4 Hunting Rifles/ Different Situations


D Boone
November 9, 2009, 09:42 AM
I live in eastern NC. Its flat and some long shots do present themselves from time to time. That being said, I have a 30/30 and I am thinking I need another longer range capable rifle. Something out to 400yds max. This would be for whitetail, boar, and maybe black bear, and the 400yds would be an extremely rare shot. Most times 200yrds or under, but the capability of a longer shot would be nice. I have an Norinco M14 that I have thought about scoping, but the I hate to spend that kind of money on the mount to find out if its accurate enough. So.... my next situation would be bigger game hunting out west. Say, elk most likely, maybe a trip to Alaska in the future. I am thinking stay with 30/30, maybe purchase a .308 bolt gun or scope the M14. I like the lever so I would get a Marlin guide gun in 45/70, for short ranges. The fourth caliber would be a magnum of some sort?

All that to say, what would be your choices? 30/30 is going to stay, the rest are completely debatable. I was thinking .308 just because I have the M14, but if a bolt gun wouldn't be chambered to take 7.62 as well as .308 then I don't know if it would be worth it and I would just go with another caliber.

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November 9, 2009, 10:00 AM
I'd say buy a 7mm Mag or 300 Mag and call it good.

November 9, 2009, 10:05 AM
You will have to work hard to beat one of those.

November 9, 2009, 10:14 AM
Or you could buy a Browning BLR in any of several suitable calibers, including .308, scope it, and have your accurate long range rifle, in a lever action.

One stop shopping. :rolleyes:

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 9, 2009, 10:29 AM
These chamberings are some of the better long-range large & very large game choices, IMO, just to get you started:

.260 Rem
6.5x55 Swedish
6.5-284 Norma
.264 Win Mag
.270 Win
.270 WSM
7mm-08 Rem
7x57 Mauser
.280 Rem
.284 Win
7mm Rem Mag
7mm WSM
Other various and sundry 7 maggies

With my top choices bolded, if you're including elk, moose, etc. There's a *reason* why .270s and 7mms are so popular among big game shooters out west. They hit the sweet spot between long range external ballistic performance, and terminal performance on large game. With tough-bullet technology being what it is today, some of the 6.5mm chamberings can serve well here, too.

FWIW, my "long-range, out-west, etc." big game rifle is chambered in .280 Remington. IMO, it's the perfect balance of cartridge efficiency, recoil, external ballistic performance, bullet choices, cheap brass, and terminal performance. The biggest bison, yak, moose, coastal brownie, polar bear, or anything else that's walked on this continent the last 3,000 years would fall to it instantly with a brain shot, and easily but not instantly with a standard vitals shot. Personally, I'd never take a shot past 400 yards, and only shoot past 300 in the most extreme situations (trophy animal, calm winds, good field rest, etc.). The .280 will get me there under 400 with minimal wind drift and drop.

The ultimate laser-like trajectory while still maintaining a 130-plus bullet weight is the .270 WSM, or the .264 Win Mag. If my livelihood depended upon killing sheep, goats, mulies, elk, etc. across canyons, I'd get one of these; probably the .270 WSM.

But there's not 2 scrunthairs worth of real-world difference in those listed in external ballistic performance inside 350 yards, so take your pick.

IMO, .308 Win, .30-'06 and .300 maggies, though fine for this use, too, are taking a step backwards in long range performance, due to slower velocities and poorer BCs. AND a step forward in flinch production.

And we live in the golden age of quality turnbolts. Get one; it will serve much better for this use than a gawd-awful-expensive accessorized M14 type. Cheaper, lighter, more reliable, more accurate, easier to clean, easier to sight in, etc.

If you get a T/C Icon by Nov 30th, you get a $150 rebate from T/C. So just get a .270 win or 7mm rem mag Icon and be done with it, if you're in a hurry. :)

November 9, 2009, 10:33 AM
My local sporting goods store had the Remington 770 in 7mm Rem. mag for sale this last weekend for 379$, with a 3X9 scope. A 7mm will cover just about any hunting situation you can come up with in North America, from big bull moose, to little pronghorn antalope at extreme distance. 7mm bullets have some of the highest ballistic coefficients made, so it's perfect for long distance shooting. It might be a little light for Alaskan Grizzlies, but with heavy bullets and good target selection, it should be OK.

I have a 7mm and I handload Speer's 130 grain spizter to 7mm Mauser levels for regular deer hunting. Shot a deer with that load and it took just two steps before falling over dead. Recoil was light enough that I didn't notice the gun going off while shooting the deer. It's a Savage bolt action, which can give me 0.75" groups at 100 yards from sandbags.

November 9, 2009, 10:42 AM
If you like lever guns, look into the .338 Marlin Express.

November 9, 2009, 02:36 PM
In my opinion if you want 4 rifles to do it all in North America, .22 Long rifle, .204 Ruger, .243 Winchester and 7mm Remington mag will do it all.

Use the .22 and .204 to practice long range technique (trigger control, rest, hold), you will most likely never burn the barrel out with them.

.243 and 7 mag will take deer at about any range, 7 mag for anything bigger than deer.

November 9, 2009, 02:56 PM
This is not rocket science. .22, .223 & .308 (or .30-06) and 12 GA with multiple chokes.

You can now hunt any animal in the Americas properly.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 9, 2009, 03:49 PM
To follow up on the long range post, to addressing your "battery of guns" question.

FWIW, after a lot of caliber-eliminating, my 4-gun battery right now for North American large game (not counting varmints, SHTF, etc., and not counting muzzleloaders), consists of rifles chambered in .243 win, .260 Rem, .280 Rem, and .45-70 gov't. Yeah I have a .30-30 and some other chamberings, but am focusing on those 4 for now.

