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All Around Caliber for North American Game

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Psyco Tyco, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. Psyco Tyco

    Psyco Tyco Well-Known Member

    Okay my dad is buying me a new rifle for my 18th birthday price is not really an option as long as i keep it under 1500....but i cannot decide what caliber i want....i already have a .243, and a .30-06

    i was considering a .300 win mag, a .300 weatherby magnum, or a .338 win mag....it seems like the .300 winmag would have good distance and the .338 would have power and ive never read anything about the weatherby so any input would be great

    im really hoping to make this rifle an all around rifle for hunting black bear and elk in new mexico, colorado, and maybe sheep if i can swing a license somewhere....it also will need to be able to take moose, caribou, and other alaskan/canadian game because we are plannin a trip to either alaska or canada next year....so i want a rifle that will provide the best amount of take down along with long range (400+ yards) because thats the kind of hunting we get around these parts
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Just my opinions:

    .300 Weatherby is pretty cool, in that it's mighty fast/flat-shooting. There are some that are faster (.300 Rem Ultra Mag...barely), but it's about the fastest sort of common .308 round. Problem might be that it's only sort of common. If you ever need ammo at a corner sporting goods store, they probably won't have any. If you hand-load that's not your problem. If you plan pretty well ahead and stock up on ammo, that's not too big a problem. And, the other rounds that are around that velocity aren't exactly all that common, either. And they're all going to be pretty expensive (Weatherby, too, of course). I picked up two boxes of .300 Weatherby for a friend recently. Cabela's had 40 rds. on the shelf. That bill came to over $100 with tax. :eek:

    .300 Win Mag is a fine round. And at the distances you're talking about, it will shoot flat enough (if you know what you're doing) and hit hard enough. Even though it's a few 100 fps slower than the Weatherby.

    But, in my opinion, you've got the '06. Why get another .30 cal? Might as well get the .338 -- or something bigger yet -- and really gain more than a marginal difference in the capability of your arsenal.

    For most of the game you've described that you already hunt, at the distances you've mentioned, that '06 will do the job -- if you can. It will take down a black bear, and elk, and certainly flatten sheep. And it will do it out to 400 yds if you know your rifle and have practiced ethically making those shots. (If you don't practice this and can't do it correctly, on command, every time -- it doesn't matter WHAT you're shooting.)

    When you talk about stepping up to bigger and meaner game, that's when you'll appreciate having as much gun as you can handle. Those aren't going to be super long range shots (for the most part) either. .338 in any of the common chamberings, .375s, and on up to even the .458 Win Mag, will do stuff that the '06 can't.

    I'd pick something that really rounds out my capabilities on the upper end, rather than just improving my mid-range.

  3. .280 Remington is THE all-around N.A. cartridge, IMO. But close close honorable mentions to .270 Win and .30-06 Spgfld. There ain't but 2 scrunthairs worth of difference between the 3 of them anyway. There's a good reason why for decades .30-06 has been the most popular centerfire in America, and .270 has been second. And .280 is the best of both worlds, splitting the difference. Best except for the price of ammo, that is.

    Pretty much any cartridge though that starts with a .25 on up to .35 will be a decent all-arounder, except for the big magnums which are unnecessary overkill.
  4. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Seems like you already have "needs" covered. I'd go belted magnum since you don't have one. .338, HELL yeah! :D .300 WM ain't enough more than .30-06. You "need" a big bear killer whether you live in Alaska or not. :D

    edit.....second thought, if dad really likes ya, ask him for a Heym M88PH in .470 Nitro Express. :D It's in a recent "American Rifleman". That's a gun you can brag about. :D
  5. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Spending the day out at White Sands, I got to talk to several experienced hunters in the area.

    One, a professional guide, and the other a meat hunter.

    The guide tried to get his customers to use a 308 Winchester. Usually these guys brought super duper magnums, and flinched. When they used the super duper magnums, they often missed, or gut shot the animal. Which would mean hours of tracking. The guide would always get his customers within effective range, and the customer, as awful of shots as they were, seldom flinched badly with a 308. A solid hit with a 308, even on Orxy, anchored the animal.

    The meat hunter, he used a 308. His distance limits were based on his ability to hit at distance. He determined that at 300 yards, he could always keep his shots within a pie pan, and that for him was the target zone he had to hit. He wanted meat, not tracking.

