Heavy Rifle


November 28, 2008, 11:33 PM
I am trying to create a well rounded rifle battery and I recently realized that I do not have a true heavy rifle. This rifle would be my go to for hunting large game, at least all the N.American big game. If i can afford African big game later in life, Ill find a way to get a proper gun for the game. My current rifles include 17HMR, 22LR, 223, 243, 308 and 45-70. My current thinking is that the 308 and 45-70 are medium game rounds and that a more powerful round would not be overlapping there uses. I have looked at 338 Fed and WM as well as the 358Win.

Can I justify a heavy gun, and if so what should i look at?

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November 28, 2008, 11:35 PM
I thought 45-70 was good enough for everything in North America? What gun do you have it in?(A springfield trapdoor can't fire some of the hotter loads.)

November 28, 2008, 11:36 PM
Step up to the 338 Winchester Magnum

November 28, 2008, 11:38 PM
the 45-70 is in a marlin guide gun but I dont currently handload so im stuck with factory rounds

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 28, 2008, 11:42 PM
Look at my last post in this thread over in hunting:


as well as the rest of the thread.

November 28, 2008, 11:48 PM
Well, do you really need a heavy rifle or do you just want one? If the latter is the case then practicality really isn't an issue and you should simply get what pleases you.

You make a leap from 308 to 45/70 so maybe the 338 would fill that gap. Of course, I favor the classic 375 H&H. Either is too much for North American hunting save bison or large bears so we come back to are you seeking what you need or what you want?

Depending on the rifle, the 45/70 can approach the 458 Winchester in power with hand loads so you may already have a fairly heavy rifle. If you want a suggestion, I like the CZ 550 line. The 550 is a true magnum Mauser available in several big calibers. I have an older CZ 602 in 375 that I like very much.


Bear in mind that big rifle carry a big recoil. I have a Remington Model 30s that I built into a 460 Jeffery (about midway between the 458 Win and the 460 Weatherby) and while it's a beautiful rifle I don't shoot it much because the severe recoil beats me to death.

Here's the 460.


November 29, 2008, 12:06 AM
There's no game in North America that a well placed shot, using the right bullet, from a .308 or a .45-70 won't kill. Big bears included. However, "I want one" is reason enough.
"...the 358 Win..." Not enough advantage over a .308 with like bullet weights. Just 200 to 300 ft-lbs of energy more with a 180 grain bullet. About the same with a 250 grain bullet. The ammo isn't necessarily easy to find either. Certainly not in small places.
If you insist, look into a .300 Win Mag. With like 180 grain bullets, it has 347 ft-lbs more energy than a .308 at 500 yards. 487 ft-lbs more at 300. And it shoots flatter. Plus the ammo is usually available in small places. That's important if you get off on a hunt only to find you left your ammo on the kitchen table.

November 29, 2008, 12:48 AM
Gosh, just to want one.. I gotta say 300winmag or 338winmag.


November 29, 2008, 02:34 AM
I would say "heavy" rifles begin at 404's. The 338 and 375's are good mediums, heavy to most, but still mediums. It's rather in vogue now to tout the 45-70. That's fine and good, but the 45-70 is not a true fight stopper. For most all general big game hunting in N America, even Africa, the 338 win mag should do most everything without being too overgunned nor very far from being undergunned.

The 338 Fed is a lame ass attempt at.... well... I don't know. It can't be placed in the same tier as the Win Mag. a 348 is pretty cool too, as is a 35 Whelen, which is as much as a fellow could use.

November 29, 2008, 03:10 AM
id like to stay away from magnums if possible, hows the 35 whelen look compared to the 308?

November 29, 2008, 09:48 AM
The 35 Whelen is as close to "Heavy" as you can get in a medium bore without going magnum. With a good muzzle brake and stock to fit you and the gun, it is pleasant to shoot and very effective with bullets to 250 gr., in my experience. My brother carried mine home with him so I'm building another one, and I choose to use a mauser action.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 29, 2008, 10:07 AM
The 35 Whelen is as close to "Heavy" as you can get in a medium bore without going magnum.

Yep, that and 9.3x62mm.

Al Thompson
November 29, 2008, 10:17 AM
35 Whelen is a great cartridge. I'd say that handloading is almost required with the .35 though - some of the factory ammo I've seen is not very good.

My next caliber will be .35 Whelen. :)

November 29, 2008, 10:27 AM
The 338 Win Mag will do everything that needs doing. Link to Remington's XCR.




November 29, 2008, 03:11 PM
I also have a 338-06. When stacked up against a 338 Win Mag using factory ammo and my handloaded 338-06 both with 24" barrels and 200 gr. bullets, My 338-06 was only 79 FPS average less than the Magnum and I did it with cheaper brass, 30% less powder and substantially less recoil. Granted the chronograph was a cheap Chrony, But!!!!!!!

November 29, 2008, 03:32 PM
With proper bullet selection, the 45-70 will kill any land mammal on the planet. If you need more recoil, by all means get a larger cartridge, but your 308 is capable of taking most N. American game. If you absolutely need to buy a larger rifle, I'd say get a 300 or 338 win mag, or even a 325 WSM.

November 29, 2008, 08:24 PM
.458 socom Very similar to 45-70 on a drop in AR upper!! Nothing but good reports as far as I can tell....


November 29, 2008, 09:02 PM
In the right rifle, .45-70 pushes the performance of a .458 Winchester. The Marlin Guide Gun will probably handle the pressure, but will possibly beat you like a red-headed stepchild in the process.

I have a .35 Whelen built on a 1917 Eddystone action. Mine has a long barrel, and throws a 250 grain bullet at 2500 f/s. If that gives you any idea of the relative power delivered.

November 29, 2008, 09:04 PM
check out the 338. lapua that will take anything in north America down

December 20, 2008, 07:54 PM
338 winmag can do it all so long as you can handle it...

December 20, 2008, 10:32 PM
Another vote for the .338 win mag. I have 3 of them, and love them all.

December 21, 2008, 08:24 PM
You mention staying away from the "magnums" so I won't say .338 or .375 mags, but what can't be done with either of them? My only other sugestion would be the 30-06 because it can handle hevier bullets than the 308, and can drop anything in North America if you do your part. If that isn't what you're looking for you're gonna have to handload to get the performance of other cartrges up to near magnum level. .338-08, .338-06, .35 whelen, .338-284, any of a bewildering assortment of british and continent calibers... I'd just go with the .338 winchester and learn to shoot it as I have.

December 21, 2008, 11:21 PM
For NAmerica the 45/70 is just fine. Get the loaded ammo from Buffalo Bore they load it hot for the big stuff. Its pricey yes. But its not as expensive as a new rifle. |

Now you seem like the type that wants a rife just so you can get a new rifle. I can definitely respect that. I would like a 350 Remington Magnum myself but the 375 HH is going to be the supreme fight stopper for North American big game.

Try getting the BuffBore ammo though as well and you will wish the Marlin Guide gun was a few pounds heavier.

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