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Most universal caliber

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by theboyscout, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Garandimal

    Garandimal Member

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    For medium game?

    Long Action - .270 Winchester.
    Short Action - 7mm-08
    Recoil Sensitive - .243 or any short 6.5mm




    GR
     
  2. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    6x45mm

    Just kidding (somewhat).

    Though I know bullets meant for the .223 have been made specifically for medium game, and I know people have certainly used it quite effectively (and I know of some who did not), it’s always sat with me as being marginal. And there’s no way I’d consider it for anything larger than deer.

    Most of the critters you listed were small. You didn’t mention if you were after the pelts, which makes a tremendous difference. Anything big will kill anything small.

    Because so much small game was listed I’d opt for a caliber with a generous spattering of varmint loads (as well as medium game loads). That’s mostly the .243 Win and .25-06 Rem, but anything in the .24, .25, and .26 caliber offerings should do well at both small and large game, and even more so if you reload (another thing I didn’t see you clear on). Seems the .27 and larger calibers are a bit of overkill for small game, though I know there are some loads for even larger.

    *EDIT*

    I clearly missed that big game was considered as well. I wouldn’t consider anything under .26 cal to be ideal, especially not a .223. Quite frankly an all inclusive to me would be the .260 Rem, 6.5 mm Creedmore, 6.5x55 Swede, and even the 6.5 mm Grendel. Just enough bullet for large stuff and enough varmint offerings to handle small stuff.

    Quite frankly I’d ditch the idea of all inclusive and buy a varmint rifle and a medium/large game rifle. The .223 Rem would be ideal along with something like the 7mm-08 Rem or .308 Win (I like short action rounds). I’m also a fan of Ackley Improving.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2019
  3. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    I'll put in a 2nd vote for the 243. Manageable recoil. Super accurate with handloads. (Factory ammo is pretty good, too.) Plain jane cup and core projectiles will drop a whitetail like a sack of potatoes. Premium projectiles will let you play up a league to much bigger game. 80-85 grain Barnes triple shocks are still supersonic at 300 yards. I took a caribou with mine 2 years ago; she was about 250 lbs.

    Go down to the other end of the spectrum, and you can shoot 55-60 grain HPBT projectiles at fur bearers without trashing the fur. Mine will shoot ragged hole clover leaf groups at 100 yrds with a 60 grn bullet and about 43 grns of 4895.

    The only weak point/drawback of the 243 is that the light, fast bullets tend to break up when hitting anything more than a blade of grass, so they're not well suited for hunting in heavy brush at close ranges. (That said, I've got a buddy in Florida who hunts hogs with a 243 in the swamps.)

    The only other calibers I would want to own for hunting would be a 30-06 or perhaps some sort of heavy caliber (44 magnum, 45-70, or again, 30-06) lever gun for the brush. (Heck, for that matter, a 30-30 in the brush) but those aren't "universal" in my mind.
     
  4. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    A little rough on bobcats and fox eh?

    LD
     
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  5. PWC

    PWC Member

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    Let's see, the quistion was "universal"...that means everywhere, but since most of us won't be traveling worldwide hunting, universal more closely means North America. So, now universal would mean what one caliber can do it all, from gophers, fox, wolf, mountain lion feer, elk, moose, black bear, brown bear, grizzley and polar bear. There were no conditions in the question about saving meat or pelt, just what is the universal (can do it all) caliber.

    I think a 30-06 or .308 with the correct bullet for application (gopher or bear) based on terminal balistics. Doesn't mean I'd use it that way, but they are capable.
     
  6. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    My idea of ideal, though small game was never in the equation, is the 7mm-08 Ackley Improved. But brown and polar bears were never in there either, though it would do just fine.
     
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  7. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    50 BMG, will kill anything that anyone could consider medium to big with more than enough “oomph” and nothing has ever been killed too much.

    .223 and 6mm bullets are a bit light for some thing I consider “big”. If we are talking USA, the old crusty and uncool 30-06 will do the job on anything here.
     