My theoretical 3-gun battery for Africa (for when I get there) consists of rifles chambered in .30-'06 (plains game), 9.3x62mm (BIG plains game and smaller DG), and .45-70 gov't (Bigger DG). On that continent, bigger critters + meaner critters = bigger guns. I hope to add a .416 Rigby, .404 Jeffrey, .458 Lott, or similar someday.

As you can see, the .45-70 serves as the "utility man" in dual roles.

November 9, 2009, 05:07 PM
An ideal 4 hunting rifle battery for everything in the planet that will not break the bank and with easy to find and inexpensive (within their own segment) ammunition:

223 (varmint), 30-06 (where the 223 quit up to the big bruins), 45-70 (a handy leveraction for brush environment and wildlife protection) and 458 Win Mag (elephant anyone??)...if you can spare few hundred dollar more get a pump 12 ga. shotgun and a 22 LR rifle....and you are good to go everywhere

Try to beat that guys.....:evil::D

November 9, 2009, 05:17 PM
I have a 6.5 x 55, 7-08, 7MM BR, and a 7 Remington Mag - if I had to get down to one to do what you're describing, (outside of Alaskan Brownies), it would be the 7 Remington Mag. Can take elk, caribou, moose, black bears, mulies, white tails (a tad over kill except at beanfield distances), with equal aplomb. A 140 for smaller game, the 160 partition for larger....good to go....mine has been for over 30 years

November 9, 2009, 07:10 PM
I have an Norinco M14 that I have thought about scoping, but the I hate to spend that kind of money on the mount to find out if its accurate enough.

If yours is like mine its probably not accurate enough. Mine's reliable but it's never done much better than 10 shots into 4" at 100 yards off sandbags with ammo my FAL puts into 2".

The M14 iron sights are very good, if you have a load that puts 10 shots in to 2" at 100 yards (or 1" at 50 yards if you are not so good with irons) then I'd say scoping your Norinco for longer ranges would be worthwhile.


D Boone
November 9, 2009, 07:21 PM
Ok, so a lot of votes for the 7mm mag for big game hunting. I have 3 or 4 .22 cal rifles, a .223. Plenty of shottys. I guess I was looking more at what 4 rifle calibers you would have for North American Big game given two different terrain situations. One is brushy with short shots, less than 150 yards, and one is long range 150-400yards. Maybe that clarifies the thought process a bit. I know 30/30 has its issues, but under 150yards has killed plenty of deer. Its also a gun that just feels right for the role, which leads me to the marlin 45-70 for the same type of role with bigger game afoot. So the long range rifles are where I am pretty indecisive. I like .308, but wonder if I wouldn't be better served with a .270 or 30-06

November 9, 2009, 08:50 PM
I currently own 4 rifles, I have a 1950's era 22mag in a mossberg bolt rifle, A 30-06 in a sporterized Mauser 98, a Win 94 in 30-30, and a Bull-barrelled .223 in a Savage with a thumbhole stock with an Accu trigger. I feel comfortable saying that I can take any game on this continent, especially if you include my Rem 870, 12 GA. I have killed deer and hogs out past 200 yds w/ the aught-six, the 30-30 and .223 have both killed deer, and the 22 mag has dispatched many a rabbit, within 150 yds. These are all relatively cheap and accessible for ammo, and exceptionally accurate.(Especially the savage .223!)

As far as needing a magnum chambering in the states, I have to disagree. I have owned a 270 WSM, and found that for my purposes, my 30-06 had all the same capability, for about half the cost in factory ammo. I have never regretted selling that rifle, but am now leaning toward an AR to fill the .223 role for predators, and serve double duty in case of a 3-gun shoot, appleseed event, etc.

Also, I do like the 45-70 for Hogs and bears, but don't find it to be terribly superior to a good .30 caliber, or 7mm chambering on either animal. I don't hunt buffalo or African game so I can't speak out of a need for a big bore. I have worked as a guide for deer and hog hunting in South Texas, and I have worried less when I see a hunter take out an old bolt, or lever gun in .308 or even 30-30, than a guy with the newest, fastest, biggest scoped Remington Ultra Mag. Usually the guy with the milder recoiling rifle gets out to shoot more often, because he can afford to, and doesn't suffer from recoil related illnesses after a range trip, and I subsequently didn't have to track his animal very far, if at all.

November 10, 2009, 11:11 AM
I like mild rounds, .260 will do deer nicely to 400 yards. For the Elk and bigger I'd consider the .338 Federal. If you would like to do both the .280 is nothing to sneez at, could be small when claws are too close to you though:eek:


Arkansas Paul
November 10, 2009, 11:32 AM
The .280 Rem is an absolute dandy and has plenty of range for what you're doing. I am biased though, because it is my personal favorite round. Sounds like I'm not the only one either. You can load it with lighter bullets for deer and basically have a .270 or you can load it with heavier bullets and get near 7 mag performance. In the speer reloading manual, with the same powders and bullets, some loads have less than a 20 fps difference.
That being said, if that trip to Alaska is going to include any big bears, I'd step up the ladder a little more power wise.

November 10, 2009, 07:39 PM
First off--great forum, I been lurkin' for a long while and glad to join in from SC.

I believe I could do it all (excepting DG only in Africa) with a .204Ruger (table game/varmint/predator), a 7mm-08 (predator/hogs thru mulies), a .358Win. in a Savage 99(just for fun) and a .338-06.
On a list of 5, I'd add a 12ga. for woodcock to waterfowl to bear to self-protection.

On a list of 10, I could have some real fun! "So many guns, so little time...":D

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