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Old September 11, 2018, 07:19 PM   #1
Nathan
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What caliber for deer, antelope or maybe elk?

What caliber do you like for these 3 hunting in a state like mt, or wy? I’m looking for minimal recoil that can take all 3....

I think I like:
.473 case head for max mag capacity
Short action preferred
6.5 is minimum bullet, but 7mm is much easier to find a bullet that works
2800-3100 FPS range


Hmmm...
7-08, 280 rem, 280 Ackley....something else? What do you like?

Elk is a maybe because I have a 300 WSM.
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Old September 11, 2018, 07:44 PM   #2
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Depends on how well you can place a shot at what distance.
A 6.5 Creedmoor well placed shot out to 500+ yards is likely good for any game native to CONUS.

Quite a few hunters use .308 successfully out to 500+ yards.
On the other hand if shot placement is poor, a .50 may be too small.
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Old September 11, 2018, 07:57 PM   #3
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.270 Win is a top choice if deer, antelope & elk are in the mix for 1 rifle.
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Old September 11, 2018, 08:17 PM   #4
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I can personally recommend 7mm-08 as well as .280Rem. The .280 is more or less in the same class as the .270 for recoil. But for both the 7mm-08 and the .280 Rem, the 7mm bullet has distinct advantages over the 6.8mm in the .270Win, to my way of thinking. 7mm bullets are a great combination of ballistic coefficient and sectional density, and there is a significantly broader selection for various purposes. 7mm will also make finding or making heavier loads for larger game easier than it would be with 6.5mm.

.280 AI is probably a great option as well, though I only have second-hand experience with it.

All said and done, the 7mm-08 is my favorite chambering, hands down. It delivers a surprising amount for a small package option, and it is quite pleasant to shoot. Happy hunting!


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Old September 11, 2018, 08:55 PM   #5
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6.5 CM, 308, 7-08. Pick one, they all do about the same thing as hunting cartridges with proper bullet choice. At 500 yards there isn't 100 ft lbs difference between any of them and no more than a few inches difference in trajectory with good bullets. Which is easily compensated for with modern optics. The 308 and 7-08 can shoot 175-180's which some feel better about. But the excellent SD's of a 140+ gr 6.5 give equal penetration.

I'd shoot an elk at 400 with any of them and that is about as far as I can shoot regardless of the cartridges capability.

The long action cartridges in the same or similar calibers add about 100 yards to the effective ranges, but I'm not good enough to take advantage of it. The magnums add about 200 yards of range that would be useless to me.

I like the 7-08 on paper, but in the real world we're talking about 30-40 ft lbs more energy and 2.5" advantage in trajectory at 500 yards with 1 ft lb less recoil compared to 308. Flip a coin.

The 6.5 CM is the new kid on the block. It shoots the same bullet weights as 270 (6.8mm) about 200 fps slower at the muzzle. But within 200 yards has almost caught up in speed. In the real world it does everything a 270 does as a hunting round. But beyond about 500 yards none of the above can keep up with it.

In a 7.5 lb rifle with typical loads 308 will hit you with about 16-17 ft lbs of recoil.
The 7-8 about 15-16.
The 6.5 CM about 12-13
243, about 10-11
270 or 280 about 17-18
30-06 about 18-20

Most 7mm and 300 magnums will be in the upper 20's to low 30's.

On paper at least the 308 is a close 3rd place finisher. But I have rifles in 308 that I like and at this point don't want to invest the time, money and effort to change to another cartridge as my go-to choice. For me it is close enough and serves my needs.

I do like the 6.5 CM though and believe it to be the dominate cartridge of the future. And I certainly won't argue with any man who chooses the 7-08.
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Old September 11, 2018, 09:01 PM   #6
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For elk the lightest gun I recommend is the ones in 6.5 MM, 260, 6.5 Creed. 243s and 25-06 as well as 257 Roberts get it done many times, but you need to have a good angle and the penetration is not as good as the 6.5s as a rule.

