I started shooting with my dad's 243. I had a horrible flinch. my brother, for all he tried, was a horrible firearms instructor. all I ever remember for instruction was his yelling at me to stop flinching. well I had no idea that I even had a flinch until I joined the navy several years later and benefited from some real firearms training, but in the mean time I was stuck with the poor habits I had. my brother insisted on choosing the ammo I used, 80gr remington corelokts(which i later came to find out was only his choice because it was the cheapest), and I lost wounded animal after animal after animal. finally I chose to change to 100gr federal powershoks and that year I bagged my first deer, of course it was the size of a schnauzer, but I had finally got a deer, the next year I got a very nice buck with the same ammo.

I went a few years without hunting before returning to the sport and was getting skunked hunt after hunt after hunt. I hunted blackbear with the 300 weatherby mag and was never presented with a shot. I hunted turkey and wasn't presented with a shot. my deer season had consisted of two deer which I had hit with the 243, but due to poor bullet selection(I was using very poor quality ammo), and poor shot placement they both got away. so I decided I would go over to the other side of the fence, I brought my 300 weatherby mag out for deer, to compensate for my poor marksmanship skills and bullet selection. I shot myself a deer with it... and due to poor shot placement it too got away... I almost stopped hunting that year because I was so ashamed.

then it occurred to me that I had been trying to compensate for poor marksmanship skills by throwing more and more power at the animals, rather than fixing the problem behind the rifle. I spent a great deal of time practicing my marksman ship skills and decided that rather than desperately trying to fill tags, I was going to have fun hunting, that next year was the year I got my own turkey, blackbear, deer, and elk, all but the elk involved cartridges or methods which were considered marginal by more than a few people.

now I am not advocating the use of 22LR for bear hunting or anything like that, but bullet construction has definitely improved in years of late. the 6.5 grendel is now my deer gun of choice, even though it barely succeeded in taking an elk calf at point blank range, it has been phenomenal as a whitetail rifle, far better than the 243 ever was with conventional bullets, even though it's only 23gr heavier than the 243 and travelling far slower. I understand that there are some situations where you want more power, but the ability to pass up shots that are less than ideal, knowing the abilities of your rifle and your own marksmanship skills are far more important than the diameter of the bullet you're shooting and the speed at which it travels.
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Old December 4, 2016, 03:33 PM   #2
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Well, I just added the fourth deer the other day to the collection of deer that I have had mounted. He was taken with a 50 caliber Hawken using 45 caliber XTP hollow points in front of 70 grains of Triple Seven. Any more powder and the rifle starts to scatter them around a bit. All but one were killed with the same muzzle loader

Just can't beat 1700 FPS .
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Old December 4, 2016, 06:37 PM   #3
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I realize that I'm not the normal hunter but I'd like to share my 30+ years of hunting and shooting experience with those that will listen.

My first rifle was a sako 243 that my uncle let me use. Dad was looking for my first deer rifle but couldn't decide which one to buy. I killed two small bucks at age 11 with that rifle. First one I shot twice because it was still kicking his back legs. First shot was fatal and right behind the shoulder but for lack of knowledge I shot again. Second shot was belly facing me so I centered Cross hairs between the front legs and pulled the trigger. The second shot damaged meat on both shoulders and a good portion of the back strap.

Second deer was a running deer at about 75 yards. I put the cross hairs on his nose and pulled the trigger. Hit him in the brisket. He went down but immediately stood up. Second shot was high in the shoulder but dropped him again. So I ruined both shoulder meat and back strap again. I was using winchester 105 grain soft points back then.

Dad decided that I was shooting deer up too much so he bought me a h&r handi rifle in 30-30. To this day it's a tack driver but I couldn't kill a deer with it to save my life. Nobody understood. I now understand that I was rushing my first shot so I could hurry and reload for the second shot. That's what my experience had taught me so far.

At 14 he bought me a winchester m70 classic stainless in 308. Man that gun has piled some meat up over the years. As I got older and more confident I was taking longer and longer shots. Some didn't work out so well so I decided I needed a 300 winmag.

I was able to make longer shots and couldn't understand why I wasn't destroying meat like I did with the 243 and often tracking deer. I soon learned that I was shooting very hard bullets in the 300 but soft bullets in the 243. I swapped the 300 to softer bullets and man did it kill deer. By this time in my life I was a good shot and had learned to settle down and take only good shots. Not pop shots at any deer I saw.

