All around varmint/deer caliber?


January 16, 2011, 06:35 PM
Hey everyone i will soon be purchasing my first rifle: a marlin xl7/xs7. I really like the looks of this rifle but i can't decide on the caliber. I will probably use it for some varmint hunting and i want to get into deer hunting also. The cailbers i'm looking at are
.243 winchester- this looks like a great cartridge for varminting but i'm just not sure if it has enough power for a beginner deer hunter
.25-06 remington- i also like the looks of this one but i am a little worried about the availabilty of factory ammo for it since i don't reload
.270 winchester-i am leaning slightly towards this one as it has plently of power for deer but can be loaded with lower power 100 gr loads for varmints however it still might be a little much even with the lighter loads
All of you thoughts/experiences would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance

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January 16, 2011, 06:40 PM
I like the .25-06. heavier bullets for deer and lighter ones for the pest.


January 16, 2011, 06:58 PM
Out of those 3 I'd go with the .25-06 or .270 and it would come down to if you are the type to buy alot of ammo online once in a while (200+ rounds at a time) or if you are the type to go buy a few boxes each time you go out.

January 16, 2011, 06:59 PM
308 I think would be good.150 to 180 for deer and not sure which for varmint. Guess it depend on twist. Good luck!

January 16, 2011, 07:00 PM
I think .308 or 7-08 are "do all" rounds.

January 16, 2011, 07:22 PM
I have killed around 15 deer with a .243. And my dad, 2 uncles, and grandfather have killed more deer than me with the same rifle. In total, I would estimate this old 700 BDL has taken 50 or 60 deer since the early 1980s when my grandmother gave it to my grandfather for his birthday. It still has the old school Bushnell fixed 4 on top! I have killed and witnessed deer killed WELL with a variation of bullets from 80 grain soft points to 100 gr polymer tips. While it may not be the best, the .243 is a reliable deer cartridge and it is well-known that many people use it for varmints. I like it for it's low recoil.

January 16, 2011, 07:25 PM
Also- keep in mind that while you CAN shoot light bullets through a 270, the rate of twist may not stabilize them well. You should look into this before purchasing.

January 16, 2011, 07:27 PM
Ok will a 1:10 twist rate stabalize a lighter .270 bullet?

January 16, 2011, 07:46 PM

Do you have a rifle chambered in .22lr? If not, this should be you first rifle purchase.

Do you expect to buy another centerfire rifle within the next few years or will you truly be using only this one for both varmints and large game? If you truly expect to use just one centerfire rifle for both varmints and deer for a number of years as well as learn to shoot well with this one rifle, then you would be best served with a .243. Low recoil, accurate and inexpensive ammo to practice with.

If you plan to buy another centerfire rifle within the next year or so, consider getting a .223 now for the varmints, low recoil practice and low ammo cost and then later getting a 270/308/30-06 for large game.

January 16, 2011, 07:52 PM
Yes my dad owns a .22lr and i have and do enjoy shooting it but i would like something a little larger so i can go deer hunting but still take out smaller game and i don't see myself purchasing another centerfire rifle real soon.

January 16, 2011, 08:00 PM
I love how people want to spend other peoples money. Get a .22 first or you will shoot your eye out kid. Same crap on motorcycle forums, buy a 250, then try to unload it. My first bike was a 1200 and I never wrecked or got hurt because I used my brain. Sure the power was there, but use it accordingly. He can hurt himself with a .22 just as much a .308

You know what, but what you want, hell buy a .50 cal Barrett and take out a heard. No reason to spend money one something smaller. It is like telling someone to go buy a bicycle to drive from Florida to Montana because they are only 16 and not alot of miles under their belt.

.270 is a great all around gun, and you can pretty much hunt deer, or even elk with it.

January 16, 2011, 08:00 PM
hey leonard,
a couple of questions for you:
do you reload? if not i would scratch the 25 06 of my list.
which type of hunting will you do the most? sounds to me more like varmit.
regardless, shot placement is everything and as long as you're patient with you're shot selection the 243 would be fine for a 1st rifle. my first rifle was a 243.

i have to admit that i haven't hunted deer with it since i got a 308 years ago. the difference is that the 308 is more purpose built for a specific job.

January 16, 2011, 08:37 PM
Id say , a 243 is hard to beat for a beginner rifle. Less flinching and very accurate round.

