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I dont get the big GUNS?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by txcookie, Nov 21, 2012.

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  1. nickn10

    nickn10 Member

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    I understand the argument over what caliber it takes to kill an animal cleanly. I started hunting in 1965 here in Colorado. An argument/discussion that I have not seen here is the changing conditions as it affects caliber choices, ie. length of hunting season, hunting pressure due to more hunters in the area, different seasons for archery, muzzle loaders, early and late rifle etc. Nowdays, here in Colorado, deer and elk are hunted from late Aug to late Dec. The pressure on the animals have made them both extremely wary and nocturnal. You must apply for and draw, if you are lucky, for a season and animal which may be for the following year. Will it be hot and dry or cold and wet or even during a blizzard? Usually the season drawn will be a week or ten days long at most, you usually have a job and can only hunt a few of those days or if out of state you have spent a ton of money hoping for a once in a lifetime hunt. All those conditions must be considered, add to that the greedy Div of wildlife pumping more hunters into the area and success becomes an iffy proposition. You needed assurance, that if an opportunity presented itself, you couldn't afford to pass up a shot due to distance or an inadequate bullet. ASSUMMING YOU COULD ACCURATELY PLACE THAT BULLET INTO A VITAL SPOT! Magnums, 7mm, .30win and .338win provided an edge. I hunted from 1964 to 1995, since 1980 the conditions for both the hunter and the hunted have changed for the worse. I remember when Elk grazed openly during the day and antelope herds were much bigger, big Muleys, 30 inchers, were not a rare occurrence if you were willing to work for it.
    All that being said I started with a .270 thanks to Jack O'Connor and it worked well until the mid 80's. Then the outdoor magazines started touting the great western Elk experience, up until that time most of my hunting buddies ignored Elk, they were too heavy to carry out, and who the heck can eat all that meat! From 1985-1995 I settled on a 338 win for Elk and a 7mm for deer. Nowdays hunting times are short, competition is high and the animals are harrassed, a big caliber is insurance worth carrying if Elk is the quarry. Today I turned 71 and those hills and mountains have gotten too hard for me, but the memories are sweet. BTW I still have a .22lr, a mini 14 .223 and a .308 just in case. Good hunting to you all.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2012
  2. splattergun

    splattergun Member

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    You'vbe made perfect sense Andrew.
     
  3. TNboy

    TNboy Member

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    I'm a lot more concerned with how competent someone is with a rifle as opposed to what rifle they are using. All I hunt is whitetail and hogs and my .270 does just fine. When I bought it at 16 I bought it with the intent of keeping it for life. I have no problem with a guy using a .223 as long as he makes a clean kill. Although a bigger gun must be used judiciously in order to avoid messing up a bunch of meat, used properly I see nothing wrong with it.
     
  4. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    Is rapid bullet fragmentation what causes most meat destruction?
     
  5. hq

    hq Member

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    Hydrodynamic (which is often erroneously called hydrostatic) shock does. It's a function of bullet speed, weight and diameter, speed being the dominant factor.
     
  6. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    When I was younger, I was over confident as to how good of a shot I was and generally leaned toward smaller centerfire calibers for deer (243 win was my choice) and even comfortable with a 222/223 with a proper bullet. More foreward a few years and I started using a 270 Win for deer (as opposed to 30-06 or 308) and I'm very comfortable with that choice.

    I say use enough gun. But a bad hit with a smaller caliber is just as bad as one with a bigger caliber. But the more powerful caliber puts them down quicker as a general rule. I think that is important.

