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smaller than .30 for deer

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by blarby, May 4, 2012.

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  1. blarby

    blarby Mentor

    Feb 25, 2011
    Calapooia Oregon
    Ok, so we're in the market for a new deer rifle for the Mrs.

    Its not that she's overly recoil sensitive, but most of the 30 cal rifle offerings are too strong for her to practice with regularly.

    She is very adamant about a bolt action, which I fully support.

    Here's the hitch...she'd also like to be able to use it for elk when the occasion arises, so the .22+ variations are out here in Oregon.

    That leaves us starting at 24 cal.

    So, heres the goal of this lil thread :

    We need a 24 cal or larger rifle caliber with a recoil less than a .308 win, and a rifle recommendation you'd throw in the pot to go along with it.

    Wave "Hi" to the Wife- she's the one that'll be reviewing this one.

    If everyone's extra nice...we might get a new THR member out of this :)

    Thanks Gents and Gals- I appreciate your feedback !
  2. Inebriated

    Inebriated Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2011
    Savage Model 11 or Remington 700 of some flavor in .243 Win. I've talked to a couple Elk hunters who've had success with .243 on Elk, but I haven't used it myself.

    Oh, and HI MRS. BLARBY!
  3. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Senior Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    If you were east of the Mississippi, it'd be easy, a .243.
    But since you are west, and elk is on the menu, It is a little more problematic. However, personnaly, I'd suggest the 7mm-08. With 140gr bullets, the recoil is reasonable and it's effectiveness on elk is unquestioned.

    The Marlin XS7 is light, good handling,accurate and inexpensive rifle. Ammo is easily available with good ammo in the form of Remington 140gr Corlokt at less than $20 a box. With a good, inexpensive scope such as the Leupold "Rifleman", or Redfield in 2x-7x, you've got a good reliable, lightweight package.

    There are many excellent but more "esoteric" choices, but if you don't reload ammo is scarce and expensive. Choices such as the .260Remington and .257Roberts come to mind. The .270 and .25/06 are very good but recoil begins to approach that of the .30's, and ammo is more expensive for the .25/06. An rifles tend to be a bit heavier too.

    In the end, it will be a personal choice.
  4. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Senior Member

    Mar 22, 2008
    .270's have taken lots of deer and elk here in Colorado. The .243 is a great deer gun, and I know of at least a couple of people who have used them on elk (probably a bit on the smaller side for elk, but shot placement is key regardless of the gun you're carrying).

    A couple of my friends took some mule deer with their .260's this year (one was shot at 565 yards, if I recall correctly -- plus or minus 20 yards of that distance, lets say). Never heard of an elk being taken with a .260, but I'm sure it has happened.
  5. dubya450

    dubya450 Active Member

    Mar 18, 2012
    7mm-08 and don't look back. If she gets it in the right rifle that feels and balances good for her she'll love it and manage the recoil just fine with plenty of power for deer sized animals.
    And if she's looking for a smaller sized rifle, the winchester m70 compact featherweight is worth a look.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  6. vaupet

    vaupet Active Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Belgium, Europe
    The solution to your problem is available since the 1890's: it's called 6.5x55 se with almost the power and better accuracy then 308 and much less recoil.

    Watch out: it is addictive: after a while you will change your favorite caliber for ayet another 6.5.

    available rifle: used: swedisch mauser, winchester 70, ...
    new: tikka t3, several cz-models

    have fun

  7. firesky101

    firesky101 Participating Member

    Nov 21, 2011
    If you think the .308 based 7mm-08 might be too much, the 7x57 mauser is a little less power with comparable loads (hornady as my reference). It still has a bit more than the magic 1500fpe @ 200yds for elk (hornady 139gr interlock), but starts out about 400fps slower than 7mm-08. Different loadings will vary, but it gives you a good idea of the comparison.
  8. interlock

    interlock Active Member

    Oct 17, 2008
    Lincolnshire, England
    look at the projectile first. a 6.5 mm bullet of a decent wieght has really high sectional density. indeed a great amount of moose are shot in scandinavia using a 6.5 bullet. These are mainly from 6.5 x 55. The more modern .260 rem gives marginally better performance with heavier bullets.

