.280 Vs 7mm-08...


November 2, 2003, 05:10 PM
I'm thinking about getting a NEF handy rifle in one of these calibers. Basicly I'm looking for a cheap "do anything" hunting rifle. When I have more money I'm planning on making myself a custom Mauser (I'm thinking .35 whelen), but I'm a student and so I have a very limited budget, so the Mauser will have to wait for a year or two. I already have a handy rilfe "Ultra" in .22 WMR and love it (in fact it is the most accurate rifle I've got), so I think I'll like one in a larger caliber. So here are my questions:

#1: What caliber would you pick and why

#2: Is either caliber "powerful" enough for use on Elk? If so,at what distance?

#3: should I forget the whole 7mm thing and go for a .30 caliber? I'm thinking the 7mm rounds will kick a little less and shoot a little flatter, but I might consider something like .308 Winchester...

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Mike Irwin
November 2, 2003, 05:19 PM
Either is a good choice, really. Ballistics are close, with an edge of anywhere from 100 to 200 fps. in similar bullet weights going to the .280.

The .280 is based on the .30-06 case, which gives you more room in the case for slightly slower burning powders.

They're both a little on the light side, to my way of thinking, for elk, but they would both do with proper bullets and properly chosen shots.

Al Thompson
November 2, 2003, 05:24 PM
Agree with Mike. I would go with a .308 simply to use inexpensive surplus ammo - more bang for the buck. IMHO, mot much difference in hunting capability between .270 through .30-06. Just use good tough bullets with high sectional density. That .03 is not much. :)

November 2, 2003, 06:14 PM
Personally, I think that the .270, .280, and 30-06 will do what ever you need to do. Its been done with a lot less over the years. As far as magnums go, they work but are expensive to buy and shoot. Most people don't shoot and in many cases don't have the ability to shoot at the ranges people talk about in the same breath as magnum rifles. Much of that extra money would be better spent at a range practicing with a less expensive nonmagnum rifle and some ammo.

Keeping in that line of thinking, Al is right on the money suggesting a .308. It will do pretty much everything the others will and there is a lot of cheap surplus ammo out there. A lot of game has been taken with alot of good guns in.308.

November 2, 2003, 06:16 PM
#3: should I forget the whole 7mm thing and go for a .30 caliber?
In the case of the 30-06 family of cartridges, there's plenty to be said for the newer members; the .270 & .280. Since they're newer than their daddy, they are loaded to higher chamber pressures, which means faster projectiles & more recoil. I feel about the same kick from a 150 grain 270 as a 180 grain 30-06. 7mm-08 and .308 are a little "lighter". That said, any of them should take an elk.

Here's some 300 yard example energies in ft/lbs (Ballistic Silvertips, 300 yards is about the limit for mortals like me):

130 grain .270 Win - 1684.8 (no 150 grain Ballistic Silvertip in my chart)
140 grain .280 Rem - 1897.9
140 grain 7mm-08 - 1504.4
168 grain 30-06 - 1871.6
180 grain .308 - 1557.3

For whatever it's worth, a 300 grain 45-70 Government is "only" about 810 foot pounds at that range, and it took plenty of buffalo in it's day and elk too, I'm sure.

My choice was .270 win (for now, more rifles later). The ammo is easier to come by than .280 and cheaper too (unless you reload, of course).

My 2 cents.


November 2, 2003, 10:49 PM
I should clear something up here. Ammo cost is not a factor, I reload. What I really want to know is how much different these calibers are in terms of preformance. I'm looking for a rifle that is:

A: big enough for Elk without being overkill for deer.

B: The less recoil, the better. I'm not scared of recoil (I shoot my Dad's .338 Win Mag fairly often), I just think less recoil = more fun

C: The less it drops the better. I hate having to aim 10 feet high at 200 yards...

D: I have to be able to get an NEF handy rifle in whatever caliber I pick. This limits my options to:


Mike Irwin
November 2, 2003, 11:43 PM
Well, given those criteria, the .243 is right out. Great cartridge, not enough for elk.

.25-06 has a good flat trajectory, but it's also marginal for elk.

.270 and .280 are both good, proven cartridges with flat trajectory and with proper bullets will take an elk.

7mm-08 is a little less powerful than the .270/.280, as we've discussed.

.308 and .30-06 probably have the loopiest trajectories of the rounds that you've listed, but are the best choices for elk.

A .30-06 with a 180-gr. bullet is great moderate-range elk music.

November 2, 2003, 11:45 PM
I'd go with the .280. I have a Handi-Rifle in that chambering & am quite satisfieb with it (and the other 4 .280s in the safe) The NEF is surprisingly accurate for a break open design. A gunsmithing acquaintance did tell me that he thought the guns were soft in the hinge pin area & might shoot loosesooner than you might like. He based that on the fact that it's a shotgun design adopted to rifle use & the higher pressures fgenerated by centerfire big game rounds would shorten its service somewhat. Don't know if it would be true or not,but I don't think I would reload any "hot" loads for it. BTW the 7-08 is a fine cartridge also. My infatuation with the .280 pre-dates the 7-08by at least 15-20 years, once again reminding myself that I am nearly an Old F==t.

November 3, 2003, 01:31 AM
I like the NEF design for a number of reasons:

#1: It's cheaper

#2: The hammer. I don't like safteys, I don't trust them. I like the idea of carrying it with a loaded chamber but with the hammer down while hunting. Its safe, but still fast when it comes time to shoot. It also makes alot less noise than the "clicky" sound the safteys make on most bolt action rifles. I carry my Model 1894 Winchester this way when I hunt with it.

#3: It's accurate. My "Ultra" NEF in .22 WMR out shoots rifles that cost 3 times more...