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  8. double bogey

    double bogey Member

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    I began my deer hunting career shooting a .243 win, and killed several. Used a 7mm rem mag and a bunch more. I picked up a 25-06 in a Tikka t3 lite, and until I picked up a weatherby mk5 ultralite in the same caliber the tikka was my favorite. Never killed an elk or black bear, but if hunted either I would load some partitions as fast as I could drive them and shoot with confidence at reasonable ranges to drop them if I put the bullet in the right place. The next animal I kill with a rifle most likely be 25-06.
     
  9. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    This used to be my answer, also.

    Now for someone else, id recommend a medium to fast 6.5, or 7mm.

    Personally, I'd chose my .375 Ruger if I were looking for the most versatile round I could find.

    Edit: my phone's autocorrect decided it knew what I wanted to say better than I did....least it didn't miss spell stuff.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  10. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

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    How are you going to shoot small animals, such as coyotes, with a 375 with disintegrating them?
     
  11. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    Sigh... Ok, 375H&H and it's long action twin, 375 Ruger do not vaporize targets on impact. The H&H can be down loaded to some really low levels or hot rodded with solids for the biggest dangerous game.

    If I had to pick one caliber for medium game to large game, which for me means deer and up, I'd pick the 375 H&H or the 375 Ruger. The H&H uses a mag length action while the Ruger uses a standard long action. Otherwise they are pretty close with a slight edge to the Ruger. And in a pinch, using light loads you can easily take small game such as coyotes. Oh, and I did pick the H&H.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  12. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    People don't realize that with big calibers you can often eat right up to the hole.
    It's a common misconception that they vaporize small game. The worst damage I've ever seen on a deer was with a .223 Rem. Penetration was very limited, but it looked like a bomb went off inside that doe.

    For me, I'd choose something along the lines of a .280 Rem or .30-06 for all around hunting.
    I think of an all around hunting gun as a middle of the road cartridge that does everything adequately. I do not think of it as something that is the bare minimum for the upper end.
    I'd rather make a slightly larger hole in the bobcat and know that I have more than enough to get the job done on larger game. Just my opinion.
     
  13. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I'd never forgive myself if I shot an elk bull with a .243, even if it dropped like a rock.

    IMHO, the perfect big game cartridge lies somewhere between the 6.5CM/6.5x55 and the 7mm08/7x57. Long legs, perfect for deer sized game and with heavier bullets FAR more suitable for elk than any 6mm but not much more recoil than the overrated .243. Just as capable as the .30's with less recoil.
     
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  14. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    The other guys covered the "how" very well.
    I'd also add that you can shoot full speed solids, and make a pretty small hole in things. If you don't need the flatter trajectory, than a cast bullet over trailboss or something similar would work really well at shorter ranges.

    Bullet selection, as always, is key to using something like a medium bore for stuff it's not meant for.
    The bullet I shoot the most is a Speer 270gr btsp, it's soft, and not the bullet you'd want to shoot anything with heavy bones with at full speed, or stuff you want the pelt from, but it will open up and put down smaller game with authority.
    I've got some 260ABs I'm gonna try to see if they hold together a little better.
    I also wanna get some 200s for the .375 win, and some heavy cast bullets, to work up reduced loads for the gun. Goat and pig bullets respectively.
    I'll probably add a box of 300gr solids....just in case.

    Imo it's less difficult to go down in terminal performance, than it is to go up.
    The reason I don't recommend the .243s for general use, even tho my personal experiences on animals up to 800ish lbs has be good, is that the 6.5s and 7s offer a better balance for heavier game.
    The 30s would be a good choice as well, but I honestly don't feel they are much if any better than the 6.5s or 7s for general hunting. If your likely to need to deliver a bunch of energy at 400+ yds, a fast 30 might be a more versatile option for you tho.

    Speaking of oddnesz..... I've got it I've considered trying black powder in my .375, but I don't know if really wanna deal with the after effects.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  15. 98s1lightning

    98s1lightning Member

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    I'd opt for a browning a bolt in 7mm-08. In my opinion you can't beat the quality and features for the money. You should be able to grab a nice used one for under 750, but the are hard to come by. Measure the length of pull because they come in micro (youth) length also. I'd take the 7-08 over a 243 every time.