    the 7mm bullets are also proven game getters i shoot 7mm08 and it is very deadly with 139 gr bullets. there are lots of 7mm rounds. if looking for a shorter action then a 7mm08 or a 7x57 (mid length) might be a good bet. I have killed red stags with 7mm08 and 130 and 145 gr bullets.

    a trap people often fall into is assuming that rhe recoil is all the same for each round. buying a nice little light rifle then firing really heavy max load rounds. My 7mm08, a remmy model 7 kicks like a mule when shooting 145 gr speers loaded to the max (its most accurate in that bullet wieght) it is perfectly pleasant with mid load 139s and with sierra 120's also pleasant.... but the 120's expand very fast and damage carcasses.

    what ever you are going for look for a rifle with a twist rate consistant with the projectile wieght you want to shoot. don't worry about mega velocity. a heavy, tough bullet with relatively high sectional density delivered at reasonable rifle velocity to the pocket will drop the animal.

    well done Mrs Blarby. Enjoy your hunting.

    I would have no hesitation in taking my 7mm08 and its 139gr hornadies after elk, red stags or moose (elk and moose are in short supply here in lincolnshire)
  9. eastbank

    eastbank Senior Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    get a 700 rem sp in 7-08 in the youth model,use varget and a 120-129gr bullet for deer and a 139-140 gr for the bigger stuff. eastbank.
  10. SimplyChad

    SimplyChad Active Member

    Jan 8, 2011
    Montgomery Co TX
    7-08, 6.5 swede, 243, or 7mm mauser will all do the trick if she can do her part. They are all found easily online and wont break the bank. Of them i would take the 243 cheapest and makes you get close.
  11. LoonWulf

    LoonWulf Participating Member

    Jul 3, 2010
    We will all have our personal preferences, but honestly any round from the .243 on up to the .308 is a great deer round. Ive never hunted elk so will refrain from posting my uneducated opinion lol.

    If i were choosing a round i would probably pick the 7mm-08. This is due to the availability of bullets, its ability to handle heavier bullets pretty well, and the fact that i am enamored to the bore diameter. Adding a pound or so of gun weight and shooting a .270 or .280 could also be an option, as could reduced recoil practice loads for the 08 or 06

    As for a rifle i can only recomend that you TRY before you buy, again we all have our preferences. I personally prefer Savage or Remington 700s, but most every gun ive handled lately has be decent atleast.

    Something a friend said and i agree with is that. A rifle that fits and feels good is more important then anything but reliable function.
  12. wickedsprint

    wickedsprint Active Member

    Dec 4, 2005
    S. Florida
    My niece got her first elk with a .243.
  13. kingkeoni

    kingkeoni New Member

    Oct 10, 2011
    .243 is an excellent caliber for deer and much more mile recoil than most 30 cal's.
  14. NWCP

    NWCP Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Pacific NW
    For longer shots the .270 would work nicely. Anything from 225 yards and closer you might want to look at the 6.8SPC II. Doesn't recoil much more than a .223 and within it's operating parameters it will put down a deer, or hog for that matter. Besides, if you pick up a 5.56 for her and then buy a good 6.8 upper she can plink all she wants with the 5.56 on the cheap and hunt with her 6.8. Two rifles for the price of one. Can't beat it with a stick. JMHO
  15. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Participating Member

    Jan 23, 2003
    Munising MI
    if your a handloader id go with a 257 roberts. Its one of the finest whitetail round going but about needs handloading to see its potential. If not and recoil is a consern id go with a 243. Contrary to what some internet experts will tell you ANY deer hit with a 100 grain bullet out of a 243 out to 300 yards in the right place is going to put meat on the table
  16. critter

    critter Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    southeast AR
    Give the 25-06 a real close look.
  17. 303tom

    303tom member

    Jul 16, 2011
    A Savage in .243 Winchester..............
  18. Damon555

    Damon555 Active Member

    Jul 7, 2008
    The south
    Your favorite brand in 7mm-08.
  19. jim243

    jim243 Participating Member

    Sep 11, 2009
    ^^^ +1

  20. GI_Jared

    GI_Jared Member

    Dec 8, 2011
    You basically described the .243 in your original post, and correct me if i'm wrong but I believe the .243 winchester is a necked down .308
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