    I haven't hunted elk or moose. Would love to. I would probably move up to 7mm or 300 win mag for them due to distance considerations over the 270. Frankly I would do some serious thinking about it before buying. I might even start a thread for the fun of it, but really don't need someone else's help for that. It would be a great excuse to buy another rifle and get comfortable with the rifle and caliber. :) But I am confident the 270 would be sufficient as long as I did my part and kept the range within my capabilities.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  7. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

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    I guess if you don't get it, you're just not a gun guy. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Bushpilot

    Bushpilot Member

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    I used to have a "thing" for Magnum rifles, especially the 300WM and 375HH, although I really didn't have a "need" for anything bigger than a 30/06, if that. Although I could handle their recoil I still really didn't enjoy shooting them. Now as I've gotten a little older I have started to appreciate lighter rifles. There is a quality to having enough gun without the burdens associated with too much gun (weight, recoil, meat damage, barrel life, barrel and receiver length, muzzle blast, ammo cost). The .243, .257, 6.5x55, 7x57, .270 and similar rifles now catch my eye more than Magnums do. Plus, what hunting experience I do have has confirmed for me the old adage " it's not what you hit them with, it's where you hit them that counts.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  9. BoilerUP

    BoilerUP Member

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    Shot placement ALWAYS matters more than bullet diameter and velocity...
     
  10. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Jason_W, the deal is to not hit in the eating part of a critter. Sure, fragmentation makes a mess, so just be picky about where you want to hit. Neck; heart/lung...
     
  11. Manny

    Manny Member

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    I live in Ohio where you can't use centerfire rifles for deer, handgun, muzzleloader or shotgun slug only. Shooting lightweight slug guns (my NEF weighs less than 6 lbs) makes even some of the heavy hitting big bores seem not too bad in recoil and mighty small in caliber in comparison. Given these restrictions any use of a hunting rifle is an out of state hunt. So before I got a rifle, I thought first what I would most want to hunt and came up with a list of my top 3 hunts:

    -Black Bear
    -Large trophy hog
    -Bison

    All tough targets that could justify a heavy hitter. Yeah, a .30-06 could do it all, but I wanted something a bit bigger. My first try at a hunting rifle was a Browning M71 repro in .348. I found it not bad on recoil and fun to shoot and it seemed like a good match for the game I wanted to hunt. Found I didn't particularly care for lever actions, the ammo was hard to find and I didn't like not being able to scope it, so sold it. While browsing Cabela's one day I found a smoking deal deal on a Ruger M77 Hawkeye All Weather in .338 Winmag. Though I've yet to use it on game I know that I'm set for any possible hunt I can take in north america from deer to brown bear. It's the only rifle I own outside of .22's & an AR in 5.56. I only wanted one rifle and wanted one that would cover any contingency. With the .338 WM I believe I found it, though I will confess to harboring a longing for a 9.3x62. If Ruger offered it in an All Weather I'd be mighty tempted to make the change.
     
  12. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    The 9.3X62 is a cool round. But for all around North American hunting the .338 is more versatile and more useful round as it has about the same killing ability and penetration as a 9.3 yet it offers the flat trajectory often very useful out west. It's kind of like a longer range 9.3.
     
  13. T.R.

    T.R. Member

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    A lot has to do with marketing strategies to encourage hunters to buy new rifles.

    TR
     
  14. .333 Nitro Express

    .333 Nitro Express Member

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    The original question never quite addressed what TXCookie meant by "big guns."

    If he means a magnum version of a 25 to 30 caliber cartridge it's one thing. If he means a medium or big bore it's another thing. If he means a magnum version of a medium or big bore it's yet something else.

    Let me address the second option, because it's the one I espouse--using a medium (or big bore). A medium bore throwing a heavy-for-caliber bullet at moderately fast velocities gives me enough insurance for any shot I want to take, on any kind of game that walks in North America. No matter what the angle the animal presents to me, I can reach the vitals, because of the superior penetration that such a combination gives me. I include in this group calibers like the .375 H&H (a "magnum" in name, but by 1912 standards), the 9.3x62, some of the .33s, etc.

    This concept is particularly useful to me as an East Coaster. When I decide to sink the kind of money to hunt elk out West, I don't want to use a rifle that may cause me to pass up shots or--worse--to risk wounding an animal because of the angle it presents to me. For instance, a .375 H&H throwing a 300gr bullet at 2400 f/s will not only reach out as far as I'm comfortable shooting, but penetrate to the vitals every time. It has never once let me down, and the velocity is still contained enough that no modern bullet will break up.