I went back to the 308 a few years then I went to work in the oilfield. I was making more money than I knew what to do with. I started buying guns. I now own more rifles than most have shot. I have almost every commercially made cartridge in a rifle. The only ones I still shoot are the 243, 308, 300wsm, and recently my favorite, the 35 whelen. In the last 3 years I've shot 14 deer with it and none have taken a step. Even the big 9 point I killed two weeks ago.

In summary this is just a post showing that you will likely change opinions over the years as you acquire knowledge. Knowledge is power not the cartridge you are using. Know it's ballistics, know what bullet you are shooting, and know where to aim, so you will have a happy successful hunt.
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Old December 4, 2016, 07:16 PM   #4
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Many people never acquire knowledge. That is why I was fed B/S by older hunters when I started hunting. Still the same, only now most younger hunters get their information from hunting shows. I had just gotten to a campsite in Maryland during the bow season. I was setting up and this guy wanders over and is telling me he is not seeing any deer. "If I could find some white oaks, I could pin point some feed areas. Deer really like white oak acorns". I looked around the edge of the field and there were white oaks all over the place. I doubt he could have found one if it was growing out of his butt. Pretty much the same scenario with weapon choice for deer hunting. Whole lot of rumor going on there.
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Old December 4, 2016, 07:35 PM   #5
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I can and have killed deer with every power level from below the legal(ethical) minimum(rimfires during depredation removal) to belted magnums. I no longer shoot the big guns and hardly ever shoot even a 30/06. My current favorite deer cartridge is the 25/06 although I do use a couple of 28 calibers(7x57 & 7mm08).
My thoughts are there are plenty of deer hunting choices in the "good enough" range and very few hunters are so destitute as to be forced to use an under powered cartridge because they simply can't afford a suitable rifle.
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Old December 4, 2016, 08:15 PM   #6
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The NEED for heavy, large caliber bullets ended with modern smokeless powder and conical bullets. With black powder, and especially round balls the only real way to make a bullet more effective was to make it bigger.

Now that we use longer conical bullets that will withstand impact speeds of 3000 fps caliber and bullet weight simply aren't nearly as important as they used to be. In this country we have been slower to recognize this than the rest of the world. There is not a single animal in North America that NEEDS a modern bullet larger than 7mm or 30 caliber.

If you enjoy using the big bore, 35, 44 and 45 caliber single shots or lever guns then they certainly work. But they offer no advantages over a stoutly constructed 7mm or 30 caliber bullet on the largest game. I think this is part of the debate. Some guys just like using certain guns and calibers. I have no problem with someone hunting 100 lb whitetails with a 458 WM if they want to. Just don't try to convince anyone it is needed.

In Europe rounds like the 6.5X55 and 7X57 have been recognized as perfectly adequate for moose and bear hunting for well over 100 years. In Russia the 7.62X54R is considered a big gun. WD Bell killed over 1100 elephant, mostly with a 7X57. The 308 came out late in his life and he has been quoted as saying that had it been available it would have been his choice had it been available

Traditionally in this country a 243 has been seen as a child's or woman's gun for deer. It always seemed odd that the kids and wives were killing deer just fine while the "man of the house" needed a 300 magnum to do the same job.

I started hunting in the 1970's and traditional wisdom led me to use a 30-06 for most of my career. I know better now. While I do consider a 223 adequate on deer for those who understand it's limitations and are willing to use it properly. But I still think a 243 is a better starting point and may be near ideal for deer size game. A 308 about as big as 99% of shooters will ever need. A 7-08 or one of the 6.5 options is probably as good as an all around
American cartridge as you can ask for.
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Old December 4, 2016, 09:05 PM   #7
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I love the stories, keep them coming!!

In my own limited experience, I've killed deer with everything from 7.62x39 to 308 (aka 7.62x51). Hoping next year to use a 6.5x55 and a 270... just to mix it up.
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Old December 4, 2016, 09:43 PM   #8
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There are some real gems in here!

Tahunua said
Quote:
knowing the abilities of your rifle and your own marksmanship skills are far more important than the diameter of the bullet you're shooting and the speed at which it travels
Spot on, brother!

