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Browning BLR: 308, 7mm-08, or a WSM?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by Will_Power, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    I've a single bolt action rifle at the moment, and really, my next purchase needs to be a handgun (CZ-75 SP01, specifically). That's all well and good, but while I was out of state for Christmas, I got my interest piqued about another long gun when I happened across one of the new Browning BLRs.

    Well, crap.

    This gun simply fascinates me (first time that's happened since getting into hunting and firearms this year), and after doing some reading online about lever actions and the BLRs in particular, I'm thinking real, real hard about putting my pennies together later in the year. However, I wanted to get the ball rolling here, first.

    For an all-weather, traipsing around the woods gun, I'd go with a stainless/laminate setup and likely throw a 2-7x or maybe even fixed power optic up top. I'm only considering short action, but would like this to be a good all-around caliber (jack of all trades, master of none sure).

    1. .308: My first choice, at the moment. Got the lingering SHTF worries, and milsurp seems like an added bonus (though my gut says the only ammo to be found if that ever happens is what you've personally got).
    2. 7mm-08: Seen this described as either better across the board than the .308 or completely worse. Could use some feedback here. Seems great for deer and smaller (don't want to go take out some yotes with the buddies with my 7 mag!), but have concerns about the elk or bear. Would be a good setup if I ever move into reloading with the 7mm caliber.
    3. A WSM of some sort: My first reaction would be a .270 WSM - this would ensure my piece of mind regarding elk, but it would blow coyotes to kingdom come. Ammo costs and availability would be prohibitive, too? The short mags are a distant third, but I wanted to cover my bases.
     
  2. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'd probably pick the .308, but don't let anyone tell you the 7mm-08 won't do the job! The 7mm bullet has a better sectional density and penetrate like nobody's business.
     
  3. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    I have a BLR and I find it to be very handy, plenty accurate, easy to carry and fun. I would suggest the .308 as your best round, although i have the 7mm-08. I only suggest the .308 based on your criteria for a little better availability. The 7mm-08 will do anything except the great bears if you do your part. (Your part also means getting closer than squint distance, too!).

    I can shoot 3/4" groups at 100 yards with factory ammo with my BLR. I have a 2-7 Leupold on top in QD rings, so I could switch to irons if needed. Same thing you are considering and it has worked out well for me.

    One downside is factory loads for the 7mm-08 are often around 140 grains. When hand loading, the 160 grain bullets are much better.
     
  4. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    Thanks for the feedback so far guys, to throw another, completely different aspect of the gun into the mix, what are your thoughts on optics?

    I first mentioned a 2-7 or even lower along the lines of a 1.5-5, but what about a fixed 4x? What are the pros and cons of a fixed power scope?
     
  5. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    To put it simply, this is often said it (and I've made the gross generalization myself) because of two things. The first is the Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of a bullet and the second is the case. The .308 and the 7mm-08 share the exact same case just necked down to the 7mm size. So there is no benefit to either round there.

    The BC of a bullet is the sectional density of the bullet to it's coefficient of form, the bullets ability to cleave air. This effects how quickly the bullet loses velocity. This is important, because the faster a bullet gets to a target, the less time gravity and wind has an effect on it.

    Stick with me here, I know it's getting heavy :D. Longer bullets tend to have a higher BC then a shorter bullet does. So, if you've got a 7mm bullet (.284) and a .308 bullet that are exactly the same type and weight, the 7mm bullet will be longer and have a better BC. If you follow this link you'll find a chart for Nosler E-tip bullets.

    Nosler E-tip

    The 150 grain 7mm bullet has a BC of .489 and the .308's BC is .469 (remember higher is better). So, figuring you firing them at the same velocity, from the same rifle as I did in my ballistic program. With a 0 at 250 yards, the 7mm drops 34.0" and the .308 drops 34.8" at 500 yards. I know to me, at 500 yards 0.8" isn't going to matter one bit, and it that is the difference between a kill shot and a deer running off, I probably shouldn't have take the shot anyway.

    That all being said, if you looking to hunt deer, elk and bear, get a .30-06 or 7mm Rem Mag. Either the .308 or the 7mm-08 will be fine for what you want to do. In my opinion they maybe a bit to light for bear, however I've never hunted bear, so who am I to say. .308 ammo is way easier to come by and has way more variety then the 7mm-08, if you don't hand load this could be of great benefit to you. I hope this helps.
     
  6. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    Where and what are you going to be hunting? I am a big fan of the 3x9, and what ever you get, I would recommend a variable magnification scope.
     
  7. CIPuyleart

    CIPuyleart La Center, WA Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I say .308 only because I've got a ~40 yr old BLR in .308 that I've used to kill every deer I've ever killed except my first (which was taken with an old break-open 30-30). I still have only open sights on the thing, and the last time I had it out I was still hitting good groups at 100 yds - even though I hadn't shot it for probably 8 years before that. It's like an old friend that I can not see for years, but start up a conversation with when I do see them as though we had just hung out yesterday. The ammo is easy to find (and less expensive too).

    That said, my dad won a lightweight BLR SS in 325 WSM a couple of years ago at a RMEF raffle and has used it (successfully) for elk hunting. The ammo is expensive...even finding inexpensive brass to reload with was a problem when he first got it. But now that he's got a couple of years of use and a bit of a stockpile of ammo loaded for it, he's pretty happy with it. I don't follow ballistics like some people follow sports stats (maybe some day when I start reloading myself I will), but from what I've seen, the WSM loadings offer a lot of good things in a short action.
     
