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Old August 2, 2010, 10:33 PM   #1
Join Date: March 29, 2006
Location: Montana
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Antelope caliber opinions: 30-06 or 308?

Last spring I put in for an antelope drawing in eastern Montana and recently found out I got it. So this fall I will be heading out to the wide open prairie to hunt antelope and mule deer. I have only hunted in the mountains and forests in north west MT and am not sure which rifle to bring.
My local range only goes out to 200 yards, so it is tough to practice and prepare for longer distance shots.
Any advise on which rounds to use for open range antelope?
My 30-06 is a Tikka t3 stainless laminate and my 308 is a Savage edge blued with synthetic stock. I was thinking of using around 150 grain bullets

thanks for any advice/recommendations
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Old August 2, 2010, 11:02 PM   #2
Ralph Allen
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Both calibers will do just fine. Which do you shoot/feel better with? I have hunted antelope with every thing from old military rifles (bolt, breech, semi auto), handguns, and modern bolt guns. Have been kicking around the thought of taking my 45 Colt lever action with the appropriate loads, antelope hunting. I live in WY, so yes, you have to learn to be sneaky. Happy hunting. Ralph
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Old August 2, 2010, 11:13 PM   #3
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That is good to know. Thank you Ralph. I have put more meat in the freezer with my 30-06, so that may be the smartest choice for me
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Old August 3, 2010, 12:45 AM   #4
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My 2 cents worth.Go with the rifle you can shoot the best,maybe in the sitting position.
A tip:It is easy to misjudge range quite a bit in antelope country.
That does not mean you need to go buy a Leica rangefinder.If you only have a 200 hundred yd range to practice,consider this.
If you sight in dead on at 200,you will likely be something like 2 inches high at 100,and likely something like 8 inches low at 300.Check some ballistic tables for whatever load you will use.
Now,whether you want to guess an antelope might be 16 inches whithers to brisket and use your sight in target or use a lifesize silouhette know what that looks like measured with a feature in your reticle like a duplex.Know what it looks like at top power on your scope at 200 and at 300 and at 400.Draw little pictures to remember what your reticle measures them.

If the critter looks right to be 200 ,just shoot dead on.Closer,shoot dead on.If he looks 300,hold 8 in or so high.have an idea what a 10 mph wind hold is at 300.It will be in the chart.If he is past 300 more than just a little,get closer.Low crawling through prickly pear is really fun!Use a little low ground or sage to cover a bit.Or hold still and be patient.They move around,sometimes closer.
Up to 300,your rifle's trajectory will be pretty forgiving.Much past that and you have to know the range more precisely,along with the wind.If you accept this,and are a little patient you can be Mr 1 shot 1 kill.

Now,I will suggest you check the 400 yd holdover.I'll guess its around 24 in.
I suggest you know that,not to poke and hope,but if something does go wrong and you have some finishing to do,it may be handy.

I use small nylon wire ties to tie off the colon and urethra.Disect out the bladder carefully.Antelope urine is not a recomendable marinade.Skinning needs to be done immediately,preferably hung up.Take some time to keep as much hair off the meat as possible,If you clear out a refrigerator,a quartered antelope will fit.Get your meat cold the same day you shoot it.
And,whether you make liver and onions,or pull out the tenderloins,or just trim some stew meat size pieces off,shake a little lawry's salt on it,shake it in some flour and just brown it in an iron skillet a bit in some butter. ,leave a little pink.Taste what you have.
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Old August 3, 2010, 03:19 AM   #5
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Both cartridges will do just fine.

I plan on using 165 and 168 grain projectiles in my '06 this year, if it helps at all. They still shoot plenty flat, and come with a magical boat tail.
"Such is the strange way that man works -- first he virtually destroys a species and then does everything in his power to restore it."
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Old August 3, 2010, 06:36 AM   #6
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Antelope are not tough creatures and either one of those packs more than enough punch. Take the rifle that you shoot the best with at long distances and you are good to go.
"He who laughs last, laughs dead." Homer Simpson
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Old August 3, 2010, 07:24 AM   #7
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Antelope are usually taken at longer ranges. You really want something that has a flat trajectory. For me, the 25-06 is ideal.
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Old August 3, 2010, 07:47 AM   #8
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Antelope where I used to live in NV were easily taken with 223, 243, and a variety of 25's for the most part. My friend used to bow hunt them by waving a big white flag while sitting behind a clump of sage - they would come to within 30 yards. Take whatever you shoot the best and make a heart/lung shot - there's not a lot of meat on the speed goats, but it IS tasty IF they haven't been run - Unless you're only looking for horns, don't shoot one right after it has been spooked and running.

Good luck
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Old August 3, 2010, 12:29 PM   #9
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Either cartridge will work fine as long as you shoot it well. Antelope aren't hard to kill.

I've killed 4 over the years; two with a bow, and two with a rifle. Two two with my bow were each around 20 yards. One shot with my 7mm mag was at ~100 yards, running wide open, and the other was at 212 yards, standing broadside, looking away from me.

In open country, use low ground to stalk them.

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Old August 3, 2010, 12:35 PM   #10
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Either one of them will do fine. Whichever one you like the best is the one to take. Just about any bullet weight will work too. A lot of folks visualize antelope hunting as a long distance affair. It can be if you choose to make it that way, but for real sport, it's fun to try to get closer. I don't hunt antelope very often even though our area is lousy with them and multiple tags are easy to come by. I just don't enjoy the taste as much as elk, so I don't do it usually. That said though, one of my most memorable hunts was when I snuck up on a big buck antelope with my 45-70. He was laying down taking a mid-morning nap. I spotted him from maybe 1200 yards away. I crawled the last 500 yards or so, going from one sage brush to another. I finally got to within about 60 yards or so and decided not to push my luck any farther as he was still laying down with his head pointing away from me. I nailed him in the back of the head with the 45-70. He didn't even move.

I think the combination of him not even moving a step and then getting him gutted in 10 minutes and then washed down, skinned, quartered, and on ice within another 30 minutes made him an unusually tasty antelope.
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Old August 3, 2010, 01:11 PM   #11
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Either rifle is perfectly fine, use the one that shoots the best. HiBC has some great advice in his post about practicing and ranging. I personally love to use a Leica range finder though! Other than that get that sucker skinned out and cooled asap if you want to eat it like some other posters have stated.
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Old August 3, 2010, 02:22 PM   #12
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Antelope urine is not a recomendable marinade

That's funny.
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Old August 3, 2010, 03:31 PM   #13
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That is comparing apples with apples.
Do wat floats yer stick. Both are fine.
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Old August 6, 2010, 03:16 PM   #14
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I think I should take both rifles to the range with some different ammo and spend a solid chunk of time out there. Thank you all for the ideas
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Old August 6, 2010, 04:12 PM   #15
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Trigger time is Good...
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