Quote:
then it occurred to me that I had been trying to compensate for poor marksmanship skills by throwing more and more power at the animals, rather than fixing the problem behind the rifle.
This is where I witnessed in some hunters the extra power causing the problem, as the harsh recoil induced a flinch which resulted in poor marksmanship. It was almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy... they were carrying a more powerful cartridge to make up for potential lack of marksmanship which was also being created by the more powerful cartridge.

Then boogershooter said:
Quote:
this is just a post showing that you will likely change opinions over the years as you acquire knowledge. Knowledge is power not the cartridge you are using. Know it's ballistics, know what bullet you are shooting, and know where to aim, so you will have a happy successful hunt.
Amen!

I was in a store with my kids and the song Say Hey (I Love You) by
Michael Franti & Spearhead came over the speakers. My oldest son heard the lyrics "It seems like everywhere I go, The more I see, the less I know" and asked me what it meant. I explained that as you get older, you realize that you really don't know as much as thought you did. Education is important, and building knowledge especially so.

And gunplummer said
Quote:
Many people never acquire knowledge. That is why I was fed B/S by older hunters when I started hunting
I was in that boat in the 1980's when I was starting out hunting and shooting... pre-internet... and you oftentimes found yourself unwittingly stuck in local paradigms and given the explanation "that's how its done around here". Today, there is really no excuse with the plethora of information available online. The challenge is to sift through it all to separate the wheat from the chaff. I think it was Mike Irwin on here who used to have in his signature line years ago something like "the internet has given unprecedented voice to the un-informed".

Like they say though, you can't fix stupid. People who wish to remain ignorant and not seek and gain knowledge are always going to exist.

I keep toying around with the thought of volunteering at a local meat shop that gets the lions share of the deer business locally during gun season. The idea would be to take pictures of the deer brought in after skinning and gutting as well as asking the hunter the basic caliber, bullet selection, and range questions. This would allow some real correlation to caliber/bullet performance on deer.
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Old December 4, 2016, 10:16 PM   #9
tahunua001
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Quote:
extra power causing the problem, as the harsh recoil induced a flinch which resulted in poor marksmanship.
yes, this is essentially what happened to me.. now most of the guns I shoot have metal buttplates so recoil isn't so much a concern but when you start flinching with a 243, and then keep moving up the list, the problem just keeps getting worse and worse. it took me moving down to an M16 before I actually recognized the problem and was able to work at overcoming it.

Quote:
you can't fix stupid. People who wish to remain ignorant and not seek and gain knowledge are always going to exist.
my sig line, before it was deemed too offensive, once read "ignorance is correctable, stupid aint."
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Old December 4, 2016, 11:57 PM   #10
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Here is my thoughts on this subject. I will start by saying that I have personally a small sample size. I have only shot 4 deer in my hunting career. All four of my deer have been harvested. First one I shot was a .270 Win 130gr Accubond at 3019fps. Shot was about 80 yards she ran 10 steps and piled up. My 2nd and 3rd deer were shot with a 7mm 120 Ballistic Tip at 2782fps. One was a bang/flop at 117 yards and the other was a 75 yard shot in the chest and she went 30 yards and fell. My first buck was with a 6.5 Grendel 123 SST at ~2550fps. He was hit at 35 yards perfect broadside double lung. He ran for 75 yards bleeding profusely the whole way.

All 4 were shot with different bullets at different velocities and different ranges. They even all acted differently to being shot. All 4 shots were in the vitals. Yet the end result was the same. DEAD.

I know that shot placement really does matter. I mean who here thinks that a 22lr placed to a double lung shot will kill a deer...that means you need "enough." I feel like any suitable caliber that can be placed in the lungs/heart of a deer will kill them. I also know that you take person and give them equally accurate rifles, one in .243 the other in 7mm mag. Set a target at 100 yards and I guarantee more times than not the person shooting the .243 will be more accurate than with the 7mm mag. Regardless of what anyone says or thinks recoil when it comes to accuracy and consistently placing a bullet where it needs to be is a factor.