  8. shockme

    shockme oregon Member

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    i use a 4 power Leopold on my 270 win. had it on my 300 win , great for moving game .;)
     
  9. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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    .308.

    Not going to repeat your own words or those that have been stated.

    SF-
     
  10. Will_Power

    Will_Power OR via OK Active Member

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    DieselScout: Thanks for the in depth feedback regarding the 7mm-08. Seems like a great round, but the cost and variety of factory .308s is a very, very convincing counter argument (and one that's kinda swaying me right now). Regarding the wheres and what's I'd be hunting wit this kinda set up, see my first post.

    On the optics front, it seems like the primary points in favor of the fixed power would be the comfort level of always having the same visual through the glass and the wider field of view. I'm leaning that way at the moment. A 4x should do everything I'd need out in the woods...
     
  11. Silver Fox

    Silver Fox Puyallup, WA Well-Known Member

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    For optics you may want consider the 'scout' barrel mount and a long eye relief scope. Aim with both eyes open and fast target acquisation. Great set up for western Oregon brush.

    SF-
     
  12. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome, however I didn't mean it as pro feedback either way, just trying to help people understand why it could be said the 7mm-08 is better across the board then the .308. Both are great rounds and I'd have a hard time choosing between them, so I'd go with the 6.5x55 Swede. Good luck with your decision.
     
  13. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    Since the Swede is a long action, and the OP wants short, we need to tell Browning to make one in .260 Remington!

    Browning has some Shot Show 2011 BLR specials. Stainless, laminated, with a nickel receiver. Nice.
     
  14. elkhunt58

    elkhunt58 Eugene Active Member

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    I've owned BLR's in .243, .284 and .22-250 all great little rifles. Had a 7-08 in a stainless model 7, but I love the .308 and currently own 3 of them. So, .308, take down, straight grip with a 1.5x5 VX3 on QR mounts and you'd have nearly the perfect rifle (trigger is still a compromise). Be forewarned... years ago I accidentally dropped the hammer on a BLR (with an Uncle Mikes spur attached) when loading the chamber prior to my hunt, very disconcerting, muzzle control saved the day. Because of that I have never let my kids use my levers.
     
  15. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Elkhunt nailed it with the scope/mount choice. 1.5x will be the setting you will almost always leave it on when hunting timber, 5x will accomplish any cross-canyon shot. QR mounts will allow instant access to your irons should the need arise, and then restoration to optics with repeatability to zero just as instantly in the field. Some economy would be realized with a 1x-4x for the same purpose. Invest in your scope as you did your rifle. Quality. Translate: Leupold. I am becoming very fond of the phrase, "buy a rifle for your scope". Too many guys invest good money in a good gun, then handicap it with a cheap scope.

    As to caliber, if elk hunting is a frequent activity, I'd lean to the .308. In consideration of recoil (and accurate shooting facilitated by such), I'd go with the 7-08, with its slightly lighter bullets, and slightly less recoil (if elk were not the primary quarry). Lever gun stocks (including the BLR) do not lend themselves to recoil management (translate less felt recoil) as well as most bolt gun stocks. I would not consider ammo cost savings as a factor in a gun to be used primarily for big-game hunting. One box of shells per season should suffice to check zero and hunt. You will note that lever-gun guys (as displayed here) are a pretty sensible, no-nonsense type. Hence, the WSM offering is not gaining much traction with them. I've dealt with (and shot) about ten WSM bolt guns: two of them exhibited feeding problems. My experience only: most have no trouble.

    "Scout-rifle" scope mounting (far forward) is an arrangement that takes practice to become intimately familiar with. I'd stay with conventional receiver mounting of the scope. Although take-down lock-ups are nearly flawless on good modern guns, my sensibilities would preclude mounting a scope on a receiver of a rifle whose barrel was not "permanently" attached to the receiver.
     
  16. ejmpnu92

    ejmpnu92 Hillsboro, Or Active Member

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    I have the BLR 7mm-08. The price seemed to be a tad expensive, but that was also down in CA. I thought it was a good shooting rifle, decent round. But as a target blinker, boring to shoot. Not saying it is a bad gun, I actually like it a lot. I just prefer shooting my others because they offer more of a challenge. As for hunting, can't offer any advice there, not a hunter, just a plinker.
     
  17. cazzthespazz

    cazzthespazz Portland New Member

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    I have a blr 7mm-08 with a vx-1 leupold scope 3-9-40. great condition. $700. shot a bear and a deer last year with no problem. one shot one kill. in pdx area.
     
  18. huntpotter

    huntpotter SW WA Negotiator Bronze Supporter

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    .308. Cheapest and most available .30cal ammo.
     
  19. The Cheese

    The Cheese somewhere special Member

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    go 308. For all the reasons listed above. If you have the money buy the 7mm-08 also. You can never have too many guns. I have never been a fan of WSM's. On the optics, A 1-4x or 5x scope will get you a good shot out to 400-500yds with out a problem, I would kind of want more mag at those distances but it will work. Besides, for me, a 500yd shot hunting would be very rare out here on the west side. And I don't feel very comfortable taking game as such a distance anyway. I just don't see it as sporting. Steel targets however, bring it on.
     
  20. Paladen

    Paladen McMinnville, Or Member

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    I've had one for 35 years and it's the best rifle and caliber combination. I've probably killed over 30 deer and a couple of elk with this rifle in 308 and I don't see how you could improve on it for deer...pretty much drops them dead or they take a few steps at most. Every elk I've EVER shot had to be shot twice no matter what caliber I used, 338, 350 rem mag, 7mm mag, 30-06 and 308.