Buying new rifle- now what caliber???


evan price
December 1, 2008, 02:14 AM
I've been looking for rifle that shoots MOA out of the box for a 300-yd gun. I've settled on the Tikka T3 Lite.

Now, what caliber?

Generally, my rifle loading has been to duplicate military surplus loads for my military rifles, stuff that was generally accurate, but economical, moderately powered, vanilla stuff. I load a bit of "accurate" boltgun ammo but it isn't meticulously researched like some guys seem to do.

I originally thought .308 Win would be the way to go since I already load .308 for my semiautos and have brass, 165-gr SSTs, etc. Then I realized all that stuff holds true for .30-06, and I have brass for that too...

Then I saw that they are available in 6.5x55, and I already load that for my M38 Swede carbine. I love the 6.5 cartridge. I like its flat trajectory and versatility. Got a lot of Hornady bullets for it, too.

BUT, they are also available in 8mm Mauser, and I have dies and brass and bullets for THAT rifle, thanks to my Turk. And that's about the same as a .30-06.

Then I realized I could have it in ANY caliber they made by buying dies and components. Sounds SILLY to say that, but I literally had an epipheny while I suddenly realized I might be limiting my choices just because I "already had" that caliber. :o

Now, thanks to this epiphaney, I suddenly realize I don't know what makes a caliber good, or bad. I don't know why people would want one or another, except for longer range shooting, bigger is better. :confused:

I'm not going to be hunting, except for coyotes now and then, and my aim is a 300-yard MOA shooter.

I'm looking to avoid the Magnum calibers because I won't be hunting heavy game. I also want nothing smaller than .22-250, because I want to take 'yotes with it and .223 runs out of gas at 300 yards.

I want something versatile and economic and accurate.

Why do I get the feeling I just opened up a whole new way to spend a lot of money? :cool:

The Choices I would consider:

22-250 Rem
243 Win
308 Win
6.5x55 SE

The "long" calibers:
270 Win
30-06 Sprg
8x57 IS

Now, I'm not looking for "Buy THIS one because it is cool!"

I'm seriously wondering what the pros and cons of a rifle cartridge are...

Is there a written resource?

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December 1, 2008, 02:18 AM
I'm not sure if Tikka chambers a rifle for it or not...but I would get a 260 Remington if I was thinking about any 6.5mm round....otherwise I'd get a 308 (I have 4 of those...and soon to be 5 when I get the Rem 750 Carbine)

Pro's of the 260:
Harder hitting than 243
Flatter shooting than 308
Easier on barrels than 243
Often extremely accurate

Cons: Not a lot of factory ammo available

Pros of the 308:
Its ALL good in my opinion (<<<that is based on some experience)

Cons: Can't think of any that pertain to me and what I use it for

December 1, 2008, 03:24 AM
Why not a .204? I know a few hard core varmint hunters that swear by them.

That being said I have a Tikka in a stainless/laminate configuration chambered for .243 and I love it.

Will Fennell
December 1, 2008, 07:45 AM
They make the T3 in .260, but not for the US market......if they did, I would have at least one already;) But, the 6.5 Swede, if you reload, is realistically the same. I have one in 6.5 Swede, and it shoots GREAT, regularly posting 3 shot groups in the .5-.75 range.

One of the great things about the 6.5's is the light recoil, and since the T3 is a relatively light rifle, that is a good thing.

Heck, I like it so much, I'm considering getting another one in stainless, just to be different.

December 1, 2008, 07:52 AM
If your already loading 6.5x55 for your mauser, then It would be economically prudent to purchase a T3 in that caliber as well. At 300 yards you t notice a difference in most of those calibers anyway.

December 1, 2008, 09:38 AM
6.5 will be everything a .308 is and a bit more, due to less recoil, it is flatter shooting, ect. That would be my choice.

December 1, 2008, 09:56 AM
I'll vote for the 30-06... So many loading choices you can make it good for anything from prairie dogs, to coyote, to whitetail, to elk, all the way to bear. Brass is everywhere, and its cheap, and no matter where you go in the world pretty much every gun shop will have 30-06 rounds.

Did I mention its cheap? :evil:

Art Eatman
December 1, 2008, 11:10 AM
I've always gotten sub-MOA with my '06 at 100 yards. I built a 500-yard range here at the house, and found that I got sub-MOA there as well.

Probably do the same with .308 or most others...

December 1, 2008, 12:02 PM
Since you're just punching paper and song-dogs I would say the .22/250, mostly because it is inexpemsive and low on the blast/recoil scale.

But I can see some advantage in you getting another 6.5x55 too. Maybe the MOA loads you work up for the new Swede will transfer over being great ;loads in the old Swede too.

If none of that Logic appeals to you, get a .243 because it is the Primo varmint/deer caliber and easily MOA on paper too.

Good Luck !


December 1, 2008, 12:14 PM
Howa YOuth in 7 mm 08.

December 1, 2008, 12:19 PM
Just by chance I read in our local Colorado Springs classified SAKO .280 Syn $500.00
The 6.5x55 is probably better for what you want. I have alway wanted a 280 Remington.

rust collector
December 1, 2008, 01:43 PM
In my experience, I have gotten the best accuracy out of the 6.5 and 308. While 308 is no punisher, the 6.5 is so pleasant to shoot and works so well for hunting and target shooting, that I have to recommend it.

That is not to disparage any of the other cartridges. They're all fine, but the 6.5 is just a little better compromise than most.

evan price
December 2, 2008, 12:07 AM
Yeah, after a lot of consideration I'm stuck between .308 and 6.5x55. I like the 6.5 because of the flat trajectory and the versatile nature of the round, but the .308 is if anything more versatile and more common, plus if I got in a bad situation in terms of money, a .308 would be easier to sell off, I imagine.

So that's it- .308 vs 6.5x55 Swede. Decisions, decisions.

December 2, 2008, 12:27 AM
I own and have hunted successfully with my T3 Lite in 270 Winchester. It is the most accurate out of the box rifle I own. It also is the smoothest action of all my rifles. The only con I can think of is the plastic stock looks and feels a bit cheap. Otherwise it is in my opinion the best value rifle on the market today.

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