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Old August 22, 2018, 04:04 AM   #1
Roamin_Wade
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Hard Choice

If you had to choose one round as the only round to hunt the lower 48 states with and whitetail deer, which would you choose and why? One dynamic of the question is elevation and possible distance shot. Let’s say 10’ stand and no further tha 250 yards.

1) 243 Win
2) 25-06
3) 6.5 mm Creedmoor
4) 270 Win
5) 7mm Rem Mag
6) 280 Rem
7) 30-30 Win
8) 308 Win
9) 30-06
10) 338 Win Mag

Don’t forget about the “why” in the question.

Thanks guys and gals...

Last edited by Roamin_Wade; August 22, 2018 at 04:19 AM.
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Old August 22, 2018, 09:03 AM   #2
TrueBlue711
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For a whitetail deer at that distance, all of these rounds would easily do the job (some a bit on the overkill side). I would go with the round that is most cost effective, is easily available in pretty much any store that sells ammo and has a good variety of different bullet grains. I'd lean towards the 308 Win
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Old August 22, 2018, 09:09 AM   #3
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308. But, I'd like to have a 30-06 in case I encountered an angry bear.
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Old August 22, 2018, 10:02 AM   #4
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30-06 In a good bolt gun it can be hand loaded for anything in the lower 48
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Old August 22, 2018, 10:06 AM   #5
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243 Win, 6.5 Creed, or 308 Win

These are all fine. It would kind of depend on what else I wanted to do with th3 rifle. If nothing else, the 308 as it will have the best load selection for reloads or factory.

I passed on the long action rounds only because they make the rifle longer and the action stroke longer for no benefit in this rifle.

As a reloader and somebody who likes off the beaten path rounds, a modern 257 Roberts would be a fun round.
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Old August 22, 2018, 10:48 AM   #6
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.308 win because youll always be able to buy ammunition AND components just about anywhere and it will drop anything you need to for the most part.

Also lean towards 6.5 for ballistics.
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Old August 22, 2018, 11:20 AM   #7
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None. 7mm-08. More lead than .243, 25-06, and 6.5cm. Almost as flat as .270. Much less muzzle blast and recoil than .270, 280, .308, 30-06 and of course the 7mm mag.
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Old August 22, 2018, 12:10 PM   #8
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Choose only one???

First, I would choose the RIFLE!!

Then, pick from available calibers. I would probably choose the ,308 win, because I already have several.

OR, you could go the other route, and get an Encore, and a barrel for each caliber on your list.

A HUNTING rifle isn't terribly handicapped by being a single shot.
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Old August 22, 2018, 09:12 PM   #9
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I've owned all of those except 25-06 and 338 WM as well as a bunch of others. And I had a 338-06 for several years. It is pretty close to 338 WM with bullets around 200 gr. It can't keep up with heavier bullets. The only center fires left are 308, 30-06, 6.5 CM and 223.

I'd quickly eliminate 30-30. It will work, but it complicates things more than necessary at longer ranges.

If you limit game to whitetail deer at 250 yards or less there is no reason to choose anything larger than 243. Dead is dead and 338 WM doesn't kill deer any deader. But the truth is any of them, except 30-30, or a couple dozen others will work at double that range.

Several years ago I came to the conclusion that elk would be the largest, toughest game I'll ever hunt and about 400 yards was the limit of my skills. And elk are tougher than any bear in the lower 48. I'll never be in Alaska where the really big bear are hunted. And if I ever win the lottery and can afford to go, I'll have something a lot bigger than anything on your list.

I've pretty much gone to 308 and consider my 30-06 bigger than needed even for elk or bear at that range. I have several nice rifles in 308 and 30-06 that aren't for sale. But I've experimented with the 6.5 CM and it lives up to the hype. If I were advising a younger hunter just starting out I'd tell them to buy a 6.5 and never look back. You get the most performance for the least recoil of any of the other options listed. It'll perform on game very much like 270, but with 30-35% less recoil.

The 7-08 is in the running, but realistically it doesn't do anything 308 doesn't do and 6.5 CM beats it the same way it beats 308.

