Still in a pair of rifles caliber debate

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Doc7, Dec 19, 2016.

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  1. Doc7

    Doc7 Member

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    I've been thinking about this a long time. I know I need two big game rifles in my safe; that way I have a backup if something happens mid season or mid-trip somewhere, a loaner, one to shoot at range while other is cooling or whatnot.

    I currently have a Savage 11 that I am going to customize because I am just not quite happy with it (bought used and it doesn't feel like mine yet). I will be putting a stainless Pacnor match grade barrel on it and getting all metal parts coated with Black Ice (teflon) coating and throwing her in a Boyd's laminate stock. My other rifle will be a Model 70 Extreme Weather stainless or a Montana Rifle company x2 (similar rifle).

    One of these rifles will be in 7MM-08 and I want a step up in power too for dedicated big game hunts (elk etc) although the 7-08 will be a worthy backup on such hunts! I am not sure which caliber to put in each rifle. I know the laminate stock 9 lb rifle will be a low recoiling joy to shoot in that caliber. However without changing any parts, as I am buying a new barrel anyway, I can build that rifle into a 9 lb 338 Federal and have the Model 70 as a light weigh 7mm-08. The other option is to have the 9 Lb 7mm-08 and the Model 70 to be about a 7.5-7.75 lb 30-06.

    So which would you prefer for a general North American, 95% white tail deer at 50 yards with dreams of 3-4 other species guided hunts in my life time, battery; 9 lb 7mm-08 and 7.5 lb 30-06 or a 9 lb 338 Federal and a 7.5 lb 7mm-08?
     
  2. Doc7

    Doc7 Member

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    If it matters - the Savage is of course a push feed vs the CRF model 70 actions.
     
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  3. stoky

    stoky Member

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    I'd go with the latter of the two choices. IMO, it's hard to go wrong with a Model 70.
    Don't over think this, you'll probably end up with more rifles anyway. :evil:
     
  4. Dog Soldier

    Dog Soldier member

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    If you plan to hunt elk then the .30-06 would be a better choice.
     
  5. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    I predict the most usage for the 7-08 so I'd keep that one light but CRF (featherweight m70 or similar) to reduce the chances of failure when you get an elk in the sights. Let the .338 or .30-06 be a heavy loaner, you won't NEED the extra firepower for your listed uses, and the people you loan it to will still babble about the .338 federal long after it's returned to you.
     
  6. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    30-06 is never a wrong answer and I love my Model 70.
     
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  7. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    It doesn't. I have many thousands of rounds through push feed rifles, mostly Remington 700s, and can't recall a single issue. Ever.

    It's another one of those persistent myths, like the op rod vs. Stoner gas system reliability garbage.

    You hunt with an empty chamber?
     
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  8. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    Nope but I've had issues 3 times with push feeds and crf reduces equipment malfunction whether user induced or not, I do have and use push feeds, but for the use described by the OP as a primary weapon for big game, I opt for crf reliability (which is NOT a bs point) for confidence in rapid follow up shots when needed because (as discussed many times in other threads) an elk may not always go down on the first kill shot placed and I like knowing that no matter the conditions, the next round will chamber without a hitch. I'm not saying that a push feed WILL fail, but IF it does, it's frustrating and often costly. With crf there isn't an IF, period. I don't always need a cummins' extra torque, but I've never complained about using it either.

    Op already decided on m70 I'm simply offering that a lightweight may be worth considering.
     
  9. Llama Bob

    Llama Bob member

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    Well, it's all personal preference I suppose but there are some guiding principles. I want lighter recoiling rounds in lighter guns, and heavier rounds in heavier guns. I much prefer the modern M70 or Montana action to the Savage action, not so much because of CRF (although that's nice) but because of the feel. And IMO 7mm-08 is a somewhat more useful cartridge than .338 Federal due to higher sectional density and ballistic coefficient. The 160gr accubond load is fine for Elk. So I would go get the M70 or MRC in 7mm-08, and I might not even bother modifying the Savage depending on what caliber it's in now.