When it comes to dropping deer on the spot I have only had that happen once, but I have a friend of mine that has killed more deer than anyone I know. He's killed 139 deer since the 80's. He has used so many calibers to do it anything from a .223 (legal in our state) to a 350 Rem Mag and everything in between. He isn't a precision shooter he is a hunter nothing more nothing less. In his experience the one bullet that has given him the best results on killing deer with a bang/flop he's had 54 of them. It's a 7mm 120 Ballistic Tip at ~2800 fps. Of his 54 bang/flops 32 of them have been with the 120 Ballistic Tip.

Long drawn out explanation...I know but I feel like any suitable caliber that a person can place in the kill zone of a deer 100% of the time is adequate, dead is dead. The biggest baddest bullet shot out of the biggest baddest cartridge WILL NOT make up for poor marksmanship. On the flip side an inadequate caliber won't kill deer even with perfect shot placement.
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Old December 5, 2016, 07:59 AM   #11
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To put some of this in context, back when I was young there were no deer around here. So, nobody had high powered rifles of any kind to amount to anything. I had shot a shotgun thousands of times before I ever shot a high powered rifle of any kind. I was probably in my mid twenties when they opened a season here. People were simply poorer back then so it was not like you could go buy a different rifle for different things you might want to do.
The thinking at the time was that you could hunt anything on the North American continent with a 30/06. And, I did eventually. Of course, things have changed and now most hunters I know have several rifles.

But, interestingly enough I elk hunt with one neurosurgeon and another guy that owns a good chunk of Louisville and they hunt with the same rifle they have hunted with for 30 or 40 years when either one of them could buy a whole gun store if they wanted to. Both are Remington 700's, one in 270 and one in 30/06 , wood stocks.

So, some of this goes back to the one rifle concept.

Sort of like Wilford Brimley in Cocoon , "these are my glasses".
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Old December 5, 2016, 01:24 PM   #12
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I like cookies AND ice cream, not "one or the other".

So, I'm picky about my shooting-skill accuracy, and I use enough gun to do the desired bang/whop/flop.

So far, so good. I've never had to track a deer after the shot.
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Old December 5, 2016, 01:52 PM   #13
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I once believed carry a 3006 or go home, now I'm older I've settled in on the 243. The benefit of the softer recoil reduced my tendencies to flinch and causes me to be more accurate. That being said I've probably killed more deer with my AR 223 than any other rifle simply because it's always in the truck. I'm a firm believer that a gun is a tool and if you know it's limitations and stay within them they will all do the job asked of them.

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Old December 5, 2016, 05:51 PM   #14
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mnimum vs maaxmum crtridge idology

Shot deer with variety of calibers. Favorite in woods is Win 94 in .30-30 and now .32 special.
Shot quite a few with .308 in Remington 600 because it is easy to carry and 150 yard shots or 200 are easy.
Shot several with Remington .30-06 ADL 1973 manufacture and Semi Auto Remington in slightly more open country.
Weatherby in .257 magnum and .270 magnum at 4000fps range.
The bullets just blow huge holes in deer close, or blow the head off if close.
Variety of bullets available then, not as good as now.
I carry whatever fancies me for the type cover and ranges.
It seems the manufacturers and magazine writers are trying to get every round way down in velocity.
The manufacturers have lowered SAAMI pressures and velocities way down from, original cartridge and chamber designs. Looks like after a few more years any cartridge will be bout the same as the next.
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Old December 5, 2016, 06:00 PM   #15
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I believe shot placement is more important than power. That being said, I have to hunt with what I've got. Legally in PA, that's my 8mm or 35 rem. I have a 30-06, but it's semi-auto, not PA compliant. They're working on changing that, but until the laws are rewritten, it's a no-no. Of those, I've only taken a deer with the 35.
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Old December 5, 2016, 07:28 PM   #16
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Bring enough gun, use proper bullets, place them correctly, carry a sharp knife. Each person gets to decide what is enough gun for where, how, and what they hunt. Ain't America great.
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Old December 5, 2016, 07:41 PM   #17
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Seems to me, and many have essentially said this with different verbiage...balance, or moderation, may be where more experienced hunters end up than with .22LR or .700Nitro.