January 16, 2011, 08:54 PM
Having grown up in the 60's with an inherited Model Remington 721 in .270 Win. I was in hog heaven. I could kill chucks out to 200 yards with the 2 /1/2 to 4 1/2 power weaver scope that came with the gun. When deer season came along the rifle was ready for deer.

With college out of the way I started reloading for that gun, 110 Sierra for chucks and 130 Nosler 130 for deer. Had all of fun of reloading and shooting whatever presented itself.

I vote for a ,270 Win.

January 16, 2011, 09:06 PM
243 - ammunition is available almost everywhere at reasonable cost and excellent factory loadings are available for both varmints and deer. Additionally, as your first rifle the 243 with factory ammo should recoil a fair bit less than the 270.

ogie dogie
January 16, 2011, 09:34 PM
My first rifle was a 270,but if I could do it over again,I would have started with a 243.Get experience first, before jumping to larger calibers. IMO the 243 is exactly what you need.I just love my 243.Guess what? It,s a Marlin XS7.

January 16, 2011, 09:37 PM
If I could only own one rifle it would be a 243....

red rick
January 16, 2011, 09:42 PM
My vote goes for the .270 WSM, as long as you are not hunting rabbits or squirrels.
It will be the best deer caliber you can choose, IMO and as long as you are not eating the varmits, they will not know what hits them.

January 16, 2011, 10:07 PM
Hornady is loading some very interesting rounds for the .243. They have a hot varmint load (VMax 58 grain) and some "Lite" magnums in their premium lines (95 grain Superfomance SST) that will do quite nicely. Lapua has a "natural solid" that is heavy enough to whack big hogs with. .243 is available at every Wally World and it's often on sale. Maybe .223 is cheaper, but I don't think by much. Graf has Prvi Partizan on sale for $15 box for 100 grain. It's a great all a round gun unless you are going for bigger game (Elk or Moose). By the time you are ready for one of those hunts, you'll be onto CF Rifle number 2 :)

January 16, 2011, 10:15 PM
Yes, start with .243 then move on to .270 or .300 6. You got everything covered.

Robert Wilson
January 16, 2011, 10:45 PM
Interesting for me to see the home state listed for many of the .243 fans here. The .243 is indeed a great cartridge for the miniature deer in Texas and other hot weather states. If the OP lives there, the .243 is a fine suggestion. But if the OP lives in Saskatchewan, the .243 is an absolutely awful choice for hunting deer and the .25-06 would be a sensible minimum.

January 16, 2011, 10:53 PM
7mm-08 or 3030 the 25-06 is also a great choice. Now with that said 30-06 has a hugh range of rounds and loads. Rabbit slayers to bear fodder

January 16, 2011, 10:56 PM
I live in northern California and i don't reload as i am only 14, what i am hearing is to go with the .243 but i am just not sure if it is enough muscle with me being a begining deer hunter and if i get a little nervous i might pull the shot a little and wish i had something a little bigger. Also would it be bad to get the .270 even if it is overkill just to have enough and not worry about destroying the varmints? Thanks everyone and please keep the replies coming

January 16, 2011, 11:00 PM
My first deer rifle was a Savage 110 in .270Win; took my first deer with it when I was 11 years old. Honestly, I'd probably have fared better with a .243 and while I've hunted with it and a 30-06, my deer rifle of choice these days is a .260 because I don't like recoil.

Shot placement and a quality bullet is MUCH more important than bore diameter...

January 16, 2011, 11:03 PM
My hunting is moving to mostly coyotes with the occasional deer, I am looking towards mostly .243.

Robert Wilson
January 16, 2011, 11:15 PM
In my opinion the .243 is very minimal for California deer, which are often some mix of mule deer and blacktail. They aren't huge, but they aren't tiny, either. The .243, with good bullets (no plastic tipped blow-up bullets, please) will do the job, but you'll need to wait for good opportunities. A .243 through the ribs tight behind the shoulder will work every time. A .243 angling through the shoulder might not.

The .25-06 is just about perfect for California deer, again assuming a decent bullet. Everyone has their own tolerance for recoil, but most folks find the recoil of the .25-06 acceptable. And there is plenty of good .25-06 ammunition available from the factories. Something like the Black Hills Gold loading of the 100 grain Barnes Triple Shock would be outstanding (especially if you'll be hunting in a "lead free" zone) but even the basic Remington Express 100 grain Core-Lokt will do just fine.