I also have a 12 ga NEF shotgun, but it suffered a terrible accident. Not long after buying it (about a year ago), I took it target shooting. A friend (and co-worker) of mine was with me, and he invited one of the girls we work with to go too, because she had never shot before and wanted to learn. Anyway, we get up to our shooting spot out in the woods and teach the newby all the saftey stuff and then teach her to shoot handguns. My NEF 12 ga was the only long gun we had on this trip, and she wanted to try something different (I guess the handguns were getting boring). So I said it was okay, but that she should beware of the recoil, and asked if she still wanted to try it, knowing that it would kick. She said yes, so I gave her a 2 and 3/4 inch shell with #7 shot, that was the lightest load I had at the time (I also had some 3 inch mags with #4 buckshot). Anyway, to make a long story short, the 12 ga kicked more than she thought it would, and she droped it on the ground after firing it, I guess because it was scary. This of course bent the barrel a little, and my brand new shotgun doesn't shoot so good anymore. Its no good for trap shooting, but it works for shooting at pop cans at 10 feet, so it isn't a total loss. And it was only $80.00, but it still made me angry...

Anyway, back on topic...

Most the calibers avaible are too small. The ones I'm really considering are .270, 7mm-08, .308, .30-06, and .280. At first I thought I wanted a .270, but then I looked it up in my Speer reloading manual and compared it to .280, and noticed that I get similar preformance but a much wider range of bullet weights with the .280. So .270 is pretty much at the bottom of my list right now. Then I looked at 7mm-08 because it had similar preformance to the .280, but in a smaller package. So thats why .280 and 7mm-08 are at the top of my list...

November 3, 2003, 08:36 AM
FWIW, short cartidges have less recoil than do longer, "standard" cartridges. They have less powder, and since powder exits the barrel (burned) also, it is a large component of recoil. Couple the smaller amount of powder with a generally slightly lower bullet velocity, and you have a significantly lower recoil for the shorter class of cartridges. So, if a 7mm-0/.308 cartridge will do what you want done, it's a good choice, particularly for a handloader.


November 3, 2003, 01:57 PM
Take this as the cheap opinion it is, but I've always looked at 7mm cartridges as a solution in search of a problem. Since you handload, you can do anything with a 30-06 that the 280 can do. I'm guessing that 30-06 ammo is about as available as it can be for those who don't load their own.

With that said, I like the 7-08 which is what my scout rifle is chambered in.


November 3, 2003, 09:43 PM
One more thing to consider is that the .280 HandiRifle has a 26" barrel, while all the others are 22". (That's probably why barrel replacement is more for the .280).
So a .280 has a kind of leg up when propelled from a Handi Rifle, for whatever it's worth. More recoil, though.


November 4, 2003, 01:52 AM
I guess what I really want to know is:

Will 7mm-08 be an effective elk round at say 300 or 400 yards?

Will 280 be an effective elk round at 300 or 400 yards?

If I shoot an elk with a 7mm-08, and then shoot it again with a .280, could it tell the differance?

Looking at my reloading manual, I see that I can use 175 gr bullets in either caliber. I also see that factory loads do not use bullets this heavy. Is the twist rate of the barrels in these rifles better suited for lighter bullets?

I also assume that these 175 gr bullets were designed with 7mm Magnum in mind. Will a 7mm-08 or .280 push them fast enough for them to reliably expand?

November 4, 2003, 12:25 PM
Will 7mm-08 be an effective elk round at say 300 or 400 yards? Will 280 be an effective elk round at 300 or 400 yards?
Given good shot placement, yes for both.
If I shoot an elk with a 7mm-08, and then shoot it again with a .280, could it tell the differance?
The .280 would whump it a little harder. Beyond that, shot placement will likely matter more.
Is the twist rate of the barrels in these rifles better suited for lighter bullets?
More than likely it's optimized for the middle of the available bullet weight range, you'd have to look up the twist rates and run the math.


Mike Irwin
November 4, 2003, 12:53 PM
300 to 400 yards is, quite frankly, pushing it for a 7mm bullet at these velocities against something as heavy as an elk.

If you expect those kind of ranges, choose a heavier caliber, at a minimum .30-06, something in the .300 Mag. category is even better.

November 5, 2003, 05:11 PM
300 to 400 yards is, quite frankly, pushing it...
I agree. Hopefully, I didn't make it sound like I thought it was optimal. But the 7-08 at 400 yards still has over 1000 ft-lbs, which is supposed to be OK.

Personally, I don't think I could even make a 400 yard shot in the field.

John Mc

November 5, 2003, 06:31 PM
"Personally, I don't think I could even make a 400 yard shot in the field. "

I dout I could either. I don't think I could hit much beyond 250 yards or so. But I'd like to know what the calibers are capable of. Right now I'm leaning toward the .280, mainly because the NEF in that caliber has a longer barrel. Another reason is, looking once again at my reloading manual, with bullets 160 gr or lighter, the .280 is within 200 FPS of 7mm Magnum.


120 gr @ 3222 FPS
145 gr @ 2975 FPS
160 gr @ 2854 FPS

7mm Mag:

120 gr @ 3389 FPS
145 gr @ 3153 FPS
160 gr @ 3012 FPS

And this data was with 24 inch test barrels, not 26, so I might get a little better results with the 26 incher.

If .280 is capable of taking elk at 400 yards I'd be happy because I dout I'll ever take a shot at one past 300...

Black Snowman
November 5, 2003, 06:36 PM
With tweaked handloads you should be able to make up that 200 FPS with the longer barrel and the extra weight would help reduce recoil. My vote would lean tward the .280 in light of said information (I like long barrel).

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