At "normal" hunting ranges 6.5 CM doesn't have any real advantages over 308 or 7-08 except less recoil. But it doesn't give up anything either and the recoil reduction is enough to matter. Once you push the range beyond where most hunters shoot the 6.5 is significantly better. The only real advantage 308 has is longer barrel life. And a hunter will not shoot enough to wear out a barrel in either in a lifetime.
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Old August 23, 2018, 05:14 AM   #10
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.308 for deer (but I gave up hunting many years ago) but I sure did love my .460 when I could afford to shoot it.
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Old August 23, 2018, 10:04 AM   #11
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To me, the .308 is the most logical choice, if you can only choose one. 30-06 is right there with it. Ammo is abundant and available. Ballistics are sufficiently favorable for as far as you would realistically shoot. And caliber is sufficient (though maybe not ideal) for anything from coyotes to antelope, hogs, deer, elk, sheep, and even moose and bears.
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Old August 23, 2018, 10:12 AM   #12
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7mm-08 then .308 for small to medium deer up to 200 lbs. Me? I shoot a 270 WSM most of the time but I have a 30-30, 30-06, .308, 7mm Rem Mag, 7mm-08 and 300 WSM. Why so many? Because I don't believe anything anybody say's about what rifle or caliber would be best for me.
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Old August 23, 2018, 11:44 AM   #13
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"...you'll always be able to buy ammunition AND components just about anywhere..." Yep. Most of those cartridges can be had anywhere too though. The Creedmoor being the exception. Too new. And maybe the .25-06. Somebody here, I think, coined the brilliant term, "The Walmart Test". If it's in one, it'll likely be in all.
There's no deer on this planet(or any game in North America) that requires a Magnum of any flavour. All of 'em are the result of the most successful marketing campaign in history.
Choices 4, 6, 8 and 9 give you the most versatility. Any one of 'em will let you hunt any game in North America, big bears included, with a change of bullet.
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Old August 23, 2018, 12:14 PM   #14
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I would go with .280 if I had to chose from the list. If not, it would be the 7mm-08! I like the 7mm/.284 bullet range a lot, and I'm comfortable with it. Nothing bigger or hotter is needed to kill whitetail at that distance anywhere in the lower 48.

For the heavier northern deer, you can go heavier than 140 grain bullets which are about the limit for anything 6.5 and below. That leaves the .270. Which is a great and capable round, but a bit of a blow-hard in my book. If you're going to go with that kind of case length and recoil, get the advantages of the .280 or 30-06 while you're at it.
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Old August 23, 2018, 02:22 PM   #15
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Easy answer, which, fortunately(?) or unfortunately(?), is always the answer: .308 Win (or 7mm-08).

But, more in line with my own preferences and opinion:

Whitetail, with the stated limitations?... .30-30, or maybe even a .223.

Add in other game in the lower 48... I'd be reaching for the .270 Win.
There are plenty of good cartridges in that list. My own experience and preferences have me in the 6.5 Creed to .30-06 range for the 'all around' cartridge. But, I'm a .270 guy. My poor '06 rarely gets any attention (although I have killed more animals with it than the .270 ... ); and I'd rather go more 'classic' with 7x57mm* than run a .280 Rem (or .280 AI, or .28 Nosler).


That being said...
If I really was having to decide on 'one cartridge to rule them all', I might finally consider diving into 6.5mm -- .260 Rem*, specifically. Why .260 Rem, and not 6.5 Creed? ...To be different*. And to stay away from the manbun bandwagon.


*Yea, I'm that guy that always has to explain what I'm shooting, after people ask. It may not even be a rare cartridge - just uncommon or non-mainstream - so most people just a confused look on their face. I prefer the uncommon: .307 Win, .17-223, .327 Federal, .275 Rigby, 6x45mm, .220 Swift, 6mm Pedophile, .475 Tremor, .444 Marlin (before the mid-west states change some rules and made that more popular), etc... Heck, I've even had people give me a dumb look after ".480 Ruger" came out of my mouth as the response to their inquiry.
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Old August 23, 2018, 06:05 PM   #16
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I'm a fan of the 25/06 and it has done quite well for me over the years. If I were hunting "trophy bucks" only on public land, I'd go bigger(280 or 7mm mag).
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Old August 23, 2018, 06:11 PM   #17
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I see you live in TX, so no worries about large bears. You don't say whether you handload, so assuming that you're going to buy your ammo, I'd suggest that it's pretty hard to beat the old standby: .308 Winchester. Based on your stated parameters and your location, the .308 round will easily do everything you're looking to do and there are literally hundreds of manufactured hunting rounds to choose from for whatever type of bullet performance/construction you could possibly desire.
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Old August 23, 2018, 07:28 PM   #18
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My vote goes to 30-06. It is plentiful and I have a rifle chambered in 30-06. What I actually hunt white tail with is 35 Remington, but that was not an option and, although effective where I hunt, it wouldn't be ideal everywhere in the lower 48.
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Old August 23, 2018, 07:36 PM   #19
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If the rules of this game say I can only have one rifle,I also would choose the 30-06. This game must assume I can have any ammo I like in any quantity I need.
The old 30-06 will work on coyotes to moose and will even do OK on Bison if you have the right bullet. It does fine on about every kind of animal if you can shoot well.