The .270 is a grand cartridge that will do for anything on the continent short of dangerous game. But it is more than necessary and does recoil a bit. The average rifleman would probably rather eat worms than admit that a .270 kicks, but in the 6 1/2 pound rifle you're looking at, the .270 is going to come back at you a bit. Can you master it? Probably - but it's something to be aware of.

If you were my son I'd recommend the .25-06 to you.

January 16, 2011, 11:17 PM
if i get a little nervous i might pull the shot a little and wish i had something a little bigger.

hey leonard,
it doesn't matter if you gut shoot a deer with a 270 or a 243. either way you got problems brotha.

when the time comes your caliber is only academic. you will only get nervous afterword. mostly ;)

January 16, 2011, 11:19 PM
Hello Leonard, I'm new here, but we just had this question on another gun forum I belong to. If it's me, seeing that you want to hunt varmints and deer, I would go the 243 route. You can load it with light 55-60 grain bullets for varmints or load er up with 100 grainers for deer size animals. It's a very versatile caliber rifle. I alos like the .250 Savage, the .257 Roberts, and the 6mm Remington. The only problem is that those three are a reloading only deal. Youi can find cartridges for all of them but they may not be what you need. With old or nearly obsolete cartridges, reloading is sometimes your only option.

Robert Wilson
January 16, 2011, 11:21 PM
Another .243 fan from Texas. Huh. ;)

January 16, 2011, 11:29 PM
Ok as to the kick of the .270, how would you guys compare it to shotguns if that is possible? I have turkey hunted a fair amount and shot alot of shotguns mainly 12 gauges so if it is less than that then i think i can deal with it....if not then i might have to reconsider

January 16, 2011, 11:30 PM
You are exactly right sir. I spoke too soon when I recommended a 243. However, I did also recommend a .257 Roberts. Of course it's more or less a handloading proposition, but it would do well and wouldn't be overkill. He might could find some factory ammo. Some 87 grain hollow points would be great for varmints and the 100 grain Remington Core Lokts would be more than enough for deer. However a good 110, 115, or 120 grain, if he can find it in factory ammo would be great for deer too.

January 16, 2011, 11:39 PM
If you reload, 6.5x55 is a good choice.

January 16, 2011, 11:41 PM
Get whatever you want. If you want a 270, get one. If you want a 243, get that. But I promise you-and so will everyone else on this forum who has killed a few animals- shot placement is the most important factor. It's more important that having an extra 30 grains of lead hitting a deer. Do not think that using a bigger caliber is going to give you a huge margin of error because that's not necessarily true. Whatever you get, take it out and get nice and comfy at the range with it so you are confident in your shots in the field.

January 16, 2011, 11:42 PM
OK, I thought I posted here, but I cannot see my post yet. I think I hit the wrong button. Anyway here goes again.

Leonard, at first I thought the 243 would be a great option, however I live in Texas where we have smaller bodied deer than a lot of places. Some one recommended the 25-06, which can double nicely as a deer and varmint rifle. The 243 might be a tad light for where you are.

However, there might be another option for you to try, the .257 Roberts is a good deer round or maybe even the 250 Savage. Both will shoot heavier bullets than the 243 and on bigger animals it might be a better option for you. The only problem with these two is ammo availability. You can buy ammo for both, but you would probably have to get it online. But either one with a 115 or 120 grain bullet would be much better on larger bodied deer. JMHO

edited: Oh there it is, I see my post now that I have posted again. Oh well, I need to learn how to navigate this place better.

January 16, 2011, 11:44 PM
12 gage 870 with 3" high brass turkey loads.... freakin' unpleasant. turkeys suck! i'd rather watch oprah winfrey reruns with an out of work gun show dealer on saturday than shoot that again.
12 gage 1100 2 3/4" #8 pfffft
3" 20 gage beretta O/U ouch! somebody get me a towel. my shoulder hurts. sure would be nice in a 28 gage.

243 feels more like an 1100 with #8 to me only a bit more abrupt.

Robert Wilson
January 16, 2011, 11:45 PM
I love the .257 Roberts and urge any new hunter to strongly consider it. But it's not chambered in the rifle the OP is looking into.

Leonard, if you're comfortable with a 12 gauge you should have no trouble with any of the cartridges you've mentioned, even in your light rifle.