    Many folks want to hit at 600, 1000 yards, even a 1 mile, but magnums don't make up for poor shooting skills.
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Saying a guy that uses a belted magnum can't shoot is sorta like sayin' a Harley rider can't ride worth a toot. While it might be true a lot of the time, it ain't necessarily so.
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Another 280 vote.
  8. robphillips

    robphillips Active Member

    +1 on slamfires comments. If you do decide you need something that big, look at a rifle without porting. You may be glad you did.
  9. Psyco Tyco

    Psyco Tyco Well-Known Member

    thanks to all of your for your replies....i think im probably going to wind up going with the .338 win mag becasue if the .300 win mag and weatherby perform only a little better than my 06 then the a step up will be nice....but since i dont plan on alaskan trips often and elk and black bear are the biggest common game ill have i would never want a large caliber magnum....and as for the comment about oryx and white sands i actually drew out on the once in a lifetime two years ago and the bull i took weighed in excess of 500 pounds and took one 06 round in the front chest and when he kept hobbling along after that another through the side chest before he finally went down and that was only at a 200 yard shot so thats why i draw the conclusion ill need larger than an 06 for the elk around here
  10. Runningman

    Runningman Well-Known Member

    A 300 Weatherby mag, 338 Win mag, or 340 Weatherby mag using some good Nosler Partition bullets would be excellent choices. I've used all 3 on game animals such as Moose, Elk and Bears with excellent results.
  11. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    30-06 or 8mm Mauser or even 7mm magnum. I can see the lure of a .300 Winchester or .300 H&H, but they are overkill on most game in the lower 48. .300 Win mag is cheaper than .300 H&H or .300 Weatherby, but you get into that kind of stuff you should be reloading.

    A buddy of mine did a plains game safari in 2002 using a borrowed 7mm mag (he left his .375 H&H at home too much hassle /red tape post 9/11). He dropped gemsbok, kudu, zebra, wildebeast, warthog, waterbuck and springbok with a 7 mag. I'd say that's pretty telling for versatility.

    I still say .30-06 rules the roost. If I need something bigger (Alaska bears, buffalo the odd escaped rhino) I have his .375.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  12. .338 win mag is not a half bad choice, IF you take the time to work up some downloaded loads.
  13. 257WM_CDL-SF

    257WM_CDL-SF Well-Known Member

    Id go with the 338 Win Mag id love to have one myself
  14. Scratchy

    Scratchy Well-Known Member

    Buy the biggest and most expensive and leave the cheap pea shooters for me. Just kidding but you already have the best for all North American game .30-06
  15. I'm sorry; I missed the part about already having a .243 and .30-06.

    In that case, I'd do one of two things: Fill the gap with a .260 rem or 7mm08. OR, go big with a .35 Whelen or 9.3x62 or even a .375 H&H mag or .45-70.

    To me, the .30-06 you have overlaps too much with .338 winmag. You can shoot a 220 gr bullet in a .30-06, easily found on the store shelf, for really big stuff.
  16. Logos

    Logos member

    If you're serious about sheep you should consider the grand old .270 Winchester.

    Can't do better.
  17. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    The .300 Weatherby does have some kick to it...

    Sighting it in is a PITA.:)

    However, it's flat-shooting enough for sheep and powerful enough for the big stuff.

    The question for most of these rounds is, "Do you load your own?" Because if you don't, the price of feeding them is non-trivial, and you will want practice with these specific rifles before going on a high-dollar out-of-state hunting jaunt.
  18. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Well-Known Member

    338 Win Mag will do everything you want. Recoil is manageable with out the need for a muzzle brake. Ammo while not cheap is affordable. Spend your Dad's money on the best scope you can afford. Then go out and shoot the thing.

    Now if you really want something fun.....try a 375 H&H
  19. Psyco Tyco

    Psyco Tyco Well-Known Member

    no i dont load my own thats only out of being too busy....the way dad has seen it and the way i have grown up with is that it would be better to work hard when not hunting even if that means paying a bit more for specialty bullets....although i'm gonna talk to him and see if he has a trip to africa planned in the next 5 years and if he does i might just go ahead and ask for the .375 or some larger caliber rifle but if he doesnt then i think the .338 will be more than sufficient for bear and elk all over the country
  20. gga357

    gga357 Well-Known Member

    30-06 still ranks #1.

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