Encore Calibers


September 28, 2006, 09:54 PM
While tossing some sabots down-range from my TC Encore muzzleloader today, I got to thinking how much fun it would be to have the option of switching to a center-fire rifle barrel. Well, okay, that can be done easily enough, only thing required is cash. :cool:

So, while waiting to save the money to get a barrel, I'm trying to decide on what caliber to get. I'm thinking of staying in the common center-fire range, nothing too fancy. I do reload, but don't always want to sit down and swap out the pistol stuff to make up a run of rifle ammo. (OK, laziness is a key factor here! ;) )

These are the calibers I have in mind:

.243 Winchester

.308 Winchester

.270 Winchester

.30-06 Springfield

I really can't decide which one to get. I'm not recoil shy by any means; I've fired .300 Magnums before and have shot .30-06s since I was 14 (now about 23). The majority of the use this rifle will see is punching holes in paper, ringing steel plates, maybe coyote hunting with some friends, possibly woodchuckin' (I can hope...) and deer hunting.

(As much as I hope to go hunting larger game in the future, I am realistic enough to know 99% of my big-game hunting is going to be for whitetailed deer. And the 20" muzzleloader barrel is capable of handling some whomping mega loads.)

What is the concensus of the board? And what about optics in the $150-250 range?

Thanks all.

Edited: The 20" peep-sight muzzleloader barrel is capable of shooting 1" or better groups at 50-yards with just about any bullet/sabot combo. It really like real blackpowder and I've backed off my loading levels down into the 80-95gr range; I started off with the idea of shooting pellets or Pyrodex in 100-120gr levels! :eek:

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September 28, 2006, 10:17 PM
For everything you've mentioned, I'd go with the .243. Great for varmints and yotes, adequate for deer. The only area you'll be shy will be bigger animals and longer range deer. The .243 is a great long range cartridge, but it won't have the poop or the 270, 308 or '06. You can buy or load a variety of bullets and bullet sizes.

If I was lookin to hunt bigger animals and occasionally varmints and paper, I'd look at the .270.

September 28, 2006, 10:20 PM
7mm08. Not on the list, but good power, varmint bullet selection in the 100gr-110gr is good and the 140-160gr bullets are perfect for whitetail, shoots almost as flat as the 270 without the blast and drama. Very well balanced.

September 28, 2006, 11:30 PM
I went for a 25/06 barrel for mine real happy with it.shoots flat hits hard.

September 29, 2006, 12:49 AM
Since you're only 23 and cost is important, I suggest the 308 as it will work very well with your plans and you can also buy surplus ammo for plinking.

September 29, 2006, 01:07 AM
Roger that on the .308 Winchester.

Nearly every positive aspect of the 30 06 applies to it AND it's generally more accurate.

Regarding optics, I'd have to say that Nikon's buckmaster line is reasonable in price and offers good performance. Something to consider about the .308 is that it gets mighty tempting to get into long rang shooting (greater than 600 yds). Should that be an interest, you might want to look at scopes with target type turrets which allow you to dial up your elevation. This sadly, is costly however a fixed power scope generates good performance at more modest prices.

September 29, 2006, 08:15 AM
First, yeah, paper, rocks and plates are my #1 target. I'm lucky to even see 2 or 3 deer a year out hunting, usually does during buck season, so I don't get too worked up over having the "ideal" whitetail rifle! LOL!!

Second, I used to have a .260 Remington, which I traded off for this Encore. While I liked the caliber, the Remington 700 platform didn't suit me 100%. A little short in LOP and a little too straight in the comb. Something a few years of shooting it really drove in. And I didn't like not being able to always just find a box of ammo when going to the range when I was low on reloads. And apologies to the 7-08 fans, but around here it really isn't any more available than .260. :(

The .308 and .243 sound like good options. My grandfather and uncle have hunted with .308s for years with great success. There happens to be a set of reloading dies gathering dust, and it would work with the piles of .308" bullets my dad and I have on hand for the .30-06s. If only I had thought it through harder!

But the .243 is still interesting. Low-recoil, light-weight and fast and flat. This is going to need more thought.

BTW, I have a match-prepped AR-15 in .223. I know all about how addicting and fun the challenge of 600-yard shooting is! Nothing like cranking that rear peep up and up and up and dropping a round into the X-ring! :evil:

.223 is an option as well... But a little too marginal as a deer gun IMO.

September 29, 2006, 09:57 AM
I suggested 7mm08 because it is (IMO) the best balanced short-action chambering available *if you handload* and if you're looking for a practice-to-whitetail functional span. If you're looking to mostly shoot commercial ammo instead of handloading, then yes - any of the choices you listed should be mo' available from storefront stock.

Random Thought #1: I have an Encore barrel in 308, a Weatherby Vanguard in 308, an AR10 in 308, and five Savage 99s in 308. In other words, I like the 308. Having said that - do not buy a 308 barrel thinkin' that you'll shoot milsurp thru it, because chances are you'll only do that once or twice. After the second time, you'll decide that standard MilSurp ammo isn't accurate enough in the likes of these rifles to be interesting, and then you'll figure out that the accurate MilSurp fodder (M118 or similar) isn't any cheaper than commercial ammo. THEN you'll start to wonder why you're launching 150gr-165gr pills downrange when you're really only shooting at 100 yards and at nothing harder than paper.

In my experience, the economy of 308 is relegated to those platforms that (due to their very nature) can't tell the difference between SA surplus and LC M118 ammo, and the utility of 308 is best expressed on targets that really need 150+gr of lead smacked into 'em. That doesn't sound like your intended usage, for the most part.

