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Looking for a good long range hunting caliber

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by thurston24, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. thurston24

    thurston24 Richland, WA Member

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    Hi everyone, I'm look to get a new rifle that I want to use for Elk, Deer, and possibly Black Bear that I can use at really long distances and I don't know what to get. I know I don't want a 300 Win Mag because I bought one, granted an older one and it just killed my shoulder. I would really like something that can routinely drop an elk at a minimum of 500 yards but didn't know what the best option would be?

    Perusing through various threads, I noticed a lot of people often talk about accuracy being the primary concern but I'm not very worried about that since I shot expert in the Marine Corps, where we would fire out to 500 yards unsupported with open sights. I would like to be able to shoot for fun at long distances too, if possible but don't know for sure if there is a rifle that will do everything I want. I was thinking about a 308 but didn't know if it would be better to go for something like a 300 WSM or 7mm Mag. I know there are a lot of 30-06 lovers out there but I do like to be a little different. I reload so I'm not too worried about the cost of ammo since it should be pretty cheap once I get the components. Any suggestions are much appreciated. Thank you very much.
     
  2. farfrompar28

    farfrompar28 shelton, wa Active Member

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    300wsm...i have 2 and one for sale.
     
  3. thurston24

    thurston24 Richland, WA Member

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    Thanks for the offer but unless it's a left handed version, I'm out of luck. I tried the whole right handed bolt action shooting left handed thing and it just isn't easy for me.
     
  4. farfrompar28

    farfrompar28 shelton, wa Active Member

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    And im also a lefty. I bought 2 lefty rifles and sold them both. I will never shoot a lefty rifle again..
     
  5. mrblond

    mrblond Salem OR Well-Known Member

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    maybe try one with a break. I am a wuss when it comes to recoil so if I can get a rifle with a break on it, I will rather then one without. you just need to keep earplugs handy.
     
  6. farfrompar28

    farfrompar28 shelton, wa Active Member

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    Either way 300wsm is a great cartridge. Tikka makes a left in 300wsm. Its light and soft recoil pad.
     
  7. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    The 7MM will be better than the 300wsm. Better bullet, better gun, better long range abilties.
     
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  8. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    shooting anything at a quarter mile may not be the best choice. unless you want to leave a carcass just sitting you will have to travel a half mile to get it. If you use a lesser caliber (or screw up) and just wound the elk you will have to travel a lot further to exercise responsible hunting ethics. Trust me an elk that is wounded can travel quite a ways, running as fast as a horse, and then collapse from blood loss and die slowly. I have come across such carcases Get the 300 win mag put a decent pad on it, and if you have to a brake or porting of some sort, or send it to magnaport for both.

    use 150 grain bullets and learn how to hand load for it, 300wm will accept many variations in loads.

    Hitting a mansize target at 500yds is different than hitting a 10 or 12 inch circle at 500yds. Quite a few of us qualified expert too.

    people are easy, try and get an elk to stand up on his rear legs and expose his chest for a shot.

    300wsm is a marketing gimick targeted at wimps
     
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  9. particleman

    particleman Kenmore, WA New Member

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    Get closer and use 45/70. It's a little overkill for the deer but just what you want for close encounters with bear.

    I do believe that you're confident about your ability to score a kill shot at 500m. But... really? Hunting at a quarter mile? To each his own, I suppose.
     
    mjbskwim and (deleted member) like this.
  10. thurston24

    thurston24 Richland, WA Member

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    I know next to nothing about big game hunting and have to learn on my own. I didn't grow up with family who does it and can't afford a guide so I'm pretty much going to have to learn the hard way. With that, I figure I have a lot less chance finding game within normal ranges that people who know what they are going normally do. To make up for that, I figured that I could rely on my shooting ability so I could have some shot at getting an Elk. That's my primary reason for wanting to shoot such long ranges. I plan on going to the range quite a bit before going out to make sure that I can hit where I want to shoot, which I guess will dictate the furthest I will shoot be it 500 yards or 50 yards.
     