January 16, 2011, 11:54 PM
Thanks everyone here is the situation as i see it now: .25-06 is probably the perfect caliber for what i want but i would most likely have to order ammo online, .270 is maybe a little overkill and heavier recoil, .243 has lots of recomendations and would probably do the job just fine but might not if it hits the deer wrong. Keep the information coming guys, thanks

January 17, 2011, 12:02 AM
Also i never heard an answer from my previous question, will a 1:10 twist rate be sufficient to stabilize a light .270 bullet?

January 17, 2011, 12:14 AM
Hello Leonard, I'm new here, but we just had this question on another gun forum I belong to. If it's me, seeing that you want to hunt varmints and deer, I would go the 243 route. You can load it with light 55-60 grain bullets for varmints or load er up with 100 grainers for deer size animals. It's a very versatile caliber rifle. I alos like the .250 Savage, the .257 Roberts, and the 6mm Remington. The only problem is that those three are a reloading only deal. Youi can find cartridges for all of them but they may not be what you need. With old or nearly obsolete cartridges, reloading is sometimes your only option.
We never have a problem finding 6mm ammo neither does our neighbor. there amazing guns.

Don't be scared of the recoil. get a good butt pad to help out your shoulder :). I think 308 would be good or 270. I just picked up a like new REM 700 308 synthetic scope package for $300 but Idk what your budget is.

January 17, 2011, 12:17 AM
i know this might sound stupid to some of you americans but all the deer i have ever shot in new zealand were with .22lr and .223 i would strongly suggest 223 with the right ammo .there are alot of reds,sambar,fellow and some white tails in the forest i live next to

January 17, 2011, 12:18 AM
will a 1:10 twist rate be sufficient to stabilize a light .270 bullet?


January 17, 2011, 12:19 AM
I don't disagree that the .308 is a great cartridge but i think it is more of a deer only rifle with slightly heavier bullets and i am looking for something that could do both deer and varmints

January 17, 2011, 12:32 AM
Also, would a 100 gr remington pointed soft point .270 work well for varmints or is it to solid for that? Thanks

January 17, 2011, 12:39 AM
Take a step back for a sec and answer something. Are you wanting a rifle you mostly use to hunt deer and sometimes use to shoot a few varmints? OR, are you looking for a varmint and target rifle that you will sometimes use to hunt deer?

If the MAIN reason you are getting the rifle is to hunt deer, then get something you'll be comfortable using to hunt deer. Can the .243 take deer? You bet. Tons of people use them and if you use the right bullet you shouldn't have a problem. BUT, if you don't feel comfortable using it as a deer gun then quit twisting yourself up over it. Buy what you REALLY want. Otherwise you are going to look at it every time you get it out and say "Man, I really wish I'd bought XXX instead".

If the main reason you are getting the rifle is to plink and varmint shoot then I'd get the lighter recoiling round. Heck, depending on your ranges I might not even get a .243.

Bottom line, get what you'll be most comfortable using.

January 17, 2011, 01:12 AM
The ideal cal. for what you want would be the 7mm-08, recoil like a 243, hits like a 308, and shots flat like a 270; however ammo is pricey, so you would want to reload to hold down cost. The 25-06 is a good round also, but again pricey; the 243, to keep cost low may be your best bet.
Junkie is right about getting something YOU want, pick everybodies brain, then make up your own mind; i also believe fit, feel and balance are just as important!!

January 17, 2011, 01:18 AM
Mine is the .25 06 . I m using 100 gr BT for varmints , antelope and small deer. 120 gr SP for bigger deer.

Art Eatman
January 17, 2011, 08:13 AM
After tagging some two dozen bucks with my .243, I figure it's just as good for an Olde Phart as for a youngun. :) I pretty much limited myself to no more than around two hundred yards, generally--but that's not any hard and fast rule.

Leonard, pulling a shot with an '06 is just as bad as pulling a shot with a .243. One thing that will commonly help is not to really look at the entire deer: Focus on that one particular spot that you're trying to hit. That focus will help avoid "buck fever" from the adrenalin rush. When you make yourself think about that, you won't just "shoot somewhere in the brown". :)

It's all about precision and consistency. Reflex actions and "muscle memory". That comes from trigger time, which is why a .22 is so valuable.