Now if I were allowed two instead of one they would be a 270 Winchester and either a 375H&H or a 9.3X62. And any case, 1 or or 2, ...........I'd choose a custom Mauser 98 or a Winchester controlled feed M70.

Reason for those 2 rifles?
They are the 2 most reliable bolt actions ever made.
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Old August 23, 2018, 07:53 PM   #20
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I have become a huge advocate of the 7mm-08 in the last 5 years. Mild recoil and very impressive even out to 500 yards with a good optic. Little more recoil than my 243 win and shoots a little flatter than a 308. With that said all the deer on my wall were shot with my remington 700 chambered in 30-06, go figure.
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Old August 23, 2018, 09:11 PM   #21
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7mm-08 Ackley Improved. Because it’s just about the best cartridge one could own to take about anything in the lower 48.
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Old August 24, 2018, 12:22 AM   #22
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If I had to choose? I have chosen, but my 7X57 might not meet your preferences. In performance, it is very close to many of the medium caliber cartridges.

As for my recommendation for you to choose? 308 or 30-06. You can hunt pretty much anything in the lower 48 and Canada (deer, elk, moose, caribou, pigs, antelope, coyotes, etc) and not feel over-gunned or under-gunned. Recoil is tame. The guns themselves are lighter and cheaper to feed than a magnum. Ammo is everywhere, including that WalMart on your way out past city limits at 5 AM on opening day.
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Old August 24, 2018, 01:01 AM   #23
Dr. Strangelove
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roamin_Wade
If you had to choose one round as the only round to hunt the lower 48 states with and whitetail deer, which would you choose and why? One dynamic of the question is elevation and possible distance shot. Let’s say 10’ stand and no further tha 250 yards.

1) 243 Win
2) 25-06
3) 6.5 mm Creedmoor
4) 270 Win
5) 7mm Rem Mag
6) 280 Rem
7) 30-30 Win
8) 308 Win
9) 30-06
10) 338 Win Mag

Don’t forget about the “why” in the question.

Thanks guys and gals...
Any from your list except .30-30win. To answer the "why", within the specifics of your question, I don't care to shoot a .30-30 Win at 250yds at deer. Too much drop.

Going from your list (and following your restrictions) I'd choose .270win, or .308win, favoring the .308win. The "why" is the vast availability of different weight and composition rounds for the .308win over the .270win.

A close third for me would be the 7mm Rem Mag, but you don't need it's performance at 250yds.

All that said, a featherweight .243win would be a great deer rifle out to 250yds. Little recoil, comfortable to shoot, and all that really matters is being able to match the impact speed of and composition of the bullet with whatever damage you wish to do to the target (Whitetail Deer, in this case) when hitting in a vital area.
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Old August 24, 2018, 02:18 AM   #24
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Quote:
Any from your list except .30-30win. To answer the "why", within the specifics of your question, I don't care to shoot a .30-30 Win at 250yds at deer. Too much drop.
Depending upon what loads you're using, the difference in drop at 200 yards (w/ 100 yd zero) between .30-30 and .270 Win is as little as 3.2" at 200 yards -- with the .30-30 launching a heavier bullet.

That's nothing, in terms of "hunting accuracy".

Yes, I prefer better, myself. But it's still not much of an issue.
.30-30 may not look as good on paper, but it's not worth an outright dismissal, either.
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Old August 24, 2018, 03:09 AM   #25
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I guess if we have to follow rules. I never shot anything out of a stand.
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