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Best Hunting Caliber?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by crazyboi12321, Aug 7, 2010.

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  1. crazyboi12321

    crazyboi12321 Member

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    I have been shooting and hunting for a while (Handguns, Shotguns) and i dont have any rifles. I wanted to know what caliber would be best to hunt varmint (Hares, Coyote) and also be able to take down a boar. I would like one rifle to do both. I know .308 has the necessary power to take down a boar but i wanted to know how it is with recoil like how many shots before you dont even want to shoot anymore, also if it is just overkill for varmint. I dont need the hides from them. The other caliber i was thinking about was .243 but when i was doing research i was hearing that its not enough to take down a boar. Any opinions appreciated. Thanks
     
  2. sumpnz

    sumpnz Member

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    If you want to eat the small game or save pelts then the .308 will not leave you much. Nor will the .243 on bunnies and similar size animals. Sounds like those aren't much of a concern, so a .308 will do the job, though you will likely find the recoil to be more than you'd prefer.

    For edible small game (rabbits/hares, squirrels, etc) it's hard to beat a .22lr. Good .22lr rifles can be had for under $200, and the ammo is very cheap. Effective range on rodents is a good 50 yards, more if you're good enough for a head shot. If you want to reach out farther look into the .17HMR. Rifles are a bit more expensive, and ammo is, IIRC, about 3x the cost of .22lr last I looked. But it's got a heck of a reputation for accuracy, and it'll extend your effective range to 100+ yards. I don't know where you live, but wherever I've hunting such small game a .17HMR will get you a longer range capability than is useful.

    Coyotes are routinely taken with everything, in terms of power, from .223 Rem on up. The rimfires certainly can kill them, but they just don't have the punch for a 40# animal at anything but a pretty short range.

    And .308 is certainly plenty and appropirate for a pig.

    I think you'll find that you really need 2 rifles for those rather different applications. At the very least its a good excuse to buy 2 guns instead of one :).
     
  3. Purgatory

    Purgatory Member

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    I've been researching the same scenario, Crazy, and I've decided on the .308, myself. The .243 is a real sweet shootin cartridge. Recoil is not a big deal at all and accuracy is very good and you can still take deer-size game with it.

    But that stops at around 200 lbs, where the pigs can go 500 lbs easy. So, I decided to go with the .308 so I can take that big piggy that happens across my path while deer hunting, no problem. -And also for specifically hunting pig.

    As far as varmint like coyote and such, I'll just have to use a lighter grain bullet in the .308 like the 110 grain as long as it's accurate in my gun. Otherwise I'll be shootin coyote with a .308 150 grain bullet and sayin a little prayer of forgiveness to the Mother of Nature for the devastation. :eek:


    P.S. I've conceded that I'll have to bridge the gap between .22 WMR and .308 in the future.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  4. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    As far as recoil is concerned, that's a very personal issue and tolerance is somewhat of an acquired taste. The recoil of a 308 seems inconsequential to me but I could also sit at the bench and touch off 50 to 100 458 Lott loads without much discomfort. If it gives you and frame of reference, 308 recoil is about the same as 30/06 recoil and more than 270 or 25/06 recoil.

    If you're concerned about meat damage on smaller animals, use solids. At least in my 30/06, 165 gr. Barnes Banded Solids shoot to about the same place as Barnes TSX bullets of similar weight at 100 yards.
     
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    If you want to shoot smaller animals with the .308, just shoot a match or FMJ bullet. I really like my .308 in a little light weight M7 Remington. Recoil isn't bad at all, but then, recoil tolerance varies by individual. It's not as easy as my .257 Roberts on the shoulder, but a heck of a lot easier than my 7 mag which weighs a good bit more, too. In my son-in-law's heavy barrel Remington with 26" fluted barrel, the .308 feels like a .243. :D Depends on the gun, but it's great in my little M7, love the thing.

