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Old April 20, 2006, 12:06 PM   #1
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Caliber less important than hunting skills(I think magnums are overrated)

I have a few rifles ie. a 22. a 30/30 , a 243, two 308's, and a 375H&H...

I notice the 300Win. has become popular; it's not my favorite because personally if I need a lot of power in serious bear 375H&H gets the job done. The 300 Win. - for me - seems to offer too little for the bear and too much for the other stuff. Also a 375H&H is not so bad in regard to recoil; if I'm to be battered by recoil I'd just as soon take it from the 375H&H as to get it from a 300Win. The 300 Win. is a fine round - but it's just not my cup of tea. Most of the time I use the 308. There seems to be a 'magnum fever' and I see a lot of debate about 'which caliber is more deadly' - but there are a lot of other hunting factors that don't get enough attention:

1) If you shoot a deer with a 257 Weatherby(100gr) at a distance of under might blow up the deer and cause a lot of unwanted meat damage. A 375 H&H would cause less meat damage! So if one's blind is set up overlooking a valley where your maximum shot is 150 yards...why on earth are you out there with a 257 Weatherby and a 3-9x scope...when a lever action 30/30 ...would be better? The 257 is fine - but for deer a 120gr. is a better choice...but with a 257 you have to also count on a lot of range,more recoil, more expensive ammo and shorter barrel life.

2) I always get a creepy feeling when I'm out in the woods...and I hear folks banging away with a big magnum... Invariably they are shooting at game that is less than 200 yards away...and they often don't think enough about what their bullet is going to do once it exits the deer and continues off into the woods beyond...

3) Is the 243 big enough for deer? Hmmm... I keep hearing the 243 described as a child's round - as if it's some sort of anemic weakling not to be used by real men. Invariably the same folks who talk about the 243 being weak...are the same folks who talk of the 44mag. and the 30/30 as being good ol boys... Yawning... The 243 is flat shooting and far more potent than the 44mag. or the 30/30. The 243 offers a pleasant shot with little recoil.

4) Hunting Guides are sometimes not impressed by 50yr.old boys with brand new $3000 300 Win Mags. that get aimed like bazookas... Hunting Guides are impressed by 50yr.old boys who can take an old rifle in a 243 or 308 or whatever - and hit where they aim!

5) Know what you're hunting and how to hunt... Be a good marksman. Practice safety. Invariably it's always hunting skill - not caliber - that determines success. A Bow is nice.
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Old April 20, 2006, 12:14 PM   #2
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Nice post

I agree with almost everything in your post.

It all comes down to putting a decent bullet in the right place.

No wiz bang super duper magnums for me. less is more for the most part.

I have a neighbor that frowns on the .243 and similar rounds but claims that the .44 and .454 mag are gods gift to hunters and that modern deer are bulletproof to anything that doesn't start with a .3... and end with a MAGNUM
All you have to do is look at a ballistic table and see that almost all centerfire rounds that can put about 1000 ft/lbs of energy at a given distance will drop a deer, given good placement and proper bullet construction.

>>>5) Know what you're hunting and how to hunt... Be a good marksman. Practice safety. Invariably it's always hunting skill - not caliber - that determines success. A Bow is nice.

I agree....
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Old April 20, 2006, 12:24 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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Wellllll, when it comes to guns, a lot of folks seem to have big billfolds and small brains.

Face it: A lot of city guys don't have a lot in the way of hunting skills. No way they could grow up with the background knowledge of the wild lands. (Wild being a relative term)

They read some magazine articles and hang out a bit at a gun store and wind up buying into the mystique of magnums and Ma Bell's "Reach out and touch someone." And they buy a lot more recoil than they need.

At my mule deer camp, though, I'd rather have a guy show up with a .300 WinMag than with an SKS...

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Old April 20, 2006, 12:56 PM   #4
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I have to agree on some points of this post. 300 Win is extremely heavy for Whitetail. The magnums do retain a lot of usefulness in their element, that is the long range big game hunt. I would say, the problem with using them against say Whitetail or Mule deer is not the mass of the animal but difference the ranges they are designed for and the ranges where they are being used commonly. The .300 Win will carry its stopping power at much greater distance and flatter tragectory than the .30-06, but when ranges get close the bullet will easily thru-and-thru delievering less energy to the target.

I hunt with a .30-06 myself, my Garand is my baby, but I use it more out of availability and familiarity. I have fired more than a 1000 rounds through Garands, most through my own, and I am most comfortable with where and how it is going to shoot. It is more responsible for me as a hunter to carry it than to carry a weapon that I have less practice with, though it is more appropriate in power. I would prefer to use a .308 or .270 because of the performance at the ranges that I normally hunt. Even my M1 is on the heavy side for deer, my typical prey, but cost prevents me from setting up a new rifle now.

