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All-around cartridge for North American game?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Sgt_R, Sep 21, 2012.

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  1. Sgt_R

    Sgt_R Member

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    Full disclosure: I have never hunted, and my only rifles are .223 / 5.56mm.

    I'd like to buy a versatile hunting rifle in a caliber suitable for most game found in North America, excluding bear, moose, and similar large/dangerous animals. The rifle may also be used for occasional casual target shooting. I am leaning towards a Handi Rifle with 3-9 glass for this purpose.

    I currently live in SC. As I understand things here, my longest shot is likely to be around 400 yards, with the majority taken at 100 yards or less.

    I am currently interested in the following three calibers: .308, 7mm/08, and .300 BLK.

    Thoughts on these calibers for my intended use?

    R
     
  2. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    .300 mag will handle anything in the lower 48. I prefer the 7 mag, less recoil, better ballistic coefficients. Personal preference.

    Mostly, folks are going to tell you .30-06, but the 7mm kicks no more and does have more range and a flatter trajectory. I handload, so I don't care if they carry .30-06 at the north side 7-11 and not 7 mag. :rolleyes: 7 mag has traditionally been in the top five rounds in popularity. All sporting goods stores carry it, I mean, if you're too lazy to roll your own for better ammo. :D

    Okay, .308 is a might lighter, but yeah, just don't shoot as far on bigger game. It'll take elk to 300 yards no problem with a good bullet. Of your choices, go .308 and live happy. :D 7-08 is lighter, but will also do the job. Less recoil, but then, .308 even in a light rifle like my M7 doesn't bother me at all even shooting off the bench at the range.
     
  3. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    If you'll never go shooting grizzly bear or angry bull moose, at your eastern ranges no magnum is required. any standard .30 cal on down to 243 will work on whitetail and mule deer, as long as you do your part well and use a reliable expanding bullet. Going for elk? Well, .243 might be a bit light. You have the luxury of choosing for shooting comfort here.
     
  4. GJgo

    GJgo Member

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    Between the three calibers you listed the 308 & 7mm08 are really too close to argue. More off-the-shelf ammo choice for the 308. I personnaly don't think the 300 BLK should even be considered, it's much weaker.

    I would recommend a Savage Axis or Ruger American if you're looking for something cheap & light. The Handi-Rifle isn't going to do what you want for a target rifle.
     
  5. gunner69

    gunner69 Member

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    Hands down the 30-06, it can take any game on the North American contenent and is available most anywhere. I can't stand the recoil anymore, getting old, so I shoot the 6.5x55 Swede which can do the same with less recoil.:evil:
     
  6. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    30-06 is certainly the great one rifle that is tried and true for a century of use. It has the power to be a bear defense gun even in Alaska and it gets all critters from that size and down.

    That being said, my all around gun is of course my Marlin .444.:D Not really a 400 yard gun, but for the majority of shots below 100 yards as you stated, can't be beat for hunting and for woods defense.
     
  7. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    30-06. Or the do all of the world, 375H&H.

    But of the ones you list and based on your hunting area, .308.
     
  8. Coop45

    Coop45 Member

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    Ahem.....don't forget Jack O'Conner said the .270 Winchester was all that was needed.:evil:
     
  9. JEB

    JEB Member

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    if you will be buying factory ammo then i would say .308

    if you reload or are planning on reloading in the near future, i would go with the 7mm-08.
     
  10. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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  11. Alaska444

    Alaska444 member

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    One of my friends here in Idaho has harvested dozens of bears and elk with his .270. It turns out he learned this directly from Jack O'Conner. His father was good friends with him in Northern Idaho. Lot's of folks told my friend that the .270 was not enough gun for elk, but he has harvested more than any of his critics. Go figure.
     
  12. blindhari

    blindhari Member

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    It is not the gun, it is not the caliber, it is not the man. When all three combine and coordinate you have a matchless hunter. My brother in law shoots an old Remington bolt in .270 win. He shoots elk out to 500 yds and coyote further with that rifle. He takes running shots on deer, coyote and javalenia at under 20 yds. He has shot buffalo out of a runninng herd with three heart shots in the Kaibab. I have seen him hit poker chips out to 200yds with absolute consistency. One man who has learned to hit everything and takes just one rifle when it counts, Remington, one caliber, 270, 0ne ammo, Remington 165 Corerlokt. Find what works for you, 270 works for him.

    blindhari
     
  13. Water-Man

    Water-Man Member

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    Are you sure he's shooting a .270 using 165gr. Core-Lokt?
     
  14. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    All I've ever been able to find (when I had my 270) in Core-Lokt were 130gr and 150gr.

    My vote for the needs of the OP would either be 308 or 270. I'm looking forward to replacing mine, wish I didn't have to let it go to begin with.
     