    This year, though, I'm going to be hunting mostly with a .50 caliber shooting a 320 grain cast bullet. :D That one kicks a bit with 80 grains of 777 FFFg granulation. I don't think the hogs or deer will go very far, though. It hits with a thump. :D
     
  6. dakotasin

    dakotasin Member

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    when talking big game hunting i don't think chambering should enter the equation very early. the rifle and accoutrements are more critical than the chambering.

    for example... if you are hunting an area on foot where your hunt doesn't start until the pickup is a mile behind you the rifle you choose to carry will be markedly different than if your hunt starts when you get into your seat in a tree stand or whatever.

    give more thought to the platform, less for chambering.

    to answer the question as asked, though, i would say a 308 is about ideal as it gets for most hunters - and i am of the opinion that mcgunner is on the right track - or at least was until he got to some weird fff-thing - when he speaks of his remington m7 in 308.

    other good chamberings are going to be anything starting at 257 roberts and going up to 338 win mag (my personal favorite all around chambering) - and covering everything in between.
     
  7. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    If you are able to tolerate recoil from the larger gauge shotguns, you shouldn't have an issue with a centerfire rifle like the 308 Win.

    Many of the rifle calibers make "managed recoil" ammo for hunting and target.

    Shotgun recoil energy-12Ga 1 1/8oz ---23ftlbs

    308 Win recoil energy-165gr---17ftlbs

    In the heat of the hunt, you probably won't feel the recoil anyway.



    NCsmitty
     
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Sorry, dakotasin, just been on an old school kick, lately. Well, maybe not. I mean, Dan'l Boone didn't hunt with a scoped inline, but hey, the big thumper thing attracts me. :D

    Actually, I got the urge for that little M7 after hiking hill over dale in the Guadalupes chasing mulies. That 7 mag got heavy fast! But, it is a very accurate little rifle and the compact dimensions work great in a stand, box blind, or still hunting heavy cover. It's about as all around as it gets! I love that thing for about any hunting situation, why I haven't fired my .257 or my 7 mag much since I got it. It's taken a few deer and a good number of hogs and even three coyotes, one past 350 yards. It's a 3/4 MOA gun even though it has a 20" soda straw barrel.
     
  9. Fremmer

    Fremmer Member

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    Don't we need ballistic coefficient and sectional density charts to tell us the answer?
     
  10. Robert Wilson

    Robert Wilson Member

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    I am considering a .257 Weatherby for boar hunting. With a solid bullet like the Barnes Triple Shock it should be quite effective. It would also make an exceptional long range varmint rifle with softer bullets. The downsides are recoil (about like a .308, in fact) and relatively short barrel life, at least if used as a typical varmint rifle.

    I have a .228 Ackley that would serve the same purpose if I could get the Triple Shock or similar bullet in that odd diameter. It has been used on deer with amazing results, with homemade bullets of plain construction, but I have not worked up the courage to try them on boar. Frankly, I suspect the .220 Swift would be very effective with one of the heavier Triple Shocks, but I also suspect that plan would raise a lot of eyebrows. Of course, both calibers would be ideal for varminting.
     
  11. 375shooter

    375shooter Member

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    With the right bullet a .243 will take down a boar. It's best to choose a premium bullet in a heavy weight, such as Barnes TSX, Swift A-Frame, Nosler Partition or Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. Then find a varmint bullet load that shoots to same point of impact and you're good to go. Just be careful that you don't use the varmint bullet on the boar.;) Other cartridges worth looking at (without going too large in caliber) are.257 Roberts, .25-06 Rem and .260 Rem.
     
  12. FLAvalanche

    FLAvalanche Member

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    Hares, coyote and hog with one caliber?

    I'd go .223.
     
  13. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I disagree, the .243 is plenty capable at bigger than 200lb game. It isn't ideal for 500lb boars but it would do it as 375 shooter mentioned. I killed an elk with mine, though I don't want to do it again. I've shot a number of mule deer with mine without any trouble. It is great for deer on down. The .308 would also be a good caliber for what you describe, especially if you aren't worried about pelt damage. Even if you are, you can moderate it by bullet choice. I shoot coyotes with my .243, sometimes it tears them up, sometimes it doesn't. I'm sure I could find a bullet that would be pelt friendly if I wanted. Also the .308 certainly will kill boars. I haven't done it but it kills elk routinely so...
    Either caliber I think you'd be happy with. If pelt damage is no concern and boars will be a common target then the .308 would proably be better. Recoil of the .243 is basically non-existent but the .308 is not exactly a mule either.
     