I no longer own any Magnum and I shoot a lot to keep my skills up. But I want enough gun to cleanly kill even if I do have a shot that is less than perfect. Presentation, cartridge, sight picture and range all perform in a dance with the skill at shooting and hunting. The educated hunter understands the dance and knows when to bow out and when to send it.
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Old December 5, 2016, 11:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
Bring enough gun, use proper bullets, place them correctly, carry a sharp knife. Each person gets to decide what is enough gun for where, how, and what they hunt. Ain't America great.
Well said. I approach taking game cleanly as a triad. At the top of the triangle is shot placement with energy and bullet design at the other corners. You need all three working together for good results. I also employ the Small, Medium, and Large gun/cartridge arrangement for my hunting bolt guns. P dogs to yotes get the .223. Prong horn to deer get the .308. Elk to moose get the .300 Wyb Mag. The truth is there are several other cartridges I could have chosen for each category since so many of them are just splitting hairs for the most part. Each rifle can do double duty and go up or down a spot if needed as I always take a back up when hunting more than five or six hours away from home. Corresponding bullets are also matched to the game at hand. It's not really rocket science as much as it is applying a little common sense.
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Old December 6, 2016, 04:11 AM   #19
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Flat and heavy vs accurate and easy

I love this thread! I was raised hunting mulies, elk and antelope in the wide open spaces of MT.

My first rifle was a 1917 in 30'06! Great rifle! I practiced out to 300 yards and killed game out to 400. All cleanly, but I respect the opinion that says that was not wise. It wasn't. My dad had a 7mm Rem mag. Another good rifle. These guns were 12 lbs setup and still kicked hard enough to make you bleed!

We decided that the key to success was big rifles with high bc hunting bullets. That worked well, because we were not real well prepared for bullet drop or wind drift. We would hold up some at 300, but I doubt we really knew where 300 was.

The take home with this mindset is high bc bullets at high velocities are more forgiving in the field, but harder to learn to shoot.

If I were there today, I think I would have a 6.5 Creed, 260 Rem or 308 win....maybe a 257 Roberts. The reason is old age has taught me that small calibers in med weight guns are great to learn to shoot and hunt with. The work around is a drop and drift chart in your scope cap or a BDC reticle combined with a rangefinder and practice! This will be more fun and less damaging to shooter and meat.

So add me to the minimum power and maximum skill group! Skill is lighter and rarely lets you down.
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Old December 6, 2016, 04:32 AM   #20
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30-30 is a keeper!

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Old December 6, 2016, 12:07 PM   #21
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"I think it was Mike Irwin on here who used to have in his signature line years ago something like "the internet has given unprecedented voice to the un-informed"."

Not sure that was me. It might have been Tamara. I could have had something of a variation on that, though.

But, unimportant, as the sentiment is true.

Regarding hunting cartridges, I've not hunted in years, and I doubt that I ever will again.

I've always been an advocate of .30 caliber, primarily because, as a handloader, the bullet selection is monumental.

I started out hunting with a .30-06, and later switched to my dream rifle, a Savage Model 99 in .300 Savage.

I also had a 6.5x50 Japanese Arisaka, and always thought I'd love to put the cartridge into a decent rifle so that I could really test its capabilities. I think it would be an incredible East coast hunting cartridge.
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Old December 6, 2016, 12:48 PM   #22
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Mike, I thought that a 6.5 caliber cartridge in the 2500 fps range in a short action would be a great idea. I fiddled with several bolt actions and autos for about 10 years before I found the 6.5PCC. It is a niche cartridge and the developer has not pushed it much, which has resulted in copies, but it is one of my favorites. The ballistics are close to the 6.5x50, but in an AR15 package with just a barrel swap. You might enjoy looking into it if you have not already.
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Old December 6, 2016, 12:59 PM   #23
Guv
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Meaning no disrespect to the OP but a 9mm Carbine is preferable to a 243 with 80gr soft point's? Maybe from a meat destruction view but other than that?
Jack O Conner,
I find those old Glenfeilds to be very attractive old "Budget" priced deer rifles. Much more so than the offerings today. Nice old lever.
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Old December 6, 2016, 01:14 PM   #24
Art Eatman
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The avoidance of destroyed meat is easy: Don't shoot Bambi in the eating part.

A deer's neck is not a Bobble Head.

Who eats lungs? And, really, of all hunters, how many eat the heart?

Through the years here and at THR, I've read posts and seen photos which seem to show that the hunter's aim at Bambi was "somewhere in the brown".
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Old December 6, 2016, 01:38 PM   #25
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Art,
Coyotes gotta eat!
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