    I know that a 300 H&H with a 200-grainer will pretty much do the same thing, but I've never tried it.

    (BTW, I find it not coincidental that some of the native Western hunters on this board do not think a medium bore is needed--they live there, and they see elk all the time. On the other hand, when you're there for just a few days at a few hundred dollars per, don't know the lay of the land and must take what the Gods give you, every little bit of difference has an impact.)

    Although I've never been a fan of magnum small bores, I see the point of having one for those who want a flatter shooting rifle. I don't take shots longer than 200 yards--because taking game other than varmints beyond that distance doesn't do it for me. I don't have an ethical thing against it, just a matter of personal preference. I like to get close--that, to me, is the most fun part of hunting. But for those who enjoy the thrill of a longer shot or who hunt in wide open terrain, eliminating those extra inches in bullet drop with a magnum makes perfect sense, and I understand it.

    Where I am totally at a loss is for the need of magnum versions of big bores--the .416 Wby or the .460 Wby and the likes--especially for North America. I guess they combine the advantages of the other two categories, but in all my years hunting and knowing hunters of all stripes, I have never encountered a single person who has championed the need for such power. I'm sure these people exist--or else, those calibers wouldn't have the following they do.

    Ultimately, to each his own. If you dig it, do it--as long as you don't bite off more than you can chew recoil-wise, otherwise your flinching will cause you to wound animals, which is among the things that a true sportsman should try to avoid at all costs. But there is no denying that caliber choice is very personal. The no-frills, pragmatic All-American appeal of a .270 or a .30-06, the exotic appeal of an African cartridge or the high-tech appeal of the latest magnum or the nostalgic appeal of an old European number speak to all of us in some way. Again, to each his own--as long as you handle your choice proficiently.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  15. hq

    hq Member

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    We've seen very good points throughout this thread.

    Marketing has been a major factor lately. Fast, flat-shooting magnums have become mainstream; they're convenient as far as minimal bullet drop at longer distances is concerned, but also carry a penalty of destroying more meat with increased bullet speed. Not a huge difference compared to fast, smaller calibers like .243 or .25-06, only the bullet is a bit larger.

    I'd like to repeat the fact that has been repeated a number of times: the caliber choice is personal and what really matters is the hunter's ability to shoot his rifle with sufficient accuracy and consistency. Larger calibers are a little more forgiving as far as bullet placement is concerned and in some cases they're needed for penetration, be it because of physiological factors of the game animal or the angle where a shot can be taken. If the hunter has no problem with stout recoil and costs of shooting a magnum caliber, it's not anyone else's business.

    Questioning other people's choices based on need has a distinct socialistic flavor. On the other hand, so does questioning the adequacy of using smaller calibers. These days people are so used to having their say in anything and everything (thanks, Internet) that minding their own business and respecting other people's choices is underrated. Conversation and debate are curious things; only well-founded opinions have real value. Many people who are too concentrated in only voicing theirs don't seem to understand that.

    As far as I'm concerned, if someone wants to hunt with the flattest-shooting mega magnum he can find and feels more comfortable taking a whitetail at 30 yards with one, please, go ahead, it's none of my business. The end result is the same, venison in the freezer and a trophy mount on the wall, only difference being the hunter's personal choice of firearm. Which I respect. The same way I respect that others choose to do the same thing with the lowest powered legal caliber they can find.

    Even though I've taken impalas with a .45-70 at 150...225 yards, I also understand that many people rather not learn the rainbow trajectory of an ancient caliber and want as long point blank range as possible. It definitely makes longer shots easier and reduce the consequences of miscalculation. Even if these hunters never actually shot that far, it can be a valuable confidence booster. Again, it's freedom of choice. If it makes you feel good, it's justified. Same thing with large calibers. It's not my (or anyone else's) business to tell people what they need and don't need and there's nothing unethical in choosing a much larger caliber than necessary.