I believe the magnum craze has grown partially out of the more power mentality. The magnums definitely have their place in the dangerous game and long range, open land hunts. The issue I think stems from the migration of arms, if you will, from the western and prairie hunts to the eastern U.S. hunting grounds. My state has a line that splits the lower peninsula in half. The lower portion is shotgun and handgun only, the upper half and the U.P. is open to rifle as well as the others. This is based on population and hunter density, to my knowledge, to make the season safer.

The point I would like to make is that the choice of weapon is dictated by more than the game you hunt, environment must be considered as well. Magnums do not mean instant kills. I have seen deer run more than 70 yds with a 180 grain .300 Win right through the heart and others drop from a single load of buckshot, on the same property.

Be safe when in the field; know your weapon, target, and beyond. Stay safe and practice up while we enjoy the nice weather of spring.
Have a good one everybody.
Always remember: safety first, last, and always.

Michigan Constitution, Declaration of Rights, Sec. 5. "Every person has a right to bear arms for the defense of himself and the state."
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Old April 20, 2006, 02:11 PM   #5
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a larger caliber is no substition for a well placed shot.
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Old April 21, 2006, 12:24 AM   #6
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Large caliber vs Power I think is a better question here. But there is absolutely no disagreement that a well placed shot is a requirement!

I have one rifle (at the moment) - a Rem 673 in .350 RemMag. I bought it for several reasons:
1. I loved the looks. Subjective, but still, it's MY gun and I have to like it. That laminated multilayer stock just makes me drool every time I see it...
2. I LOVE oddball cartridges. The .350RM doesn't get much play at all, even moreso with the advent of the shortymags.
3. I like the .35 caliber. I think a bigger hole gets the job done a bit more efficiently, all other things held equal.
4. I reload and can pretty much make the cartidge do pretty much whatever I want. (I load 125gr .357 mag bullets for varmints and up to 250gr slugs for the nasty tough stuff)

Perhaps most importantly, I bought it as a ham-slammer. The .350 is certainly up to that task as well as taking anything in North America. 250gr bullets at 2500fps...yeah, it CAN do that...But why would I want to do that to a deer? Hog? sure. Deer? Nahhhhh.

For deer I drop a 200gr bullet down to 2400-2500fps (factory load is around 2800fps) effectively duplicating a hot .35 Remington.

I didn't buy the gun because it said "Magnum" on the box of bullets. I was seriously considering the Marlin Guide Gun in .35 Remington (and I will still buy one! LOVE the look!) but I needed something that could carry 300 yard effective shots on Big Game. And I was (and still am) sold on the .35 caliber. I could have gone with the Whelen but then I saw the "Ugly as only a mother could love" .350 RM cartridge and I was done. A warthog. And I got a good deal on it as well.

Since I handload, it's easy for me to make the gun do what I want. Pistol bullets for varmints...cast bullets over unique for plinking...250gr grand slams to anchor any NA animal to the ground. Versatility - IF and ONLY if one reloads.

I personally believe in the old addage of "Use enough gun". And I also believe one does not need a .416 Rigby howitzer to shoot a deer. Sure, you can do it, but why? It won't be any deader than a heartshot deer with a .243.

It's just my belief that, all other things held equal, an animal hit with a larger caliber bullet will likely die quicker than an animal hit with a smaller round. I'm not really concerned about the animal dieing (although I want it to die quickly).

I AM concerned about the Elk that gets hit by a "too small a caliber bullet" that can run for an hour before dieing in some place where it will never be seen again.

Use enough gun for a humane kill.

And use the gun you love to hunt with.

The rest is academic.
Robert N.

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Old April 21, 2006, 01:17 AM   #7
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Well said...

I personally have both rifles 30-30 and 7 mm Mag. The 7mm Mag work great on open range and distance over 200+ yard shot. The 30-30 winchester Ranger is awesome at brushy terrain where thick brushes and closer shot is potential. I wouldn't shot my 30-30 at a deer at more then 100yd shot. I guessed my old age want me to get closer to the animal for better shot. Last season, I took a mully 4X4 at 210 yard with my Ruger M77 7mm Mag loaded with 139 grain Horndy. It got the job well done, needless to say I don't think he know what hitted him. I too though I missed cause it hitted where I aimed (the chest).

Early season for me is 30-30
late season 7mm Mag
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Old April 21, 2006, 11:51 AM   #8
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Very well said. Shot placement is much more important than caliber. I'll never forget the time I was fishing from the bank of a small pond and a medium-small (80lbs) boar wandered too close to me. All I had was a ruger single-six .22lr. It only took one shot to the head to incapacitate him. I would never hunt hogs with a .22 but it just goes to show you how much more important shot placement is.
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Old April 21, 2006, 01:39 PM   #9
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Two rounds I wish more popular...

