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Need a versatile rifle, which caliber?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by kthomk, Dec 8, 2006.

  1. kthomk

    kthomk New Member

    Oct 27, 2006
    Hello all,

    I am looking to purchase a rifle that I can use for hunting as well as fun to shoot targets at the range. I reload my handgun cartridges and probably will reload rifle also. Which cartridge would you recommend that I can shoot game effectively and also shoot targets without getting too beat up. Would be hunting whitetails, but possibly larger animals in the future.
  2. one eye joe

    one eye joe New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    You don't state what you want to hunt. If you plan on hunting small animals, say up thru coyote, I would get a .223. If you want to hunt deer, will it be in heavy timber or open areas. For the timber, a .30-30 works fine, though it isn't a great target gun. For all around use for a reloader, take a hard look at the 6.5x55 Swedish. It has won many target matches, is used on animals up thru moose, and doesn't recoil much at all. It can be handloaded to .25-06 levels with lighter bullets, and .7-08 levels with the heaver bullets. Works faily well in timber, and is a good long range round. Factory ammunition is anemic, so you have to reload to bring out it's potential.
  3. Leanwolf

    Leanwolf Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2006
    Well, you didn't mention what kind of "game" you're going to hunt, or where, but very, very few animals on the North American continent will not go down very quickly with a good hit from a .308 Win.

    Also, it's not an expensive caliber with which to practice, and it won't "beat you up" after a practice session.

  4. Thefabulousfink

    Thefabulousfink Participating Member

    Dec 12, 2005
    Spokane, WA
    Check your local hunting regulations. .223 is a cheap, accurate, and comfortable to shoot round that is good for target shooting and hunting. Some states do not allow .223 for deer, but it is a good round for anything smaller. A good bolt action should be able to place rounds on target out past 800 yards and the cheap price of ammo will let you put a lot of rounds down range.

    If you are going to be hunting deer then I would sugest stepping up to a .243 or .270. .30-30 is a great round and lever guns are fun to shoot, but usually don't have the range of bolt actions. More powerful rounds like the .300 and 7mm get more performance but are more expensive and more specialized.

    If you want a nice gun that is good for the range or popping rabbits, get something between .223 and .270. If you want to be able to hunt deer, go .270 or .30-30.
  5. duck911

    duck911 Member

    Feb 18, 2006
    Loveland, Colorado
    Well, it depends on what you want to hunt.

    You state you don't want to "get too beat up" so I assume you mean low felt recoil.

    Without any more information from you, I'd suggest looking into a .243, 7mm-08, or .270.

    A heavier rifle will reduce the felt recoil. Shoot lighter loads at paper, heavier bullets at game. A .270 will work for anything from coyotes up though (arguably) moose.

  6. Shoney

    Shoney Participating Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Transplanted away from MT
    OOOps, disregard.
  7. WolfMansDad

    WolfMansDad Member

    Jul 11, 2006
    7mm-08, especially if you reload. Light recoil, flat shooting, and lethal enough for any kind of game you are likely to go after. The 7mm-08 and .243 are both based on the .308 cartridge, with the neck sized down appropriately. Some people (like me) don't like the recoil of the .308, and the .243 is kind of anemic for elk or large pig. 7mm-08 ballistics are essentially the same as those of the 7x57 mauser, also called the .275 Rigby. That caliber was used all over Africa and India to take large or dangerous game, as well as ordinary meat animals.
  8. miko

    miko Member

    Aug 10, 2005
    I do not know about larger animals than whitetails, but in all other respects, I would recommend a .243.
    You might just love the Remington 7600 pump in that caliber, especially with 10-rd mags.

    Fully floating barrel for bolt-like accuracy, fast follow-up shots, powerfull cartrige, excellent ballistics on 100gr bullets that you can push out at 3000+
    At the same time, you can load lead 80-grains at 1500fps for 22-like feel.

  9. Joe Gunns

    Joe Gunns Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Washington State
    If you're not a reloader, .30-06 offers wide range of cmmercial rounds from saboted .22's to heavy bullet loads adequate (tho not ideal) for the biggest North American game.
  10. Glockfan.45

    Glockfan.45 member

    Sep 7, 2006
    Democratic Peoples Republic of Illinois
    I would say .223, but many states dont allow deer hunting with that round so for you its out of the question. If you reload then ammo cost isnt much of a factor, you may want to look at the .308win. Other posters seem to have overlooked that you want to go plinking with it, and the .308win is a better choice for that than a .270, 7mm, or 30-06 for fun shooting. I have dropped a few whitetails and with a good hollow or soft point .308 is more than up to the task.
  11. azredhawk44

    azredhawk44 Active Member

    Dec 20, 2005
    Scottsdale, AZ
    I'd recommend a .308.