    Questioning choices is good fun, as we've seen throughout this thread, but using vague generalizations like claims about people's lack of skill based on their choice of equipment is almost an insult to readers' intelligence. This is The High Road, after all.
     
  16. ZeroJunk

    ZeroJunk Member

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    I'll quote it just because it is great.
     
  17. Lloyd Smale

    Lloyd Smale Member

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    some of what i dont understand from you anti mag guys is why alot of you can justify the 22250 over the 223 for varmit hunting due to the fact its easier to make long range accurate hits on animals but you will contend that a 7mag doesnt make the same improvement over a 7-08. Dont know of to many serious varmit hunters that consider a 223 for 400 yard shooting and feel that when the ranges get over 300 yards the same consideration should be made for big game rifles. Sure your shooting at a bigger target but with a varmit your not looking at a hit in the vitals just a hit and you dont feel as bad about one running off wounded. I shoot alot of deer every year and like any advantage i can find to kill them as cleanly as possible.
     
  18. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    Unfortunately, government ownership in caliber selection is a necessity.
     
  19. paintballdude902

    paintballdude902 Member

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    im with jack o'connor there is nothin in north america that cant be taken with a .700 NE..............

    i do step up to a 40mm bofors API for africa....
     
  20. WYcoyote

    WYcoyote Member

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    hq,
    Well put sir.
     
  21. Todd1700

    Todd1700 Member

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    Ditto. If you want to pay 55 dollars a box for ammo to shoot 140 pound deer 70 yards away with a 300 win mag then knock yourself out. But I reserve the right to think you are using way more gun than you need for that scenario. And I firmly believe you are getting "NO" benefits over a standard caliber at that distance on that size game animal that warrant the increased cost of the ammo and the extra recoil. A 308 will make the same wound channel through that animal at that distance and drop it just as quickly. And it will do it with ammo that costs 30% less and without detaching your retina.

    You can drive roofing tacks with a 10 lb sledge hammer if you want. But that sure as hell isn't what a 10 pound sledge hammer was intended for. Pardon me for noticing. LOL!
     
  22. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Agreed, then we have the opposite where a guy tries to drive a spike though a 6x6 plank with a ball peen hammer and claim it's all about shot placement.
     
  23. .333 Nitro Express

    .333 Nitro Express Member

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    You can drive roofing tacks with a 10 lb sledge hammer if you want. But that sure as hell isn't what a 10 pound sledge hammer was intended for. Pardon me for noticing. LOL!

    True. But...

    Unless we're talking about a bullet that will break up because of excessive velocity (fortunately rare these days), or one whose overpenetration risks wounding other animals (a situation that it is the hunter's responsibility to actively avoid, regardless of bullet or caliber used)--I don't understand the concept of "overkill" in this regard.

    Killing cleanly means causing the vitals to shut down quickly and humanely, not doing so with as much mechanical effort/result efficiency as possible.

    Take it from someone who does not own, does no plan on owning and has never owned a rifle chambered in a modern magnum. ;)
     
  24. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    There is so much in a word here. Please define "modern" magnum?:D
     
  25. .333 Nitro Express

    .333 Nitro Express Member

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    Really? Do I have to define it--for "H&H" Hunter? :cool:

    Of course, anything introduced after 1925. If it wasn't first employed by hunters who addressed each other with "I say, old chap..." it is ultra-modern to me.

    A great part of my interest in rifles is historical, and I guess I have never been able to look even at cartridges as mere tools--the more their historical significance, the more they attract me, as long as they still do the job. Then, there is the fact that I have lived through the Lazzeroni, RUM, RSAUM, WSM, WSSM marketing feeding frenzy when I was a rifle product manager, and that took any remaining allure away from the latest magnum cartridges.

    Nothing against them, just not my thing. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
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