January 17, 2011, 01:43 PM
For .270, a 1/10 will do just fine for varmint bullets. Over 30 years of .270 use, and 1/10 has stabilized every 90/100/110 grain bullet made by Hornady/Speer/Sierra/Winchester I've shot. The problem is will it "over stabilize" and be inaccurate or will it blow jackets. I have NOT found either to happen. They have liked 130s/150s better--and should as they are longer and more a match for a 1/10 twist. But I could always find a good, 3200+ fps "varmint weight" handload. I've never had a .270 Win that caused "blue streaks"--or bullets that disintigrated enroute to target due because of too rapid a spin. The manufacturers have got the jackets down. I have had good expansion out to 250 yards, but can't say past that on varmints. I have hit milk jugs at 3-400 yards and they still show evidence that the bullets are fragmenting. You won't have any problem with a .270 Win and varmnt bullets.

For recoil, I agree that a 12 ga trap load ( 1 1/8 oz at 1135 fps) has more felt recoil than anything on your list including 220 gn .30-06's. Then again, a shotgun pattern on clays can cover up being off (usually to 8:00) due to a flinch, too. But if you're shooting "turkey loads" well centered on a turkey (or target) you likely aren't flinching and with more recoil than a trap load.

January 17, 2011, 02:41 PM
Leonard23 Of the 3 calibers you listed, I'd suggest the .243 - its good for varmints and deer and the recoil won't knock you around. If you do your part (shot placement !!) the .243 is fine for deer. It's also a great caliber for new shooters to learn on.
The .25-06 is great for long range varmints,deer,pronghorn, etc. The cartridge has more power but kicks more than the .243.
The .270 is a great deer cartidge and has taken elk (with precise shot placement).It has more power and kicks more than the .243
All 3 are usually easy to find at most sporting goods stores, gun shops, etc.

No matter which cartridge you chose - you MUST learn to shoot accurately and learn the anatomy of your target animal - shot placement is more important than size of the bullet. I have and use everything from .22lr to .458 WinMag. While I love the .338Win Mag and larger - I find myself usually taking one of my 7x57s when I go hunting - its not a big powerfult magnum, doesn't shot like a laser beam...but if I put the bullet in the right place - the animal doesn't know the difference, it just drops!.

Which ever you chose...practice, practice, practice. Good Luck

January 17, 2011, 02:52 PM
go with the 11 y/o sister killed 2 deer with one shot out of her 18in rem 700....power aplenty

January 17, 2011, 02:56 PM
A Limbsaver would make the recoil argument moot...

January 17, 2011, 03:02 PM
<--- Has cleanly killed a lot of big Eastern Montana mule deer/white tail/antelope/coyotes/prairie dogs with a .243.

January 17, 2011, 03:54 PM
Are you sure those prairie dogs weren't "uncleanly killed"? :D

January 17, 2011, 04:02 PM

January 17, 2011, 04:25 PM
the .243 is a good caliber for deer and smaller varmint in my opinion.

January 17, 2011, 04:46 PM
To answer CrazyBushMan - .22 is against the law for deer in many places. Even 22-250 won't do :(

Leonard - you live in NorCal - mostly small coastal deer. .243 is fine :)

January 17, 2011, 10:31 PM
Leonard, I'm going to be brutally frank. A larger caliber will NOT compensate for a poorly or "off alittle" buck fevered shot, period. These posts have given you very sage advise. I'll throw mine out too. Take a look at the 7mm-08. It is based on the .308 as is the .243. However, the 7mm-08 does give you a very wide range of bullet choice from 110 grain for varmit up to 175 grain for elk. The recoil is akin to the .243. Two other bits of advice. Never EVER count the money you spend on a hobby and never sell/trade your 1st gun or any other gun you may own. Best of luck to ya.

January 17, 2011, 11:01 PM
if legal, .22-250, if not 7mm-08.

January 17, 2011, 11:05 PM
The 30-30 is still my pick when it comes to this.

I can use all the way down to a Federal 125 hollow point for deer, etc.

And my favorite varmint cartridge is a 30-30 Accelerator!

If you have not tried them.....try them!

January 17, 2011, 11:29 PM
Is the accelerator accurate? I have heard alot of people say that it is inheriently inaccurate....

January 17, 2011, 11:36 PM
Tomcat47 you are right about those lever rifle's, I own a Marlin Texan (straight lever) and two Model 94's; i think every rifleman should own at least one.

January 18, 2011, 12:26 AM
I have not had an issue with inaccuracy in the accelerator! I did dial my scope in to them due to there trajectory is flatter than the typical 30-30 round.