    If you want light recoil, a .308 autoloader (Remington 7400, Springfield M1A) will suit you fine. My girlfriend has back problems and can shoot my M1A all day long.

    A bolt action .308 will be a bit stiffer in recoil, but probably another 1/2 MOA more accurate in general. Certainly not unmanageable, IMO.

    .308 is one of the most popular long range marksmanship cartridges out there. It will kill varmints with non-expanding, ultra accurate 168gr or 175gr sierra HPBT matchking loads. It will kill deer with 150gr softpoint loads, and it will kill elk with 180gr partition loads. Just need to dial in the scope each time you change loads.

    My M1A runs only 2 types of ammo: 165gr Remington Pointed softpoints and 168gr Hornady HPBT target loads. I don't need to change my sights at all when shooting either of these. POI doesn't change between the ammo, just size of groups. The Hornady is much more consistent than the Remington, but the Remington is a better value for range blasting and a better constructed hunting bullet than the Hornady HPBT.

    With my 18" barrel, iron aperture sights and my less than 20/20 vision, I keep 1.5" groups with the match ammo and about 3" groups with the Remington stuff. Military Surplus ammo I have shot runs around 4-5 MOA. Other folks do much better with their .308's, having either better vision, better optics or better skill than me. Doesn't take much to have at least one of those.:p
  12. Ray P

    Ray P Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    My question is "What distances are you planning to shoot?"

    45-70 is adequate for any game on the NA continent. But it tends to have a rainbow trajectory; dropping off quickly after 200 yds.

    That is not to say one can't get excellent long-range performance out of a 45-70, but you do need a vernier tang rear sight with extensive vertical adjustment. A scope just doesn't cut it.

    If you hunt mostly in close cover, you won't benefit from a 223 or 308.

    If you need to reach the muley on the next ridgeline over, a 30-30 or 45-70 may not be your best choice.
  13. Clipper

    Clipper Senior Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    Mt. Morris, MI.
    ...260 Rem...
  14. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Senior Member

    Oct 21, 2006
    I'd say the .308 if you are planning on shooting large game. Otherwise, I'm rather partial to the .223.
  15. 1911JMB

    1911JMB Active Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    When choosing a gun I ask myself 3 questions. Will it be reliable, is it as powerful as it needs to be, and can I get ammo and hopefully spare parts just about anywhere in the country. Common guns and common calibers are common for a reason, and that is because they work.

    For that reason I reccomend you get a .308 bolt gun. Surplus .308 is scarce right now, but compared to a lot of other calibers it really is a good deal. You can get a Remington 710 in .308 for 350 bucks or so, ready to go. Comes with a scope. I'd go for something like that.

    Edit- I think the 710 is a .270 and 30/06. I'm probably thinking of the entry level Remington 700's
  16. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
  17. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

    Oct 10, 2006
    North Idaho
    Dan Wesson

    Some several years ago, Dan Wesson demonstrated that you can take darn near anything with a .357 sidearm.

    I got to see a photo a couple weeks ago of a bison brought down with a S&W 686 4-inch revolver (.357 in stainless) at 71 yards. The round went all the way through.

    While everything that's been said above is good info, I would offer up a carbine that shoots Dan Wesson's versatile .357 round.

    Marlin 1894C. It will let you shoot .38 for practice, .38+p for HD, and .357 for a wide range of game out to 150 yards or better.

    The recoil is very manageable, so you won't suffer while practicing. The cost of .38 is pretty manageable, too.

    And, for what it's worth, it's pretty and warm and cuddly and traditional-looking and unlikely to alarm common folk.
  18. rangerruck

    rangerruck Mentor

    Jan 12, 2006
    Texas, baby!
    the best, most versatile handloader out there, right now is the 260 remmy. My alltime fave cartridge is the 6mm remmy. a 100 grn factory bullet moves out about 200 fps faster than a 243, with it's super long neck, it has much better accuracy, and bbl life to it... you can handload it with bullets from 80 grains up to about 105 or 110 I think. But you can buy the factory remmy rounds for 10 or 12 or so dollars a box all day.
  19. Chuck Perry

    Chuck Perry Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Not to be confused with the Smith and Wesson 357 Magnum :neener:
  20. Colt46

    Colt46 Active Member

    Jan 29, 2003
    6.5 Swede is a real pussycat

    Accurate, mild recoil and deadly. It's not easy finding rifles chambered for it. But they do exist.

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