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Need advice on what caliber to go with for elk/deer.

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Rvrcowboy, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. Rvrcowboy

    Rvrcowboy Vancouver Wa Member

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    I know that there has to be a thread for this, but, I am looking for advice on what caliber to buy my next rifle in. I don't care for .270 and 30-06 is the only caliber I have for deer or elk. It isn't really good for long range stuff, and I want some unvarnished opinions as to what works for you guys and why you like it.

    I'm looking to buy soon, and if anyone responding has rifles for sale, feel free to post your links in your response.

    Thanks for your advise....look forward to reading opinions.
     
  2. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Exactly what range are you shooting deer and elk at that a 30-06 isn't up to the job? Cause they do pretty good out to about 600 yards.

    But if your a masochist buy a 300 Win mag or a 7mm Win mag and beat the snot out of yourself and have a blast.
     
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  3. Scvette

    Scvette Olympia Active Member

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    I'm at about 70lb pull on mine. Archery is the only way to hunt elk,but if you HAVE to use a gun,a .300 mag is a pretty good all around caliber. I have a lot more fun hunting elk with a bow,you should try it. Good luck with what ever you choose though.
     
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  4. FarmerTed1971

    FarmerTed1971 Portland, Oregon, United States Well-Known Member

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    06 not good for long range huh?
     
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  5. Rvrcowboy

    Rvrcowboy Vancouver Wa Member

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    I've shot my 06 for the last 24 years. The same gun, 180 grain round. The rifle i own is a 742 woodsmaster. It's a shorter barrel, and yes, from that gun in particular there's not a lot of opportunity for long range shooting. That said, I'm looking for a different caliber that shoots flatter than my 06. Just my experience. Of course there's bound to be someone here who has shot a .22 a quarter mile and hits the bullseye every shot. My request was for your thoughts on what caliber works for YOU. Not what isn't working for me. Thanks.
     
  6. Rvrcowboy

    Rvrcowboy Vancouver Wa Member

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    Haha, yeah. Mines at 65# as we speak. Going to try it back home on whitetails first, then elk.
     
  7. Rvrcowboy

    Rvrcowboy Vancouver Wa Member

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    Not so much the caliber, as the gun. As I said, I'm looking for a new caliber that shoots flatter and straighter than an 06, but not a 270.
     
  8. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well...........the .30-06 has always worked for me but my 06's are bolt action tack drivers, including one built by the late Wes Reynolds. Go with the .300W magnum.
     
  9. salmonriverjohn

    salmonriverjohn N.W Oregon coast, Gods country Well-Known Member

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    Well since we've already hashed out the merits of the venerable skin buster and hide bruiser otherwise known as the .30-06 (which I love by the way) consider taking a look at the .338 Winchester Magnum. You can fly a 200 grain bullet at speeds up to 3000 FPS, and or 250 grain, kill anything on the planet 2700 FPS projectiles. Don't worry about the recoil, my daughter doesn't weigh a buck and a half and she has killed four Elk in Four years with the one she confiscated of mine, if her blond haired blue eyed little butt can do it, you should be able to handle it.

    Plenty of snort for any serious long ranges, and plenty of snort when it gets there. I recommend a minimum barrel length of 22" and prefer 24. Just be prepared to spend over $40 a box for the cheaper stuff unless you roll your own. I also like the .300 win mag, but if your considering a magnum, why not go MAGNUM?

    A 7 mm Remington Magnum would be another fine choice, but not the best one if your shots could be taken at close range, little tiny hole at a real fast speed doesn't equate well to bullet performance, but boy howdy do they come into their own down range.

    Well, there's some food for thought. Chew on it awhile and take your time doing it, you may just figure out that the old -06 offers about everything a man needs in a rifle/caliber.
    Here again barrel length and action is paramount, Win., rem., ruger, savage (all in bolt) the list goes on and on but get something with at least a 22" to launch your rockets with.
    Good luck, John.
     
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  10. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    The 338 WM is a good choice. So is the 300 WM, 7mm Rem Mag and the 300 Weatherby.

    The 300 WSM seems to have caught on and will also do the job way out there.
     
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  11. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    You mentioned "flatter trajectory" 7mm magnum is pretty danged flat, above comments not withstanding. You want the "reach out and touch" factor... .338 Lapua. ;)
     
  12. nwbobber

    nwbobber Longview, Wa. Active Member

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    I have shot elk with three of the above mentioned calibers, and would agree that they are all fine tools for the job. If you are a serious elk hunter, I would go no smaller than .30 cal, I know a lot of folks love their 7 mags, but then there are enough stories of ruined meat to dissuade me. I like to eat elk. The 300 win mag is going to get you the flattest shooting of the three left without undue recoil. For the longest lethal range, I'm sure it could be argued that the 338 with a 250 gr projectile would do it. That is what I used in mine, and I loved it, I didn't find the recoil unmanageable, but I can tell you that a lot of people do. If you have ideas of an african hunt, or grizzlies, this is the gun for you, otherwise it is probably more than you need. On either of the winchester magnums you will need a 26" pipe to get the full acceleration of the projectile. I have a 300 with a 24" barrel and velocities are consistently lower than published data. I haven't shot any of the short magnums but the efficiency of the cartridge sounds pretty good, and less powder = less recoil. Good luck on your search.
     