To keep the recoil as low as possible I would recommend an AR style auto. I would make sure it has a break on it too. Such a gun in the the 6.5s will kick about like a light 223 bolt action or a mid-weight 243.
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Old September 11, 2018, 09:22 PM   #7
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I have many rifles but only use one caliber for hunting deer and elk...that is the venerable 30-06. I swallowed the hook when my father took me hunting the first time more than 50 years ago with this caliber. Since than this is my go to caliber for hunting and long range shooting. I can go as heavy or as light as I need to. But if you are recoil sensitive I would choose the 7mm-08.
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Old September 11, 2018, 09:40 PM   #8
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I hunt antelope, mule deer, elk and moose with A .30-06.

In Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, etc you can find .30-06 ammo in any rural store, gas station, etc. It's probably the most versatile cartridge made.
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Old September 12, 2018, 12:34 AM   #9
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Well,you said short action preferred.Then you started talking 280.You want .473 case head,and IIRC,2800 fps+.
And lets not forget the 300 WSM.
I suggest you have some decisions to make.
If you want a short action on a .473 case head,you pretty much have the .308 case family to choose from.,243,260,7-08,nd 308. IMO,the 284 and the 6.5 284 are possible,but ammo-brass availability is spotty,plus there are few,if any,factory rifles.Custom costs money.6.5 CM is also a practical choice.

You have a 300 WSM. You just have to pick one.Tradeoffs,shades of grey,preferences.And every day is different.

For a simple,straight answer that isn't wrong,skip theshort action and get a 270,
And you won't really need the 300 WSM any more.
PS,I don't own a 270,and I have more than one 30-06.

It just does not matter. What do YOU want.Go for it.
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Old September 12, 2018, 12:49 AM   #10
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I would choose the best feeling model 70 Winchester I could find within my budget and it would be a 270 Winchester or a very happy second choice of 30-'06. I would be reluctant to accept any other caliber in a bolt-gun unless everything else was quite compelling. Like maybe the model 70 Classic Featherweight in 6.5x55mm Swede that I now kick myself for passing on. Did I forget to mention that only a Walnut stock will do? It's better to choose a rifle that seems to like you in a caliber that you can live with than to choose any caliber in a rifle that doesn't fit you as well as it should.
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Old September 12, 2018, 01:21 AM   #11
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Can't go wrong with any decent sub-MOA .308.
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Old September 12, 2018, 05:16 AM   #12
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Elk can certainly be killed with much less, but with elk on the menu I want at least a 7mm caliber and 160gr. Bullet. Less than that, and I feel the need to pass up shots like quartering away. I prefer to choose a cartridge that won't limit my shots from the start.
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Old September 12, 2018, 06:22 AM   #13
taylorce1
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Quote:
I think I like:
.473 case head for max mag capacity
Short action preferred
Sounds like a good case for the .308 Win. Pick the right bullet and it won't recoil any harder than a 7mm-08, 6.5 Creedmoor, or .260. .308 ammunition is usually far more plentiful than the other short action cartridges I mentioned.

Quote:
6.5 is minimum bullet, but 7mm is much easier to find a bullet that works
2800-3100 FPS range
That statement makes absolutely no sense to me, there are a lot of bullets that work in that velocity range for 6.5 mms cartridges. They are just as easily found online if there aren't many options at your local store. I guess I'm just saying you'renot looking very hard.
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Old September 12, 2018, 07:40 AM   #14
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I see the .270 has been mentioned a good amount and there is a reason. Felt recoil is much different than the foot to pounds ratios on paper. My buddy's Remy 700 .270 kicks like a mule. My Weatherby Vanguard deluxe is a powder puff.

Why? The comb of the stock and weight. Often light weight short action rifles are going to have more recoil. You will have to make comprimises. The 6.5 creed is not a bad choice here either, but it is trendy and therefore more expensive to get into and shoot for negligible gain.
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Old September 12, 2018, 08:13 AM   #15
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Never hunted Elk, but would probably buy a 30-06 to use. Or, maybe use my 270 with 150 gr Nosler Partitions.

