Help on Caliber Choice


August 31, 2009, 12:37 PM
So a local outdoor store sent out a mailer last week touting a big sale during the week after labor day. I have been looking for a hunting rifle (my first) and they are advertising the Marlin XL7(synthetic/Blued) for $269.95 Good price for a good starter rifle (from everything i have read) and would leave me a bit of money to buy some halfway decent glass.

It is available in .270 and 30-06. Which to choose? I know they are both more than capable of the whitetail deer that I plan to pursue. I am leaning toward the 30-06 just for future versatility, as I know it will take anything up to (and including?) the big brown bears. Also, ammo is more widely available.

Any good reason to reconsider and go for the .270? Or am I on the right track?

Recoil difference is not really an issue for me, FWIW.

Thanks in advance.


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August 31, 2009, 12:46 PM
Flip a coin?

I would choose the 30'06, especially if I lived in Maine.


August 31, 2009, 12:46 PM
The .30-06 would be my choice if you plan to ever use it on anything bigger than deer. You can't go wrong with the -06 as a first rifle.

August 31, 2009, 12:47 PM
Get the 30-06 for all the reasons you've mentioned...

personally, I don't see any advantages to a .270 over a 30-06. Not knocking the .270


August 31, 2009, 12:51 PM
Go with the 30-06. It has better factory loadings than the .270 for bigger game.

August 31, 2009, 12:51 PM
They are both the same. The .06 has a greater variety of bullet loads for groundhogs to grizzlies. The .270 also operates at a higher chamber pressure.

N'uff said.

August 31, 2009, 12:53 PM
thats pretty much what i have been thinking, but I am no ballistics expert, so I thought I'd throw it out there for the more educated and experienced among us.

August 31, 2009, 12:54 PM

I once heard a guide explain he'd rather have a hunter carry a 30-06 he could confidently place on a brown bear, than a 338 magnum he was afraid to shoot.


Proof of how marketing and good press can make a REAL winner. There were plenty of cartridges in that power range, military and wildcat, that were everything the 270 claimed in 1925. But the European stuff was rare here, and the wildcats would make it hard for Winchester to make and sell exclusive ammo and guns. More of a varmints to big deer, black bear number.

August 31, 2009, 01:17 PM

Your thoughts for versatility are correct with the 30 caliber. I think you would really benefit from reloading later on down the road...then you can really see what a wide range the 30-06 covers. I've never been into a country store or big name sportsman shop that didn't have a few different boxes of 30-06 ammo either.

I'm not knocking the .270 either, but seriously, the 30-06 and .270 are both great rounds. When making a decision like this, these two are sometimes hard to compare what makes one better.

August 31, 2009, 01:17 PM

August 31, 2009, 01:39 PM
30-06, much more options in ammunition for various tasks and if you pick up handloading, it is a dream to work with.

If recoil is an issue for you, then the .270.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
August 31, 2009, 01:42 PM
Although I'm a huge fan of the .270, in this case I'd opt for .30-06 since there's meese up there, and a long shot is probably 100 yards in the woods.

August 31, 2009, 02:00 PM
I'll throw my hat into the 30.06 ring as well.

Uncle Mike
August 31, 2009, 03:51 PM
WOW...nobody has tried to change your mind as to the caliber they think you should use other than those two....hmmm

As for my opinion...30-06.

August 31, 2009, 06:45 PM
I shot my Maine moose last year with the old 06. My next project after my 375 will be to take a M70 06 and rebarrel to 338-06 and make up a total all weather rig.

But the 06 worked quite well. Unfortunately, my old boy was coming up out of a bog and at the first shot to the point of his shoulder, he decided the bog was a better deal and I spined him to dump him on the spot. 3 breaths later and he was out. we have a medical deferral for this year's hunt until next year so we will get to see what my dad's 375 will do to a bullwinkle chucking 300 grain partitions. I have a feeling I already know...

August 31, 2009, 09:38 PM
I'd go with the 30-06. Its the best choice for the single rifle owning hunter. Better choice for moose than the .270, if you decide to hunt them at some point in the future. If you have the funds and want another rifle, you can always buy another dedicated deer rifle in a lesser caliber in the future.

August 31, 2009, 10:13 PM
Although I have loved my 270 cal rifles I have to go with everyone else say go for the 06. The 30 cal is just so versitle when it comes to reloading you can't go wrong with one!! Thats why I got myself a 300 win mag :evil: and sold the ol' 270 off.

August 31, 2009, 10:18 PM
If it's your first bolt action hunting rifle - Ought Six! You can get "specialized" rifles later.

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