  11. particleman

    particleman Kenmore, WA New Member

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    Okay, now that I know something about you and your hunting experience, I sympathize with the dilemma you've got on your hands. I suspect, however, you'll be a more successful hunter if you stop planning for a 500 yard hunt and pursue a few other strategies to improve the odds.

    Here's the primary issue as I see it: long range shooting requires accurate ranging and highly accurized gear to get clean kill shots. Short range shooting just requires decent gear and for you to hold on target with enough skill to squeeze the trigger consistently. Save yourself $$$ and weight and gear fiddling and put more $$$ and effort into the outdoor part of the hunt.

    1) find someone or a group of people near you who also hunt(s). As a more experienced hunter new to the PNW, I need to do the same thing for other reasons.
    1.a) If you can't befriend an experienced hunter, save your pennies and hire a guide at least once. With the difference between a 500 yard rifle and a 100 yard rifle, you may just have the $$$ after all.
    2) spend time in the area where you want to hunt. Set up some stands (at least one, anyway). Get there before first light. Do something else in the middle of the day. Go back and observe more around dusk. Set up game cams. Learn where the animals are.
    3) You may lose a season learning about the animals. Be okay with that.
    4) Unless there are terrain features that make longer shots likely (shooting across a valley or open plain), expect that almost all of your shots will be between 50-150 yards. Plan your gear around a 150-200 yard maximum range.

    Personally, I don't like to take shots over 100 yards and plan around that as my maximum range. That's partly why my Marlin 45/70 has been my favorite hunting gun for many years, and also a reason why my AR in 300 blackout is becoming a contender.
     
  12. clambo

    clambo Vancouver, Wa. Well-Known Member

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    Don't be so quick to be an expert. Marine Corps shooting and this kind of shooting are two very different things. Long range hunting/target shooting has a bigger learning curve than you seem to be thinking. Get with some guys who genuinely do this kind of thing ( not just talk about it online ) and learn what they know. Next, learn how to hunt...something. Anything. Deer is a good place to start. Again, there is a learning curve. Work your way up. The idea is to have fun, because it is fun, not get discouraged and quit. It's also easier than *** shooting elk, at least for the elk and the tree huggers. Finally, if you still feel the need for a .300 mag., get one. I assume the Marine Corp taught you how to man up to a tiny little bit of momentary discomfort. Finally, a .30-06 would probably work just great for you, assuming you keep your shots to a reasonable range. Do you want to be a hunter or an elk sniper ? ( i.e. mall ninja )

    If I am coming across like a dick, it's because I am. But I'm a sincere dick. I've hunted my entire life and I don't shoot over 300 yds. or so. Some people do, that's fine, it's just not my thing. And, I'm not a .300 mag. basher either. Got one. Got a .338 mag. too. But I have 3 '06's. Good luck. I mean that. I hope you have a long and prosperous hunting career. I just don't want people filling your head with crap because they are afraid of hurting your feelings.

    Clambo
     
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  13. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    After some thought about my previous post here, maybe it's all about "sporting". While a 500 yard shot is most certainly skillful, I personally don't consider it actual hunting. The challenge is to get close to an animal that can see, hear and smell better than I can.

    I may sound a bit philosophical here but, but I want to honor the animal by making the effort.

    In my opinion the closer you can get to your game the better a hunter you are.
     
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  14. thurston24

    thurston24 Richland, WA Member

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    I completely agree with you that the closer you get, the better you are. I know where my skill is on hunting and that is way down the line since I'm a beginner. Really good hunters can actually chose what they shoot and tend to get really great bucks/bulls. I think I'll be lucky to see anything and so I don't want to be saying for an entire year "I saw plenty of them, I just couldn't get close enough." I'm pretty much operating on the idea that if I get out there and pick this up quickly, then I'll try to get close and make a great shot. However, I wouldn't be surprised if I get out and make a fair amount of mistakes and screw up my chances and have to rely on a long shot to be successful.
     
  15. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    A guy on another board yammered something about not being able to get that close in his area,400 yard shots are the norm.
    i said I can guarantee him someone is killing deer there with a bow.