If, however, a fellow just had to use a 6.5 bullet, a 6.5-06 would be my choice over the 6.5CM.
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Old September 12, 2018, 09:56 AM   #16
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Yep, .270.
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Old September 12, 2018, 10:15 AM   #17
Ben Dover
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Learn to hunt first. Get within 300 yards or less. Preferably less, and most popular calibres will work well.
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Old September 12, 2018, 10:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Dover View Post
Learn to hunt first. Get within 300 yards or less. Preferably less, and most popular calibres will work well.
Sorry, but this statement seems to stand on its head. "Learn to hunt first"...? Before getting a hunting rifle? Who among us has learned to hunt without going out to do it?
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Old September 12, 2018, 11:16 AM   #19
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7mm mag will have a range further than the excellent 7-08, so a lot will depend on where you're hunting. I like 140s for antelope and deer and 160 for elk
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Old September 12, 2018, 11:24 AM   #20
Nathan
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Quote:
...That statement makes absolutely no sense to me, there are a lot of bullets that work in that velocity range for 6.5 mm cartridges.....
I agree, except 6.5 creed launches the bigger hunting bullets at ~2600 FPS. That is too slow to reliably expand at range.....my opinion.....also, my opinion is that I don’t want to shoot 110 gr bullets to get expansion velocity.
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Old September 12, 2018, 11:28 AM   #21
Nathan
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Quote:
Learn to hunt first. Get within 300 yards or less. Preferably less, and most popular calibres will work well.
Can you teach me? I’m buying this rifle, not as a newb, but as a med weight low recoil option. I have hunted this area for 10 yrs....and hunted off and on out east over the years. Longest kill is 400 yds, but 99% we’re 75-150 yds.
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Old September 12, 2018, 12:02 PM   #22
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Hey Nathan.....
Seems like you may want to emphasize the point that so many posters here missed. Obviously anything good enough for elk has no problem with deer or antelope.
Lowest recoil that can be had with an elk-gun is what I saw. (I saw correctly .... didn't I?)

I have killed elk with 270s 308s, 30-06s 7 mag 8X57 338s and 375H&H and several others, and they all worked well.

But that was not what was asked for in the first post.
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Old September 12, 2018, 02:32 PM   #23
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I shoot a 7x64 which is the European equivalent of a .280 Rem and it's great!
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Old September 12, 2018, 04:38 PM   #24
Ben Dover
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Can you teach me? I’m buying this rifle, not as a newb, but as a med weight low recoil option. I have hunted this area for 10 yrs....and hunted off and on out east over the years. Longest kill is 400 yds, but 99% we’re 75-150 yds.

My point. If you have the patience to stalk an animal, there is no need to play sniper.

Learn a little about your quarry before you take the field and it really isn't hard to get within 300 yards!

Most of my shots on elk and mule deer have been under 100 yards.

If I ever feel the need to shoot at a living thing 500 yards away, you can bet it will be an armed adversary, not an animal.
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Old September 12, 2018, 05:40 PM   #25
Nathan
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Wyosmith, you are spot on except a small point I didn’t really say....

Antelope like to sit 200-600 yds from the nearest point you can sneak to, IMO.

Mule deer are generally a 50 yd to 250 yd shot.

Elk can be a 50 yd shot, but are often a 200-600yd shot.

If I needed to shoot an elk a canyon over, I have a heavy 300 WSM for that. So, for <400 yd antelope, <400 yd deer and <250 yd elk, what might I be overlooking, thinking about the calibers from the op?

Another challenge with hunting cartridges is balancing all the variables....
Skinny rounds fit more in the mag...
Short rounds are easier to stroke the action...
Light bullets recoil less...
Long bullets have better bc...
Larger calibers propel the same weight bullet faster...
2800-3100 mv gives best expansion
Common rounds are cheaper to reload for....
Calibers over 6.5mm have more premium hunting bullet selection...,
Older calibers have more mature reloading data...
and so on...
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