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What's the best rifle platform for hunting large game?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Bfh_auto, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    After reading a derail, I figured this was worth its own.
    What do you consider to be the ideal hunting platform?
    I figure at least 3 round magazine is best for most situations.
    Bolt actions offer the best strength per pound.
    If close range hunting, I like a Winchester 92 or 94. Close range limits the need for high pressure cartridges.
     
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  2. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    I really don’t think it’s a question that the Mauser 98 is synonymous with big dangerous game

    Depending what you consider large game, the Winchester 92 and 94 however certainly don’t pop up in my mind, maybe the 86 if any.
     
  3. MacAR

    MacAR Member

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    Very true. But I'll bet the OP considers hogs, deer, and elk large game. For all those, give me the Winchester any day. They're short, light, and carry more than enough decently potent rounds to do the job on the aforementioned critters.

    Now, if you're talking bison, cape buffalo, hippo, the great bears, or even moose, make mine a double. Preferably in a medium bore caliber like 9.3x74 or 375. Theres no second shot faster than that from a two trigger double. Couple that with ease of reloading (while sacrificing speed) and a fairly simple mechanism, and you have my idea of the perfect large game rifle.

    Others may disagree, but I find doubles easier to use than most repeaters. I do the majority of my hunting with sxs shotguns rather than the several pumps in the collection. I lust after a double rifle in 30 WCF or 30-06 but alas, finances prohibit owning one.

    To each their own, of course. This certainly an interesting topic.

    Mac
     
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  4. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 Member

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    Blaser's modular R8 system is the best in my opinion. I have an R8 Kilombero model with 2 barrels (.375 H&H + 300 Win Mag) and 2 quick detach scopes (Zeiss 1.5-6x 42mm+ Zeiss 4-16x 50mm). I can change calibers by buying a different barrel and use the scopes interchangeably. The bolt/slide can be in either left or right hand configurations or you an have one of each if you wish. And yes, the scopes return to zero following reattaching.
     
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  5. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    I'd say one about 20 feet off the ground, walls to keep out the wind, a roof to keep out rain and snow with a heater and a comfy recliner to nap in.
     
  6. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    The difference between hunting medium game (ie. deer) and hunting large game (ie. moose, bison) is the most appropriate cartridge. While there is a lot of overlap, I think most people would agree a .30-30 is a fine deer cartridge, but not ideal for large game like bison.

    The difference between hunting medium and large game and dangerous game is the greater potential need for quick follow-up shots under extreme duress. While deer and moose can certainly be very dangerous and even deadly, the normal means by which sportsmen hunt these game species allows them to avoid putting themselves into dangerous circumstances. That is why sportsmen often let their small children hunt deer. Game species categorized as dangerous game (ie. the Big Five), are often hunted by sportsmen under circumstances that do not allow most of the danger to be avoided. Certainly, it would be ill-advised to let small children, who are not fully aware of the dangers, to hunt that game. A man who endeavors to do so would be advised to use a gun by which he may not only be able to hunt the game but also defend himself from it if that becomes necessary. A dangerous game rifle should have the ability to fire repeatedly without fumbling cartridges for a reload. Doubles and magazine-fed repeaters are often selected.

    I realize I got under some peoples' skin by suggesting that a magazine-fed repeater isn't necessary for hunting non-dangerous game. While there was never any question that the bolt-action rifle is the best choice for hunting medium and large non-dangerous game, this belies the necessity of the repeater for hunting this game.

    I have asserted that there is no better action type for hunting medium and large game available than the bolt action rifle. Nevertheless, the bolt-action rifle has some serious drawbacks.

    The action is excessively long, which makes the rifle longer and heavier than it could be. While much effort was made during the 20th century to create and popularize cartridges that would fit in shorter actions, the actions are still necessarily at least twice the length of the cartridge (for the magazine and the chamber).

    Not only are the actions long. The bolts are long. This is particularly problematic because the bolt must be drawn straight back. This means the length of the action becomes more than three times the length of the cartridge, and the open bolt protrudes into the face of the shooter and into the comb. The comb cannot be properly formed for a high enough cheek weld for a large optic mounted over the barrel without being moved far back for the open bolt to clear. The end result is inevitably poor fit and cheek weld with a telescopic sight.

