A Rifle For Large North American Animals

What Rifle Do You First Reach for?

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Man that's a good one right there and hard to beat. Versatility and capability rolled into one.
I have the ability to pick and choose calibers and rifles for dedicated use but if I had to pick one to do it all...........I'm going to say 338Win Mag or my beloved 35 Whelen would get the call.
Please don't ask me to choose between them. That would be torture!
I'm interested to hear what others say here.
Happy shooting!
I think that most people shoot the smaller low recoiling cartridges better than the big boomers. I know that I do. But when you throw in big bears you want something a little bigger. I think a good compromise is 300 WM.
I believe this to be very true, especially when dedicated trigger time is not exercised. From a financial standpoint, I totally get why folks don't shoot as much as we used to and supplies are not as readily available as they once were either.
However practice makes perfect may be an old saying but it does work. A 338Win Mag packs a pretty good thump at both ends but with practice it can be manageable. 20230820_133305.jpg Test Target 338Win Mag  250gr Hornady.jpg
Man, a darn fly landed on my blasted nose the instant I sqeezed the trigger on that last shot. Ruined my cloverleaf group. Darn fly!
I practice alot. That gun and load will almost hold that group at 200yds. If I do my part. It does take practice though.
Happy shooting!
If I’m being nostalgic, I’ll grab a 308 or 30-06. But I’m thinking I might go for “other” and take a new cartridge I’m impressed with: 7PRC
Edit: I might add, I’m not one to “jump on the bandwagon” of every new cartridge that comes along… and I’m hard to impress, so…
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I would go for my 30/06. I realize it is not very sexy or trendy, but I have been hunting with this same rifle for the last 25 years and the .30/06 for the last 35 years or so. Mine is a SS Winchester M-70 with a 3.5x10 VXIII Leupold. It was super hot stuff back in the day, but still puts meat on the table every year for me. It shoot it really well and has become a good friend in the field.

Here some pics from last year's deer hunt. I we are heading back up in a few weeks and I am fired up!


IMG_3318.jpg IMG_3371.jpg IMG_3373.jpg
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With grizzle and polar bears on the list. I voted for 300WM. I have used 300WM and 300wsm in the past and they are both very capable cartridges.
Without the bears, I would have went with 7mm Rem Mag. Not that it is not capable for bears. I just like having a little more bullet weight for something that could eat me 😲
.375 Ruger in a Browning A-bolt.
Not because I feel its really necessary, but because i like it and i shoot it better than most of my other rifles.

Its honestly one of two rifles that i consider my general use guns.

The other option would be my Ridgeline in 280AI, things effectively a 7mag with a 1-9twist giving me heavy bullet options.
Elk is the largest game animal I'll ever hunt. A 30-06 is all I'd ever need to hunt anything in North America including the big bear. The 308 does the same thing 50 yards closer and one of the various 300 magnums does it 50-100 yards farther away.

It'll never happen for me, but if you include the larger African game then 375.
I guess I'll vote for the caliber I just had put together; 300WM. With a little load development, it can be a 30-06 or a .308Win.

Blue printed Rem 700 with 24" Bartlein 2B in a Manners EH3:



I just started breaking in the barrel this weekend.
My screen name of course. ;)
There's not a nickel's worth of difference between .300 Win Mag and a .308 Norma Mag ballistically, and a .308 Norma Mag is what I have and have used for big game for 13 years now. I used a .300 Win Mag before that, and a 30-06 before that. Heck I even used a .270 Winchester for a few years, a .338 Win Mag for a year or two, and I started with a .308 Winchester back in 1963 or 1964. My beloved .308 Norma Mag works as well as any of them did, it was my retirement gift to myself, I have complete confidence in it, and I see no reason to look into anything else - unless, when I get older, I might want to be carrying a lightweight (6 or 7 pound) "mountain rifle" with a relatively short (about 20") barrel. And if I do, it will be chambered for the great .308 Winchester. :)