    I tried to read most of the posts,but 1 thing to remember. You kill a deer at 500 yard ranges,there can be a whole lot of people that are closer.Maybe they are watching the same elk as you.
    Maybe they decide it's their elk. I have talked to people that have gone through this and went home pissed.Without meat
    There are guys on you tube that take 1000 yard shots.And on some of these local forums.
    It's just sniping ,not really hunting.

    Besides too many people get shot during Modern Rifle seasons
     
  16. thurston24

    thurston24 Richland, WA Member

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    "A guy on another board yammered something about not being able to get that close in his area,400 yard shots are the norm.
    i said I can guarantee him someone is killing deer there with a bow."

    I'm sure that there are people who do. If you re-read the postings, I am a beginner and I don't know if I will because I don't know what I'm doing so I want to be able to make a long shot if I have to. Also, bow hunters don't wear hunter orange and hunt before rifle shooters do so the animals may not be spooked then.

    "I tried to read most of the posts,but 1 thing to remember. You kill a deer at 500 yard ranges,there can be a whole lot of people that are closer.Maybe they are watching the same elk as you.
    Maybe they decide it's their elk. I have talked to people that have gone through this and went home pissed.Without meat"

    Yeah, I hope that won't happen but if it does, I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Unfortunately, there are always people who think they are entitled to things that they are not. If I shoot and drop an animal and someone else tries to claim it, I guess we will have a discussion about ethics.

    "Besides too many people get shot during Modern Rifle seasons"

    One person being shot is one too many. If I see anyone else, I'm not shooting. If I can't see a safe place for the bullet to land behind the animal, I'm not shooting. I may know almost nothing about hunting but I do understand fire arms safety.
     
  17. particleman

    particleman Kenmore, WA New Member

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    I think thurston has 1) got a few caliber ideas for a long-range cartridge and 2) heard our message about better hunting. What he takes from our posts and where he goes now is up to him.

    Good luck thurston. If nothing else, your long-range gun will be fun to shoot at 600 yard ranges (if you can find some near you).
     
  18. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I think the only problem I have is you saying that because you are new to hunting,you may need to take longer shots.
    Seems like backwards thinking to me. Not everyone,well,most guys don't take a deer every year

    Did y'all see I said MOST? So please don't whine and say "I do,I get a deer every year" in your best 10yo girl's voice

    A friend said the average for elk is around 10%. Better for some categories.
    2010 Game Harvest Reports | Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
    Point is,you may not take an elk for a few years. No shame in not harvesting either,for a new hunter.
    Next spring I will put in for the 3 weapon tag,so I can hunt elk all three seasons. Archery,muzzle loader and modern.The success rate is 47% there.
    I would and did, concentrate on the "hunting" part more than the killing part at first.Just going out and shooting a deer or elk at 4-500 yards ain't gunna be that fulfilling anyway.

    Good luck with all of this.I think you will find that being out there in the woods is as much a part of hunting as the actual harvest.

    And I wasn't speaking of YOU shooting someone,just that there are some crazies out there.

    Again.good luck
    Mike
     
  19. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    Thurston here is a true story that may lighten up things a bit. Back in the 70's my uncle Bill would go out on the first day of deer season. He would drive his sedan (a Riviera) down a fire road and park under a tree with good shade.He would then open the trunk remove a folding chair and his rifle and relax next to the car. Eventually the gunfire and other hunters would drive enough deer to him that he could actually pick and choose which one he wanted. This worked EVERY year, without fail. He had hunted on 3 continents and when asked said his way was the easiest, most successful hunting he had ever done, anywhere.

    Perhaps this was not the most sporting way of taking game, but, on the effort/return scale it really ranked way up there.

    I have tried his method in the past with mixed results, I came to the conclusion that it was a combination of terrain and luck that funneled the deer to him.

    He passed away some years back, and is sorely missed. A real character.
     
  20. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Now that's funny stuff right there,coop44.
    I would guess if you found a good funnel point,it would work great.You always see trails heading across the roads.