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Advice needed re caliber choice

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by bandk, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. bandk

    bandk Well-Known Member

    We'd like to get my brother in law a hunting rifle for his 50th birthday.
    I would very much appreciate opinions for caliber choice.
    Here is what I know:

    Hunting location: Pacific NW, east of the Cascades in WA
    Large game
    Action: bolt preferred but not an absolute.
    Currently owned calibers: 30-30, 30-06, 22LR

    What would be a good addition to his current calibers?

  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Well, he's really got his bases covered there. There's surely not much he couldn't kill easily and humanely with one of those rifles.

    I see two "gaps." He doesn't have a small caliber varmint round (.223, .22-250, .220 Swift, .204, .17 Rem., and so on) and he doesn't have a "heavy." .375, .338, etc.

    Don't know if he wants to hunt varmints, or if he's ever going to go after some game he couldn't kill with a heavy .30-'06 load, but maybe.

    There are about 150 cartridges between or near the .30-30 and .30-'06, all of which are pretty much redundant to any "practical" need, considering that he already owns those two.

    But, 'most every one of those 150+ are cool for one reason or another and he might enjoy having something new, even if it is completely redundant.
  3. mooner

    mooner Well-Known Member

    I hate to say this, but it sounds like he may not need a big game rifle. Keep in mind if anybody bought me a rifle in any caliber for my birthday I certainly would not be complaining about anything about it. Especially not caliber.

    How about something like a 243, 250, or 6.5 something? Maybe a 22-250, 223, or 204 Ruger for varmints?

    For what he will be hunting the magnums are probably overkill, but I suppose if you were hell bent on getting him a big-er game rifle in a different caliber, a 300 win mag would certainly work.

    Another idea, assuming his 30/30 is a lever, and the '06 is a bolt, how about a semi auto? Browning BAR, AR-platform, or M1 Garand in no particular order. The Garand and BAR both come in 30-06 to keep the calibers he keeps on hand limited. The Garand will need a different gas plug to shoot the more modern ammo.

    This probably did not help you narrow down anything, did it.
  4. Old Shooter

    Old Shooter Well-Known Member

    For big game, on the light side I'd go 243 Winchester and on the heavier side 35 Whelen.

    Remington 700's available for either choice along with many other manufacturers.
  5. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    (Psst: That's the same CALIBER as .30-'06! ;))

    Well, that's a good example of what I meant by redundant. Are there many game animals that a 200-230 gr. .30 caliber bullet from a .30-'06 wouldn't cleanly kill that the same bullet going a scant few hundred fps faster out of the .300 would? The extra speed just gives you a slightly flatter trajectory so you could have a little easier time hitting your target at longer range. Does he want to hunt at longer ranges than he does now?

    I think the first step would be figuring out what he wants to DO with the gun that he can't do now, then find the right gun to fill that need.

    For the great majority of hunters, I'm thinking the varmint gun idea is going to be the real winner. Something in .243 Win or smaller. Just not that many people going after really big bears or other large game (safari?) that you'd need a heavy caliber and magnum cartridge to handle.


    Now, that's sticking with the hunting rifle idea. There's a whole lot of guns in the world that aren't hunting rifles and they're heaps of fun too! (For some of us, heaps MORE fun!) Just something to consider.
  6. mooner

    mooner Well-Known Member

    Indeed it is! Same caliber as the 30/30 as well, don't leave that little guy out!
  7. ms6852

    ms6852 Well-Known Member

    Sam1911 and mooner pretty much covered it. Does not seem to have a shot gun, maybe this would be a good way to get him into bird hunting or skeet shooting. I would go with a 12ga or 20 gauge.
  8. matrem

    matrem Well-Known Member

    If I owned those three rifles; a.22lr, .30/30, and .30/06, my next one would be a .223 or .22/250.
    But, then again, there are dozens that would be enjoyable to fill perceived voids.
  9. GAF

    GAF Well-Known Member

    Then there is the CZ 572 carbine in 7.62X39.
  10. matrem

    matrem Well-Known Member

    7.62 x 39s are just Russian .30/30s.
  11. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Well-Known Member

    If it must be for big game...7mm-08, 6.55x55 or .270 win
  12. bandk

    bandk Well-Known Member

    Great advice, thank you.

    I'm intrigued by the smaller caliber suggestion for varmints. There are a bunch of rockchucks nearby that have been a common problem. For that the 22LR usually shows up. My first thought in this arena is the 17. Although, I am not familiar with much other than the 223 at the lower end. I should add that the more I think about it the more I lean towards bolt action. I suspect the 223 would be the best value for varmit caliber in terms of ammo cost. Any suggestions for a good bolt action in 223?

    Without spilling the beans, my initial thought was 7mm Rem Mag. How would that sit in the arena of 30-30 and 30-06?
  13. bandk

    bandk Well-Known Member

    adding to calibers....

    I am researching additional calibers to add:


    would 7mm rem mag be too much of the same for N. America big game hunting in the Pac NW, east of the Cascades (more open potentially)?
  14. HOOfan_1

    HOOfan_1 Well-Known Member

    7mm magnum is around .30-06 power....but flatter shooting.
  15. AABEN

    AABEN Well-Known Member

    223 would be very good and there is a lot of 223 to pick from! There is a lot of different ammo to pick from some is cheep also. The Savage is a good gun for the money.Do not with any thing less than 1 in 9 or 1 in 8 that you can shoot 55gr bullets and 68gr bullets. the 1 in 12 or the 1 in 14 is for 30gr bullets 50gr bullets.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  16. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    Hands down, my favorite is my Vanguard Varmint Special for the .223 Rem. It has a 1-12 barrel.

    Don't overlook the Mossberg MVP, which uses AR-15 magazines. It has a 1-9 barrel.

    These are my two .223/5.56 rifles, and both are very accurate.

  17. The_Armed_Therapist

    The_Armed_Therapist Well-Known Member

    .22-250/.223 rem or .338/.375 mag... Is he more likely to hunt coyotes or moose?
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    If I were looking for a highly accurate, quality bolt-action, I'd absolutely look first at the Savage rifles.

    Having said that, many makers are putting out high-quality bolt guns these days.

    .223 is going to give the most cost-effective factory ammo choices. .22-250 or .220 Swift will be more flat shooting and easier at longer ranges. If he reloads, one's about as inexpensive as the other, sort of.

    If he's happy with a .30-'06, I really don't see much point in also getting a 7mm Mag, as the differences in what one can do with either of them are not terribly large.
  19. litman252

    litman252 Well-Known Member

    7 mag is one of the most common calibers for elk/deer at longer(ish) ranges. It's only too much if it hurts. Some say same recoil of a 30-06 with more performance. Lighter bullet that is faster.

    I'd go .338, preference on the 338 federal or something like it.

    Of course I have a 7 STW, going for elk at end of month in Eastern Oregon.

  20. tahunua001

    tahunua001 Well-Known Member

    I would say a 243 or 45/70 would be a goood addition to that collection.

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