Get a box and try them! I usually only have to do a vertical adjustment and go right back to where I had it.... good to go!

They are fast and flat.... good 200 yard varminter by any stretch of the matter!

January 18, 2011, 01:46 AM
If you get a .243 caliber, make sure it has a 24 inch barrel for optimum velocity performance.

January 18, 2011, 02:01 AM
My 12 YO son went through this. His choice was the .30-06, Rem 700 ADL w/ blk syn stock. Found it in a pawn shop for $325.

CMP keeps me in loaded ammo for my M1 Garand. So, the empties get reloaded for his hunting rifle. Plus, he uses my M2 ball for some "practice."

BTW....finding a nice used .308 was difficult in his price range.


Aloha, Mark

PS......for varmits......


Not to mention the 10/22 or the AR15 to go to.

January 18, 2011, 02:07 AM
Since i already have .243, 2506, 3006 , 8mm and 7.62 x54 R, i need a magnum for all time sake. Im making up my mind to get a 7 mm R M but havent taken the dip yet.
So goes the hobby ....

January 18, 2011, 02:24 AM
What a coincidence, I have a Marlin XL7 in 30-06! As far as the gun goes, it's a nice rifle and you'll have no regrets buying it.
Now for the caliber. In your case, the deer should be medium to small size, and any one of those calibers will take down a deer. Since this is your first rifle, I suggest a 25-06. When I first bought my rifle, (2 years ago) I developed quite a flinch. Of course, I was only 12 years old at the time. Now, at 14, I can shoot it quite comfortably and hold a 1 1/2" group at 80yds. So kick is definitely not a problem with the 25-06. It is a little bigger than the .243, but is probably not going to cause you to flinch like a .270 (or 30-06) might. It also leaves a little room to grow into.
Good luck with your rifle! Matthew

January 18, 2011, 12:32 PM
There is nothing like the .25-06, I've owned one for 33 years now. And if I could do it all over again (and I have) it would still be the .25-06 Rem.

A long time ago I purchased a Rem 700 VS. At the time I was sold on either a 270 or 243 as choice of cartridge. I remember the 270 was not available and after seeing the 243 I wasn't thrilled with it. The clerk told me the closest thing to a 270 would be the 25-06. Reluctantly I ordered the rifle in 25-06 Rem.

This was one of the few times I made a good decision in life. The 06 with 87 gr bullets is one of the hardest hitting varmint cartridges you'll ever see, at distances you can't believe. When I have this rifle in my hands if I can see a ground hog it's in mortal danger.

Deer? Jump up to 100 or 120 gr bullets and the 06 becomes a dual purpose cartridge. Mine has gone deer hunting and bear hunting with me.

About 3 years ago the rifle finally got to the point that it needed a new barrel. I took the rifle to one of the bench rest builders in my area and ordered a Krieger match barrel. The salesman asked me what caliber? The choice was easy, 25-06 of course.

Ammo availability? In 1978 when I bought mine I had to buy ammo from gun stores or make my own. I opted for making my own. Here we are 33 years later and I see Walmart now carries ammo in 25-06.

January 18, 2011, 01:07 PM
Leonard23 asked Ok as to the kick of the .270, how would you guys compare it to shotguns if that is possible? I have turkey hunted a fair amount and shot alot of shotguns mainly 12 gauges so if it is less than that then i think i can deal with it....if not then i might have to reconsider

OK, an 8lb rifle, weight w/scope, in .270 shooting a 130grain bullet at 3100fps will generate about 20 foot/lbs of recoil energy.

An 8lb 12 gauge shotgun shooting 1 1/8oz of high brass at 1300fps will generate 19 foot/lbs of recoil energy.

Both recoils are stout enough that I'd use a good recoil pad on either one. Both kick about the same as a trapdoor 45/70 with a 500 grain bullet going 1300fps.