    These issues were certainly not unbeknownst to 20th century rifle designers. Famously, the SMLE's unique design avoided the bolt coming into the face of the shooter, but hunting rifles almost universally follow a design derived from the Mauser. One virtue the long receivers of bolt-action rifles do feature is that the long receiver provides a solid place to mount a scope without fixing it to the barrel. The problem is the long bolt requires the stock's comb to be too low for a sufficiently high cheek-weld. Weatherby became known for their iconic Monte Carlo stocks which were an attempt to raise the cheek weld to suit telescopic sights, but it was soon after realized the ugly appearance could be avoided by simply eliminating most or all the drop in the heel. While "modern" bolt-action rifle stocks are almost universally "straight" with no meaningful drop in the heel (in contrast to most 19th century and early 20th century rifles), the cheek weld on a modern straight stock is still too low for alignment with scopes. Furthermore, the insufficiently low toe results in rifles that shoulder too low when standing or kneeling. This forces the rifleman to either scrunch his shoulders down or mount just the toe on his shoulder with the heel above it. The minimal toe depth does work out well for shooting prone.

    And what is ultimately the purpose for these compromises? So one can rapidly shoot three, four, five cartridges. I will never do this hunting game with a rifle. In defense of myself or others from game or other threats? Yes. But never in hunting. I may have to take more than one shot, but never rapidly or under extreme duress.

    There is no doubt in my mind that there could be a better action and rifle type for hunting non-dangerous medium-sized game. The alternatives known to me all have their own drawbacks, and it should be obvious to everyone that most people consider those drawbacks too serious for anything to be even close to the popularity of the bolt-action.
     
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  7. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Why the ambiguity? What is “large”? At what range? Any other rules or regulations to be considered? Recoil sensitivity?

    I have seen close range limit the need for high pressure rounds. I have seen many 1000lb + animals dropped with a single .22 short, like a light switch. I wouldn’t have called it “hunting” though.
     
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  8. George P

    George P Member

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    Drilling or Vierling with all rifle barrels.........:thumbup:

    BLA_D99_Saeulen_Vielseitig_02.jpg
     
  9. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I like bolt action rifles. The great thing about them is that there are so many current production rifles from companies like Ruger, Savage, etc. that are very accurate and a great value for the price, with seemingly unlimited options in caliber, barrel lengths, etc.
     
  10. fireside44

    fireside44 Member

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    Heck, finances and current more pressing projects just about prevent me from owning a dangerous game caliber like that at all. It definitely wouldn't be a double. I see a savage 110 brush hunter in 375 ruger in the mid $600 range, that's pretty reasonable as most of the African game caliber rifles are a grand and up. Weatherby has a Vanguard 2 in .375 H&H for about $600. I'm sure the Savage is a heck of a rifle but I wonder how that Weatherby shoots. I would love a rifle in .375 or .458 win mag and would probably make it my main deer rifle.
     
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  11. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    I was just today checking a load for one of the rifles that I will hunt elk with this year, a Ruger No. 3 in 30-40. I seem to have been lucky in that this rifle is plenty accurate at somewhere around 1.5 MOA with 175 grs Berger VLD over 45 grs of IMR4895, giving 2695 fps and an SD of 16 fps. The rifle is light enough for lots of walking, quite compact and the falling block action is very strong. I have a Zeiss Terra 2-7 on it and follow up shots are plenty quick with a couple of rounds in a butt cuff. Most of the GMU I hunt will offer under 200 yard shots and for wet days or more open terrain, I have a T/C Dimension in 30-06 that is more accurate than I can shoot. With 150s, even I have managed sub-MOA groups. With 180s, I'm more like 1.5 MOA, but I won't shoot past 300 yards, so all good.

    I really like single shots and have several in RB, falling block and break action. As someone above noted, if the game isn't going to charge you and stomp you to death, a CRF bolt gun is hardly necessary.
     
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  12. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    For me it depends on the situation.
    Do I NEED to make a kill? Multiple kills? Can what I'm shooting at cause me damage?
    My default is a turn bolt with an internal magazine. There isn't much I can't do pretty well with one of those.
    For single target must get, this is what I'll ALWAYS reach for. Also if there might be some safety issues I'll probably opt for a "over powered" bolt gun.

    Taking shots on multiple targets I prefer a semi with a detachable magazine.

    If making a kill isn't critical, I want something fun to carry and interesting. practically no longer matters. Im still trying to decide what sort of gun I want for this option, probably a single shot of some sort.

    I'm also assuming "large" just means a not small game....

    if we're talking large, large than a Bolt gun all the way.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
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  13. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    Mossberg Patriot in .375 Ruger... Cuz I'm the ultimate cheap-skate
     
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  14. Robert

    Robert Administrator Staff Member

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    My Winchester Safari Express in 375 H&H.
     
  15. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I'll take a lightweight compact bolt gun with a barrel no longer than 22" in 6.5mm, 7mm or 308 class cartridge for an all around rifle. Closer to 18" for brush hunting. While the power isn't needed up close, the best way to shoot through brush is with a rifle with a lazer flat trajectory and sub MOA accuracy. When an animal is 50 yards away with only a softball size opening to place your bullet through. And you have dozens of tree limbs from the end of your muzzle to the animals hide you need flat trajectory and accuracy just as much as you do when taking a 500 yard shot. My bolt guns will shoot under 1" groups at 100 yards and the bullet will never rise more than 1" above or below the line of sight from 10 yards to about 130 yards.