    But of course that's what I would do. You sound like you have a complicated plan for modifying the Savage, and if you're attached to that then go for it. When you get right down to it, most non-dangerous game calibers are more similar than different.
     
  10. stoky

    stoky Member

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    New Haven Model 70 Featherweight (or so says marketing :p) w The Claw in thuty naught six:
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
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  11. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I'd figure out a way to swap that around and have a 30-06 in the 9lb rifle and the 7-08 in the 7.5lb rifle.

    Or get two .284winchester rifles, blow them out to .284Shehane and have one load which will suit any NA hunting you'll ever do.
     
  12. Doc7

    Doc7 Member

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    The Savage is already in 7mm-08. I guess I could sell it off to fund the M70 in 7mm-08 sooner. I just am not sure yet as to the acceptability of 7-08 for elk. I got the Savage at such a great price that if i rebarreled it I feel like I would have a rifle that really shoots above its price point, like 800 dollars with a custom aftermarket barrel and accutrigger.

    I like the idea of having a rifle that I could confidently take on any hunt in NA (such as 30-06 or greater power) but also want to keep a 7mm-08 around for my white tail hunting.
     
  13. Doc7

    Doc7 Member

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    This is more or less what the idea was with rebarreling the Savage to 338 and buying the M70 in 7mm-08. But then I would really be confused which to take on an elk hunt, the heavy rifle or the lighter smaller round.
     
  14. Doc7

    Doc7 Member

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    I suppose I could buy two Model 70 Extreme weathers ... one in 7-08 and one in 30/06 then I have two rifles that each on their own suitable for 90% of hunting...
     
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  15. Llama Bob

    Llama Bob member

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    A 160gr .284 bullet has a higher sectional density than a 180gr .308. That's you first factor in terms of penetration. And when it comes to penetration, velocity is not your friend really either.

    Fact of the mater is that lots of people bought .30-40 Krags and the like as dedicated elk guns back in the day, to supplement various .25 and similar bore guns used for deer. The elk haven't gotten any tougher since then, and relative to that Krag a 7mm-08 has higher SD, more velocity, and we have bonded bullets. There's just zero question a 7mm-08 is suitable for elk.

    The downside of a 7mm-08 for elk is not terminal ballistics. It's the slightly more loopy trajectory you get vs. a .30-06 or 7mm mag in the same bullet weight. But we're talking only slightly.
     
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  16. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Personally - don't care who decides to flame me for it - if I'm really considering a short to mid range deer rifle and an elk rifle, I'm not going to buy two cartridges which share a common parent case. For short to mid-range deer, I'm looking for a short action cartridge in the 6-7mm ballpark, for an elk rifle, I'm looking for a long action cartridge in the 7mm-30cal ballpark, both of which I'd want pushing 2800-3100fps with heavy for caliber bullets.

    I've also never had issue packing a 9lb rifle, even at altitude, AND have never really enjoyed the recoil of a 7lb rifle (all in, hunt-ready) in any elk-worthy cartridge.
     
  17. Doc7

    Doc7 Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  18. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    I'd also factor in that hornady makes 154 gr bullets (Interbond) that may be hard to find at the moment but has an accepted s.d. and can be pushed a wee bit faster. And let us not forget the copper solid pills that level the playing field a bit more. I would put faith in the 150 etips enough to try some penetration tests out to 400 yds or so, the charts show they're still packing quite the punch at distance. I don't think the 7-08 would be undergunned in any of these scenarios with the proper loads, making the second caliber more of a want than a need.
     
  19. Casefull

    Casefull Member

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    Each to their own in packing a rifle in rough country. Where I go 2 to 3 lbs is a big deal. Carry the rifle for 5 to 8 hrs a day for more than a few days, along with a small pack and food and it makes a difference. My down bag is 3 lbs even, and that can keep me alive. It all depends on what one is doing and how much wilderness you are back into. An hour or two with just the rifle... I agree with you. As to recoil I have never felt the recoil or hurt my ears hunting...never hear or feel the shot as focus is on sight picture and hit.
     