I think the 257 Roberts and the 300 H&H would be nice to have around.
One can still find the 257 Roberts but the 300 H&H is practically gone with the wind. Perhaps it was the 'magnum craze' that helped bury their popularity...but when one looks at the seems that the 257 Roberts and the 300 H&H offer what a lot of hunters are still seeking ie. something powerful but not too powerful and something inherently accurate.
The old 300 H&H might pose some problems for reloaders in regard to durable brass... but it seemed to nicely fill the niche between a 30-06 and 300 Win Mag. A lot of the mags seem to be reinventions of the wheel.
I like my 308. It's short and ugly, but it's downright versatile.
For hogs my 30/30 usually is the rifle I choose, and for the woods and anytime I'm counting on shots(for deer)under 100 yards...I usually go with the 30/30. For more open shots(for deer)where I count on shots under 200 yards or so ...I go with the 243 and a 2-7xscope. For shots where I might have to reach out a bit beyond 200 yards...the 308 is good. I've used the 308 on pronghorn too; it gets the job done. It's good to have a rifle that can reach waaaay out there, but I think a lot of marketing overemphasizes it ie. a big part of hunting is getting within a reasonable range. For me, I try to at least get within 200 yards. Pronghorn are an exception...but even then one doesn't want a huge magnum because the pronghorn is so small and a follow-up shot is easier with less recoil. If Pronghorn were like big deer or an elk...then the 300 Win. might be the choice. Elk? I can see why folks like the 300 Win. but at 200 yards my 308 still packs enough wallop and penetration...
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Old April 21, 2006, 01:40 PM   #10
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my list of hunting skills in order of importance.
#1 patience( coupled w/ the ability to endure hardships)
#2 knowledge of anatomy
#3 tracking by blood and fauna disruption
#4 riflemanship
#5 discretion
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Old April 21, 2006, 02:24 PM   #11
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Caliber less important than hunting skills
You got that straight, Jack!
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Old April 21, 2006, 09:05 PM   #12
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so if all of the serious hunters around here agree that magnums are not needed and the .243 is a great deer round how come brownchesterremruger are all still cranking out newer hotter magnums.

oh wait everyone that doesnt know how to hunt and thinks that taking down deer at 1000 yards is really cool and doesnt know that they should simply buy a .30-30 and get sneakier
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Old April 21, 2006, 11:03 PM   #13
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The gun makers are producing the Magnums because they sell. It's all about the money.

Why do Corvette's sell? Horsepower.

Why do Magnums sell? Horsepower.

Why does Sex sell? Ummm, cuz we're guys. Well, most of us here...
Robert N.

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Old April 21, 2006, 11:23 PM   #14
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There is a wide perception that a hotter cartridge gives the hunter a certain advantage or edge. While this has been proven to be false, the perception is actually growing and not shrinking. Magnums are here to stay and continue to sell well.

30-06 is widely used as a hunting cartridge across our planet. Hundreds of thousands of animals have fallen to its deadly bullets from Africa to New Zealand, across Europe and USA. When someone tells you their 300 magnum kills better, simply excuse yourself from their presence.
Fire up the grill! Deer hunting IS NOT catch and release.
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Old April 22, 2006, 11:44 AM   #15
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I like Nascar over Formula 1 and the NFL over the PGA. Give me something that lets me know by a good kick that I took the time to make sure my shot is well placed. If I have to make a shot over a couple of hundred yards, I'll have to give up hunting, 'cause that ain't hunt'n! Hunting and bagging a good size Elk in the Bitterroot with a .44 Mag in a '94 Trapper. Especially when you first spotted the bull at over 500 yards down the valley and take the better part of a couple of days on your belly stalking to a 45 yard shot. Throw that .243 to the guys who do all there talk'n big at the range.
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Old April 22, 2006, 12:22 PM   #16
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If I'm going hunting for darn near anything in the continental U.S. I pick one of two rifles, a 700 classic in 7x57 or a 1895 guide rifle in 45-70. The choice is made by terrain rather than power. Now I have a remington classic in 8x57 that I want to hunt with.
I've killed deer at 500 plus yards with a 300mag. Who cares, thats the kind of shooting I do at woodchucks. I don't consider chucks hunting, thats more like shooting. Deer and the like get the rifle, shotgun ML or bow. The most exciting, frankly, is the bow with the caplock ML next
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Old April 22, 2006, 03:15 PM   #17
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Magnums are over-rated!!!

To many guys think that Magnum stamped on the bottom of the Brass actually means MAGIC!!!
I've seen more than a few guys that think that shooting a Magnum will make up for poor shooting in general and poor shot placement. Lots of them are a little scared of their rifles because it kicks them a bit to much. They would be better served with something that they could actually shoot well.