  13. JGRuby

    JGRuby Portland Oregon New Member

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    What I hunt with is not going to work for you because your requirements are different than mine. I use a 338-06 or a 9.3X62 and they have no further reach than your 30-06. I question how much you have been around hunting if you need further reach than a 30-06 - thats your business. I have a personal limit of 300 yards and if I cant get closer than that I feel the animal won. If I had a 30-06 and wanted to go bigger ( magnum ) I would recommend a 338 WInchester Magnum. The 338 will definitely have more recoil - there are always trade offs. I feel that you will eventually come to the conclusion that the caliber is not as important as the hunter. Good luck.

    James Ruby
     
  14. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Asking this question and saying you don't like the 270(? what's not to like?) makes me think that you shouldn't worry about shooting anything farther out than a 30-06 can handle.
    I'm guessing inexperienced shooter,which means you should keep your shots under 300 yards. Perfect for an '06

    But I'm a bow hunter and think that shooting animals out past 300 yards means you need to learn to hunt better.

    Trust me,where ever you are hunting,there is a bow hunter killing stuff at 50 yards and under. So don't try that crap about 'we have to take 400 yards shots where I hunt'

    No you don't
    I went to another forum where a guide said the 270 was a great gun for any Alaskan animal there was....... if you could place the shot
     
  15. Rvrcowboy

    Rvrcowboy Vancouver Wa Member

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    To answer your question about how much I've "been around" hunting, 24 years. Purely whitetail, on my family's 775 acre dairy farm in upstate NY.
    Truthfully, I can tell you that there havent been a lot of years that I've come up short. Not bragging, just stating a fact.


    I'm newish to hunting in oregon, and feel that my current setup will not be adequate due to the shorter barrel and the prospect for bullet drop. So, I thought that a larger caliber would be something to look into since the majority of the people that I've spoken with seem to also think that my setup is inadequate for longer shots. While I will agree that many times its the hunter, not the caliber, please note that sometimes a good hunter wants longer and more accurate shots to be a more successful and by way of clean kills, a more ethical one.
     
  16. 3MTA3

    3MTA3 DMZ between Liberty and Tyranny Behind Enemy Lines Bronze Supporter

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    I think your .30-'06 will work just fine (maybe in a different rifle), but consider watching the first 5 episodes of Sniper 101 regarding caliber and bullet selection: SNIPER 101 - Part 1 Introduction - Rex Reviews - YouTube

    It does a great job of helping you to identify the need and match the cartridge to that need.

    If you do go 300 Win Mag, consider a reduced load that will mimic a .270 for trajectory - basically scaling up a .270 to .308 caliber. It will help to reduce recoil and still shoot flat with a lot of energy. Personally I don't like to shoot anything farther than I want to hump it back out of the woods, so unless it's standing right next to a road I don't want to shoot it at a thousand yards (really wouldn't anyway).
     
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  17. speeddemon94

    speeddemon94 The Rogue Well-Known Member

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    I will comfortably shoot my .308 at anything in North America. Not a trophy hunter, so I shoot for the neck. 175-185gr bullet 4-6 inches in front of the point of the shoulder pretty much ends any chasing, I've never had one not pile up. Even if I miss the spinal cord directly, the shock wave of the bullet will break the neck anyhow. If i'm 100 yards or closer, I put one in the head. I'm all about a quick kill. I hate watching an animal get shot and run away to bleed out.

    Yeah, I've got bullet drop, but it is plenty of cartridge for me, for anything.

    And if you mainly hunt the western part of Oregon, a shot over 100 yards is fairly uncommon.
     
  18. Rvrcowboy

    Rvrcowboy Vancouver Wa Member

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    I guess that I'll save you the sermon about my family's three generations at remington arms in ilion NY. Thatd be my grandpa and two cousins that I grew up hunting with. And I'll not talk about the 24 years of hunting experience that I have, and I guess I'll not tell you about shots I've made with a .270 at 150 meters offhand on an 8'degree morning with a 10 mph breeze and snow blowing across the scope. I won't tell you about the shot being perfect both lungs and clipping its heart and then watching it run to the timbers. But I'm sure all kinds of
    Inexperienced shooters can make that shot right?
    Please don't comment on another mans hunting experience or ability unless you know him personally. I don't know you and wouldn't comment on your shooting ability if you asked for advise about what caliber to buy.
     
  19. Rvrcowboy

    Rvrcowboy Vancouver Wa Member

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    Thanks. Appreciate the insight!
     
  20. speeddemon94

    speeddemon94 The Rogue Well-Known Member

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    Glad to do it. I love long range hunting, it is hands down my favorite thing to do. Catching trace through the scope and watching that bullet head home is just amazing to me. My longest with the .308 to date is 623 ranged yards on a poor little forked horn one ridge over, who never saw it coming.

    I'm moving to Alaska this fall, and I may add a .338 Lapua to the collection because I think it would be epic to drop a caribou at 1/2 mile or more.

    I guess, that's my trophy, the long shot.

    My dad hunted with a 30-06 Remington 700 BDL for as long as I remember, that could be really fun to add one of the 185gr match grade hollow points to for longer range flatter shots.