  14. bswiv

    bswiv Member

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    Wife has taken a good number of hogs and deer with a .243. As someone said, use a GOOD bullet and it will work fine.

    Real nice part about it is that you can get it in a youth sized rifle that even for a adult is very easy to use in a tree stand and in thick cover.........
     
  15. DIM

    DIM Member

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    223 with 1:8 barrel twist will be great choice for what you looking, it will shoot bullets from 55 grain up to 80 grains. Those 80 grains are enough to put dead stop on deer or pigs. Tikka makes T3 models and their 223 barrels are 1:8 twist, you could get in to AR-15 they have many varmint models with 1:8. On the second thought you can't go wrong with 270 win. With 90 gr bullets screaming at 3600 fps no varmint is safe and with 130 - 160 gr bullets will do moose or elk.
     
  16. joeq

    joeq Member

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    Personally, I choose the 270 Winchester as my all around hunting rifle. I can get loads for everything I want to do.
     
  17. Purgatory

    Purgatory Member

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    JoeQ, I've definitely heard and very much considered the argument for the .270 and would really love to have and use one.

    Guess after much research and deliberation, though, I decided on a short action instead.
    -At least for now.

    Wankerjake, you're probably right on the money with your perspective of the .243. I was only able to handle a friend's a handful of times at the range, but loved the accuracy and complete lack of recoil.

    Yet, I do very well live where pigs are outnumbering people, and big'uns at that. So I concluded the .308 was necessary. I wana bring the BANG-stick down on those monsters when the opportunity arises.

    I like the idea of being able to go almost as heavy as the .30-06 also.
     
  18. wankerjake

    wankerjake Member

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    I LOVE my .243 but to be honest if I was gonna hunt a bunch of big hogs and didn't care about pelts I'd take the .308 as well. Even if I did care about coyote pelts I could make the .308 work. Shoot rabbits in the head if you want the meat. Have fun man, get some.
     
  19. Fernando

    Fernando Member

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    If you hunt pigs in late afternoon or at night, or in heavy bush, and don’t have a dog that can track blood real good, don’t recommend less than .308 w. Here in Europe boars are hunted mostly with 9,3x62, 300 win mag or 30.06 spr, and .308 w has only some use – and only to some – to hunt standing still small to medium boars at ranges usually no more than 100 or 120 meters.

    Every year hunters get wounded by boars, here. Being undergunned is not recommended.

    Everybody can take a kick from a .308 w or a 30.06 when hunting. In fact, even a 375H&H Mag will leave you with a big smile if you see your piggy down the road pedaling with the feet up, lolol
     
  20. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    .243 will kill, with the proper bullet in the right place, any hog that walks. There is no such thing as overkill on a dangerous animal, however.


    I'd rather blow up a rabbit that get sliced up by a pissed off boar. Thanks, but no thanks. Head shots, you say? Okay, I'll save money and use my 10/22. :rolleyes:
     
  21. qajaq59

    qajaq59 Member

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    I'd say the .308 and then use appropriate bullets and head shots for the smaller sized game.
     
  22. Justin Holder

    Justin Holder Member

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    Before I got my .270win. I used my .243win. loaded with 100gr. Power Points for everything from crows to hogs.

    Get a .243, load some 100gr. bullets, and the hogs will fear you.
     
  23. JimKirk

    JimKirk Member

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    .243 or 25/06!!

    Either is up to the job.

    Jimmy K
     
  24. FLAvalanche

    FLAvalanche Member

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    Head shots aren't necessary. Hit them in the vitals like your supposed to and they don't go far. I've shot plenty of hog in the vitals with .223 and not a single one of them have made it more than 40 yards.

    If you can't drop a hog with a well placed shot with a .223 then a .308 isn't going to do you much more good.
     
  25. DIM

    DIM Member

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    I know many pigs, huge pigs 300lb were hunted in US and Europe using .223, minimum requirement to put down a boar is 69gr SMK, but 80 gr can do even better job.
     
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