  15. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    hmm let's see....very difficult question to answer...NOT!!! :D


    30-06....from Grizzly to squirrel.....


    Flatter yes, more useful hunting range no......
     
  16. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Of your choices I'd go 308, with a 7-08 as a 2nd choice. All 3 are capable, but I'd go 308 for versatility and availability. The 308 will do anything the 30-06, 270 or 300 mags will do, just at closer range. This includes the big bears. If you don't plan on shooting over 400 yards then the 308 is just fine.

    For deer sized game the 308 shoots flat enough and has enough energy for deer at 500, elk at 400 or the large bears at 100 or less. The other, bigger calibers suggested won't kill them any deader, but might add a few yards of effective range.
     
  17. 303tom

    303tom member

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    Hands down it is the .30-06 Springfield, or the "thirty-aught-six", or the "thirty-oh-six", or the 7.62×63mm or what ever you want to call it, that`s your standard, but that`s my .02 cents...............& jmr40, NO !
     
  18. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    Go to Walmart, Cabela's, Bass Pro or any other sporting goods store in America when they put out their stock of ammo before big game season and the largest inventory of any caliber will be in 30-06. Go there after right after season and the shelves that are the barest will be the ones that once held large amounts of 30-06. The round is as popular now as it was 100 years ago, regardless of how hard the ammo makers, gun rag writers and internet commandos have tried to dethrone it. While it might not be the best round for some North American Game, it works very well on all of them. If one is only gonna own one big game rifle, thinks at some point he may hunt more than whitetail deer and will be buying factory ammo for the rest of his hunting career(this is the majority of those that hunt deer) a good 30-06 is never a poor choice.
     
  19. j1

    j1 Member

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    Remember what Col Townsend Whelan used to say. "The 30 06 is never a mistake." The only thing which might cause the pucker factor to set in is grizzly or polar bears. Moose elk or deer are well covered by the 06. Just a little more than the 308.
     
  20. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    You can argue till the cows come home, but the aught 6 is tough to beat.
    A cartridge that got it right and just keeps ticking.
    Truth be known, back when grizzlies and polar bears were still hunted regularly,a 30-06 probably killed a majority.
     
  21. savanahsdad

    savanahsdad Member

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    I have a Handi rifle in .308 with a cinnamon laminate stock with a Ultra barrel , great little gun , one of my sons got his first deer with it , so it will be his someday . he droped that deer at 150 yards with the one shot , and he was only 13 years old at the time , so nothing wrong with going with a handi rifle in 308 , just put some nice glass on top and pick your shot , even with an auto you may only get one shot ,
    I alsol have a bolt gun in 7mm-08 , lighter , faster and has less kick , that round has gone over big here in northern WI, and just as mutch 7mm-08 on the shelfs as 30/30 , 270win, 30/06 , 308, or any of the mags, and when we had the big ammo scare of 2008 the 30cals were the frist thing to go. I walked in a FleetFarm and there were no 30/06 ,308's or 270win , but there were 7mm's
    anyway 308 or 7mm-08 would both be great picks, I'd lean to the 7mm-08 myself :)
     
  22. threefortyduster

    threefortyduster Member

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    Of the 3 you say you're interested in, I would choose the .308. The 300 blackout shouldn't even be considered, it's not even down the street from the ballpark the .308 and 7mm-08 play in.

    300AAC-125 gr bullet at 2200 fps
    .308-150-180 gr bullets at 2600+ fps
    7mm-08-150 gr at 2600 fps

    That all being said, the .308 would be my choice from your list. If you were open to others, I am all the other people who say the .30-06 is the best do all round for North America. The .308 is still a fine cartridge.
     
  23. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Boring. There is no "hands down" choice. If you're "excluding bear, moose, and similar large/dangerous animals" then all you really want is a deer rifle that is elk capable. For which there are about 900 different cartridges that will do the job. People say ".30/06" because it's easy and they've heard it a million times before but in the real world, there are A LOT of different choices. In the real world, the `06 has no advantage over the .308 until you get heavier than 180gr and 180's can be used for everything up to and including elk. For that matter, the 7mm08 or any of the various 6.5's will do the same job with less recoil and in a rifle that's shorter and a pound or so lighter. Several quarter inchers like the .257Roberts are also a good choice.

    My advice would be to get a good deer/antelope rifle. If you can afford to hunt elk, moose, caribou and the great bears of the north, you can certainly afford another rifle for the task.
     
  24. JohnM

    JohnM Member

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    If for some strange reason I had to choose just one
    HP center fire rifle it would be a 30-06.
    I've used it for over 50 years and there aren't many that offer it's adaptability.
     
  25. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    There are literally dozens.
     
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