OTOH a 3" 2oz 12 gauge turkey load going 1300fps generates 58 foot/lbs of recoil energy. More than a .375 H&H magnum. If you can shoot that with no problem, then don't worry about a mere .270

January 18, 2011, 05:24 PM
haha Leonard, it seems like if you keep going with this you'll never find the one that you want. The best advice I can give you is find someone with a gun in these calibers and find out for yourself. At 14 you're still young and have a lot of growing to do and also a lot of experience to gain (I'm only 23 so don't feel like I'm talking down to you) As far as caliber selection goes, pick the gun that will cleanly and ethically kill the largest game you intend on hunting with that gun. If you're not going on any elk hunts anytime soon, any of these guns will be fine. That being said, if you're hunting in brush and want to have some weight to make sure that you're going to hit what you aim at, the .270 is probably your best bet.
I'd also suggest sticking with something simple, like the .243 or the .270. Spending a few extra bucks on ammo might not be a big deal right now, but when you're a broke college student as I was, it really makes it easier to take your rifle out to the range when you can find ammo anywhere and don't have to sacrifice a ton of money.
A good recoil pad on on a .270 or even a 30-06 will make the recoil seem mild compared to most turkey loads you've been shooting out of a 12 ga.
Find your gun, and get out there and shoot the hell out of it. If you practice and become a good shot with a .223, you'll still kill more deer than a lot of guys who are out shooting a .300 wsm and never practice with it because they can't stand to shoot it

January 18, 2011, 05:52 PM
As soon as the words "all around" are used the question cannot be answered. Nothing is all around and anything that tries to be will be a compromise best at nothing.

You want a varmint rifle then buy one. You want a deer rifle then buy one. Takes two rifles to do the best job on both. Sorry.

January 19, 2011, 12:12 AM
I have a .270 WSM....and it DOES NOT get my vote. Yes, it is a great round for deer, but it is NOT a varmint gun. Ammunition, IMHO, is way too expensive for that job. If I could go back to when it was purchased I would have stuck with a .308.

For what you are looking at, my opinion is that you can't go wrong with a .308, .270 (not the short mag), or .243

If you can, find someone who has them, shoot them, and get whichever one you like more.

January 19, 2011, 12:30 AM
If you are recoil sensitive, try pumping irons to build the pectoralis muscles. Dumbbells for the biceps and you are set to take the heaviest of recoils up to magnum calibers. Thats just my take on it.
I ve been shooting a lot of surplus rifles like Yugo M 48s 8mm mausers and Mosin nagant M 91/30, both have steel buttplates. Everyone knows they kick real hard with no help from a modern rubber buttpads. If you shoot a lot of these rifles, you get immune to heavy recoil. NOw shooting a bolt rifle of any gun is not as bad as i cannot take it.

January 19, 2011, 12:32 AM
Hi I am new here but I just wanted to say that the .308 never failed me for deer and other bigger tasks. But I know there are other great calibers derived from the same case. 30'06 is another classic. Cost in both is maneable. .243 win is also popular but don't expect enough punch for a bigger job.

Thank you.

January 19, 2011, 07:40 AM
well ill throw in my two cents, on the guns listed go with the 243(no i dont own one), i would lean that way for a few reasons. Price, availabilty, accuracy, and recoil. you will need to shoot a lot to get familar and comfortable with the rifle, so there is price. if you buy ammo having alot of stores that carry the ammo around means you can shop around to get the best price. you need to get practice and dial the accuracy(mainly just finding what your gun likes to shoot). and recoil, yes everyone is different in how they process recoil, but i have never heard "man i cant feel the recoil on that gun, boy that suxs, now pass the 338 lapua"
If you want something bigger look at the 308, if you know someone in your family that reloads take a look at 7mm-08. best of luck with your choice and remember the xs/xl7 series uses win m70 scope mounts. ( i have a xs7 in 7mm-08, and love it)

January 19, 2011, 12:04 PM
.243 Winchester

Good for everything from foxes up to caribou sized animals... Plus the Barnes TSX bullets are devastating on deer and antelope.....

I have lots of other guns in chamberings like 22-250, 6.5x55, 270, 308, etc... but I always reach for one of my .243s when I go out in the field.

January 21, 2011, 07:03 AM
I'd say .308. Hornady makes a 110gr VMAX(varmint) load for it.125gr Noslers would work well on yotes, badgers and antelope.150gr to 165gr would work well on mule deer and white tails.165gr to 180gr is perfect for elk and moose.180gr to 200gr would do the trick on black and brown bears (within range)

January 21, 2011, 10:17 AM
6 BR, .260 Rem, 6.5x47 Lapua all work, as might a .30 BR.