    Not the AB3, an older one.
     
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  16. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

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    7mm-08......
    thumbnail_IMG_1145.jpg
     
  17. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Actually the OP qualified his question with, "..., but I want to be able to hunt everything from fox, bobcat, wolverine, deer, and more." So your "universal" and "hunt" is just about slaughtering the animal, not about eating it or harvesting the pelt then ?? :confused:

    I'm sure that can't be what you mean?

    LD
     
  18. TN Outlaw

    TN Outlaw Member

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    Well, luckily there's several that would fall inside these parameters.

    243Win, 6mmRem, 250 Savage, 25-06, 257Bob, 260Rem, 6.5CM, 6.5x55S, 7mm-08, 270Win, 280Rem, 300 Savage, 308Win, and 30-06 to name a few.

    Depends on which critter you may pursue the most. If lots of small critters and occasionally a deer or elk, then something smaller and lower recoil on the list would be fine with appropriate shots. If you will big game hunt alot but may try some coyote hunting too, you could get away with using one of the larger more powerful chamberings.

    If you hunt all size game from small to large often, then you really need more than one "do it all" rifle. Still, if I had to choose just one, I would find that rifle that fit me best with the barrel length I want that is chambered in one of the 6.5CM, 7mm-08, 270Win, or 308Win. Any of those would work just fine in normal hunting ranges for any of the animals listed with appropriate bullets.
     
  19. Browning

    Browning Member

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    6.5 Swede or a .257 Roberts.
     
  20. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    While I don’t own one, this is the answer IMO. Today’s .308 is a close runner up for sure.

    Cooper’s Scout Rifle concept (one rifle for most/all things) was initially a 7MM (7X57 IIRC), but I’d argue the 7MM bullet is light for large/dangerous NA game.

    Plus...and I saw this as a member’s quote in a signature line on another forum and thought it was cool ....”You know why there’s never any panic runs on 30.06 ammo? Because guys who own 30.06’s dont panic!
     
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  21. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I had made the assumption that the pelt meant something. People that shoot some of the critters listed tend to want them stuffed. Therefor I’d want a more purpose specific round for that. A .22 WMR would do nicely really, or even a .22 Hornet, if the ranges wouldn’t be extreme.

    But as the OP did not mention his intentions, and it could be for critter control I suppose, and nothing more, which changes the potential answers, and one could easily forget varmint bullets.

    How big “big” game is also needs clarification. I wouldn’t carry a .243 Win or .25-06 Rem looking for elk or moose, or brown bears even if they may work well enough. To my thinking that (excluding the bear and maybe the moose) begins with a heavy .264 bullet designed for the job, and I’d still rather have something a little larger.

    I haven’t a clue how the pelt damage between a 55 grn .223 varmint bullet would compare to a 110 grn .308 varmint bullet, but it seems the smaller bullets, if keeping the pelt nice, would be ideal.

    So, to my thinking, and considering big could mean brown bears and moose, and that pelts are desired, I’d still vote for something 7mm. The 7mm-08 Rem has always been what I considered the perfect round for North America. And Ackley Improving it makes it that much better.
     
  22. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Well, if this is everything from squirrel to bear and moose, there's really only one choice.....the 12 gauge. :D
     
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  23. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    .223 is SOOOOO not enough for moose, elk, bear and such and, get right down to brass tacks, is marginal at best for deer/hogs. I would limit it to 100 yards on deer/hogs and ONLY with a controlled expansion bullet.
     
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  24. PWC

    PWC Member

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    Loyalist Dave - " So your "universal" and "hunt" is just about slaughtering the animal, not about eating it or harvesting the pelt then ?? Not at all

    The question was "universal". As stated many times above, cartridge can be loaded down, and proper bullet selected for terminal performance. I thought this would be understood by those reading my answer.

    So, back to the question.."universal", as used here, means the one that can do it all.
     
  25. rodwha

    rodwha Member

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    I’ve yet to see him clarify anything. How can you honestly say what the intent is?
     
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