    The need for rapid repeat shots are over rated. And if needed there is no difference in speed of "AIMED" shots between a bolt gun and anything else.
     
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  16. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    For Dangerous Game I’ll take a Heym bolt action in .404 Jeffery. For anything else I’ll take a current production Model 70 Sporter.
     
  17. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    my mediun game rifle is a Remington 7600 carbine in 3006 with a 2x7 leupold scope and it has served me well over the years. three at 100 yards, 55 grs imr 4350 with a 165 gr nosler BT.
     

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  18. 40-82

    40-82 Member

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    Ideal? I can be assured of this, the day an animal I need for food bounds out from almost under my feet from cover I didn't believe would hide a rabbit, and there's only time for a flash sight picture, that'll be the day I'm carrying a telescopically sighted bolt action set up for deliberate shots at a longer range.

    The next day I'll have a Winchester lever, step into a clearing, and there's the animal: just out of range of what I want to try with iron sights.

    I agree with your propensity toward a healthy magazine capacity, but I believe in being resigned to what you have in your hands. More than once, I've put three shots into a deer with a single shot.

    When you find that rifle that does it all well, that possibly means that it's a compromise that doesn't do anything as well as it might, although often it's good enough.
     
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  19. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I am partial to two different rifles. A 50-70 trapdoor and a 405 WCF Winchester 1895. Either is overmuch for much of the continent but comforting non the less.

    Kevin
     
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  20. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Even though I understand the design, the use, the advantages and the disadvantages, I do not like bolt actions for most hunting. In a practical sense, I lump them in with single shots in terms of multiple shot capability. Go ahead and reference the mad minute but until I see more people able to do it, I am not buying it. As well, the amount of practice required is impractical for most. Those who do then by all means can be well served by a bolt action.

    That said the average bolt action is usually fine for the majority of light to heavy game in the correct chambering. In fact, there is likely no equal for heavy high pressure cartridges in a single barrel repeater which makes it a great choice for dangerous species.

    I like @Robert ’s posts about his .375H&H and his philosophy of one rifle for everything. If one were to copy such a philosophy (we would all be really bored around here) I think many would answer the question in the OP something like “The one you have and are proficient with.”

    For me the best platform is the Remington pump rifle. Mine is a 7600 Carbine in boring 30-06. I’m good with it and I come from a philosophy of no matter how good I am, I may still need a fast second or third shot.....and I have. Hunting property lines demands quick incapacitation.

    Is the Remington 7600 great for extra large game, no. It’s good for NA though and since I’m not going to Africa, and precious few will, it should be good to go.
     
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  21. Picher

    Picher Member

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    I've hunted with semi-autos, bolts, pumps, and revolver and single-shot handguns, but now only hunt with bolt-actions. Why? Well, I determined that in don't "HAVE TO" kill a deer to have something to eat, but if I shoot, want a 90% certainty of killing it quickly, whether one shot will do it or not. Nothing is 100%, because of the terrain (esp. trees), but except for running deer in the woods, I can get the job done almost all the time.

    The first shot counts more than any other one, but I can quickly produce a kill shot on a wounded critter, if need be. A few deer that got away might have been killed by a semi-auto, but they're rare, because I hardly ever shoot at a running deer in the woods, but will wait if a deer is coming to an opening that can provide a better view of it. Scopes can help, especially variables that can be turned down to 2 or 3X, yet turned up to provide a better view, especially when only bucks may be shot and light is too dim to see antlers in the woods.
     
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  22. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Big dangerous game, or just big game?
     
  23. fireside44

    fireside44 Member

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    I get five deer tags in Texas and I can bait them so there is always more than one shot. Kill a couple at a time, hopefully in the a.m (always winds up being sunset), and get busy as heck with the knife! Was thinking of doing the same to the squealers using light at night and corn bait in the field but hogs are fewer and far between near my place, I've only seen a couple. The water is further down the hill so maybe I need a stock tank?

    It's more convenient but I generally take more time placing my shot than I do cycling the bolt cause I'm hoping for a fast, clean kill so though I hunt with an auto past few seasons I have no beef with a bolt. Many times the deer just stand still and stare in the direction I'm shooting from after my first shot so I can take all the time I like on the 2nd shot.
     
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  24. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Let's say white tail too moose.
    I would include grizzly or Kodiak in the same category as African Dangerous Game. Most of us have no experience with that, so our ideas are invalid.
     
  25. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    Pumps are cool, but I have a tendency to forget to rack the slide. This would be changed by practice.
     
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