  20. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    To each their own, but you're not the only one who hunts in rough country. I've humped an 11lb 7mag rifle for 6-8hrs a day for 8 days straight over 3,000-4,000' of elevation change on a combo hunt, and have carried an 10lb 416rem through rocky and rough terrain for an 8hr stalk on a group of water buffalo in Argentina, and carried the same 7mag through scrub desert in Mexico after sheep putting down 6 miles on our final stalk... Being hyperlight is great, but not everyone feels a need to skimp on their rifle to be able to manage the weight. Soldiers carry a he11 of a lot more weight on their back, with an ~8lb carbine in tow for a lot more days than any of us hunters experience...
     
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  21. tahoe2

    tahoe2 Member

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    It seems to me that placement of the shot at a reasonable range for the caliber used is the best answer for this scenario.
    Rifle weight for caliber is up to the individual, my scoped rifles weigh 7-1/2 to 9-1/2 lbs and I've never felt handicapped by weight.
    My 3 main calibers are 7x57 mauser, 7.65x53 mauser and 8x57 mauser, all of which will take Elk cleanly with the proper bullet.

    to answer the OP's question ; a 9 lb in 338 Fed and a 7-1/2 lb in 7mm-08, I would not feel handicapped with either one.
     
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  22. red rick

    red rick Member

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    I would hold a Extreme Weather if you haven't , the wrist feels to thick for me and I don't have small hands .
     
  23. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    If you have a 9 lb rifle and a 7 lb rifle the 9 lb rifle will soon become a safe queen. Forget about anything heavier than 8 lbs scoped and the closer to 7lbs the better.

    Any of the cartridges you list will cleanly take elk out to 400 yards. A 30-06 will have enough to take you to 500, the magnums out to 600+. Can you hit an elk at 500 yards? If not you don't need anything bigger than 7-08 or 308. Elk can be taken with a 243 and the 6.5's are proving very capable. Modern bullets are the key.

    Between all of the cartridges you mention the difference in trajectory at 400 yards will be within 2-3" with good loads. With modern scopes and range finders this number is irrelevant. For all practical purposes the trajectory is the same.

    A 308 shoots the same bullets as 30-06, only 100-150 fps slower. The end result is the 30-06 does the same thing 50-75 yards farther down range and a 308 will take game farther than most of us can shoot.

    A 7-08 is the ballistic twin of 308. No reason to own both. On paper the 7-08 has about 30 ft lbs more energy and drops about 1" less at 400 yards. 308 ammo is cheaper and easier to find.

    A 338 fed has more energy at the muzzle than 308 and about the same as 30-06 with recoil equal to 30-06. But at any range past 50 yards 30-06 beats it handily. At any range beyond 200 yards both 308 and 7-08 beat it. There is a reason 338 Fed never caught on, forget it.

    I own 8-9 bolt action centerfire rifles. This is my go-to rifle. It is a Winchester EW 308 sitting in a McMillan Edge stock. Weight as shown is 7.25 lbs and it is a tack driver. With 165 or 180 gr loads using a quality bullet with decent BC's such as Nosler Accubonds I'd have no problems shooting an elk at 400 yards. I'd still have 1550-1600 ft lbs of energy with a bullet that will give very deep penetration. I'd not change my opinion if it were 7-08. Mine just happens to be 308. I have other rifles, but this is the one that goes hunting, and the one I'll elk hunt with next fall.

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. zb338

    zb338 Member

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    The 7 MM/08 is a great caliber and plenty powerful enough for small or medium game. I would go
    with a .338 Winchester as my big rifle and that would be a battery. The .338 would handle your
    bigger game needs. Better yet, get a Weatherby Vanguard in .300 Weatherby or .340 Weatherby
    for your big rifle.
    Zeke
     
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  25. ranger56528

    ranger56528 Member

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    Next to my Savage 308,Marlin 308 Express and Tikka 30-06 my two biggest rounds in my safe are my Marlin 45-70 and my Savage 338 Win Mag,never know when ya get a chance to go way up north so you might as well be ready.
     
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