January 21, 2011, 12:02 PM
Not having read the whole thread, I may seem out of line, but of the ones listed first I would start with a 243. New gun owners are known for developing a flinch and the cause is overgunning their first gun. If you decide to handload later you can spit out small pills faster than 4000fps. My personal favorite is a 70gr at 3500fps for varminting. For deer a 100gr bullet would work just fine with good shooting.

Now if you find one I feel the best all around caliber for you would be the 257Roberts. But you would have to find one and probably handload it for best performance. A 90gr Sierra GK out of it would be great for both purposes. However, lighter bullets are there for Varmints and heavier for bigger deer if you feel the need. It is an old round loaded down in factory fodder, but a good rifle and good loads make it a real threat to almost anything you are likely to come across. I won't own another 243 after having it.

January 21, 2011, 01:28 PM
Wow.....hadn't seen this thread in a couple days has gone crazy;)

Of the OP's original 3 options the .243, 25-06, and the .270 were metioned ; and he intended trying the cover several bases. (varmit all the way up to bigger game)

Since I believe that no one rifle is perfect for all those conditions:(....... a little compromise can go a long way.:)
Some time back I found my self looking for such a rifle and a 25-06 was what I bought. It covers a good many bases very well.

Is it a Moose gun ?....... Probably not ?:uhoh:
Is it a Squirrel gun ?......:eek: Only if you want it to rain squirrel parts:D

It is however deadly on Whitetails. A well placed 117gr Nosler or Sierra GameKing will drop them where they were shot.
An 85 gr Winchester Silvertip leaving the barrel at 3470 fps ( Winchester's specs I dont have my own chrono) will splash Groundhogs and Yotes ;)

These loads are not hard to find either. Mine likes Hornady custom with 117 Noslers and Federal Vital Shock with 117 gr GameKings.
You can even pick up 25-06 in Remington and Winchester at both of my local Wallyworlds.:)

Federal also offers their Vital Shock in a Barnes 100gr TSX.:) I've never shot it, but I have heard from friends that that is one wicked little bullet.;)

If you can try to shoot all three .243 , 25-06, and .270 . You will find them all to be very good and versatile cartridges. Hopefully shooting each of them will help you decide which is best suited to you.

I like all three, but I think the 25-06 covers "one gun to cover multiple situations" label very well. I went 40 years without one . I wont do that again.;)

I hope you enjoy whatever rifle you choose,......Tentwing

February 5, 2011, 10:22 AM
A possible "all around" solution...

T/C Encore and get one barrel of each cal .243 and .308.

That should pretty much cover it.

February 5, 2011, 12:53 PM
257 Roberts.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

February 5, 2011, 02:21 PM
i vote 243. flat tragectory for varmints, good ammo availability and the 100gn bullet will take out the whitetail deer.


February 5, 2011, 03:15 PM
They are all good rounds, I'll vote for the .243 because of ammo availibility, and it comes in a short action, they are easy to shoot and very accurate. It will be a better varmit gun than deer as opposed to the other calibers, but I have killed some big deer with mine( in the 250 lbs. range), Ive killed wild hogs and 3 black bears, all one shot kills with the exception of one of the bears that took a finishing shot. If you keep your distance under 200 yards for big game with 100 grn Nosler partions or 100 grn Sierra Gamekings It will be fine. In short they all will work but the .243 will be the most pleasurable to shoot for a new shooter.

February 5, 2011, 05:04 PM
if you can find a 6mm rem. Handload 87 grain spire points for it. 6mm is capable of more than most folks think.

February 5, 2011, 05:05 PM
243, 22-250 25-06 270 all usable on deer and varmints

February 5, 2011, 05:31 PM
If you reload, pretty much any rifle cartridge in .24, .25, .26, or .27 calibres can be loaded for all-around use. If you're relying only on the factory ammo you're likely to find at a local sporting goods store, you'll be more limited in your selection, since stuff like .257 Roberts and .270 WSM aren't widely available in more than a couple of bullet weights, if they're on the shelves at all. That pretty much cuts it down to 4 choices: .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, .25-06, or .270 Winchester. If you find a rifle you like in any one of those, you'll be pretty much set to hunt anything in North America, short of the big bears or bison.

True Grit
February 5, 2011, 10:57 PM
.243 works great. You can harvest varmits with no problem and I've never worried once before pulling on any of the many deer I have taken with my .243 Savage. I've acually drop quite a few white tails in there tracks and what more could you ask for? Remember shot placement puts food on the table = ]

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