But Machismo wins out more often than not!!!
The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
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Old April 22, 2006, 03:46 PM   #18
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the only time I think maganums are not overblown is when hunting large, dangerous game...otherwise being a good shot is more important...
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Old April 22, 2006, 10:40 PM   #19
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Its my understanding that Most magnum cartriges travel faster.. If thats true, they spend less time in the air, and are less effected by the wind. That means.... A good shooter, can place a good shot at longer range! Your not going to crawl up on a prong horn, or a mountain goat. If you can make consistant shots at 500 yds with your current calibur, then theres no need for a magnum.. Unless you like a little kick with your wheaties, like me! Theres a reason the Marine corps shooting team uses it.. .300 Win Mag, Its whats for dinner! lol
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Old April 22, 2006, 11:25 PM   #20
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(I think magnums are overrated)

The "thing" about the .270 is that it shoots flatter and faster than the 30-06...

The "thing" about 30-06 is that it is so damned good that everybody copies it... like the .25-06, 27-06, 28-06, 33-06, 35-06, 30-06 short (.308)... etc, etc, etc...

The thing about magnums (.300 H&H, .300 Win, .300 WM is that they can do everything the 30-06 (and .270) can do with heavier bullets...

The lighter bullet cartidges like .243, .257, 25-06 and 27-06 (.270) are either for lighter game or "lighter" shooters...

The .378 Weatherby Magnum is certainly better suited for bigger thick-skinned animals than the 22-250...

What the hell is so overrated about that?
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Last edited by Pointer; April 23, 2006 at 09:56 PM.
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Old April 22, 2006, 11:40 PM   #21
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My first Deer Gun was a 30-30 I got when my Papa passed away. My second was .280 my Father gave me when I was 14. Between the Two I feel ready for anything. If I'm hunting Brush country or shot's under 100 yards I take the 30-30. If I have a better chance of a long shot I take the .280. This last year I happen to shoot a Doe at about 75 yards shooting down hill and hit her higher than I wanted too. She ran about 20 yards and I'm impressed she got that far the .280 pretty much destroyed her entire right side. If her leg would have been back in the bullets path i'm pretty sure it would have knocked it off. It was one of the easiest tracking Jobs I've ever had to do though.

Has time goes on i'm sure i'll have a few more Special purpose Calibers in my collection like a 25-06 or a 243 and 338 probally.
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Old April 22, 2006, 11:46 PM   #22
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The .378 Weatherby Magnum is certainly better suited for bigger thick-skinned animals that the 22-250...

What the hell is so overrated about that?
I know that the .378 WM is better for moose and larger than a .22-250 is, heck everyone knows that I think what we're trying to say here is that magnums are overrated because some clowns shoot deer with .378 Weatherbys and think that a .243 is far too small and weak.
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Old April 23, 2006, 03:40 PM   #23
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Great thread.

Their is no use in New ZEaland for any caliber much more powerful than 30-06. Quite a few use the 7mm and 300 magnums, but surprisingly view. I am not sure why one would put up with the hard to find, expensive ammo, excessive muzzle blast, a recoil that can lead to a flinch, and so on with the big belters. I guess they sound cooler. ( I accept north america is a bit different, if I was in bear country I would take at least a .375 H&H. And a Mortar. And a 40mm launcher )
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Old April 23, 2006, 10:01 PM   #24
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how come brownchesterremruger are all still cranking out newer hotter magnums
Because they don't think they're overrated??
Yuh think?

How about...
The thing about magnums (.300 H&H, .300 Win, .300 WM) is that they can do everything the 30-06 (and .270) can do with heavier bullets...
But that can't be true... they're overrated!!

To say that magnums are overrated... is like saying that small calibers are overrated...

For what?

I think the .243 and the .270 are revered for no damned reason worth noting...
except that they don't hurt the shooter's shoulder...

Also, the 30 caliber armor piercing bullets are not effective against tanks...

Therefore they must be overrated...
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Old April 24, 2006, 03:22 AM   #25
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I'd say the 30-06 is to North America what the 375 H&H is to Africa - and that both of these rounds...are very tried & true. Where things get messy - is when every cartridge gets 'magnumized' ie. the 300 H&H gets replaced by the 300 Win.mag. and the 300 Win. mag. starts getting used as a 'white tail deer round' and people get told that the 30-06 and .308 are sissy cartridges and that the 257 Roberts is just 'okay' but what's really needed on a pronghorn is a 'magnum'. Is the 243 really too weak? I don't think so. In fact - I'd say it's actually gotten stronger ie. bullets are better than they used to be. People sit around the campfire and talk too much about bullets - and not enough about how to actually hunt. Could it be that the bullets have gotten better, but that the hunters have gotten worse? Hmmmm...
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