Random Thought #2: I prefer my bolt actions to be short actions, to keep the bolt throw short. But I've recently decided that I can see no advantage to a short chambering in the Encore, since I have no bolt throw issues to worry about. If you're gonna have a single shot, you might was well use the longest chamberings available and practical. And I find that I don't like to shoot the belted Magnum cases in the Encore, since it's kinda a pain to slip the case belt over the extractor time and again. Given a do-over on my Encore build-out, I'd probably ONLY get 30-06, 270, and 25-06 barrels for the Encore and leave the shorter chamberings to the bolties and the belted magnums to whomever else wanted 'em. Of these, the 25-06 is the most fun to shoot from the bench using 85gr bullets and has the ability to take deer quite nicely out past 300 yards when using 117gr or 120gr bullets.

So, I've changed my mind. You need a 25-06. :D

September 29, 2006, 01:34 PM
Where are the best places to buy Encore barrels? Approx. how much do they cost (stainless, .30-06, for example)?


Ben Shepherd
September 29, 2006, 01:45 PM
Hoghunting beat me to it. 308 is an exellent choice. Fairly cheap surplus plinking ammo, plenty of power and range for deer. And still light enough in the recoil dept. that you can shoot it a bunch.

September 29, 2006, 01:59 PM
Kestral- Midway USA,BassPro,Fox Ridge(is actually connected with T/C but a bit higher priced),etc. seem to keep some in stock- used to be approx. $215 new but now seem to be up considerably especially the stainless.

Rbernie- good restraint shown there. If you've still got that 7mm08 barrel in 2-3 weeks we'll talk.

September 29, 2006, 02:00 PM
Where are the best places to buy Encore barrels?
E. Arthur Brown (http://www.eabco.com/) and Midsouth Shooters Supply (http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.com/) uniformly have the best prices. Occasionally, MidwayUSA (http://www.midwayusa.com) will be price competitive if they're having a sale.

September 29, 2006, 10:07 PM
Well, I think I've narrowed the candidates down to the .270, .243 and even the little .223. But one of my coworkers mentioned .22-250... :uhoh:

I was also maybe thinking a "tacticool" AR to go with my match AR. But after going to the range today with an old Colt SP-1 Sporter, I don't think that's really my cup of tea at the moment. Maybe in the future, but now I want something super-accurate and with potential to handle larger targets. (Luckily that saves me about $400 versus an Encore barrel and scope setup! ;) )

So maybe .243. It really is tempting. I don't care for the idea of shooting mil-surp in a commercial rifle in .308. I've seen two .308s (bolt guns) locked up when shooters were firing cheap surplus in them, so I don't care to try it myself.

Or perhaps the .223. After all, if all I'm really doing is punching holes in paper and the odd woodchuck or coyote, it would be perfectly suited. And cheap to shoot with reloads. (There I go again... :banghead: )

And if I wanted to go deer hunting with a centerfire, what an excuse to come up with a .270 barrel!

The Deer Hunter
September 29, 2006, 10:23 PM

that is all

September 29, 2006, 10:28 PM
I have an Encore. They are an addictive way to make a great rifle collection.

I only have two barrels right now. A 450 marlin and a 204 ruger.

But I also have a ruger number one in .243 improved. Major fun to shoot that rifle. You can get lighter bullets for varmits and the 95 grain noslers will drop any deer. They pass right through.

But the 243 will go through some powder since you are in the 45 grains range with reloads.

So I suggest you keep the black powder for deer and get a .204 ruger barrel. You can shoot a laser beam right out to 300 yards. Mine is incredibly accurate. The first time I sighted it in I could hit shotgun shells at 300 yards from a rest on my truck. Just incredible.

EA Brown is a great source but so is ebay sometimes.

Let us know how you solve your delimna!

September 30, 2006, 07:40 AM
I have bought alot of my stuff here.good guy great service.

September 30, 2006, 08:36 PM
All right, you 308 fanboys - put your money where your mouth is. :)


September 30, 2006, 09:19 PM
.308 Win. and 7.62mm NATO Are Not identical. Yes, you can often use them in the same weapon. But be aware of the differences.


October 3, 2006, 02:46 PM
Well, after carefully reviewing my current firearms and options (as well as shooting preferences) I'm back to looking at either a .270 or a .30-06, which is where this all really started in the first place.

For just plain pleasure shooting, I can't beat my Marlin 1894PG. For most other events, I use my NM AR-15. This Encore is looking more and more like a dedicated hunting rifle (of course, with deer season closing in, that is bound to be the way it looks ;) ).

So now I'm thinking 26" .30-06 or .270, stainless, with a Prohunter forend (cuz I like the way these feel in the hand) and a fixed 4 or 6 power scope on top.

That looks like it will solve anything I care to do. With reloads or reduced recoil ammo, I can practice all day long accurately, and loaded up with stout loads, I'm ready all the way to moose. And what is more reliable and durable than a stainless single-shot .30-06 (or .270) with a fixed power scope?

For the record, I have no qualms against using a .30-06 against a New England moose and there are plenty taken with .270s and .308s as well. They tend to dress out in the 600-800 pound range from all of the successful hunters I've talked to. Occasionally there are monsters in the 900 and over range, but I don't think they're the norm.

Mike Wazowski
October 3, 2006, 08:55 PM
I was sort of kicking around the idea of picking up an Encore in .243 WSSM. Not sure if there is much to be gained over standard .243, but I like the look of that short fat cartridge. Short and fat, now thats something I can relate to. :)

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